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By Terry James
Paul the apostle clearly laid out prophecy concerning the Rapture of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is, it is clear to me and a multitude of believers. Paul’s words could not be more precise in letting us know that all who have believed in Christ for salvation will be lifted in one majestic moment of time to be with Christ in the air. This will happen before the Day of the Lord (Tribulation) begins.
However–as human minds often think in contrarian ways–this great truth of the pre-Tribulation Rapture has thereby been muddled. Therefore, in addition to the Pre-Trib Rapture, we have the mid-Trib, post-Trib, partial, and other derivatives of this matter of Rapture–including no Rapture at all.
In consideration of the Rapture, which I and other pre-Trib proponents believe is truth as expressed by Paul, timing is key to understanding how near we might be to that great event. We are, for the most part, convinced the apostle gave a most significant prophetic clue as to world conditions that will be prevalent.
Paul, in his first epistle to the Thessalonians, gave the Rapture prophecy. He, with the next line, wrote the following:
“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3)
We are told through this epistle, then, that there will be a specific lament by the world in general at the time of the event–the Rapture–Paul had just prophesied. “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” The “they” here refers to the lost or unsaved of the generation who are crying “peace and safety.”
We have examined many times in these commentaries the long-running attempts at peace making in the Middle East. The “Roadmap to Peace” is the diplomatic document that has been at the center of this attempt to bring about peace–for the region and for the world.
Throughout the entire process over the years, Israel’s prime ministers, whether Begin, Rabin, Netanyahu, or whomever, have included in their speeches the desire to assure peace and security for their people. Paul’s prophecy in this 2 Thessalonians account includes Israel and the whole world. All will be calling for peace and safety.
In the case of Israel, anxiety over peace and security has come to a head with the insertion of President Donald Trump into the Jewish state’s dilemma. The dilemma, of course, involves the pressure being exerted on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to agree to a two-state solution. That is, the world diplomatic community demands that the Palestinians be given part of Israel’s land to form a Palestinian state.
Netanyahu is feeling equal and opposite pressure from within his own government. The opposition members of the Knesset insist that such a two-state situation will compromise Israel’s peace and security to an unacceptable degree.
The Israeli prime minister and the new American president met in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to talk over, among other things, the possible pathway to peace for Israel. Netanyahu endorsed a Palestinian state in a speech in 2009 at Bar-State University.
Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett and Likud activists urged Netanyahu to give up his support for a Palestinian state, in advance of the meeting with Trump. Bennett declared, “The earth will shake” if Netanyahu and Trump discuss a Palestinian state.
With Trump now the United States president, leaders on the right within the Israeli government are hopeful the prime minister will give up talk of a Palestinian state as part of securing the peace and safety of Israel. Bennett promised in a Facebook post titled “The Test of Netanyahu’s Life” that the Right will support the prime minister if he tells Trump he no longer is in favor of a two-state solution. However, Bennett said it would bring “national nightmare” if Netanyahu continues to support a Palestinian state.
He wrote: “The earth will shake. International pressure, boycotts, reports against Israel, missiles, freezes, tying the hands of our soldiers in the fight against terrorism – all this will continue and intensify.”
He went on to say that he and others of the right in the Israeli political milieu consider the election of Donald Trump an historical opportunity that cannot be missed.
Netanyahu, in the press conference held last Wednesday, in fact, indicated strongly that Israel will accept no Palestinian state. This, he indicated, is because the Palestinian Authority refuses to even officially acknowledge Israel’s existence. Plus, he said with strong emphasis, he will never accept the Palestinian declaration that Israel must be forever removed from the land.
The Israeli prime minister also brought up the terms peace and security a number of times during the press conference held upon his arrival at the White House.
Israel’s call for peace and security and the international community’s cry for peace will be front and center as never before the deeper we move into the Middle Eastern tempest. This is perhaps the most dramatic signal of just how close is the Rapture of the Church.
1Thessalonians 5:16 -18 Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. KJV
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