"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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Friday, September 17, 2021

CROSSING The ‘T’s TTUF STUDY 1st THESSALONIANS Ch. Four Cont’d & Five

~ by James Fire

For another great teaching in 1 Thessalonians, check out pastor Pat Lazovich from Calvary Chapel Sierra Vista! 

1st THESSALONIANS Chapter Four Cont’d & Five

INTRODUCTION: We don’t see miracles every day; they are by definition uncommon. That is their nature. If they happened all the time they would be considered mundane, not miraculous!
Yet the Bible is full of miracles and every time they happen, people react with utter astonishment.

Miracles are of two sorts: the first sort is the suspension of the laws of physics, and the direct intervention of GOD Who performs an act that would be considered by modern day science as ‘impossible’. Enoch’s translation from this planet and into the domain of GOD is such an example. The raising of Lazarus from the dead is another. The LORD Jesus walking on water.
And there’s the other sort where GOD will sovereignly use natural law to accomplish His purposes, such as the Flood with rain falling (an unprecedented event at that time) and tectonic-pressured geysers issuing millions upon millions of tons of water that covered the Earth.

Rain falling from the skies was rather a weird notion in Noah’s day.
The weird notion of today is the rapture of the church: the catching away of both the living and the dead “in Christ” who will be instantaneously transported from this world and “caught up” to meet the LORD “in the air” and from there, on to our Father’s house where JESUS has prepared for us mansions (JOHN 14:2; that He has conceivably been working on for perhaps the entire 2,000 years since He left the Mount of Olives at the ascension?)!

It's truly a bizarre idea that this world looks upon with incredulity, even mockery and derision, and yet even in the realm of today’s science, quantum physicists have been able to teleport electrons from one point to the other without traversing the distance between them. Granted, those are mere electrons, teleported only a few inches apart, a tiny brick wall separating those two points; but conceptually, that would represent a kind of ‘rapture in miniature’.

And if GENESIS 1:1 is taken literally – that GOD created all things from absolutely nothing [the Hebrew word barah means exactly that] other than His spoken Word – then transporting people from one dimensional reality to another isn’t so far-fetched at all!
With a little use of some imagination we can even accept such a thing as theoretically possible, every time Captain Kirk asked Scotty to “beam me up!”.

We’ll be getting into this controversial subject of the rapture and related issues in this study!

PART ONE of this Study

PART FIVE: The Future Hope Section
Chapter 4 cont’d. The LORD’s Coming
(1) The comforting hope for the bereaved: vs. 13-14.
(2) The order of the resurrection/rapture: vs. 15.
(3) The manner and accompanying events of Christ’s appearance: vs. 16-18.

1 THESSALONIANS 4:13-14
13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus
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The Thessalonian saints were taught already about this mind-boggling event previously when Paul enjoyed his stay with them; what he’s writing in this epistle is in part review of that teaching and also a response to the concerns that these saints were expressing.

They were expecting the LORD to come back at any time, knowing the times and the seasons in which to expect Him, but not the day or hour (1 THESS 5:1-2,4). They were witnessing a ‘one world government’ of sorts in Rome. The worship of Caesar as ‘God’ was an abomination. They suffered horrendous persecution. From their perspective, the last days had arrived – the times and seasons seemed theirs to behold.

And since the time of Paul’s visitation, the church there had some of their members pass away, and they were concerned that they would somehow ‘missed out’ on this glorious event which seemed imminent.

The apostle assures them that this was not the case at all!
GOD will bring with Him those who “sleep in Jesus”. Sleep for the saints of GOD is often in reference to death in Scripture.

The LORD Jesus told His disciples that “Lazarus is asleep, but I’m going to go wake him up” (JOHN 11:11). His disciples encouraged Him to let Lazarus rest, because then there is hope for his recovery from this deadly illness that he was suffering.
Then He clarified Himself and told them plainly that he was dead (JOHN 11:14) but that He was going to “wake him”.

Just as our bodies require sleep, but eventually wake up again, just so our bodies at death are merely ‘asleep’ but will one day be awoken when our spirit is reunited with our bodies at the time of the resurrection.

Note that GOD comes “with” them, not “for” them, because while their bodies sleep from which they themselves were “absent” – their spirits, are “present with the LORD” (2 COR 5:8). So these disembodied saints will come to this world along with the LORD, lay claim to their – at that very moment – glorified bodies, perhaps only a nano-second before we the living members of the church claim ours!

We who are still alive, who are in Christ, we are not with the LORD as our beloved departed are. We see Him certainly, but “through a dim mirror” (1 COR 13:12).

So those who have died in Christ have missed out on nothing at all. On the contrary, they are with the LORD right now! It’s us, in a sense, that are missing out! Thank GOD that we the living will be able to ‘make up for lost time’ as it were, in eternity when our fellowship with our Beloved LORD Jesus will be unending and perpetual!
Paul’s love for these saints is such that he couldn’t bear to have them ignorant of these matters, so he spends time going over the details of this Blessed Hope (TITUS 2:13) with them by this epistle, and thereby provided encouragement and comfort.

Since “we believe that Jesus died and rose again”, we are saved – because we also confess Him as LORD (ROM 10:9-10). This is the blessedness of salvation – that just as certainly as He began that good work in us, He will complete this work of salvation – of our hearts, minds and eventually of our bodies (PHIL 1:6; ROM 8:23; 1 THESS 5:23).

We know that “the just shall live by faith” (HAB 2:4; ROM 1:17; GAL 3:11 and HEB 10:38); encapsulated in these six small words is the entirety of the Christian life: we are accounted as just by GOD having this justification in Christ, our hearts sealed and sanctified; and as we presently live in this world, we are undergoing further sanctification in our minds by the Holy Spirit; and the hope that we have to one day be brought Home to be in our Father’s house, when we are then granted new and incorruptible bodies, which is a hope founded on our faith.

1 THESSALONIANS 4:15
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep
.

The word used for “coming” in the Greek is parousia and it means “a coming presence, being near [at hand], a return”. This same Greek word appears in MATT 24:3,27,37,39; 1 COR 15:23; 16:17; 2 COR 7:6-7; 10:10; PHIL 1:26; 2:12 as well as 1 THESS 2:19; 3:13; 5:23; 2 THESS 2:1,8-9; JAMES 5:7-8; 2 PET 1:16; 3:4,12 and 1 JOHN 2:28. It’s important to note that a different word is often used in reference to the LORD’s Second Coming – there, the word used is apocalypses, which is a revealing, an unveiling, disclosure, a revelation of something.

When the LORD Jesus apocalypses, He will be revealed for all that He is to this world that is wholly ignorant of Jesus in every way that truly matters (not to the church, because we know Him already as:) – the Messiah King of Israel, the Kinsman Goel, the Head of the Church, the Holy Judge of all the Earth, King of kings and Lord of lords, etc. Certainly when He comes for us, we will know Him in far greater depths in these various Messianic aspects and appellations exclusive to His relationship to the church, but we “love His appearing” – this One that we know and love and have had His heart revealed to us already.
This revelation will occur at the Second Coming when the wrath of GOD is fully realized, and His righteous judgment is executed upon this Christ-rejecting world:
ROMANS 2:4-6
4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation
[apocalypses] of the righteous judgment of God, :6 who "will render to each one according to his deeds. (See also 1 COR 1:7; 2 THESS 1:7; 1 PET 1:7,13; 4:13 and REV 1:1).
Were the timing of the rapture to coincide with the Second Coming, there would be no mere “coming near to” (as in parousia), but rather, the arrival with full revelation (apocalypses) as depicted in Scripture when Christ avails Himself to the eradication of the anti-Christ system of the Beast and establishes His own righteous reign of a thousand years.

Yet “parousia” is used here in Scripture and if one considers that this is in regards to the rapture – and in this scenario we can see where “coming near” to and not “arriving with the intent to reveal or disclose” is appropriate, because the LORD doesn’t come upon the Earth – specifically, the Mount of Olives (ZECH 14:4), but rather, He is “in the clouds” where we the church will meet Him. He comes near enough to the Earth (within our atmosphere) to snatch His bride away from this sin-burdened world and bring us all Home! (JOHN 14:1-3).

Opponents of the rapture like to point out that the word ‘rapture’ doesn’t even appear in the Bible (however, neither does ‘Trinity’ or ‘Bible’ for that matter) and we’ll get into that in a moment – but not in the twinkling of an eye!

So the order of events is that the dead shall rise first:

1 THESSALONIANS 4:16-18
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an arch-angel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words
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The LORD descends from heaven and shouts – not any angel, but the LORD Himself: this is a shout of incitement, to stir up, a call to action. One could envision a commanding officer shouting “attention!” to his men. That’s the idea conveyed here. We might convey the same idea by saying, “Yo, heads up!” Apparently the voice of one of the archangels is heard (perhaps Michael?).
The word for voice here is phone and it signifies “an address (for purpose), to be noised abroad; this is no gentle whisper, either from the LORD or His archangel!
We also hear the trumpet of GOD sounding and this is significant.

If we observe the Scriptures strictly for what they say precisely, this passage does not support a mid-trib (middle point of the seven year period of Daniel’s 70th week prophecy (DAN 9); for, they say, it’s “at the last trump” that we will be raptured out (1 COR 15:52), and this last trumpet call is associated with the seventh trumpet sounded by the seventh angel in REV 11:15.

But our text here in 1 THESS 4 doesn’t reveal the rapture occurring at the sounding of a trumpet by any angel, nor is it specifically calling this trumpet call ‘the sounding of the seventh trumpet” – but only by “the trumpet of GOD”.

One could say that all of the seven trumpets belong to GOD, for it is He Who gave them to the seven angels, but as a matter of expositional constancy, the text we are reading from should specify that fact – the angel sounding the trumpet. Yet the only thing we hear from this “archangel” (and note also that those in REV 11 are not specified as archangels, but ‘angels’ only) is his voice.

In my mind, there are too many inconsistencies to attribute our text with verses such as in 1 CORINTHIANS 15, that express the timing of the rapture occurring anytime during or at the end of the last of the 490 “shavuah” or seven year period spoken of by the prophet Daniel.
Once the dead in Christ are risen (via resurrection), then it remains for those yet living to be “caught up” – or harpazo in the Greek, meaning “to seize, catch up or away, to pluck, take by force”; this same word in Latin is rapiere or rapturos which is why this event is frequently referred to as the rapture.

In consideration of those of the church yet alive at this time, the one prerequisite in order for a person to be resurrected is, they must be dead. One cannot resurrect a living person. Yet here we are talking about people who shall put off corruption and put on incorruption (1 COR 15:53) – they shall “shuck off their mortal coil” and inherit glorified bodies, and like Enoch, never experience death (so this isn’t speaking of a sort of ‘spiritual resurrection’ for those saints yet living, for this happened already at their spiritual rebirth; ROM 6:13).

One cannot call such an event a resurrection – so what does one call it? A translation – like what happened with Enoch (who never saw death; GEN 5:24; HEB 11:5)? Elijah was likewise ‘translated’ via chariots and angels of fire and a whirlwind of some sort (a space/time vortex perhaps? 2 KINGS 2:11).

John the apostle was caught up in heaven as well (REV 4:1). Interestingly enough, all of these men were caught up before GOD’s judgment fell by Flood, by pagan nations preying upon Israel, and the judgments as seen in Revelation, respectively.

It's worthy of note that when John the Apostle was caught up, the seven lamp stands, representative of the seven churches (REV 1:20) which was on Earth; he then sees them before the throne of GOD – yet there at the throne, they’re depicted as “the seven Spirits of GOD” and yet again, it’s the Holy Spirit that indwells and seals the church (EPH 1:13), never to leave us (this is what astounded the apostle Paul as he elaborates this mystery regarding the indwelling of the Spirit in the church; EPH 3). So it makes sense that these lampstands are identified as both the church, and the Holy Spirit, for Whom we are His temple (1 COR 6:19). This transport of John as well as the seven lamp stands occurs before the opening of the seven seals.

Likewise I believe the church will be absent from the Earth once GOD’s final judgment upon Israel occurs – this “time of Jacob’s Trouble” (JER 30:7) aka Daniel’s 70th week prophecy to complete the previous 483 years to fulfill the entire 490: all of which involves the Jewish people, Jerusalem, and Israel – but not the church.

There are many dichotomies in Scripture that involve Christ returning to the Earth, and these are resolved if one understands that in some verses it’s speaking of His feet being planted on terra firma while others do not – and other seeming contradictions as well. But these are resolved if one understands that He comes two times: once for His church “in the air” but not touching down on Earth – rather, He takes us to His Father’s house instead (JOHN 14:1-3; and bringing us to the Father’s house might have an allusion to ISAIAH 26:20: “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation [tribulation] be overpast

Others firmly believe this has to do with the believing remnant of Israel who will shelter in place in Bosrah (MIC 2:12), awaiting the Messiah to Whom they will “acknowledge their sin and seek His face” (HOS 5:15) and at that time Jesus returns! I see no reason at all why this reference couldn’t have a double fulfillment; overtly for Israel and covertly for the church).

Check out this TTUF article originated by the late Dave Hunt: Pre- or Post-Trib Rapture?.
There are those post-tribulation folk that emphasize the fact that there are only two classified events: the resurrection of the just and the resurrection of the unjust (LUKE 14:14; DAN 12:2; JOHN 5:28-29).

Who is the first fruits of the resurrection? The LORD Jesus Christ of course (1 COR 15:20). Then there are the two witnesses – these are also resurrected after dying three and a half days prior (REV 11:11-12); all of these are just and righteous – but these are not part of the resurrection of the just which happens much later? I don’t see any reason to assume therefore that the church must be resurrected at the first resurrection in a chronological sense, but in the sense that the LORD, His bride, the two witnesses are all a part of the ‘first’ resurrection of the just [from the dead].

I see these resurrections as categories rather than as events; there is the physical resurrection of those who come out of great tribulation at the end of the tribulation, of course (REV 7:14) but there is no indication that these are members of the church; they are saints yes, but they are not referred to as Christians, or the temple of the Holy Spirit, or the body or bride of Christ. They have washed their garments in the blood of the Lamb, but ultimately, this is said of every saint, vicariously speaking, Old Testament and New.

1 THESSALONIANS 4:17b-18
…And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words
.

Regardless of one’s eschatology of the rapture of the church; we can all agree on the truth that we will one day – one blessed day!! – be with the LORD, and not only that, but “shall always be with the LORD”.

We can take great comfort in these words, and most especially those in the church that are suffering persecution by the haters of GOD and the Holy Word, but this comfort is not exclusive to these persecuted saints. I think of all the saints who are in terminal wards, with incurable diseases like various forms of cancer, that are enduring unimaginable pain and suffering.

My heart breaks for the children most especially and all of these – and even we ourselves who aren’t being persecuted (yet) or suffering afflictions from terminal diseases, but merely by being in this world of sin, our righteous souls being vexed (like Lot, who himself is considered by the Scripture as righteous, and whose spirit was “harassed, oppressed”, even “tortured” as the Greek implies in both verses; 2 PET 2:7-8) – will be exuberantly joyful when we are released from this world of sinful darkness, rebellion, and outright evil, and ushered into the very sweet and precious and pure presence of our dear LORD Jesus Christ and dwell with Him forever and ever!

I expect one good reason (among countless others) that we will receive glorified bodies is because only they will be able to survive the sort of bear-hug that awaits each and every one of us once the LORD wraps His Almighty Arms around us, and on that day we will truly sing, “Leaning, leaning safe and secure from all alarm; leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms”!!

Moving on, we can compare our text with what Paul elaborates on elsewhere in 1 CORINTHIANS:

1 CORINTHIANS 15:51-57
51 Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will 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 has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." 55 "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" 56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is a mystery only in the sense of something once hidden, but recently revealed, so that there is no lack of understanding of the central components. In this case, it is the mystery of the translation of the saints from their natural state of corruption (by the sin nature) to their supernatural state of incorruption (the completion of the divine nature we inherited through Christ (2 PET 1:4; 1 COR 15:35-44); by virtue of the fact that this is an incorruptible state, that we will no longer have the capacity to sin, nor ever, ever have the temptation to sin).

The truth of the resurrection of Christ as expounded upon in 1 COR 15:12-23 is central as well as foundational for the Christian faith; an argument can easily be made therefore that this is ‘The Most Important Chapter In The Bible’ (See this FMF article, Part One and Two).

This transformation will by no means be gradual, but instantaneous: in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye – some suggest that this is the time it takes for light to enter the pupil and be reflected back. This is an infinitesimal amount of time because as we know, light travels at 186,000 miles per second – and in one second of time, light can travel around the Earth seven times! Now imagine how much time it would take for light to ‘bounce’ off your pupil once it entered your eye! If that’s how fast the translation of the church is going to be, then we will be there before we know it!

Recently I theorized with a brother from church on a situation that will no doubt actually happen – somewhere, at least once – in this world: imagine an evangelist sharing the gospel with a lost soul and this person happens to be the one that in GOD’s foreknowledge will be the last one to complete the church. The Father says to the Son, “Your bride is ready! Go get her!”
Now at the conclusion of receiving Christ, perhaps with heads bowed in prayer, the rapture happens, and by the time they open their eyes, they (along with all of us!) are in glory, beholding JESUS! And the newly redeemed saint whispers reverently to the astounded evangelist, “Does it happen like this often??

1 CORINTHIANS 15:54c-56
"Death is swallowed up in victory." 55 "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" 56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law
.

The wages of sin being death, means that sin brings about death in all of its forms: not merely physical death, but destruction and ruin of a mind that no longer functions as GOD intended; so that humanity is plagued with thinking and processing thoughts that are horrendously unholy and vile and held with contempt by the Holy King. The heart being desperately wicked (JER 17:9) can only from such a heart produce corrupt fruit:

MATTHEW 15:18-20
"But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man 19 "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 "These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man."

We will finally be delivered from such hearts and minds that can only bring forth – if not outright destruction, then the seeds of destruction contained within even the most noblest and well-intended plans, objectives, and dreams.

I think of our forefathers and what they wrought by our Constitution and a rule by godly men over a godly nation. Truly a noble effort, but even so, while such men were godly, they were still only redeemed sinners with flawed, corruptible hearts and thus flawed, corruptible fruit.
Sin would inevitably work its way outward until it was manifested and rot the very substance of such noble dreams.

But not so with the coming Kingdom of GOD, for the sting of death (and destruction, ruin, disorder, corruption) is sin, and in its absence we will never witness anything of this sort ever again!

In the glorious kingdom to come, all that is founded upon the foundation of Satan and sin will be shaken and removed, and in its place “a kingdom which cannot be shaken” (HEB 12:27-28)! Hence, our eternal victory is ensured! And this will all begin for the church when we hear that trumpet call!

For extensive articles, and audio teachings on the pre-70th week rapture of the church, check out our TTUF resources!
1 CORINTHIANS 15:57
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ
.

The LORD Jesus said it plainly:
JOHN 16:33
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world
.
PART TWO 
Onto the next section in chapter Five:

Chapter 5.

(4) The time of the Advent is unknown: vs. 1-2.
(5) Unexpected by unbelievers: vs. 3.
(6) Children of light should be ready: vs. 4-8.
(7) Safety for believers at this time: vs. 9-11.

1 THESSALONIANS 5:1-2

1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.

It would seem that the only person who knows the very day of the rapture of the church is GOD the Father (MATT 24:36) and at some point, the Son Himself most likely (REV 1:1). The same can’t be said of the Second Coming once the covenant is enforced by the Beast for Israel or his setting up his image in the Temple.

We know the Second Coming is either seven years after the enforced covenant (DAN 9:27) or three and a half years after the image of the Beast stands in the holy place (DAN 12:11).

The doctrine of imminency is something that revolves around the doctrine of the rapture itself, and if the rapture is something distinct from the Second Coming (as pre-70th week eschatology assumes), then we understand prophecies of the last days point to Christ’s return to Earth to destroy the anti-Christ system along with the Beast and False prophet and to establish His own Kingdom here, they don’t point to the rapture of the church. There are no prophecies or prerequisite events necessary for the rapture. In fact, this event will happen “at a time when you think not” (MATT 24:44).
MATTHEW 24:42
Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
MATTHEW 25:13
Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
MARK 13:32-33
32 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
It’s incredible to think that with the loosing of the seven seals, and with such intensity of war, famine, pestilences, and earthquakes; and a one world government and religion enforced; what with these hideous demonic beasts rising up out of the Earth, and death being suspended for five months while these things torment them (REV 9:1-11) – all of this happening, and yet more:
The mark of the beast is assigned to all the earth-dwellers who will worship the dragon and the beast. Angels will appear warning against taking the mark and preaching the everlasting Gospel. Whole swaths of land and sea on the Earth are destroyed and people become ‘rare’ on the planet…

And yet at such a time, with all this and more still going on, could there be anyone who would say, “I don’t think the end of the world will be any time soon; I don’t think the LORD is coming at all now”?

If the Bible teaches the rapture will occur at the Second Coming, then with all of these signs happening, Jesus would say, “It will happen at the time you expect it [when you see these signs]”, but again, these signs indicate the return of Christ with His saints to the Earth; the rapture happens when the LORD comes back – “we don’t know when” but at a time “when we think not” – for His saints, the church.

As it now stands, we don’t have any idea exactly when either event will take place, but we do know “the times and the seasons”. I believe these began with the regathering of the nation of Israel according to ISAIAH 11:11.

It’s noteworthy that when the edict went forth to restore and rebuild the city of Jerusalem to the coming of the Messiah as He entered into Jerusalem, riding on the colt with the sound of “Hosanna to the Son of David!” ringing in His ears, it was 483 years – exactly to the day (refer to Sir Robert Anderson’s book (buy it here), The Prince That Shall Come (this link will bring you to a pdf file) that details all the particulars and reveals the precision in which this prophecy was answered, based on DAN 9:25).

We have no reason to assume that with equal precision, the LORD Jesus Christ won’t return to the day – seven years after – the enforcing of the covenant, especially because this final week is integral to the other 69 weeks in which the restoration of Jerusalem, and the first advent (as well as the second) of the Messiah is prophesied!

A thief enters unobserved – if he is crafty!

And those who are not watchful will certainly be caught off guard and find themselves trapped in this time of tribulation, with the only viable escape being martyrdom by beheading – denying the Beast and thus incur this capital punishment but claiming Jesus Christ as LORD and receive blessing and honor for dying for His Name sake.

Those who are watchful however, and prayerful – these will not be caught off guard, and the LORD’s coming won’t be as a thief in the night.

The rapture will have no precedent event occurring of a prophetic nature, so that it can indeed happen at any moment, any hour of any day.

1 THESSALONIANS 5:3

For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.

This phrase “labor pains” and “sorrows” is an idiom used elsewhere in the Scriptures, connotatively as GOD’s judgment on Israel, but also denoting this very specific time of judgment known as Jacob’s Trouble (JER 30:6-7; MATT 24:8; MARK 13:8).

The indicators of the last days prior to the coming of Christ that our LORD listed for us in MATT 24:4-7,9-14) all hinge on vs. 8: All these are the beginning of sorrows. The earthquakes, famines, wars, diseases, etc. are not the signs of the last days themselves (because as many critics point out, we’ve had these things since the beginning of time); it’s the pattern of increasing and decreasing intensity but escalating with every increase – along with the increasing frequency of these events: the same pattern as a woman in labor giving birth.

Mankind has had approximately 6,000 years of self-rule to prove himself worthy of such, and as always, any lasting “peace and safety” alludes him. Though they declare boldly in those days that they will have them, what they receive instead is instant destruction – the sort that is irreparable.

The LORD referred to this Himself:

LUKE 21:25
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
The phrase “with perplexity” means ‘quandary’ – no way out, no solutions. The seas are often representative of the Gentile nations (ISAIAH 57:20; this verse indicates a time of constant upheaval with not a moment of rest or idleness). In other words the world is on an unavoidable collision course (“they shall not escape”) – which is why I believe the LORD promised us:
MATTHEW 24:22
And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
This time could go on for many years, or even decades, until, having extracted every drop of worship from man, Satan would see to our destruction, wholesale. Yet the LORD intentionally is keeping this time period short, down to just seven years, and then the end will come!

1 THESSALONIANS 5:4-8
4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.

Now here we have an interesting contrast between we who are “sons of light and … day” and those who are “in darkness”. It’s vital in these darkening days, as children of light to walk in the light and have a fluent fellowship with the Friend of friends, the LORD Jesus Christ (GAL 5:25; 1 JOHN 1:7). Remembering our breastplate and helmet is to acknowledge that this warfare we face in this world is real, and our weapons of faith, love and hope will ensure personal victory – every time, over the darkness that surrounds us!

This Day will not come as a surprise to us – but as previously stated, I can’t imagine the Second Coming will be a surprise to anyone, given the literal apocalyptic nature of the events transpiring in those seven last years of history under human autocracy.

Who would experience this ‘Day’ as a surprise? Those in darkness, who are not looking for the LORD to come in a surprise visit to gather His saints to meet Him “in the air”. The day of our departure from this world will be “as the days of Noah” (MATT 24:37-39, 40-42) – just your typical, every day, non-eventful, hum-drum sort of day, where it will be “business as usual” when suddenly this event happens that will turn this world upside down in absolute panic:

Where did these people go? Who took them?! Will I be next??!

I believe this will put the global government (which is currently getting up to speed with this ‘Great Global Reset’ this article by Pete Garcia of Prophecy Update is excellent, a must read!) on the fast track – and who knows? This tremendous push for mass vaccinations could be a cataloguing and an identification process to account for those left behind (?). Satan knows his time is short, and this vaccination could be (hypothetically speaking) a means towards this end.

Paul the apostle admonishes the saints to “not sleep” – and yet what do we find in the professing church today? There are few pastors (relatively speaking) who are even concerned about prophecy, much less teaching it. Thank the LORD for pastors like J.D. Farag and ministries like The Berean Call, among choice others who are still sounding the clarion call for Christ Jesus’ soon return!

Too many churches are looking to build the kingdom of GOD here on this Earth, when they should simply be inviting people to the kingdom of GOD via salvation in Christ, Who Himself is going to establish the kingdom – not the church! These churches are progressive, Social Gospel and, or New Apostolic/Kingdom Now sort of ministries that assert that Christ CAN’T return UNTIL the church establishes the kingdom.

Which is the perfect set up for the arrival of the Christ – that is, the False Christ – when he arrives and is lauded as the Savior of the world! Yet instead, they will be damning their own souls when they pledge allegiance to the Beast by bearing his mark (REV 13:16-18)!

1 THESSALONIANS 5:9-11

9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. 11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

There are many who think of the time of tribulation simply as the greatest time of persecution for the saints, specifically, of the church. To be frank, it will be the greatest time of persecution, however this time period has an altogether different agenda. Note the contrast in the above verse – there are those who obtain salvation, and those who, because they reject salvation, incur the wrath of GOD.

Of course Satan will be targeting saints and martyring them, most certainly – however, this time period is not inaugurated by Satan! GOD is in charge and it’s He Who is loosening the seven seals (the title deed of the Earth according to REVELATION 5) and bringing about the various judgments and wrath appointed for those who reject the Christ, the true Savior of the world:
REVELATION 6:16
And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
Yet we the church – quite simply are “not appointed to wrath” as are “the earth dwellers” the phrase commonly referred to those upon which these plagues, judgment and wrath are pouted upon.

We the church are not “earth dwellers” in this sense; we are not part of this world (JOHN 17:14-16), but pilgrims passing through this world of sin, looking for that kingdom Whose Maker is GOD (HEB 12:26-28; 11:13-16; 1 PET 2:10-11; EPH 2:19).

The fact that we are not appointed to these things is a source of comfort to us, the church. Were it otherwise, that we could expect to go through Daniel’s 70th week, this would hardly be a comfort. Yet whether we are alive at the time of the rapture or whether we ‘sleep’ in the LORD, all of us shall live together with HIM! Forever and ever!
As I write this, I’ve been receiving texts from my sister who is overseeing our ailing 94 year old saintly mother in her hospital room, who suffered a massive stroke, from which – unless by Divine intervention and a miracle from His nail scarred Hand – she will not recover, but instead be “absent from the body, [and] present with the LORD” (2 COR 5:8; 1 THESS 4:15) and while her body ‘sleeps’, we who are ‘awake’ (alive) share the same blessed Hope in which all the saints will live with the LORD Jesus Christ!
We live in such a dark time, that we truly need to build up (“edify”) one another in the most holy faith (JUDE 1:20), which is why assembly of the saints is crucial at this time:

HEBREWS 10:23-25

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

The reason being is because iniquity will abound and the love of many will grow cold (MATT 24:12). May this not be said of us, but rather, let our fervent desire, passion and love for the LORD grow only brighter, hotter and fluent in these Last Days of Lawlessness: The Times of the Signs! Amen!

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