"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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Sunday, February 14, 2010

The RAPTURE of the CHURCH: The WHO and WHEN Of it All . . . Part 2

~ By James Fire

The time of Great Tribulation also known as "Jacob's Trouble" in JER 30:7 will be a time of severe judgment, upon the Jew first and also the Gentile, for their rejection of Jesus Christ our Savior.


So we know that this blindness in Israel will persist until (See ROM 11:25
) the church, according to the foreknowledge of God, is completed and God calls out all souls that will be a part of the Body, into the church of Jesus Christ; He will then turn again and deal with Israel:

Here is a rapture scenario on the catching away of the saints to be with the LORD Jesus Christ:

Listen to James, elder of the church at Jerusalem at a Council that was called for, in ACTS 15 in regards to Gentile believers and where they fit into God's plan for the ages, and where they differ from His plan for Israel:

ACTS 15:13-17
And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 
And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

Yet when will this event, this fulness of the Gentiles occur? Remember: No one knows except God!
This fulness of the Gentiles has no termination date that we know of, nor is there anything to say that TODAY, the last member of the Body of Christ will be brought into the kingdom, and once complete, God will return and will build again the tabernacle of David.


All of this is wrapped around probably one of the most important Messianic prophecies concerning the Messiah, Israel and the last days:

DANIEL 9:24-27
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
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.

These 70 'weeks' are like 'Jewish decades' as it were; that is, these represent 70 "shavuwahs" or weeks of years. One shavuwah is equal to seven years, Two shavuwahs are 14 years, Three would be 21, and so on. 70 shavuwahs are 490 years.

The Angel Gabriel states that from the time the command goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, the city (note: not just the temple which was attempted by edicts from various Gentile leaders a few times w/o success) unto the coming of Messiah shall be 483 years!

Note how Gabriel speaks to Daniel:
"Seventy weeks are determined upon THY people (Jews) and upon THY Holy City (Jerusalem). This is a prophecy concerning none other than Israel, which precludes the Gentiles or the church.
The church has no holy city, and they are not the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as is the nation of Israel (spiritually speaking we are children of Abraham because we exhibit saving faith just like Abraham (ROM 4:12); they can claim for their own in this world; on the contrary we have here "no certain dwelling place".
Israel by virtue of the Abrahamic and Land (Canaan) covenants have both a specific people (the twelve tribes of Israel) and also a specific land (that which was formerly Canaan).
Note: As of August of 2022 we are undergoing an in-depth study of the covenants and will link them here upon completion!

Gabriel divides these 490 years into three segments: seven weeks (or 49 yrs), threescore and two weeks (or 434 yrs) [both segments spoken of in vs. 25 and total 483 yrs] and a week (or 7 yrs) [mentioned in vs. 27].

Gabriel states that its at the end of the second segment of time (434 yrs) plus the first segment of time that already passed (49yrs) which adds up to 483 yrs, that the Messiah will have His "visitation" as Jesus said in MATT 23:37-39; LUKE 19:44, to Israel.

At the end of this visitation, the Messiah will be "cut off" but not for Himself! In Hebrew this is "karath" which means "to cut, sever", it also means "to make a covenant, also to exterminate or destroy in a judicial sense" as in the flood of Noah, and the people who were exterminated at that time by the holy judgment of GOD.

Yet it's important to understand that there is a duration of time in between the 483rd week (once Messiah was 'cut off') and the final week of 7 years.


A similar duration of time also exists between the time in which Messiah would "preach the gospel to the poor, heal the broken hearted, preach deliverance to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are bruised, to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD" as the Lord Jesus read from Isaiah in LUKE 4, and the OTHER portion of that verse as recorded in ISAIAH 61:2 and on: " . . . and the day of vengeance of our God;"

And a similar duration of time exists between ZECH 9:9 and the rest of that chapter. These verses show that prophetic sequences are not necessarily contiguous, that is, they don't always follow chronologically from verse to verse.

Once the LORD Jesus was cut off, crucified, this stopped the prophetic clock in God's dealing with Israel. We know this because there is yet one more shavuwah (7 yrs.) yet to be fulfilled, right? While the Messiah would indeed suffer and die as our atonement, He would NOT at that time establish the kingdom from/of heaven, just as He told His disciples after His resurrection:

ACTS 1:6-7
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

Note: He didn't say He wouldn't restore again the Kingdom of Israel, only that, this time is in the Father's hand.


So what did He have in mind if not the Kingdom restored to Israel? The church, comprised of a body both Jews and Gentiles, but primarily Gentiles later on (from ACTS 10 and onward). Paul the Apostle stated in EPH 2 and 3 the mystery of the church:

EPH 2:1-22 note esp. vs. 15; EPH 3:1-21 note esp. vs. 5-6

As previously stated twice before, once the fullness of the Gentiles is come in, then God will turn to Israel, and this terrible time known as Jacob's Trouble will fall upon that nation; this is that last shavuwah (7 yr period) that Daniel spoke of, during which time one will arise, "the prince that shall come" and shall covenant with the people of Israel. This prince's people are who destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD, which were of course the Romans. The prince of these people would be in one sense, 'Roman-ish'; but this is speaking of a time yet future: thus many believe that the one world government that the Beast will lead will be Roman in style and form (and many believe the power of such will be headquartered in Europe - an interesting point of fact: The EU is looking to be replaced by the Mediterranean Union, whose dimensions match the ancient Roman Empire far more accurately than the EU!). 

This time period of Daniels 70th (last) week is what the Book of Revelation is all about: its a magnification of Daniel's prophecy giving us greater detail and clarity about what's to transpire at that time.

FROM DANIEL to JOHN: Prophecy Expanded

This last shavuwah extends from REVELATION 6 through REVELATION 19.
Prior to this section that elaborates on Daniel's 70th week, there are some last minute dealings with the church, as recorded in chapters 2 and 3; the temple of the Holy Spirit, the body of Christ, the bride of Christ are all descriptives of the church of Jesus Christ. None of these terms are found anywhere in REVELATION from chapters 5 through 19. Saints are mentioned, but that is a generic term used of all the various peoples of GOD, as is "the elect".

CHAPTER 4 is about John's vision of the throne of God and apparently he is translated there as God commanded him to "come up hither". Many see John here as a 'type' or a model of the church in this passage, raptured into heaven.

CHAPTER 5 deals with the 'kinsman goel' that is He who purchased back the title deed of planet Earth and all its inhabitants with His own blood. Here He receives the scrolls with its seven seals, the breaking of which commences the Judgment and the Wrath of the Lamb upon the inhabitants of the Earth! Note: The church is not appointed to wrath (1 THESS 5:9). Yet the Wrath of the Lamb occurs as early as ch. 6 of Revelation.

Daniel states that the prince that shall come, breaks the covenant with Israel at the mid point of that final seven year period, that is, 3.5 yrs. into the middle of the agreed covenant. He then sets up his image in the temple to be worshiped as God.


Three and a half years prior to this abomination that makes desolate, the Beast is revealed (It speaks of the son of perdition being "revealed" in 2 THES 2: 3-12 and the 'Hinderer' is likewise mentioned: more on this later) to the world even as Christ breaks the first seal, commencing the time of Jacob's trouble, and the Beast rides forth "conquering and to conquer".

Observe that this occurs in ch. 6 or "after this" as stated in REV 4:1. This signifies an ending of what occurred beforehand, and is beginning something different. This transition is significant in that it shows that the fullness of the Gentiles is completed, and that the focus is now on Israel. From CHAPTER 4 and onward every time we see the church, she is in Heaven, not on the Earth.

Since this entire matter occurs in the 70th week of Daniel, the time of Jacob's trouble, the fullness of the Gentiles must already be passed, for God is now dealing with His people Israel. It's also worthy of note that after Revelation 2 and 3 there is no mention of the church on the Earth (A detailed examination of Revelation in search of the church will be forthcoming), but we see the church in heaven, represented by the 24 elders who proclaim:

And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;


Some have suggested that the 24 elders are the 12 apostles and the 12 prophets of the Old Testament, but I can't find anything in scripture to substantiate any of the OT prophets receiving thrones (as the apostles were promised) and crowns.

There were never any Kings of Israel that by God's calling officiated in priestly duties; those that tried were severely chastened by God (King Saul for example (1 SAM 13:9-14), and Uzziah (2 CHRON 26:16-20); likewise no priests were ever reigning over Israel as their king. God intentionally separated the royal lineage (the Tribe of Judah), from the priestly lineage (the tribe of Levi).

There are only three persons that were both a king AND a priest:
Melchizedek, Christ Jesus (who follows the type of Melchizedek's priesthood and not that of Aaron; see: HEB 5:5-6) and the church:

1 PETER 2:9
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Thus these elders before the throne, I believe are truly representative of the church.


There are some I've spoken with that believe that the church WON'T be raptured out of this world UNTIL the temple is rebuilt, and that we may in fact witness the rise of the Beast, and as a proof text, they use MATTHEW 24, and I would like to address this in the next installment of "RAPTURE: The WHO and WHEN Of It All"

Until then, may the Blessed Hope of our LORD's imminent return keep our lamps burning brightly for His glory!

RAPTURE: The WHO And WHEN Of It All - Part 3

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent summary.
I wish that Christians would stop calling the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble” the “tribulation”. Tribulation is a descriptor of what those people will experience, it is not a name for that time period.