Category Archives: Rapture

The White Horse

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. (Revelation 6:1)

The first sight[1] John saw when the risen Christ summonsed him to heaven was the vision of God on His throne.[2] In His right hand, God held a scroll written on the front and back and sealed with seven seals.[3] The scroll represents the deed to the earth that was lost in the Garden of Eden.[4] No one in heaven or earth was found worthy to take the scroll and break open the seals[5] except for “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”[6]

In order to understand what John saw, we need to look back to the law of the kinsman-redeemer.[7] This law allowed a close relative to buy back land lost for whatever reason so that the land would remain in the name of the family. The book of Ruth[8] serves as a good example of this law in practice. Ruth, a Moabite, followed her mother-in-law, Naomi, to Bethlehem after the loss of her husband and father-in-law. Naomi’s husband, Elimelech, had owned land in Bethlehem, but Naomi could not redeem the land because of her status as a woman. The book of Ruth is a short four chapters, so to sum up the account in brief, Boaz, a close relative, took a shine to Ruth and agreed to marry her and redeem the property that had been lost. (There is more to the story, but I will leave it to the reader to research the details.)

Carrying this idea to the scene John witnessed in heaven, we understand the loss of earth’s possession through Adam’s sin. The Lamb, who is the Second Adam,[9] is the kinsman-redeemer that has the legal right to buy back the lost property by virtue of His shed blood on the cross. “And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne” (Revelation 5:7).

Up to this point, the tense of John’s record is present tense, i.e., the time of John’s writing. At the opening of Chapter 4, he is called up to heaven. Many excellent end-times biblical scholars see John’s call up to heaven as a “type” of the Rapture of the Church, because the Church is no longer mentioned on earth and is not seen again until she returns to earth following the KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS.[10] From the opening of Chapter 6, the tense changes to future.

“And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see” (Revelation 6:1). The opening of each of the seals brings judgment upon the inhabitants of the earth. The first seal brings the rider on a white horse.

“And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer” (Revelation 6:2). Many mistake the rider on the white horse to be Christ. They come to this conclusion from His description in Revelation 19. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war” (Revelation 19:11) However, here the Lamb, with the scroll in hand, releases the rider on the white horse; He cannot be both the One who releases and the one released. The fact that it is Christ releasing this judgment and all those that follow demonstrates that He is ultimately in full control of all that takes place.

So, who is the rider on the white horse? Without going into all the various opinions, the best possible explanation is that this one is the Antichrist, aka, the son of perdition,[11] the little horn,[12]the prince that shall come,[13] the abomination of desolation,[14] and the beast.[15]

The identity of Antichrist will be revealed at the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation. Christians should not waste their time and effort trying to identify the one that will fill that role. Christians will not be on earth when he makes his appearance because the Church has been raptured at this time.[16] His appearance will go unnoticed by most of the world, but for those left behind who have some familiarity with biblical end-times prophecy, he will be recognized when he affirms a treaty that will bring peace to the nation of Israel. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Daniel 9:27, emphasis mine). This act begins the Tribulation in earnest for seven years (one week).

The first rider comes mounted on a white horse which symbolizes a conqueror. Notice that the rider holds a bow, but he carries no arrows. The crown he wears is a stephanos – a victor’s crown or wreath – that is “given” to him. He does not take it by force, but rather by diplomatic means. The Prophet Daniel describes him as a big talker: “And he shall speak great words against the most High” (Daniel 7:25). Through the eloquence of his speech, he convinces the rulers of ten nations to cede power to him, or perhaps they unilaterally agree that he is the best man for the job of ruling the world. He has a bow indicating military power, but the fact that he has no arrows suggests that he conquers without using the military power accessible to him.

Even now the world prepares for the coming of a one-world leader. One does not need to search very hard to hear the term “One-World” proclaimed by government leaders all over the world including those in our own “land of the free.” Our own government is little-by-little ceding the sovereignty of our nation to the United Nations. Recently, President Biden gave up authority to the World Health Organization (WHO). “These proposed amendments are written to strengthen the organization’s ability to unilaterally intervene into the affairs of nations merely suspected of having a ‘health emergency’ of possible concern to other nations. If these amendments are approved, the WHO will have the power to declare an ‘international health emergency,’ nullifying the powers of nation states.”[17]

For many years now, the U.N. has had plans in place to divide the world into 10 regions.[18] The cabal of the uber-rich elites of the world that gather in Davos, Switzerland, make up what is known as the World Economic Forum. This group has grand plans for setting up a one-world government, and they do not hide their intent. They publish their plans on their website[19]  and offer access to their meetings on video which one can watch on their website.

The world is primed for Antichrist. The late Belgian Prime Minister, Paul-Henri Spaak once said, “We do not want another committee, we have too many already.  What we want is a man of sufficient stature to hold the allegiance of all people, and to lift us out of the economic morass into which we are sinking. Send us such a man, and be he god or devil, we will receive him[20](emphasis mine)

The white horse is saddled and the rider is ready to mount. In a speech at the COP26 meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 1, 2021, Prince (now King) Charles, speaking on the topic of global warming, said, “Here we need a vast military-style campaign to marshal the global private sector. With trillions at his disposal far beyond global GDP, and with the greatest respect beyond even the governments of the world’s leaders, it offers the only real prospect of achieving fundamental economic transition”[21] (emphasis mine). Who is he that needs “trillions at his disposal”? Do the UN, the WEF, and the WHO already have a leader in mind waiting in the wings?

The Antichrist is already in the world and preparing to take his place in this great cosmic drama. We cannot know who he is. In fact, he probably does not know himself. However, the stage is being set. As we see all of these things falling into place, true Christians can know that our Lord and Savior will soon shout, “Come up here!” and we will rise to meet Him in the air. I am not looking for Antichrist, the rider on the white horse. I am looking for Jesus Christ. Are you ready to meet Him? If not, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  “The First Sight” — The First Sight | Ernie’s Musings (erniecarrasco.com)

[2]  Revelation 4:2-5

[3]  Revelation 5:1

[4]  Genesis 3

[5]  Revelation 5:3

[6]  Revelation 13:8

[7]  Leviticus 25:24-27

[8]  Ruth 1-4

[9]  Romans 5:12-21

[10]  Revelation 19:11-14

[11]  2 Thessalonians 2:3

[12]  Daniel 7:8

[13]  Daniel 9:26

[14]  Daniel 11:31; 12:11; Matthew 24:15

[15]  Revelation 13:1

[16]  John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-12; Revelation 4:1-2

[17]  Biden’s Amendments Hand U.S. Sovereignty to the WHO – Liberty Counsel (lc.org)

[18]  UN Divides the World into 10 Regional Groupings: The UN Divides the World into 10 ‘Regional Groupings’ (nuclearsuntan.blogspot.com) There is a link to the UN article in this article, but access was denied because I did not have permission. That alone is suspicious.

[19]  The World Economic Forum (weforum.org)

[20]  Christians Together : EU architect would welcome God or the Devil.

[21]  (4) WATCH: Britain’s Prince Charles gives statement at COP26 climate summit in Glasgow – YouTube

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The First Sight

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Revelation 4:11)

 

The book of Revelation puzzles many who read it. It seems strange and sometimes bizarre. Many avoid the book because the contents elicit fear about the predictions of things to come. However, the book of Revelation is the only book of the Bible that promises a blessing to those who read, hear, and apply its contents. “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” (Revelation 1:3).

Revelation opens with the last remaining apostle of Jesus, the Apostle John, “in the Spirit the Lord’s Day.”[1] The Roman government arrested and exiled John to the prison island of Patmos for preaching the disruptive Gospel of Jesus Christ.[2]

The initial recipients of the book were seven churches in Asia Minor: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.[3] To these, the risen Christ addresses individual letters.[4] These churches existed in John’s day, but because of the commendations and reproofs Jesus gives to these churches, some have seen in them patterns of each throughout church history.

John then describes his first glimpse of Jesus as though in a vision. This is not the Jesus John remembers during His earthly ministry. This Jesus is awesome to behold. John says, “And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength” (Revelation 1:12-16). The dazzling sight caused John to fall at His feet in awestruck fear, but that tender, familiar voice reassured him of the One he loved. “… Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:17-18).

John saw Jesus in the midst of seven lampstands holding seven stars in His right hand. Jesus explained to him that the seven lampstands represented the seven churches and the seven stars represented the seven angels, i.e., messengers or pastors, of the seven churches.[5] The image reminds us that Jesus dwells among His churches and that He keeps and protects the pastors of His churches in His right hand (a position of power). This should also serve as a warning to pastors. Just as Jesus’ right hand protects His messengers, He also has the power to crush the pastor that fails in his responsibility to Jesus’ Bride, the Church.

As noted earlier, Jesus dictates direct messages to each of the seven churches. Immediately following the last word to the church of Laodicea, John looks up and sees an open door in heaven and hears a sound (Greek: phōnē) like that of a trumpet that said, “Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne” (Revelation 4:1-2, emphasis mine).

Many see the Rapture of the Church in these verses. John is commanded to “come up here” and “immediately” he sees the throne of God for the first time. From this point forward, the Church no longer appears on earth until Christ returns with His saints in Chapter 19.

There are many who teach that the Rapture is not taught in the Bible. They correctly argue that the word “rapture” appears nowhere in the Bible. However, neither do the words bible or trinity, yet no one will argue that these concepts are not taught in the Bible. “Rapture” translates the Greek word harpazō into the Latin raptus meaning “to seize; to catch away or up; to pluck, pull, or take by force”. This is what happened to John. He was on the earth and “immediately” he was caught away into the throne room of God.

Jesus gave us the first promise of the Rapture before going to the cross. He said, “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, emphasis mine). Paul teaches of the time when the trumpet shall sound and our corrupt bodies will be changed in the twinkling of an eye. The dead in Christ will rise from their graves, and we who are alive will join them to meet Jesus in the air.[6]

John enters the presence of God and his first sight is the throne of God. The person seated on the throne appears not as a human or any other creature, but rather as a glorious splendor. Of Him, John says, “And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald” (Revelation 4:3). The Bible teaches that God has no human form, except in the form of Jesus. Jesus said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24, emphasis mine). John was given a privilege that even Moses (or anyone else for that matter) was denied. Moses, who spoke with God face-to-face as with a friend,[7] wanted to see God in His glory, but God denied his request, “And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live” (Exodus 33:20, emphasis mine). Yet, somehow John saw God in all of His glory and did not die. In our corrupt human bodies, we cannot withstand the glory of God’s presence. However, at the Rapture, our bodies will be transformed in such a way that we can be in the presence of God in His full glory and not be harmed, just like John.

The scene overwhelmed John. There were lightnings, thunders, and voices. Around the throne of God, John saw 24 thrones upon which seven elders sat wearing white robes and crowns of gold.[8] Some suppose these represent the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles. Others suggest that they merely represent believers of all the ages. In either case, the white robes represent the righteousness of Christ conferred on them. The golden crowns are stephanos, which are “victors crowns” awarded to them for conquering sin, not through their own righteousness, but through the blood of Christ.

John then sees seven lampstands around the throne defined as the “seven spirits of God” Some suggest that these seven lampstands represent seven attributes of the Holy Spirit as described by the prophet Isaiah. “And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him [i.e., Jesus], the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD” (Isaiah 11:2, emphasis mine). We know that the Holy Spirit indwells believers and thereby indwells the Church. In the first chapter, John sees Jesus in the midst of seven lampstands, which represent the churches. Now, these same lampstands (i.e., churches) are seen around the throne of God. I see the lampstands representing both the Holy Spirit and the churches wherein the Holy Spirit resides. The attributes described by Isaiah certainly apply as well.

Around the throne is a crystal sea. It is difficult to know what John saw in this. It is all strange and wonderful and beyond words to describe. John could only relate what he saw by his limited earthly vocabulary. But then he sees four strange creatures full of eyes and with six wings each. One “beast” had the head of a lion, the second the head of a calf, the third the head of a man, and the fourth the head of an eagle.[9] The eyes represent the omniscience of God and the four different heads represent all of God’s creatures: wild animals, domestic animals, human beings, and avian life. All of God’s creation never ceasing to praise Him day or night “saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:8).

John then observed that when these praised God, the 24 elders prostrate themselves and cast their victor’s crowns before the throne saying, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11).

With the focus on the throne, John spots something new. “And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals” (Revelation 5:1, emphasis mine). By its description, we know that this “book” is actually a scroll – perhaps parchment – with writing on both sides, rolled up and secured with seven seals. Many suggest that this scroll represents the title dead to the earth and the kingdoms thereof. When God created the earth, He gave dominion over the earth to man whom He created in His image on the sixth day of creation.[10] However, man lost that dominion when he sinned in the Garden of Eden.[11] The dominion of earth transferred to Satan. Paul calls him the “god of this world.”[12] When Satan tempted Jesus, he offered Jesus the kingdoms of this world if He would only bow down and worship him. “And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it” (Luke 4:6, emphasis mine). However, his ownership is only temporary.

Then John saw and heard a strong angel proclaim, “Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?” (Revelation 5:2). And no one in heaven, on earth, or under the earth was found worthy to take the scroll and break the seals. The situation was dire indeed. All of God’s creation hung in the balance and there was no one to come to the rescue. John says, “And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon” (Revelation 5:4).

John’s tears were soon assuaged. “And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof,” John says, “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth” (Revelation 5:5-6). John the Baptist saw this Lamb come to him to be baptized in the Jordan and proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He was slain on the cross, was buried in a borrowed tomb, and rose again on the third day.[13] Horns represent kingdoms and the Lamb has seven representing completion. All the kingdoms belong to Him. He is “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:16). Seven eyes suggest omniscience with all the attributes of the seven Spirits of God.

Only the Lamb, by virtue of His sacrifice, is worthy to take and open the scroll. “And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne” (Revelation 5:7). When the Lamb took the scroll, a great celebration broke out in heaven. The four living creatures and the 24 elders prostrate themselves before the Lamb. “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10).

Then the rest of heaven breaks out in praise, “Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (Revelation 5:12-13).

Worthy indeed! I cannot imagine how John must have felt at the first sight of heaven and the throne of God. I cannot wait to see it for myself!

The 14 chapters that follow bring us back to earth and the events that will transpire during the seven-year Tribulation. The scenes are horrific. However, the Church, the Bride of Christ, will not experience the horrors of the Tribulation. The Church, as we saw will be around the throne of God and not on earth. Will you be there or will you experience the horrors that are coming upon the earth? Your ticket out of here was purchased by Jesus more than 2000 years ago. All you have to do is accept it. Check out my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  Revelation 1:10

[2]  Revelation 1:9

[3]  Revelation 1:11

[4]  Revelation 2-3

[5]  Revelation 1:20

[6]  1 Corinthians 15:50-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

[7]  Exodus 33:11

[8]  Revelation 4:4

[9]  Revelation 4:6-8

[10]  Genesis 1:26-28

[11]  Genesis 3

[12]  2 Corinthians 4:4

[13]  1 Corinthians 15:3-4

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Came and Coming

But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (Galatians 4:4)

Today is the 1,686th Christmas since the holy day was first sanctioned in AD 336. Before then, the date of Jesus’ birth remained in question, but December 25 was not considered an option. “Around AD 200, Clement of Alexandria wrote: ‘There are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord’s birth, but also the day; and they say that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus, and in the 25th day of [the Egyptian month] Pachon [May 20] … Further, others say that He was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi [April 20 or 21].’”[1]

This year December 25th falls on Sunday and this will not recur again for another 11 years. What better day to celebrate the birth of our Lord than on “the Lord’s Day”! Of course, we gather and worship together every Sunday, the Lord’s Day, because it commemorates His resurrection from the dead. So, this Sunday, we remember both His entry into this world to die for our sins and His victory over death to provide eternal life for us.

He came once as foretold by the prophets. I have not counted them myself, but supposedly, there are over 300 prophecies foretelling Jesus’ first coming.[2] “Using the science of probability, we find that the chances of just forty-eight [48] of these prophecies being fulfilled in one person to be only one in ten157[1×10157].”[3] That is a mathematical impossibility! Even so, Jesus fulfilled every prophecy concerning His first coming.

The Old Testament also foretells of Jesus’ second coming. However, the OT prophets conflated both prophecies of His first and second coming. For them, the prophecies foretold the coming Messiah who would rule as king over all the world. In retrospect, we can read these prophecies and distinguish those that have been fulfilled by His first coming and those that are yet to be fulfilled.

Since Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of His first coming, we can conclude that He will fulfill all those concerning His second coming beginning with Jesus’ own promise of His return. “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, emphasis mine).

The most meaningful thing for me about this Christmas is knowing that just as Jesus came the first time, He is coming again. As we study the prophecies of Jesus’ second coming, we recognize the “signs of the times” that signal the soon return of Jesus. I look forward to what 2023 will bring. I hope to meet Him in the air.[4]

He came, and He is coming again. Are you prepared to meet Him? If not, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1] Christmas – Wikipedia

[2]  Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus at his First Coming – Jesus is God and Lord Ministries

[3]  Josh McDowell, More Than A Carpenter, (Tyndale House, Wheaton, Ill, 1977), p. 103.

[4] 1 Thessalonians 4:17

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Things Have Always Been This Way!

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. (2 Peter 3:3-4)

At breakfast with some friends (“brothers”) recently, the conversation turned to current world events and the rapid moral decline of our nation and the world in general. I suggested that this should not come as a surprise to us Christians because the Lord told us to expect these things in the “last days.”

One of my brothers quickly spoke up and said that we have always had these things: wars, rumors of wars, famines, pestilences, natural disasters, etc. Things have always been this way since the beginning of history. I had to agree. These things have always been a part of history, and there has always been someone trying to conquer and rule the world. Indeed, there is nothing new about this. However, things are not exactly the same, and Israel is the key.

Jesus’ disciples “came unto him privately, saying, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3). These men were Jews, and at that time, they had no idea about the Church that was to come. It was still a mystery to them. They probably did not even understand that Jesus must go to the cross. They believed in Jesus as the Messiah that was to come, but they still had the idea that He would establish an earthly kingdom that would throw off the yoke of the Roman empire. Their hopes would soon be dashed when the Jewish leaders arrested Jesus. All the disciples ran away in fear.[1]

In their minds, the disciples probably assumed that Jesus would set up His kingdom very soon followed by the end of the “world.” The word in Greek, aiōn, is better translated as “age.” Also, the Greek definite article, to, can also be translated as “this.” So, the question can be rendered, “what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of this age?” They were looking and hoping for His kingdom now, and the end of this age now. Jesus’ response in the verses that follow focused on Jews and the nation of Israel. Jesus’ message followed the teachings of the Old Testament prophets, which maintained the end-times focus on Israel. The prophecies given to Daniel were intended for Israel. “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy” (Daniel 9:24, emphasis mine). Daniel also wanted to know when these things would come to pass, but those details were denied to him. “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4, emphasis mine).

Even though end-times prophecy focuses on Israel, it carries worldwide implications. The events Jesus and the prophets described will affect the entire world, but the intent is “to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy” (Daniel 9:24). The greatest “transgression” for Israel was the rejection of their Messiah – bad for them, good for us Gentiles. The “end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness” comes when “the most Holy” (i.e., Jesus) is anointed as King of kings and Lord of lords. That happens at the “end of this age,” and at the beginning of the Millennium.[2]

Going back to my brother’s scoff that, “things have always been this way,” unless one is just not paying attention, things in this world have deteriorated exponentially in just the last 10-20 years. Even non-believers can see it. The World Economic Forum (WEF)[3] has plans for a one-world government, and they proudly publish their plans for all to see. Wars and rumors of wars abound with Russia threatening nuclear war, North Korea exercising its ballistic missiles over the sovereign country of Japan, China flexing its military muscles against the tiny, island country of Taiwan, Iran building up its nuclear arsenal as it continues to spew out threats against Israel and the United States, etc. Meanwhile, Israel seeks peace with Lebanon (Hezbollah, a proxy of Iran) by giving up its claim to its Mediterranean gas fields in exchange for peace.

While all of this is going on, economies are collapsing all over the world. Europe lost its gas supply line from Russia just as winter begins to set in. Many lives will be lost because people cannot heat their homes. The loss of gas may put a greater demand on Europe’s electrical grid, which could create other problems with food storage or food preparation. Speaking of food, droughts all over the world threaten the food supply and raise the specter of famine and starvation. All of this is of little concern to the WEF because they plan to reduce the world population to save the planet (for themselves).

The moral decline in the world presents itself in all kinds of sexual perversion, the slaughter of unborn babies, and senseless violence. As Jesus put it, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:12). We are seeing all of these things coming together, and in deference to my brother, it has never been like this before.

The existence of the nation of Israel makes the key difference in the way things have always been and what is happening today. When Israel rejected and crucified their Messiah, God ended His dealings with them (temporarily) in 70 A.D. when the Romans leveled the Temple in Jerusalem and razed the city. Jews scattered to the four corners of the globe and never returned to their land. In their diaspora, they maintained their national and ethnic identity and all of their Jewish customs and traditions. That cannot be said of any other people groups having been expatriated from their native land. In addition, even though it was not practiced, they managed to keep their native language alive. Then, after almost 2000 years, God called them back to their promised land just as foretold by the prophets, and they continue to come from all corners of the world. The rebirth of Israel on May 14, 1948, was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children” (Isaiah 66:8).

None of the end-times prophecies in the Old Testament can come to pass without Israel being in place. Even Jesus, referring to Daniel’s prophecy,[4] said, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains” (Matthew 24:15-16, emphasis mine). The “abomination of desolation” cannot take place without a Jewish Temple, and there can be no Temple without the nation of Israel. Everything for the Temple to be built is ready. All that is needed now is for the world (especially the Arab world) to give the Okay for its construction on the Temple Mount.

Things have always been this way, except that now, all these things are increasing (as labor pains) with more frequency and intensity. However, the key to it all, which has not always been this way, is that Israel is in place, ready for the remaining prophecies to fall into place.

Jesus directed His Olivet Discourse[5] to the Jews. All end-times prophecies have to do with Israel. Of course, they have worldwide implications. What happens to Christians in the end-times? We will not be here. Daniel’s prophecy[6] calls for 70 x 7 or 490 years “determined upon thy people [i.e., Israel] and upon thy holy city [i.e., Jerusalem]” (Daniel 9:24). From the time that Cyrus gave permission to rebuild the Second Temple to the day that Jesus was crucified, 483 of those years were fulfilled to the day. Seven years remain, which is the Tribulation, aka “the time of Jacob’s trouble.”[7] That is the time described by Jesus in His Olivet Discourse and in most of the book of Revelation. That is a time for God’s wrath upon a sinful, unrepentant world, and a time to redeem Israel. Christians are promised to be kept from the “wrath of God”

Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. (Ephesians 5:6, emphasis mine)

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: (Colossians 3:5-6, emphasis mine)

And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:10, emphasis mine)

For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Thessalonians 5:9, emphasis mine)

Before going to the cross, Jesus promised to return for His own to take them to be with Him in His Father’s house. “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, emphasis mine). Jesus will come to take His children and keep them from the “wrath” to come. “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 4:16-17, emphasis mine).

All the things we see taking place tell us that Jesus’ Second Coming is very close. And if His coming is close, the time to call His children out of this world and escape the “wrath to come” is even closer. Are you ready? If not, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  Matthew 26:56; Mark 14:50

[2]  Revelation 20:1-7

[3]  The World Economic Forum (weforum.org)

[4]  And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9:27, emphasis mine)

[5]  Matthew 24

[6]  Daniel 9:24-27

[7]  Jeremiah 30:7

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Again, Are We There Yet?

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. (Matthew 24:6)

Last Sunday evening, September 25, 2022, was Rosh HaShanah,[1] the Feast of Trumpets. For the first time in many years, I was no longer excited about that event. In the past, this time of year elevated my anticipation for our Lord’s return to snatch up His Bride, the Church. Because the Lord fulfilled the first four spring feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Pentecost) and has not fulfilled the last three fall feasts (Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles), it made sense to me that the Feast of Trumpets (the next on the calendar) was the perfect time for the Lord to sound the trumpet and call us home.

“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, emphasis mine).

“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 4:16-17, emphasis mine).

So, it seemed to me, that the Feast of Trumpets was the perfect time for Jesus to take His Bride to His Father’s house. However, for the last twenty or so years, I have been disappointed (but not discouraged) every year when Rosh HaShanah came and went because the Rapture did not take place. Recently, Amir Tsarfati[2] convinced me that the Feasts are intended for Israel, not for Christians. Jesus will fulfill all the fall feasts but at His Second Coming, when He returns at the end of the seven-year Tribulation as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.[3] That makes the Rapture of the Church imminent; it can happen at any time without warning. There are no signs to predict the Rapture.

So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. (Matthew 24:33-36, emphasis mine)

This year, I was not disappointed when Rosh HaShanah came and went without the Rapture, because I understand that it should catch us by surprise, but not unaware or unprepared.

Jesus told us that “when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:33). Luke quoted Jesus in his Gospel saying, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28, emphasis mine).

For what things should we be looking? The biggest hint is the nation of Israel, which God promised to restore after a long period of diaspora. God speaking through the prophet Ezekiel said, “For I will take you from among the heathen [i.e., “the nations”], and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land” (Ezekiel 36:24). The Old Testament prophets all make many similar predictions. Ezekiel also presents a vision of Israel as a valley full of dry bones that come together and rise up as a mighty army.[4] In the same chapter, God gives Ezekiel a vision of two sticks – Israel (the Northern Kingdom) and Judah (the Southern Kingdom) – that separate, but in the end, God brings them back together.[5]

On May 14, 1948, God fulfilled that prophecy and a nation was born in a day![6] On the day of its birth, defenseless and without an army or air force, the Arab nations that surrounded it attacked with the intention of annihilating the newborn nation. However, God’s plan was not to be thwarted, and God saved Israel and defeated its enemies. The greatest sign that our “redemption draweth nigh” is the nation of Israel.

So, that was more than 70 years ago! Well, friend, that is a generation, and Jesus promised that “This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matthew 24:34, emphasis mine). Many of Jesus’ predictions of the last days (which will intensify in the seven-year Tribulation) are taking place right now and getting worse. Just read the Olivet Discourse recorded in Matthew 24 and consider the condition of the entire world today!

Ezekiel 38-39 predicts the alliance of Russia, Turkey, and Iran (Persia) along with their allies. Russia is called “Magog” and the “prince” of Magog is Gog. To the Russian leader, God says, “… Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, … in the latter years thou shalt come into the land [i.e., “Israel”] that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them” (Ezekiel 38:3-4, 8, emphasis mine).

Very recently, due to a weakened America, “Magog” (Russia) invaded the sovereign country of Ukraine. Just a few days ago, Russia annexed four of Ukraine’s eastern territories. At about the same time, the two gas pipelines that supply Russian gas to Europe, Nord Stream 1 & 2, exploded mysteriously. No “accident” occurred to cause the explosions; the explosions were man-made. The POTUS, prior to the “annexations” made claims, whether intentional or as a mental slip of the tongue (as our President is prone to do), that if Russia annexed the Ukrainian territories, “we” would put a stop to Nord Stream 1 & 2? Did the US blow them up? No one has admitted to it; however, Poland blames the US. There are some that believe Russia blew up the pipelines. But, does that make any sense?

Regardless of who is to blame, the fact remains that Europe is in dire straights and winter is coming. Then comes Israel to the rescue. In recent years, Israel has discovered and developed large gas reserves in the Mediterranean Sea and is prepared to sell gas to Europe by way of Egypt. They will pipe the gas to Egypt and Egypt will pipe it to Europe as well as liquifying and selling the gas in liquid form to Europe. What will Russia think of that? Could this be the “hooks in the jaw” that God uses to turn Gog’s attention to Israel? It could be.

Russia, Turkey, and Iran all have troops stationed in Syria on Israel’s northern border. The stage is set for Ezekiel’s Gog of Magog war. Will it take place before the Rapture, and we get to witness it, or will it take place after the Rapture? We cannot know for sure, but we can know that with the conversion of all the things of which Jesus spoke all over the world and this very intriguing development, we can be sure that our “redemption draweth nigh.”

Reader, are you prepared for that event? After Jesus takes all the true Christians out of the earth, there will come of time of trouble like the world has never experienced. It is called the seven-year Tribulation. If you think things are bad now, you ain’t seen nothing yet! You do not want to be around for what is coming. Ask Jesus to save you from God’s wrath that is to come. Please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  “Rosh HaShanah” — Rosh HaShanah | Ernie’s Musings (erniecarrasco.com)

[2]  Amir Tsarfati of Behold Israel.com: Behold Israel – A Non Profit Teaching Ministry

[3]  Revelation 19:11-16

[4]  Ezekiel 37:1-14

[5]  Ezekiel 37:15-28

[6]  Isaiah 66:8

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