… and said unto them, Occupy till I come. (Luke 19:13)
As I wrote last week, “For many years now, I come to this time of year with a heightened sense of expectation.” More than ten years ago, I learned about the Feasts of the Lord. By His death, burial and resurrection, Jesus fulfilled first three spring feasts, and Pentecost fulfilled the fourth feast. The last three fall feasts remain unfulfilled, and the Feast of Trumpets comes first in that series. The Feast of Trumpets is significant because it heralds the new year. It is also a holy convocation announced by the blowing of trumpets that summons the people to the Temple.
The connection with the Feast of Trumpets and the Rapture of the Church comes by way of deduction derived from 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; and Revelation 4:1. These passages speak of the sound of a trumpet preceding the Rapture of the Church, so it seems logical that the call could come at the first fall feast that remains unfulfilled.
Although it might seem like a reasonable conclusion, the fact remains that nothing in Scripture tells us when the Rapture will take place. The Bible gives no signs to signal the Rapture. Instead, the Bible (the New Testament) teaches that the Rapture is imminent; it can happen at any time without warning. Jesus said, “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing” (Matthew 24:44-46, emphasis mine).
In a different place, Jesus relayed a parable of a “A certain nobleman [representing Himself] went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come” (Luke 19:12-13, emphasis mine). Our “nobleman,” Jesus Christ, has gone to receive His kingdom and He has promised to return (John 14:1-3). We do not know when. In the meantime, He has commanded, “Occupy till I come.”
Another Rosh HaShanah, the Feast of Trumpets, came and went again, and the trumpet did not sound to call us home, but Jesus did not tell us when He would return. He just told us to watch, wait, and occupy until He comes. When He does come for us, He expects to find us taking care of His business. What will He find us doing?
The Rapture is imminent. It comes without warning and without signs. However, the Second Coming does have signs, and we see many of the signs falling into place. The greatest of these signs is the miraculous rebirth of the nation of Israel. As the signs of the last days increase in number and intensity, we know the time is near, and if the Second Coming of Christ is near, the Rapture is closer. Are you ready? Are you occupied in the task He has given you or are you distracted by the cares of the world? He did not come last Tuesday, or Wednesday, but He may come today. How will He find you?
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1Corinthians 15:51-52)
We hear a lot about the Rapture lately, but a lot of confusion exists about what the Rapture is and when it is supposed to take place. Some critics deny the Rapture claiming, that the word “rapture” is not in the Bible. However, the word “Bible” is not in the Bible, nor is the word “Trinity,” yet no Christian would deny these terms. To be clear, while the English word “Rapture” cannot be found in the Bible, its Greek root is. “To the church in Thessalonica, [Paul] wrote: ‘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 [i.e., “go before”] 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” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, emphasis mine). The Greek word translated ‘caught up’ is harpazō, which means ‘to seize, carry off by force’ or ‘to snatch out or away.’ That word is further translated into Latin as rapturo [rapiemur] from which we get our word ‘rapture.’”
Paul also describes the purpose of the Rapture to the Corinthians when he says, “that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption” (1 Corinthians 15:50). Our corrupt and sinful bodies cannot enter into heaven; therefore, they must be changed into incorruptible, sinless bodies. “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep [i.e., “die”], but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53, emphasis mine).
Jesus promised the Rapture. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3). About 60 years after His ascension, Jesus dictated seven letters to John, the last living of His apostles. The sixth letter was addressed to the Church of Philadelphia to whom Jesus said, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Revelation 3:10). Many scholars see the seven churches (real churches existing in John’s time) as representative of the characteristics of the Church throughout different epochs in church history. The Philadelphian Church represents the “evangelical” church that sprang up around the end of the 18th century and will continue to the Rapture. The Rapture will fulfill Jesus’ promise to keep them “from the hour of temptation – i.e., trial, testing, tribulation – that is to come upon all the earth”
So, the concept of the Rapture finds solid support in Scripture although some will still try to explain it away.
Some still conflate the Rapture with the Second coming. These are two separate events. The Rapture takes place before the seven-year Tribulation; the Second Coming is when Jesus returns to establish His Kingdom on earth at the end of the Tribulation. At the Rapture, the Church is taken to meet Jesus in the air; at the Second Coming, Jesus will set His feet on Planet Earth.
Many signs accompany the Second Coming: wars, rumors of wars, pestilences, famines, earthquakes, etc. Perhaps the greatest sign of all is the miraculous revival of the nation of Israel as predicted by the Old Testament prophets, but particularly by Ezekiel in his vision of the valley of dry bones. This prophecy came true on May 14, 1948 when Jews from all over the world returned to the land promised to them by God to became a nation once again.
However, there are no signs for the Rapture. About the Rapture, Jesus said. “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36). However, as His Second Coming approaches we observe those signs rapidly increasing in frequency and intensity. America is rapidly vanishing from the scene as a superpower. That means that Israel is losing her strongest ally, and she will be left to face her enemies alone. Again, the Prophet Ezekiel predicts an invasion of Israel from a confederation of nations on her northern border. Already, those armies are staging in Syria – Russia, Turkey, Iran and their allies. With the USA out of the way, nothing will stop them from falling into God’s trap. Ezekiel foretells that Israel, left alone, will be defenseless against the invasion; however, God will intervene in such a way that no one, especially Israel, will doubt the power of God.
The Gog of Magog war described above will probably take place after the Rapture, but because we see the stage already being set, we can infer that the Rapture is not too far off. Consider the weakened condition of the USA. Then think about millions of American Christians suddenly vanishing. The majority of Christians are solid citizens who work and pay taxes contributing to the national economy. Think of the impact to the economy when these millions are suddenly gone! Many Christians serve in the military and in police forces. What happens when they disappear? What about healthcare workers, nurses, doctors, medical technicians? With the plandemic already stressing hospital staffing, what happens when many more of these are gone? There are also many solid Christians in positions of leadership at different levels of government. Imagine what will happen when all these people are taken out in the Rapture! Our already weak America will be in total chaos and capable of only making a weak protest, “Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” (Ezekiel 38:13).
We are very near that point now. For many years now I come to this time of year with a heightened sense of expectation. Monday evening, September 6 begins Rosh HaShanah, the Feast of Trumpets. Jesus fulfilled the first four “Feasts of the Lord” – Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Pentecost – at His First Coming. The last three fall feasts have not been fulfilled. The next one is the Feast of Trumpets; therefore, I believe (and I could be wrong) that the Rapture will take place at Rosh HaShanah. At that feast, trumpets were blown calling all the congregation of Israel to assemble. So, it is a “calling in” or a “gathering” of the congregation. Earlier I cited 1 Thessalonians 4:16, where “the trump of God” will sound, and we shall be gathered to Him in the air. The Feast of Trumpets is also known as the feast where “no man knows the day or the hour.” That is because it is based on the first sighting of the new moon; therefore, it is observed over two days because it is not known exactly when the new moon will appear. For those reasons, it makes sense to me that the Rapture can take place during the Feast of Trumpets.
Given the sudden and rapid decline of the USA, the general turmoil around the world, the rise of globalists seeking to rebuild the Tower of Babel (metaphorically speaking), and the increase in end-times signs, I feel this week (Monday evening to Wednesday evening) would be a good time for the Rapture to take place. I am not making any predictions; I am only saying that it seems like a good time for it, in my opinion.
How about you reader? If Jesus were to call His children home, would you be ready? If you are not sure, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
Last week’s study, Part 1, focused on the Creator. Today we will take a closer look at the Creation.
Part 2, The Creation
The first verse of Genesis encapsulates the creation of the universe. The universe, as vast and complex as it is, is composed of three elements, anyone of which being absent render the universe non-existent. “In the beginning” is Time. “God created the heavens” (Space) “and the earth” (matter/energy). These three elements: time, space, and matter, make up the universe.
Secular scientists who strive to explain the origin of the universe though natural causes, hypothesize that all existing matter at one time was densely compressed into a “singularity” that rapidly expanded to create the universe 14.7 billion years ago. This is a relatively recent hypothesis based on the notion rising out of the “enlightenment,” (17th and 18th centuries) proposing that the earth is much older than indicated in Scripture. Since “scientists” had “proven” that the earth was older than stated in the Bible, many theologians attempted to accommodate billions of years into the biblical record by proposing a “gap” of billions of years between Verse 1 and Verse 2 of Genesis 1.
There is no “Gap” between verses 1 & 2. When simply read, Verse 1 flows smoothly into Verse 2. The Gap Theory is highly speculative and based on conjecture. The Gap Theory presupposes a prior creation which “became” void and formless due to Satan’s fall. Satan caused a race of pre-Adamic man to sin forcing God to destroy His first creation. This theory introduces sin and death before the fall of Adam and Eve and effectively nullifies the curse of death for sin. Although theologians who still hold to the Gap Theory try to support it with Scripture, it has no biblical support.
With all the elements of the universe created, the Creator began the task of organizing the formless blob. The raw materials required energy. “And the Spirit of God [the Third Person of the Trinity] moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2). “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3). The creation of light only required the verbal command from the Word. The Hebrew word for light is ‘ôr (אוֹר), and I will point out something interesting about that word later on (in Part 3).
God declared His first day’s work “good.” “And the evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:5). The word “day” used here and throughout the creation account is important because many find it hard to believe that God created all there is in six 24-hour days. The Hebrew word for “day” is yom. In the Old Testament, it almost always refers to a normal 24-hour day. It always refers to a normal 24-hour day when preceded by an ordinal number – first, second, third, etc. Furthermore, in order to remove any doubt, God further defines yom by “evening and morning,” which constitutes a normal 24-hour day. Some have attempted to stretch the length of each day by thousands and even millions of years. To support their position they cite Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8, but these verses use simile (“like,” “as”) to refer to God’s “timelessness” not to how He counts days. To God, one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years are as a day. God is not bound by time as we are. He created time; therefore He exists outside of the constraints of time.
On the second day, Genesis 1:6-8, God organizes the elements by separating the waters from Earth from the waters in space. The word “Firmament” means a “stretched-out thinness.” It is like a thin membrane separating the earth’s atmosphere from the coldness of space. Remember, at this point there are no other heavenly bodies. The day ended without God’s affirmation that it was “good.” There was work yet to be done.
On Day Three, Genesis 1:9-13, God separated the dry land from the water and called it “good.” The vegetation was created fully mature having its seed in itself and ready to reproduce “after its kind” – no evolution. God created plants with the genetic capability to vary within its own kind, but not to “evolve” from one kind into another. We can verify that is still true today.
On the fourth day, Genesis 1:14-19, God created the remaining celestial bodies. Unlike the evolutionary story, God’s account of creation begins with the planet Earth and all the other stars and planets come thereafter. That makes perfect sense when we consider that God made Earth with mankind in mind. “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:18).
“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” (Genesis 1:14). The “lights” (Hebrew mâ’ôr) are “lesser lights” or “luminaries.” They are “lesser” only compared to the original light He created on the first day. We also understand that many of these stars are hundreds of times larger than our own sun, but because of their great distance from the earth, they appear to be lesser. The mâ’ôr were created for signs and seasons, days and years. The word “signs” – ‘ôth means signal, banner, remembrance, omen, warning, and “seasons” – mô‛êd means an appointed time/place/meeting; a sacred season, set feast, appointed season. God used theses “signals” to announce the time of His Feasts. The constellations were placed in the night sky for our benefit. God speaking to Job says, “Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth [i.e., the Zodiac] in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? (Job 38:32). God made the sun and moon first and then, almost as an afterthought, he made the stars also – God called it “good”
On the fifth day, Genesis 1:20-23, God made marine and flying creatures. God spoke all of these creatures into existence. The “great whales” – the Hebrew word tannı̂yn means “a sea monster, serpent, or dragon” – not only included whales as we know them, but also the giant marine reptiles. God made them to bring “forth abundantly,” i.e., fully mature with the ability to reproduce “after their kind.” They cannot cross with others of another kind, however, they can vary within their own “kind.” And “God saw that it was good.”
On Day Six of creation, Genesis 1:24-25, the Creator spoke the land-dwelling creatures into existence. Like the marine animals and flying things, they are created fully mature and ready to reproduce “after their kind”
The pinnacle of God’s creation was man (mankind), Genesis 1:26-28. Man was created in God’s “image” – Hebrew tselem “resemblance” – like a mirror image or a photograph – that looks like but is not. Man was created in God’s “likeness” – Hebrew demûth “similitude” – having similar characteristics. We could make a long list of God’s attributes that humans also possess, but these are some of the most prominent. Man, like God is triune in nature – mind, body, and spirit as God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Humans are moral beings (although in a fallen state) and God is a moral being. God is Creator; humans are creative. God is love; humans have the capacity to love. And many other comparisons could be made; the list is long.
God made humans “male and female” (He only made two – one pair).There is a procreative reason for the two genders and anything other than that violates God’s design. Jesus confirms only two sexes/genders. Matthew 19:4 “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female.” Mark 10:6 “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.” God gave dominion of His creation to humans.
With the creation of man, God completed His creative work (Genesis 1:29-31). Herbs and fruits were “meat” for humans and animals. All were vegetarian, even the animals with big teeth. God declared His completed creation “very good” me’ôd ṭôb – exceedingly good! In God’s completed creation, there was no sin, no death, no sickness, no curse, etc. After sin entered the creation, all of that changed. However, one day, perhaps in the near future, all of that will be restored. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea … And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:1, 4).
On the seventh day, Genesis 2:1-3, God “rested.” The Hebrew word for “seventh” is shebı̂y‛ı̂y. The Hebrew word for “rested” is shâbathfrom which with get “Sabbath.” “Sabbath” means “rest” not “Saturday” or “seventh.” God was not tired nor did He need a break. He ceased His creative work because it was “ended (kâlâh)” or “completed.” There was nothing left to do – 1st Law of Thermodynamics – matter (except for the initial creation on Day One) can neither be created nor destroyed; it can only be changed.
He blessed the 7th Day, and He set it as an example for us, Exodus 20:9-11 “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Six days of creation with one day of rest was for our example to work six days and rest and honor God on the seventh.
That was a good ending for the first week of creation, but that did not last long as we will see next week in Part 3.
Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. (John 6:13)
On the eve of this posting, May 16, 2021, Jews begin the observance of Shavu’ot, the Feast of Pentecost. The Christian calendar, which does not follow the Jewish calendar, observes Pentecost next Sunday, May 23, 2021.
Pentecost interests me, because of the possible prophetic implications associated with it. I wrote about this topic before, and I believe I gave explanation of its significance in an article titled “Pentecost,” so I will not rehash that material here. Briefly, there are seven Feasts of the Lord, three in the spring (Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits), three feasts in the fall (Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles) with Pentecost in the middle, separated by a space of time between the others. Pentecost was one of three convocations where all males over the age of 20 were required to attend. The other two times were for the spring and fall feasts.
Pentecost celebrates the barley harvest. Some Bible teachers have mistakenly associated the Feast of First Fruits with the barley harvest, but barley, according to the sources I have checked say that barley does not ripen until around mid May – too late for First Fruits. Again, I explain this in the articles I have cited in the notes below.
Barley is often associated with gentile nations, probably because it is more coarse and less desirable than wheat. Wheat, on the other hand, because it is finer and more desirable represents Israel.
On Pentecost, following Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, The Holy Spirit fell upon the 120 disciples gathered in the upper room. There were in Jerusalem on that day “Jews and proselytes” from many nations present for the required convocation, and they heard the disciples preaching in their own languages. That day, about three thousand souls were saved giving birth to the Church. For this reason, Pentecost is associated with the Church, and because it is separated from the other Jewish feasts, many have seen this as the Feasts of the Lord specifically meant for the Church.
Looking at this prophetically, Jesus fulfilled the first three spring feasts by His death (Passover), His burial (Unleavened Bread – He was sinless), and His resurrection (First Fruits). He then ascended to heaven with the promise to send His Holy Spirit and physically return at some later time. So, the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost and gave birth to the Church. Then there is a long period of time before the fall feasts, which Jesus has yet to fulfill. The long period of time can be likened to the Church Age in which we have lived for the last 1,991 years. At a time known only to God, Jesus will return to earth, possibly on the Feast of Trumpets, fulfill the Atonement, and set up His Tabernacle here on earth. We know this as the “Second Coming.”
Prior to Jesus’ return, the world will experience the full wrath of God for seven years. This is known as the Tribulation. Now (just musing here), there is much support for the crucifixion occurring in 30 A.D. According to the Bible, Creation is about 6000 years old and biblical chronology can be roughly divided into three segments of 2000 years each. We can add the final 2000 years to 30 A.D. and come up with the year 2030. Subtract seven years from that and we arrive at the year 2023 to start the Tribulation.
However, the “wrath” of God is for the “world” not for His Church. The Church will be taken out of the world prior to the start of the Tribulation. “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” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).
We have many “signs” to prepare us for the Second Coming, but we have no signs to prepare the Church for the “catching up,” a.k.a. the “Rapture.” “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).
The event will be sudden, but it should not be unexpected for the Christian. The “signs” of His Second Coming are everywhere and becoming more pronounced and more frequent. Therefore, we know that His Second Coming is close, and if His Second Coming is close, the Rapture is closer. Jesus said, “All these are the beginning of sorrows … Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” (Matthew 24:8, 42)
Just musing again, if we, the Church, are the barley, and the barley harvest is ready, could this be the day that the Lord harvests us into His barn? Just so you know, the start of the Tribulation does not depend on the Rapture of the Church. The Church could get taken out today and the Tribulation will not begin in earnest until the year 2023. Consider this; our world economy is in freefall. The globalists already have detailed plans for implementing a “one-world” government. Consider the impact of millions of people, especially here in the US, disappearing instantly, all at once, from the face of the earth. Consider the added chaos that would bring to a world already reeling with social, economic and geopolitical trouble. In that event, the one-world system will be put in place and a great one-world leader will arise to bring “peace” to the earth, “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [seven years]” (Daniel 9:27). That will kick off the Tribulation.
The barley harvest is ready. I hope this will be the day, but if not, we must occupy until He comes. Are you ready? If not, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”