Events Preceding the Tribulation
The Tribulation will begin with the signing of the seven-year peace treaty and we will look into that in another study. However, first, we need to take a look at the things that are to precede the Tribulation. Jesus told us to look for the following things to take place and when we saw them this would indicate that His return was near.
Matt 24: 1-9 Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down." Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Jesus began to prophesy about the things to come, the temple would be destroyed, many would come proclaiming to be the messiah just as the end time world leader will do when he comes on the scene. There will be wars and rumors of wars, and yet he is saying that even though you see these things the end is not yet. However, when you see nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom, watch also for the other things to be happening at the same time. We should expect to see famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places as well. It is the convergence of all these things that will tell us that the time of sorrows is beginning. The time of sorrows or the birth pangs of the Messiah are idioms for the Tribulation.
The Bible is the only book that writes about history in advance of it happening. Jesus foretold that the temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed. The fulfillment of this took place in 70 AD. on the 9th of Av on the biblical calendar. It was also the 9th of Av when the first temple was destroyed. Less than forty years went by from the time Jesus warned his disciples that every stone of the temple would be thrown down until the Roman siege of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple. This began the countdown to the end of the age.
The next thing that Jesus warned us about was the fact that many would come proclaiming to be the Messiah. Christ is the Greek word for the anointed one. In Judaism, the anointed one is known as the Messiah. Since the 19th century, Wikipedia lists 27 people who have claimed to be “The Christ”. One poor gent killed himself jumping off a cliff, thinking that he would ascend into heaven. He was a Latter Day Saint by the name of Arnold Potter who died in 1872. In 2002 a statute of Prince Charles of England was erected in Brazil indicating him to be “The savior of the world”. As recently as 2011 a figure who was getting much coverage is Maitreya. MSNBC and CNN along with YouTube reported that as crowds gathered in Tahrir Square Cairo a rider on a white horse was seen weaving its way quickly through the streets and then lifted upwards and floated over the heads of the people. This same rider was reported to have been in the skies over Jerusalem. It has been said that a rider on a white horse is a sign that “a teacher is coming”.
It is reported in Wikipedia that In November of 2011 Oscar Ramiro Orega-Hernandez believing that he was Jesus Christ sent by God to Kill President Barack Obama, picked up his semi-automatic rifle and fired nine shots at the White House because he thought Obama to be the antichrist or false Messiah.
July 2016 headlines of the Express out of the UK said this: “Tony Blair thought he was the Messiah and also express that he often wore makeup. It has been said of Tony Blair by former journalist and ex-good friend Robert Harris that Tony Blair thought of himself as a god-like figure.
Walid Shoebat reports that Muslims all over the world are declaring Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey to be God. He goes on to say that members of Turkey’s parliament have been quoted as saying, “Just touching Erdogan is a form of worship”. A headline of the Huffington Post article read, “Erdogan, Messiah or Pontificator.” The Prime Minister has built a hologram image of himself that speaks and he sends it when he is unable to attend important gatherings. This technology is quite fascinating when we consider what was written so very long ago. Revelation 13:15 “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.”
Many speculate that the Pope is or will be the Anti-Christ or the false Prophet. At this point n time that is all we can do is speculate. There are many candidates for this position, the Pope being just one of them. The Bible is clear that the identity of the world dictator know as the Anti-Christ will not be made known until the Tribulation.
Paul warns us in 2 Thessalonians that with the coming of the lawless one there will be the workings of Satan that will have power, signs and lying wonders with great deception that will cause the people to believe the lie. So beware not every so-called miracle is from the Almighty.
There are three different questions put to Jesus in the discourse recorded in Matthew. They are “When will these things be? What will be the sign of your coming? What will be the sign of the end of the age? The first question is in regard to the temple which was destroyed and began the countdown to the end of the age. The second question, what will be the sign of your coming is answered in Matt 24: 29-31 and the answer to that question we will address in the study, “His Second Coming,” which will follow the study on the Tribulation. For now, I want to pay particular attention to the third question, “What will be the sign of the end of the age”? This question is important because it is so very pertinent to the very real live history of today and the prophetic headlines seen in our newspapers and talked about by the media.
The phrase that I want to pay particular attention to is: For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. This is a Jewish idiom. Whenever we see a Jewish idiom in scripture if we use the method of remez to interpret, it will point us to scriptures that reveal the hidden meaning. This is one of those golden nuggets that are hidden in plain sight.
The first reference to these idioms is found in 2 Chronicles 15: 1-7
Now the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded. And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him: "Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law; but when in their trouble they turned to the LORD God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found by them. And in those times there was no peace to the one who went out, nor to the one who came in, but great turmoil was on all the inhabitants of the lands. So nation was destroyed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every adversity But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!"
Nation destroying nation refers to world wars. We have had two world wars and the Bible predicts a third world war at the end of the age. Actually, according to David Reagan of Lamb & Lion Ministries, there are 9 end time wars that are predicted in the Bible that has not yet been fulfilled. According to Mr. Reagan, they are the Psalm 83 war, which is an Arab coalition to wipe out Israel. The Ezekiel 38 and 39 war, which is the Gog and Magog war thought by most to be Russia and her allies coming for Israel wealth. However, many ancient maps show the names mentioned in Ezekiel to be in Turkey. Perhaps Russia and Turkey will be allies. Isaiah 17 also speaks of a war that will wipe out the city of Damascus in Syria. Current conditions in the middle-east could very well be the war that wipes out Damascus and the beginning of the Psalm 83 war.
Israel’s own Amir Tsafarti teaches that the Psalm 83 war has already been fulfilled during the 1967 war. Since some prophecies have more than one fulfillment, it is possible that we will see another fulfillment of Psalm 83. If not, then we can expect to see 8 wars instead of 9 before all is fulfilled.
It is thought by many scholars that these two wars prophesied in Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39 will precede the Tribulation. However, there is a little mystery concerning the Ezekiel war that we will discuss concerning the final rebellion, which is the 9th war. Therefore, this ministry looks at the possibility of placing the time of the Ezekiel 38-39 war at the very end of days.
As more and more countries are drawn into war surrounding Israel, we will know that the birth pangs are coming closer together and more intense for the return of the Lord. Since this ministry believes that the catching away of Bride of Messiah will take place before the seven year Tribulation begins, the Bride of Christ may still be here to witness at least one of these wars. We do not believe that the Bride will be on the earth during the third war which takes place during the millennium.
The third war is the war of Revelation 6 that takes place during the Tribulation when the Anti-Christ is in power.
The 4th war is the nuclear war of Revelation 8 & 9.
The 5th war is the supernatural war that takes place in the heavens at the mid-point of the Tribulation when God removes Satan from his abode, which is recorded in Revelation 12.
The sixth war is the war that the Anti-Christ launches against the Jews and the Tribulation Saints that will take place during the final years of the Tribulation, and recorded in Revelation 12. The Tribulation Saints are those individuals that get saved during the 7-year tribulation.
The 7th war is described in Daniel 11 as a rebellion against the Anti-Christ, causing him to retreat to the valley of Armageddon.
The 8th war takes place in the Valley of Armageddon where all the nations have been gathered for defeat. Upon the return of Jesus, His first order of business will be to destroy the Anti-Christ and the nations that have been gathered for destruction. By the breath of His mouth, Jesus will speak a word that will slay His enemies. The war of Armageddon is described in Joel 3, Zachariah 14 and Revelation 19.
The 9th war is the final war of history and it takes place at the end of Jesus’ Millennium reign when Satan is released and a rebellion against God takes place for the last time and Jesus deals with wickedness once and for all. This war is recorded in Revelation 20. It is at this point that I want to present to you the mystery of Ezekiel 39 and the possibility that the Ezekiel war and this final rebellion are the same war, taking place at the last seven of so years of Jesus’ reign. Let’s look at what Ezekiel says.
Verse 9-10 of chapter 39 says this: “And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years. So that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire: and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord GOD.”
Let’s take this apart and see what sweet manna is hidden here in plain sight. They are to burn the weapons for seven years and during that time they are not to gather any wood from the fields or cut down any trees for wood. Why? Because, the only weapons that can be burned in fire, are wood weapons. They will have so much wood from the weapons of their enemies that there will be no need to gather wood for normal uses, such as campfires, outdoor cooking and keeping warm by the fireplace. Modern day weapons will not burn up in fire. So the question arises as to why at the end of days will the enemies of Israel not have the most high tech modern weapons? Instead they will have weapons made of wood! This arouses the second question. “When will this war take place?”
The prophets Isaiah and Micah promise us that men will learn war no more when Messiah rules in Jerusalem. Let’s look at what Micah says.
Mic 4:1-3 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
So we see that during the Millennium reign there will be no weapons and no war. That is until the final days. We know from Revelation 20 that satan will lead an uprising when he is released from being bound for 1,000 years.
Revelation 20:7-9 says this: And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
At the end of the Millennium satan is allowed to deceive the nations once again. We are not given a time frame except it says that he must be loosed from the bottomless pit for a little season. During this “little season satan visits the four corners of the earth deceiving hordes of people, so much so that the Bible says their numbers are as the sand of the sea. Is it not possible that the only weapons that Gog and Magog would be able to fashion for themselves would be bows and arrows, spears, and clubs that they would have made from wood? No other weapons of war or weapons of mass destruction were available as in the days preceding the Millennium. No wonder it takes seven years to burn their wooden weapons. I have for years wondered about the fact that the enemies of Israel during the Gog and Magog war would have wooden weapons and the only thing that makes sense to me is that this war takes place during a time when no other weapons are available.
These 9 wars give us a timeline of the eleventh hour concerning the end of time as we know it. If our thinking is correct than the Bride of Messiah may only be around for the fulfillment of one of these wars. Perhaps She will be caught away even before it is fulfilled. Currently, it looks as if the Arab nations are lining up around Israel for the war. Keep your eyes on the middle-east wars as they occur because they are the Lord’s timepiece that is ticking towards the end of History. Israeli Bible teacher Amir Tsfarti teaches that the Psalm 83 war has already been fulfilled during the 1967 war. Since many prophetic scriptures are fulfilled more than once, it is possible that we will see in our lifetime this war take place again. If, Amir is correct about the Psalm 83 war and if I am correct about the Ezekiel 38-39 war than there are only 7 wars that are yet to be fulfilled. Either way, Israel is the Lord’s timepiece.
Next, we are going to take a look at Jesus’ second remez statement and idiom and discover more sweet manna that is hidden in plain sight.
Isaiah 19: 1-4
The burden against Egypt. Behold, the LORD rides on a swift cloud, And will come into Egypt; The idols of Egypt will totter at His presence, And the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst. 2 "I will set Egyptians against Egyptians; Everyone will fight against his brother, And everyone against his neighbor, City against city, kingdom against kingdom. 3 The spirit of Egypt will fail in its midst; I will destroy their counsel, And they will consult the idols and the charmers, The mediums and the sorcerers. 4 And the Egyptians I will give Into the hand of a cruel master, And a fierce king will rule over them," Says the Lord, the LORD of hosts.
This “kingdom against kingdom” idiom refers to the land of Egypt being in great turmoil and conflict. We are to look for Egypt to be in a civil war as brother is against brother. It is very possible that this prophecy has been fulfilled right before our eyes as we watched the Muslin brotherhood take over the government in Egypt, and a very cruel master did rule over the Egyptians. Consequently, we also watched as the people rebelled against the Brotherhood and the Egyptian military led by General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi organized a coup on 3 July 2013, to remove the “cruel master” and President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi from power. One by one these prophecies are being fulfilled, bringing us ever so close to the appointed time of our Lord’s return. Many prophesies have duel or final fulfillment, so it is possible that Egypt awaits a final fulfillment of this prophetic idiom.
We are witnessing a very similar situation right here in the United States. We are watching the Left rise against the Right, in an effort to organize a coup against the current administration.
The most obvious clashing of kingdoms, here in the states and around the world is the war between the kingdom of darkness and the Kingdom of Light. The kingdom of darkness is no longer hiding in secret. Satan and his people are showing their hand in the open. The spirit of Egypt is seen all across the land. The empire building was lit up with the grotesque image of the Hindu goddess of destruction, Kali in 2015. The arch to the temple of Baal has been reproduced in every detail according to Jonathan Cahn and unveiled in a park in New York City recently. Satan worship is becoming more and more obvious in the land. Satan clubs meet in our schools as an extra curriculum activity after school is out. Witches and warlocks currently have a campaign against the President of the United States. They are right out in the open calling for recruits on Facebook and Twitter. The kingdom of darkness may be rising…but not for long. Satan’s time is limited and the clock is ticking.
The Lord said that when we see all of these things happening at once it will be the beginning of sorrows, which is also known as the birth pangs of the Messiah.
The “birth pangs of the Messiah” is a very descriptive idiom because actual birth pangs contract harder and more frequent the closer the time is for delivery. Likewise, the closer we approach the set time for the return of our Lord we can expect wars to be increasing and to continue to involve the nations of the world as we approach the “Day of the Lord.” Likewise, pestilence, famines, and earthquakes will continue to increase with greater frequency and intensity around the world. These birth pangs of the Messiah will usher in the 7-year tribulation.
The dictionary definition for pestilence is that of a deadly epidemic or plague, or anything harmful. While doing the research for this study, my search engine found childhood diseases on the rise, infectious disease on the rise, autoimmune disease on the rise, Celiac disease on the rise, and heart disease on the rise. One report dated 2008, states that more than 300 infectious diseases have been discovered since 1940. The West Nile Virus has been reported on the rise in Texas, as well as other parts of the U. S. The Citizen Web news headlines in August of 2012 “Cases of Lyme Disease on the rise in CNY.” Plus we have the threat of “Mad Cow” disease and “Bird Flu.” Sexually transmitted disease is once again on the rise, by 15% year to year. Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. Alarmingly, 133 million Americans, which is 45% of the population, have at least one chronic disease. Chronic diseases are responsible for seven out of every 10 deaths in the U.S., killing more than 1.7 million Americans every year.
With the rise of Illegal immigrants into this country, Americans are paying a high price when it comes to health issues because third world diseases are making a mark in every state. The ten top hit states are Arizona, hit with West Nile virus, California, hit with typhoid, Colorado, hit with Hantavirus, Delaware, hit with Lyme disease, Illinois, hit with Chagas, New Mexico, hit with Bubonic Plague, New York, rise in measles and mumps, Oklahoma, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Texas, hit with leprosy. In 2014 Africa was hit with the Ebola epidemic, and infectious diseases have no boundaries, therefore it also invaded our shores.
This is just a small sample of the reality of pestilence being a sign of the birth pangs of the Messiah. Sadly, we can expect an increase of these plagues as the day of the Tribulation approaches. Unfortunately, there is a serious problem in treating infectious diseases because modern day drugs are ineffective in many cases. The following is a quote from the director of the Welcome Trust medical charity, Jeremy Farrar. "Drug resistance has to be put into the same category as the emerging infectious diseases. In my view, it will be the most important emerging infectious disease in the 21st century."
We who are in Christ must not fear but stand on the promise that “no poisonous thing shall harm us.” We have been bought with the price of Yeshua’s blood and it is that same blood bath that cleanses us from all disease daily, if we stand on His promises.
The next thing Jesus mentioned was Famine. Famine as birth pangs would mean that there have to be more famines in the world today than ever before. What I have found in the research is that hunger is the number one killer in the world today. It outranks AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. According to the World Hunger and Education Service, world hunger has been on the rise since 1995. Their 2012-2014 data speculated that there are an estimated 805 million starving people in the world. This amounts to about 13% of the world population.
It was reported in August 2012 by CNBC that the United States experienced the worst drought in 56 years. Nearly two-thirds of the contiguous United States was under some level of drought as of July of 2013. More than a fifth of the US was classified as extreme drought or worse, according to the Drought Monitor, a weekly report compiled by U.S. climate experts. As of April 7th, 2015, about 37% of the contiguous United States was in at least a moderate drought. Things have been particularly bad in California; the state has been declared D3 Extreme and D4 Exception drought by the US Drought Monitor, which is the worst drought in California’s history. The state had imposed its first mandatory water restrictions upon its citizens. As of March 2, 2017, the National Drought Mitigation Center estimates approximately 10.5 million people in California are currently affected by the drought. On that date, only 25% of the state was experiencing drought. Drought is a worldwide problem and where ever we see extreme drought we can also expect that famine will follow. Yet California dumps billions of gallons of fresh water into the sea because it does not have the facilities to collect and recycle rainwater.
Recently I received a “Word” from the Lord concerning famine in America. This is what the Holy Spirit said to me. “America is going to be experiencing the greatest famine in all its history. It is a famine of the Word of God. Currently, this famine is manifesting itself physically in the junk food diet that Americans are feeding themselves. As the famine of the Word of God progresses there will be a shortage of nutritional food unlike anything that America has ever seen”. This Word is rather sobering, and it points to the real problem in America and that is this: THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE STARVING FOR MANNA FROM HEAVEN. As the birth pangs of the Messiah increase with intensity we can anticipate more starving people in the world and food prices to increase exponentially. Jesus warned us that during the Tribulation food prices will skyrocket. From the Living Bible, we read about that time as follows.
Rev. 6:6 And I heard a voice from among the four living beings say, "A loaf of wheat bread or three loaves of barley will cost a day's pay. And don't waste the olive oil and wine."
Not only is there a lack of food around the world, but the governments of the world have no problem in manufacturing GMO products that look beautiful, fill stomachs, but leave people starving for nutrition. Thankfully some nations have ban GMO products. The US unfortunately is the biggest offender.
As of this writing March 30, 2019 America’s heartland has experienced unprecedented flooding that has devastated our farmers. Flood waters have swept across the mid-west with a vengeance, killing entire herds of livestock and destroying crops. Reports for Nebraska alone, claim a 1 billion- dollar loss. This loss of livestock and crops, will affect the pocket book of American’s as food items become more and more difficult to purchase.
Earthquakes around the world are increasing in magnitude. The USGS website reports 110 significant earthquakes around the world for 2014. Twenty-eight of those were in the United States, mostly in California, although Alaska was hit pretty hard too. As of August 10th, 2015 they have recorded sixty-two significant earthquakes around the world, and the United States has had twenty-two of them. A significant earthquake measures from 3 and upwards on the Richter scale. Most of the recorded earthquakes measure 6 and upward. This year 9 different states were hit with what is considered significant quakes. Alaska was hit hard again this year just as she was last year with a recorded 6.9 on the Richter scale on July 27th.
Since 1990, we have had 894,479 fatalities world-wide from significant earthquakes that measure over 6 in magnitude. These are recorded as the most deadly, ranging in magnitude from 6.1 to 9.1. In 2002 in Afghanistan, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake took the lives of 1,000 people. While the 9.1 quake of Sumatra is recorded as taking 227,898 lives in 2004, as it shook the earth off of its axis 2.75 inches. Then the 8.8 quake in Chili of 2010 removed the earth another 3 inches off of its axis while killing nearly 800 people. The Japan quake that registered 9 on the Richter scale in 2011, jarred the earth off its axis causing the earth to wobble another 6.7 inches while taking the lives of 20,896 people. National Geographic news reported data from high-precision GPS instruments show that parts of Japan shifted by as much as 13 feet (4 meters) as the fault plates lurched due to the earthquake. The jarring earthquakes that are removing the earth from its axis reminds us of Isaiah’s end time prophecy found in chapter 24 v. 19-20 that says: The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.
The most deadly of all quakes recorded since 1990 is the earthquake that measured 7 in magnitude and killed 316,000 lives in Haiti on January 12th, 2010. For the first time since 2008, there were no earthquakes registering over 8 on the Richter scale for 2016. There were 16,975 earthquakes around the world for the year. The most damaging quake was in Ecuador taking the lives of 675 people and registering at 7.9.
During the last decade the activity of earthquakes world-wide has nearly doubled. The recorded quakes measuring from a magnitude of 4 to 9.9 were numbered 8,864 in 2009 to 14,568 in 2018. The Island of Fiji led the world with a 7.9 magnitude in 2018. The worst earthquake in forty years devastated Indonesia, registering at 9.1 in magnitude, leaving 230,000 dead in 2004. Alaska accounts for about half of all earthquakes registered in the United States. California has the second-most reported earthquakes among U.S. states. Alaska also leads in the greatest magnitude recorded to date.
Earthquakes have been recorded from time memorial. It’s the fact that as the time approaches for the Lords return earthquakes will increase in number and intensity. Jesus was referring to the birth pangs that we are to watch for that will usher in the Rapture and the second coming of the Lord. Just as birth pangs increase in number and intensity as the hour approaches for the delivery of the baby, so shall the signs that Jesus gave us be converging with intensity as we draw closer and closer to the hour of our deliverance and the end of the age.
Paul also gave us something to look for before that terrible day that will usher in the Tribulation, which the Bible tells us will be unlike anything the earth has experienced in all of its history. He tells us that before that day comes there will be a “falling away.”
2Thess 2:3 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;
The Greek word for “a falling away” is the word apostasia. It should read THE falling away or apostasia not a falling away or apostasia. This difference is crucial because THE is a definite article which means that The falling away is something specific. As an example when asking for "a" book, any book will do. When asking for the book a specific book is in mind, like the book on the table, not "a" book from many on the shelf. So because of the definite article we now know “the falling way” is something specific.
According to EW Bullinger the word apostasia is made up of two words, apo and stasia. 1 Bullinger defines apo as motion away from the surface of an object or motion away from a place. Stasia, he says means, standing away, to draw out, or to separate. Ancient Greek scholars used the term ‘the departure’ when translating this word apostasia. The Geneva Bible published in the 1500’s used these words “before the Day of the Lord comes, there must come a departure first.” Based on the scholarly work of those that have gone before us, such as Bullinger, this ministry believes the use of the definite article is paramount. I do not believe Paul was speaking of ‘a departure,’ but rather of The Departure of the Bride in motion away from this earth as she meets the Lord in the air. Paul was making it clear that ‘the departure’ must take place first before the man of sin is revealed. In addition, this view is contextually sound. The context is about the people being fearful that the Tribulation had already started and that they were going to have to go through it. Paul’s intention was to bring them comfort since they would depart before the wrath of God. Likewise, we can also be comforted by this knowledge.
Modern day scholars for the most part do not consider the ancient meaning of the Greek word apostasia. Although the Greek word apostasia is where we get our English word apostasy, they teach that a great apostasy or falling away from the faith must take place before the man of sin is revealed and the Tribulation begins. The greatest problem with this interpretation is the fact that a ‘falling away’ is not a separate or specific event. There has been a falling away from the truth taking place since the early Church. To be sure there is an apostasy taking place and it will continue to take place into the great Tribulation.
One of the most grievous things for me to watch is people that believe the many lies of our culture rather than believe the truth of the Bible. All bibles are not alike; I must caution my readers to be aware of Bibles that have been published in this era, because many Bibles have missing scriptures and words. Many newly published Bibles have built in biases based on the philosophies of this world, and are evidence of the apostasy taking place in this hour. Choose a Bible that has proven the test of time.
There are many signs of an apostate church among us today, for the sake of this study, let me mention just a few. Pastors and Preachers are teaching that there is no such thing as sin and that all roads and religions lead to heaven. This is very dangerous because there is no need to become “born again.” Actually, this belief negates the need for Jesus’ blood sacrifice on the cross. In the apostate church are doctrines of demons that support the right for a woman to have an abortion, and the right for same-sex couples to marry. The apostate church calls God Her! The apostate church teaches that God is finished with Israel, causing anti-Semitism to rise all around the world. The apostate church teaches that Islam’s Allah and the God of creation are one and the same God. These lies are barriers that keep people from the truth and from a personal relationship with Jesus the one and only way to the Father. These lies are contrary to what Jesus and the early Church fathers taught. If you are in a church that teaches any of these things… run…and never look back. Find a Church that teaches the Word of God and teaches the only way to salvation is through Jesus.
These are the things that Jesus taught us to look for before the gathering of the saints together in the air, the Tribulation and His second coming. The first sign that was given to herald the end of days was the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. Two thousand years later we live in a day when sign after sign is being fulfilled before our eyes. The greatest sign is Israel, she has become a state and many Jews have returned to their home land as promised, with many more to follow in the days ahead. The signs that Jesus gave us are converging with great intensity every day. The Departure or the Rapture of the Bride is imminent, not one thing must take place before the Rapture of the Bride takes place. When it does take place, it will be the sign to the world that the Bible speaks the truth.
Let us be like the tribe of Issachar who was commended for understanding the times and the seasons of their day. They were the tribe that was responsible for the calendar of their day. They understood the movement of the planets, the moon and the stars. They calculated the feast days by the moon’s cycles. They understood the signs that the Lord gave them in the heavens.
Last year we were given four blood moons, and the eclipse of the sun, which Joel and Paul warned us would happen before that great and terrible day of the LORD would come.
Joel 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.
Act 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood before that great and notable day of the Lord come.
God is warning us that the clock is running out. We need to be keeping our eyes on the sky. The Bible tells us that there will be strange things happening in the heavens that will be signs to us in the last days. From Prophecy Watch we read the following:
On August 21st, 2017, something happened in the United States that has not happened since 1918. On that date, a total solar eclipse was visible all the way from the east coast to the west coast. Incredibly, another rare solar eclipse of this nature will move across the country just seven years later in 2024. If you plot the projected courses of these two solar eclipses on a map, you will find that they form a giant "X" across the continental United States. In the Scriptures, Jesus told us that "there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars" just prior to His return, and many are speculating about what this giant "X" might mean.
Astronomers have been buzzing because of the two eclipses being 7 years apart and crossing the United States in such a fashion. Fox News reported the following about the first eclipse. "Day will turn into night across the United States, as the country experiences its first total solar eclipse in decades." On that day, the moon passed directly between the Earth and the sun, casting a shadow on the United States that tracked from Oregon to South Carolina. This was the first time since 1918 that a total solar eclipse was visible from the West Coast to the East Coast of the United States. The most recent total solar eclipse visible in the United States occurred in 1979; however, it was only visible across the Pacific Northwest.
This is something that does not happen very often, and that is why it is so extraordinary that another solar eclipse will be visible in large portions of the nation just seven years later in 2024.
When you chart the courses of both eclipses on a map, you see that they form a giant "X" right over the center of the country.
Could this giant "X" have some sort of meaning?
According to the Washington Post, some believe that "the two eclipses that are slated to travel across the United States in 2017 and 2024, together marking an X across the nation, could be the starting and ending signs bookmarking a seven-year period of awful tribulations that Revelations says waits in store for nonbelievers who are left behind on Earth when the Rapture occurs."
This is pure speculation of course.
The first eclipse on August 21st is followed the next day by the 1st day of Elul, beginning that evening. The 1st day of Elul begins a 40 day season for repentance on the biblical calendar. What struck me about this…is the fact that there is a time coming when there will be no more time to repent.
The second sign will take place on September 23, 2017. This sign is being called the great sign of 2017. It would seem to be the fulfillment of the Revelation scripture that says:
Rev. 12:1-2 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
This is a very significant sign. It is said to be the one and only time this happens in 7000 years. Therefore, we need to take note. From the website of Signs of the End by Daniel Matson we learn the following.
The sign of Revelation 12 has many details that are common, but uncommon when all put together. The first part of the sign is the woman clothed with the sun. This happens every year, but it narrows the time down to one month around the autumnal equinox. That woman is represented by Virgo--the virgin. She is clothed by the sun from mid-September to early October. September 23, 2017 meets these requirements.
The next requirement is that the moon must be under the feet of Virgo. With the sun in Virgo and her feet to the east, the moon must be a few days past new moon. Since the Hebrew Calendar is lunar and the Feast of Trumpets (September 21, 2017) is on the new moon, September 23-25 places the moon in the correct position. This happens every year on the Hebrew Calendar as long as the new moon did not occur too early or too late in relation to the equinox, which would put the sun too high or low in Virgo. Here it is perfect. The requirement of the moon and sun narrows it down to a few days of the year. The rest of the parts of the sign must then coincide with this time if we are able to observe this sign.
On September 23, 2017 there are four planets in the vicinity that complete the sign and its ultimate uniqueness. Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter play their parts. Above the head of Virgo is the constellation Leo. In Leo at this time there will be Mars, Venus, and Mercury. With Leo being a constellation of nine principle stars, the three wandering stars make it twelve at this time. Thus the garland of twelve stars is upon the woman. For three planets to be in Leo at this time with all of the other preconditions makes this rare. Combined with the final piece of the picture below is what makes this sign difficult of not nearly impossible to replicate anywhere close to the time in which we live. How rare? A search 150 years before and 150 years after September 23, 2017 produced no results.
The final piece of the sign is Jupiter. Jupiter was known by the Jews as the planet of the Messiah. Jupiter enters the sign of Virgo on August 27, 2016, which coincides with a close conjunction of Venus. The next such close conjunction with these two brightest planets is 49 years later. Jupiter itself enters Virgo about every 12 years. The August 27, 2016 conjunction comes exactly 400 days before Yom Kippur 2017. Yom Kippur always ends Teshuvah, which is a 40 day season of repentance. Does Jupiter and Venus mark a ten-fold application needed at that time?
Jupiter then spends those 400 days in Virgo. As the sign of Revelation 12 forms on September 23, 2017, Jupiter is in the womb of Virgo and is about to be born. Remember, the meaning of Tribulation refers to the period of labor pains before birth. The world is going to go through a period of delivery to result in the Messianic Kingdom. This sign speaks to those coming seven years–the worst in human history. However, we have been warned and God will deliver those who have put their trust in Christ by taking them to heaven before the seven years begins. For those who will miss that opportunity, God’s grace will still abound for those who change and believe that Jesus Christ is the savior of the world, but they will have to endure the Tribulation.
Jupiter though spends more than 400 days in Virgo. It is provocative that six days before what looks to be the start of the 2520 days of the Tribulation, Venus and Jupiter make another conjunction (but not visible because of the sun) on November 13, 2017. This is 444 days from the conjunction of August 27, 2016. Is it any accident then that Jupiter leaves Virgo when the Tribulation will begin? The next sign in the Mazzeroth (Zodiac) is the scales of Libra–judgment. It all lines up at the right time.
This ministry teaches of the very real possibility that the Rapture could very well take place on Rosh HaShanah some year. Rosh HaShanah which means head of the year and Birthday of the world has many other names as well. They are as follows: Teshuvah or Repentance, Yom Teruah, the Day of the waking blast/Feast of Trumpets, Yom HaDin the Day of Judgment, HaMelech the Coronation of the Messiah, Yom HaZikkaron the Day of Remembrance, The Time of Jacob Troubles the birth pangs of the Messiah, The Opening of the Gates, The Kiddushin the Wedding ceremony, The resurrection of the dead, The last Trump and the hidden day. It is celebrated for two days; therefore no one knows the day or the hour the Rapture could take place. This year Rosh HaShanah falls on September 21st and 22nd. The next day follows with the great sign of 2017.
Judaism teaches that the “resurrection of the dead” will take place on Rosh HaShanah. Christianity teaches that the resurrection of the dead precedes the “rapture” and both miraculous occurrence’s will take place on the same day an in ‘the twinkling of an eye.”
Time will tell just how significant these signs turn out to be. There are so many signs that are converging at once. We must take notice. Let us not be like the nation of Israel who missed the day of their visitation. Let us not miss the day of His appearing when Jesus will call His Bride to Himself to meet Him in the air. That day is fast approaching. Let’s be ready every day!
1 The Companion Bible, appendix 104