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The Rapture



      “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

      For this we say by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent [precede] 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.” 1 Thess. 4.13‑18


    Before heading into the "70th Week of Daniel", and the climactic act of "The Redemption Play", we must take a slight turn from our story line. For the time being the clock which hangs over the world's stage has been removed and the "audience" sees a beautiful women sitting at her dressing table brushing her hair, preparing herself for her fiancee's promised return. Suddenly, without notice or warning, we hear a trumpet blast and the women is instantly gone, in the twinkling of an eye she has disappeared and now the audience has nothing to gaze upon but open graves and an empty chair where the women once sat waiting for her hero. Our hero, as promised, has taken his bride away from the trials that are to come on all the earth. Though the timing of our hero's return has been kept a strict secret by the Father himself, this strange interlude along prophecy's path, commonly called the Rapture, is of the greatest interest to all faithful believers in Jesus Christ. Now that each of the end time alliances are either formed, or about to be formed, the catching up of the Church, according to Paul's words in I Thessalonians, is imminent. The Church, like a young bride‑to‑be waiting for her soldier to return from a distant land, has every reason to be excited and hopeful, filled with anticipation toward her moment of sweet deliverance.

   But let's be clear from the outset. Belief in the Rapture is a matter of great faith. There is no point in arguing over the Rapture, this catching away of the Bride of Christ, this merciful deliverance of the believers, who have the kind of faith outlined in Revelation's letter to Philadelphia. If we believe that discussion of the Rapture should be avoided because it causes contention in the Church then we are missing a very important spiritual boat. If we try to dispute the Rapture, and its promises, we will be proven as foolish as those who laughed derisively at Noah for building the ark while he preached righteousness for those 125 years. True, we do not know the day nor the hour of the Rapture, as Jesus said, "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." (Matt. 24.36) Granted, there is no point in arguing over details of this "catching up", but be absolutely sure, there is equally no point in arguing whether the catching away of the Bride will happen at all. The Rapture will happen, you can stake your life on it. Just as surely as the floods came and swept the world away, lifting up the ark with Noah and his family, saving them from the judgment that was flooding onto the earth, so the Church will be lifted up into Christ's loving arms. "But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." (Matt. 24.37‑39)

    We should get it fixed in our heart and settled in our mind; just because there may be disagreement about the details: the when, the who, or the why; there can be no debate that the Rapture will happen, and no shame in declaring one's faith for it. Remember, we are exhorted to, "Comfort one another with these words."  We are exhorted at every turn, by Jesus, by Paul, by Peter, by the prophets of old, to seek wisdom and understanding so we can acquire faith for the Rapture.


The Rapture Is God's Pure Mercy

    It becomes us to search the Scriptures for signs concerning the general time of the Rapture and for wisdom concerning the spirit and preparation needed to be included in this wonderful mercy of God. None of us are worthy of this, no matter how long we have been Christians, no matter how much we love God, no matter how many good works we have done. The Rapture is God's pure mercy and we must pray that we be accounted worthy to be part of it. To be accounted worthy, is to be given consideration. To be part of the Rapture is something God will allow us on account; not because we are worthy, but because he will, in his mercy, consider us worthy, in spite of our flaws. Note what Jesus said, "And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." (Luke 21.34‑36) None of us are worthy, none deserve to be snatched away from the impending judgment and the Antichrist's hour, and the fiery trials which are in store for the earth's environment, its governments and its peoples. We must pray always that we be accounted worthy. This is the spirit in which we wait for our deliverance, knowing that we could, in all righteousness, be left to go through the time of tribulation. We do not deserve to be saved by this extraordinary miracle that God has promised to the faithful; it is not our inalienable right as human beings. We cannot even earn the right. And we must not be tempted to think we can sign up for the Rapture merely by answering an altar call, nor can we attain to the Rapture by following New Testament rules, which amount to the law; but, again and again, let it be stressed: we need to be accounted worthy by praying and trusting in God's mercy. We must be prepared, watching, waiting, faithful; not stuck with one foot in the world, but separated from the world. The closeness of our relationship with Jesus, and the yieldedness of our spirit to the Holy Ghost, will make us able to pick up our cross and follow after Jesus. Those are the tools that we use as we sit at the dressing table preparing ourselves for our hero's return. We cannot be friends of this world, which is the sure road to judgment, but we look instead for the heavenly Jerusalem, another city, which is the future eternal home of the Bride of Christ.

    Concerning the coming judgment, Jesus said, "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should be no flesh saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." Matt. 24.21‑22 It is declared that Jesus will return with the sound of a trumpet, as a thief in the night. If we are not ready to meet him we will have to go through the tribulation period. Anyone saved during the 70th week of Daniel will have to resist the Antichrist to the point of giving up his very life. For those who have been ruled by their own lusts and desires, those who have remained loyal to their own will, who have reigned as the god of their own hearts; just as people lived in the days of Noah, without faith, not heeding the word of God, unable to shed the weight of their own sin; then they will have to meet head on, the temptation and seduction, the hatred and cruelty, of Satan and his "son of perdition".


Rapture Likely To Come Before Final "Week"

             True, no man knows the day or hour of the Rapture, save the Father in heaven, and still we are advised by Jesus himself to know the signs of the times. Remember, Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of the day for not knowing the time of his first coming; will he not rebuke those who ignore the signs of his second coming? Don't be deceived, these are the end times; too many signs along the prophetic way point to a light at the end of history's tunnel. We have followed carefully and painstakingly, the course of God's quintessential plan of history and now we are brought to the climax. And since we don't know the day or the hour ‑ because "the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not" (Luke 12.40) ‑ it is likely the deliverance of the Bride will happen before the 70th week of Daniel. Why does it seem likely that it will happen before the Tribulation? Because if it happened during the Tribulation or at the end of it, then we could definitively number the days in which it would have to occur. The Tribulation begins with a specific agreement between the Jews and the Antichrist. There are specific landmark occurrences all along the seven year route, the Tribulation and its details are well chronicled from beginning to end by Daniel and Revelation, and the rest of the prophets. Once the 70th Week of Daniel begins, there are only seven years, or 2,520 days before Jesus is anointed as the "Most Holy". A person could then literally begin checking off the days of this 2,520 day period in which the Rapture absolutely would have to occur. It's hard to imagine that the element of surprise would still be a factor, yet surprise is such a big facet of the Rapture. Every time Jesus preached about it he emphasized its sudden occurrence. The time is kept a mystery to encourage the Bride of Christ to be "without spot or wrinkle", waiting in anticipation. Waiting on the Rapture is the original version of: taking it one day at a time. We must be in a perpetual state of readiness. (See the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25.) So it may be for a pair of reasons God will Rapture faithful believers before the 70th Week begins. As a purifying agent, the Rapture must be sudden and without warning; and it must also deliver the Bride from the time of trouble, as Jesus promised in his letter to Philadelphia, "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."

(Rev. 3.10) So get ready and be ready; watch and pray; our deliverance could burst upon us at any time.


      “Behold I show 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.1 Cor. 15.51‑52


    The Rapture may spark the events that trigger the beginning of the Tribulation, or it is possible, since we do not know the day or hour, that it could happen in the middle, or at the end of the 70th Week of Daniel. The time of the Rapture remains a mystery, but our responsibility towards it is not a mystery. We must believe in it as Noah believed THAT God would save him, we must watch for our Husband, we must pray to be accounted worthy and we must be separated from this world. Only the Father knows the exact hour and day ‑ and remember it comes at a time when you think not ‑ but be certain, Jesus, like a thief in the night, will come for his Bride. Get ready! The alternative is to be imprisoned in this world, throughout the time of great tribulation, a time so horrible and terrible that nothing before it has ever been, nor ever will be again. The Tribulation, unlike the Rapture, is neither subtle nor mysterious. It will fall on the world like a building storm that rushes through the earth with increasing destruction and mayhem as it gathers momentum. You don't want to be there!

    Let the Scriptures leave us with this final bit of advice.


     “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 suddenly destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a women 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 the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

     Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

     For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

     But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

     For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

     Who died for us, that, whether we wake of sleep, we should live together with him.

     Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.'' 1 Thess. 5.1‑11

On to Act 6 scene 2 The Antichrist Covenant