Why We Can Count On A Pre-Tribulational Rapture


This article is revisited and expanded upon due to several reasons. One, when I looked for it on the web it had disappeared and even on my computer which I use online, it had disappeared. A hacker apparently made sure it wouldn't be resurrected. Well he or she was wrong because I store my files on another computer and there it was.

Now if someone in the U.K. had not called me and requested a study on this subject matter, I would not have noticed the problem. God works His wonders in mysterious ways. To believers this subject is probably one of the most important. The explanation the caller was interested in to the following partial verse, lies quite a few paragraphs down the page. "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.."

The third reason I reworked this article is Nicholas Stivers. He joined this ministry in September of last year and came to learn what running this kind of a ministry is all about. He went back to Tacoma, Washington, last week to tend to his children who are teenagers and still need him, he said. He said he learned a lot, and spent some of the happiest times here but had one complaint when he left. He said that there is too much emphasis on Satan in this ministry which is true. This article should be a delight to him when he gets home and finds it in his inbox.

The Day of Christ, the Day of the Lord and the Day of God
What is the Meaning of Each Day

Before we begin to decipher the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, we need to distinguish a few concepts that relate to the Rapture. Jesus warned us over and over that Satan shall deceive many and in Matthew 24:24 Jesus stated: "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect," (Matthew 24:24) And to prove, that those who were understanding the Bible by doing what God told them to do, were gone, it states in Revelation 18:23 "And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived."

Coming back to our present time in 2 Thessalonians 2:2 we read: "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."

The Bible is written in very precise language and God told us to divide the WORD. There is a difference between the day of the Lord and the day of Christ and the day of God. The Apostle Paul states that the day of Christ is at hand which means it is in effect now. The Scriptures refer us to Matthew 24:4-5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I Am Christ; and shall deceive many. Ephesians 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."

The day of Christ begins with the resurrection and ends with the Rapture. Satan is our arch enemy and wants to take believers out. The rest of the world is no problem to Satan. They are going to the same place he is. Why attack them? They are his buddies. The day of Christ is about the fact that Jesus has already defeated Satan which in turn angers Satan into deceiving as many as he can, to keep God's family as small as possible. Therefore Satan's spirit occupies as many as possible to impersonate Jesus Christ. They are called 'hirelings' in the Bible. See John 10:12-13 "But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep." Does Jesus indicate here that anyone can take His place on earth and act for Him? I don't think so. Jesus owns the sheep and He is their Shepherd.

Malachi 4:5 "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:" Zechariah 14:1-3 "Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people [The Jewish Remnant] shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle." Isaiah 13:9 "Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it." Joel 2:31 "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come." Acts 2:20 "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:" Obviously the day of the Lord is about the Tribulation.

2 Peter 3:12 "Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?" Isaiah 34:4 "And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree." Micah 1:4 "And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place." Psalms 102:26 "They shall perish, but thou shalt endure [remnant] yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:" Revelation 6:14 "And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places." Isaiah 14:12-15 "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit."

Malachi 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:" The spirit of Elijah was in John the Baptist. Matthew 11:12-14 "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias [Greek form of Elijah] , which was for to come." Matthew 17:2-3 "And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him." Matthew 17:11-12 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them."

The two prophets who will teach during the first half of the Tribulation will be Moses and Elijah (Elias). Revelation 11:3 "And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth."

Why can we Depend on the Pre-Tribulation

The Pre-Tribulation Rapture has engendered more attacks on this ministry than any other exhortations or articles we have published. Incorrect interpretations are rampant. All the movies and videos we have seen are incorrect portrayals.

TBN featured Dr. Thomas, Ice January 10, 2002 (or around that date). He was discussing his new book which was written with Tim LaHay. LaHay has gained a lot of attention in Christian circles with a series of fictional books and audios, etc..about the Tribulation and the Rapture.

Dr. Thomas Ice apparently agrees with Tim LaHay that Gentiles can be saved during the Tribulation. We missed that when we read most of Dr. Ice's works before he joined the rich and famous. The Scripture study by David Bay of the Cutting Edge website is the best we have seen. We highly recommend that you take a look at it in within this article to clarify your concept of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture.

David Bay applies the "Day of the Lord" to the seven year tribulation. We interpret that the "Day of the Lord" is "a day for a thousand years", which includes the Millennium. It does not change the Pre-Tribulation Rapture nor the Tribulation in any way.

See 2 Peter 3:3-10 "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation."

For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water; Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

"But, 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.

"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." The heavens don't pass away nor does the earth melt with fervent heat until the end of the Millennium. That means that the "Day of the Lord" includes the Millennium. (CMI)

Following is what the Cutting Edge Ministry wrote:  Subtitle: The Understanding Of Bible Prophecy Has Proven To Be Progressive — As World Events Continue To Unfold, Elements Formerly Deemed Allegorical Now Make Perfect Sense! Also, since 1989, the demonic Guiding Spirits have been telling New Age leaders to prepare their adherents for the Rapture!

"Wherefore comfort yourselves together" with these words – The Apostle Paul

The New World Order is coming! Are you ready? Once you understand what this New World Order really is, and how it is being gradually implemented, you will be able to see it progressing in your daily news!!

I (David Bay) have used this illustration until it is about worn out, but from the comments we receive disputing our pre-trib position it apparently needs to be repeated and often: what was formerly outside the realm of reason has now become quite reasonable in light of current events.

For example: Up until the early years of the twentieth century, most prophecy commentators viewed the two hundred million man army of Revelation 9:16 to be so utterly fantastic that they deemed it allegorical — representative of some other spiritual truth. They reasoned that since all of the armies of the world combined did not reach such an astronomical number, it could not be taken literally. However, three quarters of a century later we now know China alone could probably field an army that size if they chose to do so. Again, what was formerly outside the realm of reason has now become quite reasonable! And the same principle holds true for the rest of prophecy—time inevitably casts more light upon interpretation.

Similarly, Church history will show that in some cases it took many hundreds of years for all the great doctrines of the faith to be hammered out and solidified. For instance, justification by faith alone was not completely "nailed down" until the days of Martin Luther in the 1500’s. So let’s not fall into the trap of thinking that all the early fathers had to say is sacrosanct and beyond revision.

To this day many still ridicule the concept of what they characterize as "a secret rapture" because they insist a person supposedly named Margaret McDonald concocted the whole thing in 1830—with the idea being picked up subsequently by the Plymouth Brethren, and popularized through the efforts of C.I. Scofield and his now-famous reference Bible.

To reply to these objections all we can say is, "What sayeth the Scriptures"? Does the position (as we strongly affirm) fit with the whole of Scripture and make more sense than those that predate it? Let us find out by viewing the subject as objectively as we can.

That there will be an instantaneous removal of the Church from this earth is beyond dispute because 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 both declare it. The major difference of opinion centers upon when this removal will take place, with many insisting that it will be concurrent with the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the Tribulation Period, rather than prior to the beginning. All believers agree that God can certainly snatch His elect children from this earth any time He chooses, but there are several very logical reasons why we believe a pre-tribulation rapture is intended.

First and foremost, we must understand that the primary purpose of the Tribulation Period ("The Day of the Lord") is to chasten and refine the nation of Israelnot the Church of Jesus Christ –which is His beloved and betrothed Bride. Some (if not most) of the confusion surrounding this subject is caused by a misunderstanding of the term "elect" as it refers to God’s children.

The Church is made up exclusively of elect individuals, but there are two distinct groups of the elect outside of the Church: The first is comprised of Old Testament saints and the second is the group those who will be saved during the Tribulation Period. So when we see the term "elect" used in Matthew 24, along with a few references in the Gospels of Mark, and Luke—we must understand that these are not Church Age saints—for reasons we will explain in detail later.

Most of the prophetic utterances concerning the Tribulation Period are found in the Old Testament and therefore clearly meant for Israel. Additionally, it makes no sense whatever for the Lord to subject His betrothed Bride to the unimaginable horrors of the Tribulation Period — even though His Church is totally comprised of rotten, hell-deserving sinners. He has saved us by His grace and through no merit of our own, so what purpose would punishment serve? As long as we are in these mortal bodies, sin will continue to characterize our very existence and no amount of punishment will erase the sin nature. Only after we receive our glorified bodies will we finally be free from sin.

And those who insist that the Tribulation Period will serve to remove the "spots and wrinkles" (Eph.5:27) from the Church before it is presented to Christ, overlook this most basic fact. Human imperfections and every taint of sin must be removed from us as prerequisite to our standing in the presence of God—and this will be accomplished instantaneously at the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:50-58). Such a belief forms the foundation of Purgatory, so a person who believes the Church must go through a "cleansing" period is accepting the lie of Purgatory! The Christians comprising the Church are spotless because Jesus Christ has imputed His spotlessness to us!

Let’s look at what the Old Testament Scriptures have to say about the subject of "The Day of the Lord"—"the time of Jacob’s trouble"—to gain a better understanding of its application to Israel. As we will find, few biblical themes associated with the end times have drawn as much attention or been so emphasized in the Old Testament.

When the prophets mention "The Day of the Lord," they often sound like Amos when he wrote:

"Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light. [19] As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. [20] Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?" (Amos 5:18-20, KJV)

While the "Day of the Lord", as a theological term, includes all that happens in the entire period during which God fulfills His promises and brings history to its conclusion, the emphasis found in most Old Testament passages is on the dark period of tribulation and judgment that will begin that day. It is pictured as a horrible time for humanity; days filled with God’s judgment in which the earth is devastated and emptied, its inhabitants dying by the millions. There is gloom and darkness, trouble and woe, as God’s wrath is fully unleashed against sinful mankind (compare Deut. 4:30-31; Isaiah 2:19; Isaiah 24:1, 3, 6, 19-21; Isaiah 26:20-21; Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:27; Daniel 12:1; Joel 1:15; Joel 2:1-2; Amos 5:18-20; Zeph. 1:14-15, 18). As we find in these Old Testament Scriptures, both pagan nations and God’s elect people are to experience His divine judgment, because the scope of the Tribulation is worldwide.

As Jeremiah said in 25:32-33 (KJV):

"Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. [33] And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground."

And yet, in spite of all the horrors of this terrible time, the intent is clear that it will lead to deliverance.

Here is what some of the prophets have to say:

"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" (Jeremiah 30:7, KJV, emphasis mine) [Note that "he" (Jacob, or Israel) will be saved "out of it"—not "from it."]

"And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: [38] And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the Lord" (Ezekiel 20:37-38, KJV).

"And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. [9] And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God" (Zech. 13:8-9, KJV, emphasis mine). [Note that two thirds of Israel will be killed and only one third will survive the rigors of God’s judgment!]

The Tribulation Period is intended for the cleansing (see also Rev. 7:9; Rev. 14:4) and preparation for national conversion of Israel (compare with Ezekiel 20:37-38; Zech. 13:1, 8-9, quoted above). And from all of this, we should understand that worldwide tribulation does lie ahead. But even this most terrible of times is intended by God for ultimate good, and will move history toward the end that He has planned. Additional texts for study are as follows:.

Day of the Lord: Isaiah 2:12; Isaiah 13:6; Ezekiel 13:5; Ezekiel 30:3; Joel 1:15; Joel 2:1, 11, 31; Amos 5:18-20; Obadiah 1:15; Zeph. 1:7, 14; Zech. 14:1; Malachi 4:5.

Tribulation: Deut. 4:30-31; Isaiah 2:19; Isaiah 24:1, 3, 6, 19-21; Isaiah 26:20-21; Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:27; Daniel 12:1; Joel 1:15; Joel 2:1-2; Amos 5:18-20; Zeph. 1:14-15, 18.

Now that we have established the basis for the Tribulation Period and shown that it pertains to Israel and not the Church, let us turn our attention back to the logical, common sense aspects of a pre-tribulational rapture. We have already stated that it is a totally unrealistic and spiritually unproductive point to think that the Lord would subject His beloved Bride to horrible events. And while we are on the subject of the Bride of Christ, we need to take a brief look at the ancient Jewish betrothal and marriage customs.

Once the parents agreed on their children’s marriage and the formal betrothal made, (the betrothal in that day was as binding as marriage), the groom would then leave to build a house for his bride. And this would often take up to two years to complete. As she waited, the bride would remain in her father’s house, but she lived in an "any moment" expectation of her groom’s return. Her bags remained packed, so to speak, as she eagerly anticipated the day when her intended would come back for her. Then when at last the groom was ready to receive his bride, the joyous wedding party along with "the friend of the bridegroom"—the "paranymph", or "best man" in today’s terminology—would approach the bride’s house at midnight, where the friend of the bridegroom would shout, "Behold the bridegroom cometh!" The bride, of course, was expected to be awake and to open the door to the wedding party. At this point she would accompany the festive group back to his father’s house where the actual marriage ceremony would take place—then afterwards they would move to their new home for a honeymoon that usually lasted seven days.

The parallels between Jewish marriage custom and the rapture of the Church are unmistakable! The bride (The Church) is supposed to wait for the groom (Jesus Christ) in her father’s house (this world as controlled by Satan). And when the groom comes back after up to two years of separation (approximately 2000 years so far), the bride is removed to his father’s house (God the Father’s abode in heaven) where the marriage ceremony takes place. The honeymoon in their new home (the "mansions" of John 14:2) lasts 7 days (corresponds to the 7 year Tribulation Period).

Then we find another strong argument for a pre-tribulation rapture in 1 Thessalonians 5:9 where we read: "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess. 5:9, KJV).

This verse, taken in context, is obviously connected with Paul’s teaching concerning the rapture—because that is the subject from chapter four and verse 13 onward through chapter five and verse 11. And one of the main reasons behind this first letter from Paul was that the Thessalonian Church was upset over the fate of their loved ones. Those people had been believers too and it appeared that they died without being taken into heaven by Christ (as Paul had previously taught them would happen some day). But since he had only been with them for about a month, their knowledge of the subject was incomplete. Therefore, in order to correct this misunderstanding, Paul tells them that their deceased loved ones "in Christ" would actually (if only momentarily) precede those who would be alive at the time of the rapture.

Notice that Paul uses the word "comfort" twice in this discourse in an effort to soothe their fears; then he concludes with the verse quoted above (5:9), telling them that God had not "appointed," or destined, them to incur His wrath—A divine wrath that is reserved for the nation of Israel (in particular and the rest of the world in general) and therefore we should understand that his teaching concerning the rapture is intended to be a source of comfort for all Church Age believers.

Since the devil was not through with tormenting these Thessalonian believers, he circulated a false notion that because of the persecution they were then experiencing, the "Day of the Lord" (the Tribulation Period) was already present and they had missed the rapture! This led to Paul’s second letter (2nd Thessalonians) in which he gave them (and us today) an unmistakable double event "sign-post" without which the Tribulation Period cannot possibly begin! In verse three of chapter two Paul tells us that we must not let any man deceive us because "that day" will not come until there is "a falling away first"—an apostasy or departure, depending on one’s interpretation of the Greek word apostasiaalong with the revealing of the "man of sin," or the antichrist. So we must understand that both of these events have to take place before the Tribulation Period will actually commence.

At this point I want you to ask yourself this question: What other reason could possibly have prompted Paul to give the Thessalonian believers this particular teaching if a pre-tribulation rapture was not in view? Think about it.

Another interesting point concerns the "falling away" of 2 Thessalonians 2:3. The majority view is that this refers to a mass defection from the faith prior to the Tribulation Period and this would certainly appear to be a possibility when the antichrist comes to power and people all over the world begin to worship him. But over the years several prominent Bible teachers have insisted that the Greek word apostasia can also be translated "departure"—as in departure of the Church from this world—and believe that this refers to a pre-tribulation rapture. However, quite a few Greek scholars—many of them holding to the pre-trib position—do not agree with the "departure" interpretation, so this particular point is far from being settled. (CEM)

The Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible by Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D., a Greek scholar (born and raised in Greece), Lexical Aids to the New Testament "falling away" is described as (# 646 Strong's Concordance) 'Apostasia' (Greek); from aphiste'mi (868), which is from apo' (575), from, and histe'mi (2476), to place, stand. Occurs in Acts 21:21 translated forsake and in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 falling away in the majority of occasions the verb is intrans. meaning that person does not depart from where he is to go somewhere else, but stays away, having chosen from the beginning to stay away, not to believe instead of believing, in which case the basic verb histe'mi (2476) is to be interpreted not as departing, but as standing away, placing oneself away, with the prep. apo' (575), to stay away from, in Acts 21:21 the new Christian believers among the Jews decided to stand apart from the Jewish practices of Moses for they were in a new dispensation. They were not Judaizing Christians, but Christians standing apart from Moses. Having departed from Moses and coming to Jesus Christ, they decided that they should stay apart from Moses, that is, this Judaistic practices in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 the word apostasia does not refer to the Christians who would depart from the faith, but those who would reject Christ.

What this brings to mind is a conversation this morning about one of the "Founding Fathers" of America, Franklin, who rejected Jesus Christ, as God, the Son of God, and ".. cut off God's head," stated the author of "Franklin, The Essential Founding Father", James Srodes. According to his book, Franklin drew up a list of 13 virtues to follow which did not relate to the Bible. In Franklin's opinion, God was not reachable by human beings but that one could come close by practicing Buddhism, Allah or Moses and held that other men were virtuous. (CMI)

The Amplified Bible Commentary even uses the words, "departure of the church" in the footnote to this verse – 2 Thessalonians 2:3 – as it gives the full meaning of the word, apostasia.

Another portion of Scripture that applies to our discussion is found in Revelation 3:10, where the exalted Lord is addressing the Church at Philadelphia:

"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth" (KJV, emphasis mine). Think carefully about this word, hour. It is an earth-bound term. Once you get above this earth, and out of our solar system, this word has no relevance!

The seven Churches mentioned in Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, were literal Churches scattered throughout Asia Minor at the time John wrote these words. Many Bible scholars believe that they represent seven distinct periods of Church history, ending with the Laodicean—a time of spiritual "lukewarmness" just prior to the Tribulation Period. Another view is that they are seven types of Churches, containing individual members who are representative of the full range of spirituality and faithfulness to Christ. And it is to the faithful "Philadelphian" character of genuine believers (who will be alive at that time), that the promise is made to "keep them from the hour of temptation, or trial, which shall come upon all the world…." Notice that the promise is to "keep from" and not "keep through" the hour as some post-millennialists insist will be the case.

Noah was saved "from" the wrath of God in the flood, but he went through the hour! Lot was saved from God’s wrath, but he went through the hour. Jesus promises the Church He will keep them from the hour of trial coming on the whole earth.

Another interesting point is that the Church is mentioned often up through Revelation chapter three, but then in verse 1 of chapter four an abrupt "Come up hither" (symbolic of the rapture?) command is made to John and the Church is not mentioned again until much later, where we find her as the "Bride of Christ" in chapter 21.

Then in verse 4 of chapter four we find the 24 elders ( Gk - .presbuteros) seated around the heavenly throne and they are dressed in white and wearing golden crowns. Being dressed in white signifies that one is an "overcomer"(Rev.3:4-5) and crowns are consistently portrayed in the New Testament as being representative of reward. So the fact that they are thus arrayed says the Judgment Seat of Christ has already taken place and the rewards already bestowed! If you doubt this interpretation, just look at verse 3 of chapter five, where we find these words: "And no man in heaven….was able to open the book…." Verse 4 continues with "…no man was found worthy…."And even though the literal rendering of the Greek word oudeis is "no one," (translated "no man" in the King James Version) "man stands for person" according to W. E. Vine in his "Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words." My friend, Jesus Christ is both man and God—the second Person of the Trinity—but these comments are obviously not referring to Him! How then are these men, or "persons" in heaven, if not by the rapture? It is our understanding of Scripture that Jesus Christ Himself was the first man to be resurrected to heaven as "the firstfruits of them that slept."

This being the case, Old Testament or Tribulation Period saints cannot precede the Church into heaven as resurrected men because of what we find in the following verses:

"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. [21] For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. [22] For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. [23] But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming" (1 Cor. 15:20-23, KJV, emphasis mine).

Taken in context, the phrase "They that are Christ’s," is referring to the Church and therefore it is next in line to be resurrected—with no other group(s) preceding it.

Couple these facts with Revelation 7:13-14 and we must draw another conclusion:

"And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? [14] And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (KJV, emphasis mine).

That these are Tribulation Period saints in heaven is beyond dispute! And as we have just seen in 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, Jesus Christ is the "firstfruits of them that slept" and afterward those that belong to Him will be resurrected. So when Rev. 7:13-14 informs us of the Tribulation Period saints in heaven, this necessitates the Church having been raptured at some previous point!

At what point does tribulation begin to fall upon the earth? In Revelation 6:1 we find the Lord Jesus Christ breaking the first seal, that signals the onset, but please note something that happens prior to this in chapter five: Verses 8 and 9 tell us that the "four beasts" and 24 elders (the elders being clearly representative of all Christians) "sung a new song, saying…. thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God…. out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation…." Verse 10 then adds "And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." The phrase "out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" is obviously referring to a much larger group than just the 24 elders.

And then there is the exhortation by the apostle Paul concerning the day of the Lord: "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. [2] For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. [3] For when they shall say, ‘Peace and safety’; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. [4] But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. [5] Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. [6] Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. [7] For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. [8] But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. [9] For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, [10] Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. [11] Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do" (1 Thess. 5:1-11, KJV, emphasis mine).

The word translated "watch" in verse 6 is the Greek gregoreuo meaning "vigilance." Why does Paul teach them (and us) to watch if the event is not imminent—could take place at any time and is next on God’s prophetic "calendar"? Notice the careful distinction Paul makes between the pronouns "ye", "you," "yourselves," and "they," and "them." This contrast is intended to show believers that we, unlike those who are lost, will not be caught off guard when the day of the Lord "cometh."as a thief in the night—Do not miss thisThe day of the Lord will be seven years old by the time of the "Second Coming of Christ," so "cometh" obviously means the beginning of it—just after the "departure" and the revealing of the man of sin. (CEM)

The Restraining Power Is Removed so the Antichrist can be Revealed

Just after the "departure" is the man of sin revealed, as we pointed out earlier. The Day of the Lord has to be consistent with the Bible which states: 2 Peter 3:8 "But, 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 Second Coming of Christ began when Jesus Christ was resurrected from the grave. John 11:25-26 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?"

Acts 2:29-34 [Speaking of Jesus Christ] "Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

"Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,"

It seems to us that here is were the first resurrection began because Jesus came back to prove that He is alive forevermore. Not only were people resurrected when Jesus was resurrected but at the time of the Rapture will Old Testament saints as well as people resting in graves since the New Testament was declared, be resurrected.

That is not all. The two prophets during the first half of the Tribulation will be resurrected after they are murdered. The final time frame presented here causes people to be confused to believe that the Rapture is post tribulation. Logically this is incorrect because Jesus was the first fruit, and of the first resurrection and the only way we can explain the following Scriptures is allowing a time frame beginning with Jesus's Resurrection through the end of the Tribulation indicating that believers will be translated during the Tribulation.

It states in Revelation 20:5-6 "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.time over which the first resurrection takes place. There is no time frame mentioned in relation to the first resurrection and to make it fit this verse has to refer to closure of the first resurrection.

Now to the second part of this statement: "just after the "departure" and the revealing of the man of sin." Some questions have arisen about this statement because verse three of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 where it clearly states: "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;"

As you can see, it clearly states that the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, in other words, the man of sin will have been revealed by the Word and be fully interpreted by the present state of affairs. Today we have a full understanding of who the Antichrist is. This Scripture does not mean the Antichrist is revealed before the Church is raptured because of the Scriptures that follow say:

"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 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, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12)

In verses 2 Thess. 2:3-9: The 'man of sin' is called the Antichrist in other Scripture passages (1 John 2:18; 4:3; 2 John 1:7). The preposition anti (473), 'against,' indicates this man's opposition to, not a replacement of Christ (Dan. 7:7, 8, 21, Matt. 24:15; Rev. 13:1-18). The characteristic of this individual is that he 'opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped" (v.4). He will be a miracle worker and even claim to be God. His coming will be "after the working of Satan' (v. 9), but it will not be Satan. It is clear that Paul thinks that Satan is not concerned with the past, but with the future. Paul does not see the world evolving gradually into a perfected state, but the fact of evil continuing right up until the end. At that time, evil will make its greatest challenge to good, and the forces of evil will be led by a mysterious figure. This person will be empowered by Satan and is the instrument of Satan's climatic challenge to the things of God. Paul predicts that Christ will consume the 'man of sin.. with the spirit of this mouth' (vv. 3,8). At that time, Satan and all of his conspirators will be defeated.

In verses 2 Thess. 2:6,7 the Apostle Paul refers here to the Holy Spirit as the restraining force in this world, restricting the many little "antichrist" existing today (1 John 2:18) as well as the final Antichrist. In verse six, the Holy Spirit is called to katechon (3588, 2722) or 'that (which) withholdeth." This uses the neuter gender and corresponds to the phrase to Pneuma (3588, 4151), "the Spirit," also in the neuter (John 14:26). In verse seven, it is ho' kate'cho'n, "he who letteth," denoting that the Antichrist will never be able to do anything without specific permission of the Holy Spirit. Of course, verse seven does not refer to a departure of the Holy Spirit, but to the removal of His restraining power. This will allow Satan and the Antichrist to have free reign on the earth, but whatever, happens will help to further God's plan according to His own timetable.

2 Thess. 2:8 refers to the word parousia (3852), translated "coming" in this verse, basically means "presence" or "arrival" (1 Cor. 16:17; 2 Cor. 7:7). Thus, the same Jesus who ascended to heaven will again visit the earth in a bodily presence (Acts 1:11) at the end of the age (Matt. 24:3). He will come in power and glory to destroy the Antichrist and evil (2 Thess. 2:8).

The return of Christ will also be a "revelation" or a removing the cover" from something that is hidden, noted by the Greek word apoka'lupsis (602). or disclosure. The power and glory that Christ now possesses will be unveiled and disclosed to the world (1 Pet. 4:13). Christ is now reigning as Lord at God's right hand (Heb. 12:2), sharing God's throne (Rev.3:21). Although His authority is not discernible to the world, it will be made visible by His apoka'lupsis, "revelation."

Another word that is related to the Second Coming of the Lord is epipha'neia (2015) which means "a manifestation." In Ancient Greek, the word was used especially to refer to the appearance of gods and of the manifestations of divine power or providence. However, in the NT, it is used of the appearing of the manifestation of Jesus Christ on earth ( 2 Thess. 2:8; 2 Tim. 1:10; 4:1, 8; Titus 2:13).

The miracle working power is not necessarily evidence of God's power (Acts 19:13, of Ex. 7:22). There are three words in 2 Thess. 2:9 which explain supernatural manifestations or miracles: du'namis (1411), se'meion (4592), and te'ras (5059). Observe how the miracles mentioned in this verse are accomplished by the power of Satan, after all he has to convince everybody of his authenticity as the "I AM."

"I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in Him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. (1 John 2:14-20)

Who was the Apostle John speaking to? The introduction of the Epistle of John states that John was writing to believers, namely those who were members of the churches of Asia Minor. Because the letter addresses such broad moral topics, it is clear that John's goal was to provide direction for those Christians who face new challenges to their faith daily.

Obviously if believers have overcome the wicked one already, why would they have to be tested by Antichrist, whether they would receive the mark or not. (CMI)

The Last Trumpet

Another hang up is the 'Last Trumpet.' How many believers think or have been falsely taught that the last trumpet is the last trumpet just prior to Armageddon. "And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound." (Revelation 8:6) Each trumpet brought catastrophes to prepare for Armageddon which had nothing to do with the "Blessed Hope." So what trumpet is God talking about.

Even though many warn against going into the Old Testament to study the Jewish Festivals we need to understand the Seven Festivals which were precursors of future events. There were seven of which four happened in the spring likened to the former rain and have been fulfilled precisely as prophesied and three festivals in the fall are likened to the latter rain, which are yet to be fulfilled. Proclaiming the coming of Jesus Christ, "Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. (Hosea 6:3). According to the religious calendar, Aviv is April, His first appearance was in the spring and Jesus was crucified on Passover / Nissan which fulfilled the prophecy of the former rain.

Jewish festivals are considered to be 'appointed times', also called Moedim. The civil calendar portrays Tishri as the latter rain period which happens in September / October at which time Roshashanah is celebrated which has other names such as the Feast of Trumpets or the Jewish Wedding. The Jews have a season of 40 days of repentance prior to Roshashanah when the Shofar is blown daily to call Israelis to repentance so they can get their names into the Book of Life for another year. One day before Roshashanah the trumpet does not blow to confuse Satan. During this time judgment takes place by separating them into three groups: righteous, average mainstream people and evil sinners who are not viable for God. The righteous are those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and the wicked are vessels to destruction who will go to perdition.

Roshashanah means that the door is open. A voice like Shofar blows at the coronation of Roshashanah in honor of the King of kings. Where did the term 'last trumpet' come from? We have to go to Genesis 22:13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son."

This Ram represented Jesus Christ who was to be crucified for our sins (Abraham's first born Isaac was to be a sacrifice just as Jesus was later, the only difference was that Isaac was just a man and Jesus was God. Abraham did not have to go through with it because God provided the Ram representing Jesus Christ ). The ram's horns are the first (representing events of temporary cleansings) and the last horn (an event of eternal cleansing).

There are three basic trumpets. The first trumpet goes back to Moses when he came down from the mountain in Exodus 19:13,14 "There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount. And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. Speaking of God's wife / bride: Jeremiah 2:2-3 Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown. Israel was holiness unto the LORD, and the firstfruits of his increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the LORD. 9/11 was some of the evil that came upon them for not recognizing their Messiah. (CMI)

Here is an example of Israelis who are still suffering the consequences of rejecting Christ Jesus. They celebrate Roshashana in the fall here are reflections of a Jewish woman: "DAY EIGHT after 9/11: It's been one week... She writes: "Today is Roshashana, the Jewish New Year. For observant Jews this is a time, as I understand it, to reflect in two directions: Past and Future. The Present is obscured as the spiritual mind reflects and forecasts. I can think of no better description of what Time means in Gotham today. We have reached the one week mark, so we collectively find ourselves looking back upon all that has befallen our beloved city [New York] since Tuesday September 11.

"And we anxiously look ahead, worried that our nation, even the whole world, will now descend into a recession, and cash to rebuild our city will disappear. We still wonder what terrorist shoes have yet to drop. We fret about impending war... Roshashana finds the second and third generation Jews of New York bent on picking up the pieces.." Trying desperately to describe the aftermath of that day, she wrote: "This is totally different from what you see on TV."

I heard a man say over my shoulder, and truer words have not been heard. From photographs and television one gets a picture of something comprehensible, of recognizable rubble that looks like earthquake damage or the wreckage of a mundane building collapse. What is missing -- what the photo image can never capture -- is the sensation. The buildings' cadavers bring to mind Dresden following the U.S. bombing in WWII and Hiroshima after the A-bomb. We are told that the blast at the WTC was equivalent to a one kiloton bomb. When you see it from the ground, you believe. The only frame of reference is war. No natural disaster -- no earthquake or hurricane -- can produce this sort of human-against-human devastation and desecration... Happy Roshashana, Be safe. Be well. Be defiant. (LG)

The last trumpet represents the Resurrection / Rapture: "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 must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.(1 Corinthians 15:52, 53)

The Ram's horns are called horns of power. The Ram's horn will be an awakening blast: a trumpet blast in the first month of the year, the Jewish New Year beginning with Roshashanah. There are between 500 and 1,000 references to Roshashanah in the Bible.

The third trumpet is called the Great Trump which relates to Atonement or 'closing the gate.' (End of the First Resurrection happens at the end of the Tribulation, which is the 'closing of the gate').
Isaiah 27:9-10 By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up. Yet the defenced city shall be desolate, and the habitation forsaken, and left like a wilderness: there shall the calf feed, and there shall he lie down, and consume the branches thereof. Isaiah 27:1 In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea. Isaiah 27:13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem. In other words Jesus will gather them up to Himself.

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.(Rev. 20:4,5) This represents the Feast of Atonement, (Yom Kippur) the closed door.

Yom Kippur occurs on the 10th day of Tishri. These ten days are considered bad, awesome, calamity infested days parallel to the Tribulation. The holiday is instituted int Leviticus 23:26,27 "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD." (CMI)

The name "Yom Kippur" means "Day of Atonement," and that pretty much explains what the holiday is. It is a day set aside to "afflict the soul," to atone for the sins of the past year. On Yom Kippur, the judgment entered in these books is sealed. This day is, essentially, your last appeal, your last chance to change the judgment, to demonstrate your repentance and make amends.

Yom Kippur atones only for sins between man and G-d, not for sins against another person. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible. That must all be done before Yom Kippur.

Yom Kippur will occur on the following days of the Gregorian calendar. Remember that all holidays begin at sundown on the date before the date specified here.

September 25, 2004 (Jewish Year 5765)
October 13, 2005 (Jewish Year 5766)
October 2, 2006 (Jewish Year 5767)
Not Knowing the Day or the Hour
Here is why the Bible is consistent when it states that believers will know when the events occur. Notice that Jesus omitted the year altogether but gave them a clue as how to apply 'not knowing the day or the hour' which relates to both the Rapture and the actual Second Coming, when Jesus sets foot on the Mount of Olives on Israeli soil once again. Both events will be on Roshashanah.
Here is why we would not have known the day or the hour: The Jewish month begins with one person witnessing the first sliver of the Moon which sets the time of the Festivals. When two witnesses spot this sliver, a court has to confirm that the month has begun. Nobody knew when this would occur in those days. They had no way of calculating movement of planets. Today they do and God knew it.
"But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they [here Paul draws a line between himself and the Church and them by calling them 'they'] shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober." (1 Thessalonians 5:1-6) In other words believers can know this event and Scriptures hold the clues that we must understand when the day comes.

The reason we know today when Roshashanah occurs ahead of time is our capability of calculating the moon's position in relation to earth or looking it up in an Ephemeris. (CMI)

In example: To compute the orbital elements of the Moon. If you want the position of the Moon, you only need to compute the orbital elements for the Moon.
Orbital elements of the Moon:

N = 125.1228 - 0.0529538083 * d
i = 5.1454
w = 318.0634 + 0.1643573223 * d
a = 60.2666 (Earth radii)
e = 0.054900
M = 115.3654 + 13.0649929509 * d

The position of the Moon:
First, compute the eccentric anomaly, E, from M, the mean anomaly, and e, the eccentricity. As a first approximation, do (E and M in degrees):
E = M + e*(180/pi) * sin(M) * ( 1.0 + e * cos(M) )
If e, the eccentricity, is less than about 0.05-0.06, this approximation is sufficiently accurate. If the eccentricity is larger, set E0=E and then use this iteration formula (E and M in degrees):
E1 = E0 - ( E0 - e*(180/pi) * sin(E0) - M ) / ( 1 - e * cos(E0) )
For each new iteration, replace E0 with E1. Iterate until E0 and E1 are sufficiently close together (about 0.001 degrees). For comet orbits with eccentricities close to one, a difference of less than 1E-4 or 1E-5 degrees should be required. (PS)

Here again we have the pattern of the Tribulation because the Atonement occurs 10 days after Roshashanah. What's interesting is that Roshanah's first day is what they call a 'long' day which lasts 48 hours plus. In the Jewish tradition this only happens once at Roshashanah. The Atonement correlates to the physical Second Coming of the Messiah at the end of the Tribulation when Jesus literally comes back and reveals Himself to Israel. (CMI)

The Cutting Edge Ministry director goes on to explain: And this brings us to the subject of Matthew chapter 24— in my humble opinion the most misunderstood and misapplied chapter in the Bible, as far as prophecy is concerned! Even doctors of theology who ought to know better stumble all over this portion of Scripture and take it completely out of context when they try to apply some of it to the rapture. Common sense dictates that Paul knew what he was talking about in 1 Corinthians 15:51, when he said:

"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] 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." (KJV)

What does the word "mystery" (Gk.musterion) mean as it is used in the New Testament? It refers to previously unrevealed Scripture! In other words Paul is telling us something here in approximately 59-60 A.D. that had never before been revealed by God: the subject of the rapture. This fact alone demands that none of the Words of Christ in Matthew 24 can refer to the rapture! Why is this point such a big deal, you ask? Well, let’s just look at the chapter and point out a few details.

Matthew 24 Refers Only to Israel

The scene we have before us is one in which the Lord is answering questions posed to Him by His disciples. And more than likely at this particular point the group was comprised completely of Jews. Jesus Christ has not yet died and the age of grace has not yet arrived, so 100% of what we find in the Gospel accounts is under law and not grace! None of the Old Testament prophets "saw" the Church Age because God did not reveal it to them — it was a divine "mystery"! And the Lord’s teaching here is perfectly consistent with that principle. He is instructing Jews as to what their "generation" (vs.34) will experience during the Tribulation Period, because the Church is nowhere in sight and yet to be revealed! With this thought in mind, notice that verses 4 through 13 describe conditions as the elect Jewish remnant will experience them during the dark days of the Tribulation Period—the "time of Jacob’s trouble."

Matthew 24, Verse 9, very clearly states that "….they will deliver you up to be afflicted and shall kill you and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake." God is going to seal 144,000 Jews at the beginning of this awful time and it is to them this discourse is directed. Verse 13 has been misunderstood and misapplied by many Christians in thinking that it we must "hold out to the end" in order to be saved, when in actual point of fact this is referring to the physical deliverance of the Jews who will still be alive at the Second Coming of Christ—at the end of the Tribulation Period!

(Remember that this cannot possibly apply to Christians in any way shape or form, because at that particular point in time – when Jesus spoke Matthew 24 -- the Church itself was still a mystery (Eph.3:1-6). Notice what verse 14 says: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then the end shall come." My friends, the Gospel of grace was still unknown at that time! This "Gospel of the kingdom"—the message that both John the Baptist and Jesus Christ preached and the one to whom the Lord is referring—was "repent ye for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

And it will be preached again during the Tribulation Period by the 144,000 of Revelation 7 and the "two witnesses" of Revelation 11:3. The end of the Tribulation Period—which will usher in the Second Coming of Christ—will not come until that specific gospel message has been heard by all the nations and through which they are told that the literal reign of Jesus Christ on earth is about to take place. At the time the Lord was telling His disciples this, He had just been rejected as King by the nation of Israel and knew that His words were for a future generation of their descendants. The Church is nowhere in view.

Beginning with verse 15 we have the start of the "great tribulation"—the last half (3 ½ years), which will be so terrible that the Lord made the following comment in verse 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" (Matthew 24:21, KJV).

That the Jews are the primary focus of this discourse is made clear in the parallel account found in Mark 13. Notice the wording of verse 9:

"But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them" (Mark 13:9, KJV, emphasis mine).

To the best of my knowledge, Jews have not made it a practice to bring Christians into their synagogues for any reason, much less to beat them! But during the Tribulation Period the 144,000 elect Jews will be persecuted by their own people as well as by the Gentiles.

Then in verse 22 we have a very interesting statement about "those days" being shortened by God, because if He did not do so, everyone would die! And this has a direct bearing on verse 36—another comment made by the Lord that has been misapplied for many years. Preachers have been telling their flocks, based upon verse 36, that no one can know the "day and hour" of the rapture—when this verse has absolutely nothing to do with the rapture, because taken in proper context it is clearly referring to the Second Coming. The persecution and killing is going to be so great that God will shorten those days in order that some will remain alive to populate the Millennial Kingdom. And because the period will be cut short (something short of the total number of days prophesied by Daniel), no one knows the exact day and hour!! Remember that Matthew 24 in its entirety is dealing with the Jews under law and not the Church under grace—both the Church and the rapture are, at that particular time, still mysteries hidden in the counsels of God.

Verse 44 has been used to strengthen the argument that no one can know the time of the rapture, when in fact it is speaking of terrified Jews who will be in hiding and their minds occupied by their very survival—not in counting the number of days left in the "Great Tribulation" as given by the prophet Daniel (one of the arguments used against "knowing the day and hour"):

"Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 24:44, KJV).

Think about it—Christians are exhorted throughout the New Testament to watch for the Lord’s return to take us unto Himself and we are taught that it will not come as a surprise, according to the following:

"But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. [5] Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. [6] Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober" (1 Thess. 5:4-6, KJV, emphasis mine).

So once again, we see that the statements in Matthew 24 cannot possibly be referring to the rapture.

The gathering together of God’s elect from "one end of heaven to the other" (vs.31) is "Immediately after the tribulation of those days…." (vs.29)—Again, this is Second Coming and not rapture. The "one taken and one left" illustrations of verses 40 and 41—so often used to depict the rapture—actually refer to the separation of the sheep and goats pictured in Matthew 25:33, with those left being the ones to enter the millennial Kingdom. And that passage is, of course, in unbroken context and part of the Lord’s extended remarks regarding His Second Coming.

It is understandable why so many try to use Matthew 24 as a proof text for the rapture because much of it seems to "fit," but as we have seen—a careful look reveals this is just cannot be so.

Though many good men have wound up with "egg on their face" trying to predict the date of the rapture, Matthew 24:36 is not a legitimate barrier!

World events/national attitudes are seemingly at present coming into perfect alignment with what the Scriptures say will be the conditions surrounding the rise of antichrist. This being the case, and for the reasons detailed above, we believe that the rapture is truly and finally imminent. Are you ready to meet the Lord in the air?

Let it be fully known that we do not take the Pre-Tribulation Rapture position because we are not "courageous" enough to go through the persecutions of Antichrist. Many people have emailed us over the years with just this accusation. This notion is nonsense, for one very simple fact: while the Church will be spared the persecutions of Antichrist, we will go through the final birth pangs which will produce Antichrist [Matthew 24:8].

The very idea we teach the Pre-Tribulation Rapture because we wish to "escape" persecution is ludicrous and false in the extreme.

Truly, the End of the Age is Upon us

Truly, the End of the Age is upon us. The world stands at the precipice of the appearance of the Wicked One. Are you spiritually ready? Is your family? Are you adequately protecting your loved ones? This is the reason for this ministry, to enable you to first understand the peril facing you, and then help you develop strategies to warn and protect your loved ones. Once you have been thoroughly trained, you can also use your knowledge as a means to open the door of discussion with an unsaved person. I have been able to use it many times, and have seen people come to Jesus Christ as a result. These perilous times are also a time when we can reach many souls for Jesus Christ, making an eternal difference.

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.

If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, but have come to realize His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to accept His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can also do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you accept Him as Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. (CEM)
(Bold emphasis added by editors)
(CEM) Cutting Edge Ministry, David Bay, http://www.cuttingedge.org
(CMI) Cephas Ministry, Rita Williams, http://www.cephasministry.com
(LG) Laurie Garrett
(TRR) Judaism 101, Tracy R Rich, http://www.jewfaq.org/calendar.htm#Links
(PS) Paul Schlyter, Stockholm, Sweden