What the Bible says about light and seed

The True Light "In him, (the Lord Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world,…the world didn’t recognize him." John 1:4,9.

The Good Seed and the Weeds “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seeds in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. Matthew 13:24,25.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

So you say you want a revolution?

So you say you want a revolution?
Exclusive: Patrice Lewis offers solution to U.S. spending addiction, citizen freeloaders
Posted: July 29, 2011
By Patrice Lewis
Consider these recent news headlines:
Republican and Democratic leaders are floating the idea of a new "Super Congress" not authorized in the Constitution
A legislative proposal in San Francisco seeks to make ex-cons and felons a protected class, along with existing categories of residents like African-Americans, people with disabilities and pregnant women.
The Ohio appellate court handed down a critical Second Amendment-bending decision over the weekend in which a minor offense can eliminate one's right to bear arms.
In the latest chapter of the gunrunning scandal known as Operation Fast and Furious, federal officials won't say how two suspects obtained more than 360 weapons despite criminal records that should have prevented them from buying even one gun.
Shall I go on? I located these headlines in about 30 seconds. I can list more if you like.

As these articles abundantly illustrate, our elected officials have abandoned all pretence of adhering to the Constitution and Bill of Rights. They don't even bother pretending anymore. In fact, their attitude is mockery and downright hostility whenever it is suggested that the government should limit itself to the small, streamlined entity it was meant to be.

Today, anyone who suggests our government is out of control is labeled a right-wing extremist or even a domestic terrorist. Yet all the constitutionalists and tea partiers want to do is return our nation to the governmental restraints outlined in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. We do not want a theocracy. We do not want an oligarchy. Is this too much to ask?

Sadly, yes. The progressives and the constitutionalists have no middle ground anymore. Listening to the arguments on both the left and the right provides abundant evidence that our nation as it currently exists is not salvageable. Freedom and slavery can never reach an accord.

I mean that in all seriousness. America as it was meant to be cannot be brought back on track. There are too many powerful people – virtually the entire government, mainstream media and populations of large urban areas – who are too addicted to spending, to entitlements, to control and to manufactured "rights." It's too late.

In an earlier column, I wrote that We the People are actually living in an occupied nation; the occupier – the enemy – is our own government. But progressives don't see the problem. That is, they don't see that an ever-growing governmental body is a bad thing – and they'd like to see more of it. They want our wealth redistributed. They want unconstitutional entitlements such as health care. They want the debt ceiling raised. They want everything they can lay their hands on when it comes to their agenda, and the Constitution be damned.

"The federal government is an out-of-control beast, no longer a body of representatives of the people but rather a house of aristocracy whose members do nothing unless it's for the good of their house," wrote a reader. "We the People have become nothing more than wage slaves to the gluttonous bloated entity our government has become. Nothing short of a military coup d'etat is capable of restoring our country back to the people, back to what was intended by the Founders."

But I'm not so sure a coup d'etat would work. Oh sure, the tea party could take over Washington and begin to run the government within the original constraints intended by the Founding Fathers, but what then? The progressives would hate it. They would launch a counter-revolution. Civil war would ensue, and no matter who "won," the problems would remain.

And what are the irreconcilable problems on which the left and the right cannot agree? Simple: It's the vision of government. It's the degree to which government should be involved in the lives of individuals.

That's why I'm still of the mind that the only solution is division. We need a Progressive States of America, or PSA, and a Constitutional States of America, or CSA. As cruel and unfair as the mechanics of separating our nation would be, what other answer is there?

So which form of government is likely to work out? Interestingly, the study of history provides abundant examples of both types of government and what the likely outcomes may be.

Examples of progressive governments include Germany, Russia, Italy, North Korea, Cuba, China and endless numbers of other countries in which people have lost their freedoms.

We need look no further than our own history to find an example of constitutional government. Riddled with mistakes as it was, our nation leaped ahead 5,000 years in terms of technology, medicine, manufacturing, standard of living and other benefits – all due to the unique freedom from governmental interference our founders laid out. "By 1976," notes author W. Cleon Skousen, "the 'noble experiment' of American independence and free-enterprise economics had produced some phenomenal results … [it] allowed science to thrive in an explosion of inventions and technical discoveries …" Communication was revolutionized, the average life span was doubled and our standard of living was exponentially enhanced.

But this isn't good enough for the progressives. They want to make over our nation in their own image. They desire power instead of freedom. They prefer to be slave masters of a bankrupt state over being part of a free society.

So let's give them what they want.
Let's leap ahead and pretend that our nation has already divided. Most of the people reading this column will chose to live in the CSA. But what about those who chose to live in the PSA?
When the dust of producing a new country has settled and the hoopla has died down, the citizens of the PSA may eventually recognize what we've been trying to tell them all along: They've been able to get away with all their whining about entitlements and fake "rights" for as long as they have because they've been riding on the backs of those who supported our original Constitution. When that document is thrown out, everyone will want to get on the government dole. To paraphrase Margaret Thatcher, their socialism will work just fine until they run out of other peoples' money.

Then, and only then, might they realize how good they had it before screwing it up. And then we'll get to say, "I told you so."

Liberal fascism through the ages

Liberal fascism through the ages
Exclusive: Ellis Washington warns, 'Obama is using pernicious ideas to destroy America'
Posted: July 29, 2011
By Ellis Washington
No matter how mad the plan is – Fraternité, the "New Soviet Man," the Master Race, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, Building a New Society, ObamaCare – a [liberal] mob will believe it.
In the world of the liberal, as in the world of Robespierre, there are no crimes, only criminals. Ann Coulter

Saul Alinsky & Lucifer
Saul Alinsky is the father of community organizing, the Marxist-anarchist who so profoundly inspired generations of Democrat insurrectionists, including a young Barack Obama who in 1985 become a community organizer in Chicagoland and in the 1990s did legal work for ACORN, one of the most reactionary and fraudulent community organizations in America.

Alinsky also inspired a former first lady and would-be president, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who in 1969 wrote her senior thesis at Wellesley extolling this villain who influenced generations of community organizations like – ACLU, La Raza, NOW, NAMBLA, PETA, AFL-CIO, NAACP, ACORN, Congressional Black Caucus, Human Rights Campaign, George Soros-funded socialist groups, LGBT agenda (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) and many other liberal mafia pressure groups.

To whom did Saul Alinsky dedicate his manifesto "Rules for Radicals"? — a book whose purpose was to deconstruct Christian nations and Western free-market republics. Let us read the dedication in the author's own words:

"Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins – or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom – Lucifer".

In my Sunday school class last week, we studied the story of Gideon found in Judges chapters 7 and 8. Before he became a great judge of Israel, Gideon was a cowardly farmer who in fear threshed wheat in a winepress pit to prevent the pagans from stealing it. However, he had an epiphany, embraced God's calling on his life, repented, destroyed his father pagan idols and, with an army of only 300 men, totally routed the Amalekite-Midianite legions of which the Bible said numbered so many soldiers and camels that it was "a host without number."

After this stupendous victory, Gideon had the unwise idea to collect a portion of gold from all his soldiers whereby he fashioned an ephod to commemorate the battle victory God gave Israel. After Gideon's death, the Jews turned that ephod into an idol of pagan worship, causing the judgment of God to fall on Israel yet again.

Gideon teaches us that good intentions often lead to tragic consequences. So it is with America's greatest liberal progressive presidents: Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, LBJ, Nixon, Clinton and Obama. All of these men had "good" intentions by stealing money from the rich and redistributing it to the poor who didn't earn it. In the end, all that their Marxist, socialist, Keynesian schemes achieved was endemic laziness, societal ignorance, pathology and making Americans voluntary slaves to an ever-expanding government which grows at about $4 billion per day to our present $14.5 trillion debt.

American Loyalists
Mr. Milt Harris, one of my radio colleagues on Joshua's Trail, had these profound words regarding the history of liberal Democrats, which from its beginnings was confederate with treason. In his monologue Milt said:

On the political front ever since George Washington defeated the British in 1781 at the Battle of Yorktown, Americans loyal to Britain, known as Loyalists, rather than accept defeat, began a siege to undermine the new nation. Later, in order to clandestinely expand their siege, they founded the Democrat Party so they could enact politically damaging anti-Constitution legislation.
Now, 230 years later, the political descendants of the Loyalists (the Democratic Party) still dominate politics in all of the New England States including from Maine to as far south as Virginia.

Obama as FDR II
One will never understand who President Obama is, the man, unless you have a rudimentary understanding of history, politics, philosophy and economics. Obama is the liberal establishment's dream: the apotheosis and embodiment of all the fascist, atheist, anti-intellectual, nitwit liberal ideas pontificated in college lecture halls, spoken in university faculty lounges and written in books and academic journals few people have ever read.

Socialists like Barack and Michelle Obama, Rahm Emmanuel, David Axelrod, Hillary Clinton, Tim Geithner, Lawrence Summers, Wasserman-Schultz, Cornel West, Melissa Harris-Perry, and Obama's Supreme Court nominees, Sonya Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, despite their Ivy League pedigree, show virtually no moral understanding of law, history, politics, economics or philosophy, no critical thinking or logic skills and appear to have accepted utterly the vile, myopic propaganda of their Marxist professors without question.

This groupthink mentality reminds me of FDR's adoption of Mussolini's aphorism: "Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State."

The French Revolution (1789-99) was an overt war by liberal intellectuals in France against Christianity, the church, the clergy, and came at the end of the Age Enlightenment (1650-1800) and before the later romantic movements of Darwinian evolution, Marxist socialism and Nietzsche's relativism and atheism which all led directly to the decline of Western civilization. The previous intellectual trinity of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, was replaced with the imposter trinity: Marx, Darwin and Nietzsche (with Sigmund Freud thrown in for good measure).

Long before the Pilgrims, the Puritans and the founding of America in 1607, liberalism in all of its myriad of permutations, shadows and disguises infected the history of humanity – from Nimrod's Tower of Babel (precursor to the United Nations), Baal worship, idolatry, materialism, paganism, witchcraft, doctrine of Jezebel (pagan worship of god through sex), doctrine of Molech (child sacrifice [i.e., abortion]), to slavery, secular humanism, democracy, Darwinism, communism, socialism, unionism, progressivism and living constitutionalism – it's all liberal fascism, it's all anti-God, anti-intellectual and Obama is using these pernicious ideas to purposely destroy America and deconstruct the U.S. Constitution so that he, the Democratic Party and its globalist allies can rule into perpetuity.

America at the abyss

America at the abyss

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

BUSCANDO REFUGIO Jesus Adrian Romero


Buscando salida de la tempestad 
Buscando refugio me vine a encontrar
Con un paraíso con una ciudad
Inimaginable te voy a contar

Llegué muy cansado y sin fuerzas en mí
Pensaba que ya no podía resistir
Quería tan solo una tregua tomar
Por sólo un momento quería descansar

Y me recibió un hombre incomparable
Te he estado esperando
Me dijo y me sonrió

Y me llevó a un río cristalino
Y en el lavó las heridas
Que el pecado me causó

Y me alimentó del árbol de la vida
Y puso en mis espaldas
Un manto de perdón

Te puedes quedar me dijo si deseas
Es para ti, lo que miras
con mi sangre lo compré

Entoncés pude ver
Las heridas de sus manos y sus pies
Que por mí sufrió

A la Recherche d'un Refuge

Alors que je fuyais de la tempête
Cherchant  un refuge, je me suis trouvé
Près d'un paradis et d'une ville, 
Inimaginable, je vais t'raconter

Exténué, à bout de mes forces
Je ne pensais plus pouvoir résister
je souhaitais tant faire une pause
Juste pour un moment, pouvoir me reposer.

Voilà que m'invitait un homme incomparable
"J'étais en train de t'attendre"
Me dit-il, puis il sourit.

Puis il m'emmena
à une rivière d'eau crystaline
et là il lava les blessures 
que le péché avait causées

Et alors, il m'offrit de l'arbre de la vie
Et mit sur mes épaules
Le manteau du pardon

'Tu peux bien rester, me dit-il, si tu désires
car c'est pour toi, ce que tu vois,
De mon sang, je l'ai payé"

Ensuite je pus voir
Les blessures de ses mains et de ses pieds
Qu'il reçut pour moi.

Buscando Refúgio

Buscando saida da tempestade
Buscando refúgio, me vi encontrar:
Como um paraíso, como uma cidade
O inimaginável vou te contar

Cheguei muito cansado e sem forças em mim
Pensava que já não poderia resistir
Queria tão-somente uma trégua tomar
Por somente um momento queira descansar

E me recebeu um homem incomparável
"Estava te esperando"
Me disse e sorrio.

E me levou a um rio cristalino
E nele lavou as feridas
Que o pecado me causou

E me alimentou da árvore da vida
E pôs em minhas costas
Um manto de perdão

"Podes ficar", me disse:" se dejesas"
"É para ti, o que olhas"
"Com meu sangue o comprei"

Então, pude ver
As feridas de suas mãos e seu pés
Que por mim sofreu.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Seven Things You Have To Know To Understand End Times Prophecy … Part 3

By Jack Kelley

 Table of contents for Seven Things

  1. Seven Things You Have To Know To Understand End Times Prophecy … Part 1
  2. Seven Things You Have To Know To Understand End Times Prophecy … Part 2
  3. Seven Things You Have To Know To Understand End Times Prophecy … Part 3
This is the final installment of our series entitled Seven Things You Have To Know To Understand End Times Prophecy. It begins with item five on our list of seven.

5) Conditions Surrounding The 2nd Coming

A couple of days before He was arrested, Jesus had a private conversation with four of His disciples, His inner circle. They were Peter and Andrew, and James and John, two pair of brothers. The purpose of the conversation was to answer questions they had asked Him about the 2nd Coming and the End of the Age. They were confused because according to the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 these events were only seven years away, and yet Jesus had just told them the Temple and all the surrounding buildings would be torn down so completely that not one stone would be left standing on another.  He had told the crowds the same thing on Palm Sunday and said it was going to happen because the nation hadn’t recognized the time of His coming to them (Luke 19:44).
His response to the disciples’ questions is contained in Matt. 24-25, Mark 13, and Luke 21.  Theologians call it the Olivet Discourse because the conversation took place on the Mt. of Olives.  For this study, we’ll only summarize it, focusing on the parts that help us identify what the Lord had to say about the conditions surrounding the 2nd Coming.
In Matthew’s account, the most detailed, Jesus included several specific geographic and time references in His answer.  He did this so His readers wouldn’t get confused as to who and when He was talking about.  Having commanded us to understand this passage in Matt. 24:15, He wanted to make sure we got it right.  We’ll use these references to get a clear understanding of His target audience and the timing of events.
His answer to their questions begins in Matt. 24:4 with a general overview.  He said false Messiahs would deceive many and that there would be wars and rumors of war, but they wouldn’t be signaling the end.  He characterized them, along with famines and earthquakes in various places, as the beginning of birth pangs.  Birth pangs tell an expectant mother the labor and delivery are coming, but don’t say exactly when they’ll take place.  It’s the same with these signs.
He said they (the Jews) would be persecuted and put to death and hated by all nations, causing many to turn away from the faith and even betray each other, but those who stand firm to the end would be saved. Then He finished His summary in Matt. 24:14, saying the gospel would be preached in all nations and then the end would come.  (According to Rev. 14:6-7, this prophecy will be fulfilled by an angel shortly after the Great Tribulation begins.)
“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. (Matt. 24:15-16)
These two verses give us the first specific clues as to both the intended audience and the timing of His answer.  The Holy Place is the Jewish Temple and as we learned in Part 2, the abomination that causes desolation is a specific defilement that makes it unfit for further use.  The last Temple to stand in Israel was destroyed in 70 AD before this prophecy could be fulfilled.  The nation itself ceased to exist about 135 AD and didn’t reappear until 1948. But because there’s still no Temple there, the prophecy remains unfulfilled.  Also it’s directed to those who are in Judea, the Biblical name for Israel. The Lord was warning people in Israel who will be alive when a Temple is being built there to watch for this, and when they see it to flee immediately.

Pray that your flight will not take place in Winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. (Matt. 24:20-21)
The mountains of Judea are treacherous in the winter, and  Jews are forbidden under the Law to travel more than 1000 paces on the Sabbath for any reason. This confirms that the warning is intended for latter-day Israel, back in its Old Covenant relationship at the beginning of the Great Tribulation, 3½ years from the Second Coming. The Church will already be gone.
Then in Matt 24:29 He said that immediately after the tribulation ends, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. When they see these signs they’ll know that The Great Tribulation has ended.
Matt 24:30 has people on Earth seeing the Sign of the Son of Man in the sky, and then His visible return to Earth with power and great glory. This will cause all the peoples of the Earth to mourn.  It’s now too late for them to be saved and they intuitively realize it. This is the Lord’s Second Coming.
Matt 24:36 begins with “No one knows about that day or hour …” What day? What hour? According to Matt. 24:37 and 39 it’s the day and hour of the Second Coming. Remember to stay in context. That’s been His subject since verse 30. I believe the reason He said “day or hour” is so we would know for sure that He was talking about the actual day and hour of His Coming, not the general time.  The specific timing of the 2nd coming is shrouded in mystery.  No less than 4 times within a span of 27 verses Jesus said the people alive on Earth at the time will not know the day or hour of His coming in advance (Matt. 24:36, 42-44, 50, Matt. 25:13).  In fact the only time He used the day and hour phrase was in conjunction with His 2nd Coming.
This lends support to the idea that the 2nd Coming will likely take place on the Feast of Trumpets.  It was called the feast where no one knows the day or hour because it came on a new moon, which was very difficult to see in the night skies.  Add to that the fact that immediately after the Great Tribulation the Moon will go dark entirely (Matt. 24:29) and it makes a difficult  task all but impossible.
Matt 25 begins with the phrase “At that time, …” which is the time immediately following the 2nd Coming, and contains three illustrations the Lord used to describe judgments He’ll conduct after He returns.  I’ll just high light what they reveal about the identity of their intended recipients.

The Parable of 10 Virgins

The first one is the Parable of 10 Virgins (Matt. 25:1-13). It’s a story about 10 young women waiting for a bridegroom to come.  All have oil lamps but because they’ve been waiting a long time, five have run out of oil and are trying to buy more when he arrives. Lacking oil they’re denied entry into the Wedding Banquet.  This parable is sometimes used to illustrate the precarious position of “backsliders” in the Church, but even if you disregard the problem with timing almost everything about that interpretation is wrong.
First, if oil is being used symbolically here, as I believe it is, then the principle of Expositional Constancy demands that it represent the Holy Spirit. This principle says that when things are used symbolically in Scripture, the symbolic use is consistent.   For example yeast (leaven) always symbolizes sin, and oil always symbolizes the Holy Spirit.  Can the Church lose the Holy Spirit, or exhaust our supply of Him? Ephesians 1:13 and 2 Cor. 1:21-22 both say that the Holy Spirit has been sealed within us as a guarantee of our inheritance, and that it happened solely because we believed the Gospel message. There’s nothing anyone anywhere can do to change that.
But no such guarantee is indicated for Tribulation believers. In fact Rev. 16:15 specifically warns them to stay awake and maintain their righteousness, symbolized by keeping their clothes with them. (Clothing is often used to represent righteousness, as in Isaiah 61:10). Rev. 16:15 implies that Tribulation believers are responsible for remaining steadfast in their faith to avoid losing their salvation. Matt. 25:8 agrees, telling us that all 10 virgins had oil in their lamps at the beginning, but the five foolish ones didn’t have enough to carry them through. Remember, all 10 virgins are caught sleeping when He returns.  It’s the oil that distinguishes one group from the other, not their behavior.
Second,  these 10 women are called virgins or  bridesmaids, but never the Bride. Conversely, the Church is the Bride, and is never called a bridesmaid! And when did you ever hear of a bride having to plead with the groom for admission to her own wedding banquet?
Third, it looks like these young women are trying to get into the Seudas Mitzvah (wedding feast) a banquet that follows the wedding ceremony.  If so, none of them made it to the actual marriage ceremony, oil or not, so none of them can be the bride. In fact there’s no bride mentioned anywhere in this parable.
These virgins aren’t the Church. They represent Tribulation survivors trying to get into the Millennial Kingdom. Five were saved in the time between the Rapture and the end of the Great Tribulation (signified by the oil), remained steadfast, and are welcomed in. The five without oil when He arrived did not remain steadfast and lost their place.
This parable teaches that the Lord’s return signals the deadline after which even the request to be saved and receive the Holy Spirit will be denied. The door to the Kingdom will be closed, and the Lord will deny knowing those who’ve come too late.

The Parable Of The Talents

In Matt 25:14, at the beginning of the Parable of the Talents, the word “again” means he’s giving another illustration from the same time period as the parable of the 10 Virgins, the Day of His Coming.
Though our use of talent as being a gift or ability derives from this parable, a talent was a Greek unit of measure, usually monetary.  The key to interpreting a parable is knowing that everything is symbolic of something else, so in this parable a talent represents something valuable to the Lord that he wished to have invested on His behalf.  Upon his return, He asks those to whom he had entrusted it what they’ve accomplished.
Those who teach that the talents are gifts given to the Church to be used wisely, producing a measurable return, haven’t read the last verse of the parable. The servant who buried his talent in the ground and produced nothing with it was thrown into the outer darkness, the destiny of unbelievers.  Is the Lord teaching a works based salvation here? Threatening us with the loss of our salvation if we don’t produce enough with the gifts He gave us?  Of course not.
Reading the Bible, it’s clear that money isn’t important to the Lord. But Psalm 138:2 says that He values His Word above all else. I believe the talents represent His Word. Those who sow it into the hearts of others find that it multiplies in new believers. Those who study it find that their own understanding grows, multiplying their faith.
But those who ignore His word find that it’s like burying it in the ground. Out of sight, out of mind, until what little they began with is lost to them. This proves it never held any value for them, and condemns them as unbelievers, to be cast into the outer darkness. They had heard the truth and ignored it. Now it’s too late. In 2 Thes. 2:10 Paul describes them as those who perish because they refused to love the Truth and so be saved. Some will bear the further responsibility of having led their followers astray by their refusal to teach the truth.
In His Word, the Lord laid out every action He would take regarding His plan for Planet Earth. “Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets,” He said (Amos 3:7).  He did this so man would never have to wonder what He was up to. And where the End of the Age is concerned He had more to say than about any other subject. No one can plead ignorance. Again the point is that some who survive the Great Tribulation will be welcomed in to the Kingdom and some won’t, and faith is the determining factor.

The Sheep And Goat Judgment

Matt. 25:31 leaves no doubt as to its timing.  It begins “When the Son of Man comes … ” and goes on to talk about the Lord setting up His throne on Earth after His return for the judgment of the nations, actually a judgment of Gentile tribulation survivors. The Lord doesn’t judge nations in the eternal sense, only individuals. The Greek word here is ethnos, and means “people of every kind.” They’ll be judged by how they treated “His brothers” during the Great Tribulation. It’s called the Sheep and Goat judgment, with the sheep being those who helped His brothers through the horrific times just past and goats being those who didn’t.
Some say His brothers are believers, whether Jew or Gentile, and others say they’re specifically Jews, but the most important point is that these tribulation survivors aren’t being judged by their works. Their works are being cited as evidence of their faith, as in James 2:18. To give aid to a believer, especially a Jew, during the Great Tribulation will take even more courage than it did in Hitler’s Germany, and according to some will be an offense punishable by death. Only a follower of Jesus, certain of His eternal destiny, would dare do it or even want to. Those who helped “His brothers” will have demonstrated their faith by their works and will be ushered live into the Kingdom. Those who refused to help will have condemned themselves to the outer darkness by this evidence of their lack of faith.
All three illustrations teach the same lesson. Surviving believers go live into the Kingdom. Some will have relied exclusively on the Holy Spirit’s gift of faith, as in the Parable of the 10 Virgins. Others will have multiplied their faith by studying and sharing His word, as in the Parable of the Talents. Still others have put their faith into action, risking their lives in the bargain. They’re the Sheep of the Sheep and Goat Judgment. But just like it’s been throughout history, all are saved by faith.

Where’s The Rapture?

The Sheep and Goat judgment is actually an expansion of Matt. 24: 40-41 “One taken and the other left … ” Because of the timing problem, these verses can’t be describing the Rapture. But there’s more.  The Greek word translated taken in verses 40 and 41 means “received.” Captains choosing up sides in a sandlot baseball game point to someone and say, “I’ll take you.” It means, “Come over here. You’re on my team.” No problem so far, the Lord is taking some but not others.
But the primary meaning of the word translated left is “to send away” as a divorcing husband would “send away” his wife. In those days wives had no rights and except in very unusual circumstances didn’t own property. The marriage home was the husband’s property, usually built on his family’s land. If he divorced his wife, he sent her away to live somewhere else, excluding her from his presence. Unbelievers won’t be sent away in this manner at the Rapture. They’ll be left in place to endure the judgments.
This passage isn’t describing the Rapture. The timing, the context, and the disposition of the parties are all wrong. It’s a summary of the Sheep and Goat judgment. Those taken (received) go live into the Kingdom in their natural bodies and help to re-populate the Earth, while those left (sent away) are put into the Outer Darkness, forever banned from the presence of God.
As it was in the days of Noah so shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man (Matt. 24:37) Let’s back up now and address this overview statement. In the days of Noah the people of Earth could be separated into three groups. There were the unbelievers who perished in the Flood, Noah and his family, who were preserved through the Flood, and Enoch who was taken from Earth before the Flood. (Enoch was translated in Genesis 5. That means that God took him live into Heaven. The Flood came in Genesis 6.)
In The Time Of The 2nd Coming the people of Earth will also fall into three groups.  The unbelieving world will perish in the End Times judgments, Israel will be preserved through the judgments, and The Church will be taken from Earth before the judgments.
There are some interesting similarities between Enoch and the Church. His name means “teaching,” one of the primary roles of the Church. Jewish tradition holds that Enoch was born on the 6th day of Sivan.  The 6th of Sivan is the day in the Hebrew Calendar on which the Feast of Pentecost is celebrated. It’s the day the Church was born.  I think Enoch makes a good model of the Church. But you say, “Enoch was only one body.”  So is the Church.
At the 2nd Coming the door to salvation will be closed.  The surviving people of Earth will be judged and those who’ve become believers will be welcomed into the Kingdom.  Unbelievers will be taken off the planet, deprived of the Lord’s presence forever.  They wanted the Lord out of their lives, and now they’ll get what they wanted.

6) The Duration and Purpose of the Millennium

Like rapture and Lucifer, millennium is a word of Latin origin and doesn’t appear any where in the Scriptures. We get it from two Latin words, mille, or 1000, and annum, or year, from the Latin translation of Rev. 20:6.  Mille annum, millennium, the Lord’s 1000-year reign on Earth, is known to Israel as the Kingdom Age. It’s the seventh and final thousand years of the Age of Man, begun with the birth of Adam. It’s often confused with Eternity, but as we saw earlier the two are distinct. A Millennium is obviously a defined span of time, while by definition Eternity is the absence of time as we know it.

The Millennium On Earth

During the Millennium, the Lord will be King of Heaven and Earth, Earth being restored to the condition it was in when Adam was created. This will include restoring peace between man and the animals, bringing back Earth’s original garden-like environment with its world wide sub-tropical climate, eliminating foul weather, killer storms, earthquakes and extremes of heat and cold. The span of man’s life will begin increasing again to equal those of the Genesis patriarchs. Sickness and disease, those by-products of sin, will be greatly reduced. It appears the population of Earth will be sustained by the return to an agrarian economy, but with all the obstacles Adam faced gone as the curse of Genesis 3 is finally lifted. Man will easily produce enough for his family’s use, and enjoy doing it. None will labor unproductively, or primarily for the benefit of others. Children will grow up without fear and adults will grow old in peace. (A summary of Isaiah 2:1-5, 4:2-6, 35, 41:18-20, 60:10-22, 65:17-25, Micah 4:1-8)
Since Earth will be re-populated mostly by Tribulation survivors in their natural bodies, there will still be sin although to a much lesser extent, especially at the beginning. In the so-called Millennial Temple in Israel, priests will conduct daily sacrifices for sin, just like in Old Testament days. But while Old Testament believers observed Temple sacrifices to learn what the Messiah would one day do for them, Millennial believers will observe them to remember, and their children to learn, what He’s already done. (Ezek 40-47)
The Lord will reign supreme on Earth as King and High Priest, the head of both a one-world government and a one-world religion. He’ll brook no threats to His established peace, nor any deviation from His doctrine. (Psalm 2)
At the beginning, only believers will inhabit Earth, enjoying the truly utopian environment that mankind has always dreamed about, but only God can create. They’ll soon begin bearing children who, as they mature, will have to choose to receive the Lord’s pardon just as we have. And as it is today some will reject Him to go their own way. By the time Satan is released at the end of the Millennium, there will be so many who’ve rejected the Lord that he’ll quickly find a huge army of recruits for his final attempt to kick the Lord off the planet.
But with fire from Heaven the Lord will destroy Satan’s army, casting him into the Lake of Fire, where he’ll be tormented day and night forever. Never again will he or any of his accomplices be free to afflict God’s people. (Rev. 20:7-10)

How Did That Happen?

What began as an age of unimagined peace and prosperity will have ended in open warfare against the very King who made it possible. How could this be?
Before the Millennium, man had three excuses for his inability to please God. The first was Satan, whose clever schemes led man astray. But all during the Millennium, Satan will be bound in darkness.
The second was the bad influence of unbelievers. But as the Millennium begins, Earth will have been cleansed of all its unbelievers. Only those who had given their hearts to the Lord will be allowed to enter the Kingdom.
And the third was God’s absence from our midst. For 2600 years, with the exception of one 33 year period, God will have been absent from the planet leaving man to “fend for himself.” But all during the Millennium Father, Son, and Holy Spirit will have dwelt in the midst of the people of Earth.

What’s the point?

In the Millennium, Earth dwellers will live in the ideal circumstances that Adam and Eve enjoyed in the Garden of Eden.  The curse will be gone and the Lord will be there among them, everyone’s a believer and Satan will be bound. And yet, there’s enough residual sin in the hearts of unregenerate man that he’ll rebel the first chance he gets. Sinful man cannot dwell in the presence of a Holy God, being unable to keep His commandments.  He needs a Savior and Redeemer to reconcile him to God, and a heart transplant to cure him of his sin nature. The whole point of the Millennium is to prove once and for all that man’s heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure (Jere. 17:9) making it impossible for him to live in a manner pleasing to God.

The Millennium In the New Jerusalem

Life is far different in the Home of the Redeemed Church.  Although the Kings of the Earth bring us their splendor, no unbeliever can ever set foot in the place, nor even a believer in his natural state. Our mansions in the sky are built of the purest gold as are the streets that run before them, their foundations made from precious stones. There’s no Temple in the New Jerusalem because the Lamb of God dwells there and is our Temple. The energy source that lights and warms us is the Glory of God, and our radiance in turn provides light for the nations of Earth.(Rev.21:9-27)
Our glorified bodies will have been released from their dimensional bonds, allowing us to appear and disappear at will, traveling back and forth through time at the speed of thought as we plumb the limitless delights of God’s Creation. No detail has been overlooked where our comfort and happiness are concerned. There’s no more death or mourning or crying or pain, only the endless joys of exploration and discovery. As it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Cor. 2:9)
Our home is not on Earth, but it’s not at the Throne of God either. Coming down out of the heavens but never landing on Earth, our home could be called a low orbit satellite in today’s terminology. 1400 miles high, wide and deep, it wouldn’t fit in Israel, let alone Jerusalem. If we did touch down on Earth we’d need a space equivalent to the area from Maine to Florida to the Midwest, or all of Western Europe from Sweden to Italy, and the New Jerusalem will be over 4000 times as tall as the world’s tallest building. Nearly 2/3rds the size of the Moon, it simply won’t fit anywhere on Earth.
The Church has been described as the Pearl of Great Price. A pearl is created in the ocean and grows as a response to an irritant. It’s the only precious gem to come from a living organism. At harvest time, it’s removed from its natural habitat to be placed in a custom made setting where it becomes an object of adornment.
And so it is with the Church. Created from among the Gentile nations, the Church was a major irritant to both Israel and the Roman Empire. Though hundreds of years of persecution were intended for our destruction, we grew steadily. At the harvest we’ll be taken from Earth to be placed in mansions the Lord has built especially for us, to become the object of His adornment.

7) Eternity

I can’t say much about eternity except to tell you that there is one. The Bible ends at the end of the Millennium, yet teaches us that every one ever born lives forever. The question is not whether you have eternal life. The question is where you will spend eternity. There are only two possible destinations and we’ve described them both. Eternal bliss in the presence of God, or eternal shame and punishment banished from the presence of God. While God is patient, not desiring that any should be lost, it’s not His decision to make. He’s given it to you, knowing that without an alternative, your choice to  accept Him would be meaningless. He loves you enough to risk that you’ll make the wrong decision, and enough to abide by your wishes if you do.
Don’t get me wrong. No one would knowingly choose to go to a place of eternal torment. But many will wind up there. When they do it’ll be because they refused to choose Heaven, and it’s the only other alternative.
Here then are Seven Things you Have To Know To Understand End Times Prophecy. Mastering them will allow you to successfully avoid all the heresy and false teaching that swirls about in these last days. The study of prophecy is not a salvation issue, but the Lord did admonish us on several occasions to understand the signs of the times so we wouldn’t be caught off guard. We are to watch with expectation and wait with certainty.
In Revelation 1:3 we’re promised blessings for our diligent study, and in 2 Timothy 4:8 a crown for longing for His appearing. But to me the greatest gift that comes from studying prophecy is the strengthening of our faith. Nothing can equal watching the Word of God proceed from abstract to concrete as we see Bible Prophecy fulfilled before our very eyes. If you listen carefully, you can almost hear the Footsteps of the Messiah. 07-23-11

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Vision concernant l'Enlèvement de l'Eglise, reçue par Jean Schwab en 1952
Le 11 Déc. 1952 à Bergen de Jean Schwab
1 Thessaloniciens 4/17 «Ensuite, nous les vivants, qui serons restés, nous serons tous ensemble enlevés avec eux sur des nuées, à la rencontre du Seigneur dans les airs, et ainsi nous serons toujours avec le Seigneur.»

Ce qui suit m'a été révélé le matin du 11 décembre 1952 à Bergen (Norvège), alors que je lisais une brochure, et que j'étais loin de penser à l'enlèvement de l'Eglise. Je me sentis poussé de l'écrire, car cette vision m’avait bouleversé, mais cependant, des doutes subsistaient en moi. Je dis à Dieu: "Je ne puis me souvenir de tout. Si tu veux que je l'écrive, donne-moi encore une fois cette révélation". Après quelques semaines, "elle" vint à nouveau. Il était dix heures du soir, et ce fut comme si quelqu'un s'asseyait à mes cotés pour lire un rapport dans un journal. De suite je pris un crayon et un cahier, et je me mis a écrire sans discontinuer jusqu'à près d'une heure du matin.

Arrivé là, n’en pouvant plus car j'avais alors 79 ans, je priais le Seigneur lui demandant de pouvoir me reposer. Je lui proposais de bien vouloir me donner la suite le jour suivant, si toutefois il avait davantage à me montrer. Je m'étendis sur mon lit et m’endormis aussitôt. Une semaine plus tard, également à 22 heures, je reçus à nouveau cette vision. En fait, c'était une continuation de la précédente. Elle commençait exactement à l'endroit où nous nous étions arrêtés la dernière fois. Je souhaite que ces quelques lignes servent au réveil des âmes.

Il est 9 heures du matin, Mme Andersen, assise devant le poste de radio, écoute "l’heure des enfants". Elle trouve le programme à son goût aujourd'hui. Cette émission mélange un peu de religion à son programme juste ce qu'il faut, afin de ne rien exagérer. Alors que l'émission se poursuit depuis 4 ou 5 minutes, celle-ci s'interrompt subitement. Une nouvelle sensationnelle: Oslo, la capitale, est dans une horrible panique: la police communique qu'un événement inexplicable vient de se produire. Un grand nombre d'enfants et d'adultes ont disparu sans laisser aucune trace. On ne sait encore le nombre de disparus, il est si grand que les autorités sont impuissantes pour entreprendre des recherches. Elles demandent aux familles touchées par cet événement de fournir des informations détaillées sur le lieu et l'heure des disparitions, car cela est indispensable pour faire face à la situation et en éclaircir les causes, quelques vendeurs avaient disparu alors qu'ils exerçaient leur travail. 

Une dame qui achetait des fleurs, vit le fleuriste qui cherchait la monnaie à lui rendre, disparaître subitement. Elle entendit bien qu’il disait: "Merci Jésus", mais elle ne le vit plus. Elle se frotta les yeux, car il lui semblait avoir du brouillard devant elle, mais l’homme n'était plus là, et le brouillard avait également disparu. Une jeune femme hurlait à faire frissonner jusqu'à la moelle des os. Elle cherchait dans une poussette vide, criant: "Quelqu'un a volé mon enfant: c'est un garçon de 8 mois. OÙ est-il? OÙ est la police?" La police était bien là, mais que pouvait-elle faire? De toutes parts, on criait et un grand tumulte se fut entendre. Un commerçant de forte taille sortit de son magasin en criant "Au secours" : deux de ses vendeuses venaient de disparaître de derrière l'étalage. Qu'était-ce donc que cela? Stockholm annonçait aussi la disparition de beaucoup de personnes et la ville était plongée dans la panique. On rapportait que même plusieurs gendarmes avaient disparu.

Maintenant, pareilles nouvelles arrivaient de Copenhague et d’Helsinki. Les informations parvenues de la campagne annonçaient de plus en plus de disparition. Partout des enfants et des adultes manquaient. La police ne sut pas qu'entreprendre, face à ce mystère. Mme Anderson se leva en soupirant : "Mon Dieu, mon Dieu' qu'est-ce que cela ?" Elle sortit de son jardin et regardant dans la rue bordée de coquettes villas environnées de beaux jardins, elle vit accourir Mme Holand qui, les mains en visière sur ses yeux criait : Ruth! Ruth! Lorsqu’elle aperçut Mme Anderson, elle lui demanda: "As-tu vu passer un étranger par ici ? Ruth a disparu: elle était assise devant notre maison sur l'escalier, pendant que je m'occupais des rosiers, et subitement elle a disparu! Plus de trace d'elle! Je l'appelais et criais: Ruth! Mais personne ne répondit. J’avais l’impression que quelque chose avait passé dans la rue, mais je suis toute troublée car je ne comprends plus rien. Ruth! où es-tu? Qui l'a enlevée? Mme Holand pleurait dans son désespoir.

Maintenant, c'est Monsieur Anderson qui arrive. "Comment, tu viens déjà? Ce n'est pourtant pas l'heure, il n'est que 9. heures 31?" lui dit sa femme. "Je n'ai plus envie de travailler" lui rétorque-t-il. "Dans notre atelier, tout est en désordre, car beaucoup d'ouvriers ont disparu. On supposait d’abord que des accidents en étaient responsables et nous avons fait des recherches, mais sans trouver la moindre trace d'eux. Alors, un homme qui fréquentait des réunions et qui se disait chrétien se mit à dire: "Maintenant c'est arrivé:" Quoi, lui ai-je demandé? "Jésus a enlevé les siens" me dit-il en se tordant les mains. Il pleurait éperdument en continuant de dire "Et moi je suis resté ici"! Je le priais de cesser de dire des bêtises, mais il sanglotait de plus en plus, et c'était vraiment terrible de l'entendre. Certainement que d'autres se trouvent dans la même situation. Je pense qu'on devra faire des heures supplémentaires ce soir.

"En ville, la situation est plus mauvaise encore. Un embouteillage monstre s'était créé, car des conducteurs d'autobus et de voitures privées avaient été enlevés et beaucoup de passagers avaient disparu. Les tramways durent s'arrêter, bloqués comme les bus et les taxis, formant de longues files dans les rues. Parmi cet embouteillage, les voitures ayant encore des conducteurs cherchaient à se frayer un passage. Les gens étaient comme fous, courant çà et là en cherchant leurs disparus. La police était impuissante. Mme Holland rentra en pleurant, ainsi que Monsieur et Madame Anderson. Le poste de Bergen disait - "De tous côtés on annonce des personnes disparues. Toute la matinée, le téléphone a sonné. Les gens questionnent ou apportent leur témoignage. Sur mer, de nombreux bateaux annoncent des personnes disparues. 

A la maternité, tous les nouveau-nés ont disparu et les employées sont effrayées. Parmi les soeurs religieuses, quelques-unes manquent à l'appel. A l'asile des vieillards, plusieurs ont disparu". De Londres cette fois, à 11 heures, la radio communique que ce matin dès 9 heures, des nouvelles arrivaient subitement de toutes les parties de l'Angleterre annonçant la disparition d'une multitude d'enfants et d'adultes sans qu'ils aient laissé la moindre trace. Aucun n'a été retrouvé. C'est un grand mystère. Quelques pasteurs ont convoqué les membres de leur communauté, et ils ont découvert que les plus pieux, les plus fidèles dans la prière ont disparu. Une partie des pasteurs manque aussi.

L'évêque d'une grande Eglise a convoqué le corps pastoral pour ce soir. Trois heures et demie se sont écoulées depuis le premier rapport venu d’Oslo, et ceux-ci continuent d’affluer de tous les pays. La nouvelle la plus sensationnelle vient d'Extrême-Orient, de la Corée où l'on évalue le nombre de disparus à plusieurs centaines de milliers, parmi lesquels beaucoup de soldats. Les événements qui se succèdent sont impossibles à décrire au fur et à mesure. Tous sont profondément effrayés. Dans la rue, les gens cherchent désespérément les leurs, particulièrement les mères privées de leurs enfants. Par contre, plusieurs se moquent et maudissent aussi bien Dieu que les hommes. 

Un homme arrive en courant, criant: "Attention, attention, nous serons bientôt tous enlevés". Il a probablement perdu la raison. Au coin d'une rue, les mains jointes et les yeux levés au ciel, - une femme âgée - dit: "O non, si nous ne nous sommes pas préparés à temps, maintenant plus personne ne sera enlevé. Seigneur Dieu, aie pitié! Maintenant, c'est arrivé! J'ai toujours été religieuse, mais je ne pensais pas qu'il viendrait si tôt. Je ne pensais pas que ce soit aussi sérieux!" La direction des chemins de fer communique qu'aucun accident ne s'est produit jusqu'ici. Seul un convoi est demeuré à Finse sans conducteur, ni contrôleur. L'ordre a été donné à tous les surveillants de chercher le long des voies les personnes qui auraient éventuellement sauté du train car plusieurs voyageurs sont portés manquants. Pareillement des nouvelles venaient des bateaux faisant le service des côtes et des Fjords. 

Les journaux du soir publiaient une manière d'explication, recommandant que tous restent calmes et raisonnables. La police et les autorités font tout leur possible pour publier un rapport sur le nombre de personnes disparues. Les savants, particulièrement les météorologues, travaillent à trouver le plus vite possible la cause de ce phénomène extraordinaire. On vient d'apprendre des Etats-Unis que les rapports commencent d'affluer à la police. Les nouvelles sont pareilles à celles de Norvège. D'énormes difficultés de circulation eurent lieu et l'on déplore la perte de vies humaines. Les journaux annoncent pour le lendemain un aperçu plus complet de ce qui est arrivé dans les différents Etats. Vingt heures. Il ressort des nouvelles parvenues du monde entier que tous ont été surpris de la même manière par cette catastrophe. Les rapports sur le nombre des disparus arrivent principalement des villes mais aussi des campagnes.

Dans l'hémisphère sud, pareilles choses se sont produites. Une terrible inquiétude règne partout. Les gens n'osent pas se coucher, et l'on discute jusqu'à l'hystérie dans les rues sur ce qui s'est passé. De plus en plus, la conclusion est que tout cela se trouve en rapport avec les chrétiens et le christianisme. Ceux qui ont connu les disparus disent, en accord avec la parenté, que ceux-ci étaient exclusivement des chrétiens fanatiques et d'innocents enfants. Un ouvrier de brasserie racontait ce soir: "Oui, Hans Olson est loin. Il lui est arrivé ce qu’il croyait et prêchait par ici, disant que bientôt, Jésus allait venir le chercher". Oui, répondit un autre, nous en avions aussi un pareil qui a été emporté. Mais maintenant les autorités vont bien prendre les choses en mains et interdire toute religion, afin que pareille chose ne se reproduise plus.

„Oh, non", s'écria un autre, „cela n'arrivera plus jamais. Ils ont tout de même eu raison ces chrétiens, car ils avaient un pressentiment. Oh ! si seulement nous les avions écoutés, nous serions maintenant dans une meilleure situation, au lieu de devoir vivre dans cet enfer, dans ce chaos. Et je crains que cela empire." „Ah! si tu croyais en eux, pourquoi donc n'es-tu pas parti avec eux? lui rétorqua un autre". „Je souhaite bien d’avoir pu le faire," dit-il, puis il s'en alla. Quelqu'un cria après lui, "On devrait te pendre! Toi et tous ceux qui s'occupent de ce christianisme imbécile!" 

Le lendemain de ce jour, les journaux ne pouvaient encore donner l’explication à ce mystère. Les rapports de tous les pays concordaient. Des champs de mission, les nouvelles disaient que les chrétiens avaient disparu en masse. Seul un petit nombre d'entre eux sont restés. Lors de l'assemblée convoquée le soir précédent, un bon nombre de pasteurs étaient présents, mais beaucoup avaient aussi été enlevés.

L'atmosphère était tendue et sombre, plusieurs se sentaient malheureux. Aucun doute ne subsistait quant à la nature de l'événement: c'était l'enlèvement des saints prédit par l'écriture, l’élévation de l'Eglise-Epouse. Quelques pasteurs reconnaissaient que malgré leurs études théologiques, ils ne s'étaient pas imaginé l'événement de cette manière. Ils n'avaient jamais expérimenté la nouvelle naissance, ni connu l'Esprit-Saint donné aux enfants de Dieu. Un jeune pasteur disait: "Ce n'est pas de cette manière que j'ai été enseigné. Les professeurs ne nous ont jamais dit que cela arriverait comme nous venons de l'expérimenter". Les journalistes prétendaient qu'une forte tendance à la discussion se faisait jour, cependant, les gens étaient trop excités pour être objectifs. La police s'était adressée au public pour connaître le point de vue général, un rapport fut rédigé par les pasteurs et approuvé par la majorité. Il disait en substance: Ce qui vient d'arriver pourrait être un événement prédit par la Bible, qui est appelé "l'enlèvement de l'Epouse". Jésus serait venu chercher les siens. Pour l’instant, c'est tout ce que nous pouvons dire". 

Pourtant la police ne voulait pas publier cette déclaration, estimant qu'elle était le fruit d'une imagination hystérique névrosée. Vu la portée de ces événements, elle estimait que le gouvernement devrait s'en occuper. Puisque la religion chrétienne était en rapport avec ces choses, elle demandait que toutes les églises et lieux de rassemblement religieux soient fermes jusqu'à ce que tout soit éclairci. Elle déclarait que c'est un problème qui touche toutes les nations, de sorte qu'une décision commune devait être prise. Ce serait à l'ONU d'examiner cette question à fond. Les chrétiens semblent être très déprimés. Hier, qui était un dimanche, toutes les églises et salles du culte étaient bondées. Quelques églises se trouvaient démunies de pasteurs, et beaucoup de membres manquaient. Dans plusieurs assemblées, il ne restait que peu de croyants, mais par contre, un grand nombre de gens du dehors affluaient, principalement ceux qui avaient été frappés par "le grand malheur" comme on l'appelait généralement. 

Le peuple voulait entendre la Parole de Dieu, mais c'était comme si elle avait été enlevée. Un homme essayait bien de lire, mais il devait y renoncer, disant : "je n'y comprends rien". Un autre, qui avait repris la Bible de ses mains disait : "Je ne peux lire la Bible". D'autres pleuraient, mais la grande masse s'accordait à dire que les chrétiens devaient être la cause de ces événements tragiques et qu’ils devaient donner une explication valable. Pourtant un grand nombre venait chercher le secours de Dieu. Ils étaient profondément malheureux.

Dans la plupart des assemblées, la confusion régnait. Un homme se leva, montrant du poing le pasteur et lui dit: „C'est de ta faute si tant des nôtres sont restés. Tu ne nous as jamais avertis que Jésus allait bientôt venir chercher les siens, et que nous devions nous réconcilier avec notre prochain et que nous devions avoir un coeur pur, rempli du Saint-Esprit. Je sais bien ce qui m’a retenu, ce ne sont que des peccadilles. Mais, mais ... Seigneur, aide nous!" Le pasteur qui estimait avoir fait son devoir lui disait de se taire, et tous s'accusaient mutuellement en pleurant et en criant. Ils frappaient mais la porte demeurait fermée. Il est impossible de décrire la situation. Le peuple se rendait compte qu’ils marchaient tous au-devant d’un temps terrible. C'est comme si l'on sentait dans l'air que tout espoir avait disparu. La porte était fermée, et tous ceux qui s'étaient contentés d'expressions traditionnelles vides de sens se mettaient maintenant à crier et à frapper. Les uns étaient venus par camaraderie, les autres avaient été attirés par le chant ou la musique, mais aucun n'était né de nouveau. Ils n'avaient pas reçu l'Esprit d'adoption, ni un droit à l'héritage céleste. Pour beaucoup, la fréquentation des réunions n'était qu'un dada, un passe-temps intéressant mais maintenant, ils frappaient tous à la porte fermée, disant: "Seigneur, Seigneur, ouvre-nous! "

Le problème de l'enlèvement n'avait pas préoccupé longtemps les gouvernements. Ils défendaient sous peine de mort de prononcer le nom de Jésus. Ainsi commençait la plus horrible de toutes les époques de l’humanité. Un grand nombre de chrétiens qui continuaient à invoquer Dieu ne se soumirent pas à l'interdiction des autorités. Ils furent arrêtés et interrogés selon les méthodes de la Gestapo. On leur disait: "Si tu renies Jésus-Christ et que tu le maudisses, tu peux sauver ta vie". Mais des milliers tinrent ferme et le massacre devint indescriptible. Plusieurs furent torturés terriblement, jusqu'à ce que mort s'en suive. La loi et la justice n'existaient plus. 

Satan se déchaînait véritablement. "Malheur à la terre, et à ceux qui l'habitent", disait l'Ecriture. Dans cette détresse plusieurs faiblirent et cédèrent. Ils ne savaient où s'enfuir car le monde entier se trouvait sous la domination du mal. Les nations étaient unanimes à vouloir l’extermination des chrétiens. Le prince de ce monde manifestait la puissance de son règne. Les enfants trahirent leurs parents de telle manière que la vie de ceux-ci était en danger. La parole de Luc 21:16 s'accomplissait: "Vous serez livrés même par vos parents, par vos frères, par vos proches et par vos amis et ils feront mourir plusieurs d'entre vous. Vous serez haïs de tous, à cause de mon nom". Il est impossible de décrire les conditions de cette tribulation mais Dieu avait tout annoncé dans le livre de l'Apocalypse. Le grand cri de ces malheureux était: "Seigneur, veuille abréger ces jours".

Cher ami, ne prends pas le risque de demeurer en arrière. Plie-toi devant la face du Dieu Tout-Puissant et demande lui humblement Sa lumière et Sa grâce. Il est encore temps aujourd'hui d'être scellé par Jésus-Christ pour lui appartenir en propre. Ainsi, tu seras prêt pour le jour où Il reviendra.

Ce jour est proche :
Seigneur après cette lecture de cette révélation que tu nous as donnée, donne-nous de la prendre au sérieux, afin de ne pas avoir à passer par cette terrible tribulation survenant après cet enlèvement qui est si proche.
Donne-nous de nous engager de tout notre coeur dans cette voie de salut que tu as préparée pour nous au travers de l'Oeuvre de Golgotha où tu as tout accompli pour notre libération de nos péchés et de la puissance du péché et te remercions. Amen! J.S.

Jean Schwab, Mont -Tendre 3, CH-1400 Yverdon - Suisse

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Isaiah 17, An Oracle Against Damascus

Posted in: Ikvot ha'Mashiach
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

In the past couple of years it has become even clearer that Isaiah’s prophecy of the destruction of Damascus will soon come to fulfillment, perhaps being part of the Psalm 83 scenario I’ve written about. If so, it would explain why Syria is not included among the coalition of Moslem nations who will gather against Israel in the Battle of Ezekiel 38. Updating our study of Isaiah 17 seems a fitting conclusion to our recent reviews of Ezekiel 38 and Psalm 83.

Emboldened by the outcome of the 2006 Hezbollah Israel war, Syria has become ever more bellicose in it’s behavior toward Israel, as if inviting confrontation. Aggressive acts have included moving large military forces onto the Golan, opening the crossing that gives Syrians access to Israel for the first time since 1973, forming and training a Syrian terrorist force to infiltrate Northern Israel, and openly helping Hezbollah re-arm in violation of UN resolution 1701. Now Hezbollah and Syria are building a massive fortified wall, 22 kilometers long, that promises to be one of the biggest fortified structures in the Middle East. It is designed as an obstacle against any Israeli tank forces heading through Lebanon toward the Syrian capital, Damascus. And most recently, Syria has moved 800 long range missiles into firing position and updated targeting coordinates for specific locations in Israel in preparation for war.

It’s been known for some time that Syria has one of the world’s most advanced chemical weapons programs, even though such things are illegal, and is probably in possession of the bulk of Saddam Hussein’s WMDs that the MSM (main stream media) delights in telling you never existed. Recent satellite imagery suggests significant efforts to update Syria’s known chemical weapons facilities. They’ve also mobilized reserves, set up alternate communication centers, and moved all official historical and legal documents out of Damascus. They did this because they believe that Israel will respond to a chemical attack by destroying Damascus with nuclear weaponry. They’ve recalled all their citizens living in Lebanon. They’ve purchased Russian arms and defensive systems costing hundreds of millions of dollars in an effort to protect Damascus.

Going Nuclear
In July 2007, a chemical warhead exploded at a Syrian missile facility while being fitted to a Scud missile, killing dozens of Iranian and Syrian technicians. The only likely target within range of the missile was Tel Aviv. Then, just 2 months later, the Israeli bombing of a secret Syrian facility deep inside the country made headlines and demonstrated Israel’s ability to render the Russian state-of-the-art anti-air defenses ineffective. These systems were sold to both Syria and Iran to protect against US or Israeli attacks by air. The presence of nuclear materials at the Syrian base has been confirmed, so it might have been the location of at least a dirty bomb assembly plant and perhaps even a clandestine nuclear weapons facility. The North Koreans were heavily involved in this, and are suspected of still helping Syria to develop some kind of nuclear weapons capability.

More recently Syria has purchased even more offensive and defensive weaponry from Russia and Iran, making every population center in Israel a viable target. Passing a portion of this weaponry through to Hezbollah, they’ve all but transformed this terrorist organization into a regiment of the Syrian army, and made Lebanon their first line of defense against Israel. In my commentary on Psalm 83 I mentioned the Command and Control center Iran has built in Damascus to coordinate rocket and missile attacks against Israel by Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas.

For all these reasons Israel has justifiable cause to consider Damascus a prime target, whether preemptive or retaliatory. And while some of this is more than the MSM has been willing to share with you, it is a matter of public record. My guess is that there’s a lot more going on that we don’t know about, making matters even more urgent. So let’s take another look at Isaiah 17, An Oracle Against Damascus, while it’s still prophecy.

An Oracle Concerning Damascus:
“See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins. The cities of Aroer will be deserted and left to flocks, which will lie down, with no one to make them afraid. (Isaiah 17:1-2)

Because of the language of these verses, many scholars believe that this prophecy was only partially fulfilled when the Assyrians defeated the Arameans and overran their capital, Damascus, in 732 BC. To this day Damascus is thought to be the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city with a 5000-year history and a population close to 2 million, yet Isaiah 17:1 indicates that it will one day cease to exist.

Some believe the phrase “cities of Aroer” refers to Aramean territory east of the Jordan River around the Arnon River, which flows into the Dead Sea in southern Jordan. However, the Jewish Encyclopedia claims that this phrase in Isaiah 17:2 is probably translated incorrectly because the geographical distance from Damascus is too great. While they say it’s possible that there may have been another Aroer near Damascus, it is more likely that the passage should be rendered “the cities thereof shall be forsaken.” If that’s the correct translation, it would include the Hezbollah stronghold in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, which was part of Aramean territory in Isaiah’s time, and is in a direct line between Beirut and Damascus.

The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim, and royal power from Damascus; the remnant of Aram will be like the glory of the Israelites,” declares the LORD Almighty. “In that day the glory of Jacob will fade; the fat of his body will waste away. It will be as when a reaper gathers the standing grain and harvests the grain with his arm- as when a man gleans heads of grain in the Valley of Rephaim. (Isaiah 17:3-5)
This segment speaks of the defeat of Damascus in 732BC and the destruction of Samaria 10 years later (722 BC). Damascus continued to exist as part of the Assyrian Empire and is still here today, but the ruins of Samaria are just now being excavated out of the sandy soil of Israel. The systematic relocation of the ruling classes to the far reaches of the Assyrian Empire is also in view here, symbolized by the fat of Jacob’s body wasting away. This was standard Assyrian policy to reduce the likelihood of subsequent rebellion among their conquered peoples. Jacob and Ephraim are alternate names for the Northern Kingdom, and Samaria was its capital.
Yet some gleanings will remain, as when an olive tree is beaten, leaving two or three olives on the topmost branches, four or five on the fruitful boughs,” declares the LORD, the God of Israel. (Isaiah 17:6)
Not all the people were dispersed. Farmers were left behind to tend the crops and protect the harvest for their new rulers. They were joined by refugees from other parts of Assyria and their combined descendants were known as the Samaritans in the time of Jesus. (A quick reading of 2 Chronicles 11:16 shows that all the faithful from the 10 northern tribes moved south at the time of the civil war that divided the nation after King Solomon’s death 150 years earlier. From then on, all 12 tribes were represented in the Southern Kingdom of Judah, so the 10 tribes from the North weren’t totally lost. The Lord has always preserved a believing remnant from all the Tribes of Israel.)
In that day men will look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. They will not look to the altars, the work of their hands, and they will have no regard for the Asherah poles and the incense altars their fingers have made. In that day their strong cities, which they left because of the Israelites, will be like places abandoned to thickets and undergrowth. And all will be desolation. (Isaiah 17:7-9)
This is another passage that’s problematic for those who try to consign the whole passage to history. There is simply no reason to believe that the Assyrians turned to God following their conquest of Aram and Israel. And far from abandoning their cities because of the Israelites, it was the Israelites who were defeated and dispersed. The yet future Jewish attack on Damascus causing the destruction and abandonment of Syrian cities, and the eventual return of the survivors to their God is a much more likely fulfillment. And it could happen soon.

You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress. Therefore, though you set out the finest plants and plant imported vines, though on the day you set them out, you make them grow, and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud, yet the harvest will be as nothing in the day of disease and incurable pain. (Isaiah 17:10-11)
Asshur, father of the Assyrians, and Aram, father of the Arameans were both sons of Shem. Aram’s son Uz is the traditional founder of Damascus. (The setting for Job, the Bible’s oldest book, is the Land of Uz.) The knowledge of God in the memories of these patriarchs cannot be questioned. It wasn’t that they never knew Him, but that they had forgotten Him, abandoned Him in favor of the Canaanite gods of the region, Baal and his consort Ashtoreth (aka Asherah, Astarte, Ishtar, Aphrodite, Venus.) Currently Syria is almost totally Moslem. Until they return to their Maker and Savior none of their plans and schemes will prosper in the long run, no matter how promising they seem at the beginning.

Oh, the raging of many nations- they rage like the raging sea! Oh, the uproar of the peoples- they roar like the roaring of great waters! Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters, when he rebukes them they flee far away, driven before the wind like chaff on the hills, like tumbleweed before a gale. In the evening, sudden terror! Before the morning, they are gone! This is the portion of those who loot us, the lot of those who plunder us. (Isaiah 17:12-14)

Having conquered most of the Middle East including the Arameans and the Northern Kingdom, the Assyrians set their sights on the Southern Kingdom, Judah. Assyria’s King Sennacherib brought his armies almost literally to the gates of Jerusalem, so close his commanders were within speaking distance of the Jewish defenders. On the night before they were to attack, the Lord sent His angel into the Assyrian camp on Mt. Scopus to slaughter 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. Before dawn they had packed up and fled, ending 44 years of conquest. (Isaiah 37:36-38) This time in Israel’s history so parallels the Jewish view of the End Times that Sennacherib is seen by them as a type of the anti-Christ, while Judah’s King Hezekiah models the Messiah.

But notice that Isaiah speaks of many nations raging against God’s people, not just Assyria, leading us once again to consider Sennacherib’s defeat to be a partial fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.

The phrase “rushing of many waters” is often used to describe the sound of loud voices and today many nations are stirred up. The cry of anti-Israeli sentiment can be heard around the globe. The various Mid-East “peace” conferences combined with the Gaza war and the recent boarding of the Turkish/Terrorist flotilla have left Israel standing alone against all but irresistible pressure to negotiate away its very existence. Syria and Iran are dead certain that Israel will attack soon, and are preparing accordingly. Israel’s other next-door neighbors are also preparing for war, and indeed many nations are taking sides.

Israel is not blind to these mounting threats, but until lately seems to have been ignoring them. That’s about to stop. Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has told the world he will not apologize for defending his country and will continue to do so even if it results in more confrontations. We can easily envision a scenario that escalates into the final fulfillment of Isaiah 17, the destruction of Damascus. Once again there will be sudden terror in the evening, and before morning they will be gone. If you listen carefully, you can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Seven Things You Have To Know To Understand End Times Prophecy Part 2

Seven Things You Have To Know To Understand End Times Prophecy … Part 2

Table of contents for Seven Things
This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelley

Our previous study of the Seven Things You Have To Know To Understand End Times Prophecy covered the Sequence of Major End Times Events. We’ll begin this segment with the second item on our list of seven.

2) The Destiny Of The Three Components Of Humanity: The Nations (aka Gentiles), Israel, And The Church
Even so-called experts misinterpret prophecy when they don’t stop to consider who the Lord, or one of His prophets, is addressing. Just because something’s in the Gospels doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s for the Church, or being in Isaiah that it’s only for Israel. Knowing a prophecy’s intended recipient is critical to understanding it, and there are three possibilities. I’ll show you what I mean.
His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. (Ephes. 2:15-16). Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks (Gentiles) or the church of God. (1 Cor. 10:32)
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26-28)

In the 4,000 or so years from the Creation to the Cross, the human race came to be divided into three distinct components from God’s perspective. Here’s how it happened. From the Creation there was one race of Humans, the family of man, later called Gentiles. Then in Genesis 12, God called Abraham to build a great nation. He and his descendants were first called Hebrews (Genesis 14:13), and later Jews (Ezra 4:12). From that time on, the world’s population was either Jew or Gentile. But at the cross God created the Church, taken from among both Jews and Gentiles but sharing a destiny with neither. Now there were three, and everyone on Earth belongs to of one of them. In his epistles, Paul always took pains to distinguish the Church from both Jews and Gentiles, in effect calling the Church a new race of Human in the passages I cited above. I’ll describe each group’s destiny so you can see how different they are.

First the Gentiles. According to Isaiah 56:6-8, Gentiles who converted to Judaism before the cross became part of Israel and share its destiny (see below) as long as they died in faith of a coming Redeemer. Gentiles who meet their Lord after the rapture are called tribulation believers. They’re either martyred for their faith, in which case their spirits will go to serve God in His Temple (Rev 7:13-17) and will be joined with resurrection bodies at the time of the 2nd Coming (Rev. 20:4), or they’ll survive the Great Tribulation to help re-populate the nations of Earth in the Kingdom age (Millennium). Believing Gentile survivors are the sheep in the Sheep and Goat Judgment that we’ll look at later.

Next the Jews. The spirits of Jews who died in faith of a coming redeemer before Jesus went to the cross were taken into Heaven with Him after His resurrection (Matt. 27:52-53). They’ll also receive resurrection bodies at the Second Coming (Daniel 12:1-3). Jews who receive Jesus as their Messiah after the church disappears will be hidden in the Jordanian desert (Petra) during the Great Tribulation. (Rev. 12:14) Both groups will dwell in Israel during the Millennium. (Ezekiel 43:6-7)

Of course Jews and Gentiles who give their hearts to Jesus during the Church age become part of the Church and after the rapture / resurrection will populate the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21). Many of us were taught to call it Heaven, but it’s actually a separate entity. (More on this in our discussion of the Millennium, item 6 on our list of 7 Things You Have To Know.)
 Whether Jew or Gentile, those who don’t do any of the above during their lifetimes will be tormented in Hell until they’re brought back to life to stand trial at the Great White Throne judgment of Revelation 20:11-15. It takes place at the end of the Millennium. At that time, they’ll be sentenced to eternal suffering in the Lake of Fire. (Rev. 20:14)

In the Old Testament, God promised Israel that He would return one day to dwell among them in their land on Earth forever (Ezekiel 43:6-7). In the New Testament, Jesus promised the Church that He would come back and take us to be with Him in His Father’s House (John 14:1-3). Both promises come true. Israel is not the Church nor is the Church Israel, and both groups are distinct from the Gentile nations. Much of the confusion surrounding End Times prophecy results either from the failure to understand, or the refusal to accept, this truth.
For instance, many Christians today believe that the Church has replaced Israel in God’s plan and has inherited all of Israel’s blessings. Israel no longer serves any purpose in the world, they think, so when God talks about Israel in the New Testament He really means the Church. Therefore they misunderstand the Doctrine of Election, the Olivet Discourse, the Great Tribulation, and other New Testament teachings having to do with Israel.
Also, many Gentiles sit in pews on Sundays and think they’re in the church even though they’re not born again. They think they’re saved because they try to live a good life, or give money, or belong to a particular denomination. They’re wrongly convinced that the Church’s blessings are theirs.

So there are three components of humanity and they all have different destinies. New Jerusalem is for the Church, Israel is for the Jews, and the rest of the world is for Gentile believers who will re-populate the Earth after the 2nd Coming. All surviving non-believers, whether Jew or Gentile, will be taken away at the time of the 2nd Coming to await the Great White Throne Judgment at the end of the Millennium with unbelievers of all ages.

3) The Purpose And Length Of The Great Tribulation
How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it. I am with you and will save you,’ declares the LORD . ‘Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished.’ (Jeremiah 30:7,11)

Jesus said that the Great Tribulation would be the most intense period of judgment the world has ever seen, greater than the World Wars, and even greater than the Flood of Noah. He said that if it were left to run its course, not a single human being would survive. But for the sake of His people He would stop it at its appointed time. (Matt. 24:22)

The purpose of the Great Tribulation is two-fold. It’s explained in the Jeremiah passage above, where it’s called by its Old Testament name, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. God will use it to completely destroy the nations among whom His people have been scattered, and to discipline Israel, purifying them to dwell with Him in the Promised Land. The Church, having been purified at the cross, requires neither destruction nor discipline and has no business in the Great Tribulation.

(No matter where you place the Rapture in the End Times Scenario, if you believe in the Lord’s all-sufficient work on the cross, then you know that the Church has to be protected from the End Times judgments, not purified by them. If you don’t believe the Lord’s work was sufficient, but that the coming judgments are needed to finish what He only began, then you have much bigger problems than figuring out when the Rapture will occur.)

The length of the Great Tribulation is variously given as 3 1/2 years (Daniel 12:7), 42 months (Rev. 11:2), or 1260 days (Rev. 12:6). If you use a 12 month 30 day calendar for a total of 360 days in a year, these three measurements all turn out to be the same length. Some commentators claim that in Matt. 24:22 Jesus said this time would be cut short, and the English translation does seem to imply this, but it has to be an incorrect interpretation of the Lord’s intent. I say this because while Daniel 12 was written several hundred years before the Lord spoke on the matter, John wrote Revelation 60 years after the resurrection. so it’s length was made clear in testimony given both before the Lord’s time and after it. If He said the Great Tribulation is going to be cut short then He contradicted both Daniel and John, something the bible can’t do. More likely the intent of Matt. 24:22 is to explain that if the Lord doesn’t return to put an end to the Great Tribulation at the appointed time no one would survive it, but for the sake of His elect He will return to put an end to it.
The 3 1/2 years, 42 months, 1260 days references lead us to believe that Earth’s original calendar consisted of 12 months with 30 days each, and in fact it appears that prior to about 700 BC all the Earth used such a calendar. Since then a number of different calendars have emerged , apparently to compensate for changes that took place in the Earth’s orbit about that time. (The calendar used by Western Nations today is only about four hundred years old.)

In addition, Daniel 9:27 warns that an Abomination That Causes Desolation will occur in the middle of the last seven years, or 3 1/2 years from the end. In Matt. 24:21 Jesus identified this event as the official beginning of the Great Tribulation. Paul confirms this and adds detail by describing the anti-Christ standing in the Temple proclaiming himself to be God. (2 Thes. 2:4) This confirms the length of the Great Tribulation as being 3 1/2 years.
The Abomination That Causes Desolation is a particular defilement of the Temple that’s happened only once in history. In 168 BC. Syrian King Antiochus Epiphanes captured the Temple and converted it into a pagan worship center. He erected a statue of Zeus with his own face on it in the Holy Place, thereby proclaiming himself to be God, and demanded the Jews worship it on pain of death. It was called the Abomination That Causes Desolation because it made the Temple unfit for use and triggered the 3 1/2 year Maccabean Revolt. The Jewish re-capture and cleansing of the Temple in 165 BC is celebrated in the eight day Feast of Hanukkah.

To summarize, Daniel spoke of an Abomination That Causes Desolation that would mark the middle of the last 7 years. An event called the Abomination That Causes Desolation in 1st Maccabbees took place in 168 BC, over 300 years later. But 200 years after that, Jesus told His Disciples that the people of Israel should watch for a future Abomination That Causes Desolation and referred to Daniel’s prophecy in doing so (Matt. 24:15-21). He said it would kick off the Great Tribulation. Paul also described a future event similar to the one in 168BC saying the “Day of the Lord” could not precede it (2 Thes. 2:3-4).

Therefore, the Abomination That Causes Desolation that took place in 168 BC was only a partial fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy. Jesus referred to it so people in the end times would be able to recognize the complete fulfillment when they saw it. They’ll know to look for a man standing in the Temple calling himself God and demanding that his image be worshiped. Jesus told those living in Judea (Israel) that when they see it to flee into hiding immediately, for the Great Tribulation will have begun.

4) The Purpose Of The Rapture
They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead–Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. (1 Thes. 1:9-10)
The Greek word translated from in the above passage is “apo.” Literally it means to keep the subject (us) away from the time, place, or any relation to the event being referenced, in this case the coming wrath. This verse is one of several that explain the purpose of the Rapture of the Church, and that’s to hide us safely out of the way before God visits His wrath upon the Earth. OK, but when does God’s wrath come?
Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Rev 6:15-17)
After Revelation 3 the church is not seen on Earth again until we come back with the Lord in Rev. 21:2, as predicted in Rev. 17:14. In Rev. 4 John sees a door standing open in heaven and is told to “Come up here!” Instantly he finds himself in the spirit, standing before the throne of God at the end of the age. He’s been transported to the time of the Rapture.

He sees 24 elders there, seated on thrones of their own around the throne of God. They’re all dressed in white with crowns of gold on their heads. They bow down before the Lord and place their crowns at his feet giving honor and glory to him. In chapter 5 they call themselves Kings and Priests as they sing praises to God. By their titles, clothing, crowns, thrones, and activities it’s clear that they represent the newly raptured church.
There are four Old Testament views of the Throne of God. Those in Isaiah 6:1-4 and Ezekiel 1 and 10 don’t include these 24 elders. The one in Daniel 7:9-10, an end of the age vision, hints at multiple thrones but offers no detail. But in the Book of Revelation the 24 elders are mentioned 12 times. Some group has arrived in Heaven that wasn’t there in Old Testament times, and 12 is the number of government. It’s the Church, come to rule and reign with Christ.
So the Church is raptured in chapter 4, and is shown in heaven in chapter 5, while on Earth God’s wrath is loosed in chapter 6 as the passage above clearly states.
Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians was written in 51AD and contains the very first clear mention of a Rapture ever given. Neither Jesus nor the Disciples ever taught it. Its existence was kept secret until then just as its exact timing is secret to this day. Many of the mistakes made about the timing of the rapture come from futile attempts to find Gospel passages that teach it, as we’ll see in our discussion about the Second Coming.

We think the Rapture is perhaps the single most important component of End Times prophecy, and for us it is. So why didn’t Jesus ever mention it? 1 Cor. 2:6-10 gives us the answer. We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”— but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.

The phrase “rulers of this age” refers to Satan & Co. Had they known the astonishing abundance of blessings the Lord would shower down upon those who accept His death as payment for their sins, they would have done everything in their power to prevent the crucifixion. Think of it. We’re called Kings and Priests, given incalculable wealth and influence, made heirs with Christ of God’s estate, something Satan could never achieve and we could never deserve, and it’s all ours just because we believe. This realization came to Satan after it was too late to prevent it and turned what should have been his greatest victory into an agonizing defeat. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:15)

But like everything in God’s plan, you’ll find hints of the Rapture even in the Old Testament. Look at this passage from Isaiah 26:19-21. But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead. Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins.
Notice how the pronouns change from second person when God speaks of His people to third person when He speaks of the people of the Earth. It means the two groups are different. One is told to hide because the other is going to be punished. (Note: the Hebrew word translated “go” in the phrase “Go my people” is translated “come” in some translations, recalling the command to John in Revelation 4, “Come up here!” But the word has another primary meaning and it’s my favorite. It means vanish. “Vanish, my people!” Yes we will.)

Now read two of Paul’s most popular Rapture disclosures. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thes 4:15-17)
Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. (1 Thes. 5:1-5) For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thes. 5:9)

Here’s another even more dramatic shift of pronouns. Using the third person, Paul describes unbelievers caught by surprise, thinking they had entered a period of peace as destruction suddenly rains down upon them, cutting off all hope of escape. Then Paul switched to the second person, telling believers we shouldn’t be taken by surprise as the End approaches, and finally to the first person as he includes us with him, not appointed to wrath.

Now watch carefully as we lay Isaiah’s writings over Paul’s. But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead. (The dead in Christ will rise first.)
Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by.
(After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.)
See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. (While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.)

Although the Bible contains 66 books and involved 40 writers, there’s one Author and His message is consistent from Genesis through Revelation. This is how Paul could open his passage on the rapture by saying, “According to the Lord’s own word …”. The Lord never mentioned the rapture in the Gospels. Paul had read Isaiah.
Of course there are several more passages where our Lord promises to protect us from the coming judgments. And although the cynics can truthfully say that the word rapture doesn’t appear in any of them, don’t pay any attention to that. They’re just trying to confuse us.
They know that rapture is a word of Latin origin, not Hebrew or Greek, the languages of the Bible. (The earliest translation of the Bible was into Latin, and the term rapture comes from there.) Its Greek equivalent is harpazo, which is found in the Greek text of 1 Thes. 4:15-17. When translated into English, both words mean “to be caught up, or snatched away.” There’s a similar situation with the word Lucifer, also of Latin origin. It doesn’t appear in any of the original texts either, but no one would be naive enough to deny the existence of Satan on such a flimsy basis.

Next time we’ll cover the final three of Seven Things You Have To Know To Understand End Times Prophecy. See you then.
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