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The Secret Rapture
The 70 Weeks and other Prophetic Time Periods
A Bible Studycompiled by Rachel Cory-Kuehl, 2015
Scripture is from New King James Version unless otherwise noted
What is “the rapture” ?
Bible prophets spoke of a terrible “time of trouble” just before the “end of the age.” Many Christians believe that before this last period of “tribulation” begins, Christ will return for his church. These people will be “caught away” - to be with Christ in heaven. They will simply disappear - every one of them - at the same moment. This is called “the rapture.”
Those who are “left behind” (the Jews and the wicked) will have seven years of testing and trouble before Christ returns in glory to rule on earth for a thousand years (during the 7th millennium). When Christ returns in glory, He will return with all of the “saints” who were raptured, along with all of those whose spirits went to heaven at their deaths.
Is this what the Bible teaches?
Let’s briefly review the history of this doctrine.
Evangelicals in Great Britain founded a group called The Plymouth Brethren around 1830. One of their most gifted teachers was John Nelson Darby, who began to teach a new interpretation of prophecy called premillennialism (the teaching that Jesus will return before the millennium). Darby’s new teaching was called “dispensationalism.”
Darby taught that God’s method of dealing with individuals, and of “saving” individuals was different during different eras of human history. Darby called these eras “dispensations”.
Darby taught that Israel and “the church” are two distinct and absolutely separate peoples of God. God’s method of saving Jews was different from, His way of saving Gentiles.
I believe that “Israel” is the name of the people of God. Some lived during the Old Testament, and some live during the New Testament, but they are all the people of God, and they are all Daniel’s people. Gentiles who come to believe are “grafted in” to Israel, and unbelievers (even those of DNA descent from Jacob) are “cut off” from Israel.
NOTE: Many variations have been posited since Darby taught.
1. The Age of Innocence - before the Fall -
2. The Age of Conscience - from the Fall to the Flood
3. The Age of Human Government - from the Flood to the call of Abraham
4. The Age of Promise - from the call of Abraham to Mt Sinai (saved by promise)
5. The Age of Law - from Mt Sinai to the Cross (saved by works of the law)
6. The Age of the Church - from the Cross to the Rapture (saved by grace)
7. The Tribulation - 7 years from the Rapture to the Glorious Return (saved by works)
8. The Millennial Reign
9. Eternity - the Age of the Ages
What I believe
Our God has always “saved” individuals in the SAME WAY - By grace - through faith.
Persons from the Fall to the Cross looked FORWARD to Christ, when they offered a sacrifice.
Persons since the Cross, look BACK to Jesus death at Calvary when they are “baptized into His death”, and then eat the “bread” and drink the “wine”.
Grace is God’s part - giving mercy and sharing His spirit - through Christ
Faith is our response - believing in God and in Christ.
Paul makes it very clear.
“For by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:16 KJV).
NO ONE - not before the cross - not since the cross,
was ever (or will ever be) justified in the sight of God, by “law keeping”.
Daniel Chapter Nine - The 70 Weeks
The prophecy given to Daniel allotted 70 “sevens” to “your people”.
John Darby believed that Daniel’s people were the Jews. Daniel may have assumed the same, upon hearing the prophecy. I believe the prophecy includes all of Israel - “grafted in” through the “circumcision of Christ” - NOT simply DNA descendants of Jacob.
Please see the study “Israel - The People of God”.
THE POSTPONEMENT THEORY
Darby reasoned that Jesus was put to death at the end of the 69th “week” of years. By that reckoning Jesus should return 7 years later, to set up His kingdom on the earth.
To explain why Jesus did not return 7 years after His death, Darby said that the 70th week was delayed. This was called “the postponement theory.”
According to Darby, the prophetic timetable was suspended when the Jews rejected their Messiah. Jesus suspended the prophetic timetable for ISRAEL, and turned to the Gentiles. The long “Church Age” had begun, during which time Christ would build up His “heavenly people.” Darby called this “the times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24).
According to Darby, the “70 weeks” apply ONLY to Israel - to the Jews (to Daniel’s people) - not to “the Church”. The 70 weeks prophecy would continue again, once the LORD removed (raptured) His “church” from the world. The 70th week begins with the rapture.
The Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks
Daniel 9:24-28 “Seventy weeks [sevens] are determined for your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.
“Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself (or: and have nothing); And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.” (NKJ)
1. When was the command issued “to restore and to build Jerusalem” ?
If this prophecy is for the “latter days” or the “time of the end” then do we look to the command issued anciently by Cyrus or Artaxerxes? Do we look to the United Nations recognition of Israel as a nation in 1948? Or do we look for another command in the very last days? If Iran gets a nuclear weapon and destroys Jerusalem, then another command may be forthcoming. The entire 70 weeks prophecy may belong to the last days.
We have at least two possibilities. Maybe three.
2. How long is a “week” ? The Hebrew word translated “week” in Daniel 9:27 is shabuwa` (Strong’s #07620).
The meaning, according to Strong’s Concordance is “seven” - a period of 7 days, or of 7 years.
Another more obscure meaning connects the word with the Feast of Weeks (also known as Tabernacles or The Feast of Booths). This was a 7 day feast, which took place each Fall.
If one day is equal to one year, then “seventy sevens” would be 490 years (Exo 23:10-11, Lev 25:3-4).
If one week equals 7 literal days, then “seventy sevens” would be 490 literal days (1 year, 4 months, 10 days).
If a “seven” is one Feast of Tabernacles, then 70 of those feasts, take place within a period of 70 years.
NOTE: The nation known today as Israel, will be 70 years old in 2018.
There was another yearly feast which lasted 7 days. That was the Feast of Unleavened Bread which followed Passover in the Spring. Added together, 70 of the 7 day feasts, would fall within a period of 35 years.
You can see, we have at least four possibilities.
3. Who are Daniel’s “people” ?
The Jews? All DNA descendants of Jacob? OR
All of God’s covenant people - both Old Covenant and New Covenant?
4. Who or what is “the most holy” ?
Daniel 9:24-28 “Seventy weeks (sevens) are determined for your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.
Is this Jesus himself, anointed by the Spirit at His baptism? Is this the Most Holy Place of the Temple at Jerusalem, as part of a restoration and rededication? Is this the Most Holy Place of Heaven itself - the “true Tabernacle” (Heb. 8:2) ? Is this Day of Atonement language? Again, we have more than one possibility.
Grief Rachel !!! Are you going to answer any of these questions?
5. Who is “the prince who is to come” ?
He is “one who makes desolate”. He “will destroy the City and the Temple”.
He will “bring an end to sacrifice and offering”.
Rome? Antichrist? The “little horn” ? The Beast power? Satan?
NOTE: Satan is called “the prince and power of the air, who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2).
6. Who made (or will make) “a covenant with many for one week” ?
The LORD made a covenant with Israel at Mt Sinai, which was still in effect at the time of Jesus’ death. It certainly was not limited to “one week”. The “New Covenant” did not take effect until Christ died, and it is still in effect. I know of no covenant which God or Christ made with anyone for only 7 days, or 7 years. Let’s look at the passage again.
Daniel 9:27 “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.” (NKJ)
The one who makes a covenant for one “seven” is also the one who will bring an end to sacrifice and offering. He is the one who “will destroy the City and the Sanctuary”. Who is he? Let’s look at two verses from another prophecy given to Daniel.
Daniel 11:31 “Forces sent by him shall occupy and profane the Temple and fortress. They shall abolish the regular burnt offering and set up the abomination that makes desolate.” (NRS)
NOTE: In this passage, the one who will abolish the regular burnt offering, is ALSO the one who will set up the abomination that causes desolation. This doesn’t sound like something Jesus would do. Notice: The abomination of desolation is set up in place of, the regular (continual) burnt offering.
Daniel 12:11 “From the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that desolates is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred ninety days.” (NRS)
The regular sacrifice is abolished, and the abomination is set up - at the SAME time.
HE WILL TAKE AWAY THE DAILY
These prophecies of the coming Evil One all mention something called “the daily” in the King James Version. The NRS translates it as “the regular burnt offering”. The Little Horn (on the Beast power) will abolish it, or take it away. What is this?
The word translated as “the daily” or “the daily sacrifice” is the Hebrew word “tamiyd” (Strong’s # 08548). It means “the continual”. The LORD commanded that the fire on the Brazen Alter in the courtyard should never go out. It was to burn continuously. Every morning and every evening a sacrifice was to be burned in that fire - symbolizing the continual covering of the atonement for Israel. The Antichrist power will stop this continual offering.
Leviticus 6:8-12 “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, . . . `This is the law of the burnt offering: The burnt offering shall be on the hearth upon the altar all night until morning, and the fire of the altar shall be kept burning on it . . . . `And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be put out. And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order on it; and he shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings.”
The prophecy is absolutely tied to the Temple at Jerusalem, and to the continual sacrifice offered on the Brazen Alter in the courtyard of that Temple. The Antichrist power will end the sacrifices at the Temple, and will set himself up as the object of worship. I realize that this has already happened more than once.
Antiochus IV (175-164 BC), was the 8th ruler of the Seleucid empire. He gave himself the surname “Epiphanes” which means “the visible god” (that he and Jupiter were identical). He was determined to exterminate the Jews and their religion. He devastated Jerusalem in 168 BC, defiled the Temple, offered a pig on its altar, erected an altar to Jupiter, prohibited Temple worship, forbade circumcision on pain of death, sold thousands of Jewish families into slavery, destroyed all copies of Scripture that could be found, and slaughtered everyone discovered in possession of such copies, and resorted to every conceivable torture to force Jews to renounce their religion. This led to the Maccabaean revolt.
The Roman general Titus destroyed the Temple in 70 AD. In an effort to leave no trace of the Second Temple, the Emperor Hadrian erected a Temple to the Roman god Jupiter on the site. Jesus predicted the Temple’s destruction when His disciples asked what “sign” would tell of the end of the age.
Matthew 24:2-3, 14-15, 21 “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.’ . . . The disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be? [When will the Temple be destroyed?] And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’ . . .
[Jesus answered] ‘And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. . . . Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place . . . (Dan 11:31) then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be (Dan 12:1).’”
Do you see why I believe that a final restoration of the Temple will take place in the very last days, and why I believe that Temple will be destroyed just as Jesus returns? Do you see it?
Daniel 9:27 “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.”
Daniel 11:31 “Forces sent by him shall occupy and profane the Temple and fortress. They shall abolish the regular burnt offering and set up the abomination that makes desolate.” (NRS)
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the Temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
I believe these prophecies concerning “the daily” will be fulfilled in the very last days of this age. I believe the city of Jerusalem will be destroyed (probably by an Islamic bomb). A command will then be issued to rebuild Jerusalem.
The Antichrist (also known as “the little horn”) will make a covenant (treaty) with the Jews for seven years, which will include the rebuilding of the Temple. Halfway thru the “week” he will break this covenant, and will set himself up in the Temple (thus defiling the Temple). He will put an end to the sacrifices - thus taking away “the daily”. These will be signs for those who understand, telling them that the last “time, times, and a part” have begun. This will inspire the “two witnesses” of Revelation Cpt 11, who will begin their testimony.
I agree with Darby, that the prophecies point to a final period of 42 months (1260 days, time-times-and a part) during which the Antichrist power will set himself up in the Temple of God. I do NOT believe that the saints will be raptured before this takes place.
The words of Paul, that the “man of sin” would “sit” in the Temple of God are very specific clues. The only person who was allowed to sit, in the Temple court was the anointed Son of David (the King). The fact that this coming Evil One will sit in the Temple, suggests this man will claim to be the Son of David - the Messiah! He will claim to be Christ. THIS is the abomination that causes the desolation of those who worship this Evil One.
Let’s look back at the teaching of John Nelson Darby.
According to Darby, at the end of the “church age” (1) Christ will rapture His “heavenly people” (the church) from this world, and (2) will resume His dealing with the Jews.
Remember: The church has been saved by grace, but the Jews must be saved - during the tribulation - by works of the Law, according to Darby.
According to Darby, the 70th week (7 years) of Daniel’s prophecy begins when the church is raptured from the world to heaven. After the church is “raptured” to heaven, the Antichrist comes to power.
This is very important. Darby said the Antichrist comes to power AFTER the church is raptured.
Antichrist deceives the Jewish people for the first half of the 7 years - making a covenant with them. He then becomes a dictator who demands worship during the last half of the 7 years - called the “tribulation,” or the “time of trouble.” God punishes those who persecute His people (the Jews) by pouring out great plagues. According to Darby, at the end of the 7 years, Christ returns in glory (with all His raptured saints) to set up His earthly kingdom, when He will reign in peace for 1000 years.
NOTE: If you believe that “Israel”is the NAME of God’s faithful people (regardless of national origin) then the “Israel” who is persecuted during the tribulation will be God’s people, NOT just Jews who were “left behind” at the rapture.
Later C.I. Scofield, an American follower of Darby, published “The Scofield Reference Bible” which contained the dispensational views. Scofield’s commentary was printed on the lower half of each page of the Bible. Scofield’s views were widely accepted, and to this day, are deeply held belief by many evangelical denominations (“Living in the Shadow of the Second Coming” by Timothy P. Weber 1979).
“Charting the End Times,” a book by Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice, published by Harvest House, contains a good visual representation of the dispensational teaching and of the different “ages.”
Our belief - at prophecyviewpoint.com
First: We believe that God’s method of saving individuals from sin, and Satan’s domination, has always been the same. All men are saved “by grace” - “through faith.”
Second: We believe that “Israel” is the name of the covenant people of God. Gentiles who come to faith in Christ as Messiah, are grafted in to Israel (see Romans chapter 11, and Ephesians chapter 2). Jesus said, “No man comes to the Father but by Me.” Jews who refuse to believe in Jesus as Savior and Son of God, are “cut off” from Israel. The rebellious and wicked who have never repented or believed, are not citizens of Israel. True Israel and “the church” (congregation) are one and the same body of believers.
(See the study at this website titled “Israel - The People of God.”)
Third: Daniel was told to “shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end” (Dan 12:4 NKJ). I have hesitated to publish a study on the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, because we have not yet reached the “time of the end”. I am just not certain that the prophecy of the seventy-sevens has been fully “opened” for our understanding.
The vision of Daniel Cpt 8 includes the “daily”, the Temple, and “the abomination of desolation”. The angel told Daniel concerning that vision, “Understand, son of man, that the vision is for the time of the end” (Dan 8:17). “I am making known to you what shall happen in the latter time of the indignation; for at the appointed time the end shall be” (Dan 8:19).
I have shared with you those things I believe are most likely, but we do not yet fully understand this prophecy. We do not yet know the identity of the final Beast power, or the identity of the “little horn”. This prophecy is NOT YET fully unsealed.
Fourth: We believe that Christ will return for all His people on the same day, following “three and a part years” (1260 days, 42 months) of terrible persecution by the Antichrist power, against those who “keep the commandments of God, and have faith in Jesus” (Rev. 14:12).
Daniel 7:21 “I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them UNTIL . . . the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.”
Daniel 7:25 [Speaking of the Little Horn] “He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change time law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time, and times and half a time.”
The prophecy of Revelation Chapter 13 parallels the prophecy of Daniel Cpt 7.
Revelation 13:3-8 [Speaking of the Beast with seven heads and ten horns] “And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’ And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue1 for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (NKJ)
“Time, times and a part” - 42 months - 1260 days, it’s all the SAME TIME PERIOD. The “two witnesses” of Revelation Cpt Eleven will give their testimony during this period. The warning trumpet plagues will fall during this time period. And the people of God will be persecuted during this SAME TIME PERIOD.
Some have tried to convince me that the 1260 days, were actually fulfilled during the Dark Ages when the Roman Catholic Church dominated the Christian world. I just cannot agree. This period of persecution comes AFTER the “deadly wound” is “healed” - not before the “head” is wounded. This period of persecution ENDS, when the heavenly Court sits, and dominion is given to the saints of the most high. And the Catholic Church did not rule over “every tribe, tongue, and nation” and “all who dwell on the earth”. Sorry. That interpretation just does not FIT.
Fifth: We believe that God’s people will be on the earth during the warning trumpet plagues, leading up to the return of Christ at the 7th trumpet. Christ will remove His people from this earth before the seven last vial plagues (the wrath plagues) are poured out.
Sixth: We believe that all life on planet earth will be destroyed by the wrath plagues which will follow the rescue of the LORD’s people. The earth will remain uninhabited and desolate for 1000 years while the people of God are living in the New Jerusalem - the place which Christ has prepared for them. (Please see the study “Millennium” at this website.)
Now let’s return to the question of a “secret” rapture.
Like a thief in the night
2 Peter 3:10; Luke 12:39-4; 1 Thessalonians 5:2,4; Revelation 16:15
All of these verses say that Christ's coming will be a surprise, very sudden, “like a thief in the night.” Doesn’t that imply something secret and sudden with no warning signs?
Luke 21:34-35 describes those who will be surprised by Christ's coming. Only the wicked will be surprised. To them, He will come like a “thief in the night.” God's people will be expecting Jesus, and they will be ready.
Revelation 3:3 “... if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.”
2 Peter 3:10 “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
NOTE: This coming will be sudden and will be a surprise to the majority,
but it will definitely NOT be secret!
What other Bible verses describe the Second Coming of Jesus?
Matthew 24:27 “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”
1 Corinthians 15:52 “for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised...”
Psalm 50:3 “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence,”
Revelation 1:7 “... every eye shall see Him...”
Matthew 24:31 “...He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
Doesn’t sound very “secret”.
Those who believe in a “secret rapture” teach that there are two “comings.”
- first: a secret coming “in presence” to rapture true believers
- second: His coming “in glory,” when He will save some of those who were “left behind” at the rapture, and have since repented. He will also slay those evil doers who have managed to survive the plagues.
NOTE: No one will survive the 7 vial plagues. (Please see the study: Millennium.)
Two Greek words - parousia and apokalupsis,
BOTH are translated as “coming.”
parousia: Those who teach a “secret rapture” say that the “parousia”
will be the secret coming - in presence.
The Greek word “parousia” is translated: “coming” - 22 times, and “presence” - 2 times.
apokalupsis: Those who believe in a “secret rapture” say that “ apokalupsis”
refers to the visible, glorious, coming - in power.
To study the use of these words for yourself, go to a Bible concordance.
Notice carefully the use of these words, “parousia” and “apokalupsis” in context.
Matthew 24:37 “As the days of Noah were, so also will the coming (parousia) of the Son of Man be.”
Luke 17:26,30 “As it was in the days of Noah ... so it will be also in the day when the Son of Man is revealed (apokalupsis).
Matthew says the “parousia” will be like the days of Noah, and Luke says the “apokalupsis” will be like the days of Noah. Do you think BOTH Matthew and Luke are describing the SAME event? And by the way, Noah’s flood was no “secret”.
2 Peter 3:12 “looking for and hastening the coming (parousia) of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat.”
If the “parousia” is the “day of God” - and on that day “the heavens will be dissolved”,
this cannot be the “secret coming” - “in presence” only.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-8 “Now, brethren, concerning the coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
Wait! Those who teach the secret rapture say that the “man of sin” (the Antichrist) will be“revealed” (come to power) AFTER the saints are gathered to the LORD. But Paul writes that the “gathering together to Him” will not come UNTIL AFTER the Antichrist is revealed.
It can’t be both ways.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-8 continued: “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming (parousia).”
The Lord will destroy the Antichrist with the brightness of His secret coming?
Brightness doesn’t sound very secret .....
Aren’t there verses that speak of one being taken and another left behind?
Matthew 24:40-42 “Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” ( Also Luke 17:26-37)
Remember! Those who teach a pre-tribulation rapture say that those who are “left behind” will have the opportunity to repent during the tribulation period.
Matthew 13:36-42, 47-50 Read this passage carefully. One harvest is described - not two.
Notice: (A) “Let both grow together until the harvest” (v.30).
(B) “The harvest is the end of the age” (v.39).
Notice: (A) It will be like the days of Noah.
No one was left alive after it started to rain.
(B) It will be like the days of Lot.
“The same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all” (v.29).
(C) The “harvest is the end of the age.”
AFTER the harvest, the fields were burned (Matt. 13:39).
Luke 17:26-37 Study carefully the entire context of this parallel passage.
“The other left.” Yes. But where ?
They are left where “vultures gather” (v.34-37).
Jeremiah 8:20 “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved”.
Revelation 14:14-16 and 17-20.
These verses describe the final “harvest of the earth.”
First: God's harvest (v.14-16);
Second: The “vine of the earth” is left to destruction.
Matthew 25:1-13 Study the parable of the 10 virgins.
Notice: Those who did not go in with the Bridegroom were left in darkness.
In fairness I must tell you that some interpret those “left” to be the righteous, who are left alive, after the wicked are “taken” in death. This is a possible interpretation. Zechariah’s prophecy describes those who are “left, of all the nations that came against Jerusalem” going up to keep the Feast of Tabernacle in the Kingdom of Messiah (Zech 14:16).
“Rapture” versus “translation.”
I personally do not like the word “rapture,” because it is not in the Bible. The word describes the way that the people will feel who are caught up to be with Jesus - rapturous. I prefer the word “translation”. It means “to go up”.
“Enoch was translated without seeing death” (Heb. 11:5). He was a “type” or symbol of those living people who will be “caught up” to meet Jesus in the clouds. Elijah was also a type of those who will go up into the sky.
Didn't Jesus say that He would keep us “from the hour of trial”
that would come upon the whole world?
Revelation 3:10 “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”
All parties agree that Jesus promised preservation. The question that divides us concerns the nature of that preservation. Yes. Jesus promised to keep us. But He will “keep” us by the power of His Spirit, not by removing us physically from the trial.
John 17:15 [Jesus prayed to His Father] “I do NOT pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.”
In the Bible are many stories of God’s people who were sustained through times of trouble, great believers like Daniel and his three friends, Queen Esther, Joseph, Job, Elijah, and Jeremiah. God did not remove them from the hour of their trial. They are examples for us in the last days to come.
Doesn't Paul say that some will go first and others follow?
Yes! The righteous DEAD are raised to life and ascend FIRST. The LIVING follow.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 “ For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, And the dead in Christ will 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.”
Notice: This passage is speaking only of the righteous. And everything happens on the SAME DAY - the day that Christ returns.
Three and a half years, forty-two months, 1260 days
The last period of persecution before the return of Christ.
Daniel 7:25-27 “He (the little horn Antichrist power) shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change time law. Then the saints will be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time. But the court will be seated, and they shall take away his dominion to consume and destroy it forever. Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”
Notice. “The saints” are persecuted by the Antichrist power for three and a part years. At the END of this “time, times, and a part” (1260 days, 42 months), the kingdom is “given to the saints of the Most High” by the Heavenly Court. The prophecy in Revelation sounds very similar.
Revelation 13:4-5 [The deadly would was healed and after that] “So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’ And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he (the beast) was given authority to continue for forty-two months” (v. 7-8). “And it was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
Obviously persons whose names are written in the Book of Life, will NOT worship the Beast image. Does that mean they will NOT BE PRESENT on the earth? No!
THE TIME PERIODS
forty-two months (Rev. 11:2, Rev. 13:5) ------------- 3 and a half years.
1260 days (Rev. 11:3, Rev. 12:6) ----------------------- 3 and a half years.
half a “seven” (Dan. 9:27 ) ---------------------------- 3 and a half years.
time, times, and a part (Dan 7:25, Dan. 12:7, Rev. 12:14) ----- 3 and a part years
1290 days (Dan. 12:11) ------------------------- would still fall within 3 and a part years
1335 days (Dan. 12:12) ------------------------ would still fall within 3 and a part years
70 “weeks” (Daniel Cpt 9)
2300 evening/morning (Dan. 8:14)
NOTE: All prophecy time is Temple time. It must fit the calendar given to Israel by the LORD. Months were 30 days. One year equaled 360 days, not 365 as in our present calendar.
You will see that each of the first five prophecies listed is describing the same period of time. Only one prophecy, Daniel 12:11, adds 30 days. This could be a reference to the “second Passover”, which one could keep if he was “on a journey” or had “touched a dead body” and was not able to observe the Passover in the first month (Numbers 9:10).
The 2300 evening mornings can be understood in at least two ways. Two sacrifices were performed as “the daily” (or continual) burnt offering - one in the evening, and one in the morning. One evening-morning combination, would then represent one day. And 2300 of those (2 sacrifice) days would cover a period of 6 years, 4 months and 20 days. In Hebrew inclusive reckoning, this would be counted as a “week” of seven years. Inclusive reckoning always rounds up to the nearest whole.
Alternatively, if we count every evening sacrifice as ONE sacrifice, and every morning sacrifice as ONE sacrifice, then 2300 individual sacrifices would be offered within a period of 1150 days (3 years, 2 months, and 10 days). This period would fall within the “time, times, and a part”.
Our custom in the West is to count more precisely, to the exact number. Because of this, we may miss the meaning of the Hebrew numbering customs.
Let me just mention here, that “signs in the heavens” and great “earthquakes” will precede the return of our Savior (Matt. Cpt 24). The earth is said to be “moved out of its place” (Isa. 13:13). It is possible that this earth may be pulled back into a 360 day orbit around the sun, by a large “near earth” object, passing between earth and the sun. The prophetic time periods would then FIT with the actual time periods. If you do some research, you will find that calendars world-wide, were changed about the year 800BC, to accommodate 5.25 additional days. This was the time of King Hezekiah, who saw the sundial move backwards.
The people of God will be present on the earth during six of the trumpet judgments.
They will be rescued when the 7th trumpet sounds.
The 7 last vial plagues are poured out WHEN the 7th trumpet sounds.
The last vial plagues will destroy all life on earth.
(Please see the study “Millennium” for more details.)
Revelation 9:4 [During the 5th trumpet judgment] “They (the demons) were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.”
Revelation 7:1-8 tells of the judgments held back until the servants of God are sealed.
The fact that the demons are commanded not to harm anyone with this seal, implies the presence of such persons during the trumpet judgments. Darby said these people - with the seal of God - will be obedient Jews. I disagree. I believe they will be the last generation of God’s faithful people.
As the last trumpet sounds, “the kingdoms of this world, have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ” (Rev. 11:15). I believe that this is the day when Christ will return for His people.
Paul wrote that the redeemed would be changed “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. The living are “changed” and the dead are “raised incorruptible” when the last trumpet sounds. The “last” trumpet is the 7th trumpet.
I Corinthians 15:52 “For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
GOD’S SERVANTS WILL BE SPARED THE “WRATH” TO COME
Revelation Chapter 16: [The 7 vial plagues are described.] These plagues are called “the great winepress of the wrath of God (Rev 14:20). “In them, the wrath of God is complete (Rev 15:1).
There is no mention of any servant of God on earth during these last wrath plagues. In fact, just before these plagues are poured out, John the revelator sees those who have gotten the victory over the Beast and over his image, now standing on the sea of glass, which is before the thrown of God in heaven (Rev. 15:2, Rev. 4:6).
1 Thessalonians 1:10 “... wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”
1 Thessalonians 5:9 “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
There is a DIFFERENCE between the testing time, and the time of wrath.
The testing time, is 42 months, “time, times, and a part”, 1260 days. It is the final call to repentance. It is the final witness.
The “time of His wrath” - FOLLOWS the testing time.
The time of wrath begins with the 7th trumpet - “the Day of the LORD” - when the last 7 “vials of His wrath” are poured out. These plagues will completely destroy all life on planet earth.
Darby taught that the “vials” of wrath, will be poured out DURING the last 3.5 years. I believe the warning trumpet plagues, will take place during this time. The “two witnesses” of Revelation Cpt Eleven also testify during this time. The1260 days (42 months, 3.5 years) lead up to the Second Coming in glory.
The fire did not fall on Sodom and Gomorrah until the angels had rescued Lot (a man in covenant with God). The rain did not fall until Noah and his family were safe inside the ark. The destroying angel did not pass through Egypt until God’s children were safe behind the doors painted with the blood of the Lamb.
The stubble of last year’s fields is not burned until the harvest has been safely gathered into the barn. God cannot completely withdraw His spirit from this world, so long as His servants are here. He cannot then pour out His final wrath, until those servants are safe with Him. The Church is to expect trial, but not “the wrath of God unmixed with mercy.”
Jeremiah 30:7 “Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.”
The 1260 days of persecution is called the “time of trouble” (Dan 12:1) and “great tribulation” (Matt 24:21). To be sure, it will be an awful time. Do we then give up? On the very border of Canaan, the Children of Israel were afraid of the “giants in the land”. They were afraid to cross over the Jordan, because of the obstacles they must face. They did not believe the LORD would give them the victory, and so they died in the wilderness. We must not repeat their failure. We must believe that Jesus will give us the victory. Our deliverance will come at the 7th trumpet. The saints will be translated, and then the vials of wrath will be poured out.
Why is this study important?
1. If you believe that you will be “raptured” out before any real persecution begins, and you come up to that time, and you have NOT been raptured, what will be going through your mind? What you believed - didn’t happen!!
If you have ever experienced a crisis of faith, you know what it feels like. You wonder what you can believe. Going into a period of great persecution is NOT the time for a crisis of faith. All those folks who believed they would simply be raptured out, will be in crisis. They did not prepare themselves to endure.
2. The LORD gave the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, for His people in the last days. Realizing this, we may assume these prophecies contain vital information - information that will help get us through this last period of persecution.
The prophecies tell us how long this period will last. If folks know that the suffering will not last forever, that it is limited to a specific period of time, they can better steal their hearts to endure.
3. The prophecies make it clear that this is a testing time - the last testing before Jesus returns. Knowing that this time was prophesied, will give believers confidence that the LORD is in control, and will soon set things right. When the people of God see the prophecies coming to pass before their eyes, they will know that Jesus’ coming is very near.
4. Realizing that many will be imprisoned or martyred for their faith during this time, the faith of believers will not be unsettled when such persecution comes.
We pray this study will prove a blessing.
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