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Prophecy Basics

I can feel the troops getting edgy.  The battle looks grim.  For the time being we have cover in the trenches, but the enemy's horde is closing in and we're low on ammo, bloodied, and wounded.  And, it would seem, outmatched and outgunned.  But that's only as it seems.

The Apostle Paul had to deal with a similarly weary regiment nearly two millennia ago.  Many voices in their midst were sowing confusion, causing disillusionment with God's prophetic promises.  That has always been the enemy's most frequent tactic: striking with subtlety from within, where attacks are least expected.  This is also how the central message of our faith is most frequently distorted.

But the topic at hand was Christ's promise to deliver His people from the coming wrath entirely and the subsequent judgment on all nations called the Day of the LORD.

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the Day of the Lord has already come.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:1–2

This principle extends onward indefinitely because genuine Christians are promised escape before the Day of the LORD.  When the Day of the LORD finally does come, none of the LORD's brethren will be around to be unsettled by it, because they will be in Heavenly Zion rejoicing with the angels.  There are many, once again, unsettling you, imploring you to abandon your blessed hope and to start looking for the antichrist rather than Christ Himself.

Here I simply want to remind you of a few foundational prophetic concepts.  When you understand and hold to these, the dots are connected and the picture becomes clear.  And the clear picture is nothing less than the glorious face of our Savior, which is the next thing we'll see when the next major prophecy is fulfilled—when our faith becomes sight.

So buckle up and get ready, fill your coffee mug, and find a nice, quiet place where your attention is undivided.  This is a big one.  And I hope you'll find it to be a great resource to share with friends and family in the future...

1. Prophecy Is All About Him

The fundamental problem with all of the various schools of allegorical prophetic interpretation (e.g., preterism, historicism, etc) are twofold: first, they reject taking God's word at face value, leaving it up to private, subjective explication, despite the fact that the prophecies concerning Christ's first coming were anything but allegorical; and, second, they fundamentally misunderstand that the entirety of Scripture is a single, continuous prophecy concerning the Promised Seed's redemption of those with faith and His material and spiritual reversal of the Fall and all of its effects.  There is still a future endpoint to come in which the redeemed are glorified, the Fall is reversed, and the Seed reigns.  This can no more be explained away by allegory than can the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The biblical metanarrative can only be understood when we understand who the Bible is about and what this who must accomplish before the Fall of Mankind is reversed.  (If you've already read Understanding the Bible: The Promised Seed and read through the below diagram, then feel free to skip to Section #2).

2. The Church Escapes Before The Tribulation

The focus of study of my fellow watchmen and myself these past several years has been on the resurrection and rapture of the Jew + Gentile Church of the Firstborn, the collective Body of Christ, before the onset of Daniel's 70th Week and the Day of the LORD.  This is commonly called the pre-tribulation rapture, though other terms would be equally accurate: pre-Daniel's 70th Week, pre-Time of Jacob's Trouble, and pre-Day of the LORD.  It could also be called pre-wrath, if "wrath" and the word's biblical usage are properly understood.

The two main arguments presented against the pre-tribulation rapture, typically to support the post-tribulation view, are actually logical fallacies called petitio principii ("begging the question").  This fallacy takes the form: "John claims X is true, therefore X is true."  In other words, the claim is reckoned true purely on the basis of it being claimed.  It's like saying God is not a trinity of persons, because I don't believe in the Trinity.

The first argument comes from Matthew 24:29–31 in which Jesus says that the elect will be gathered by angels after the Tribulation.  This is used by some as evidence in itself that the rapture cannot be pre-tribulational.  No doubt the passage is true, but "elect" has a broad usage in the New Testament.  Which elect?  Are there more than one group of elect?  Does the passage refer to all the elect from all time?  The passage does not explicitly define who these "elect" are so we're left with searching other Scriptures for more answers.

This argument can also take the form of a straw-man when it is presented in the sense that "pre-tribbers don't believe in a post-tribulation gathering of the elect, therefore the pre-tribulation rapture is false because of what Matthew 24:29–31 says."  This is a logical fallacy, because pre-tribbers do believe in a post-trib gathering of the elect, therefore we believe in Matthew 24:29–31.  The distinction is that we recognize the biblical teaching that there are different groups of elect, and not all are raised and gathered to God at once.  There are Old Testament saints, some of whom have already been resurrected (Mt. 27:52–53), there were Enoch and Elijah—both of whom were raptured thousands of years before the Tribulation, there are saints who will be beheaded during the Tribulation and resurrected after it (Rev. 20:4), and finally, there is the Church, which is resurrected and raptured before the Tribulation (1 Thess. 4:16–5:9; Rev. 3:10).

The second argument comes from the gospel of John where Jesus says He will raise up believers "in the last day" (Jn. 6:39–44) and later where Martha says the same (Jn. 11:24).  There are a number of significant problems using this as evidence for a post-tribulation rapture, but I'll just touch on three:

First, it is very likely that Jesus was alluding to 1st century Jewish expectations surrounding the Day of the LORD.  This day was not understood to be a single 24-hour period, but a longer, prophetic period of time when God would visibly interfere in the affairs of men to judge all nations and establish His everlasting Kingdom.  Both the Hebrew and Greek words for "day" can take on the same kind of broader meaning as the word "day" in English: "back in my day..."  Thus the point being made is not that all believers will be raised up in a single 24-hour period at the very, very end of the Great Tribulation, but rather that believers would be raised up in, at the time of, or in relation to, the Day of the LORD.

Second, the preposition used in both John 6 and 11 is the same: ἐν, which is usually translated "in", but has a far broader and more variable usage than our English word "in".  There are instances where it is translated at, until, or even before.

Third, let's assume for a moment that Jesus was being hyper-literal and indeed meant a single, 24-hour period of time, this argument suffers from the same problem as using Matthew 24:29–31, which is that no distinctions are made between believers.  Are all believers from all history raised on this same day at the end of the Tribulation?  The answer is clearly 'no' or else Enoch and Elijah would not be in Heaven, the two witnesses would not be raptured mid-tribulation, and Matthew's account of resurrected saints in Matthew 27 would be false.  Furthermore, we're brought back to the fact that virtually all Christians, pre-tribulation or otherwise, who believe in the bodily return of Christ, agree that there will be a resurrection and gathering of saints after the Tribulation.  The real question regards where the Church fits into the equation.

Side Note: Being aware of how logical fallacies are frequently used to attack the Faith can be a great aid in apologetics.  The four most common fallacies I see used are 1. Straw-man (e.g., "Christians are polytheists because they believe in the Trinity"), 2. Ad hominem (e.g., "the pre-tribulation rapture is false because pre-tribbers are deceivers"), 3. Begging the Question (e.g., "the rapture has to be post-trib, because Matthew 24 says the elect are gathered after the Tribulation"), and 4. Appeal to Authority (e.g., "the Revelation 12 Sign is just astrology because X says so").

Now let's review the biblical case for a pre-tribulation rapture:

1. For starters, regardless of the timing, there will be a rapture because the Bible plainly says so.  There is nothing ambiguous about 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17.  Those who've died in Christ will be resurrected.  Those still alive will be changed (1 Cor. 15:51–53).  Then all of those in Christ will be snatched up into the sky by force, joining the Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds.  For those Christians who don't believe in a rapture at all, I'm afraid we have a much larger, irreconcilable disagreement: whether or not to trust the plain words of Scripture.  Furthermore, the rapture is based on multiple promises from Jesus Christ Himself (e.g., Jn. 14:1–3; Rev. 3:10; etc.).  And the promise Jesus gives in John 14 isn't merely to take the Church, but to take the Church to His Father—to the very place Christ was about to go: Heaven.  Do you believe that God keeps His promises?  Do you believe the One who promised is faithful?  Don't bet against Him.  You'll lose.  Instead, trust Him and win.

2. Jesus' promise in Revelation 3:10 to keep the church of Philadelphia "from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world" is pretty explicit.  That alone is enough for me, but there are many other Scriptures that point to a pre-tribulation rapture.  And as we grow closer to His appearing, more and more are being uncovered.  Here are just a few that stand out: Rev. 3:10; 4:1; 5:8–10; 12:5; 20:4; 1 Thess. 1:10; 4:16–18; 5:4; 2 Thess. 2:3, 7; 1 Cor. 15:51–52; Acts 15:14–16; Zeph. 1:14–2:3; Jn. 14:1–6; Isa. 17:10–11; 26:17–21; 57:1–2; 66:7–9; Lk. 21:36; Deut. 32:21.  We've written whole articles on a number of these (see Deuteronomy 32Isaiah 17, Isaiah 26Isaiah 66Zephaniah 2, and Revelation 4–5).

3. Both sides of the pre-trib/post-trib debate have certain verses and passages they tend to gravitate towards, but the fiercest contention centers around 2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 4–5.  Why?  I see the why as very, perhaps insurmountable, evidence for a pre-trib rapture.  You see, there are some pre-trib scholars that see the pre-trib rapture in these two passages and there are some who don't.  In other words, these two passages are not essential for Christians to believe the biblical promise of a pre-trib resurrection and rapture of the Church.  But, if it can be demonstrated that either of these passages describe the pre-trib rapture, then the debate is over before it began.  Case closed.  If apostasia in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 refers not to a "falling away," but rather to a "departure"—specifically the departure of the Church—then the rapture is certainly pre-tribulational (see here).  Likewise, if the 24 elders in Revelation 4–5 represent the glorified Church (they do, see here), then the pre-tribulation rapture is impossible to circumvent.

4. The Great Sign of Revelation 12 that occurred on September 23, 2017, captured the attention of many who were faithfully watching for the LORD's return.  For those who were willing to accept the literal sense of Revelation 12:1–2, God used the Sign to not only show them how close the world is to His coming, but also to uncover a much neglected passage that once served as the foundational prooftext for a pre-tribulation rapture.  And it all connects to Isaiah 66.  Revelation 12:5 tells us that a certain male child born to Israel is raptured to Heaven shortly before Israel enters the Great Tribulation.  Isaiah 66 tells us that this male child 1. is not an individual, but a nation born out of the earth, and 2. this child is born before his mother, Israel, enters the Tribulation.  Here are some articles that unpack this in detail: Who is the Male Child of Revelation 12?, Revelation 12: Escape to a Place Prepared, Conservative Scholars Agree, Woman in Labor: The Prophetic Key

5. The epistles and other early Christian texts testify that the apostles and disciples lived with constant expectancy for the LORD's return (what we now call imminency).  The early Church was well aware of the many events that had to transpire during the final years before Jesus returned to Israel.  The Apostles were intimately aware of these details because Jesus had shared the knowledge with them in His Olivet Discourse.  They knew that an antichrist (called the "man of lawlessness") would arise, the Jewish Temple would be rebuilt, and several years of great tribulation would ensue.  Yet the consistent sense of New Testament Scripture is that early believers lived with a constant sense of expectancy for the LORD's imminent appearing.  Mid-tribulation, pre-wrath, and post-tribulation proponents handle these "imminency" Scriptures in a variety of creative ways, but I have never been presented with a satisfactory argument.  Only the pre-tribulation doctrine interprets the many Scriptures that describe an imminent appearing of Christ with their prima facie meaning.  More about this here.

Bolstering this point, the New Testament consistently uses "thief in the night" imagery when referring to the onset of the Day of the LORD.  This analogy is used by both Christ and His apostles (e.g., Mt. 24:43; 1 Thess. 5:2–4; 2 Pt. 3:10; Rev. 16:15).  When the thief comes, something is stolen suddenly and unexpectedly.  When the owner of the house comes to, he realizes something has been taken away.  The thief represents Christ and we are what is stolen.  Suddenly.  Imminently.

6. The Church is conspicuously absent from Revelation chapters 4 through 19.  The Book of Revelation is primarily about the events transpiring during the Tribulation and the Church is not mentioned one time between chapters 4 and 19.  Even more, Revelation 4:1 is a type or shadow of the rapture in which the Apostle John is "caught up" to Heaven at the sound of a trumpet.  The 24 elders, which most Christian biblical scholars consider to be a picture of the glorified Church in Heaven, are already present in Heaven in chapter 4 and from Heaven John and the elders are able to witness the Tribulation events occurring "below" on earth.  The only other allusion to the Church in these chapters is found in Revelation 12, specifically Revelation 12:5, where a male child that represents the corporate Church is raptured to Heaven before Israel (the woman) enters into Tribulation.

7. The pre-tribulation rapture maintains consistency in biblical symbols, types, and shadows.  Noah and his family escaped before the Flood came.  As a matter of fact, God commanded Noah and his family to enter the ark seven days before the Flood came (Genesis 7:1–10) just as the Church will escape seven years before God's wrath is fully poured out.  Similarly, Lot and his family escaped from Sodom before the city was destroyed.  Furthermore, it wasn't just happenstance that Noah and Lot escaped before judgment—in Genesis 18:22–33 we learn that the reason they escaped beforehand was because God's character was at stake.  On earth, the righteous have never been free from trouble or tribulation.  But when God intervenes to execute judgment Himself, the righteous are always delivered beforehand.

A prime example is the life of Joseph, which perfectly foreshadowed all the major aspects of the life of Christ, including, and up to, the rapture of Christ's Church and the deliverance of Israel during the future Tribulation.  Compare:

  • Jesus Christ, a Jew, an Israelite / Joseph, son of Jacob (Israel)

  • Jesus' miracles make His Pharisee countrymen jealous / Joseph's dreams make his own brothers jealous

  • Jesus handed over to death by His own people / Joseph handed over to death by his own brothers

  • Christ in the tomb / Joseph in the pit

  • Christ raised from the dead / Joseph lifted from the pit

  • Christ leaves Israel / Joseph taken to Egypt

  • Having overcome, Christ exalted and seated at the right hand of God, to rule all nations / Joseph exalted to the right hand of Pharaoh; Egypt was the world superpower at the time (ruling all nations)

  • Jesus begins His ministry at about the age of 30 / Joseph enters the service of the king at the age of 30

  • God the Father gifts Christ with an elect body of primarily Gentile saints—His body, His bride, the Church / Pharaoh gifts Joseph with a Gentile bride, Asenath

  • Jesus receives His bride shortly before the seven year Tribulation / Joseph receives his bride, Asenath, shortly before the seven years of famine

  • Christ and His bride remain in Heaven during the full extent of the Tribulation / Joseph and Asenath remain safely tucked away in Egypt, in palaces of splendor, during the full extent of the seven years of famine

  • Israel will enter the Time of Jacob's Trouble, a future seven year period of judgment on all nations; this is the prophetic "woman in labor"; and it happens because of Israel's unbelief in Messiah, thinking He is dead, not knowing He can deliver them / Jacob and his sons enter seven years of famine thinking that Joseph is dead, not knowing He already had all the power to deliver them

  • In the midst of the Tribulation, Israel begins to understand and believe that Jesus is the Messiah / Two years into the seven years of famine, Joseph's brothers discover that he is alive and second-in-command of Egypt

  • God delivers the Israelites in the middle of the Tribulation, taking them to a place prepared outside of Israel for the last half of Daniel's 70th Week / Joseph's brothers and his father Jacob, and their families who remained in Israel, escape the famine, coming to the land of Goshen in Egypt near the middle of the famine where they are provided for by Joseph

The parallels are uncanny and the picture is clear.

Another example was the Prophet Daniel who had been elevated to a high position in Babylon when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were a shadow of Israel being protected during the Tribulation while Daniel was a shadow of the Church, which will be far away from harm.  Though later, Daniel himself becomes a shadow of Israel when he is protected in the midst of the den of lions.

Additionally, Jewish wedding customs in the 1st century, at the time of Christ, were a perfect parallel to the pre-tribulational rapture: the groom came and "purchased" his bride, making a binding, unbreakable agreement to return for her, he then went away to prepare a place for her in his father's house, and then around one year later returned for her with a "shout".  The groom and the bride went into the bridal chamber in the father's house where they remained hidden away for seven days while wedding guests celebrated outside.

8. The pre-tribulation rapture maintains a proper dispensational understanding of Scripture.  Jesus was sent "only to the lost sheep of Israel," yet when His own people rejected Him, God turned His attention to the Gentiles (though not exclusively, as some ultra-dispensationalists mistakenly claim)—primarily through Paul, Barnabas, and company, but also through the apostles themselves.  Daniel's 70 weeks of years, a period set by God to redeem Israel, paused at the end of the 69th week, days before Jesus was crucified.  This pause is commonly called the "Church Age" or the "Age of Grace" and it won't end until the 70th week begins (see Acts 15:12–16).  This 70th week serves two primary purposes: first, the national salvation of Israel (Rm. 11:26), and second, a cataclysmic global judgment on the Gentile nations who have rejected Messiah.  The Church is not in view anywhere in Daniel's 70th week.  Even more—the Tribulation is called the "Time of Jacob's Trouble" (Jer. 30:7).

9. The pre-tribulation rapture was not invented in the 19th century.  Nearly as silly as arguing that the word "rapture" is not in the Bible, is arguing that the pre-trib rapture was invented in the 19th century.  Detractors have often attributed the pre-tribulation rapture's origins to a supposed vision from one Margaret MacDonald in 1830, yet MacDonald never described a pre-trib rapture.

Additionally, it is well known among Bible scholars that whether wrong or right, pre-trib beliefs go back at least to the 18th century (1700s), and in actuality, to the early Church.  You can read more about this here, here, and here.

Some try to use the Apostolic and Early Church Fathers to prove or disprove various doctrines, but it tends to be a faulty exercise as the theologians of the earliest centuries didn't tend to systematize doctrine in the way we do today.  More importantly, their writings are not Scripture.  They were faulty just like we all are and they had many disagreements about doctrine just like we do today.  That being said, not only did many of these prominent early Christian leaders believe in salvation by faith alone (sola fide), but at least five of them placed the timing of the rapture right before the Great Tribulation—at the very latest.  These include Irenaeus (a disciple of the Apostle John's disciple Polycarp), the author of The Shepherd of Hermas, Cyprian, Victorinus, and Ephraem/pseudo-Ephraem (see here, here, and here).

10. The doctrine is maligned, mocked, and hated by unbelievers outside the Church, and legalists within.  The simplicity of the gospel and the all-sufficiency of Christ for salvation and deliverance don't sit well with either group.  That's always been a big red flag for me.  As well as the motivation factor: those who hold fast to the blessed hope, obediently "encouraging one another with these words," (1 Thess. 4:18) are motivated to share the gospel as quickly and with as many as possible now, because they know the LORD's appearing is imminent.  On the other hand, many teachers who hold to the post-tribulation view seem much more motivated to sell survival gear, bunker down, and build their kingdom here.  They take their lamp and cover it with a basket—their coin they bury in the ground (Mt. 5:15; 25:24–30).

I could add so many more points to this list, and in a future study I may do just that.  In the meantime, you can take a look at this list entitled 250 Reasons for the Pre-Trib Rapture.

3. The Tribulation Is Seven Years

While there are many theories and schools of thought pertaining to Daniel's 70th Week and the Great Tribulation, a plain reading of Daniel 9:24–27 gives us a clear answer: the seven year Tribulation is still to come.  Let's first look at the passage in question:

24 Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place.  25 Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.'  It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.  26 After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing.  The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.  The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.  27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.'  In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering.  And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.

I'll break this down, unpacking some critical points:

1. Messiah is killed after the 69th Week and before the 70th Week.  According to Daniel 9:26 the Messiah is cut off after the first 69 periods of seven, not in the middle of the 70th period of seven (v. 27).  A literal reading of Daniel 9:24–27 presents what I would consider to be an insurmountable problem with theories presented by those who see no gap between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel (and also the theory that Jesus is the 'he' of v. 27) if we take these Scriptures at face value.

2. Jesus is not the 'he' in verse 27.  The Messiah who is cut off "but not for Himself" in verse 26 is clearly Jesus (no Christians that I am aware of would argue otherwise).  However, Jesus is mentioned in the first half of verse 26.  It's later in the verse, that "the prince" whose people destroy the city and the holy [place] shows up, thus per rules of most recent mention, it is far more likely that the antecedent of 'he' in verse 27 is "the prince" in verse 26.  This, among other contextual reasons, is why there is very little scholarship defending the view that Jesus is the 'he' in verse 27.  Even many preterists and historicists differentiate between the Messiah and prince in verse 26.

Furthermore, whoever this "prince" is, his people destroy Jerusalem and the holy [place].  Whether this refers to the people of the Roman nation in general (classic view of a revived Roman empire) or the more recent views presented by Joel Richardson and Walid Shoebat (Syrian and Turkish conscripts), there is no historical or biblical basis whatsoever to say these people are the Jews.  Thus the prince in verse 27 cannot be Jesus.

3. Jesus never made a seven year covenant.  This has always been the elephant in the room when the suggestion is that the 'he' of verse 27 is Jesus.  Suggesting He is the one who made a seven year covenant would be pure assumption and potentially worse.  The New Covenant in His blood is everlasting.

4. Jesus didn't put an end to sacrifices at His death.  Another elephant in the room.  The continual sacrifices continued on for another ~37 years.  Now someone might respond that He put an end to the need for sacrifices (which is true), but there are two major problems with that view: first, verse 27 plainly says this "prince" interrupts/ceases/ends sacrifices, not that he merely ended the pretext for them.  Second, Hebrews 10 tells us quite plainly that the ancient animal sacrifices could never take away sins, even before Christ's atoning sacrifice (hence Jesus, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world).

5. There is already a biblical basis for prophetic gaps in time, especially when it comes to the period of time before the Day of the LORD.  There is nothing unscriptural about a gap, as if somehow the dispensational pause between the 69th and 70th weeks is false on its face.  It's not.  In fact, there are several examples of prophetic gaps including Isaiah 61:2.  This gap actually occurs mid-verse!  And it's a perfect example, because the gap Jesus alluded to in this verse (see Lk. 4:19) overlaps the 2,000-year gap of Daniel 9:26–27.

Focusing back on Daniel 9: the passage itself distinguishes between a first period of 49 years, a second period of 434, and a final period of 7, so that if there were to be a gap, it would naturally fit between the 49 and 434 or between the 434 and the 7.  Daniel 9:26–27 makes clear where the gap is to be placed: between the 69th and 70th weeks of years.

6. Finally, the purpose of the prophecy is explicitly given (v. 24) for Daniel's people (the Jews) and his city (Jerusalem).  At the completion of the 70th Week: 1. the people and city will have finished transgression, 2. ended sin, 3. made reconciliation for iniquity, 4. brought in everlasting/continual righteousness, 5. sealed up vision and prophecy, and 6. anointed the Most Holy.  None of these things have yet happened for the people or the city, thus the 70th Week has not yet transpired.

Bolstering this point and going back to Isaiah 61:2, based on Luke 4:19 we see Jesus Himself bisecting Isaiah 61:2 by... [drum roll]... the current 2,000 year period of time we're living in that precedes the Day of the LORD.

Acts 15:14–18 provides the basis for this gap.  God would first take "out of" the Gentiles a people for Himself... and only after that happens would the prophecy be fulfilled of Israel and Jerusalem's complete redemption and restoration.  The entire chapter of Romans 11 unpacks this: Israel has been temporarily hardened until the full number (or some would say "fullness") of the Gentiles comes in.  After this, all Israel will be saved.

4. The Fig Tree Is Israel

Jesus foretold that the generation witnessing certain end time signs would live to see the fulfillment of them all.  There is no statement in the Olivet Discourse that explicitly ties the fig tree to Israel, but the connection is not tenuous, neither is it a recent invention of dispensationalism.  A number of Scriptures allude to Israel as God's fig tree or the Israelites themselves as figs (e.g., 1 Kgs. 4:25; Jer. 24:5; Hos. 9:10; Jl. 1:6–7; Mt. 21:18-20; Mk. 11:12–14; Lk. 3:7–9; 13:6–9; Jn. 1:47–49).

For a nation has come up against My land, strong, and without number; His teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he has the fangs of a fierce lion.  He has laid waste My vine, And ruined My fig tree; He has stripped it bare and thrown it away; Its branches are made white.
- Joel 1:6–7

I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstfruits on the fig tree in its first season.
- Hosea 9:10

This by no means eliminates the possibility that Jesus also had a more nebulous application in mind, that those witnessing the birth pangs of the Tribulation can count on Jesus' return being near, but it cannot be denied that Scripture connects the fig tree to Israel.  Furthermore, this was well known in the time of Christ as shown by the very early apocryphal writing The Apocalypse of Peter (probably early to mid-2nd century - source):

And I, Peter, answered and said unto him: Interpret unto me concerning the fig-tree, whereby we shall perceive it; for throughout all its days doth the fig-tree send forth shoots, and every year it bringeth forth its fruit for its master.  What then meaneth the parable of the fig-tree?  We know it not.

And the Master (Lord) answered and said unto me: Understandest thou not that the fig-tree is the house of Israel?  Even as a man that planted a fig-tree in his garden, and it brought forth no fruit.  And he sought the fruit thereof many years and when he found it not, he said to the keeper of his garden: Root up this fig-tree that it make not our ground to be unfruitful.  And the gardener said unto God: (Suffer us) to rid it of weeds and dig the ground round about it and water it.  If then it bear not fruit, we will straightway remove its roots out of the garden and plant another in place of it.  Hast thou not understood that the fig-tree is the house of Israel?  Verily I say unto thee, when the twigs thereof have sprouted forth in the last days, then shall feigned Christs come and awake expectation saying: I am the Christ, that am now come into the world.  And when they (Israel) shall perceive the wickedness of their deeds they shall turn away after them and deny him [whom our fathers did praise], even the first Christ whom they crucified and therein sinned a great sin.  But this deceiver is not the Christ.

The reconstitution of the nation of Israel in 1948 was not only a prophetic sign, it was a mega sign.  Perhaps even the biggest prophetic sign the world will witness until the rapture itself—along with the more recent sign of Revelation 12:1–2.  It's not enough to say Israel came back into being after two millennia.  That doesn't do the situation justice.  Israel came back as a nation after nearly 2,700 years.  It was in 722 BC that the nation of Israel ceased to be.  What was left after that was the tiny Kingdom of Judah and even that was subsumed by Babylon a little over a century later.

The fact that there is a nation called Israel back in the Holy Land after 2,700 years, and it came back into being within this current generation's lifetime, is simply astounding.  With Israel firmly planted, each passing day brings us that much closer to the reestablishment of the Davidic dynasty and all the millennial promises that flow from David's heir sitting upon the Throne.

Learn the Parable of the Fig Tree

God and His Fig Tree

The Fig Tree has Budded

5. The Antichrist Will Remain Hidden

Speculation aside, the identity of the man of lawlessness cannot be known with certainty until the one restraining him (the Holy Spirit-indwelt Church) is removed.  This is plain from Scripture:

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but the one now restraining will do so until he is out of the way, and then the lawless one will be revealed.  The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and will bring him to nothing with the brightness of His coming.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:7–8 (HCSB)

Final Thoughts & Further Reading

I hope this article was a blessing to you.  And I pray that you will share it with your friends and family who are searching, and come back to it when you need a refresher in the future.  I imagine I'll be adding more to this as time goes on.

Further Reading:












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  1. Contrary to the popular notion of rapture doubters that the rapture was an invention by John Nelson Darby or anyone else in the 1800s, the clear documentation of history says otherwise. The Rapture was not made up by John Darby or anyone else in the 1800s. When one looks at the true history of where the doctrine of the rapture originated outside of the divinely inspired biblical text itself, one could bet their collapsing dollar that it will be clearly shown that people have bought into a bill of goods when they chose to believe the idea that the rapture was a man made doctrine from the 1800. The rapture was not an invention of the Roman Catholic Church or anyone else in the 1800s. Indisputable evidence confirms that the biblical doctrine traces back to a man named Irenaeus. Irenaeus gets it from John the Apostle himself. This cat Irenaeus (130 A.D. – 202 AD) was a bishop of the church in Lyons, France. He was an eyewitness to the Apostle John (who wrote the Book of Revelation) and a disciple of Polycarp, the first of the Apostle John’s disciples. Irenaeus is most known for his five-volume treatise, “Against Heresies” in which he exposed the false religions and cults of his day along with advice for how to share the Gospel with those who were a part of them. Irenaeus describes the church leaving the sinful world just before unprecedented disasters. Note his use of the term “caught up” which is Rapture terminology as that is the meaning of the word “harpazo,” the term for “caught up” in the King James Bible describing the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4. He then quotes Matthew 24:21 where Jesus Christ says:

    “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 it is during this time that those who convert to Christianity during the final years will receive the incorruptible crown mentioned by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:25. In Irenaeus’ belief, the Rapture took place prior to the end times Great Tribulation. Again, this is Irenaeus, the cat who was an eyewitness to the Apostle John himself – the Apostle who wrote the book of Revelation. Irenaeus is a big, giant, filthy, foul, odorous, vile, abhorrent cataclysmic stink bomb to the rapture doubters, mid-tribulationists (the view that the rapture occurs in the middle of the Tribulation), the post Tribulationists (the view that the rapture occurs at the end of the Tribulation) and the Preterists. This evidence is enough to make any of these groups, though fellow Christians, want to grab their noses in utter terror of the unpleasant stench of the rapture truth. Irenaeus is the probably the one exception that I would make regarding any authoritative historical proof of the rapture outside of the Bible itself. Again, this cat was an eyewitness to John the Apostle himself.

    1. Well said. As a matter of fact, I think he used that exact word: harpazo.

    2. "Irenaeus gets it from John the Apostle himself"
      That's impossible. John died in the year 100 AD, 30 years before Irenaeus was born.

    3. Indeed. My bad. I mean to say that the Irenaeus himself could easily trace his message to the apostle John, whose student Polycarp was Irenaeus’ teacher. So that establishes a very solid historical John connection, and thus, establishes a very credible source for a PRE-TRIBULATION rapture.

    4. I made the same mistake. I get Ignatius and Irenaeus confused. Ignatius was John's disciple. Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp, who was John's disciple.

      Interestingly, Ignatius may have also played a role in Irenaeus' discipleship. Also, Wiki has Irenaeus as born ~130, or 120-140, but other sources I've seen have him pegged at 115 to 125.

  2. I would also add another Holy Spirit inspired phenomenon that we can observe in scripture proving the pre-tribulation rapture that does not often get mentioned. It is called "Chiasm." I have updated a previous article on my site to include this observation. If one has already read it, just scroll down to the new section titled "THE HOLY SPIRIT’S CHIASM – THE FINAL MOUND OF DIRT OVER THE COFFIN OF THE MID AND POST TRIBULATION RAPTURE VIEWS" in the link below. In my opinion, this "chiasm" should be viewed as the final word of the Holy Spirit about exactly when the rapture occurs.


  3. Eight years ago I came to Christ, within a religious Baptist church. I had little to no discipleship and was told to read the Bible like a child, word for word, literal. I became pretrib just by reading. Scripture shows beginning to end the Lord's plan of redemption for the gentiles and Jews. As I continue to study it's plain to me the Lord always provides a way to escape, thank the Lord for covering us.

    1. Amen! Trusting the plain words that God has given us makes all of these things clear.

      Confusion comes when unstable men introduce ambiguity, subjectivity, and allegorism.

    2. AMEN Brent dear brother! To me, when learning about this topic it was already crystal clear from secular jurisdiction even: not 1 judge in this world would sentence a dead man to be hanged again for the same crime. Just stupid!! But that's what happens if some "post-trib" doctrine would want to judge those believers already crucified and pardoned in Christ together with the unbelieving world once again... Galatians 2:19-20 Makes no sense to beat up a dead body, right? LOL! Much blessings to you! :-)

  4. I have also noted the animosity exhibited by those trying to disprove the pre-trib rapture. As you say it is a big red flag--especially for those taught to behave properly toward their precious family:

    And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Eph 4:32

  5. I look forward to the day when that glass we see through darkly breaks and we can see all the truth. There will be no more arguments then. Questions will remain perhaps, but we will be able to ask the One who knows all answers then, rather than argue with each other...

    Oh blessed day, come soon... Maranatha!

    1. Yes, I'm longing for that day, too. Very soon. Maranatha!

  6. It's important to have the right definition for certain biblical terms.

    The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ = the return of Christ after the tribulation

    Our gathering together to him = the rapture of the church

    The day of the Lord = a time of judgment, the tribulation

    The day of Christ = most likely synonymous with the day of the Lord, but possibly referring to the return of Christ to Earth after the tribulation.

    The great Falling Away/Apostasy = a departure from Sound Doctrine.

    He who now restrains/the restrainer = the Holy Spirit indwelt Body of Christ, that which is holding back the darkness, the light of the world.

    Taken out of the way = the Rapture of the church, harpazo

    The Antichrist = the man of sin, the son of perdition, the man of lawlessness, the first Beast from Revelation 13

    Woe to you who desire THE DAY OF THE LORD ! For what good is  THE DAY OF THE LORD to you? It will  be darkness, and not light. It will  be  as though a man fled from a lion, And a bear met him! Or as  though he went into the house, Leaned his hand on the wall, And a serpent bit him! Is not THE DAY OF THE LORD darkness, and not light? Is  it  not very dark, with no brightness in it?

    Amos 5:18‭-‬20 NKJV

    This passage clearly defines what the day of the Lord is. The day of the Lord is defined as a time of judgment. The seven years of tribulation will be a time of judgment for the world. It will be a very very dark time in history.

    “You are THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.

    Matthew 5:14 NKJV

    As believers, if we are the light of the world, we cannot be inside a time in history such as the tribulation, where there is no light. It's the light that holds back the darkness.

    But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.

    I Thessalonians 5:4‭-‬5 NKJV

    I interpret the following Passage as stating that we, the body of Christ, will have no part in that day. The day of the Lord is the seven years of tribulation and if that time is Darkness with no light in it, how can we be there, if we are the light of the world? The answer is, we cannot. The body of Christ will be removed from this Earth before that dark time begins.

    Now let's decipher 2nd Thessalonians 2.

    Now, brethren, concerning THE COMING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST and OUR GATHERING TOGETHER TO HIM, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though THE DAY OF CHRIST had come. 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,

    II Thessalonians 2:1‭-‬3 NKJV

    With what we know of Amos 5, and how it defines the day of the Lord, (the day of Christ) we know that this passage is not talking about the day of the rapture.

    This passage clearly states that the Antichrist must be revealed before the tribulation gets underway. It is not talking about the Antichrist being revealed before the rapture, because that would conflict with 2nd Thessalonians 2:7-8.

    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. And then the LAWLESS ONE will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.

    II Thessalonians 2:7‭-‬8 NKJV

    From this passage, we need to Define who the restrainer is. There are three different possibilities. I've heard it said that Michael, the Archangel,  is the restrainer, I don't believe that.  

    1. Some people insist that the restrainer is the Holy Spirit alone, but I disagree. If the restrainer, being the Holy Spirit were to be taken out of the way, assuming that the Holy Spirit could be taken anywhere, that would mean that we would be left alone, and Jesus said very clearly that he would never leave us nor forsake us.

      With that said, the restrainer cannot be the Holy Spirit alone. I believe the restrainer is the Holy Spirit indwelt Body of Christ. We are the hands and feet of Christ. The Holy Spirit Works through us as his ambassadors to the world. The Holy Spirit indwelt body of Christ is the force that is holding back the darkness.

      The above Passage says that the restrainer is taken out of the way. That is a very good description of harpazo, (the rapture). We know that the holy spirit is omnipresent. I believe that the Holy Spirit remains on the Earth during the tribulation to guide those who come to Faith in Jesus Christ, the tribulation Saints.

      Before Jesus ascended back into heaven, he told his followers that he must Return To Heaven, otherwise the Comforter will not come. Once we the body of Christ (The Restrainer) are taken out of the way, we will have no more need for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit because we will be with Jesus himself. 

      Now, since I have made a good argument about who the restrainer is, let's take a look at the passage once again. It says once the restrainer is taken out of the way, then the Lawless one (the Antichrist) will be revealed.

      We can see that verses 7 & 8 clearly states that the Antichrist can only be revealed after the body of Christ (THE RESTRAINER) is raptured. Verses 2 & 3 clearly state that the Antichrist must be revealed before THE DAY OF CHRIST starts.

      After the Rapture happens, there must be time for the Antichrist to be revealed, and to rise to power, to a position where he has the authority to confirm the Covenant with many.

      According to Daniel 9:27, the Antichrist is the one who confirms the Covenant with many for 7 years. This seven-year Covenant is the day of the Lord (the Great Tribulation).

    2. We ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though THE DAY OF CHRIST had come. 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,

      II Thessalonians 2:1‭-‬3 NKJV

      We ask you not to be troubled as though the day of the Lord HAD come.....

      i.e. the day of the Lord HAD come already even without our knowledge secretly...

      So this day of the Lord means the Rapture.

      2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 says that Rapture will not come unless the man of sin is revealed.
      2 Thessalonians 2: 7- 8 says that only after the Rapture, the lawless one will be revealed.

      So the man of sin is the AC ( first beast of Revelation 13)
      The lawless one is the false prophet ( second beast of Revelation 13 who does miracles)

      In both 2 Thessalonians 2: 7-8 and Revelation 13 the 2nd beast performs miracles.

      So the AC will be revealed before rapture and the false prophet will come after the rapture.

    3. Good definitions @Isaiah!

  7. Gary - you sir are a gifted writer and scholar. Grateful for the many important resources and reminders you provide to grow the kingdom.

    Love you

  8. Dear Gary, thank you very much for your needed reminder as the body of Christ is very weary and the conditions on this earth are truly distressing at a maximum either way...

    You could have also added the change of gospel message though, perhaps this is one of the very prominent yet widely unnoticed features of the end of church age (by the rapture of believers, obviously) BEFORE the great tribulation. Check out #Robert Breaker on the "Tribulation Gospel" a video teaching from around 2017 he explains the stark contrast between Galatians 1:8-9 the curse of Paul towards angels bringing 'another gospel' and then exactly this will happen in Revelation 14:6-12 yet angels will preach otherwise than during church age but not be cursed.

    MARANATHA! We might have only days left now! Abba up!!

    1. Ummm i wouldnt put all my eggs in one basket. I pray God gives you discernment on that and when the day comes and goes we will all be here and another projected date will be thrown with an elaborate explanation as to why we’re still here with the failed date. God bless.

    2. Thank you sister! Maranatha!

  9. It was nice reading until : God the son and the Trinity lie. I'm so fed up to read about that lie from the devil! Many will see God and Jesus that are two different beings.

    1. I'm sorry you feel that way zztopless. Genesis 1:1 proclaims that Elohim is God. Elohim is the masculine plural Hebrew form of the word God. The mechanical translation of Elohim from ancient Hebrew renders it as "the powers".

      4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!"

      (Deuteronomy 6:4 NKJV)

      Simply put, the LORD is Christ Jesus who is in the Father and the Father in He. The LORD is one. There are mountains of resources to explore this but you will have to rely on the Holy Spirit to teach you these things. That takes a contrite and humble heart; the same heart that Jesus bears...for these are the ones for whom He comes.

      (Isaiah 57:15-21)

      Praying that is it well with your soul,

      Pastor Rich

    2. The tri-unity of God is about as solid of a doctrine as they come. Here's a little video I did from way back in the day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Zrzs1QEzY

    3. It is true that Christ is in Father, and indeed is Father, and Father is in Christ. Not even the angels can distinguish.

      This does not mean they are the same, else no point for John 14:28, '... for my Father is greater than I'. One greater than another cannot be exactly the same.

      Also, the promise from the Lord in Rev. 3:10 is specific to the Church of Philadelphia. This promise is made broadly elsewhere in Scripture, to members of His general Church. Rev. 3:10's specific promise, and specific rewards involved, apply only to the members/guide of that church. Christ did not mention harpazo in any of the other 'final' letters.

      Lastly, the Philadelphian Church is quite extant at this hour thank you, it hasn't gone anywhere and won't until the shout. I expect it's the smallest church of the seven, but feisty.


    Revelation 12 itself concludes with what I believe is a gap shared here from the Greek, rendered here in ALL CAPS as Greek Scripture is often rendered ALL CAPS,


    Clearly we see the dragon (Satan) and the woman (Israel) are present at a time that the seed of the woman (Christ followers) are living on earth. Who are these Christ followers?

    We already know that,


    Taken is the child (the seed of the woman, her child, the body of Christ the Church) then the pause. After the pause the woman (Israel) flees to the wilderness into the mountains, a place far removed from the dragon and his seed. We know she is to flee by Christ's own words given in Matthew 24,



    What is it that happens between the birth and taking away of her child and her flight into a mountainous wilderness? The new church is born out of the ashes of the resurrection/rapture. Note the qualifier here, these are the ones who are the, "REST OF THE SEED OF HER", the ones "ONES KEEPING THE COMMANDS OF GOD AND HAVING THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS."


      The war in heaven results in the dragon being thrown down to the earth with his kind in tow. Most interesting is the placement of the war in heaven narrative in Revelation 12. What do we see? The heavenly war narrative divides taking of the man-child to God and the war against those who keep the commands of God being in Christ.


      John is clear as day on who the dragon is. Satan. Satan and all of his angels are expelled from heaven as part of a heavenly exchange. This is the testimony of Christ Jesus and John being two witnesses.



      The salvation that has come is Jesus; His name, Yeshua, Yehoshua, Joshua is literally the same meaning "the LORD is salvation".

      Who is, "THE POWER" and "THE KINGDOM OF THE GOD OF US"? The "son, a male, who is about to shepherd all the nations with a rod of iron". The child, the Church, the Body of Christ, that was snatched up to "GOD AND THE THRONE OF HIM." (Revelation 12:5)


      Two witnesses have been taken away...the indwelt Spirit filled body of Christ, His Church. Two witnesses are to come. (Revelation 11:3-13) Is it their testimony we hear saying,


      Are not the two witnesses to come our brothers? For if they are our brothers then they carry the message of Christ and speak the Word of G-D. Thus the "loud voice in heaven".

      In the time to come between the taking of the man-child and the war against the woman we see a new body of believers rise,


      Note the qualifier here, "THE REST OF THE SEED OF HER". Who are, "THE ONES KEEPING THE COMMANDS OF GOD"? Who are those, "HAVING THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS"? The church yet to come. Who are the seed that remains after the child has been taken? We call them Tribulation Saints.

      These seeds of the woman are clearly Christ followers, but those who will, who have, who will always over come by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony; they are those we often call the Tribulation Saints. I humbly submit and believe that it is they that the dragon turns to make war not us, the living body of Christ on earth today.

      (Isaiah 26:17-21 NKJV)

      Please forgive my hasty completion of this post. Duty calls! Shared from my study notes for your prayerful consideration.



    3. So potentially... all these doubting Thomases who will believe when they finally see undeniable proof. Then we should definitely leave them as well prepared as we can, and leave the rest to God. If only it could be everyone...

    4. Yes, we should be the embodiment of Love as given us in Paul's first letter to the Church in Corinth.

      Yes, if only it could be everyone...

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. This morning's church sermon along with Anita Fuentes of EMOAF working together along with Central Baptist Church working well with Lyn Leahz of Freedom Nation News in the which that the four are in one central concept: Based on what is going on in our news reports overseas and here in the US. Jeffrey Epstein in New York and Gary Ray Bowles down in Florida spiritually going before the GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT to answer for their deeds while alive on earth. This will be a court case far greater than any court on planet earth. It is good to get saved and the Bema Seat will be just a family style chastening so to speak, to put it rather ostensibly.


    Christian persecution 'at near genocide levels'

    Quoting, BBC,

    "The persecution of Christians in parts of the world is at near 'genocide' levels, according to a report ordered by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

    The review, led by the Bishop of Truro the Right Reverend Philip Mounstephen, estimated that one in three people suffer from religious persecution.

    Christians were the most persecuted religious group, it found."

    "The interim report said the main impact of 'genocidal acts against Christians is exodus' and that Christianity faced being 'wiped out' from parts of the Middle East."

    1. I saw this article ); Heartbroken for our brothers and sisters around the world. Time's almost up.

  12. Hi Gary. Thanks for another great article. Suggest you add some verbiage to clarify that the blood line of Jesus went through Nathan since Jeconiah's line was cursed. See the article found at https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/blood-curse-jeconiah/

    1. Hi Marc,

      We kinda touched on this recently. You're right about the blood-line curse; it was broken through the marriage of Mary to Joseph. Lining out the lineages of Matthew and Luke in Calc or Excel paint an interesting picture of Christ's earthly ancestry!

      God wins!

  13. Wow. That was awesome Gary.
    Yes God left plenty of little bread crumbs and pointers pointing to a pre-trib rapture. I liked where you mention about Lot, he wouldn't destroy Sodom & Gomorrah if there were 10 righteous to be found in the city. i.e. That he Spares and removes the righteous before sending his judgements.

    And also, that righteous Noah was safely in the Ark 7 days before the flood came similarly, the righteous church will be safely in heaven 7 years before the end of all things come.

    Great work. That must have taken many a late night to complete. Thanks brother.

    1. Yes, sir. These patterns are consistent. They are consistent because God's character is consistent (:

  14. I can't get enough of your articles, Gary. For the last year, I have visited this site nearly every day hoping to share in the wisdom provided both in the articles and in the comments. It's one of the few places I can spend time with like-minded believers. God Bless all of you. I look forward to meeting soon as we worship our Savior at the foot of His throne—in Heaven!

    Another pre-trib example to consider; Enoch was raptured pre-flood. :-)


    1. Thank you, brother. Yes, I hadn't even thought of Enoch. He's a big one.

  15. 1 thessalonians 5:9 proves pretrib rapture or the bible is not true. The tribulation is all about God 's wrath. Also, what is the bible talking about in Matthew 24:40 if the rapture is not true or made up? Where would these people be taken to?? I watched poor Pat Robertson on 700 club deceive many the other day when he said sadly. " The rapture and the second coming are the same event." He gave no scripture to support this statement. So many people look to this man and I was just sad...taking the bible at face value and asking the spirit to reveal what it means gives all the answers needed and it truly does lead to a pretrib rapture.

    1. Sounds like you're saying pre-trib is correct, but you said:

      "1 thessalonians 5:9 proves pretrib rapture or the bible is not true."?

    2. Hi gary.
      I mean, since 1 Thessalonians 5:9 says that God has not appointed us to suffer wrath...if we were to have to suffer the tribulation (God's wrath) then that verse would be untrue right? That means he would have to remove us before it dont you think? I feel like he's telling us right in that one verse...don't worry I'll take you away first.

    3. Ah, that makes sense what you're saying. And I completely agree. Escape from the wrath that's coming upon the world is a promise.

  16. In 2 Thess. 2:1 it mentions our gathering. That word is Strongs 1997 which means a complete collection or assembling. In 2:7 the word for taken is Strongs 1096 which can be translated as to be assembled, be married, and to arise.

    1. Anita Fuentes of EMOAF-anita@emoaf.org or P.O. Box 218 Schertz, Texas 78154 and Lyn Leahz of FNN-LynLeahz@FreedomNationNews.Com or P.O. Box 727 Springboro, Ohio 45066 to get their perspectives on Gary Ray Bowles down on Florida and Jeffrey Epstein in New York and how they will be going before the GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT to spiritually answer to God for the way they lived on earth. Hebrews 9:27 says that "It is appointed once to die and then the Judgment" as this sermon is being preached today around the world which is good news gospel. Ted Bundy was smart enough to want to talk to a Christian Pastor about getting right with God and he is one of the few that made it through the miry clay. Reverend James Dobson helped Ted Bundy get right with God so that he will make it to Heaven. There are only a small amount of convicted felons that will make it to Holiness, according to a news report in Christianity Today magazine. This is a rather sobering message to the public!

  17. Dear Gary,

    I have read your articles, since about a year, and I am edified and encouraged by your Bible knowledge and understanding of the times we live in.

    Since I have been saved by faith in Christ Jesus, I made my own learning curve. First I believed in the pre-tribulation rapture because that's what my first church taught (before I was saved). But after I got saved and started reading the Word diligently, I changed opinion and thought that the rapture should be after the tribulation because of scripture passages like Matt.24:15-28 and Rev 20:4-6. Then after becoming a mature Christian I understood the pre-trib rapture since there is so much more evidence in many scripture passages besides. The last 15 years I have been teaching and preaching the rapture and coming of Christ in churches and I always feel the Holy Spirit confirming in my heart that I should teach this doctrine and the soon coming of the Lord. I use similar Bible quotation as you do in your articles but often have to keep it simple without going into many details when I preach in churches.

    There still remains one mystery to me and no-one has been able to explain this so far! In Revelations 20:4-6 the resurrection after the tribulation for those who have been beheaded for their testimony to Christ is called the FIRST resurrection (Rev.20:5). Why is that one called the FIRST resurrection while there is certainly a earlier super great resurrection at the rapture of the church before the tribulation? This Rev.20:4-6 still unsettles my faith a little in the pre-trib doctrine. I know there are a whole series of resurrections in the Bible but why should the one after the tribulation be called the FIRST resurrection???

    Also note that the apostle Paul was trained as a Pharisee and they taught the resurrection. Paul himself had great hope in the resurrection and always wrote about it but he must referring to the "FIRST" resurrection together with the rapture of the church of 1 Thess.4:16-17. I am convinced that the apostle Paul (and all who sleep in Christ) have no part in the FIRST resurrection mentioned in Rev.20:5. There is a gap of 7 years between these two resurrections which both seem to fit the name FIRST resurrection? So dear Gary, can you explain the name "FIRST Resurrection".

    1. That's a good question. This is how I understand it:

      There are two *types" of resurrections. The first resurrection is to life. The second resurrection is to death. Revelation 20 calls this second resurrection "the second death".

      However, the Bible is crystal clear there are many more than two resurrections (I mentioned this a bit above in my article).

      If the point of Rev. 20:4-6 is to say the very first resurrection in *sequence* is the one in that chapter, then:

      1. Jesus had not yet been raised from the tomb.

      2. The Shunnamite's son had not yet been raised.

      3. Jairus' daughter had not yet been raised (Luke 8).

      4. Lazarus had not yet been raised.

      5. Certain OT saints mentioned in Matthew 27 had not yet been raised.

      6. Tabitha had not yet been raised (Acts 9).

      7. Eutychus had not yet been raised (Acts 20).

      God has been raising people from the dead since at least the time of Elisha. So Revelation 20 isn't evidence against the promise of a pre-trib rapture, unless those seven other resurrections listed above are still waiting to happen.

      Blessings to you!

    2. Wow Gary, that Is a brilliant explanation. I had that same question as Abel, a few months back and was never too clear how I would refute if someone brought up about the resurection in rev 20 which indicates a post trib rapture. But your explanation makes a lot of sense.

      The 1st resurrection = the resurrection to life.

      The 2nd Resurrection = the resurrection to death.

      i.e. "don't be a grape" (the person who will be in the 2nd resurrection)

      Thank you brother.

    3. Abel,

      Indeed, a good question. One that I couldn't help but chime in as well. I don't know which Bible translation you are using, but if to look Revelation 20 in the Greek,




      Verse four defines who takes part in the FIRST resurrection. (The resurrection/rapture). All those who have fallen asleep in Christ and were alive at our blessed hope are seen in heaven. These are the judges sitting upon the thrones. The saints slain for their testimony during the tribulation are in heaven as well -- all those killed prior to, and up to, Christ's second coming.

      Verse five addresses the rest of the dead (those not in Christ) and completes the picture of the FIRST resurrection. They do not come to life until the end of the Millennial Kingdom. A *qualifier*, "THE REST OF THE DEAD DID NOT COME TO LIFE UNTIL SHOULD BE COMPLETED THE THOUSAND YEARS" completes the picture of those who are to rise to life in the FIRST resurrection and those who do not.

      In verse six, God declares blessed and holy, meaning set apart, are the ones raised to life in the FIRST resurrection. They (we) will be priests of God and Christ and reign with Him in the Millennial Kingdom.

      In effect, when we fall asleep in the LORD we instantly awaken to Him in heaven. Either that or we will be taken awake. It is in the presence of the LORD as the glorified saints that we will wait as recorded by Paul through the Holy Spirit,

      15 For this we declare to you
      by a word from the Lord, that
      we who are alive, who are left
      until the coming of the Lord,
      will not precede those who
      have fallen asleep.

      16 For the Lord himself will
      descend from heaven with a cry
      of command, with the voice of
      an archangel, and with the
      sound of the trumpet of God.
      And the dead in Christ will
      rise first.

      17 Then we who are alive, who
      are left, will be caught up
      together with them in the clouds
      to meet the Lord in the air,
      and so we will always be with
      the Lord.

      18 Therefore encourage one
      another with these words.

      (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 ESV)

      This is the FIRST resurrection according to Revelation 20. Those who abide in Christ don't die. For us there is no second death, only eternal life. All others? That's why I became a pastor.

      I hope this helps.

      Grace and peace to you,


  18. As much as I want to believe we will be caught away before we see any kind of "tribulation" that Jesus said we all would go through, I just can't for many reasons. Here's my question to everyone who believes they will not suffer any kind of tribulation during the 70th week of Daniel or in birth pangs leading up to it....Are you prepared mentally, and spiritually not to be deceived and perhaps have to go through really bad times as Christians are right now? Are you? What if you are wrong about a pre-trib rapture? Just what if, there is no pre trib or mid trib rapture. I know we all want it to be true...But what if the scriptures Jesus said relative to the resurrection being "The LAST DAY" is really, the last day and there is only one resurrection. Just what if......Are you prepared to be a martyr. Are you prepared to die for your faith as people around the world are today in their own tribulation? Just sayin'.........think about it. Prepare for worst, hope for the best, so no one is deceived or gives up faith if they find themselves in tribulation whether it be "The tribulation" or just before resurrection. God Bless! Read Jesus' words only and don't read into it. Pray for truth.

    1. Hi Susan,

      Thank you for chiming in and sharing! You ask an honest question and I want to give you an honest answer. First,

      Q: Do I believe that I will not suffer any kind of tribulation during the 70th week of Daniel or in birth pangs leading up to it?

      A: I believe we will suffer, and are suffering, in varying degrees in the time leading up to Daniel's 70th week. I do not believe the Church will be here to see the AC in the third temple.

      Q: Are you prepared mentally, and spiritually not to be deceived and perhaps go through really bad times as Christians are right now?

      A: This life, this place, this story, is not about me...it's about God. It's all about Jesus. We, my family, have been going through harder and harder times but we will not yield. Our eyes are fixed on Christ. There is nothing I want more than to be with my Lord.

      Q: What if you are wrong about a pre-trib rapture?

      A: Then I am wrong. (It sure wouldn't be the first time). God is always right and that is all that matters and what I really care about.

      Q: Just what if, there is no pre trib or mid trib?

      A: My days are already allotted and accounted for. Written in the book. Our door has already been painted red and I wholly believe that in Christ my family has passed from death to life. I wholly believe His promises. You might as well ask me "What if there is no God?" I have already chosen life. That means I want what God in Christ offers; not what this world does. The perishable is perishing. The eternal endures.

      You said, "Prepare for the worst, hope for the best"...why should I make it all about me? Why make it all about us? Really?!! Surely we have seen what sin and death is doing to the garden that our Father created? I marvel at the thought of how Christ will touch this place and transform it from a withering and wasting planet to the garden it will once again be! I am not the author nor star of this show. Jesus is. My saying "Yes!" to Him was an opening of the eyes and freedom through Christ Jesus our Lord. There is nothing greater!

      I was once a lost and drowning man saved at sea. I was a death row inmate pardoned at the eleventh hour.

      Trust me, I have thought about it and I am willing to say that I may be mistaken. I am just an obscure pastor who has been called to a very special and unique ministry. God's truth is the only thing I have been seeking in this walk and the only thing that I will accept. That which kills the flesh will not kill my spirit. My life is bound-up in Christ and proven daily by His steadfast love.

      My life is dedicated to encouraging the saints and praying for the lost. Daily. That includes all of you. Yes, you! I don't care if you're right and I don't care if you're wrong about this trib, that trib or no trib. I care that YOU were created in the image of the living God and that He loves you with an unquenchable love that will NEVER DIE!

      He has never forsaken us and never will. He went to the cross for you and for me. He suffered what we were never meant to see. In Him it is finished.

      My life ended in a watery grave one Pentecost many years ago. A different man rose from that grave and bears the image of the One who is his Maker. I'll bet the same can be said of you.

      I certainly hope so! : )

      I am a church planter and one-year into replanting a local church. I am also hoping to plant more in the future. Lord willing. If He tarries I will be hard at work. If He comes this day?

      I am so ready to go home.

      Blessings to you,

      Pastor Rich
      (Psalm 16)

    2. Hi Susan,

      Pastor Rich has replied well but I'll add one thing as you have raised valid questions that come up often. These types of questions always remind me of a Corrie Ten Boom story:

      As a young girl, Corrie Ten Boom went to her father and said, ‘“Daddy, I am afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ.” “Tell me,” said her father, “when you take a train trip to Amsterdam, when do I give you the money for the ticket? Three weeks before?” “No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train.” “That is right,” her father said, “and so it is with God’s strength. Our Father in heaven knows when you will need the strength. He will supply all you need just in time.”’

      I'm a firm believer in a Pre-Trib rapture. But what if I am wrong? If I am wrong I will again do what I have had to do on countless times in the past as trying and difficult times have hit... I will cry out to the One who is my strength, admitting that I do not have what it takes but that He, and He alone, is able. If I am wrong about a Pre-trib rapture I am wrong, but I can't prepare or find the strength for the horrors of the tribulation (which will be worse than ANY time since the creation of the world! Matt 24:21) now anymore than a young Corrie Ten Boom could. Her wise Father gave good advice. God gives the strength for tomorrow when tomorrow comes. Not today. Psalm 46:1, Matt 6:34. The best we can do is walk closely with the Lord today, relying on Him and belief in an imminent, Pre-trib, any-moment coming of the Lord, certainly plays its part in that!

      God Bless. Maranatha!

    3. Pastor Rich and Elgordo....Thank you so much for your Christ like reply to my questions/comments relative to us as believers possibly having to endure the persecution of Daniel's 70th week. I hear your heart and it is where mine is as well. My question should have been directed to those who say so often that they want to escape this world and its tribulations and Jesus himself said that we will have tribulation and most of us if not all of us, have experienced that to test us, make us stronger in our faith not in ourselves, but in God.
      My comment is to those who think they can just sit back and wait to be delivered and that is not what scripture says. My concern is for those who believe they will escape that when they are disappointed and see that they are in Daniel's 70th week and times of testing and needing to have faith in God to see them through (not escape), they will not have that kind of faith, and many will be confused and fall away.
      There seems to be so much judgment relative to those who will be in the Great tribulation, that perhaps they weren't "worthy" to be raptured and so, they were left behind. Those believers are going to be some of the strongest people of faith of all times!
      That saddens me so much (those who judge ones that may be "left behind" and I do believe that people today, are being prepared, tested, so as to learn patience, endurance, perseverance to grow in one's faith that GOD is all we need, no matter what circumstances we are going through, perhaps to help those in the tribulation.
      My reason for comments is to help to see that our preparation is to do all one can to help others be built up in their faith as to who God is and to be able to trust Him in everything, even to being an overcomer and having to die for ones faith in terrible circumstances, not to wait for escape. Many Christians through the years have had to endure such persecution as Jesus said we would. Look at the early believers, they didn't escape in a rapture. Look at the ones burned at the stake and thrown into dungeons during the reformation; they didn't escape in a rapture. Look at all the saints today all over the world having to be overcomes and endure persecution, tribulation...they have not been raptured out.
      So much focus seems to be on "escaping", instead of winning souls and helping to build up the believer to endure, believe God and trust, no matter when we go to be with the Lord.
      My belief in when rapture occurs does not constitute my salvation, but my faith in Jesus and what He did to reconcile me to The Father. Now it is He who lives in me and I die....Let us continue to die to self and give up this pre-trib, mid-trib, post trib and live daily, by dieing to self and sharing Jesus' return, no matter when that is. God Bless and yes, Maranatha...Till then, we strenghthen one another in our faith that God is our provider, no matter what may come!

    4. p.s....our ticket to escape the wrath of God is not the rapture....it is Jesus. Our faith in Him alone and what he did to pay for me to escape that wrath is the focus of spreading the truth of this gospel of the kingdom. I believe our task as believers is to focus on winning souls and helping people to escape the wrath of God that will come in judgement whether today, during Daniel's 70th week, or at the last day! My desire is to off the topic of when rapture is (why do we even spend any time at all on it unless it is focusing on ourselves) instead of our true focus is to save souls from the wrath of God through faith in the gift of His son to reconcile us to The Father and we pass from death into life through the blood of Jesus.
      That is the gospel of The Kingdom, not side tracked as to when we will escape the world....God, please, please, please help us to put the focus back on Jesus and helping souls to escape the judgement, not when rapture is.....No one, and that means no one, knows that day, but we are to live everyday as if we meet the Lord today and help snatch others from the snares of this world. That's the true rapture.
      Be blessed and may we truly be about our Father's business and preach the gospel of The Kingdom through salvation in Jesus, not salvation in a rapture...Faith in rapture does not save us....Faith in Jesus does. Let's put our focus back on Him and preach Christ crucified and take up our cross and follow Him as we watch and pray and do all we can to help multitudes in the valley of decision.

    5. Good thoughts. That said, we can't "give up this pre-trib [talk]". We are exhorted to encourage one another with these words (1 Thess. 4:18). We live in light of the fact that Jesus is about to take us home. By living in light of the hope of the rapture, we are encouraged to diligently share the gospel and live in a manner worthy of our calling.

      Also, I'm not aware of anyone here whose faith is in the rapture. The rapture is just an event. Our faith is in Christ. Christ is the ticket. The rapture is the ride.

      Many Christians are troubled by the study of prophecy, but as I pointed out here, it can't be disconnected from Christ and the gospel. Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. We can't close our eyes to 1/3rd or more of the Bible.

      Yes, Jesus is the only way.

      Yes, sharing the gospel matters more than anything else in our faith.

      But that doesn't mean we neglect other things:

      -Living holy lives
      -Teaching on Christian living (parenting, marriage, etc)
      -Vocational ministry

    6. I often look to Paul's first letter to Timothy,

      5 The aim of our charge is love
      that issues from a pure heart
      and a good conscience and a
      sincere faith.

      (1 Timothy 1:5 ESV)

      To that end I am called as a pastor, a servant-leader, a teacher and a watchman. In that I remember exhortation of the Spirit through Hebrews,

      23 Let us hold fast the confession
      of our hope without wavering, for
      he who promised is faithful.

      24 And let us consider how to stir
      up one another to love and good works,

      25 not neglecting to meet together,
      as is the habit of some, but
      encouraging one another, and all
      the more as you see the Day
      drawing near.

      (Hebrews 10:23-25 ESV)

      We were made for community. We were made to gather often, regularly, and support one another.

      Evangelism is something many people are afraid to do. Sharing our story (testimony) should be a natural function of who we are. Loving others by sharing the blessings and love given us through Christ is what we should all be about in our day-to-day. The church is dreadful at teaching how to pray let alone how to share Christ. Listening for/to the Holy Spirit is another area we need work in.

      The opportunities to learn abound. We don't call it a "walk" for nothing! In all things may love abide and abound for it is the greatest. (1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV)

      I do not believe we are made to be the same. We are to be known by how we love one another and our unity in Christ. But each of us are gifted and given to be a member of a different part of the body of Christ being His Church. I was made a teacher and a watchman. YMMV.

      Yes, we should be pointing people to the LORD. As Watchmen I think that is what we do and must continue to do. Watch, encourage and wait...all the while prayerfully digging into the Word and listening for what the Spirit has to say.

      To put (1 Timothy 1:5) another way,

      5 The aim of our charge is [GOD]
      love that issues from a pure heart
      and a good conscience and a
      sincere faith.

      Like I say,

      "Love like there's no tomorrow!"



  19. Dear Gary and pastor Rich and the others….

    My location is West Africa and there is a time difference with you. When you were writing I was sleeping and when I checked in this morning I hoped to find one answer but was surprised to see a whole list of replies!

    Thank you for clarifying my question (mystery). I appreciate this a lot especially this part: ”There are two *types" of resurrections. The first resurrection is to life. The second resurrection is to death. Revelation 20 calls this second resurrection "the second death".

    Let me add something here to confirm the point of pre-trib rapture. We should always use the Bible as the final authority on any doctrine but do not neglect the prophetic angle. God speaks both, through His Word and through His prophets however the logos (written) Word has the highest authority and prophetic revelations may only confirm and clarify what is written and bring to light certain scripture passages that were not noticed or understood (I learned that from Rick Joyner). Having said that I do not understand why Rick Joyner does not teach on the rapture or the coming of Jesus Christ as if it is not coming imminently in our generation? But Rick Joyner seems the believe that first a multitude of souls will be saved through a massive worldwide awakening or revival (something I do not believe in). However Choo Thomas (heaven is so real) did speak about the rapture continually as she was warning us to be ready now. She always wrote about the imminent coming of the Lord Jesus as if it would be right now and that got me on-fire for the Lord (she went home to the Lord in 2013). In this context I can only point to the many prophetic dreams and visions people have had concerning the rapture. That it will shock the world but not the true saints (just as written in Luk.21:35-36). It is gonna be a sudden surprise for the world and great calamity will come after the rapture (as the devil is also cast down on the earth).

    Less than two week ago we saw this wonderful testimony of a humble pastor from Florida who had a dream concerning the rapture and, as he discovered later, at least two others had exactly the same dream revelation. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaxKrCD2YqQ . Also my wife had a similar dream revelation before she even believed there would be a sudden rapture of the church.

    I am doing missionary work as a foreigner and God always uses dreams to correct me or rebuke me if we go astray or to send me to someone with a message. We really appreciate God speaking to us that way and it has saved us from a lot of trouble. There is a lot of spiritual warfare in Africa and physical dangers but Jesus has delivered us time and again! All glory to God.

    Also one of our staff workers (in our ministry) had a similar dream concerning the rapture. That the rapture took away only a few of her church members but the church leaders and most of the congregation was left behind because their heart was not right with God. So it is definitely going to be a unexpected moment when the world is just celebrating and living life as usual. That means not during or after the tribulation but just like it is written in Matt 24:36-44. It is our responsibility to preach the gospel and also to prepare the church by warning them to live a holy and pure life of true repentance so that they won’t be left behind when Jesus comes for his pure Bride to take her home.

    God bless you all.


    1. That's really good, brother! I'm always excited to hear from fellow believers around the world to get a glimpse into what God is doing.

      I would just graciously encourage you in that ministry work that Jesus is the prize. Remember that it isn't the condition of our heart that saves us. Our hearts are imperfect and will always be imperfect until we are glorified in Heaven at the rapture.

      What makes us right with God is not our heart, but what Jesus did on the Cross. His sacrifice was a literal substitutionary atonement. In other words, everything wrong we did fell on Him, and through faith in Him, God forgives all of our sin (past, present, and future). So many Christians will be left behind, but they will be left behind not because they aren't good enough, but because their faith was fake. They didn't truly, deep down, believe in Christ and the gospel.

      Blessings to you dear friend.

      Here's an article on the topic: The Law

  20. Anyone else notice that the verse that defines a generation (in that Psalms) says "and if by strength, 80 years" and the letter to the church of Philadelphia says that they have "little strength"? Not "no strength", but a little. Would that seem to say that the church that gets raptured goes past 70 years from the budding fig tree by a few years? Just a thought.

  21. Dear Gary. Thank you for your encouragement and small correction. Too easily we fall back to trying to be perfect rather than faith and faith alone in Christ's atonement for our sins. Thank you for putting that straight.

    Dear Sherril. Personally I don't see a connection between the 80 years by strength of Ps.90:10 and the little strength mentioned in Rev.3:8. I think people get a bit to excited about counting the length of a generation in the context of the restoration of Israel and the rapture of the church. There are so many explanations about the length of a generation that it cannot determine the year of His coming. Anytime people do so it becomes a disappointment. That's just my opinion and perhaps others have a better understanding of this matter.

  22. Thanks for all the work that you have put into this lengthy study. I also believe in the pre-trib rapture of the church. Eschatology tends to fall apart, apart from a pre-trib rapture of the church. To paraphrase John MacArthur and others.. "If you fail to make the distinction between the church and the Jewish people, your theology and in particular your eschatology will be in error."
    Concerning Matthew 24:31, I struggled with this passage as well thinking that it was a pretty solid argument for a post-trib rapture. That was, until I studied the matter more deeply and discovered the true context of what Jesus was saying.
    In your diagram you mentioned the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai. The law was given and there was a formal covenant ratification ceremony to affirm the Jewish nation's acceptance of the covenant. Deuteronomy, starting in chapter 27 speaks to this. The following chapters outline the blessings and the curses that will follow depending upon the peoples' obedience or lack thereof to the law. The law outlines that God will have the Jewish people taken captive and carried into foreign lands where they will worship gods of wood and stone that their fathers did not know. (Deuteronomy 28:64) Of course this prophecy was fulfilled with the ten northern tribes being conquered and carried away by Assyria and the southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin conquered and carried away by Babylon.
    However, what if this prophecy of Deuteronomy still has yet another fulfillment to come? The Jews are back in their land as of 1948. Daniel's seventieth week is all about Jesus' restoration of the Jewish people and ushering in His kingdom. It is the time of Jacob's trouble. I believe the same prophecies of the old testament will be fulfilled once again during the the 70th week.
    The Jews act arrogantly toward God, make a covenant with other nations that do not worship the true God of Israel, and God carries out the same judgment upon the Jewish nation of the 70th week. At the midpoint of the tribulation, the antichrist and his minions attack Israel, in particular Jerusalem, killing many, taking some survivors to foreign nations as exiled slaves, and others remaining in Jerusalem as slaves. The Jewish people will once again be taken captive (scattered) to nations worshipping foreign gods. I know, I know, many people say Luke 21:24 was fulfilled in AD 70 and is not referring to a yet future 70th week fulfillment. I beg to differ.
    I think Jesus in Matthew 24 is speaking primarily to the Jews. After the time of the great tribulation (v.21) is over for the Jews, the angels will be sent to gather the Jewish captives and bring them back to Israel. In effect, Jesus in Matthew 24:31, is referencing Deuteronomy 30:4-5.

    "4 If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:

    5 And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.

    I believe these absolutely to be future prophecies because the very next verse, Deuteronomy 30:6 says:

    And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

    This is a gathering that did not take place in 1948. That was strictly a physical gathering. This future fulfillment speaks to not only a physical gathering but a spiritual renewal. The blindness of Israel will be lifted at this time, the Jews will collectively receive Jesus as their Messiah, and all of Israel will be saved. That has not yet happened. This is the spiritual renewal spoken of in Ezekiel 36:26.

  23. So what did 1948 signify if not the birth of the fig tree.

  24. 4th Chapter of REVELATION were dealing with those that are caught up to be with the lord at the end of the happenings of the church, when God turns again to that 70th week of Daniel, to deal with His people for the last time, the literal natural descendants of Abraham.
    These four and twenty elders are the redeemed of all ages, those saved by faith, whose faith in the Old Testament, was substituted for righteousness, and whose faith in the New Testament was a response to the good news of the Gospel, that are raptured and raised and caught up are with Him, throughout that great and terrible tribulation on earth, that follows this fourth chapter.
    In short, the Church is in the twenty four elders upon seats around the throne. It's not the twelve apostles and the twelve patriarch sons of Jacob. It's those redeemed, by the blood of Christ, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.
    Twenty four, constituting the saints of the Old Testament and the New Testament, saved by Faith, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, caught up.



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