Rapture Timing

When Does the Rapture Occur?

Old Testament references to a Day of the Lord indicate that a Day of the Lord is a day of God’s wrath.  There have been Days of the Lord aimed at Egypt, Ethiopia, Babylon, Edom, and Israel.  There remains a climatic Day of the Lord against all nations.  The mere statement that Church saints are not appointed to wrath (I Thessalonians 5:19) suggests that either (1) the Church is removed prior to the Day of the Lord, (2) or church saints are protected during that Day.

Acts 2: 9-20 reveals that an unprecedented stellar disturbance will occur “before” the “great and notable day of the Lord.”

I Thessalonians. 4:15-17 describes the rapture without indicating when it occurs; however, 5:1 does (it seems to me) concern “the times and the seasons” of the rapture.  Verse 2 equates or associates the rapture with the Day of the Lord.  The Thessalonians already knew about the “times and seasons” of the rapture/Day of the Lord.

Because unbelievers are “in darkness,” the Day of the Lord will surprise them like a thief in the night.  The Day should not catch believers by surprise.  The instruction to watch (vs 6) indicates that believers will see that day.  Perhaps the breastplate and helmet (vs 8) will protect them from the battle. Somehow they will be protected as the 144,000 will be.

In II Thessalonians 1:7 New Testament believers are promised “rest.”  When?  “…when the Lord Jesus is revealed …in flaming fire taking vengeance ….”  That seems like the Day of the Lord.

II Thessalonians 2:1 is a clear reference to the rapture (“the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him”).  The most obvious assumption is that “His coming” in verse 1 is the same as “His coming” in verse 8.  That “coming” is when He consumes/destroys the “lawless one,”  i.e. at the Day of the Lord.  There is no reference in the New Testament to two stages in the second coming of Jesus.

Suppose it is late 1944.  Throughout Germany the news is cried out: “the Allies are coming, the Allies are coming.”  Is that good news or bad?  It depends on which side one is on.  Likewise, “The Day of the Lord is soon” is good news to the saints and bad news for the wicked.

Suppose your family is eager for guests to arrive.  Perhaps grandparents who live far away are coming or perhaps a friend you have not seen in thirty years.  As the predicted arrival time nears, you watch out the window.  Then a car pulls into your driveway.  Where do the hugs take place?  At the door or on the driveway?  Probably you run out to the driveway to greet them, then escort them into the house.  This picture may be like  I Thessalonians 4: 14-17.

Verse 14  God will bring believers up from the grave, even as He did Jesus.  Thus, (verses 14-17) I take it that both believers “who are alive” and “those who are asleep” will meet Jesus, in the air, and escort Him to the earth.  The Day of the Lord arrives when the Lord arrives.  Will we participate in the war of wrath or will we be front row spectators as Jesus suddenly destroys His enemies and establishes His kingdom?  Of this I am confident:  we will be wherever Jesus is (4:17, John 14:3).   The analogy of Malachi 4:1-3 may suggest that we will join the battle.

A sequence of events indicated by Matthew 24.

Beginning of sorrows, then tribulation  24:8- 9

Abomination of Desolation, then Great Tribulation 24:15,21

Tribulation (most likely a continuation of “great” tribulation vs.21,29), then immediately the cosmic chaos (24:29), followed by the sign of the Son of Man. (24:30)

(During tribulation and until the “end” [the 2nd coming] the gospel of the kingdom is preached.)

It is unclear whether there is tribulation less than “great” tribulation.

Integrating the Book of Revelation

It is unclear when the first seal begins relative to tribulation.

The sixth seal brings the reader to the threshold of the Day of the Lord.  So it seems the seventh seal is the Day of the Lord.  The seventh trumpet (including the seven bowls) delivers the reader to the same time as the seventh seal.  So the seven trumpets and the seven bowls must elaborate on the seventh seal.

Integrating the Book of Daniel

Daniel chapter 9 introduces seventy “weeks” “determined” for [Daniel’s] people and their holy city.  I stand convinced that the passage means seventy sets of seven years (483) and that the crucifixion of Jesus marked the completion of sixty-nine weeks.  So I look for a remaining, distinguished seven years.  It is plausible that “he” (“the lawless one,” the one foreshadowed by Antiochus Epiphanes in 164 B.C. and foreshadowed again in A.D 70 by Roman soldiers in the Jewish temple offering worship to their god, Caesar) will promise a seven year commitment. Then three and a half years later, perform some kind of religious “abomination of desolation.”  (Matt. 24:15, Dan. 9:27,11:31)  The Book of  Revelation never mentions a seven year period, but repeatedly refers to three and one-half years.  Proposing a link of any two of those to yield seven is easy.  Discerning the first half from the second half is less obvious.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version.   Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.   Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABC Religion

There is another religious sect now growing in the United States. The number of its adherents is growing. Its number of intense practitioners is multiplying. The number of its low key sympathizers is growing. I am calling it the ABC religion. ABC stands for Anything But Christianity. Prominent tenets of ABC doctrine include public support for abortion, normalization of deviant sexuality, public indoctrination of youth in evolutionary myth, freedom for violence in entertainment, acceptance of vulgar speech, intolerance for Christian sentiment and practice and evangelism, freedom for sexual immorality (except for when even ABC people are embarrassed), and popularity of pagan entertainment in various forms. Is Islamic persecution of Christians, in Africa and Asia, fair? Obviously not. Do the People’s Republic of China or North Korea treat Christians fairly? No way. Is persecution of Christians within Hindu-majority populations fair? Is the treatment of non-Russian Orthodox citizens within the Russian orbit fair? No. Be ready: the mistreatment of U.S. Christians is not and will not be fair. But twisting or abandoning Christian values in hope of moderating the unfairness is not a good strategy or a successful defense. “Remember the prisoners as if chained with them ….” Hebrews 13:3

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright ©1979,1980,1982 by Thomas Nelson Inc. Nashville, Tennessee. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Games How to Play

Games – How to Play

Make it fun for others.

Help others enjoy the game (win or lose).

Play fairly.

(Usually)Try to win, while giving others an opportunity to win.

“Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.”   Romans 15:2

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”    Matthew 22: 39

“And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”    Luke 6:31

“And be kind to one another ….”   Ephesians 4:32

 

Scripture taken from the New King James Version.  Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Is It Fair?

Is God fair when He allows people with little exposure to the gospel to suffer the eternal consequences of sin?  My dictionary lists numerous definitions of “fair.”  Perhaps the most relevant definition is ”just.”  The Bible proclaims that God is just. He is just whether we understand all His activity or not.

I am impressed with the following line of thought.  Suppose the requirement for acceptance by God were passing a trigonometry test.  So you set about to teach me trigonometry.  Shortly you say, “Two plus two equals four.”  I say, “I won’t accept that.”  Is it fair if you end my lessons in trigonometry? I believe it would be.

Similarly, since God, by His creation, has clearly shown that He exists, and that He is eternally powerful; if a person rejects that truth, God has no just obligation to reveal more truth.  If a person rejects, ignores, or suppresses basic revelation, that person is “without excuse.”  (Romans 1: 20)

I am assured that if a person responds appropriately to the truth available to him, God will provide (any necessary) more.

I was reminded of this concept by Psalm 119:155.  “Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek Your statutes.”

One just obligation of every person is to seek truth and respond appropriately to any truth he has.

It is fair that all who “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18) are condemned for doing so. “For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:10)

“The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God.” (Psalm 14:2)

“But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.”  (Psalm 34:10)

“Blessed are those …who seek Him with the whole heart!”  Psalm 119: 2

“Ask …seek and you will find….”  (Matthew 7:7)

“…he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Redeeming Time

Colossians 4:5  “Walk in wisdom toward those whose are outside, redeeming the time.”

I think of redeem as meaning to set someone (or something) free by paying a price.  Examples are buying a slave in order to free him or paying ransom to free a captive.  Following that definition, I suggest that we are to set our time free from waste and frivolity by paying a price.  The price we pay is avoiding the cheap amusements so readily at hand.  We buy up moments well spent by trading away over-priced pleasures.  (Keeping in mind the true value of periodic rest.)

The scarcity of time that makes it so precious is especially relevant to wise interaction with those outside the body of Christ.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version.  Copyright 1979,1980,1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee.   Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

 

Husband Pastors

I Cor. 14:34-35  “Let your women keep silent in the churches …. but they are to be submissive….and if they want to learn something,  let them ask their own husbands at home ….”

If someone is earnest about living and thinking Biblically, he or she will listen to Bible teaching and have questions.   Some people rarely have questions because they have little interest in the topic.

To whom should a wife direct her questions?  Not to the class teacher, but to her husband.

Surely not every husband can answer as well as the class teacher.  So why the rule?  Perhaps it helps create and maintain spiritual unity in the home.  Perhaps because the wife’s questions motivate the husband to find answers.  Perhaps to foster Biblical dialogue in the home.  We can be sure a good reason or reasons exist.