The Pre Tribulation Rapture
The Coming Slaughter of Christians
Catching Away Rapture End Times
A Jewish wedding and the pre-tribulation rapture
PITN: The Origins of the Pretrib Rapture
When Will the Rapture Occur? (Part 1 of 3).
When Will the Rapture Occur? (Part 2 of 3).
When Will the Rapture Occur? (Part 3 of 3).
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Setting the Record Straight on Rapture
Setting the Record Straight on Rapture
By Holly Deyo
The purpose of the following material is not to debate the existence of Rapture or when that event would occur, as it is to establish that this is a doctrine of long-standing. A well-circulated notion says that John Darby was the first to begin teaching Rapture in 1828. This may be an effort to discredit Rapture, to remove people's hope and dispirit them, or it may be perpetuated through ignorance. Whatever is the case, it is simply incorrect.
Consider that while the word "rapture" was not used until Jerome in 400 AD with the Latin word rapimur, the Dead Sea Scroll concept of Rapture pre-dates the birth of Christ!
As frequently seen with things posted on the Internet, people grab a thought and run with it without performing due diligence. It is our hope that the following documentation will put the Darby rumor to rest.
"In 1 Corinthians 15:51-54, the Apostle Paul tells the church at Corinth,
“Behold, I shew 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 trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall 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 shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."
"And to the church in Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians 4:16,
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
"The mystery being spoken of here is a truth that had not previously been revealed in the Old Testament but is now being revealed in the New Testament. Although the idea of the resurrection is clearly taught in the Old Testament, the teaching of the Rapture is not. This is the first mention of the Rapture of the Church.
"The context of what Paul is talking about is the resurrection and the order of the events taking place at the time of the resurrection. Paul says that before the Rapture, the dead in Christ will rise first. These are those who have died from the time after the death and resurrection of Jesus until today. And then, we who are still alive at the time of the rapture will be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air. And in that moment our mortal bodies will be changed in the "twinkling of an eye" * and we will receive our new glorified bodies.
"Paul makes this very clear. Corruption putting on incorruption is a reference to the saints who have died and decaying and that their bodies are corrupt. Then the mortal putting on immortality is referring to those alive when He comes.
"Now, look at the immanency of Christ’s return. Notice how Paul expects to see the Lord in his lifetime. Verse 52 shows the immanency. Notice how he uses the word “we”. He was including himself in the event of the Rapture. He lived his life in the light that Jesus could return and rapture the church at any moment. Paul’s take on it shows that the Rapture was of course a Pre-Tribulation rapture because he felt that it was so imminent.
"Now listen to what Jesus tells his disciples in Luke 17:26-30 (Amplified Bible).
“And [just] as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the time of the Son of Man. [People] ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, right up to the day when Noah went into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. So also [it was the same] as it was in the days of Lot. [People] ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; But on the [very] day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed [them] all. That is the way it will be on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.”
"Jesus is making a reference to the Rapture. He is telling the disciples that it will happen much as the days of Noah and Lot were. Taking place as it was in the days of Noah, how they were caught surprised. They were going about their normal day to day business. Then when Noah and his family stepped onto the ark, the flood came. As with Lot, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were going about their own sinful ways as well and when Lot and his family were removed from the city, then God’s judgment came down upon the cities. Likewise will it be with the Rapture. Once the Lord removes His Church from the sinful world, then the Tribulation will begin.
"He mentions that He will come as a thief in the night indicating that he will not be seen by everyone. But when talking about the Second Coming, He says that every eye will see Him. Notice some are sleeping and some are working indicating that it will be night some places and daytime in others. No one will see Jesus at that time except for those who meet Him in the air. Carrying on with life as usual until the Lord comes and disrupts their scene.
"God has not appointed His church to wrath. The wrath of God is the Tribulation period. The Bible tells us that we have tribulation now but that comes from the world and Satan. The Tribulation period is the wrath of God, and God is not going to punish His bride.
"You'll notice that the Rapture takes place at the sound of a trumpet. The trumpet sounding is what signals the Rapture. Notice also that it is called the LAST trumpet. Now having said that we know that there are 7 angels that are given 7 trumpets to sound and when they do sound there are 7 judgments that come upon the earth. There are those that say that the last trumpet is the 7th trumpet being spoken of in 1 Corinthians 15:52. That would mean that the Rapture does not take place until the middle of the Tribulation. So in order for the church to hear the last trumpet the church must go through the first half of the Tribulation.
"This is just simply not true.
"The church is not going through the Tribulation. Why would God the Father want to punish His bride? The Tribulation is referred to as a time of Jacob’s trouble. It has to do with the Jews. It's at that time that God wakes up the Jewish people and brings them to salvation. When will the rapture take place? When will the trumpet sound? At the end of the church age. When the last person who needs to get saved, gets saved.
"Revelation 2-3 is an overview of church history. Even though they were written to 7 churches existing at that time, each of these has a secondary application as often does in Scripture, especially prophecy. They actually are a reference to the 7 different stages of church history as God sees them from beginning to end.
"Then John says in Revelation 4:1, once he is finished writing about the churches,
“ After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter."
"After these things (pertaining to the church), after the church ages are over, a door in heaven was opened and a voice that sounded like a trumpet saying come up hither and I will show you things AFTER this. After the church age. I believe this is the Rapture right here.
"Does this ring a bell?
"When the church ministry on earth is complete a door will open and a trumpet will sound and the church will be caught up. Paul wrote in Romans 11:25,
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”
"Until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in. Since the Jews rejected Jesus as Messiah, God is now working among the Gentile nations to bring a bride unto Himself. Once that last Gentile who needs to be saved comes to salvation, God will focus His energy on Israel.
"Many claim that the whole concept of a Pre-Tribulation rapture was never even heard of until 1828 when John Darby first began teaching it. Well, these people are wrong who believe this because there is ample evidence of the Church teaching the Rapture 1100 years before John Darby." 1
150BC - 70AD Rapture Mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls
"A Newly Discovered Dead Sea Scroll Has Revealed Who Will be Left Behind When the Rapture Comes a Leading Scholar Reports" from the journalist David Augustine. (Jack van Impe Ministries, June 16, 2005)
In this article Dr. William Harold, professor of Canon Law, at the Theological Seminary of Essex, GB wrote:
"Without doubt, this is the most important discovery in the history of Biblical archeology. The scroll, written in Aramaic, the language spoken in the Holy Land during Jesus time on earth, was found in a cave on the shores of the Dead Sea by geologists conducting a survey for the Israeli government."
The scrolls read:
"The Rapture will occur suddenly. And countless thousands will vanish from the earth. Swept up to heaven to live with Jesus and escape the torment of the Tribulation, the others will be left behind." — The Dead Sea Scrolls
Many others believed and taught this long before John Darby
95-150 AD, the Rapture idea was preached by the Shepherd of Hermas. 2
"You have escaped from great tribulation on account of your faith, and because you did not doubt in the presence of such a beast. Go, therefore, and tell the elect of the Lord His mighty deeds, and say to them that this beast is a type of the great tribulation that is coming. If then ye prepare yourselves, and repent with all your heart, and turn to the Lord, it will be possible for you to escape it, if your heart be pure and spotless, and ye spend the rest of the days of your life in serving the Lord blamelessly." (documented by Larry V. Crutchfield) 3
270-303 AD, Victorinus, the Bishop of Pettau, a Catholic ecclesiastical writer preached it.
Victorinus said he saw another great and wonderful sign in his commentary on Book of Revelation in AD 270:
"Seven angels having the last seven plagues, for in them is completed the indignation of God. And these shall be in the last times when the church shall have gone out of the midst."
No doubt about it, St. Victorinus proclaimed the pretrib Rapture. 4
306-373 AD Ephrem the Syrian. One of the most important evidences for rapture is an apocalyptic sermon from the 4th century titled “Sermon on the End of the World”. It is credited to Ephrem the Syrian, a Syriac deacon, theologian, and hymnographer of the 4th century who wrote many biblical commentaries. Some suggest it may not have been written until a later date of 565-627 A.D. The exact date doesn’t matter. Even if it were as late as the 7th century, it is still 1100 years prior to John Darby. Ephrem wrote:
“Why therefore do we not reject every care of earthly actions and prepare ourselves for the meeting of the Lord Christ, so that he may draw us from the confusion, which overwhelms all the world? Believe you me, dearest brother, because the coming (advent) of the Lord is nigh, believe you me, because the end of the world is at hand, believe me, because it is the very last time. Or do you not believe unless you see with your eyes? See to it that this sentence be not fulfilled among you of the prophet who declares: “Woe to those who desire to see the day of the Lord!” For all the saints and elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins.” 5
400 AD, Jerome in the Latin vulgate (in the Catholic Bible) used the word rapimur which means "rapture", or "caught up" to describe the Rapture. Jerome is actually the man who first coined the term – Rapture. 6
Why has the Pre-Tribulation doctrine emerged so
prominently over the past 200 years?
The Bible, prior to 200 years ago, was kept out of the hands of the common people. It was locked in museums and monasteries for 1000 years during the Dark Ages. It wasn’t until the Bible was translated into the common people's language and that then the hope (the Blessed Hope – the Rapture) of the pre-millennial return of Christ was once again established in the Church. When the Scriptures were available to everybody the ancient truth of the Rapture – before the Tribulation period – was again discovered.
Pre-Tribulation Rapture beginning around the end of the Dark Ages.
1304 AD, Reverend Dolcino
Francis X. Gumerlock believes that Brother Dolcino and the Apostolic Brethren taught pretribulationism documented by the following statement:
"Again, [Dolcino believed and preached and taught] that within those three years Dolcino himself and his followers will preach the coming of the Antichrist. And that theAntichrist was coming into this world within the bounds of the said three and a half years; and after he had come, then he [Dolcino] and his followers would be transferred into Paradise, in which are Enoch and Elijah. And in this way they will be preserved unharmed from the persecution of Antichrist.And that then Enoch and Elijah themselves would descend on the earth for the purpose of preaching [against] Antichrist. Then they would be killed by him or by his servants, and thus Antichrist would reign for a long time. But when the Antichrist is dead, Dolcino himself, who then would be the holy pope, and his preserved followers, will descend on the earth, and will preach the right faith of Christ to all, and will convert those who will be living then to the true faith of Jesus Christ." 7
1400 AD, Bible translations in the native tongues led to a new propagation of the Pre-trib Rapture.
1627 AD, Joseph Mede ** , a literalist, used the word "rapture." 8
1639-1723 AD Increase Mather pastor, scholar, and the first President of Harvard College. Paul Boyer has noted that this Puritan scholar proved "that the saints would be caught up into the air beforehand, thereby escaping the final conflagration." This teaching from Mather was an early formulation of the rapture doctrine. 9
1687 AD, Peter Jurieu; in his book Approaching Deliverance of the Church (1687) taught that Christ would come in the air to rapture the saints and return to heaven before the battle of Armageddon. He spoke of a secret Rapture prior to His coming in glory and judgment at Armageddon.
1700 AD, John Asgill, who wrote a book in 1700 about the possibility of translation (i.e. rapture) without seeing death. 10
1738 AD, Philip Doddridge
Philip Doddridge's commentary on theNew Testament (1738) and John Gill's commentary on the New Testament (1748) both use the term "rapture" and speak of it as imminent. It is clear that these men believed that this coming will precede Christ's descent to the earth and the time of judgment. The purpose was to preserve believers from the time of judgment.
1748 AD, John Gill **
Dr. John Gill was one of the most brilliant scholars of his day. This Calvinist Baptist theologian wrote a full commentary set on the Bible in 1748. In this commentary he made a statement in his notes on 1 Thessalonians 4 that supported a time difference between the rapture of the saints and the coming of Christ to earth. He said:
....here Christ will stop and will be visible to all, and as easily discerned by all, good and bad, as the body of the sun at noon-day; as yet He will not descend on earth, because it is not fit to receive Him; but when that and its works are burnt up, and it is purged and purified by fire, and become a new earth, He'll descend upon it, and dwell with his saints in it: and this suggests another reason why He'll stay in the air, and His saints shall meet Him there, and whom He'll take up with Him into the third heaven, till the general conflagration and burning of the world is over, and to preserve them from it.... 11
1763 AD, James McKnight **
1744 AD, Morgan Edwards The clearest reference to a pretrib rapture before Darby comes from American Baptist pastor, educator and historian, Morgan Edwards. He is also founder of the Ivy League school, Brown University. Edwards saw a distinct rapture 3½ years before the start of the millennium. Edward wrote about his pretrib beliefs as a student in 1744 and then later published them in 1788 in an essay titled, Two Academical Exercises on Subjects Bearing the following Titles; Millennium, Last-Novelties. His pro-Rapture stance is impossible to dismiss. He taught the following:
II. The distance between the first and second resurrection will be somewhat more than a thousand years.
I say, somewhat more-, because the dead saints will be raised, and the living changed at Christ's "appearing in the air" (Thess. 4:17); and this will be about three years and a half before the millennium, as we shall see hereafter: but will he and they abide in the air all that time? No: they will ascend to paradise, or to some one of those many "mansions in the father's house" (John 14:2), and disappear during the fore said period of time. The design of this retreat and disappearing will be to judge the risen and changed saints; for "now the time is come that judgment must begin," and that will be "at the house of God" (IPet. iv. 17) . . . (p. 7; The spelling of all Edwards quotes have been modernized.) 12
Thomas Ice further explains:
"Edwards clearly separates the rapture from the second coming by three and a half years. He uses modern pretrib rapture verses (1 Thess. 4:17 and John 14:2) to describe the rapture." 13
1792 AD, Thomas Scott **
James MacKnight (1763) and Thomas Scott (1792) taught that the righteous will be carried to heaven, where they will be secure until the time of judgment is over. 14
And then in 1830 AD, John Darby enters the picture. Without question, John Darby was not the originator of the Rapture doctrine.
* "twinkling of an eye" (I Corinthians 15:52). Scientists at General Electric Company have timed the twinkling of a human being's eye, and it amounts to eleven one-hundredths of a second.
** Peter Jurieu in his book Approaching Deliverance of the Church (1687) taught that Christ would come in the air to rapture the saints and return to heaven before the battle of Armageddon. He spoke of a secret Rapture prior to His coming in glory and judgment at Armageddon. Philip Doddridge's commentary on the New Testament (1738) and John Gill's commentary on the New Testament (1748) both use the term rapture and speak of it as imminent. It is clear that these men believed that this coming will precede Christ's descent to the earth and the time of judgment. The purpose was to preserve believers from the time of judgment. James MacKnight (1763) and Thomas Scott (1792) taught that the righteous will be carried to heaven, where they will be secure until the time of judgment is over. 15
Signs of the Times
Signs pointing to the End of this Age have never been more abundant than they are in today's headlines. They herald a time of great change, which has been promised for millennia. But today is different.
What is unique about this time revolves around Israel and man's intellectual evolution.
First, Israel has always been God's prophetic clock. In Matthew 24:32, Jesus tells us to watch for the rebudding (re-establishment) of the fig tree – a symbol of Israel. He warns two verses later when this happens, that generation who sees Israel once again attain statehood "will not pass" until the judgments and the Lord's return take place. This is THE key and often overlooked.
Israel became a nation once again in 1948 and they finally recaptured all of Jerusalem in June 1967. This is quite a feat since Jews were dispursed throughout the world for 2,534 years, managed to hold onto their language and their heritage. When this has happened to other people, they have assimilated into the culture where they live and their heritage becomes just a memory.
Israel's re-establishment set the Lord's clock in motion and He warns that "when you see these signs, all taken together, coming to pass, you may know of a surety that He is near, at the very doors." (Matthew 24:33). So while that we may know only "the times and the seasons", not a specific date, the Lord could arrive literally at any moment.
The second puzzle piece unique to this time is man's scientific advancements. We literally could not have designed and built cars, planes or atomic bombs 200 years ago. We needed computers to effectively distribute the Gospel worldwide and the Internet to disseminate vast amounts of information. Computers and chips are critical to accomplish the global 666 numbering system waiting in the wings and to keep track of those who will allowed to buy or sell when they take this chip. These are all new technologies compared to using horseback for your main means of travel.
Individually many of the signs listed in the Gospels have always been present. It's when ALL these things happen after the formation of the State of Israel that they become truly prophetically significant.
- Airplanes – Isaiah 31:5 and Isaiah 60:8
- Horseless carriages or automobiles – Nahum 2:3-4
- Israel's deserts will bloom "as a rose" – Isaiah 35:1
- Alignment of the European Union – Daniel 2 & 7
- Explosion in knowledge, technology and science – Daniel 12:4
- Great increase in travel – Daniel 12:4
- Rise of false christs and false prophets – Matthew 24:5, 11 and 24
- Wars and rumors of wars – Matthew 24:6 and Revelation 6:3-4
- Famines – Matthew 24:7
- Earthquakes in different places – Mark 13:8
- Pestilences – Luke 21:11
- Injustice and discrimination flourish – Matthew 24:12 and 2Timothy 3:13
- Lawlessness – Mark 13:12 and 2Timothy 3:1-4, 6
- The Gospel of Kingdom will be preached worldwide – Matthew 24:14
- Signs in the Sun, moon, space – Luke 21:25-26
- Rise of evil spirits, cults and apostates – 1Timothy 4:1-2
- Hoarding of gold and silver – James 5:1-3
- False prophets denying Christ's deity – 2Peter 2:1-2
- Scoffers mocking the Second Coming – 2Peter 3:3-4
- Invention of the atomic bomb – 2Peter 3:10-12
- Lethargy and indifference among God's people – Revelation 3:15-18
- Jerusalem emerges as an international bone of contention – Zechariah 12:2-3 (Jerusalem become a cup of trembling)
- Rise of anti-semitism – Psalms 83:4
- Russia's new military power and its alliance with the Islamic world – Ezekiel 38 & 39 and Joel 2 & 3 Daniel 11:40 (alignment with Islamic world) and Ezekiel 30:5-6 and Psalm 83:4-7
- Emergence of a mighty world power in Asia or China – Revelation 16:12, Revelation 9:14-18
In closing, we are taught in 1 Thess. 5:10-11 to encourage one another:
He died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
So be encouraged! Maranatha!
1] Behold, I Shew You A Mystery – The Beginning of Wisdom, Daniel, August 2008; http://jesusmessiah.wordpress.com/2008/08/21/behold-i-shew-you-a-mystery/
2] The Shepherd of Hermas 1.4.2.
3] Sermon entitled Sermon on The Last Times, The Antichrist, and The End of the World. For more information on this see Timothy J. Demy and Thomas D. Ice, "The Rapture and an Early Medieval Citation," Bibliotheca Sacra (Vol. 152, No. 607; July-Sept. 1995), pp. 306-17.
4] Dr. Jack Van Impe, "The Moment After" in Perhaps Today, March-April 2000, http://www.jvim.com/pt/2000/00004.html
5] Larry V. Crutchfield, "The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation in the Apostolic Fathers", in Thomas Ice & Timothy Demy, editors, When The Trumpet Sounds (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1995), pp. 88-101. what does this go to????
6] Dr. Jack Van Impe, "The Moment After" in Perhaps Today, March-April 2000, http://www.jvim.com/pt/2000/00004.html
7] Francis X. Gumerlock, "Before Darby: Expanding the Historical Boundaries of Pretribulationism", paper presented on November 14-16, 2001 to the 53rd Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in Colorado Springs. http://www.pre-trib.org/article-view.php?id=76
8] Mede is considered the “father of English pre-millennialism,” having written Clavis Apocalyptica (“Key of the Revelation”) in 1627 in which “he attempted to construct an outline of the Apocalypse based solely upon internal considerations. In this interpretation he advocated pre-millennialism in such a scholarly way that this work continued to influence eschatological interpretation for centuries.”
9] Mal Couch, Thomas Figart, Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Thomas Ice, Russell L. Penney A Biblical Theology of the Church, p. 141, August 1, 2006
10] The entire title of Asgill's work is as follows: An argument proving, that according to the covenant of Eternal Life revealed in the Scriptures, Man may be translated from hence into that Eternal Life, without passing through Death, although the Human Nature of Christ himself could not be thus translated till he had passed through Death.
12] Thomas Ice, "Morgan Edwards: Another Pre-Darby Rapturist"; http://www.tribulation.ws/featured/tt3.html
13] Morgan Edwards, "Two Academical Exercised on Subjects Bearing the following Titles; Millennium, Last-Novelties" (Philadelphia: self-published, 1788). See Thomas Ice, Morgan Edwards: Another Pre-Darby Rapturist, Pre-Trib Perspectives (Vol. II, No. 4; Sept/Oct 1995), pp. 1-3. http://www.pre-trib.org/article-view.php?id=76#_edn7
14] Paul N. Benware, Understanding End Times Prophecy: A Comprehensive Approach (Chicago: Moody Press, 1995), pp. 197-98.
My Favorite Pre-Trib Rapture Study
We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye"
(1 Corinthians 15:51)
By Greg DesVoignes
When I first came to believe in Jesus Christ, I had no idea what "The Rapture" was. It was probably a few months after that time I even heard the term itself. I thought "rapture" meant some fuzzy experience that believers were going to have someday. It was not until about six months after accepting Jesus that I heard the explanation of what this term meant; a sudden, without warning removal of faithful followers of Jesus out of the world, into His presence. Paul described this immanent event in the following.
"Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead in Christ shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
"For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night." (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18; 5:1-2)
Wow! This was exciting! But then I heard different views on this event. The excitement of the possibility of living in a time when Jesus could show up at anytime was pre-empted by confusion. For I heard that some believe that Jesus would not return suddenly before the Tribulation Period; but there were those that believed this event would not happen until the middle [when the anti - Christ enters the rebuilt Temple], and those who believe believers will not be taken out until the end of the Tribulation.
The next event for the church is to return with Christ at the time He physically comes back to the earth and stops the Tribulation from continuing. Theologians on all sides give scripture they believe support their views. So, this was somewhat of a bummer at that time. However, as I studied for the last two newsletters on the signs of the times, there were certain things I began to observe concerning the Rapture. So it seemed fitting [I felt lead] then, that this newsletter should follow the past two.
In looking at the Rapture subject as to when, we will look at the nature of the Church, the nature of the Tribulation Period, the nature of God and how he has dealt with His people. For it was these things that stood out to me.
Old Testament Observation
Some camps, even pre - Tribulation Rapture camps, say the concept of the Rapture is not in the Old Testament, and was not revealed until New Testament times. After studying parts of the Old Testament, I would have to disagree. Here are some reasons.
The account of the prophet Enoch in Genesis 5 is one indication of the Rapture concept, especially if you see it in the totality of scripture. The account says;
"And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah 300 years... And Enoch walked with God: and he was not seen for God took him." (Genesis 5:22, 24)
Wow! This man walked with God 300 years, and then God took him from the face of the earth. Hebrews 11: 5-6 gives us further insight by saying;
"By faith Enoch was translated [accompanied, transported] that he should not see death; and was not found, because God translated [accompanied, transported] him. For before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased [gratified entirely] God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek [a craving worship] Him." (Hebrews 11:5-6)
Now keep in mind three points in these verses that carry over from the last newsletter: faith, and a relationship and knowledge of God, which believers are supposed to have. These will come up later.
It is also interesting that Jude says that before Enoch was taken away, he prophesied that the Lord would "cometh" [accompany, appear] with tens of thousands of His "saints" [sacred, pure, blameless, consecrated] for the purpose of judging all who do not have the Spirit of God dwelling in them.
So there are two Rapture concepts here; departure from the earth without seeing death, and the mention of returning to execute judgment upon the ungodly of the World. We need also to recognize the presence of faith, the relationship with God as a vital part of the taking up of Enoch.
Elijah the prophet is another Old Testament example that shows the concept of the Rapture. God powerfully used Elijah in an extreme apostate time of Israel. He caused rain to stop and start; he raised the dead, called fire out of heaven, and was responsible for the death of 450 prophets of Baal who prophesied for Jezebel.
The apostate Ahab, king of Israel, and his occult wife Jezebel, and another king Ahaziah pursued him. However, God consistently protected Elijah. One thing that is apparent about this man was that He was always obedient to God. He went where God told him to go, even if it seemed to mean problems. Yet at the same time, as James said, He had a nature like ours. So even after miracles, he became depressed, fearful, and felt alone. God even ministered to him in these times. Then something happened
"Then it came to pass as they [Elijah and Elisha] went on and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire and parted them asunder. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven." (2 Kings 2:11)
Now then, the Word also tells us that Elijah would have two returns, of which one has already taken place; when Jesus was transfigured and Moses and Elijah appeared with Him [Matt 17:1-3]. The next appearance will be during the Tribulation period [Malachi 3:1; 4:5-6; Matt 17:10-13; Rev 11:4-14], at which time he again is considered a troubler. For what he and his partner [possibly Moses] do in Israel against the ungodly, makes movie special effects a real thing during this time. Again the concept of being taken up alive to heaven, and returning.
When Will It Happen?
Now the controversial question arises of when this sudden departure of believers is going to happen. As in the past newsletters, we need to recall the time line of the last days prophetical events in their order. They are; the apostasy, the removal of the restrainer, revealing of the anti Christ, and the Tribulation. To give us some insight as to the possibility of when, we need to see what the Word tells us about the nature of some elements involved.
Nature of The Tribulation
The Word tells us some things about the Tribulation as to it's description and who it is directed at that may be revealing. The following are some examples. The Tribulation is:
The wrath to come. 1 Thess 1:10
Wrath upon the children of disobedience. Eph 5:6
The Day of the Lord, sudden destruction. to those who live in darkness 1 Thess 5:2-5
A curse that devours the earth for breaking God's covenant. Is 24:5,6
A time the Lord punishes the inhabitants of the earth. Is 26:21
Tribulation the world has not seen. Matt 24:21
The days of vengeance. Luke 21:22
An hour of testing for those who dwell on the earth. Rev 3:10
A snare to all who dwell on the earth. Luke 21:35
A time of woe to the inhabitants of the earth. Rev 12:12
Trouble for Jacob [Israel]. Jer 30:9
Purging, purifying of apostates. Dan 11:35; 12:10
Note that for the most part, these judgments are directed to the inhabitants of, and all who dwell on the earth at that time, and to Israel, whom God is not through dealing with yet. Who are these who inhabit or dwell on the earth at this time? Other verses give us the answer. They are those who are apostate, i.e. Children of disobedience [Eph 5:6], those who broke the covenant with God [Is 24:5-6], and those who did not keep his word and denied Jesus name [Rev 3:8-10]. I am going to interject an example of denial of Jesus' name here.
"We Best Leave Jesus Off a Pedestal" was the title of a September 20th, 1997 article in our local newspaper, the Spokesman - Review. The article was written by a United Methodist pastor in our region, citing the mercy of Mother Teresa, as a reason to put aside religious differences, saying that there is "touchable divine in everyone".
While being merciful to people is what God wants, it is not the whole picture. We can see this in Jesus' message to the church in Thyatira when He said,
"I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and they patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest [tolerates] that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her time to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds..." (Revelation 2:19-21)
So although this church did many good deeds, she tolerated false religions and basically went to bed with them [committed adultery], which shows where Jesus was with them. And this church most likely performed the charity, service and works with the other religions. Works, service and good deeds does not mean Jesus is present. We can even see the corporate world into these things today. The result of this adulterous ecumenical relationship with the false religions is seen in what happens to the followers this church birthed.
"And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches will know that I am He which searcheth the reigns and hearts: and will give unto every one of you according to your works." (vs. 23)
This apostate church, inspite of it's good works, goes into tribulation with those of the false religions she had a relationship with; unless it repents. Now, going back to the nature of the Tribulation lets see if we can find someplace the body of believers fit in these things.
First, the body of believers is not Israel; so we do not fit in regard to Jacob's trouble. If we have not broken the covenant with God, then we do not fit here either. Are God's children, children of disobedience? No, so we are not recipients of wrath and do not fit here. How about receiving punishment, purging or purification?
"Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like him for we shall see Him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure." (1 John 3:2-3)
If your hope is in Jesus and His appearing, you are already going through a purification process and are pure. So, if the body of Christ cannot seem to fit in any of the aforementioned, where does this body fit?
Description of the Church
While the last section reveals a lot as to fate of believers, we need to take this further. We need to see a description of the body of believers that may help in seeing where we fit in regard to the Tribulation period.
"Ye also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood [sacred]... But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people." (1 Peter 2:5, 9)
"In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord. In whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit." (Ephesians 2:21-22)
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in You?... For the temple of God is holy, what temple ye are." (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
So the Word describes each believer as; living stones, which together since the beginning of Pentecost, have been being built up as a spiritual house [regenerated], a dwelling place of God. It also refers to believers as a holy and royal priesthood. This priesthood is sacred. The Word further says that God also dwells within each believer and each believer his holy to Him. This word "holy" means, sacred, pure, and blameless.
[Keep this in mind; it comes up later]
Now do we see God's wrath against His own temple, against that which is holy, a place He dwells? Can we find any reference of His dwelling being purified during this time? To shed some light on this, let's consider the tabernacle and the two temples built by Israel.
The tabernacle and its furnishings were made according to the instructions of God after Israel left Egypt. He plainly stated that it was to be made according to His Word, and that there were not to be any of man's additions, subtractions or substitutes in the construction, materials, and furnishings. God made it for a place for Himself to dwell in the midst of His people, Israel. Upon its completion, the Word said His glory filled it [Ex 40:38]. What more His Spiritual house, the body of believers?
The temple that King David started, and his son King Solomon built eventually replaced this tabernacle. After the temple was built, the high priest would purify the temple by sacrificing a red heifer and sprinkle its blood on it. The same applied to the second temple built by Ezra after the Babylonian captivity.
But with the church, Jesus, our high priest came. His blood was poured out on a temple made without hands, and was thus already purified [Heb 9].
We need to ask if God ever subjected woe, destruction, wrath, and punishment upon his dwelling places? Yes! But Why? Simple: the apostasy of the people. Both of these man made temples had been polluted with falsehoods, other religions, by polluted prophets, priests, other gods, and those from the outside [Jer 23:11; Ez 8; Ezra 9; Neh 13].
This apostasy in the case of the first temple did lead to God departing His dwelling. Then, the temple was destroyed when Israel was taken by Babylon. Its people and the furnishings of the temple were carted away into captivity. A prophetical example.
In the case of the second temple, the people were so polluted with falsehood; there is no recording of God ever dwelling in it. Later on they fell under the rule of the Roman Empire. It is interesting that God did not enter this temple until Jesus came. Jesus was enraged when He saw what was going on inside of it. Jesus said of this temple;
"See ye not all these things; verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here any one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." (Matthew 24:2)
This temple was to be destroyed 70 years later by Rome. Why? Jesus said,
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them. How often I would have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not. Behold, your house is left desolate." (Matthew 23:37)
They, like Laodicea, would not let Jesus in to dwell among them. They were religious, kept tradition, honored Him with their lips; but their hearts were far from Him. They did not have any faith or knowledge of Him. So, Jesus began building a temple, a spiritual house made without hands. He then allowed one more time, the temple in Jerusalem to be destroyed. Desolation comes where God does not dwell, where Jesus is not let in. But God dwells in believers, does He not?
So, concerning God's temple, it is apostasy that brings about His departing from His temple. When He is gone, destruction comes. Now the question we have to ask concerning the Tribulation and this spiritual house where God dwells [His church]; Is God going to leave His dwelling, or is His dwelling going to leave with Him?
What Restrains Anti Christ?
We know that before the anti Christ comes, there will be an apostasy. However something else must happen during this apostasy, but before the anti Christ is revealed. Paul said,
"And you know what with-holdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed..." (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7)
The question here, touched on in another newsletter, is, who is it that is restraining the revealing of the anti Christ and who is it that must be taken out before he is revealed? Let's look at the Holy Spirit in this. The Word tells us that He; teaches [John 14:26], guides [Rom 8:14], commissions [Acts 13:4, commands [Acts 8:29], restrains [Gen 6:3], convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment [John 16:8], and He dwells in each believer [Eph 5:18].
What happens when the Holy Spirit is absent? It is obvious that there would be no teaching or revelation from God. There would also be nothing to convict the World of sin, righteousness and judgment, and nothing to restrain. One example of what happens when there is a void of the Spirit can be seen in the case of King Saul when he rejected the Word of God.
"But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him."
(1 Samuel 16:14)
Jesus gave another example we used in another newsletter. He said;
"Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places, seeking rest, and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came': and when it comes it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. Then it goes out and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there..." (Matthew 12:43-45)
So where there is a void of the Holy Spirit, demonic spirits come in. In the case of the anti Christ, the head of demons, Satan, possesses him. He is called the "man of sin", whom the whole world follows. Is this restrainer the Holy Spirit who has now departed allowing the man of sin to be revealed? Revelation tells us that no one can stand against Him. He even overcomes the saints. It is then interesting to note that Jesus said, "the gates of Hell shall not prevail" against His church [Matt 16:18]. Is the church missing at this time? Did the church leave?
Sealed By God
This brings us around to the Church as a dwelling place of God, which is through the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit is the one who is restraining the revealing of the man of sin, will He depart believers? Will He abandon the spiritual house that God has been building and leave us? Will these "living stones" become spiritually dead?
"Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the World, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.... In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise..." (Ephesians 1:3, 13)
The Holy Spirit is not leaving the believers, as believers are sealed. What can be said as to what happens then if the Holy Spirit is the restrainer and is taken out of the way? Because of the Holy Spirit, believers are, as Jesus said, the salt of the earth, and the light of the world [Matt 5:13, 14]. Without the believers as the salt [a preservative] of the earth, decay and sin would abound. Without this light, all would be in darkness. Without salt and light, there would be nothing to contend against the darkness of the man of sin.
The Nature Of God In Judgments
Rebellion Of Korah
One of the most revealing aspects I saw concerning this question of the time of the Tribulation, was the nature in which God dealt with certain people during His disciplines and judgments. The first one I noticed was when a man named Korah lead a rebellion against Moses after Israel left Egypt.
"And the Lord spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron saying, 'Separate yourselves from among this congregation that I may consume them in a moment'. And they fell on their faces and said, 'O God, the God of the Spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation'?"
God's answer was, "No". So Moses acting as intercessor, pleaded with the congregation to separate themselves from Korah and those who rebelled against Moses [ultimately God]. After these people separated themselves from Korah and those who remained with him, the earth opened up and swallowed Korah and his family, and fire came down from heaven and fried the rest. But those who had separated themselves were not affected. Grace and a warning.
The Days of Noah
In the Noah account, it is an entire world, which has fallen away, with only one righteous. It was here that God said during this apostate time;
"My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he is also flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years." (Genesis 6:3)
Grace again with a warning that the time would come when His spirit would no longer restrain man. God gave them a 120-year warning to repent; which they did not, and the great flood came. Again we see that God had a different plan for the righteous. 120 years before the rains came, God told Noah to build an ark. And again, seven days before the rains came, God told Noah to enter the ark. God Himself closed the door of the ark, and the flood came. The ark rose above the waters. What I noticed is that the judgment did not start until the righteous one was safely taken out of the way.
The Destruction of Sodom
The destruction of Sodom reveals another. First came the warning. God told Abraham he was going to destroy Sodom. Abraham knew Lot lived there and asked the Lord if He would destroy the righteous with the wicked. Not so! When the angels came to destroy the city, they did warn Lot and told him to leave with his family. When Lot tarried, an angel grabbed Lot and said,
"Haste thee, escape thither, for I cannot do anything till thou come thither." (Genesis 19:22)
The very presence of righteous Lot prevented the angel from carrying out the judgment on the city. But after Lot was gone, the destruction began. As with Lot, God will also deal in a similar manner with the 144,000 Jews during the Tribulation period. Just before Jesus opens the Seventh Seal which is the beginning of the trumpet judgments, an angel said;
"Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed 144,000 of all the tribes of the children of Israel." (Revelation 7:3-4)
God's Warning and Grace Today: Be Separate!
The end of the church age and within the last part of the apostasy, marks the forming of the alliance of a one-world spirituality with the corporate world [Rev 17-18]. As it was in the past, God again calls it, Babylon. This time also marks the forming of the one world government of the old Roman Empire. Together these will reach a peak during the Tribulation period. But here again, God calls out a warning to His people before destruction. Speaking of the revived Babylonian system, Jesus said,
"Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues... Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she will utterly be destroyed with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her." (Revelation 18:4, 8)
Again a forewarning and plea to be separated from this apostate system, with a promise not to have to partake in the affects of the Tribulation wrath of God and the judgments.
Enoch Walked With God And Was No More: Then Came the Flood
Now we come to what I feel is an intriguing aspect of the nature of God. That is how God dealt with Enoch. Enoch was the seventh generation from Adam, and the third generation prior Noah and the flood. He spent less time on the earth than any of his relatives, by several hundred years. His sudden departure did not involve any wrath or judgment at all. Although the world may have been in an apostate state at that time, Enoch was taken up two generations before the flood.
What caught my attention on the circumstance of Enoch's departure were; no purging, punishment, woe, destruction, etc., but the simplicity that he was pleasing to God because he had faith in God and a relationship with Him. Referring back to Hebrews, remember it was said of Enoch that by his faith he pleased God, and this was his testimony, his witness; others saw it. Then, suddenly, he was not found.
It would seem that he was the only one at this time who had this faith, and thus pleased God; for continuing on the thought of Enoch, the writer of Hebrews said,
"But without faith it is impossible to please Him..." (Hebrews 11:6)
The next thing about the Enoch account is also revealing. Continuing on the subject of faith and pleasing God as referenced to Enoch, Hebrew 5:6 continues;
"For he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." (vs. 6)
"Diligently seek" means to have a craving to worship God. This was Enoch. He also believed that God rewards [gives to] those who have a craving to worship God. This is what God requires and this was pleasing to God. Thus, Enoch was removed.
Do we have a craving to worship God? Is our faith solely in God, do we walk with Him? Do we believe He is a rewarder for this? Is the Tribulation period a reward for pleasing God? I find it interesting that the last thing we are aware of that Enoch said before he was taken up, was that the Lord would come with tens of thousands of those who were blameless, pure;
"To execute judgment upon all, and to convict all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him." (Jude 15)
Enoch, the man who had a witness of faith, spoke of the return of the Lord with His own, and judgment; and then is taken. What is interesting is that, despite Enoch preaching this, despite his witness, and despite his being taken up, the people continued in their apostasy, escalating in it, until the flood was suddenly upon them.
This scenario seems to correlate with the Tribulation as it applies to the attitude of the people toward the people of God as seen in Revelation. And the word is being preached again today that; His church will be taken out, and return with him as it says,
"To execute upon them the judgment written: this honor have all His saints..." (Psalm 149:9)
Wrath On The World
Paul, in his first letter to the Thessalonians, spoke of the Rapture of the church as noted in the beginning of this article. And speaking of the Rapture he said to the people;
"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. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all children of the light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness."
(1 Thessalonians 5:1-5)
Here is another forewarning. Notice that Paul equates the timing of the Rapture with the sudden destruction of the Tribulation. He says this day will come as a thief in the night to those not of the faith, those who are in darkness. Paul said that that day will come as a thief in the night; but points out that God's people are not of the night, but of a different time, the day. He went on to say that therefore, that time will not overtake [seize, possess] the children of the day. Darkness comes when the light is gone.
Paul then goes on to point out;
"For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ."
(1 Thessalonians 5:9)
Believers do not have an appointment to this day, but for another appointment, which Paul said, was:
"...to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus which delivered us from the wrath to come." (1 Thessalonians 1:10)
What I considered here is; do believers wait for wrath, or do believers wait for Jesus? When you look at verse 10, Paul did not say Jesus will come and deliver us from the wrath to come, he said he already delivered us from it. This tells me the deliverance came before the wrath comes.
A promise was made to the church at Philadelphia because they; held fast to God's word, and did not deny [contradict] the name [authority, character] of Jesus. To this church Jesus said;
"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 earth." (Revelation 3:10)
Note that this hour comes to all the world, specifically stating it is directed to those living on the earth at that time. If Jesus is going to keep this church from this time, but it is for those who are on the earth; where is this church? One of the most revealing verses of the nature of God concerning His people can be found in Psalm 31. It coincides with the account of Enoch. It says;
"Oh how great is Thy goodness, which though has laid up for them that fear thee; which though hast wrought for them that trust in Thee before the sons of men! Though shalt hide them in the secret of Thy presence from the pride of man: Thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues. Blessed be the Lord: for He hath showed Me His marvelous kindness in a strong city. For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before Thine eyes... O love the Lord, all ye his saints: for the Lord preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer." (Psalm 31:19-23)
In these verses we see the words describing what God does with His faithful as; preserveth, hide them, keep them, and showing kindness and goodness. So we must ask ourselves if the Tribulation period is goodness and kindness from God. Has He laid up wrath for us?
Coming Theories: A Setup
One of the most cruel deceptions and mockery of the Rapture is seen in the suicide of the Heaven's Gate cult. Believing that the comet Hale- Bopp signaled the coming of their deliverance, they killed themselves thinking that their spirits would be taken aboard some delivering spacecraft that was hidden behind the comet.
Unfortunately there are many UFO type cults around the world that have similar beliefs. Today we have many that claim they are visited by aliens and even taken aboard spacecraft. What will be said if, suddenly, millions of people vanish from the earth? How will this be explained? It is quite obvious that those who are believers in the alien abductions will have this as their theory: A mass abduction. Some of these people already believe this is going to happen. Who is it supposed to happen to? Those who are not going along with their plan for the world. So, they are to be taken for further indoctrination. This is their belief.
Another one of these theories comes out of those involved in "The School of the Prophets". Having a past association with those of the Kansas City Fellowship, the Latter Rain Movement, and Dominion Theology, these believe only their prophets hear the voice of God. Using fear as control, some in this movement say that those who do not listen to these prophets are evil. And what is the result of not listening? According to one so-called prophecy of one who was part of the Apostolic Movement, 700,000,000 evil people will be removed from the face of the earth. What will their leaders say when this happens? And how much more control and validity will they have over those who follow them?
There are many other false beliefs and false prophesies that are similar to these. I do find these interesting in view of the Rapture, and the differing views of its time. I have to ask, what are the reasons behind these beliefs? Why, now in these times is it being taught that those who are considered wicked, non-conformers will disappear? An answer may be found in Revelation and in Hebrews, which also may give an indication of the timing of the Rapture. Speaking of the anti- Christ, John said;
"And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies: and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven." (Revelation 13:5-6)
What is this tabernacle and who are those that dwell in heaven? Are these the martyrs, the saints that are living and are killed during the Tribulation? No, because after John sees these things [the blaspheme of God and His people] in verse 5 & 6, he says;
"And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." (Revelation 13:7)
By the way, the anti Christ does this in league with the ecumenical false church, the one world spirituality of the time. And he remains in league with them until mid Tribulation when he enters the temple declaring he is God. Then could it be that the anti Christ is blaspheming [to revile, speak evil of], those whom the false doctrines say were removed from the earth; the evil ones? Is this the tabernacle in heaven [which would have to be there even before mid Tribulation]? Consider the following verses concerning tabernacles.
"For we know that if our earthly tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house made without hands, eternal in the heavens..." (2 Corinthians 5:1)
"... the way into the holies of all was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was yet standing. Which was a figure for the time then present... But Christ being come a high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building..." (Hebrews 9:8-9, 11)
As we saw earlier in Ephesians 2, are not we the dwelling of God made without hands? Does not Christ dwell within us? Then what can we say about what this tabernacle is, and those who dwell in heaven that the anti Christ is speaking evil of; those that do not dwell on the earth? These left prior to the revealing of the anti Christ.
These scenarios to excuse away the Rapture, to build a hatred for the truth and those who follow it, are already being set up. I wonder what was said of Enoch when he suddenly vanished?
Many Were Left Behind
I find it interesting that out of all the first born relatives of Enoch's ancestors written of, and 1 son and 1 great grandson, who were living when Enoch walked the earth, only Enoch was taken up. The rest of his family was left behind. Were they not like Enoch? Apparently not before, nor after he was taken up.
It was a few years after Enoch was taken up that Noah was born: while still many of Enoch' s relatives were alive. Yet, the word tells us that Noah was the only righteous person on the earth. His father [Lamech] and grandfather [Methuselah] were alive to see him build the ark, but were not considered to be of faith as Noah was. Yet it appears that these two were not counted among those judged, as they died a few years before the flood and not in it.
This scenario is somewhat sad. Why? Because all in this godly line had to have been taught of God. But only two, Enoch, and Noah, who was born after Enoch was taken, had something that pleased God: Faith, and a relationship with Him. Enoch was spared living in a time of extreme ugliness, and Noah was spared perishing in the flood, which was the result of apostasy and depravity.
Faith And A Relationship With God
We are living in similar times. And again, as scripture tells, believers will be delivered yet again from the destruction. The question we need to ask ourselves is; do we walk with God as Enoch did? Are we consistently spending time with God and becoming more intimate with Him so as to have righteousness based on faith? Do we diligently seek Him and believe that He is a rewarder of those who do? Is He our first love, or are there things of the world in our lives that are?
I have seen in this study that the more we come to know God, the more of the nature of who He is will be known, and the more we will understand who we are in Him. And perhaps, we, in this time, will actually see that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, just as Enoch believed and saw.
But we need to be honest with ourselves and ask where God fits into our lives. Is it fifteen minutes a day, a week? Or maybe an hour on Sunday at church; and the rest of the week the written Word sits on the shelf along with prayer and worship? Perhaps we may see that the cares and affairs of the world have priority over a relationship with God, walking with Him and knowing Him.
"Therefore My people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge..." (Isaiah 5:13)
Many were left behind in the times of Enoch and Noah. Will it be the same in these times? When? Speaking of the Day of the Lord, and His coming, Jesus said,
"Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." (Matthew 24:44)