Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Rulers of Darkness - By Daymond Duck - https://www.raptureready.com/2020/07/05/rulers-of-darkness-by-daymond-duck/
According to the Bible, there are rulers of darkness (satanic or demonic spiritual forces) influencing the citizens and events on planet Earth (Eph. 6:12).
Many U.S. citizens have never seen a time when this was more obvious.
Those that have not accepted Jesus as their Saviour are called the children of disobedience (lawlessness) and the children of darkness (Eph. 2:2; I Thess. 5:4-7).
Satan is using them; they are living by his rules and doing his work.
They do not like America’s Judeo-Christian heritage, the Ten Commandments, public prayer, freedom of religion, what Christians say about abortion, LGBTQ, just one way to be saved, etc.
I pray that many pastors are listening: These children of disobedience and darkness want to change America’s culture, and if they get control of the U.S. government, they will come after every Church.
Here are nine items that recently made the news:
One, on June 21, 2020, Dr. Matteo Bassetti, head of the infectious diseases clinic at San Martino hospital in Genoa, said he believes the Coronavirus is weakening, it could die out, and there might not be a need for a vaccine.
According to Scott Gottleib, former Commissioner of the FDA, the recent spike in cases in some areas is due to young people going out into the public more and taking more risks.
Two, on June 22, 2020, it was reported that Liberty Counsel Chairman Mat Staver said five vaccine research companies are not using aborted fetal tissue, but they are using cell lines that came from aborted fetal tissue.
He urged Congress and governors to protect citizens’ right to refuse vaccinations by rejecting the idea of mandatory vaccinations.
He said some states plan to void religious exemptions and try to force people to be vaccinated.
He said pharmaceutical companies are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into lobbying, and they will make big money out of forcing everyone on earth to be vaccinated.
He added that it is absolutely imperative that we stop this push for forced vaccinations.
Mandatory vaccinations with a global ID number and tattoos have implications for the Mark of the Beast, and they should be opposed.
Three, on June 22, 2020, a Black Lives Matter activist and supporter of former Democrat candidate for Pres., Socialist Bernie Sanders called for all statues, murals, stained glass windows, etc., to be removed that depict Jesus as a white person, that depict Jesus with a white mother, and that depict Jesus with white friends.
There is no question that Jesus was not a white European, and it is the blood of Jesus that is important, not the color of His skin.
The blood of Jesus will save anyone that accepts Him as their Lord and Saviour regardless of the color of their skin.
Jesus loves all people, and all the saved are brothers and sisters in Christ regardless of the color of their skin.
He will even save people that have rioted, looted, burned and killed if they will turn to Him and repent of their sins.
Racism and white supremacy exist, but Antifa and Black Lives Matter are more about defeating Trump and bringing down America than they are about racism and white supremacy.
Four, on June 22, 2020, it was reported that, during an interview, black rapper Lord Jamar was asked if he supports Black Lives Matter, and he replied, “No. Absolutely not.”
When asked why, he said it isn’t our movement (a black movement); it is a movement that was given to us by George Soros.
When told that Soros funneled 100 million dollars into the movement, Lord Jamar said it was control money.
He said Black Lives Matter is a movement that Soros basically controls.
According to the article, Soros has been involved in the “defund the police” movement since early 2016.
One of the Black Lives Matter slogans is “No justice, no peace.”
In his Weekly Roundup for June 19-June 25, Amir Tsarfati rightly said that means, “If we don’t get our way, we will keep rioting.”
Five, on June 23, 2020, Pres. Trump said, “I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison.… This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!”
On June 26, 2020, he signed an Executive Order to this effect, and the destruction of statues had almost stopped.
U.S. Attorney Gen. Barr announced the creation of a task force to investigate and prosecute individuals and groups that have been involved in the violence and destruction of property.
He mentioned that some of these individuals and groups may be supported by foreign entities.
Six, on June 23, 2020, it was reported that tapes of phone calls that appear to be conversations between former U.S. Vice-Pres. Biden and former Ukrainian Pres. Poroshenko and documents about payments to Hunter Biden have been turned over to the Ukrainian Prosecutor-General’s office.
The phone calls are in the process of being authenticated, but they appear to be discussions between Biden and Poroshenko with Biden asking Poroshenko to stop an investigation of Hunter, and Poroshenko asking Biden what he needed to do to qualify for an IMF bailout loan.
Seven, concerning a falling away in the church at the end of the age, it is not unusual to hear pastors and church members say that they don’t think church attendance will get back to where it was before the lockdown.
Eight, concerning a global economic collapse, on June 24, 2020, the International Monetary Fund said the Coronavirus Crisis has more severely impacted the global economy than originally thought.
The U.S. economy is in worse shape than thought, but better off than many nations.
The Rapture or a second surge of the Coronavirus could trigger an economic collapse.
The Rider on the Black Horse in Rev. 6:4-6 is hyperinflation and an economic collapse.
Those that believe in a Pre-Trib Rapture are likely to view the possibility of a second surge and a global economic collapse as a sign that the Rapture is close.
Nine, on June 23, 2020, Dennis Prager said violent mobs have been destroying and stealing.
He noted that the Seventh Commandment is “Thou shalt not steal,” and wondered why the vast majority of clergy is not speaking out.
Even worse than not speaking out is the fact that some religious people and clergy are praising the movement.
Ten, concerning persecution, on June 26, 2020, a federal court ordered NY Gov. Cuomo and NYC Mayor de Blasio to end the discrimination against churches and Jewish groups.
They were allowing Black Lives Matter protests against police, limiting meetings and restaurants to 50% and religious gatherings to 25%.
Eleven, on June 17, 2020, it was reported that China will collect blood from about 700 million male citizens to build a genetic map for their surveillance system.
This is significant because the Kings of the East will lead a 200-million-man army that will kill 1/3 of mankind during the Tribulation Period, and there weren’t 200 million people on earth when the prophecy was written (Rev. 9:16).
Twelve, concerning wars and rumors of wars, and natural disasters, on Jan. 23, 2020, the hands on the Doomsday clock were moved to 100 seconds to midnight, the closest in its 73-year history because of existential danger from nuclear war and climate change (natural disasters).
Know that the rulers of darkness are going to get more active at the end of the age because Satan knows his time is short.
Point number three above tells you what to do.
Prophecy Plus Ministries, Inc.
Daymond & Rachel Duck
Is Israel Dismantling Iran's Nuclear Program Through Cyberwarfare? - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz/Breaking Israel News -
A series of explosions in Iran including several at problematic nuclear sites has left the regime giving conflicting answers to difficult questions. It also graphically illustrates that even the most secure Iranian facilities are open to foreign attacks.
On June 25, a huge explosion rocked Parchin military base about 20 miles southeast of the capital Tehran. Defense ministry spokesman Davoud Abdi told state TV the blast happened at a gas storage facility in a "public area" of Parchin rather than the military base.
It was later revealed that the explosion was the result of a cyberattack, possibly carried out by Israel.
In July 2015, there were claims based on satellite imagery that there was activity in the Parchin military complex associated with nuclear weapons. UN and international inspectors were denied access to the site and Iran denied the claims saying the satellite photos were fabricated.
In 2014, the New York Times reported that a large explosion at the site was a case of sabotage by foreign intelligence agencies. In 2018, Israeli intelligence captured an archive in Tehran with proving the Parchin site was a key part of Iran's ongoing nuclear weapons research and development program.
This archive contained documentary evidence that in 2003 Iran was operating a nuclear weapons program, codenamed the AMAD Plan, which aimed to build five nuclear weapons and prepare an underground nuclear test site.
Parchin was a key part of that program, used for a specialized, difficult to develop, neutron initiator to start the chain reaction in a nuclear explosion. Some of the equipment is believed to be held ready for later use, potentially when Iran's 2015 nuclear accord with the six world powers expires.
At about the same time as the explosion at the Parchin facility, a large explosion at the local power station left half of the city of Tehran without electricity.
But that was not the end of Iran's woes. Four days later, an explosion from a gas leak in the Sina Athar Medical Center in northern Tehran killed 19 people. Video posted online appeared to show more than one explosion.
On Thursday, a fire and explosion damaged a centrifuge production plant above Iran's Natanz nuclear enrichment facility at around 2:00 AM local time. Initially, Iranian officials claimed the destruction was inconsequential, damaging an "industrial shed."
At the same time, the government claimed the "industrial shed" was the target of sabotage by enemy nations such as Israel and the US. An unnamed Middle Eastern intelligence official later told the NY Times that damage to the facility was caused by an explosive device placed inside the building.
Natanz nuclear facility is generally recognized as Iran's central facility for uranium enrichment with over 19,000 gas centrifuges currently operational and nearly half of them being fed with uranium hexafluoride.
Between 2007-2010 Natanz nuclear power plant was hit by a sophisticated cyberattack that was carried out by German, French, British, American, Dutch and Israeli intelligence organizations. The attack used a Stuxnet worm which hampered the operation of the plant's centrifuges and caused damage to them over time.
Disaster hit Iran yet again on Saturday as an explosion ripped through the Zargan power plant in the Iranian city of Ahvaz. Iran's IRNA news agency later reported that the blaze was ignited when a transformer exploded.
A few hours later on Saturday, IRNA said a chlorine gas leak at a Karun petrochemical center in the city of Mahshahr in southeast Iran. 70 workers.were reported hospitalized in the incident.
Some of the mystery behind the explosions was alleviated in an interview on Sunday with Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz. When Israel Army Radio asked whether Israel had anything to do with the spate of explosions in Iran, Gantz answered enigmatically, "Not every incident that transpires in Iran necessarily has something to do with us."
"All those systems are complex, they have very high safety constraints and I'm not sure they always know how to maintain them," Gantz
Three Iranian officials who spoke to Reuters said they thought cyber sabotage had been involved at Natanz, but offered no evidence. Two said Israel could have been behind it.
An article by Iran's state news agency IRNA addressed what it called the possibility of sabotage by enemies such as Israel and the United States, although it stopped short of accusing either directly.
Cyberwarfare between Israel and Iran has been carried out for some time with terrifying implications. An unprecedented Iranian cyberattack targeted six facilities in Israel's water infrastructure on April 24-25 nearly dumped lethal levels of chemicals into the Israeli civilian water system.
Fortunately, the attack impacted some systems but did not cause any disruption in the water supply or waste management. The computer system was breached but the cyberattack was blocked before any damage could be done.
Cyber attacks typically target databases or websites. But this attack was the first of its type, attempting to attack a civilian population.
Israel responded in kind, targeting Iran's largest port, paralyzing the main economic ingress for several days. All navigation systems of the ships were severely disrupted and everything had to be stopped to avoid collisions between incoming and outgoing vessels.
The American War - by Jack Kinsella - https://www.raptureready.com/2020/07/05/the-american-war-by-jack-kinsella/
Editor's note: This was written by Jack Kinsella in 2004, but still applies today.
A culture war has been raging in the United States for years. Unlike traditional wars, it cannot be won by military action, but it is a real war being carried out on US soil by US citizens against one another.
For example, when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom defied state law by allowing same-sex marriage licenses, a New York Times profile reported him sporting "a wide grin," "describing his motives as pure and principled," and cited his "business acumen, money, good looks and friends in the right places."
But when Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore also defied the law - by installing a Ten Commandments display in his public building - a Times profile said that "civil liberties groups accused Justice Moore of turning a courthouse into a church," while allowing that he had also become "an Alabama folk hero."
On the editorial page, the Times criticized Moore, likening him to George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door, but supports Newsom's protest and gay marriage.
America's culture war can be defined as conservative vs. liberal, Right vs. Left, rich vs. poor, Democrat vs. Republican but in reality, the war is between believers in Christ and believers in the world system, both inside and outside of mainstream Christian culture.
It isn't really a war between cultures so much as it is a spiritual conflict. For example, while polls show a majority of Americans oppose gay marriage, some of the country's top editorial pages support it.
"Same-sex marriages pose no threat to anyone but rather affirm a commitment of love, an emotion that is universal," says the Boston Globe.
"We believe that extending the benefits and responsibilities of marriage to same-sex couples would be fair and beneficial; we understand that many Americans feel otherwise," says The Washington Post.
"Clearly those who claim that it signals the end of civilization need to get their outrage odometers adjusted," says the Los Angeles Times.
Polls demonstrate that the culture war between Christ and the world is taking casualties within mainstrean Christian culture as well: A poll conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life suggests that opposition to same-sex marriage is widespread among white evangelical Protestants (84 percent) and blacks (65 percent).
Other mainline Protestant Christians showed a 20-point drop in opposition to same-sex marriage (from 64 percent to 44) and a 19-point drop among white Roman Catholics (from 60 percent to 41 percent) but only a 1-point decline among white evangelical Christians and African Americans. Do you see a pattern developing?
Another front in the culture war is the battle raging over Mel Gibson's movie, "The Passion of the Christ." Before it was even released, it had ignited passions across the country.
"Too gory!" exclaimed movie reviewers. The same movie reviewers loved Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" and "Pulp Fiction." Not to mention "A Nightmare on Elm Street," "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," and "Natural-Born Killers" all of which have achieved 'cult film status' and are immune to criticism. The same reviewers who criticized "The Passion" for its gore cheered the historical accuracy of the first thirty minutes of "Saving Private Ryan."
The culture war isn't over the movie, but rather the subject material - namely the Salvation of the human race. The world system doesn't like to think that it needs salvation, and it doesn't like to be reminded of the historical Jesus.
If the Passion of Jesus is real, then hell is real. And if hell is real, then it becomes decision time. And to the world, 'decision time' means giving up all the 'fun stuff' - something they would rather not do.
So rather than admitting outright that their real objection is to Christianity in general, they fall back on whatever seems safe.
Antisemitism, or too much gore, or historical 'inaccuracies' that didn't seem to bother anybody when reviewing "The Last Temptation of Christ" or "Jesus Christ, Superstar."
Abortion is another example - recently the Los Angeles Times corrected a review about a play that celebrated fertility (a favorite subject of the world) in which the reviewer called the play 'pro-life.' Although the play had NOTHING to do with abortion, the LA Times' editors changed 'pro-life' to 'anti-abortion.'
The words 'pro-life' are forbidden by the Times' editorial board because it might give the impression that if those opposing abortion are 'pro-life' then those who favor it are 'pro-death' or 'anti-life.' 'Anti-abortion' strikes the right semantic 'balance'; who wants to be 'anti' something? Especially since the opposite of pro-life is, by definition, anti-life?
Last week, the UC Student Senate passed a bill to give $2,400 to send 10 buses of students to a pro-abortion rally in Washington. That is considered 'education,' but you won't find public universities shelling out funds to send students to a pro-life rally.
Cincinnati's Xavier College ponied up $30,000 to pay lunatic left-winger Michael Moore to address the student body. Some students wanted to hear from conservative columnist Walter Williams. They even put up $10,000 of their own money. Xavier refused to kick in the balance of $3,000.00 - about ten percent of what they paid Moore.
That the world is well aware of the spiritual conflict is easily seen by the automatic assumption that anybody who is pro-life must be a Bible-thumping born-again Christian, so financing such a student trip would violate the alleged 'Separation Clause.'
Polls show the majority of Americans are pro-life, but the world system equates being pro-life to Jesus Christ. And hates it.
The spiritual war raging in America is taking place at the same time that a larger spiritual conflict has gripped the whole world. Unlike America's war, this one IS being fought using bullets and bombs. That war pits Muslims against Jews and Christians, which is what brought it to America's shores. Because America is rapidly becoming one of the last strongholds of Christianity left in the world.
While there are more Christians in China than there are Americans on earth, no nation on earth has more Christians per capita and no nation on earth exerts more global influence than 'Christian' America.
The culture war raging in America represents the opening skirmishes in the coming War of Armageddon that rages throughout the Tribulation Period.
Consider what would happen to America if, suddenly, there were no Christians remaining to continue the spiritual conflict with the world system. What if the only worldview left in America were the ones espoused by the liberal left and the God-haters?
What would it mean to America's global status? What if there was nobody to restrain Ted Kennedy or John Kerry or Jay Rockefeller's doctrine of internationalism?
What if there were no Christians left for Islam to fight?
One of the spiritual wars taking place in America right now concerns whether or not America is really a Christian country to begin with. In America, pledging allegiance to one nation 'under God' is already illegal. So is displaying the Ten Commandments on public land.
If there were no Christians, America's culture war would be over and the stage would be set for the War of Armageddon to begin in earnest. The Armageddon War isn't against the Church; it is against Israel and the Tribulation saints.
What would happen if, suddenly, Christianity disappeared from the face of the earth as outlined by the Apostle Paul. Paul had taught in his first Epistle to the Thessalonians of the coming Rapture of the Church.
"For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent 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 Thessalonians 4:15-18).
In his Second Epistle, Paul is specifically addressing a heresy that was being taught in Thessalonica that the Lord had already returned for His Church and that they had been left behind.
"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition" (2nd Thessalonians 2:1-3).
Paul outlines the spiritual conflict, saying that "the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way."
The NIV translates this same verse, "For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the One who now holds it back will continue to do so till He is taken out of the way."
The One Who 'holds it back' is the Holy Spirit of God indwelling the Church. The Holy Spirit is God. God is omnipresent, meaning He is everywhere. The Psalmist wrote; "If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there" (Psalms 139:8).
It is only AFTER the restraining influence of the indwelt Church is removed, Paul says, that the Antichrist can come to power. "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His Mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming" (2 Thessalonians 2:8).
Note that the text makes 'that Wicked' a proper noun, and that he will be destroyed by the 2nd Coming of Christ at the conclusion of the Tribulation Period. The identification of 'that Wicked' as the antichrist is obvious from the context.
After the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is 'taken out of the way,' Paul explains the 'strong delusion' that will cause the secular world to embrace the antichrist.
"And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2nd Thessalonians 2:11-12).
The Rapture would decimate the United States, hand victory to the internationalists, the liberals, the homosexual movement, the God-haters and the abortionists in a war they undoubtedly will think they have won.
It is obvious that the only thing restraining evil today is the believing Church. For those to be left behind, the conditioning process has already begun.
The Rapture is at hand. That means there isn't much time left for us to fulfill our commission as watchmen on the wall.
The King is coming! Tell somebody.
Defending The Pre-Trib Rapture (Again) - By Jack Kelley -
Someone asked me a great question: "Does Scripture actually promise a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, or is it just an opinion passed along from teacher to student?" Then he challenged me to cite even one Bible verse that would lead a person to believe the Pre-Trib position if they hadn't already heard about it from some Bible teacher. He said that in all his studies he's not been able to find one. Let's see if he's right.
First, Some General Points
The Rapture is not another name for the Second Coming. As 1 Thes. 4:15-17 and John 14:1-3 explain, the Rapture is an unscheduled secret event where Jesus comes part way to Earth to meet His Church in the air and take us to be with Him where He now is. I say unscheduled and secret because its specific timing will remain unknown until it actually happens. On the other hand, The Second Coming is a scheduled public event where Jesus comes all the way to Earth with His Church to establish a Kingdom here. I say scheduled and public because the general time of His coming will be known on Earth over 3 1/2 years in advance, and public because everyone on Earth will be able to witness His arrival. Matt. 24:29-30 says it will happen shortly after the Great Tribulation has ended and all the nations will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds in the sky.
Membership in the Church and therefore participation in the Rapture is contingent upon having personally accepted the Lord's death as payment in full for your sins. While His death actually purchased full pardons for everyone, we each have to personally ask to have ours activated. Everyone who asks for salvation receives an unconditional, irrevocable "Yes!" (Matt. 7:7-8, John 3:16, Ephes. 1:13-14) For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. (2 Cor. 1:20)
It's Greek To Me
And finally, although cynics can truthfully say that the word Rapture doesn't appear in any passage of Scripture, the statement is not correct in its intent. Rapture is a word of Latin origin, not Hebrew or Greek, the languages of the Bible. (One of the earliest translations of the Bible was into Latin, and the word rapture comes from there.) Its Greek equivalent is harpazo, which is found in the Greek text of 1 Thes. 4:17. When they're translated into English, both words mean "to be caught up, or snatched away." Harpazo, the word Paul actually used, comes from roots that mean, "to raise from the ground" and" take for oneself" and hints that in doing so the Lord is eagerly claiming us for Himself. So while the Latin word doesn't appear in our Bibles, the event it describes certainly does. There's a similar situation with the word Lucifer, also of Latin origin. It doesn't appear in any of the original texts either, but no one would be naive enough to deny the existence of Satan on such a flimsy basis. With that introduction, let's go first to the best known of the Rapture passages.
According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thes. 4:15-17)
Most of us are very familiar with these verses. But notice they don't tell you when the rapture happens, only that it does. Notice also that the Lord doesn't come all the way to Earth. We meet Him in the clouds and then according to John 14:1-3 go back with Him to where He came from. If this was the 2nd coming, He would be coming here to be where we are, not coming to take us there to be where He is. Paul described the same event in 1 Cor 15:51-52. In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye the dead in Christ will rise and the living will be transformed. There he said that he was disclosing a secret, but the resurrection of the dead was not a secret. It can be found through out the Old Testament. The secret was that some would not die, but would be taken alive into the Lord's presence following an instantaneous transformation. The rapture happens fast. In one instant we're walking on Earth and in the very next, we're in the Kingdom.
By the way, don't try to use the trumpet reference in verse 52 to pin the timing of the rapture to some other event. Since both the Corinthian passage and the one from Thessalonians describe the same things, it's safe to assume that the term last trump refers to the fact that the trumpet call of God from 1 Thes. 4:16 will signal the end of the Church Age, at which time the Church will disappear from Earth. So these two references both say that one generation of humans won't die but will be suddenly changed from our earthly form to our heavenly one. And since both Matt. 24:31 (they'll gather His elect from one end of the heavens to the other) and Rev. 17:14 (with Him will be His called, chosen, and faithful followers) say that we'll be with the Lord when He returns, this has to happen sometime before the 2nd Coming. And it can't be just the resurrected believers coming back with Him because the Rapture passages above say that we'll be changed at the same time as the dead are raised.
So When Does This Happen?
In the New Testament, the clearest indication we get in the timing department is found in 1 Thes. 1:9-10. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead-Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
The Greek word translated "from" in this passage is "apo." Translated literally, it means we're to be rescued from the time, the place, or any relation to God's wrath. It denotes both departure and separation. This is supported by 1 Thes. 5:9 that declares, "God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Some folks are fond of pointing out that you can't use God's wrath interchangeably with the Great Tribulation. They're not the same, they say. And they're right, the two terms are not synonymous. The Great Tribulation is 3 1/2 years long and begins in Rev. 11-13. God's wrath is much longer, beginning in Rev. 6, as verse 17 explains. Post-trib. and pre-wrath rapture advocates try to deny this but the Scripture is clear. The time of God's wrath begins with the Seal Judgments. The Bowl Judgments that come later don't begin the time of His wrath, they conclude it. (Rev. 15:1) Being rescued from the time, the place and any relation to God's Wrath means the Church has to disappear before Rev. 6, and that's why we believe the Rapture takes place in Rev. 4 and the Church is the group of believers in view in heaven in Rev.5.
You Be The Judge
Now let's apply my questioner's litmus test. Could a believer, sitting alone on the proverbial desert isle with nothing but a Bible and with no pre-conceived ideas, conclude that there's a pre-trib Rapture just from reading about it, or could he only be led into this position by first hearing someone teach him about it? Well, From Isaiah 13:9-13 and Amos 5:18-20, he would have learned that God is going to judge the Earth for it's sins in a terrible time called the Day of the Lord when He'll pour out His wrath on mankind. Reading Matt. 24:21-22 would have told him that this time of judgment would be so bad that if the Lord didn't put a stop to it no one would survive. But the Lord will put a stop to it by returning in power and glory. Since he would know that the Lord hasn't returned yet, he would know that God's wrath is still in the future.
When he got to 1 Thes. 1:9-10 he would see a pretty clear statement. Jesus rescues us from the coming wrath. In the "who, what, where, when, and why" methodology of the investigative reporter he would have the Who, (Jesus) the what, (rescues us) and the when (the time of the coming wrath). Reading on he would come to 1 Thes. 4:15:17 and get the where (from Earth to the clouds) and in 1 Thes. 5:9 the why (because we're not appointed to wrath). From there he would logically conclude that since we'll be rescued around the time of the coming wrath and since we're not appointed to wrath, our rescue has to precede it.
He could also answer another of the investigative reporter's questions in 1 Thes. 4:15:17 and that's how it would happen. The Lord himself will come down from Heaven into our atmosphere and suddenly snatch us away from Earth to join Him there. In chapter 5 he would learn that he would never know the exact timing of this event but only that it would precede the coming wrath. Of course there are many more passages I could reference, but I think I've made my point and answered the question. In fact I'll go one step further.
I believe that since our hypothetical reader has no one to persuade him differently, he would assume that what he's reading is to be taken literally. And if that's the case, then the pre-trib position is the only conclusion he could logically come to, because every other position requires a moderate to massive re-interpretation of Scripture. I contend that left alone to work this out with only the Holy Spirit as his guide he would expect to be raptured before the wrath of God begins in Rev. 6. You see, God didn't write the Bible to confuse us, but to inform us. It's mankind that's gotten everything all mixed up. If you give the Holy Spirit a clear minded student, uncontaminated by man's opinions and prejudices, He would bring that person to the understanding of the rapture that's most consistent with a literal interpretation of Scripture. And that requires a pre-trib rapture.
But Wait, There's More
While we're on the topic, there's another issue that points to a pre-trib Rapture and it comes to us in the form of a clue in 1 Thes. 4:15, right at the beginning of the Rapture passage. Verse 15 opens with the phrase "According to the Lord's own word." There simply is no place in the New Testament where Jesus speaks of some being resurrected and some others being transformed to meet the Lord in the air. He never said anything like that, nor does he even imply such a thing. Those who believe they see it in Matt. 24:40-41 first have to ignore the fact that Jesus was explaining events on Earth on the actual day of His return, which would place the Rapture after the 2nd Coming, something no one believes. They also have to ignore the fact that in Matt. 24:40-41 both believers and non-believers are sent somewhere, believers being received unto Him, while non-believers are sent away. You have to research the Greek words translated "taken" (paralambano) and "left" (alphiemi) to realize this, but when you do you'll see that the English is misleading. No Rapture view includes the disposition of non-believers, nor does it even mention them.
By the way, this is a great example of why the literal, historical, grammatical interpretation is so important. Our Bible was mostly written in Hebrew and Greek. Every translation relies on the movement of words from one language to another. This process doesn't always produce a perfect fit, and so learned men have to make allowances for this and exercise their own judgment from time to time. But men are not perfect. We all have our biases. When it's an important issue where you want an exact meaning it's always a good idea to double-check their work. Fortunately we have an incredible tool in the Strong's Concordance. It contains every Hebrew and Greek word in the Bible with their primary and secondary meanings, how often each word appears in the Bible and what meanings are used in each appearance. You can compare these with the meaning the translators used and see if you agree with their treatment of the passage. By doing this with Matt. 24:40-41, you'll find that the primary meaning of paralambano is to receive and the primary meaning of alphiemi is to send away. People with a post-trib disposition read 1 Thes. 4:15, and then turned to Matt. 24:40-41 where they saw one group being "taken" and another group being "left" after the end of the Great Tribulation. Assuming that these were the Lord's own words Paul was referring to, they stopped there. They had seen what they wanted to see.
In actuality Matt. 24:40-41 is most likely a preview of the Sheep and Goat judgment of Tribulation survivors. The word taken (received) refers to believers going live into the Kingdom, and the word left (sent away) applies to non-believers who are sent to the place prepared for the Devil and his angels. (Matt 25:31-46) Of course none of this pertains to our desert island reader above. The verses I used there are clear enough that they don't require any research into the original language. So he wouldn't need a Strong's Concordance, just his Bible.
What's Your Point?
So if Jesus never taught about the Rapture, to which of the "Lord's own words" was Paul referring? Some dismiss the phrase, saying that Paul was speaking of a conversation he had with the Lord that doesn't appear in Scripture. But I think we deserve a better answer than that. Remember, 1st Thessalonians was probably Paul's first written communication, undertaken in 51AD. Depending on whose opinion you accept, Matthew's Gospel was either just being written or was still nearly 10 years away. Those who give it an early date say it was written to the Jews in Jerusalem and may even have been written in Hebrew. In any case neither it nor any other Gospel was yet in wide distribution. (Mark's Gospel, the other candidate for earliest one written, doesn't contain an equivalent to Matt 24:40-41.) So if Paul was referring to Scripture, as I believe he was, it had to be the Old Testament. Yes, like everything else in God's plan, you'll find hints of the Rapture even in the Old Testament.
Look at this passage from Isaiah 26:19-21. But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead. Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins.
Notice how the pronouns change from second person when God speaks of His people to third person when He speaks of the people of the Earth. It means the two groups are different. Those called "my people" are told to "enter your rooms" (the rooms of John 14:1-3?) because the others, called "the people of Earth" are going to be punished for their sins in a period of time called His Wrath. Sound familiar? (Note: the Hebrew word translated "go" in the phrase "Go my people" is translated "come" in some translations, recalling the command to John in Revelation 4, "Come up here!" But the word has another primary meaning and it's my favorite. It means vanish. "Vanish, my people!" Yes we will.)
Not by any stretch of the imagination has this passage been literally fulfilled. It's an End Times prophecy that promises a resurrection of the dead and hiding of God's people while God's Wrath is unleashed on the people of Earth for their sins. And it was written 2750 years ago. The hiding of the Jews in the desert on Earth at the beginning of the Great Tribulation (Rev. 12:14) cannot be considered as a fulfillment of this passage because no resurrection accompanies it. (The resurrection of Old Testament believers takes place at the end of the Great Tribulation. (Daniel 12:2)) Of course, no one knows for sure that this is the passage Paul referred to, but as evidence of its influence on him, let's compare it with what Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4-5.
Isaiah: But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.
Paul: The dead in Christ will rise first.
Isaiah: Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by.
Paul: After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
Isaiah: See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins.
Paul: 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.
The wording is a little different, but it sure looks to me like they're describing the same event.
And Still More
There are other sound theological reasons why the Church will be raptured before the End Times judgments begin. One is that the Lord seems to keep Israel and the Church separate, never dealing with both at the same time (Acts 15: 13-18) If the primary purpose of Daniel's 70th week is to finish fulfilling the six promises to Israel in Daniel 9:24, then the Church has to disappear.
Another is that the Church was purified at the cross at which time all the punishment due us was born by the Lord Himself. From that time forward the Church is considered by God to be as righteous as He is (2 Cor 5:17 & 21) The idea that the Church needs to undergo some discipline to become worthy to dwell with God is not scriptural and denies the Lord's completed work on the cross.
And third, the stated purpose of the Great Tribulation is twofold, to purify Israel and completely destroy the unbelieving nations. (Jeremiah 30:1-11) The Church isn't destined for either of these outcomes. There are also several subtle clues that on their own can't be used to support the pre-trib position, but which underscore the validity of the clear passages I've just cited. Take for instance the fact that Enoch, who bears a great similarity to the Church, disappeared before the Great Flood, that the angels couldn't destroy Sodom and Gomorrah until Lot and his family were clear, and that Daniel was missing from the story of the fiery furnace, a model of the Great Tribulation.
When the Lord described His coming in Luke 17:26-29, He said that it would be both like the days of Noah (some will be preserved through the accompanying judgments) and the days of Lot (some will be taken away before them). And what about the promise He made to the Church in Philadelphia that he would keep us out of the "hour" of trial coming on the whole world. (Rev. 3:10)
But being asked to cite verses that didn't require any prior knowledge I picked two that are clearest to me, 1 Thes. 1:9-10 and Isaiah 26: 19-21. And so by the testimony of two witnesses, one in the Old Testament and one in the New, we see the physical separation of believers from non-believers preceding the time of Judgment. And by the testimony of two witnesses, a thing shall be established. (Deut. 19:15) Of course, some won't be convinced until we show them a verse that says the rapture will precede the Great Tribulation in those exact words. Obviously, such a verse doesn't exist. I guess we'll just have to wait and explain it to them on the way up.
Daily Jot: Independence Day: A time to pray and turn - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
There has been something I have been pondering for quite some time. I sense you are thinking about the same. The divisive state of our country. The visceral political division, the fact that most news is editorial opinion based on lies and half truths, the fact that people who have been friends for years have ended their friendships over these differences. We all have a lot of concerns about America, many of them are healed a little at the sight a young soldier in uniform opening a door for a senior citizen, or a young child helping someone across the street. These individual acts of kindness bolster my confidence that somewhere deep in the soul of America, the values that make us all Americans are still flickering.
But what concerns me are those who, for whatever reason, do not see that the sacrifice of those before us was made for the better gains we enjoy. A few years ago, I asked a group of children why we celebrate Independence Day. By and large their answers were "so we can see fireworks" or "so we can have hamburgers from the grill." They did not even know what Independence Day meant. Their guesses were anywhere from "celebrating God's freedom" to "my dad has a day off from work." Some of these children openly admitted they did not understand why they should stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag-seems like something silly to them.
Then there was the African American man who was upset with the wars in the Middle East. He told me it was better to abort these children than to let them grow up and force them to die in war. I asked him how many abortions there were in the United States each year. He didn't know. I told him there were over a million abortions a year and that during a three-year period there were 1,700 brave volunteer soldiers killed in Iraq. Another lady chimed in, "And that's supposed to make me feel good?" No, it's not. But it is supposed to demonstrate clearly the folly in denying a chance at life because kids are going to die anyway. Would he even understand that Planned Parenthood's founder, Margaret Sanger, wanted to end the entire African American race?
I pray these are not representative of the majority of our country. I am reminded of how often the Israelites turned away from God and judgment was pronounced upon them. Certainly, the condition of our nation is tied to the consequences of not adhering to God's law. We must take these things more seriously, especially as Christians. The Lord said in 2 Chronicles 7:14, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal there land." We do need to pray for our children and our nation. We need to seek the Lord's face and as a nation turn from wicked ways. As we celebrate independence, let us pray and talk to others about returning to the ancient paths laid by those righteous people before us.
Daily Devotion: Divine Detours - by Greg Laurie -
A man's heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps. -Proverbs 16:9
A while back I was scheduled on a flight back to Los Angeles, but I missed it. I had a connection in Dallas, and my flight was late getting there. So, I had to take a different one.
I had planned to do some work on board, so I asked the flight attendant if there was a place to plug in my computer.
"Yes, there is," she told me. "And by the way, I'm a Christian. Nice to see you, Pastor Greg."
Then, about two hours into the flight she asked if she could talk to me. She started to cry as she told me about a crisis she was facing-a very serious one. So, I shared some Scripture with her, and we prayed together about it.
Afterward she said that she follows me on social media and knew I was traveling for a speaking engagement. She had prayed that I would be on her flight. "I knew the Lord was going to put you on this flight," she told me, "because like you posted on Instagram, an interruption is a divine intervention."
I was thrilled with that. And it reminded me that extraordinary things often happen in ordinary circumstances. I didn't receive a message from God that day like someone in a Mission Impossible movie. God didn't speak to me audibly and tell me what my mission was.
In fact, I would suggest to you that sometimes out-of-the-ordinary things will happen in our lives to get our attention. Because what may seem to you like a coincidence is actually Providence. And what you may perceive as an interruption actually may be a divine intervention.
So, when something happens out of the ordinary-and this year, it seems more than likely-pay attention. The Lord may be leading you. The Lord may want to use you for His purposes.
FROM THE HEART
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