The Rapture and The 70th Week
It is quite clear that many in the Body are confused in relation to the timing of the "Catching Up" of the faithful (the Rapture), the 70th Week and the Second Coming of our Lord and Saviour. We are told in the Word that the faithful in the Lord are not "Children of the dark, but Children of the light" and are thus not left in the dark on this most important matter. The wonderful truth is the Word of God is full of revelation.
"Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass." Luke 21:36.
The faithful in Yahushua (Jesus), are very much aware that we are living in an incredible time of history, for we are living in the very "generation" Yahushua (Jesus) said, would "not pass till all things be fulfilled." It is therefore important that we are fully aware of what lies ahead for us, as we are to be witnesses of Him who is the Light. It is our duty to warn the unsaved, Jew and Gentile, of the evil storm that lies on the horizon and is heading their way. This storm will be worse than any before it. How can it be escaped? Repent and "Return to God" in and through the blessed Name of Yahushua the Lord (Jesus)!
What did the Lord Yahushua (Jesus) tell us about the signs of His imminent return?
Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show
Him the buildings of the temple. Now as He sat on the Mount
of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, 'Tell us,
when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the
end of the age?' And Jesus answered and said to them, 'Take heed that no one
deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the christ,' and
will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you
are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there
will be famines,
pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. "All these are the beginning of sorrows" Matthew 24:1-8. "He (the Anti-Christ) causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666." Revelation 13:16-18.
Many of us have journeyed through the pages of the Word of God, to find clear answers on questions such as the caching away of the faithful and the Great Tribulation. "In what order will it occur?" Beloved, there are clear answers to this question and I pray that this chapter will deal with them and explain them for you. I pray that our wonderful Comforter, the Holy Spirit, will speak to you and give you complete understanding of the wonderful truth relating to the Lord Yahushua (Jesus) coming for His Bride!
When I first came to know Yahushua as my Lord and Saviour, I was led by the Lord not to read any books written by man, no matter how good they might have been, but to concentrate only on God's precious Word. Having an understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Lord opened up so much from the Tanach (the Old Testament) which I had never seen, nor known before. Now with new eyes, with scales removed, wherever I looked, I could see My precious Saviour in the heart of the Tanach, as the Lord continued to reveal so many gleaming gems, treasures, in His Word. From the blessed understanding the Lord was giving me of His Word, came the teaching which I have been blessed to share with the Body in Messiah .
It was by reading the Word how I came to understand that the faithful in Yahushua had to be taken before the Tribulation would commence. Where did I find this revelation? Was it in the New Testament or from other saints? No, I first discovered this truth in the Tanach.
Daniel chapter 9 contains one of the most powerful confirmations that the faithful in Yahushua (those that lived and those that remain when He comes) must be "caught up and meet the Lord in the air" prior the 70th Week!
We the faithful in Yahushua, can clearly see that the world is racing towards a cashless society, as spoken of in Revelation chapter 13. The electronic personal numbering system (known as the "electronic signature") is already being implemented. In fact President Clinton and his Irish counterpart were the first to use the electronic signature, signing a treaty, whilst Clinton visited in Ireland in 1998. Also in early 1999, the new European currency, the Euro was introduced in much of Europe. For the first three years, all Euro transactions are solely electronic transfers. One might ask, "will the Euro currency ever be released as cash?" After three years using the Euro in its current form, I believe it will become the favoured means of making transactions. In that case, cash will soon become obsolete. In and outside Europe, we are already accustomed to phone banking, Eftpos, credit and cash cards. The changeover to a cashless society will without doubt be a smooth one and easily accepted by those in the world. I recall sharing the facts relating to the cashless society and the coming events well over fifteen years ago. I was laughed at "Never in a Million years will anyone accept this cashless society, nor a personal numbering system" was the common reply. Today, the world has been slowly conditioned and soon it will be accepted it as normal.
It is obvious that weather systems world-wide has gone amok, just as the Lord told us would happen. We are witnessing the effects of it in these times, with the ever-increasing droughts, famines, storms and hurricanes with massive floods raging in every corner of the world. The Lord also made it clear that there would be many "earthquakes in divers places." It has been said to me, "but there have always been earthquakes, so what's new." Quite true. However, the number of earthquakes at this time is far greater than in all recorded history. In fact, a report, dated 19 February 1997 compiled by the National Earthquake Information Centre in Denver Colorado, provided the following statistics.
In 1970 there were 4,139 recorded earthquakes.
In 1996 there were 19,996 earthquakes.
In 1996 there were 15,857 more earthquakes than in 1970.
These facts prove without doubt the accuracy of Bible prophecy! The ravages of nature, which the Lord said would happen at the end times, sadly have seen thousands perish. In January 1999, thousands perished in Colombia. Without doubt, we are living in the "Last Generation" when the Lord will come for His faithful!
As we continue this study on the Rapture and the 70th Week, known also as the "Great Tribulation" or the "Time of Jacob's Trouble" let us read a portion of the Word of God for His instruction.
My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Yahushua the Messiah and love one another, as He gave us commandment. Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world" 1 John 3:18 to 4:1. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" Romans 12:2.
May the Word of God have clearly spoken to us, for most importantly we must, "abide in Him" and live a life "not conformed to this world." We are to "test the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets (and teachers) have gone out into the world." May the Lord assure your heart as we "live in Him" and do that which is, "pleasing in His sight." Always keeping watch, as the Lord told us to.
"Watch therefore and pray always, that you may be worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." Luke 21:36.
It is important the faithful in the Lord, have understanding of the Rapture and the 70th Week, for this understanding will affect the way we share the Lord Yahushua with others, especially to the people of Israel.
Due to a lack of Scriptural understanding, a well-known ministry based in Israel stated "There is no urgency for the Jews to come to the Lord now, they will have their time later." Indeed the Word says, "All Israel shall be saved" however it also states that that two thirds of Israel shall be lost, they shall die during that horrendous time of "Jacob's Trouble." Their error is understandable, for that same organisation also claims that "the Time of Jacob's Trouble has already occurred." This is a hideous lie of Satan! The truth is, we need to share Yahushua with Jew and Gentile, that they may be saved and will not have to endure the time of "God's Wrath!"
It must be stated at the outset, that Pre-Tribulation teaching of the "catching away" is based on literal interpretation of the Scripture. In fact, this is the only view that allows a literal interpretation of all Old and New Testament passages on the Great Tribulation. All other teaching is based on one of the following three things.
1. Teaching in the NATURAL. These teachers are not guided by the Word nor led by the Holy Spirit (many will claim that "God" or "the Holy Spirit said"). These teachers end up spiritualising the Word of God. Have we not all heard a great deal of spiritualising on occasions? A well-known Pastor teaches that the Two Witnesses are the Old and the New Testament. Now that is what I call, spiritualising the precious Word of God to no avail. We can just imagine the Bible standing "at the gates of Jerusalem", clothed in "sackcloth" turning "water into blood", "stop the rain" and "kill with fire" those that "oppose them?" Hardly think so. This beloved is teaching in the Natural. Without doubt, these two prophets sent by the Lord God, will speak the Word of God during that time and it will come straight from Him who is "the Word!"
2. The next may be called BABYLONISH teaching. As example, some teach the doctrine that "God has rejected (divorced) Israel and they are no longer His people." He has cast them away due to their sin and rejecting their Messiah. These teachers teach "we are now the people of promise. All the promises made to Israel are now ours! We the Church are the new Israel" or some have it, "Spiritual Israel." We sadly hear so many statements like, "We the Church are the true Israel of God." Then from that same circle comes this declaration "They (the Jews) are not chosen. They are cursed. They are not blessed, they are cursed! The Church is the Israel of God, not that garlic one over on the Mediterranean Sea." These teachers and so-called prophets teach in error, the fact is, they do not understand to whom the Lord God is speaking to in various Scriptures, to Israel or to the Church? Beloved, to teach "We are the true Israel", known as "Replacement Theology", can only be described, as Babylonish for this would mean that God has indeed divorced His wife and has taken another. In order to gain complete understanding of this subject please read chapter 6 entitled, "Who is Israel, has God Divorced Her."
3. This relates to teaching in IGNORANCE. Paul speaks of ignorance in Romans chapter 11 verse 25.
I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest
you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to
Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in."
We should understand that there are two kinds of ignorance. One is ignorance of not knowing, never having heard or learnt about certain Scriptural matters. This kind of ignorance is not punishable. Whereas, the second kind of ignorance is punishable, where you know or have been told the truth in relation to the Word of God, but you refuse to believe and act upon it. Some fellowships teach "all Christians must endure the Great Tribulation." Those same fellowships also tend to believe "We are the Israel of God." I was invited to teach at one of these fellowships. They enjoyed the teaching, but refused to accept the fullness of the Word. The sad fact is one error will lead to another. One sin will lead to other sins. Ignorance is rife in much of that which is called "the Church." Let us therefore beloved, pray for revelation and understanding of His Word, in order for many to be restored unto the Lord "in Spirit and in Truth!"
As already stated, some "in Christ" do not understand that the Lord speaks to two groups of people in His Word. 1. He speaks to those "in the Messiah" the faithful, as in 1 Thessalonians chapter four. 2. He addresses His natural "brethren", Israel, as in Matthew chapter 13 in the parable of the "Wheat and the Tares." In this chapter the Lord speaks to them knowing that Israel, His natural brethren, as a nation will not know Him at the Trumpet call for the "Solemn Assembly", the Rapture.
Another parable He (the Lord Yahushua) put forth to them, saying: 'The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?' He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, 'Do you want us then to go and gather them up?' But he said, 'No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 'Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, 'First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn'" Matthew 13:24-30.
In this parable, after discovering the tares among the wheat, the servants asked the master "Do you want us to gather them?" But he said "No" for it was the time of growth. Had they gone and pulled the tares up, considering the wheat and tares still looked much alike, they might have removed, and destroyed some of the wheat also. Instead, he instructed them to wait until "the Harvest time." The Harvest Scripturally is the Second Coming, which will occur at the end of the 70th Week. Here we see that the tares will be "bound" and taken away, removed, and destroyed. Whilst the wheat is "gathered" and taken to "the master's barn". What a marvelous picture the Lord gives us here. Obviously Yahushua is speaking to His natural brethren, the Children of Israel, who as a nation must go through the time of Tribulation, and clearly states that when He comes at the Harvest, the Second Coming, the tares, the evil ones will be bound, taken away to be destroyed. Whilst the wheat, the Tribulation Saints, which includes the remnant of Israel and those of every nation, who have come unto Him, will remain on earth with the Lord and will enter the Millennium. This is the opposite of Ephesians chapter 4, where the Lord addresses the faithful, the Church. Here the wheat, the faithful Bride, shall be taken away and will meet the Lord in the air, whilst the tares, all those in sin will remain and enter the Tribulation, the Day of the Wrath of God.
Teaching of the pre-Tribulation Rapture is certainly not based on natural desires to escape the suffering of that terrible time of Wrath. The accusation from certain circles is, "You are escapists." This certainly is not the case, for this teaching is based on a principle of sound interpretation of the Word of God. Over the past twenty one years, I have encountered those who claim to have been called to teach and minister, be it to Jew or Gentile. Yet they were unable to see nor understand one of the clearest truths found in the Word of God, the catching away of the faithful which will result in the commencement of the 70th Week. If we do not understand that which is called the Rapture, then we do not understand or know that which is the whole Gospel, which speaks of the Hope, the Grace, which all in the Messiah Yahushua have. It is in that hope we are able to "comfort one another."
Those called to minister by the Lord are called "witnesses saith the Lord." They are to be "servants whom God has chosen, that they might Know...Believe and...Understand" Isaiah 43:10. These three words contain a blessed truth, for there are many that know, or have heard about God, but have never acted upon it, nor sought Him. Knowing about God is of little avail unless you act upon it. Then there are those that know and believe in God. They may regularly attend a Church or on a holiday, but do not live "Born Again" lives in the Lord. However, those who know, believe and understand the fullness of the Word of God, will live according His ways and live in the truth of His Word.
They receive the fullness of the Lord with great joy and will feel rich in His Grace. Those who minister in His Name, who know and believe the Lord God, but do not understand the simple fundamental truth of the catching away prior the Tribulation, are ministering in the natural, not in the Spiritual.
The Lord through the Holy Spirit will reveal to His own, His plans and purposes for His people, the faithful in Yahushua, the Bride, and the Wife, the children of Israel and for those who are in error and in sin.
The pre-Tribulation Rapture, I believe, harmonises the relevant passages, without strained arguments. It does not confuse the Body with Israel or the (unsaved) Gentiles, and Lord's dealings with them. It recognises the difference between the Chastening of the Lord and the Wrath of God. It recognises the difference between the Age of Grace and the 70th Week. It recognises the difference between the provision for exemption for the Bride and the preservation of the Tribulation saints during the 70th Week. This teaching is a balanced interpretation, which gives God the Glory.
Without doubt, we are living in urgent times, for the Lord's return for the Bride is imminent. He gave us signs, like Israel's restoration to the land and Jerusalem. The Lord God spoke about these times, by using the word "Generation", back in Psalms and in the New Testament.
"You will arise and have mercy on Zion (Jerusalem), for the time to favour her, yes, the set time, has come (the people and the city re-united). For Your servants (The children of Israel) take pleasure in her stones, and show favour to her dust ... When the Lord shall build up Zion He shall appear in His glory ... This shall be written for the Generation to come" Psalms 102:13-14,16&18.
This generation has witnessed Israel‘s re-establishment in 1948, and her restoration to Zion, the city of Jerusalem in 1967, we know with assurance that "the set time has come." Also, knowing of Israel's fervour for archaeology, taking "pleasure in her stones", makes Psalms 102 come to life in our time.
In Hebrew, the words "Generation to come" is נחרון לדור - "Le'Dor Acharon" which literally means "the Last Generation." It is for that very reason we, the faithful must teach the blessed truth of the Word of God, to the Churches and to the world, Jew and Gentile, for we are living in the "last generation", before the Lord Yahushua comes for His Bride.
Many believe the Body must go through the Tribulation because it has become worldly, or even lukewarm and lazy. Therefore it should be purged or cleansed during the seven years of the Tribulation, or as some have it, during the first three and a half years. Not so! This would be making the Tribulation a type of purgatory. We the faithful in the Lord stand justified through faith in the Messiah Yahushua on the very basis of the shed blood of the Lamb of God.
There is "no condemnation to those who are in the Messiah Yahushua" Romans 8:1.
A study of the feast of Pentecost will reveal that the two loaves of bread offered to God contained leaven. These loaves prophetically represent the visible earthly Body of believers, made up of Jews and Gentiles, now one in the Lord, in which there is still some leaven. Many do not fully understand the reason thereof. Although we are washed clean by the Blood of the Lamb, there is still leaven in the Body. Only when we are changed in "the twinkling of an eye" we will be perfect, without leaven and sorrows. Our tears will finally disappear. Beloved, we are not saved by what we do, but what the Lord Yahushua did for us, by the shedding of His precious Blood. For we are saved by Grace!
Let us now turn to Daniel Chap 9.1-19 and read Daniel's Prayer.
"We have sinned Lord. Righteousness belongeth only unto You, but unto us confusion ... we have not obeyed Your voice or walked in Your Laws, which You gave to us through Your prophets...therefore the curse is poured upon us ... O Lord according to all Your Righteousness, I beseech You, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, and the Holy Mountain, for we and our fathers are the sinners ... O Lord forgive, hear my prayer."
This was the prayer of a righteous man, a true servant of God. Daniel admits to God "we are the ones that have sinned." At the end of the prayer, Gabriel appeared in a vision. In verse 21, he told Daniel.
"I have come to give you skill and understanding ... for you are greatly beloved, therefore, understand that which I tell you and understand the vision. Seventy weeks are determined upon Thy people and upon the Holy City, to finish the transgression and to make a end to sins and to make reconciliation for the iniquity and to bring in everlasting righteousness and to seal up the vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy" verses 22-24.
The "seventy weeks" which the Lord God, blessed be He, spoke of, how are they counted? We should realise that they are seventy sevens of years. These years were related to Israel, the Hebrews whilst they were in their city and their Land, thus it says, " Seventy weeks are determined on Thy people Israel and upon Thy Holy City, Jerusalem." Thus, the 70th Week is distinctly linked to the city and the people. The Lord God counts His time as being related to the time when Israel was in possession of Jerusalem. From Yahushua's death and resurrection in 29AD, Israel received 40 years, one full generation, to turn to their promised Messiah, before the city was destroyed and Israel was scattered to the four-corners of the earth. The following is a perfect example of God's counting the years, whilst the children of Israel were in possession and control of the City and the land. 1 Kings 6:1 speaks of 480 years.
"And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year, after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt."
However in Acts 13:17-22, we read a different time span covering the same period, yet it states it as being 570 years, speaking of 40 years in the Wilderness. 450 years of rule of the Judges, the 40 year reign of Saul, then the 40 year reign of David. Being a total of 570 years. Why is there a difference? The difference between the number of years stated in 1 Kings 6:1 of 480 years (which included the first 3 years reign of Solomon, thus our reckoning should be based 477 years) and that in Luke's account is as follows. Luke included the 93 years whilst Israel was in servitude to several nations which oppressed them. In 1 Kings, the Lord God refers to the 480 (or 477 to the end of David's reign) years of Israel's security as a nation, being in possession of the land and the city of Jerusalem. God does not include the 93 years of Israel's servitude. God's reckoning is Ordinal not Cardinal. Thus, God speaks in relation to His people in a specific period. Thus, it is with the "Seventy Weeks." When then will the 70th Week commence? It will commence when the faithful are taken, "caught up ... in the clouds to meet the Lord "in the air" 1 Thess 4:17, for the 2,000 years of Grace will be concluded.
The next question is "when will this occur, before, in the middle, or at the end of the Tribulation?" Beloved, the Scriptural fact is, we the faithful in Messiah Yahushua cannot enter the Tribulation, not even one day thereof. Why? The fact is, the Lord Yahushua promised His faithful that His faithful would not!
"Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth" Rev 3:10.
Are there other Scriptures that will give us a sure foundation to base our faith on, for the Rapture occurring prior the Great Tribulation? Indeed, there are many. But return with me to the book of Daniel chapter 9 and take a close look at verse 24. We must ask ourselves as we read it "What does God say and what can we deduct from it?
"Seventy weeks are determined for Your people and for Your Holy City, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy."
This verse contains three significant points that should clarify the situation.
1.The 70th Week is determined upon "Your People." The
Children of Israel."
2.The 70th Week is determined upon "Your Holy City." Jerusalem.
3.The 70th Week is determined in order "To finish the Transgression and to make an End of Sins." The wicked.
Daniel 9:24, clearly proves to us that those who enter the 70th Week will be in error and in sin, Jews and Gentiles without Yahushua as their Lord. Sadly, this will also include many claiming to be "Christians." Beloved, if you are going to enter the Tribulation, you must either be an unsaved Israelite or one who is in sin and in error. No this cannot be a picture of the faithful in the Lord Yahushua, of one who is saved, washed clean by the precious Blood of the Lamb, born again!
"Why must there be a catching up and why does the Rapture have to take place at a certain time?" - "Why must the faithful be taken from the earth?"
These are the common questions asked. Beloved, the Rapture is not only a turning point for the faithful in the Messiah, but also for the world. The world will never be the same again after the Rapture!
The Word of God gives many predictions of a coming judgement on the world, a world full of iniquity. Judgement is not only for the wicked, but also to cleanse the world from the results of sin and eventually to redeem it and perfect it for the Millennial Reign of our Lord and His faithful! Thereafter the Lord God will provide, a "New Heaven and a New Earth ... wherein dwelleth righteousness!" That is a big order and it cannot be accomplished without cleansing. There have been other judgements. The Great Flood of Noah's time changed the whole topography of the earth and established a new climatic pattern, the climatic pattern which is present to this day. The Lord Yahushua said.
"For in those days (the 70th Week) there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be" Mark 13:19.
In the Tanach (the Old Testament) this time, the 70th Week, is known as "the Day of Yahveh" or "the Day of the LORD." The purpose of that Day, is Judgement of those in error and in sin. The Day of Yahveh is divided into two parts. During the first three and a half years, that false peacemaker, the Anti-Christ, will make a treaty with Israel and delude the world with promises of peace and prosperity (sounds much like the Prosperity doctrine), at the same time introducing the "mark of the beast", the cashless society. Sadly, many will accept it without question. The second half of the Tribulation is known as the "Time of Jacob's Trouble." This time will be used to soften the hardened hearts of the remnant of Israel, in order that they might turn to their Messiah and be prepared for His Kingdom. The Day of the LORD will culminate in His Second Coming to the earth.
As already stated, there are many Scriptures that prove that the faithful in the Lord will be "caught up" before the Great Tribulation. Praise the Lord, for the Word is full of promises to those "in the Messiah" which assures us that we will be spared from the "Wrath of God" upon the earth.
"For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Y'Shua the Messiah" 1 Thessalonians 5:9.
"Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from Wrath through Him" Romans 5:9.
"The Lord knows how to deliver the godly from trials and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the Day of Judgement" 2 Peter 2:9.
"You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Yahushua who delivers us from the wrath to come" 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10
Some might reason that these verses refer to the future wrath of God, being the lake of fire. However, if we cannot claim these promises regarding deliverance from all the wrath of God during the Great Tribulation, then how can we accept that He will keep us from the lake of fire? Some will argue that the Tribulation is not the wrath of God, but the wrath of Satan against believers. We must remember that Two Witnesses will preach the Word of God during the first three and a half years, 1260 days to be precise. During this time, these two prophets of God, based in Jerusalem, who will be called the "tormentors of the world" will perform great signs and wonders, like those done back in Egypt.
"And I will give power to my Two Witnesses and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth ... And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire" Revelation 11: 3 & 5-5.
In the Name of God, these two prophets will have His authority to "shut up the heavens" to the point that the world will be without water by the end of their prophesy. In addition, they will "turn water into blood", not only will all drinking water dry up, but plant life, produce, and all life in rivers and the ocean will die. Starvation will be the order of the day. If there is an attempt to harm them, "fire (God's power) will proceed from their mouths which will "devour" in fact "kill their enemies". They will strike the earth as often as required "with all manner of plagues." I am sure we can name quite a number of them. Indeed, these two chosen men of God will execute God's wrath during the first half of the Tribulation and this will effect the whole earth. Thus, no one could possibly call these events the wrath of Satan. Again, the Scriptures speaking of the Day of the LORD prove this.
"And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" Rev 6:15-17.
We the faithful are not destined for the wrath of God. Anyone that teaches, the faithful in Yahushua must enter the Tribulation, are saying that the faithful in Messiah Yahushua are destined to suffer His wrath. Never! We shall not enter it. We have God's assurance on that!
During the Tribulation, there is no doubt that Satan will increase his evil activities with hideously cruel punishments and persecution against those that take a stand against the Anti-Christ. We must also be aware that many that claim to be "Christians" will enter the 70th Week, for they will be in error and in sin. Many of them will in fact repent and return unto the Lord, for they knew about God and believed in God during the two thousand years of Grace, but not understood God, nor obeyed His Word.
As the Word of God clearly states, the Great Tribulation is the time of the outpouring of the Wrath of God, it will touch Jerusalem and the whole earth.
"The great day of YHWH is near; it is near and hastens quickly. The noise of the day of YHWH is bitter; there the mighty men shall cry out. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of devastation and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of trumpet and alarm against the fortified cities and against the high towers. I will bring distress upon men, and they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against YHWH, their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like refuse. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of YHWH's wrath, but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy, for He will make speedy riddance of all those who dwell in the land" Zephaniah 1:14-18.
"For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up," says YHWH of hosts" Malachi 4:1.
"Behold, the day of YHWH comes, cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and He will destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light, the sun will be darkened in its going forth, and the moon will not cause its light to shine. I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity. I will halt the arrogance of the proud, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible" Isaiah 13: 9-11.
"And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?'" Revelation 6:15-17.
As we read these verses, a great sadness should have risen up in our hearts, for sadly so many will enter the 70th Week and have to suffer the wrath of God and the evil inflictions of the Anti-Christ and "the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit." For many of those that come to the Lord during the Tribulation will suffer by the hand of Anti-Christ. Our prayers must be that many more will be saved prior the Lord's coming for His Bride! Thank You Lord!
In relation to who is the Anti-Christ, that evil one who will persecute Israel far greater than any other before him, even worse than that madman Hitler? In fact that liar of all liars has a long history in the Word of God.
The Two Witnesses will minister with great authority and with signs and in wonders as already discussed. This gives us another indication that the Bride, filled with the Holy Spirit, cannot be present during the 70th Week. If we were to be there, why then these two special prophets, when there are millions of faithful in the Lord, filled with the Holy Spirit? With all the special gifts available to us, the Lord Yahushua would not need these two prophets.
We have seen miracles happen in the Body and prophecies fulfilled, as we have seen Israel the people restored to the land and later to Jerusalem. We have witnessed God's protection over them, as enemies attacked them round about. However, in recent times, we have seen no signs of any "Great Revival."
The Scriptural facts are beloved, the Lord poured out His Holy Spirit upon the Body on the 4th feast of Israel, the feast of Shavout or Pentecost, in the year 29AD, being fifty days after His resurrection which occurred on the feast of Firstfruits. Yahushua spent 40 days with His faithful, before returning to the right hand of His Father in heaven. Then ten days later, the Holy Spirit fell on the apostles and three thousand Jews who had come to know and believe in the Lord as their Saviour Acts 4:41-47. The Holy Spirit, the Comforter has filled the Body to this day. However, when the Bride is caught up in the air, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit will go with us. The only comfort available during this Tribulation will be the Word of God, at first delivered by the Two Witnesses, which will result in the salvation of 144,000 of Israel (from all the 12 tribes) Rev 7:4, 14:1&3. These 144,000 saved Jews will go forth and evangelise the world like never before. Praise God, many will come unto Yahushua during this terrible time.
These days we hear much of a "Great Revival" and there will be one, but this revival will not occur prior the Lord's coming for His Bride, but during the time of the Great Tribulation! Prior the Rapture, there will sadly be a "falling away", rather than a revival.
With the Holy Spirit's presence in the Body, we have not seen Israel accept their Messiah as a nation. Why? The sad fact is, Satan cleverly used those who claimed to be "Christians" to weave their evil torments on Jews and on true followers of the Lord, as millions have been tortured and murdered in "the Name of Christ." Israel identifies the word "Christ" with death, especially when they remember the Inquisition, the Crusaders, even Luther's outbursts in his book, "The Jews and Their Lies", where he said we must "rid Germany of these blasphemous Jews." Even in recent times there was the Irish situation, "Christian killing Christian." Israel does not see the Church as one of salvation, but death. God has another plan in His Word and thus it will be! Beloved, when the faithful, the Bride has gone to be with the Lord, He will use His two appointed ones to bring many of Israel back unto Him with great might and power as it was with the Exodus. God has the Master plan, praise Him!
It is interesting to note that in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 the phrase "in Christ" or "in the Messiah", refers to the faithful in this current Age of Grace. Verse 18 emphasises the word "Comfort". "Therefore COMFORT one another with these words." There would be no comfort, if the Bride has to go through the time of suffering known as "the wrath of the Lamb", during the Great Tribulation. Thank You precious Lord!
"These are the feasts of YHWH, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times" Lev 23:4
The Rapture is clearly shown in the feasts of Israel. Each of the seven feasts, Scripturally known as "the feasts of Yahveh - the LORD", contain a wonderful prophetic picture of the 1st event of the Lord Yahushua on earth, His sacrifice and resurrection. The "filling of the Holy Spirit" (commencement of the Age of Grace), the Rapture (end of Age of Grace and removal of the Holy Spirit). The Great Tribulation. The 2nd Coming of Yahushua and His Millennial Reign, and finally the New Heaven and the New Earth. In brief, the following are five blessed pictures of the last three feasts.
1.Fulfilment of the 5th feast, the "Feast of the Blowing of the Horns (Trumpets)", Lev 23:23-24 (a one day feast) prophetically represents the Rapture of the faithful Church.
"For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God ... 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" 1Thess 4:16-17.
2.Fulfilment of 6th feast, "Yom Kippur", Day of Atonement Lev 23:26-32 (a 1 day feast), is prophetically the 2nd Coming of Yahushua. Every eye shall see Him!
"And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives" Zech 14:4.
"Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen" Rev 1:7.
3.Fulfilment of the 7th feast, Tabernacles or Booths, Lev 23:33-36, (a seven day feast with an 8th day added) represents the Millennium Reign of Yahushua and His saints on the earth.
"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection, on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of the Messiah, and shall reign with Him a thousand years." Rev 20:6. Note: - The 1st feast of Passover, together with the 2nd feast of Unleavened Bread, which includes the 3rd feast of Firstfruits, is made up of a 1 day feast (Passover) plus a 7 day feast (Unleavened Bread). A total of 8 days. These eight days clearly represents the Lord's presence on earth. He who is without spot and blemish died for us and rose again in order that our sins may be forgiven, washed clean by the shed blood of the Lamb, and given a new beginning and life!
4.The 7th and final feast has a great similarity to the 1st feast in relation to its duration, for it is made up as follows. First, there are 7 days then 1 day, making a total of 8 days. This again represents the presence of the Lord on earth during the millennium.
Fulfilment of that final day which is added to "Tabernacles", that 8th day, Lev 23:39, is generally known as "Shimcha Torah" or Rejoicing of the Word, represents the New Heaven and New the Earth.
"Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a Bride adorned for her husband."
The above is only a short summary and can not be taken as a comprehensive teaching in relation to the fulfilment of the feasts of Yahveh - the LORD.
(Why the Faithful in Messiah Yahushua cannot go through the Tribulation)
1. On the basis of the distinction between Israel and the Body in Messiah Yahushua:
a. God never deals with Israel and the Body at the same time.
b. Because of the promises to Israel, yet unfulfilled, Israel must have a future. Evangelic and missionary responsibility of Israel will be completed in the Tribulation.
c. The nation of Israel is not yet complete.
d. "Daniel's 70 Weeks" not completed; Sabbatical year approach. (Exod 23:10,11 - Lev 25:3,4 & 26:33-36 - 2 Chron 36:20,21 - Jer 25:11,12, & 29:10 & Dan 9:2, 24, 25).
2. Statement and structure of Revelation:
a. The statement "Tereo ek" (Rev 3:10), "to keep out" not "Aireo" (to take out) used in context.
b. The Structure: the Church Age / Tribulation / Millennium / Eternity. (Rev chapters 2-3 / 7-19 / 20 / & 21:1-8).
3. The Statement of Thessalonians:
a. 2 Thess 2:6,7. Removal of the restraining presence of the Holy Spirit is impossible without removing the Faithful at the same time.
b. 2 Thess 2:2. Incorrect translation in the KJV & NKJ confuses the entire passage. "Day of Christ" should read "Day of the Lord." (False teachers came with a forged letter supposedly from Paul, who implied that the Day of the Lord, or Tribulation, had already come).
c. 1 Thess 4:16-18. Phrase "In the Messiah (Christ)" refers to believers in the Church Age. Verse 18 emphasises a comfort which could not exist if the Church were to go through the Tribulation.
4. Remnant of the Tribulation:
a. The Lord Yahushua returns to the earth with His saints. (1 Thess chapters 3:13 & Jude 14).
b. Yahushua at the same time delivers saints at the Second Advent. (Zech 14:1-5).
c. Yahushua cannot come with saints and deliver saints unless there are two groups of saints. 1. The Church and 2. Tribulation saints. Obviously two groups exist and both groups of saints are separated.
5. Grace before Judgement: God gives Grace before Judging:
a. Warning - Noah was rescued by heeding God's warning
b. Rescue - Lot was rescued by God
c. Judgement - Unbelievers at the flood judged and condemned.
6. Imminence of the Rapture:
a. No prophecy of Scripture has to be fulfilled before the Rapture can take place. (1 Cor 1:7, Col 3:4, 2 Thess 2:1, Titus 2:13).
b. Hence the rapture can take place any year, likely on the feast day of Trumpets (the 5th of the 7 feasts of Israel, is a prophetic picture the Rapture which could occur on the Feast of Trumpets).
c. Not so the Second Advent, much prophecy must be fulfilled before the Lord returns to the earth. As example the Rapture and all the events of the Tribulation.
7. The nature of the Tribulation:
a. The purpose of the Tribulation is to bring judgement of a world that has rejected Yahushua as their Saviour. God demonstrates that man cannot provide a perfect environment when Satan has full control and the "restraining ministry" of the Holy Spirit is removed.
b. God completes His dealings with Israel, which allows the Jewish people to fulfil their missionary ministry begun after the Babylonian Captivity.
c. God prepares Israel for the fulfilment of the Unconditional Covenants by the return of the Lord Yahushua during Israel's darkest hour and low point of human history, the Time of Jacob's Trouble.
8. Activity of the Faithful in Heaven:
a. Before the faithful return to the earth with the Lord, they appear before the Judgement Seat of the Lord for evaluation of fruits in their walk of faith - Rewards. 2 Cor 5:10, 1 Cor 3:11-15.
b. Hence, some interval is necessary (7 Years) before the Bride can be prepared.
c. The marriage of the lamb takes place in heaven (Rev 19:6-8) after which the Bride returns to the earth with the Groom (Rev 19:14). The wedding feast is held on earth (Rev 19:9).
The Word of God speaks clearly to us in relation to the pre-Tribulation Rapture and the Second Coming?
THE SECOND COMING
1. Not revealed in Old Testament, but illustrated, as in Dan 9 & other Scriptures.
Spoken of by all Major Prophets. Zech 14:4.
2. Promises to the faithful Church fulfilled.
Promises to Israel fulfilled.
3. Judgement seat of the
Great white throne (after Millennium) for. unbelievers. Matt 25:31, Rev 20:11-15.
4. Yahushua, the Bridegroom and Head.
Yahushua, Messiah to Israel (God keeping His Word to Israel). Zech 14 & other prophets.
5. Believers Body changed
Radical changes in nature. Rom 8:19-22.
6. Faithful go to heaven 1Thess 3:17.
Faithful comes back to earth 1 Thess 3:13
7. It is imminent. (No signs to be fulfilled before the faithful can be "caught up in the air").
Many details of prophecy yet to be fulfilled. Rev chapters 6-9.
8. Time of comfort for the believer. 1 Thess 4:13-18.
Time of terror for the unbelievers.Rev 6:15-17.
9. Private. (Only believers will see).
Public. (Every eye shall see Him). Rev 1:7.
10. Before Tribulation. Rev 3:10.
After Tribulation. Many Scriptures.
11. Believers taken from earth. 1 Thess 4:16-18.
Unbelievers taken from earth. Matt 24:37-42.
12.Removal of Holy Spirit. 2 Thess 2:7.
Removal of Satan. Rev 20:1-3.
The wonderful assurance the Lord has given us, the faithful in Him can be found throughout the Tanach and the New Testament. Remember the deliverance of Noah and his family, Lot and the Children of Israel's deliverance out of Egypt, are but pictures of that which is to come. Let us never doubt that wonderful truth, which is "comfort" indeed!
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore COMFORT one another with these words" 1Thessalonians 4:16-18.
Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass." Luke 21:36. Now it came to pass, while He (Yahushua) blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they (the faithful) worshipped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy and were continually in the temple (in fellowship) praising and blessing God. Amen" Luke 24:51-53.