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The Day of the Lord - Pete Garcia - http://www.omegaletter.com/articles/articles.asp?ArticleID=8160
Of all the supposed "holy" books in the world, only the Holy Bible contains 100% accurate knowledge about the future. This is what distinguishes our faith from that of the Hindu's, the Muslims, the Buddhists, the Mormons, Wiccans, Pagans, Satanists, and every other faith system out there. As students of the Holy Bible we know that around 30% of our Bible is prophetic in nature, and either pertains to Christ's first coming or His second.
Bible Prophecy does not exist in a vacuum but serves a number of purposes for the believer, primarily in that it keeps us focused on Christ and His coming kingdom. It is not as many say, 'a fanciful distraction' or 'superfluously' outdated information. We are commanded by Christ to be watchful and waiting (Matt. 24:42, 25:13; Mark 13:37; Luke 12:37, 17:26-28, 21:34), so when He does return His people will be ready. The first time He came, most of the Jewish people were not ready or they didn't take their own Scriptures very seriously. It took some Parthian Magi (Gentiles) from the east, to shake things up. (Matt. 2:1-12)
Bible prophecy not only keeps us ready but it challenges us to be active in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ before our time in this age we live in runs out. Make no mistake, we are closing in on the finish line for the Church Age. That in mind, there are two key verses that convey two separate mindsets that we as students of prophecy need to balance against each other in order to really grasp the coming Rapture of the Church and the Day of the Lord. (DOTL, e.g....The Tribulation)
Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matt. 24:44 NKJV
In general, the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24, Mark 13, Luke 21) are not referencing the Rapture of the Church because that had not yet been revealed yet since Paul referred to what He was taught by Christ as a 'mystery' (musterion-1 Cor. 15:51).
The Olivet Discourse primarily deals with the Day of the Lord, which is the same time period in what we commonly refer to the Tribulation. But this verse, along with the aforementioned must speak to the Rapture of the Church because we know that the Tribulation will be marked by very obvious signs and events that chronicle the 21 sequential judgments which God unleashes upon the earth by way of Seals, Trumpets, and Vials.
In regards to the Rapture, it could be stated that at the very time people don't think Christ will come, is probably a good time to expect Him. This then seemingly rules out those times when hyper-speculation runs amuck because of blood moons or other astronomical anomalies.
But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 1 Thess. 5:1-3
Juxtaposed to the Matthew 24:44 passage is one in which the Apostle Paul states rather clearly, how we could know. Notice he continues in verse 4 by saying...While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. Here Paul alludes to the labor pains analogy that Jesus had used earlier as an indicator of how we could know where we were in time, by the way things were ramping up around the world. What Paul was teaching, was that even though we will not know the day or the hour (we won't know the exact time), we will recognize the general timeframe for the Rapture because of the converging nature of all the events pointing toward the DOTL.
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5
Students of Bible prophecy should be very familiar with Daniel's 70 Week's Prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27), in which the Angel Gabriel told Daniel that a predetermined amount of time was allotted to Jerusalem and to the Jews in which all of human history would be wrapped inside. These are weeks of years and the years were Jewish or prophetic years of 360 days per. [See Genesis 29:18-28 for a biblical correlation]
Now, God had used the 490 year cycle two previous times with Israel, so this shouldn't be a totally new concept to those who study prophecy. But let's think back to Christ's First Coming and why He had to come when He did:
1.The Messiah would have had to come within the lifespan of a man that coincided with Palm Sunday of April 6th, 32 AD, in order to perfectly fulfill Daniel's 69th Week. (See Daniel 9:26) This particular Palm Sunday was exactly 483 years, or 173,880 days to the day, which is why Christ in speaking to Jerusalem declared..."If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes." (Luke 19:42)
2.Remember previously that Jesus had forbade His disciples from them telling anyone that He was the Messiah. (Matt. 16:20), but now, was allowing people to openly declare Him King and worship Him publically as He entered Jerusalem. That was because this was that appointed day.
3.The Messiah's death also had to occur within that 483rd year, in order to fulfill Daniel 9:26.
4.The Messiah would have had to come before the Temple was destroyed in AD70, or else, His genealogical records would have been lost thereby negating His validation as the rightful heir to the throne. (See Matt. 1, 23:39, 24:3)
5.The 'Lawgiver' (Messiah) would have had to come before the 'scepter departed from Shiloh'. (Gen 49:10) (See here)
In summary, the Messiah would have had to been born before the Jews lost their right to exact legal justice (shortly after 6BC), but before 70AD and His death would have had to occur exactly in 32AD. There is only one Man in history who met that criteria, Jesus Christ. This was the fullness of time for Christ's first coming.
So what are the conditions necessary for Christ's second coming? Christ lays them out in His Olivet Discourse when asked in private by His inner circle of disciples. (Matt. 24:4-8)
*"Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. [Spiritual Deception]
*And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. [Global Warfare]
*For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. [National and ethnic strife]
*And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. [Natural calamities]
These are the indicators that Christ said would mimic a woman in labor, in that they will increase in frequency and intensity until they reach a culmination point; a convergence of all them happening simultaneously, which is what we are seeing today. While previous generations might have seen great wars, earthquakes, famines, or pandemics...which probably felt very apocalyptic to them at the time, none of them saw what we have seen over the past 67 years, which is, all the them coming at us at once with greater frequency and intensity. In just our generation we have seen all the below increase in such a way, that they would have largely been inconceivable to even the generation prior;
1. Geopolitical posturing of nations and ethnic groups away from nationalism towards regionalism and globalism (Ezekiel 38-39, Rev. 13, 17)
2. Economic instability of the world's main reserve currency (the US Dollar) resulting in a desperate search for a global currency (Rev. 13)
3. Rapid advancements in technology and scientific discovery resulting in a vast increase in knowledge, communication, and travel. (Dan. 12:4)
4. The rise of apostasy within Christendom (2 Tim. 3, 2 Peter 2, Jude, Rev. 3:14-22)
5. We have remained in a perpetual state of war and conflict around the world since WWI. (Matt. 24:6-7)
6. Acceptance and propagation of aberrant and deviant lifestyles as normal (Luke 17:26-28)
7. Rising global hatred of the nation of Israel (Zech. 12:1-3)
8. Increase use of illegal and prescription drugs (Rev. 9:21)
9. Child sacrifice (legalized abortion killing hundreds of millions globally (Romans 1:26)
10. Genetic tampering and modifications to plants, animals, and humans. (Here) (Gen. 6:1-5, Luke 17:26-27)
11. Increased desensitization and embracement of supernatural activities/persons (1 Tim. 4:1-3, 2 Thess. 2:9-10)
12. A proliferation of global problems that no one at present, can solve. "Global Warming", Economic instability, Mid-East Peace to name a few. (Dan. 8:25, Rev. 6:1-2)
Because we have lived through all of these most of our lives, many are desensitized to the prophetic nature that they represent, much in the same way, a frog in a pot of water doesn't realize how warm it's becoming until its too late. A thing most people don't consider when it comes to reading this part about labor pains in Scripture is that aside from the pains themselves (which come and go), the closer a woman gets to giving birth the more uncomfortable she feels all the time almost becoming unbearable. No matter what she does to get comfortable, she can't. To me, that is the unmistakable sign of where we are today which is at the very last moments of the Church Age. I would venture to say, many of us feel like frogs in water that has become noticeably uncomfortable.
Skeptics would argue that Christians in North Korea or the Middle East, have felt that discomfort for years and even centuries now. How is discomfort a sign? Well, Christian martyrdom has been present since the days of Stephen (Acts 7-8:1-3) but the fact that more Christians have been killed in the 20th century than the previous 20 centuries combined is very telling.
But the above list is just a few of the things that are engulfing this world in a shroud of darkness in preparation for the coming DOTL. But know when God removes the Restrainer (the Holy Spirit), He does so by removing those believers God the Holy Spirit has sealed and indwelt (Eph. 1:11-14) by means of the catching-up (Rapture) of the Church. At that point, Satan will have very little time to get his man (Antichrist) into position to bring about the diabolically satanic schemes. It will take a catastrophe of a global nature to require the restructuring of the global order...and the groundwork must be laid first. That is what our generation has largely been witness too, the formation of the final world empire.
[Author's note]: I want to take a moment and recant part of my statement I made in the previous week's article concerning Jonathan Cahn. While I don't buy into the Shemitah Cycles and Blood Moon theories, In regards to his motives, I misspoke by lumping him in with Hagee and Biltz. A personal friend of Cahn's, in whom I have the utmost respect for, has vouched for him personally and has assured me that this man is honest, sincere, and has devoted his life to evangelism and serving Christ. So while I don't know Cahn personally, I trust her judgment and discernment. I don't want to besmirch his character on account of some of the things he and others have promoted publically. So Mr. Cahn, if you are reading this, please accept my sincere apologies.
That said, I ask all of you, to exercise ample amounts of discernment when it comes to these things which speculate on specific times and events as being absolute pointers to the Rapture of the Church. We know we can see events rapidly converging in regards to the Day of the Lord, but we have to heed Christ's warning about spiritual deception in these last days. While we know it's close, no man knows the day or hour. Let's not get wrapped up in fables, conspiracies, hyper-speculation and the like and focus on Christ, our Blessed Hope.
Even So, Maranatha!