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Monday, April 23, 2018

The RAPTURE and The Tribulation of Seven Years (aka DANIEL’s 70th Week)


~ By James Fire

In the days of Noah rainfall was a thing unheard of; the world was irrigated by a heavy mist that rose up from the ground, spread out and saturated everything (GEN 2:6).
So, when Noah (1) began building a 450’ long barge (2) (GEN 6:14-16) in the middle of dry land, and warned of a time yet to come, when the skies would open up and shed cascades of water, as well as the fountains of the deep erupting like geysers, flooding the Earth (GEN 7:11), he was mocked for such a ridiculous idea.
But just as the world mocked Noah for the idea of water falling from the heavens, the world mocks the church because we talk about the living and the dead in Christ disappearing from the Earth suddenly in a rapture, rising up and leaving this world for heaven. And this event could occur at any moment (I might not be able to finish this teaching)!

Yet the warning of coming Judgment still issued from the mouth of Noah
(3), for 120 years’ worth of preaching (4) (2 PET 2:5; GEN 6:3)!



But before judgment fell upon the world, flooding the land from the lowest valleys to the highest mountain peaks (GEN 7:19), the LORD delivered Enoch from the Earth, taking him Home to be with Him (GEN 5:23-24)!

HEB 11:5
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God
.

The BEST TRANSLATION – Enoch’s!

“Translated” and “translation” are from the Greek word metatithemai – “to put in another place, to change, to remove from one place to another place”. In effect, Enoch was raptured, taken to heaven without experiencing death (In a somewhat similar fashion, Elijah was also taken up into heaven without seeing death, but in his case, accompanied by angelic hosts, “a chariot of fire” and “a whirlwind”. Both Enoch and Elijah were delivered from the time of God’s judgment upon the unrepentant wicked.

When we translate from one language to another, say, from English to Spanish – the language is different, but the facts, information and truth expressed in either one remains the same. Likewise when we will one day be translated from this world to our eternal home, we will have different bodies (glorified, incorruptible) but we will still be ‘us’ – just a perfected-in-Christ ‘us’…

We know that the church was not revealed in the Old Testament; that it was a mystery revealed to God’s holy New Testament apostles and prophets, and particularly to apostle Paul (EPHESIANS 3). So, there are no prophecies of any rapture of the church found in the Old Testament (maybe!).

But we also understand that the LORD God is immutable (unchanging; HEB 13:8) – that what He was capable of doing, and DID do in times past, He is well able to accomplish in our day. 

And whereas He raptured Enoch* and Elijah** before judgment fell, He shall also raise up the entire body of Christ, both the living and the dead, sparing the righteous from judgment and reserving it for the wicked.

*- Enoch was delivered from the Flood judgment, whereas Noah and his family was kept safe through the Flood judgment, including Shem his son, who was the ancestor of all the Semitic people, including Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel): so Shem represents the perfect type of Israel going through the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Daniel’s 70th week) while Enoch represents the perfect type of the church being raptured – without seeing death, kept from the judgment.

** The same can be said for Elijah: while he was saved from the time of judgment upon apostate Israel (Ahab and Jezebel who led the way), there were 7000 prophets who were kept safe through the judgment, by the court administrator Obadiah (ROM 11:2-4; 1 KINGS 18:13).

HE DELIVERS

2 PETER 2:9
The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished
:

Let’s look at some well-known passages that describe the rapture of the church. . .

1 THESS 4:16-18
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up
(Greek: harpazo; Latin: rapiere – rapture, to snatch up quickly, suddenly, like a pick-pocket snatching a wallet) together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

And what words of comfort and hope these are!!! To say that we “shall ever be with the LORD” means that we shall never, EVER be parted from HIM, ever again! THAT’S my idea of heaven right there!!

We see in the book of REVELATION, after the Seven Letters to the Seven Churches, in the following chapter (Ch. 4) John the Apostle, representative of the church, experiences of kind of translation (in a spiritual sense perhaps?) from the Earth to Heaven:

REVELATION 4:1-2
After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me
(“trump of God”?); which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.  2 And immediately (“in the twinkling of an eye”? (1 COR 15:52)) I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

WHICH SAINTS ARE THESE?

There are many who point out the fact that during the various judgments upon the world at the time of the tribulation, there are “saints” mentioned in REVELATION – evidence that the church is going through this time, and not escape it.
Remember: All members of the church are saints, but not all saints are members of the church (OT saints, the 144,000 saints, these saints in the tribulation – all different than the saints who are part of the church). What’s the difference between these saints and the saints of the church? All saints, Old Testament and New are saved of course – we just considered two Old Testament saints who got a 1-way ticket to heaven! But there is a significant difference. . .

LUKE 7:28
For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he
.

And how does one become a part of the Kingdom of God? One must be born into it, born of God’s Spirit as stated in JOHN 3:3,5!

LUKE 16:16
The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it
(see also MATT 11:13). 

The Old Testament closed with John the Baptist – not the last book of the Bible, Malachi. The classification of saints after John is called the church – the body of Christ.
In the Old Testament there were two classes of people: Jews and non-Jews – or Gentiles. In the New Testament however there are three classes: Jews, Gentiles and the church: a ‘new breed’ of saints who are born of the Spirit (JOHN 3:3-5; JOHN 20:22), the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 COR 6:19). 

There are no other classes of saints that are indwelt by the Spirit as the “temple” – all saints are saved by faith, but only the church is “sealed by the Holy Spirit” at this time (EPH 1:13; 4:30).
The church, the bride of Christ, indwelt by the very Spirit of Christ (EPH Ch. 3 explains the church, the body of Christ, according to Paul the apostle) will not endure the time of Jacob’s Trouble; which is a time of judgment upon the Jew first and the Gentile second, all those that reject Christ and the Gospel.

JOHN 14:1-3
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am
(where will He be at that time?), there ye may be also (Could ISAIAH 26:20 be a hint of the rapture of the church, or a reference to the believing Jews in Jesus during the time of Jacob’s Trouble hiding from the anti-Christ in Petra/Bosrah – the seven year period of tribulation? – or perhaps both?).


People mock the idea of a rapture – God causing millions of people to disappear from this Earth and appearing instantly in heaven.

Yet even in science today, the idea of ‘quantum entanglement’ is becoming a reality; scientists can transport an electron from one location to another without traveling across the distance between those two points has been made possible. Scientists in China were able to send a photon on the surface of the Earth to an orbiting satellite circling 300 miles above, without traveling the distance between the two!
If man can accomplish that, how much more so is God able to transport His saints from Earth to Heaven!


JEREMIAH 32:27
27 Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?


1 COR 15:42-44
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body
.

To be raised in incorruption is a glorious and joyous truth! This means that we will never grow old, and weak, and be afflicted with sickness and disease, but that’s only on the physical level. On a spiritual level this means that we shall forever be incapable of the corruption that is sin! We will never, ever be infested with the spiritual sickness known as sin!

Sown in dishonor and weakness – as mere jars of clay; but raised in glory and power – with bodies unequaled by anything we have ever seen or imagined, spiritual bodies (not spirits) equipped to dwell and function in the heavenly Kingdom of God! We have very little idea about what these new bodies will be capable of, but we see the LORD in His glorified body and what He could do (think about what He did while still in His natural body: He walked on water!).

Our present bodies have only five senses; who’s to say that our glorified bodies won’t have 50 senses with which to perceive and witness the glory of God, and with minds capable of understanding such glory! Our new bodies will probably be capable of flight – like the angels; we may be able to transport in the twinkling of an eye from the heavenly New Jerusalem to the New Earth and back again! The possibilities of these new glorified bodies are limitless – and fun to think about (Superman, eat your heart out!)!

1 COR 15:49-50
49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption
.

We will witness and experience the full, unfiltered potency of God’s grandeur and holiness and power and glory – if we were to glimpse for just a second that intensity of God’s presence and fullness of the knowledge of God (1 COR 13:12), it would destroy us, thus the warning that God gave to Moses (EXOD 33:20 “…for there shall no man see Me and live.”).

NEW AND IMPROVED!

1 COR 15:51-54
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory
.

This word “changed” in the Greek is allasso, and it means “to change, to make other than what it is, to transform” and is the same word used in HEB 1:11-12 in regarding the transformation of all creation:

HEB 1:11-12
11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; 12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail
.

So once the bride of Christ is completed – the last soul that God in His sovereignty and omniscience knows who will receive Christ, be baptized into the body of Christ – once they enter in, that will complete “fullness of the Gentiles” (ROM 11:25) and then the LORD will “[take] out (from the Gentiles) a people for His name” at the rapture (ACTS 15:14). The LORD will then turn again to Israel, deal with her rebellion against the Messiah in chastening and “build again the tabernacle of David” (ACTS 15:16) – the kingdom of Israel.

The TIME Of JACOB’s TRIBULATION

This has to do with the time of tribulation, “the time of Jacob’s Trouble” (JER 30:7), “the hour of temptation that will try all the world” (REV 3:10), “Daniel’s 70th Week” (DAN 9:24).
When Daniel the prophet prays to God on behalf of the nation Israel, confessing their national sins and seeks for God to hear his intercessions, the LORD sends the angel Gabriel with a message:SEVENTY WEEKS OF DANIEL

 

DANIEL 9:23-27
23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. 24 Seventy weeks
(shavuah – a week of seven years, a kind of Jewish decade, minus 3 yrs) 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. 25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem (begun in 445 BC) unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks (a period of 49 years to complete the building in Jerusalem), and threescore and two weeks (or 434 years): the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off
(crucified)*, but not for himself: and the people (The Roman armies in 70 AD) 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

[*- See LUKE 4:17-21 in comparison to ISAIAH 61:1-2 – note where the LORD leaves off reading in Isaiah: He doesn’t continue to read the passage because that is prophecy yet to be fulfilled at His Second Coming; His First Advent was to die for the sins of the world; His Second will be to bring judgment. In between those two times, His dealings with Israel is suspended and the focus there is the church whose time on Earth goes from Pentecost to the rapture.

Also, consider from the edict for Israel to restore and build Jerusalem (445 BC) to the time of the Messiah and His triumphant arrival into Jerusalem, riding on a colt and being hailed with “Hosanna to the Son of David (“Messiah”) was in fact 483 years – or 173,880 days to the very day. This was researched and documented in Sir Robert Anderson’s book, The Coming Prince.

49 years plus 434 years is 483 years – but this prophecy entails a total of 490 years – how many years are missing? Seven years: these seven years are just as much a part of the 70 prophetic weeks as the previous 483. Simply because there is a separation of 2000 years between the end of the 483 years (at the crucifixion of Christ) and when the tribulation period begins (at the conclusion of the church body, and subsequent rapture) – they are all part of the same prophecy – this prophecy is about Daniel’s people (the Jews) and the holy city (Jerusalem; vs. 24).

27 
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week (7 years): 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.

TRIBULATION TIMELINE (Seven Years of God’s Wrath)

The anti-Christ will confirm the covenant with “the many” – referring to the majority of Jews (differing from the remnant who will come to faith in Christ during the tribulation and find refuge in Bozrah/Petra) who will initially follow this man who will either give them the temple or provide the means that will allow them to worship there. The building of the temple must happen prior to this point, sometime between now – or perhaps even between the time of the rapture and the beginning of the seven-year tribulation period.
In the middle of this week, the Beast will commit the abomination by setting up his image in the Temple to be worshipped by the Jews and all the world:

DANIEL 12:11-12
11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12 Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days
.

2 THESS 2:3-4
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God
.

ONE WORLD ORDER

But before the Beast sets up his image in the Temple, perhaps even before the Temple is re-built, we read about the formation of the global government that the Beast will seize and assume control over:

Daniel was given a vision by God about the world empires of history that had a direct impact on the nation of Israel (In DANIEL 2 it was Nebuchadnezzar that was given the vision in a dream: a statue: whose head was of gold (Babylon), its chest and arms of silver (Medo-Persia), belly and thighs of brass (Greece) and legs of iron (Rome), and then feet and ten toes of iron and clay (Rome – Phase II) – we will look at ‘Phase II’ in a moment)): Daniel’s vision was of four brute beasts: here is the last beast – “dreadful and terrible”:

DANIEL 7:7-8
7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was
[different] from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. 8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

So as Daniel is examining the ten horns, something happens: another horn rises up, a small horn that takes out three of the ten horns.
These ten horns are ten kings (DAN 7:24) – “melek” in Hebrew, which can mean either king or kingdom, sometimes both at the same time. The little horn is the Beast, the anti-Christ – and it appears that he comes up after the first ten, not before or at the same time. How long between the ten horns and the rising of the little horn? Unknown; but it could be weeks, months or even years.

But the church, who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit cannot be here when the Beast is revealed:

2 THESS 2:4-12
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what
[restrains] that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now [restrains] will [restrain], until he be taken out of the way.
8 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: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe
[the] lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

I believe it’s possible though that we, the church, could still be here to see an official one world government established. A one world government (as well as a one world religion) that is absolutely hostile to biblical Christianity, just as Rome was. If not the church – if we are raptured by then, then certainly those saints who will come to express genuine faith in Christ once the tribulation begins.

Vs. 10-11 – It’s vital that any who hear the Gospel of Truth, that they receive, not reject it – because if one rejects the Gospel repeatedly when offered time and time again, the heart will become hardened and prepared for deception! I know of people who refuse the Gospel because they don’t believe the Bible – they say that if these prophecies come true and they find themselves in the Great Tribulation, that they will accept Christ then.

While there will be many who come to faith during this time, those who have repeated opportunity today, and keep rejecting Jesus – I believe they will be susceptible to deception more so than those who have not heard the Gospel.

ORDER of the UNIONS

There are many who saw the European Union as a fulfillment to prophecy regarding a ‘reformed Roman Empire’ – that will be similar to the old Roman Empire (“iron”) but not as strong (the “feet of iron and clay”). Incidentally, did you know that there is an African Union now? A South American Union, a Central American Union, an Asian Union forming up now? A North American Union will be coming soon, I’m sure. Once all the world is established in these unions, all you have to do is link all of them together, and you have the one world government.
This is what the old Roman Empire looked like:


And this is what the European Union looks like:


There are similarities certainly, but it’s not an exact fit is it? There has been a lot of trouble in the growth of the EU, and member states have either abandoned it, or are seriously considering it. The planners of this system however are thinking of solutions, but on an even grander scale.

They want to establish what’s being called the Mediterranean Union:



 It’s when the Beast sets up his image in the Temple, demanding worship and for all people to accept the mark, 666, without which no one will be able to buy or sell (even the necessities of life; REV 13:17-18) that the saints alive at that time will know when the LORD Jesus Christ is returning – 3.5 years from that point.

Yet we are told to expect the LORD at any time – that we don’t know “the day or the hour” (MATT 24:36; 25:13) and in such “a time as we think not” (MATT 24:44). Yet if we the church are here to see the Jews worshiping in a newly built Temple, offering once again the Mosaic sacrifices, granted to them by a one world leader who has gained global power, then we would know the time of the LORD’s coming: seven years from that point (or 3.5 yrs from the mid-Trib point when he sets up his image in the Temple).

The fact that we are told by the LORD Himself, that we won’t know the time of His coming, that it will be at a time when “we think not” that only a pre-tribulation rapture makes sense. So, while we can look forward to escaping these things (LUKE 21:36) by the grace of God and be kept from “the hour of temptation”:

REV 3:10
10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth
.
… we must be about our Father’s business, declaring the Gospel, warning of the time to come, and praying for those we know, who do not yet know the LORD Jesus Christ. For those who reject Christ and the Gospel, what they have to look forward to is:

2 THESS 2:7-9
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power
;

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