The Rapture Of The Church - and The Time Of Jacob's Trouble
There are two peoples of God, Israel and the church.
. Two covenants.
. Two programs.
. Two dispensations.
. Two destinies.
Determining The Timing Of The Rapture
Understanding The Purpose of the 70 Weeks
Understanding the timing of the Rapture depends on understanding the PURPOSE of the 70th week described in Daniel chapter 9.
The Hebrew "week" in the following verse is a period of seven years, just as to us a "decade" is a period of ten years.
"Seventy weeks are determined
UPON YOUR PEOPLE AND UPON YOUR HOLY CITY,
to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins,
to make reconciliation for iniquity,
to bring in everlasting righteousness,
to seal up vision and prophecy,
and to anoint the Most Holy."
Determined Upon Whom?
The last period of seven years are determined upon:
"Upon YOUR PEOPLE." That's the Jews.
"Upon YOUR HOLY CITY." That's Jerusalem.
It's "the time of Jacob's trouble," not the time of the church's trouble.
This is the PURPOSE of this seven-year period, to finish the judgment upon the Jewish people and prepare them to receive their Messiah.
The first 69 "weeks" of this prophecy ended with the crucifixion of Jesus.
The Unexpected Church Age
With the crucifixion of Jesus the story stops and the church period is introduced. The church was a HIDDEN MYSTERY not revealed to the priests and prophets of the Old Testament. And it has to be removed before Israel's story comes to completion in the last 7 years.
"...THE MYSTERY WHICH HAS BEEN HIDDEN from ages and from generations,
but now has been revealed to his saints."
Jesus was rejected by Israel, and that ended 69 of the 70 "weeks." The church age, the mystery age, was birthed on Pentecost only days after Jesus was raised from the dead. The birthing of the church was a totally unexpected event. The mystery of the church came in by total surprise, and she will go out the same way. Suddenly and unexpectedly.
The church age ends with the Rapture.
When the dispensation of the church is over, the 70th week of Daniel resumes.
The Church Conspicuously Missing
The first three chapters of the Book of Revelation are all about the church, and nothing but the church. Jesus is speaking messages to the seven churches.
From chapter 4:1, the church disappears and is not seen again on earth until the end.
"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.''
Now John Is Watching From Heaven
"The revelation goes on from there to detail the miseries of the Tribulation. The church is not mentioned once during this period. She's not on earth. John is told to "Come up here," and for the remainder of the vision he is in the presence of the Lord, looking down on the dreadful events of the Tribulation on the earth. He is seeing it from heaven.
There is another Rapture during this time, when God's two witnesses hear the same words, "come up here," and they rise up into heaven, everyone seeing them go.
"And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, 'Come up here.'
And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. "
The Church age began suddenly and unexpectedly on Pentecost.
It will also end suddenly and unexpectedly.
The is the "mystery" Paul was speaking of, the church age, something not revealed in the Old Testament and something not present when Daniel's "70th week" begins again.
What Is The Trump Of God?
"Behold, I tell 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 trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible,
and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption,
and this mortal must put on immortality."
1 Corinthians 15:51-53
There is more than one kind of Trumpets in the Bible.
There are two FUNCTIONS of Biblical Trumpets:
1. the Trumpet call to war
2. the Trumpet call to assembly
The seven trumps of the Book of Revelation are trumps of war, trumpets of judgment. The last trumpet in Revelation 10:7 is presented as the last of seven trumpets blown in a sequence as God releases His WRATH upon a Christ-rejecting world.
The Rapture does not take place with the trumpets of angels but with the "Trumpet of GOD."
When Jesus comes, he's coming to assemble the Church, not poor judgment on her.
The trump of Corinthians is not a trump of judgment;
It is not a trump of angels;
It is the Trump of God;
It is a trump of assembly.
"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."
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
Who Is The Restrainer?
First, who is NOT "the restrainer?"
It is not the Holy Spirit.
We know that no one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians. 12:3)
If the Holy Spirit were taken out of the way, no one would be saved from that point on.
We know there will be multitudes of people saved during the Tribulation, so the Holy Spirit is on the earth then.
Then who is taken out of the way?
Who is hindering the mystery of iniquity?
The one restraining iniquity is the Body of Christ on earth.
The Body of Christ is the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
The Body of Christ is to occupy until Jesus comes.
The Body of Christ is hindering the working of iniquity.
If the Body of Christ weren't here, all wickedness would have free reign without any restraint whatsoever.
It is the Church, the Body of Christ, who is testifying to the lost and inviting them to come to the Lord. And it is the Church who will be taken out of the way.
And THEN that lawless one will be revealed and will take over, when there isn't a single righteous person to restrain him.
3. 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,
4. 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.
5. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?
6. And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.
7. 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.
8. AND THEN then the lawless one will be revealed..."
2nd Thessalonians 2:3-8
The Lie About Margaret MacDonald - Where It Came From
It came from Dave MacPherson who aggressively attacked the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine by attributing its origin to Margaret Macdonald, who supposedly gave a prophecy about the Rapture. He claimed John Nelson Darby secretly derived the pre-tribulation rapture position from her. This was the beginning of the MacDonald lie, a total fabrication which has set many a believer wrong. The so-called prophecy actually showed the timing to be post-tribulation. Margaret MacDonald Was Actually POST-Trib.
· MacDonald’s vision was in 1830, 3 years after Darby’s correct conclusions about the pre-tribulation
· MacDonald was a member of a charismatic movement and John Darby went to investigate . He
dismissed her “vision” as "demonic." If Darby thought MacDonald to be under an "evil spell," why
on earth would he use her writings to form some new doctrine?
· MacDonald’s said of the Tribulation:
"…being the fiery trial which is to try us …for the purging and purifying of the members of the
body of Jesus." She looked for the Church being purged by the Antichrist. This is not pre-trib
belief. Pre-trib doctrine shows the Church being removed BEFORE THE COMING of the Antichrist.
Compare the Rapture details versus the Secong Coming details
BEFORE the Tribulation
Christ comes FOR the saints
1 Thessalonians 4:13-17
Christ takes the saints to heaven
Christ returns to the air
1 Thessalonians 4:17
Christ is not seen
1 Corinthians 15:52
It is the blessed hope of the believers
AFTER the Tribulation
Christ comes WITH the saints
Jude 14 & Revelation 19:11-21
Christ brings the saints to earth
Zechariah 14:4-5 & Revelation 19:14
Christ returns to the earth
Every eye shall see him
It is the great day of God’s wrath
Are Pre-Trib Rapture Believers Escapists?
Believers who await a pre-trip Rapture are criticized for taking an "escapist" view. "Why," critics say, "should we get the easy way out when so many others are suffering all over the world?"
Why? Because Jesus TOLD us to ask for it!
"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.''
This is something he counsels us to do, it's not a suggestion.
Those who are taken in the Rapture are not taken on the basis of how much they have suffered. They are taken on the basis of the church age being closed. The Rapture takes place independently of what any believers have or have not suffered.
Believers down through the ages have encountered the full spectrum of human experience, from the terrible sufferings of those who died of torture, all the way to the opposite scenario such as the sheltered woman who never knew much of any suffering in this life and dies a peaceful death. At times, babies or children are taken without having gone through suffering.
There is a time set, period. Before the last week of Daniel which is determined upon Israel, and when the church age ends, Jesus will come for his believers.