Introduction of End Times
The Rapture Part 1
Before I began this study I did some research on the fulfillment of the prophecies concerning Yeshua’s (Jesus ) first and second coming. There is a great amount of discrepancy in the actual number of prophecies that are about our Lord in the Old Testament. The reason for this I discovered is because some of the some prophecies are repeated by different authors at different times in history. Many of them have recorded the same events that were to occur in history. In total we have around 700 references in the Hebrew text about the coming of the Messiah.
As we begin this study about the prophecies that are to be fulfilled concerning the second coming of our Lord, we need to first look at the astonishing fulfillment of the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled in his first coming. From Genesis to Malachi there are prophecies that foretell the exact events of Jesus’ life; from identifying his birth place to the Roman’s tossing lots for his garments at the foot of the cross. These prophecies span 4,000 years, written by different prophets at various times in the 4,000 year history. All of these prophecies were written long before the man Jesus was ever born.
Mathematicians have figured the odds of one single person fulfilling all 700 of these prophecies, (which history confirms; Jesus did fulfill) is so astronomical that our minds could not possibly comprehend it. For instance Dr. Peter Stoner estimated the odds against just 48 of only 300 or so Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah to be fulfilled in one person. He calculated the odds at 1 in 10 to the power 157. What it means for these prophecies to be fulfilled by just one person is 1 in 1,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
I cannot go on because the zeros would continue to fill up the page. Jesus however fulfilled more than 48, He fulfilled around 700. If the odds were to be calculated they would fill a book full of zeros. These odds are so beyond what our minds can comprehend that one has to conclude that none of these predictions and their fulfillment has happened by change. It is only possible because of the supernatural hand of God almighty who has written history in advance of it happening, through the prophets of old. History after all is of course, His story.
Dr. Mark Hitchcock has a new book on prophecy coming out soon in which he mentions that there are more than 300 references to the Lord's coming in the New Testament, which has only 260 chapters. Prophecy makes up twenty-eight percent of the Bible. There are over 300 prophecies concerning Christ's Second Coming in the New Testament — one out of every 30 verses. He also states that there are 109 prophecies of His first coming (which He fulfilled completely), yet there are 224 that forecast His Second Coming. Twenty-six books of the New Testament refer to the promise of His coming, and three of those were personal letters to individuals. The rest highlighted this important doctrine that was preached in the earliest days of the church.
I believe this kind of information is so important because of all the mockers of the bible who try to influence people into believing it’s a book full of fairy tales and old wives tales. All anyone has to do is ask God to prove His existence to you, and He will. He wants to be intimately acquainted with you. The bible is His story, that is, it is history of events many of them written in advance of them happening. This is the basis of our study of the scriptures concerning the rapture, the tribulation and the second coming. We can be sure that the rest of His Story, that is, His second coming and every thing that surrounds it, will be foretold with the same amount of accuracy.
With so much talk about the end of the world and the rise of the anti-Christ, this study is designed to clarify the sequence of events from the Bible where that is possible. I will also be explaining from this ministry’s point of view the meaning of the various scriptures that point to the end of days. This ministry’s view is based on a Hebraic understanding of the scriptures and I take the position of the dispensational pretribulational and premillennial viewpoint on most matters concerning eschatology. However I am always open to new revelation of the meaning of scripture based on current events. Prophecy is much easier to interpret looking back in history as apposed to looking ahead.
To that end, in order to understand the events that are to take place at the end of days, we must make a distinction between the Rapture, which is the catching away of the of the true believers, Jew and Gentile, men and women, known as the Bride of Christ, and the second coming of Jesus. They are not the same event. They are two separate and distinct events. This is important to understand because without this understanding many of the scriptures that we will look at will not make sense and in some cases they may seem to contradict one another. There is another distinction that also needs to be made, that is the distinction between the saints. There are the saints that have died in the faith before Christ, and there are those saints who have died in Christ. There are those saints who will be alive at the time of the Rapture. They are the Bride of Christ, Jew and Gentile believers, who are the body of saints that will be spared from the great tribulation. Then there are those that will remain on the earth at the time of the Rapture. These people will become believers during the tribulation. Many Christians are being martyred today all over the world for their belief in Jesus Christ. Many of the tribulation saints will also be martyred because of their faith in Jesus as the messiah of Israel. This hatred for Christian and Jew will only increase until the end of the age.
The scriptures tell us that at the end of the age there will be a seven year Tribulation period on the earth. The purpose of the Tribulation is to bring about repentance and revival for the inhabitants left upon the earth after the Rapture and before the return of Christ. During this time the wrath of God will fall upon the inhabitants of the earth because they have rejected His Son who came to save the world. A world dictator, called the anti-Christ will rise to power. Satan will be thrown down to earth, no longer allowed to go before the throne of God accusing the saints. He will move upon the earth with great wrath because he knows that his time is short. Those people who will be left upon the earth during this horrific time will have to endure not just the wrath of God but the wrath of Satan as well. The Tribulation will begin with the signing of a seven year peace treaty with Israel by the world dictator that is known as the anti-Christ.
At the half way mark of the seven years, the anti-Christ will break the peace treaty and declare himself to be god. He will not allow anyone to buy or sell unless they have his mark. Anyone that takes his mark is doomed for all eternity and has sided with Satan and the anti-Christ and declared themselves to be an enemy of Christ. Let me warn my readers at this point. Under NO circumstance should you take the mark, even if it means starving to death. Death by starvation will turn out to be a blessing, if a soul turns to God and accepts the work of the cross, in comparison to spending an eternity with Satan. No one knows what the mark will be, it could be a tattoo that identifies you to be a follower of the antichrist or it could be an implant with all your information. What ever it will be, you can be sure it will sound good and will probably be sold to the masses because of the convenience it will bring.
There will be 144,000 Jews from Israel that will not bow down to the anti-christ they will be Jews that believe that Yeshua (Jesus’ Hebrew name) is the Messiah of Israel. They will preach the gospel message to the nations of the world. Many will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus, but at a great price, for many will be martyred because of their faith. The surviving Jews in Israel that believe that Jesus is their Messiah will flee to the mountains of Jordon during the second half of the Tribulation waiting for the return of the Lord.
At the end of the seven years, Christ will return with His Bride to judge the world. Satan will be bound for 1,000 years. During this time of 1,000 years the saints of God will rule and reign with Christ. This period of time that is called the Millennium, is a period of time when the Lord will restore all things. It will be a time of peace and righteous rule. At the end of Millennium Satan will be unbound and there will be the final rebellion of mankind. Satan will lead this rebellion against the Lord and the final outcome will be that Satan and his followers will be cast into the lake of fire. Then the Lord will present his family of believers with a new heaven and a new earth. We that are in Christ will be with Him for all eternity
I have given you just a very brief description of the events that are to take place at the end of days. Now we are going to look a little deeper at various scriptures that will support the sequence of the events that I have mentioned in more detail.
The first thing that must happen at this point in the history in regard to all these events is the Rapture. The Rapture does not have any events that “must” precede it. The second coming of Christ however, does have events that must precede it. The events concerning the second coming of Christ we will discuss a little later. Scripture teaches us that the Rapture is imminent. In other words there is nothing that has to take place before it can happen. Therefore, it can happen at any time. A careful study of the Bible reveals that there are patterns that repeat themselves time and time again. One of the most notable patterns is that major events of history happen on the feast days.
Jesus, when He came the first time fulfilled the Jewish Spring Feasts, precisely on the exact day. He became our Passover Lamb on the Jewish feast of Pesach which is Passover, He rose from the dead on Bikkurim which is the Festival of First Fruits, He then ascended into heaven on the 40th day of counting the Omer and poured out His Spirit on Shavuot known in English as Pentecost. Because of this pattern set forth, we expect Him to fulfill the fall feasts in exactly the same way when He returns. We also expect the Rapture to follow the pattern and take place on a feast day. Although it is true that we cannot know the exact day or hour, we can know the season. I have a study of the fall feasts that would shed some light on this concept. It can be found by clicking on the link Fall Feasts of The Messiah
Nowhere in scripture will you find the word Rapture. This is a term that Christians have coined for the “catching way” of the believers in Christ as they ascend into heaven. It came from the Latin translation of the bible which reads: simul rapiemur cum illis.1 Jesus set the stage for the Rapture when He made a promise to us just before His ascension to join His Father in heaven after the resurrection. He said this, found in John 14:1-3
"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 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. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."
Jesus Is at this very moment in time preparing a place for His Bride and when all is prepared perfectly and when it is completed He will appear to gather those that are His to join Him where He is. He does not say that He will be joining His Bride on earth, no He says that His Bride will come to where He is in Heaven. So this fetching of His Bride, or “catching away” is clearly not the second coming, but the Rapture.
When the Rapture does take place, the dead in Christ will come out of their graves and rise first ahead of those true believers that are alive on the earth. Then those that are alive shall be caught up together with those that rose first; gathering in the clouds to meet our Lord in the air. The rapture and the judgment of God at the end of days is not just a New Testament concept. We find many scriptures in the Hebrew text that confirm this belief.
Let me share two of my favorite scriptures in the Hebrew text that assure us that the Lord has plans to hide his beloved away during the time of His wrath. These were written to give us great comfort. In the following scriptures the parentheses are mine.
Ps. 27: "For in the time of trouble (Hebrew idiom for The Tribulation) He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock."
The next scriptures are my all time favorites because it is a Hebrew scripture that confirms our New Testament teaching on the rapture and the hiding away of His Bride during the time of His wrath.
Is.26:19-20 "Your dead shall live; (hope of eternal life) Together with my dead body they shall rise. (Jesus’ resurrection and our rapture) Awake (sound of the shofar) and sing, you who dwell in dust; For your dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. (the dead in Christ will rise first) Come, my people, enter your chambers, (Bridal Chambers) And shut your doors behind you; Hide yourselves, as it were, for a little moment until the indignation (The Tribulation) is past."
The prophet Daniel had much to say about the end of the age. The following verse proves that he had knowledge of people arising from their graves.
Dan 12:2 "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt."
1 Thess 4:13-18 "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. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will also bring with Him all those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. For we say this to you by the Word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord shall not go before those who are asleep. For we say this to you by the Word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord shall not go before those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first. 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 so we shall ever be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words."
Much discussion had arisen in Thessalonica about the Rapture, the believers were questioning whether or not those that were no longer alive would gain the blessing of the Rapture. Paul understood the concern that the believers had for their loved ones who had fallen asleep, and he comforts them with these words and gives them hope. The believers believed in the resurrection of the dead and that it would take place on judgment day, they however made a distinction between those that died in the faith and those that did not. Those that died in the faith had “fallen asleep”. This term was never used for the unbeliever 2
In these scripture we see that there is going to be an order in how things progress. The Lord will descend from His heavenly place and enter into a lower atmosphere to shout for His Bride to arise at the appointed time. There will be the sound of the trumpet or of the shofar, this is a hint to us that this will happen on a feast day. There is a Feast of Trumpets in the fall of the year, and it is very likely that the remez hint is pointing to this feast day. With this sound the saints dead in Christ will rise first and those saints that remain on the earth will be caught up in the air with those whose graves opened with the sound to meet their Bridegroom in the clouds.
The Greek word for our English “caught up” is the word harpadzo. It means to snatch away, catch up, take by force. This scripture and this word harpadzo is the main scripture from which the Christian doctrine of the Rapture was built. It is the same word used for Philips translation and for Paul being caught up to heaven. The Lord does not return to the earth at this point. We meet Him in the air. This is not His second coming. This is the catching away of His Bride.
We who are in Christ are able to comfort one another with the blessed assurance that those who are the Bride will be protected from the wrath of God. We are to remind each other that God has made a provision for His beloved Bride. The wrath of God has not been assigned to His Beloved. We who are in Christ are a part of His body. He would not assign wrath to His own body, therefore He has provided a way of escape for those that are in Him. The way of escape is the Rapture. Now I want to look at a few scriptures that assure us that God’s wrath is not for his beloved.
1Th 1:9-10 "For they themselves witness what kind of entrance we had to you, even how you turned from idols to God in order to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from Heaven (whom He raised from the dead), Jesus, who delivered us from the wrath to come."
We who are in Jesus, i.e. married 3 to Him will be delivered from the wrath that is planned during the Tribulation. Make no mistake there is a time planned for the wrath of God to be released upon the earth. Our deliverance from the wrath was taken care of at the cross. However, only when we appropriate that gift of salvation will we be protected from the wrath when it does come.
Rev 3: 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
This is a promise for those in the faith that have had trials and tribulation and even though they may have fallen; they never-the-less picked themselves up again and persevered in the faith. The promise is to be kept from the hour of temptation which is another name for the Tribulation. The last phrase of this scripture is pretty interesting. To try those who dwell on the earth is a phrase that is meant to describe humankind in opposition to God.4 This phrase alone tells us that the testing that is coming by way of the Tribulation is not for the faithful, but for those that are in opposition with God. The Tribulation will cause some that are in opposition to God to turn from their wicked ways and accept the love that Yeshua has offered them. Others will remain unrepentant and therefore will be doomed for destruction.
Since the hour of temptation is another Hebrew idiom to the Tribulation I want to draw your attention to the words of the “Lords Prayer”. The words Jesus taught us to pray in that prayer that say, “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil”, should have a whole new meaning. To paraphrase we would be saying, “Father lead us not through the hour of temptation which is the Tribulation, but deliver us from the evil that will bring your wrath on the inhabitants of the earth in that day."5
The New Testament writers use a number of Hebrew idioms when referring to The Tribulation. Some of them are as follows, The Great Tribulation,6 The Wrath to Come,7 the Wrath,8 and The Hour of Judgment,9 Also in the Hebrew text The Tribulation is spoken of as well with many idioms. Here are just a few, The Day of Wrath, The Day of Distress, The Day of Wasteness, The Day of Desolation, The Day of Gloominess, The Day of Clouds,10 The Day of the Trumpet,11 and the Day of the Alarm.12 The references to these idioms can be found in the footnotes for your own study.
Now let’s look at another scripture that has to do with the fact that when the Rapture finally takes place; we are going to enter heaven with a change in our physical bodies.
1 Cor 15:50-58 "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed- 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 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." "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord"
It is clear that our bodies will change because in the state that we are now we cannot inherit the kingdom of God or enter heaven in bodies made of flesh and blood. We will be given glorified bodies. We will be given new incorruptible bodies in a spilt second that will be fit for a Holy reception.
Since the time of His wrath is during the Tribulation; it makes sense to this ministry that the Rapture will take place some time before the Tribulation begins.
It is at this point in the study I would like to make a distinction between the persecution and suffering of Christians by the hand of man and the Tribulation that is planned for the earth by the hand of God. Before the rapture takes place Christians will suffer greatly. Many Christians today are being beheaded by evil men who are in opposition to God and hate Christians and Jews. There is much persecution of Christians happening all over the world by the hand of man.
This is not to be confused with the Tribulation. The Tribulation is a period of seven years when the hand of God’s wrath will be unleashed upon those that are in opposition to His will. I believe that it is in error to think that because Christians have suffered and been persecuted for two thousand years in so many evil ways; that they will surely have to go through the Tribulation with the rest of mankind. Keep in mind that the Tribulation is when the earth will experience the wrath of God. It is not unthinkable to me to accept the fact that the Bride must share in the sufferings of Christ.
It is however, unthinkable for me to accept the possibility that the wrath of God would be poured out upon His very own Body and beloved Bride. I believe that our Bridegroom has planned away of escape for His Bride and that way of escape is called the Rapture. I also believe that it will take place some time before the Tribulation begins. I do not see any where in scripture that any event must precede the rapture. Therefore it could happen at any time. This ministry believes that the scriptures hint at the possibility of the “Catching away of the Bride” to take place on a fall feast day.
Since it will be those who are in opposition with God that will be left behind when the rapture takes place, let each of us ask God to examine our heart to see if there is any wicked way within us. He is able to forgive regardless of what the sin may be or how long we have struggled with it. All God wants from us is to admit to Him that we need His help and that we are unable to escape the bondage of sin on our own. Jesus is standing at the door of your heart, just waiting to be invited in. Eternal life is yours for the asking. Don’t get left behind.
1 Science Speaks 1958
2 The Footsteps of the Messiah, Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum
3 The Footsteps of the Messiah, Arnold Fruchtenbaum
4 Those married to Christ have joined themselves to Christ just as a man and woman joined themselves to one another in marriage and the two become one flesh. It is a mystery that speaks of intimacy.
5 New King James Bible footnotes on pg 1965
6 Brought to my attention by Rev. Barbara DiGillio of Mayim Hayim Ministries
7 Matt. 24:21, Rev. 2:22, Rev 7:14
8 1Thess. 1:10
9 1 Thess. 5:9, Rev. 11:18
11 Zeph. 1:15, Joel 2:2, Amos 5:18
12 Zeph. 1:16