The study of bible eschatology has been for many a frightening and complex subject when dealing with end times bible prophecy. If you are a bible believing born-again Christian, then these things are to prepare you instead of scare you. The bible consists of nearly 1/3 or approximately 33% prophecy or prophetic in nature. There are over 300 verses alone in the NT that reference the return of Christ. The apostle John who wrote the book of Revelation of Jesus Christ tells us that all are blessed who read and study the end times bible prophecy as stated in Revelation 1:3, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.” Jesus repeats this same message in Revelation 22:7, “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” The Apostle Peter also tells us that all scriptures concerning bible prophecy are from God’s Holy Spirit as revealed in 2 Peter 1:20-21, “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” Approximately 2,000 years ago when Jesus came to earth as God in the flesh (Immanuel), He became our true light in order to save those that would believe, confess, humble themselves, and deny themselves by taking up their cross to follow Him – Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:22-23, Matthew 16:24-27. Jesus carried out the Father’s will of being crucified on the cross at Calvary in our place and for our sins. By His stripes we were healed and given salvation. Because of His unconditional love for us, it pleased God to crucify His only Son Jesus for us – Isaiah 53:4-12. Jesus is the only way to heaven and to God the Father – John 14:6. Before Jesus was resurrected to heaven to be at God’s right hand on the throne, He told us that He would go prepare a place for us and would return for His sheep as we read in John 14:1-3, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” Jesus promised us He would return for His bride, the Church, as He is the bridegroom – Mark 2:19-20, John 13:36, Ephesians 5:26-27, Revelation 21:2. Jesus is the true Lamb of God as presented by John the Baptist, who will baptize all with the Holy Spirit and with Fire – Luke 3:16-17, John 1:29-34.
So, when will Jesus return for His bride, His sheep, those that love Him and fellowship with Him? This is known as the “rapture” even though this word is not mentioned in the bible but comes from the original Greek word “harpazo”, meaning catch up, snatch away, pluck, pull, etc., which is the same meaning as the English word “rapture” – 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Many bible scholars believe Jesus will come back to rapture His Church prior to the start of the 7-year tribulation period (Daniel’s 70th Week revealed to him by the angel Gabriel – Daniel 9:20-27, Daniel 12:1) when the Antichrist beast will later be revealed, which is considered as the pre-tribulation rapture. Other scholars believe the rapture will take place during the middle of the 7-year tribulation and at the beginning of the abomination of desolation (spoken of by the prophet Daniel) which is known as mid-tribulation rapture. The remaining believe we will be caught up at the end of the tribulation period or during the second coming of Jesus which is known as the post-tribulation rapture. When concerning the gathering (rapturing) of the body of Christ (Church) for the great marriage supper of the Lamb that will take place in heaven is when Jesus comes back as the great Shepherd to gather His sheep for the great wedding ceremony in heaven – John 10:11, Revelation 19:6-9. In John’s vision, the marriage supper of the Lamb in heaven happens before the second coming of Jesus. This rejects the post-tribulation event thinking since the saints come back to the earth with Jesus at His second coming after the wedding ceremony has already taken place in heaven – Zechariah 14:1-5, Jude 1:14-15, Revelation 19:11-16. There appears to be biblical evidence for all three viewpoints, but the bible clearly gives more biblical evidence for both the pre-tribulation and mid-tribulation rapture. Studying the different viewpoints are very confusing since it’s easy to misinterpret the verses on the rapture with those of the second coming of Jesus in His Great Power and Glory, where the whole world will see Him, bow their knee and confess Him to be Lord – Romans 14:11, Philippians 2:9-11, Revelation 1:7. The raptured saints will also be with Jesus when He returns for His second coming in His Power and Glory – Revelation 17:14. Clearly, John’s vision of him being raptured to heaven is an example of a pre-tribulation rapture. Also, this is revealed when he sees the raptured saints in heaven as priests of God – Revelation 5:10. There is some confusion on the rapture taken place during the mid-tribulation where John sees many in his vision who were martyred (beheaded) during the tribulation, but these are still asleep in Christ as the fifth seal is opened. These are finally raptured as what appears to be a second rapture as a mid-tribulation rapture to heaven for the martyred saints during the tribulation period as John sees many in heaven clothed in white robes awaiting the marriage supper of the Lamb between the opening of the sixth and seventh seal from his vision in Revelation 7:9-17. According to the scriptures, there appears to be two separate raptures, one for the Church during the pre-tribulation and one for the martyred saints during the mid-tribulation period and before the marriage supper of the Lamb in heaven. Also, Jesus gives us glimpse of what appears to be a post-tribulation rapture which is mistaken since this is at His second coming with all His glorified saints and takes place after the marriage supper of the Lamb in heaven as explained in Luke 17:34-36. The word for “taken” used here is a different Greek word, “paralambano”, compared to the one used previously for the rapture word “harpazo”. This is believed to be where Jesus temporarily removes the good from the bad before the final destruction that takes place at the battle of Armageddon followed by destroying the remaining wicked throughout the earth to prepare for His millennial reign. This is where the good are spared at His second coming to live as humans during the millennial reign – Revelation 19:17-21. The bad that were just destroyed at the end of the great tribulation will be resurrected with the remaining dead following Christ’s millennial reign and during the great judgement day – Revelation 20:11-15.
Since Israel is the apple of God’s eye and she is the timepiece of end time events, we need to look at the OT prophecies concerning Israel – Zechariah 2:8. The great tribulation was foretold by the prophet Jeremiah as the time of Jacob’s trouble and would happen after Israel returned to their land as stated in Jeremiah 30:1-7, “The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, ‘Thus speaks the LORD God of Israel, saying: ‘Write in a book for yourself all the words that I have spoken to you. For behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,’ says the LORD. And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.’ These are the words that the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah: ‘Thus says the LORD: We have heard a cry of panic, of terror, and no peace. Ask now, and see, can a man bear a child? Why then do I see every man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor? Why has every face turned pale? Alas! That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it.’ ” The Jewish people have been returning to Israel over the past century where Israel became a nation again in 1948. Until 1948, Israel had not been a nation for over 1,800 years where the Jewish people were scattered throughout the world. Today, after being a nation for over 73 years, the population of Israel is over 9 million with over 7 million being Jewish. Their population continues to grow with nearly 7 million Jews that remain scattered abroad. We are seeing bible prophecy being fulfilled right before our eyes. For God told us through His prophets that He would re-establish Israel as a nation and bring back the Jewish people to their land to remain during the last days and to the end of time – Psalms 53:6, Amos 9:14-15, Jeremiah 16:15, Jeremiah 23:7-8, Jeremiah 24:4-6, Jeremiah 29:14, Jeremiah 30:18, Ezekiel 20:42, Ezekiel 36:34, Ezekiel 37:1-14, Ezekiel 39:25, Isaiah 61:4, Zephaniah 3:20. Another prophetic sign that was given by Jesus is that He would NOT return in His Glory (2nd coming) until the son of perdition, the lawless one or Antichrist, would defile the temple of God by claiming to be God himself and demanding to be worshipped by all which takes place during the middle of the 7-year tribulation period – Matthew 24:15-22. Jesus mentions that when this takes place there will be great tribulation on earth that has never been since the beginning of time. The prophet Daniel also tells us that the Antichrist will make a peace treaty covenant with many at the start of the 7-year tribulation but will break it in the middle by eliminating all Jewish animal sacrifices and offerings prior to becoming the abomination of desolation in God’s holy temple – Daniel 9:27, Daniel 11:31, Daniel 11:36-39, Daniel 12:11. Many believe the Antichrist will become head of the European Union (EU), which the EU could be the revised Roman Empire since their symbol and coin represents a harlot woman riding a beast – Revelation 17:1-18. Their new building design in Strasbourg resembles the Tower of Babel which seats 679 members but previously the seat number 666 was currently vacant. For the Antichrist to be revealed, there must be a third Jewish temple where currently one does not exist. However, Israel does have the design plans complete and are ready to move forward with including the contents to fill the third temple. Israel has been planning and preparing for the third temple for many years as well as training the appointed Jewish priests that will fulfill the original animal sacrifices and offerings to God according to the OT laws of Moses. The second Jewish temple was completely destroyed in 70AD by the Romans which was predicted by Jesus in Luke 21:5-6. It is estimated that because of the constant planning and preparation towards this third temple, it can be constructed and utilized within 9-12 months if not sooner. The construction can break ground at the start of signing a peace treaty covenant with a so-called messiah, known as the Antichrist. Consider Israel as the the “hour hand” on God’s clock or timepiece, and Jerusalem as the “minute hand”, and the third temple as the “second hand”. Another prophetic sign of the return of Jesus is stated in Luke 21:20, “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.” We can see these tensions already taking place against the Jewish nation with the current Israeli-Palestine conflict, while Israel’s enemies join forces with Palestine, such as Iran, Russia, Turkey, etc.
Another sign of the last days that Jesus gave of His second coming was it would be the like the days of Noah and Sodom & Gomorrah as explained in Luke 17:26-30, “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” Another sign that Jesus gave was that the gospel message would be preached into all the world as a witness to all nations and then the end would come at His second coming – Matthew 24:14. This is happening now with the invention of 5G communications and smart phones that allow real-time streaming of the gospel message into all the world or to everyone that possess a smart phone. Also, internet access has been made possible throughout the poor third world nations, with inexpensive satellite communications. During the pandemic, it forced many local Churches to add virtual online worship services including sermons which now reach far more people via the world wide web than just their local community. Also, more and more missionaries have continued the path of reaching the lost by planting Churches and spreading the good news among many tribes and third world nations. In the last days, God will use the chosen 144,000 sealed Christian Jews, the two witnesses (Elijah & Moses) from heaven, and the three angels to proclaim the gospel message to the lost around the world during the great tribulation – Malachi 4:5-6, Mark 9:2-4, 2 Peter 1:16-18, Revelation 7:1-8, Revelation 14:1-5, Revelation 11:1-6, Revelation 14:6-13. Another prophetic sign was from the prophet Isaiah where he indicated we would be in the last days when the wicked people would call evil good and good evil. These same lawless ones will replace light with darkness – Isaiah 5:20-21. They will grow extremely worse and worse and will take pleasure in performing wickedness and unrighteousness – Romans 1:18-32, 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12, 2 Timothy 3:13. We are seeing this happening in the world today!
Paul tells us that the day of the Lord will not come unless the falling away comes first and the Antichrist is revealed. Paul also discloses that the rapture will take place at the time the Antichrist is revealed but will NOT happen until the Restrainer is removed first. Some believe that the Restrainer could be the Archangel Michael, but we believe it is the Holy Spirit, Helper, and Comforter that resides on earth living inside each born-again believer – John 16:5-15, Acts 1:8, Acts 2:1-4. Whoever it is, God is ultimately responsible and gets all the honor and glory! Amen! Paul explains this in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, “Now, brethren, concerning the coming 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. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 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. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” What is the strong delusion that God will send to the lost? Will they believe all the raptured saints that disappear from the earth are abducted by aliens? Will they believe that the aliens removed the wicked and left the good behind? This appears to be the great deception we are seeing with the increased UFO’s and alien sightings around the world.
In the book of Revelation, chapters 1-3 reveal the letters and warnings from Jesus to the seven Churches to repent from their sinful ways except the persecuted and faithful Churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia. Immediately after these warnings from Jesus to the Churches, chapter 4 covers where John, in his vision, is raptured to heaven at the heavenly throne similar to how the Church (body of Christ) will be raptured (pre-tribulation rapture) as we read in Revelation 4:1-2, “After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.’ Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.” Before John is raptured to heaven in his vision, he hears a voice like that of a trumpet calling him to heaven which is the same clarification by the apostle Paul in his explanation of the rapture as explained in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18, “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet 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. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” The rapturing of the saints who are both dead and alive in Christ will happen instantaneously or within the twinkling of an eye – 1 Corinthians 15:51-53. Many take this verse where it states at the last trump to be during the seventh angel trumpet (last trumpet) blast during the great tribulation. However, the trumpet blast for the rapture is a call of victory for the bride to be joined with the bridegroom of Christ in heaven for the wedding supper of the Lamb. This trumpet call of victory is also the call from an Archangel where the seventh angel trumpet (last trumpet) blast during the great tribulation is a call to judgement and does not mention from an Archangel. This clearly shows two different trumpet calls or blasts. Another reason for the confusion concerning the last trumpet blast at the rapture for those who are still alive in Christ could illustrate a series of trumpet blasts or trumps for the dead in Christ to rise first and then the last trump for those who are alive in Christ to be caught up with them and with the Lord. Another belief is that the last trumpet blast will line up with the last trumpet that sounds during the annual Jewish Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year), which happens in the fall (~Sept-Oct), on the first day of the Hebrew month Tishri, which occurs at the appearance of the slightest crescent shape visible from the New Moon where no one knows the day nor hour – Leviticus 23:23-25, Numbers 29:1-6, Ezekiel. 40:1. The voice of God, Jesus, and His angels are always explained throughout the scriptures where only God’s people hear the voices but others only hear sounds of many trumpets, waters, or thundering noises – Exodus 19:16-20, Exodus 20:18-19, Job 37:2-5, Psalms 18:13, Psalms 29:3-9, Psalms 104:7, Ezekiel 1:24, Ezekiel 43:2, Revelation 1:15, Revelation 6:1, Revelation 10:3-4, Revelation 14:2. Another example of this is when Jesus appeared to Saul (Paul) in a bright light that blinded Saul while he was still persecuting the saints. The men that journeyed with Saul stood speechless for they heard a voice but saw no one – Acts 9:1-9. Jesus told us that only His sheep would hear His voice as stated in John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” This is how the rapture will happen. All the saints both dead and alive in Christ will hear the voice of God like a trumpet blast to come up hither. The unbelievers who are alive during the rapture will only hear sounds of thundering noises. They will NOT hear the voice of Jesus during the rapture.
Next, John sees in his vision in Revelation, chapter 5, the heavenly throne with Jesus and all the angels, the living creatures, including the raptured saints seated around the throne that will become priests for God as stated in Revelation 5:6-12, “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood. Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” The saints will reign with Christ during His 1,000 year reign on earth as priests of God while Satan and his fallen angels will be bound into the bottomless pit (abyss) until the end of the 1,000 years – Revelation 20:6, Revelation 20:1-3. Enoch prophesied the same number that John uses to represent the number in heaven and this same number will be with Christ in His Glory at His second coming as explained in Jude 1:14, Revelation 5:10-11, Revelation 7:9, Revelation 19:14. The Greek word here is “mooreeas”, which means ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands, which translates into an “innumerable multitude” that will also be in heaven before the start of the 7-year tribulation period and the same number will follow Jesus at His second coming. Finally, in John’s vision, in chapter 5, after he saw the saints in heaven, he sees the start of the 7-year tribulation and the coming of the Antichrist in Revelation, chapter 6, where the first seal is opened, and the man of sin is to soon be revealed – Revelation 6:1-2.
Whether one believes in the pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, or post-tribulation rapture, or in one, two or three separate raptures, it does not exactly matter as long as you believe in the rapture itself. For our days are numbered and only God knows the number of our days – Ecclesiastes 9:12, Psalms 31:15, Psalms 39:4-5, Psalms 90:12, Job 14:5, Luke 12:7, James 4:14-15. For some die early even at birth while others may pass away during teenage years, or mid-age (50’s) years, where others may live to be 100 years. In 2017, it was estimated that there were on average between 140,000 to 150,000 people that die everyday in the world due to various causes, such as diseases, sickness, disasters, accidents, natural causes, etc. When we die, its too late for repentance, and we are either resurrected to the rapture where Jesus is our Savior or to the great judgement day where Jesus is our everlasting Judge! – Revelation 20:11-15. When Jesus walked on the earth 2,000 years ago, He preached the need for repentance and that the kingdom of God was at hand and the time was here – Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:15. Why did He preach this if the rapture would not happen any time soon? Its because He knew they would die soon where they needed to repent and accept Him as their Lord and Savior. The scriptures also tell us to always be watchful and waiting for the soon return of our Lord and Savior because either He could come back at any time or we could pass away at anytime – Matthew 25:13, Mark 13:35, Luke 21:36, Luke 20:35, 1 Thessalonians 5:6, Titus 2:13.
Like John, Paul too had a vision of a rapture up to the third heaven at an early age which he revealed in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4. What about Enoch and Elijah who were raptured up to heaven and were no more on the earth? – Genesis 5:24, 2 Kings 2:11. Just like no one will know the day nor hour when they die, Jesus also tells us that no one would know the day nor hour of the rapture or His second coming. This is why He told us that we should always be ready and watchful for His coming as we read in Mark 13:32-37, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” Paul also told us to remain awake, stay sober, and be watchful for the coming of our Lord – 1 Thessalonians 5:6, Titus 2:13. Jesus tells us to watch and pray always that we may be counted worthy to escape the tribulation as stated in Luke 21:36, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Jesus tells the faithful Church in Philadelphia to continue to persevere in order to escape the hour of trials that the world would experience so that no one would take their crown – Revelation 3:10-11. Stand strong in the faith for the falling away is already happening today where many are being deceived by dark spirits and following after doctrines of demons – 1 Timothy 4:1-2. Remember our true citizenship is in heaven and is NOT of this world – Philippians 3:20.
Paul gives us comforting words that give us joy and hope in 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11, “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” Seek God and His kingdom first through Christ Jesus with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength where God will bless you, keep you, protect you, and never forsake you – Matthew 6:33, Mark 12:30, Psalms 121:2-8.
Watch this inspiring video by Servants for Jesus Christ – When Will Jesus Rapture The Saints To Heaven? Watch another inspiring video by Servants for Jesus Christ – Beginning of Sorrows! Watch another inspiring video by Servants for Jesus Christ – We Are In The Last Days!
Do you know where you will spend eternity after you die on earth? Will Jesus be your Lord and Savior or your eternal judge – John 3:15-21, Romans 2:16, 2 Timothy 4:1? Jesus says He is the narrow gate to heaven where it is difficult to find and only a few will enter by it where many will enter the easy, wide and broad gate that leads to Hell and destruction – Matthew 7:13-14. Will you experience the second eternal death (spiritual death) – Revelation 2:11, Revelation 20:6, Revelation 21:8? Do you know for sure that you are written in the eternal Lamb’s Book of Life – Revelation 3:5, Revelation 20:12-15? The place called Hell is NOT a myth and is very real and an extremely scary place – Watch this Video!
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