Thursday, June 11, 2009

RAPTURE: The WHO and WHEN Of It All . . .

I felt it necessary at this time to revisit the issue of "the rapture of the church" but before I get into this, may I suggest to you, the reader, to review an earlier posting on this blog? Use the search engine, "Scope Out This MIND" and type in the post article title "As Weird As Rain". Once completed, then come back and read this article. Due to its rather large size, this article "RAPTURE: The WHO and WHEN Of It All" will be done in 2, possibly three installments.

In the meanwhile, I would like you to watch this video from YOUTUBE.COM:

It would seem that God deals with Israel and the church mutually exclusively; that each has a specific calling and destiny that differs from one another. Certainly the very idea that the church has replaced Israel is heresy, and a blatant twisting of scriptural truth. This is known as "replacement theology" and you may not be aware that this false doctrine was very prevalent during pre-Nazi Germany churches, and was a major factor in the persecution of the Jews. For a perspective on this, I recommend "On The Road To Holocaust" by Hal Lindsay.

When the LORD was dealing with Israel, starting with Abram aka Abraham, back in Genesis chapter 12, and through his lineage with Isaac, Jacob, then the twelve patriarchs, it culminated with, first, the prophetic scriptures that revealed the Messiah, and second, when He would appear to inaugurate what's known in the New Testament as "the kingdom of heaven" which in itself involves the Davidic Covenant, and what we now know as the Millennium.

Something one should be aware of is that "the kingdom of heaven" in Hebrew would be more accurately rendered "the kingdom from heaven".

In regards to Christ physically reigning on this Earth, His royal throne being established in Israel, in Jerusalem, there are those who would refute this notion, saying that Jesus declared in John ch. 18, "my kingdom is not of this world".

Let's take a quick look at this:

Jhn 18:36
Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

Again, the Hebrew word for "of" can also be rendered "from" and that puts a whole different spin on this statement made by our Lord! The latter portion of this verse clarifies this even more: note the part that's in italics and in red!

Consider this also: in the previous chapter of John, the LORD Jesus is praying to the Father (this is the REAL LORD's PRAYER!) and listen to what He says regarding Himself, and His disciples that He's praying for:

Jhn 17:14
I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Note here that Jesus declares that they (the disciples) are not OF THE WORLD, even as He is not of this world! Yet both the LORD Jesus and these twelve lived, and dwelt on this planet; the LORD Jesus for thirty three years, the disciples obviously for the entirety of their lives! Simply because they were "not of this world" didn't mean that they didn't dwell here!

So it is with the kingdom of/from heaven! The Kingdom will indeed be brought to Earth as is made abundantly clear in scripture:

Dan 2:44
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

See also: Rev 11:15, Luk 1:31-32

As the LORD came to present Himself to Israel, His dealings with the Gentiles was scant, and only occasionally to specific persons did He have any interaction. He said as much to His disciples in: Mat 10:5-23 and remember what He had to say to a Syrophoenecian woman in:

Bear in mind that the religious establishment, the Jewish Sanhedrin, the Pharisee's, and Sadducee's, scribes and lawyers of the Torah were familiar with Messianic passages, but focused on the ones that spoke of Messiah as a warrior (the Old Testament refers to Him in this capacity as "The Avenger of Blood"), who would deliver Israel from the oppression of her enemies. In this case, the Roman Empire!

When Jesus began speaking of "loving your enemies" and "turn the other cheek" and "I am come to seek and to save the lost", He didn't fit their agenda or their desire for a warrior Messiah, thus He was rejected, even though He gave them signs that were specifically Messianic!

Read Isa 35:1-7, note especially vs. 6 below:

Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.

[This passage is similar to other Old Testament passages that speak of the Messianic Kingdom such as Isa 61:1 -11 . Note here that when Christ Jesus quoted this passage (Luk 4:18), He left off the second half, for His mission was two fold: First - to make atonement for our sins; Second - To establish His Kingdom on Earth. The first half He obviously fulfilled, and He would have fulfilled the second half HAD ISRAEL ACCEPTED HIM AS THEIR MESCHIACH NAGID, that is, Messiah, the King.]

The word for 'dumb' in Hebrew is "illem" meaning "speechless" and is based on the root word "alam" which means "to tie fast, dumb, this is a verb form, thus implies an action taken: it can mean "to put to silence". Some render the meaning of such a "dumb" person as one possessed by a demon that afflicts the victim with the inability of speech.

Jewish exorcists would demand the demon name itself so that it could be cast out, and this is even a practise that Jesus used once (refer to "Legion" who possessed the Gadarene man in

Yet with such a one who was dumb, it was impossible for the Jewish exorcists to cast the demons out, for they couldn't learn its name; but it was believed that the Messiah would do so, and that this would be a sign of His arrival.

Thus when we see in Mat 12:22-37 once the demon was cast out, the people wondered and asked if indeed this was "the son of David" that is, the Messiah. Yet the Pharisees disputed this claim and said that Jesus was doing this in the power of Satan; Jesus warned them that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit would not be forgiven, either in this world or the next!

There then comes a subtle transition between chapters 12 and 13 that many don't see: the LORD began to speak to the children of Israel in parables; up to this point, He had never done so, but began to in chapter 13 and on. Even His own disciples asked Him why He was "speaking to them in parables" and here is His answer:

Mat 13:11-16
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith,

By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

Thus we understand that because the Jews were rejecting their Messiah by attempting to refute His Messianic claims and signs, judgment was falling upon them, and only those who genuinely sought after Truth would perceive the meaning of the parables. Those who have "an agenda for the Messiah" such as the Sanhedrin or even Judas Iscariot would become blind to the Truth.

See Jhn 12:47-48 and Jhn 8:43

Most Jews didn't see, hear or understand His Word and so weren't converted, nor were they healed. Yet those who did receive the Truth of the LORD's Words understood, and received greater and deeper Truth!

The LORD Jesus then lambastes the Pharisees and scribes, condemning their actions and conduct for in effect, they not only were rejecting the kingdom of heaven, but were prohibiting others from entering in as well!

Mat 23:13
But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

And again in that same chapter, Jesus further declares His judgment upon these unbelieving Jews, from vs. 34-39:

Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

And compare this passage with Luk 19:30-44, especially vs. 41-44.

These things Jesus said, are now hid from their eyes; do you see a steady regression into a state of total blindness in regards to national Israel here? They have been judged for NOT recognizing the "time of their visitation", that visitation being prophesied by Daniel the prophet (Dan 9:25)

More on this extremely important passage in a little bit.

This blindness is by no means permanent, but will last for a certain period of time, after which it shall be lifted.

Yet at the time of these pronouncements by our LORD, national Israel was condemned for her unbelief and He declares that He will seek out another people to which He will grant the kingdom and this is when He begins to have dealings with the Gentiles! Observe:

Mat 21:33-46 note especially:

Mat 21:43
Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

And also: Mat 22:1-14, esp. vs. 8-10 and the great commission in which the LORD commands His own to . . .
Mat 28:19-20
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Of course 1 Peter 2:9 agrees with this, declaring that we, the church are "a chosen generation, a holy nation, a peculiar people . . . "

The LORD is even now working as He did from the beginning, with the church, saving souls and adding to the church such as should be saved. (Act 2:47)
When shall this church be complete? When will our Father look down upon the Body of Christ, and according to His foreknowledge, see that the last soul He intends to become a member of the church has come to salvation?

Only He knows! However when this day arrives, what the Bible speaks of as "the fulness of the Gentiles", that's when Israel will once again be dealt with by God, and He shall open their eyes to the Truth that they had rejected so long ago.

Rom 11:1-26, especially vs. 8-10 and 25-27 (take note of the word "until" in vs.25)!

It speaks here that "all Israel" shall be saved, and we know ultimately when the LORD Jesus returns this will indeed be the case; by that time however, according to (Zec 13:7-8) , only one third of the nation will have survived the great tribulation! This is the remnant that have believed in their Messiah. More about remnants of Israel later on!

That time of great tribulation also known as "Jacob's Trouble" in Jer 30:7 will be a time of severe judgment, upon the Jew first and also the Gentile, for their rejection of Jesus Christ our Savior.

So we know that this blindness in Israel will persist until the church, according to the foreknowledge of God is completed, and once God calls out all souls that will be a part of the Body, into the church of Jesus Christ, He will then turn again and deal with Israel:

Listen to James, elder of the church at Jerusalem at a Council that was called for, in Acts 15 in regards to Gentile believers and where they fit into God's plan for the ages, and where they differ from His plan for Israel:

Act 15:13-17
And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

Yet when will this fulness of the Gentiles occur? Remember: No one knows except God!

This fulness of the Gentiles has no termination date that we know of, nor is there anything to say that TODAY, the last member of the Body of Christ will be brought into the kingdom, and once complete, God will return and will build again the tabernacle of David.

All of this is wrapped around probably one of the most important Messianic prophecies concerning the Messiah, Israel and the last days, Daniel chapter 9:24-27:

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.

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

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.

These 70 'weeks' are like 'Jewish decades' as it were; that is, these represent 70 "shabuwahs" or weeks of years. One shabuwah is seven years, Two shabuwahs are 14 years, Three would be 21, and so on. 70 shabuwahs are 490 years.

The Angel Gabriel states that from the time the command goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, the city (note: not just the temple which was attempted by edicts from various Gentile leaders a few times w/o success) unto the coming of Messiah shall be 490 years!

Note how Gabriel speaks to Daniel: "Seventy weeks are determined upon THY people (Jews) and upon THY Holy City (Jerusalem). This is a prophecy concerning none other than Israel, which precludes the Gentiles or the church.

The church has no holy city they can claim for their own in this world; on the contrary we have here "no certain dwelling place". Israel by virtue of the Abrahamic and Land (Canaan) covenants have both a specific people (the twelve tribes of Israel) and also a specific land (that which was formerly Canaan).

Gabriel divides these 490 years into three segments: seven weeks (49 yrs), threescore and two weeks (434 yrs) [both segments spoken of in vs. 25] and a week (7 yrs) [mentioned in vs. 27].

Gabriel states that its at the end of the second segment of time (434 yrs) plus the first segment of time that already passed (49yrs) which adds up to 483 yrs, that the Messiah will have His "visitation" as Jesus said in Matthew ch 23, to Israel.

At the end of this visitation, the Messiah will be "cut off" but nor for Himself! In Hebrew this is "karath" which means "to cut, sever, it also means to make a covenant, to exterminate or destroy in a judicial sense" as in the flood of Noah, and the people who were exterminated at that time.

There is a duration of time in between the 483rd week (once Messiah was 'cut off') and the final week of 7 years.

A similar duration of time also exists between the time in which Messiah would "preach the gospel to the poor, heal the broken hearted, preach deliverance to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are bruised, to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD" as the Lord Jesus read from Isaiah in Luke ch. 4, and the OTHER portion of that verse as recorded in Isaiah 61:2 and on: " . . . and the day of vengeance of our God;"

And a similar duration of time exists between Zec 9:9 and the rest of that chapter. These verses show that prophetic sequences are not necessarily contiguous, that is, they don't always follow chronologically from verse to verse.

Once the LORD Jesus was cut off, crucified, this stopped the prophetic clock in God's dealing with Israel. We know this because there is yet one more shabuwah (7 yrs.) yet to be fulfilled, right? While the Messiah would indeed suffer and die as our atonement, He would NOT at that time establish the kingdom from/of heaven, just as He told His disciples after His resurrection:

Act 1:6-7
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

Note: He didn't say He wouldn't restore again the Kingdom of Israel, only that, this time is in the Father's hand.

So what did He have in mind if not the Kingdom restored to Israel? The church, comprised of both Jews and Gentiles, but primarily Gentiles later on (from Acts ch. 10 and onward). Paul the Apostle stated in Ephesians ch. 2 and 3 the mystery of the church:

Eph 2:1-22 note esp. vs. 15

Eph 3:1-21 note esp. vs. 5 and 6

As previously stated twice before, once the fulness of the Gentiles is come in, then God will turn to Israel, and this terrible time known as Jacob's trouble will fall upon that nation; this is that last shabuwah (7 yr period) that Daniel spoke of, during which time one will arise, "the prince that shall come" and shall covenant with the people of Israel.

This time period of Daniels 70th (last) week is what the Book of Revelation is all about: its a magnification of Daniel's prophecy giving us greater detail and clarity about what's to transpire at that time.

This last shabuwah starts from chapter 6 and continues through to chapter 19.

Prior to this section that elaborates on Daniel's 70th week, there are some last minute dealings with the church, as recorded in chapters 2 and 3.

Chapter 4 is about John's vision of the throne of God and apparently he is translated there as God commanded him to "come up hither". Many see John here as a 'type' or a model of the church in this passage.

Chapter 5 deals with the 'kinsman goel' that is He who purchased back the title deed of planet Earth and all its inhabitants with His own blood. Here He receives the scrolls with its seven seals, the breaking of which commences the Judgment and the Wrath of the Lamb upon the inhabitants of the Earth! Note: The church is not appointed to wrath (1Th 5:9). Yet the Wrath of the Lamb occurs as early as ch. 6 of Revelation.

Daniel states that the prince that shall come, breaks the covenant with Israel at the mid point of that final seven year period, that is, 3.5 yrs. into the middle of the agreed covenant. He then sets up his image in the temple to be worshipped as God.

Three and a half years prior to this abomination that makes desolate, the Beast is revealed (It speaks of the son of perdition being "revealed" in 2 Thess. 2: 3-12 and the 'Hinderer' is likewise mentioned: more on this later) to the world even as Christ breaks the first seal, commencing the time of Jacob's trouble, and the Beast rides forth "conquering and to conquer".

Observe that this occurs in ch. 6 or "after this" as stated in Revelation 4:1. This signifies an ending of what occured beforehand, and is beginning something different. This transition is significant in that it shows that the fulness of the Gentiles is completed, and that the focus is now on Israel.

Since this entire matter occurs in the 70th week of Daniel, the time of Jacob's trouble, the fulness of the Gentiles must already be passed, for God is now dealing with His people Israel. It's also worthy of note that after Revelation 2 and 3 there is no mention of the church on the Earth, but we see the church in heaven, represented by the 24 elders who proclaim:

Rev 5:8-9
And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

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;

Some have suggested that the 24 elders are the 12 apostles and the 12 prophets of the Old Testament, but I can't find anything in scripture to substantiate any of the OT prophets receiving thrones (as the apostles were promised) and crowns.
There were never any Kings of Israel that by God's calling officiated in priestly duties; those that tried were severely chastened by God; likewise no priests were ever reigning over Israel as their king. God intentionally separated the royal lineage (the Tribe of Judah), from the priestly lineage (the tribe of Levi).

There are only three persons that were both a king AND a priest:
Melchizedek, Christ Jesus (who follows the type of Melchizedek's priesthood and not that of Aaron; see: Hbr 5:5-6) and the church:

1Pe 2:9
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Thus these elders before the throne, I believe are truly representative of the church.

There are some I've spoken with that believe that the church WON'T be raptured out of this world UNTIL the temple is rebuilt, and that we may in fact witness the rise of the Beast, and as a proof text, they use Matthew ch. 24, and I would like to address this in the second installment of "RAPTURE: The WHO and WHEN Of It All"

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