"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

RAPTURE: The WHO And WHEN Of It All - Part 4


~~by James Fire

As we continue in this treatment of the Rapture and the Last Days scenario that surrounds it, we enter into the following segment and discuss what the Bible addresses as the Time of Jacob's Trouble, also known as Daniel's 70th week, and more colloquially known as "the Great Tribulation".

NEVER AGAIN?

In the last days, as stated in a previous segment of this article, two out of every three Jews will be wiped out in that terrible time ahead (this is one major reason why we are to pray fervently for the conversion of the Jewish people, that they may partake of Christ and be included in the body of Christ, thus escape this horrible calamity).
Getting back to Matthew ch. 24, if one asserts that these disciples are 'types' of Jewish believers who will endure Daniel's 70th week, rather than the church, it then makes sense that "they that endure to the end will be saved" vs.13, that is, not the saving of their souls, but of their physical lives by the arrival of Y'shua at His Second Coming.

GOD'S PEOPLE REVISITED

Further, those that see the abomination of desolation as spoken of by Daniel . . . (recall that the prophecy given to Daniel regarding this blasphemy and related events is to his people [Israel] and his holy city [Jerusalem], these events transpire in a day and time in which God deals with Israel) . . . are admonished to flee Judea. vs. 15.

(Please note: the building of the temple for the Jewish people, in my opinion could happen any day; we the church may well witness its construction. I think this is probable, as the covenant of the temple is enforced by the Beast at the BEGINNING of the 70th week, then broken half way through. It seems improbable that the Temple therefore would be built during the time of the tribulation. What I don't believe we will see, is its desecration, as this happens half way through Daniel's 70th week.)

If He were addressing Christians, what would be His instruction for those who did NOT dwell in Judea? There is an absence of any instruction here for such would-be Christians living at this time.

Also, such Christians would not find "the sabbath" an impediment to their attempt to escape these things, but Jews who follow Y'shua would, as they would still hold to the Torah. The complexion of this passage is distinctly JEWISH, not Christian!

The ARRIVAL of MESSIAH for HIS PEOPLE, ISRAEL

Within the context of this passage of Matthew 24:4-31, it speaks of things that will transpire before and during Christ's physical return to Earth, when He rescues Israel from the Beast and his forces, as they're gather together in Megiddo, and proceed to Bozrah where the remnant will be in hiding (see Isa 34:6; Jer 49:13,22); and also:

Mic 2:12
I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men.

Isa 63:1
Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. (see also Rev 19:11-21)


Zec 12:10
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.


Zec 13:6
And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.

Also something interesting to note: In Hosea 5:15, it states the following:

Hosea 5:15
I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.

If one reads the passage in context, its determinable that the speaker here is God Himself: God is saying, I will return to My place. . . In order to return to His place (heaven) He would had to have left it; this He did when He became incarnate and walked among us. After His ascension, He returned to His place until . . . until when?
". . . they acknowledge their offence". That word 'offence' is in the singular: its a specific offense. What could it be? I believe it was the national rejection of Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, the King!

It continues in ch. 6 of Hosea . . .

Hosea 6:1-3
Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

I believe this is highly suggestive that its when this godly remnant of Israel petitions the Messiah to return, that the LORD will do so! No wonder Satan has such a vested interest in their destruction! If he can accomplish this (but he can't!) he could prevent the fulfillment of prophecy (lotsa luck buddy!).

IT 'FIG-URES'

Getting back to Matthew 24: therefore if one understands that the "you" that the LORD is addressing, are saved Jews, redeemed after the rapture (thus excluded from the church) the parable spoken of the fig tree makes sense. When its leaves are budded, we know that summer is near, and likewise . . .

"When you, when you shall see these things, know that it is near, even at the doors." The Lord then says something interesting about the witnesses of 'the fig tree':

Mat 24:34
Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

The very same generation that sees these things won't pass away until all things are fulfilled. We know that from the time of the erection of the abomination of desolation to the coming of Christ Jesus will be 1,260 days or 3.5 prophetic years.

Dan 9:27
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make [it] desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

Therefore any who witness these events re: the Beast and the Temple being defiled will be able to calculate and learn the day of the LORD's return. Yet prior to Daniel's 70th week, no one will know the day or the hour of the Second Coming.

Just as no one will know the day or the hour of the rapture, because no one knows when the church will be completed, save for our Father.

PARALLEL PASSAGES or NOT?

And now in regards to Luke ch. 21, an identical account of what was read in Matt. ch 24 . . . or IS IT?

There is an interesting difference between these two passages of scripture that often get lumped together, as text that more or less describes the same events, when in fact, they do NOT in their entirety!

In Matthew 24:7-8 it speaks of events that match Luke 21:10-11: "false Christs, wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines, pestilences, etc."
In Matt. 24:9 it says " . . . Then shall they . . ." That is, what follows from vs. 9 on will occur after vs. 8.

In Luke 21: 12, it says " . . . But before all these . . ." That is, what occurs from vs.12-24 will occur before vs. 12. In this portion of scripture we witness a fulfillment of what happened in Israel and in Jerusalem specifically, around the time of 70 A.D. when the Temple was destroyed.

See: Luke 21:12 -24
Note especially vs. 20 through 24 -
And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.

For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.

And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.


GENTILES of a DIFFERENT SORT

The time of the Gentiles is also prophetically relevant (and not to be confused with "the fulness of the Gentiles": they are two very different events) because this is a period of time that started with Nebuchadnezzar, when Babylon dominated and "trod down" Jerusalem until the fall of Babylon, at which time it was under the domination of the Medo-Persian empire, then the Grecian empire, and finally the Roman empire. Yet after the dispersion of 70 A.D. when Israel was "led away captive into all nations" and then finally regathered back into the land in accordance with Isaiah 11:11, Jerusalem continued to be trodden down by the nations, Islamic and European both.

Today they are being oppressed by the E.U. as well as the U.N. and even the United States!

This "time of the Gentiles" will culminate when the Beast assumes world authority and she will know her greatest misery at this time, but this time will also terminate once the Prince of Peace arrives, declaring war and victoriously overcoming the Beast and his forces without so much as breaking a sweat!

HABITATION of the HINDERER

Why is it that people refer to 2 Thess. 2:7-8 as a proof text that the church won't be here for the Tribulation time, or that seven year period known as Daniel's 70th week?

Examing the text it states plainly that . . .

2 Thess 2:7-8 - the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
The "he" spoken of must be God, for He is the only One who ever restrains iniquity and wickedness.

The LORD did so in Genesis ch. 6 during the time when there was tremendous wickedness involving the fallen angels and human females, creating an abomination: an angel/human hybrid that resulted in giants or 'nephilim' in the land. Listen to what the LORD said in this passage:

Gen 6:3
And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

The word "strive" in Hebrew is "duwn" meaning: "a settlement of what is right, to rule, judge, , also to strive (as at law), contend, execute (judgment), judge, minister judgment, plead (the cause), strife, strive". Its an act of judgment which determines man's position and destiny.

Note that God says that His Spirit shall NOT ALWAYS strive with man . . . implying that there is coming a day in which God will take His hands off of man, and no longer interfere with the bounds of iniquity that he yearns for.

Then there is the Tower of Babel in Genesis chapter 11; God gave instruction to go forth and multiply, yet what did man do? He remained together, rather than obey God and spread out. They built a city (a political authority) and a tower (a religious authority), and the people were one.

Gen 11:6
And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.


God realized that if man remained in this environment, with such unity, "nothing will be restrained from them", so He goes down and does some 'restraining' by confounding their languages. Once again God had to interfere with mankind in order to prevent such wickedness that would be the ruination of His creatures.

Then once again in 2 Thess. 2: 7-8 God "letteth" that is in the Greek: "katecho" - "to hold down (fast), keep, possess, stay, take, have, make, let, retain, seize on, withhold. The word stresses holding fast in order to hinder the progress or course of something or someone.

So how is it that people connote this passage with the removal of the church?

Because the church is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and as the body of Christ serves very much the same function in this world. The LORD called us, His church "salt and light" in Matt 5:13-14

Both salt and light are elements that inhibit (restrain) corruption; thus spiritually we as the church, possessed of God's Spirit, and if rightly related to our Lord by walking in His Spirit (which there seems to be precious little of in todays post-modern, now emergent churches and fellowships) restrain iniquity and lawlessness in this world.

Thus indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we would be a restraining influence that the man of wickedness (almost exactly the same word used for iniquity in the Greek: anomia for iniquity, anomos for wicked).

This is not to say that the Holy Spirit won't be present on this Earth as a Convictor of sin, or a Baptizer of God's power for those who minister during that time, or a Comforter, but His restraining influence will no longer be present so as to allow the beast to be revealed. It's my contention as the salt and light of this world, we likewise will no longer be present on this Earth at this time.

In the next article I will examine various passages of Revelation and see if I can spot the church in any duration of time contained within Daniel's 70th week, and further take a look at passages in the New Testament that would seem to encourage the church to expect Christ's return (for His bride) at ANY MOMENT!

HALLELUJAH!!!

may the LORD Jesus Christ bless ALL of YOU SAINTS . . . WAY TOO MUCH!

yours in the battle,

Nikaeo Aionios A.V.R.A.S.

brother James FIRE

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