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Eschatology 33 ~ Matthew 24:44- A New Wrinkle For The Rapture Of The Church

As a student of Bible prophecy and eschatology for thirty seven years, I have found that the discovery of new truths is becoming more and more infrequent.  Well, here is a new one.  It is based on one scripture in the famous Olivet Discourse spoken by Jesus:

Matthew 24:44  King James Version (KJV)

44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.


I discovered this truth in a book written recently by Terry James, entitled “Rapture Ready…Or Not?”  What made the discovery exciting was that I had the same exact thoughts about Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:44, and now I received confirmation from one who has studied eschatology throughout his entire life!

If one would attend a Prophecy In The News Conference, you would find that the forty to fifty speakers are all united, believing in a pre tribulation rapture of the church.  There are four scripture passages that are often quoted, all referring to the rapture doctrine.  They are 1) I Thessalonians 4:13-18, which is the plainest and most comprehensive scripture on this doctrine.  2) I Corinthians 15:50-53.  Paul presents the rapture as “a mystery,” meaning this teaching is a new doctrine not found in the Old Testament.  The Thessalonian and Corinthian passages parallel each other perfectly.  3) John 14:1-4.  This passage is not used as often in reference to the rapture, and refers to our Lord Jesus preparing a place for us to dwell in heaven.  Nonetheless it is a very appropriate passage in reference to our doctrine.  4) Finally there is Revelation 4:1.  The seven churches in Asia Minor are considered in Revelation 2-3.  Chapter 4 opens with John and the church taken to heaven, inferring that the church will be taken to heaven as the Great Tribulation is unleashed on a Christ rejecting world, expounded upon in Revelation chapters 6-18.  These are the four “rapture” passages that are most often referred to by those who have studied this doctrine to a great degree.

May we now contrast the famous Olivet Discourse, Matthew 24, with the aforementioned passages on the rapture of the church.  (The Olivet Discourse is found in all three synoptic Gospel accounts.  Namely:  Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 17, 21).   Theologians and scholars of eschatology have long contended that the prophecies shared by Jesus focus on the Jewish people and Israel, but NOT on the Gentiles, the church and the rapture.  It is very true that a great portion of Jesus’ prophecy zeros in on the Great Tribulation period and the nation of Israel.  When Jesus returns at the end of the Great Tribulation, it will be an expected event, since the Bible forecasts the Second Coming of Jesus Christ through the many signs leading up to it.  Now let us contrast His Second Coming in judgment with the rapture of the church, Matthew 24:44.  44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.  This passage states the Lord will come when no one expects Him to come.  The rapture of the church will be unannounced and no one knows when it will occur.  The second coming of Jesus Christ will happen at the end of the Great Tribulation period.  Jerusalem, we have a problem.  It seems that the only way to account for Matthew 24:44 is that Jesus is referring to the rapture of the church.  The only way that Christ’s coming for His bride can be totally unexpected is for it to happen prior to the Great Tribulation.  This is Terry James’ contention and I agree wholeheartedly.  Therefore Matthew 24:44 refers to the rapture of the church and not Christ’s Second Coming.  Jesus encourages all believers to always be ready because He will return at a time when no one expects Him.  The Bible forecasts Christ’s Second Coming as occurring at the end of the Great Tribulation / 70th Week of Daniel  /  Jacob’s Trouble.  The rapture will happen at a totally unannounced time.  Matthew 24:44 refers to the Lord’s return at a totally unannounced time.  When Terry James pointed this out in his book “Rapture Ready…Or Not?,” the truth of his words immediately resonated with me and I saw his point.  What could be plainer?  The rapture of the church is the next major event on the Lord’s prophetical calendar and will remove God’s church from His judgment upon a Christ rejecting world.  It will catch people by surprise, as mentioned in Matthew 24:44.


Blessings, Pastor Steve


Pray For Revival In America!

2015 Second Orlando Prophecy Summit, Part 48

Russ Breault    ~    Shroud Of Turin: Past, Present, Future

Russ Breault believes there is a 90% chance that the Shroud Of Turin is authentic.

RESURRECTION!  Apologetics

Apologetics is the branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.

A field of Christian theology which aims to present a rational basis for the Christian faith.

Why do you believe what you believe.

The Shroud falls within the field of apologetics.

The resurrection is the centerpiece of the Christian faith.  “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”  I Corinthians 15:14

“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile.”  I Corinthians 15:17

The resurrection is a settled historic fact:

  • The Shroud is not necessary for belief in the resurrection.
  • Not blind faith.
  • It is a matter of faith based on fact.
  • What are the proof points other than the Shroud?

The apostles referred to the resurrection as a factual event.  I Corinthians 15:3-6  There are about six post resurrection appearances.  The Jews never questioned the empty tomb!  They alleged the disciples stole the body.  How?  Pilate put soldiers to guard the tomb.  For what purpose?  All the apostles except John died as martyrs.  These apostles were all eye witnesses to these events.

Why Jerusalem?

  • Apostles were from Galilee.
  • Why didn’t they go home?
  • The Temple.
  • The Empty Tomb!
  • All the Romans or Jews needed to do was…
  • Produce the dead body of Jesus!
  • Resorted to persecution in AD 37.

Evidence of Transformation

  • Only 7 weeks after the resurrection, Peter with boldness stands in the Temple Court and challenges the very authorities who called for Christ’s crucifixion.
  • Not possible without complete assurance of the resurrection.  Acts 4:9-11

Martyrdom of the Apostles  –  All they had to do was deny the resurrection!

Are there non-biblical historical records that validate what the Scriptures claim?   There are over twenty non-Christian sources between 30 and 130 AD.  They all refer to Jesus as a historical figure.  Twelve mentioned his death by crucifixion.  Ten refer to His resurrection!

With or without the shroud, the resurrection is a historic fact.  The shroud can give us further insight.

Is the Shroud Proof?

  • No…not scientifically
  • The possibility is staggering
  • It could be the most important artifact on the planet!
  • The ultimate apologetic

The Shroud:  Past-Present-Future

Message through History

The image was rediscovered in Edessa, Turkey in the sixth century, described as the true likeness of Christ, not made with human hands.  The icon images all changed from this point on, imitating the shroud.  There are coins from this time with over 180 points of congruence with the shroud.

II Corinthians 4:4

Jesus is the image of the invisible God.  Hebrews 1:3

To see Jesus is to see God.


Early Context

  • Roman Emperor Caligula who reigned from 37-41 A.D.  was the first to demand worship.  All other emperors who followed, demanded the same.
  • Thousands of Christians would die as martyrs refusing to worship the emperor or his image.

The Image as Theology

  • Early images based on the “True Likeness” were used to confront paganism.
  • Later use was to combat heresy and Gnosticism.  I John 4:1-3

Message to the Church today

  • Remember your first love.   Revelation 2:4
  • You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  I Corinthians 6:19-20
  • The church of God, which he purchased with his own blood.  Acts 20:28

The shroud is a relic, a symbol, a mystery and an artifact.

A Prophetic Message To The Church

The resurrection had no eye witnesses.

What happened in the tomb?  The key to the future is the past.  Matthew 28:3  The Transfiguration  Matthew 17:2

Conversion of Saul  Acts 9:3-8

Has God reserved the shroud for us in the twentieth  century as proof of the resurrection?

We are looking for the glorious appearing.  The blessed hope.  Titus 2:11-14   I John 3:2-3

The power of the resurrection is the power of the Holy Spirit within you!  The shroud represents a future event- the coming of the Lord.  Hebrews 9:28

The next event on the church calendar is the rapture of the saints.

The message of the shroud is BELIEVE!



Apostasy – Present And Accounted For

I have spent a lot of time over the years, taking trips to other nations and continents where the Gospel is better received.  Yes, I know we are to “be instant in and out of season,” but nonetheless it is truly exhilarating to observe people respond favorably to the Word of God.  My heart goes out to missionaries who spend a lifetime toiling away in a pagan environment and fail to see even one convert.  Our church is hosting a revival the week after next.  Let me contrast what a real revival is compared to what we call a revival.  A real revival is when the saints of God are convicted by the Word of God.  When this happens, the saints fall in line with God’s will for their lives and obey Him.  The lost become saved!  THAT is God’s idea of a windswept and heart touching revival.  The book of Acts is one big revival.  The modern definition however is different – It is when the local church hosts a guest speaker for a period of time, and he expounds upon the Word of God to the congregation and friends.  These use to be very effective, prior to our nation becoming Gospel hardened.  Now, the church gravitates towards other less convicting pursuits such as music concerts, block parties, trunk or treat, Easter egg hunts and the like.  I attempted to advertise our revival on a contemporary Christian radio station’s website, and it has been “pending” for two weeks.  Funny, when I requested promotions for contemporary musicians we just hosted, they went right through.  Why is this?  Well, the radio station, I will hide their identity and just call them “W Christian Lite,” promotes the feel good aspects of the Gospel and not the whole counsel of God.  I appreciate all kinds of Christian music, but note the absence of key doctrines from many of the contemporary musicians:  1)Some are ashamed of the mere name of Jesus.  We sometimes wonder who they are singing about when the only reference to the Lord is an impersonal pronoun.  2)Lacking also is conviction over sin and the need for repentance, without which one cannot become saved.  This is often totally absent.  3)The reality of hell is rarely mentioned.  4)The need to be born again (John 3:3) and receive a new heart is omitted.  …..and others.  The question remains:  “Is a partial “grace only Gospel,” really the Gospel.  My answer is:  “No way Jose.”  On the bright side, the one faithful Christian radio station in our area, WSEB, will promote the revival.  I will not have to even listen to check and see if they share the news of our revival.  How do I know this?  Because I know who the station manager is, and the preachers they feature, and the great Christian aura about their station in general.  Many of our churches have false doctrine, watered down doctrine, and no longer even focus on the Bible in their teaching and preaching.  The churches that are still truly faithful (and we praise the Lord for them), are often sparsely attended, with a great majority of their membership being seniors.  We have arrived at the generation who knows not the Lord.  When prayer and Bible reading were excised from the schools in the early 1960’s, we set the stage for our nation to turn away from the Lord.  We have sown the wind, and are reaping the whirlwind.  God is not mocked and we will reap what we have sown.   

   Hosea 8:7 King James Version (KJV)

For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk; the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.

Galatians 6:7 King James Version (KJV)

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

The Bible forecasts NOT a revival but a great falling away (apostasy) before the coming of the Lord. 

2 Thessalonians 2:3 King James Version (KJV)

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Now, let not your heart be troubled.  In spite of the sad conditions in our apostate nation today, this is all a forecast for a great soon coming future for the believer:


Luke 21:28 King James Version (KJV)

28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

Amen and amen!

Pray For Revival In America

Maranatha, Pastor Steve

Eschatology 32 ~ Why I Believe In A Pre Tribulation Rapture

This verse highlights God’s ideals when judging Sodom and Gomorrah.  It highlights the hermeneutical Law  (Principle) of First Mention.  God NEVER changes.  “I am the Lord and I change not.”  “I am the same yesterday, today and forever.”  He separated believers from unbelievers, and the righteous from the unrighteous at every judgment: The Flood Of Noah, Sodom And Gomorrah, and Rahab At Jericho.  The Tribulation Period will feature millions, and even billions of people of dying, as the Lord treads the wine press and unleashes His fury on a Christ rejecting world.  God’s word says “My judgment will be without mercy.”  Many Christians underestimate the fury that will be unleashed during the Great Tribulation.  The Bible calls it the period of Jacob’s trouble.  All hell will break loose on the planet earth, during this apocalyptic judgment.  If I would not wish this on my worst enemy (and I would not), then tell me why the Lord would break His own covenant of love and redemption for the body of Christ?  It simply does not add up.  This blog site has many scriptures that validate a Pre Tribulation rapture of the church; here is yet another:


Genesis 18:25  King James Version (KJV)

25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

Genesis 18:25 is a universal proof text that God will never judge the sheep with the goats, the wheat with the tares, or the righteous with the wicked.

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A Word For Prognosticators, Speculators, And Date Setters…

Please STOP it!  I hear this nonsense every year at this time.  People take end times prophecy into their own hands, and tell folks that it will all happen in the next 30, 60 or 90 days.  No one appreciates the Biblical study of eschatology (end times prophecy) more than I, but the Bible affords absolutely no wiggle room or formula for date setters.  I teach in a local Bible Institute, and an occasional student will tell me that there is no need to plan on a final exam because the church will be gone by the time the test is due.  (Wishful thinking?)  Guess what?  They all took their final test.  Misguided folks will often align the rapture with the Day of Atonement or with the date(s) of one of the Jewish feasts from the book of Leviticus in late summer and early fall.  A few years ago, people had an erroneous fixation on the Mayan calendar.  More recently, Pope Francis has been the perceived centerpiece for the revelation of end times prophecy.  There is a new flavor(s) every year.  Nearly EVERYONE missed the date of Jesus’ first coming  except for Mary and Joseph and a handful of their relatives and friends.  A few shepherds received an announcement via an angelic visit, and the wise men came a year later.  Goodness gracious, to this day we do not know Jesus’ birth date in Bethlehem.  In reference to His soon return, the Bible warns us to always be ready and do NOT set dates:

 Matthew 24:36  New King James Version (NKJV)

No One Knows the Day or Hour

36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”


…And then there are those who CONTINUALLY tell us that in the next 60 to 90 days, the dollar will crash and global currency will take its’ place, Marshall Law will be declared, there will never be another president, get your survival food, guns and ammunition, a well for water, gold and a generator, and you had better be ready to meet the Lord because you have one quarter of a year to do so.  These dates are set time after time after time after time…  One does not win souls to Christ through panic!  Telling people “They better get right with the Lord, because it is all coming down the pike in the next three weeks,”  looks very foolish after twenty two days.  People are convicted of their sins and realize their need of a Savior by the Holy Spirit, not through threats.  Perhaps one ought to direct their focus on God through prayer for our nation and world, rather than continually pressing the panic button.  As a pastor for well over three decades, I have noticed that the Chicken Littles who are always screaming “The sky is falling,” are never in prayer meeting.  This speaks volumes about their focus and priorities.  “Prayer moves the hand that moves the world.”   ~E.M. Bounds

Focusing on “doomsday,” instead of striking a spiritual chord about salvation with people, often makes  Christians appear fanatical.  Events are lining up that could enable the New World Order (NWO), but we do not know what God is going to do.  He may send us a windswept, nation wide revival, reminiscent of the “Jesus movement,” from the 1960’s and 1970’s.  I pray He does.  Prophecy is indeed exciting to study and to learn, especially as we realize the Lord’s return is immanent.  But there must be a healthy balance in our walk, and a realization that God is in charge over everything.  Trying to figure out truths known only to God is a deep pit where many people have fallen.  What is your source for spiritual truth, wisdom and understanding?  The Bible or the internet?  If you desire to be a soul winner, it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

When I was six years old, my father shared with me one of the most precious stories that I have ever heard, and I remember him telling me like it was yesterday.  It was the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”  I always remember the people who erroneously set dates that only God is aware of.  …And when they are wrong, do they display contrition?  Hardly.  They often “keep crying wolf,” and set another date.  The quintessential poster boy of date setters, doomsday prophet Harold Camping comes to mind.  Enough said.

In His Service, Pastor Steve

Pray For Revival In America!

Douglas Woodward And The Pre Tribulation Rapture Of The Church

Doug expounds on his interpretation of the rapture and the timing, but more importantly, he shares what our attitudes should be towards believers with other eschatological points of view:



Our hope and desire is to provide useful articles and resources for you and our Christian community. Just click on the title below … Enjoy!



    S.Douglas Woodward

    The Family Squabble Has Gotten Out of Control

    Allow me to begin this article with one heartfelt word:  *Sigh*

    There is so much debate right now between the various camps holding differing positions on the timing of the rapture, an outsider would look at the situation in the pre-millennial prophecy community and assume we are enemies rather than family.  You would think, based upon what has been said recently, we are forgetting that our adversaries are the teachings of antagonistic secular humanists, new age pantheists, and radical Muslims. That is a shame, for we are forgetting our prime directive given to us by Jesus and repeated by the Apostles Paul, John, and Peter:  to love one another as Christ loves His Church. “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.” (I John 3:23) (See also John 13:24, 15:12; 1 Thessalonians 3:12, 4:9; 1 Peter 3:8)  But this is plenty of vitriol within the family and accusations flying back and forth.  Passion and zeal have intermingled with dogmatic partisanship and the debate over the rapture flourishes again, hotter now than ever.


    Rapture and Resurrection — What is the timing of these events?

    To make it clear up front, I am predisposed toward a Pre-Trib point of view. I characterize myself in this way, not carelessly nor without respect for the other perspectives, for I have always been given to seeing another’s point of view.  As a teacher I do my best to encourage my students to develop their own point of view–to present the alternative teachings and study the scripture, THEN purpose that they make up their own mind.  I teach that way, not because there are many truths and one truth is as good as another, but because God gave each of us a mind and made us moral agents.

    There is no escaping the fact that we are responsible for what we choose to believe.  By studying for ourselves and asking for enlightenment from the Holy Spirit, we should form our beliefs and be able to give a reason for the hope that is within us.  “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1 Peter 3:15)  Peter also teaches that no scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation (2 Peter 1:21) for the prophecies came from prophets moved by the Spirit of God, not by the will of men. They are God’s words and not open to interpretation. That being said–that there abides one truth and one right interpretation–in regard to the timing of the rapture, there remains plenty of room for God’s people to miss that right interpretation.  Mistaking what comprises the correct point of view can be because we don’t want to know the truth and we hide from the light of truth.  But in this squabble, we should not begin by assuming that those who disagree with us do so because they are being dishonest, seek to injure us, or lack earnestness to learn what the Bible teaches.

    Therefore, we should seek to work together to learn the singular, biblically correct interpretation and to do so in charity and humility.  We should not disparage those whose interpretation is different than ours, but to uphold them in prayer and fellowship even as we express our disagreement based upon our understanding of the scripture.

    But allow me to go further:  Those who disagree with our view on the rapture, and do so based upon their understanding of the Word of the Lord, are neither apostates nor heretics.  They are not uncaring nor unfaithful.  Pre-Tribbers are not escapists; Post-Tribbers are not masochists.  If pastors, they serve the Lord in good faith and teach in accordance to what they have learned.  To accuse those we disagree with with any of these motives constitutes a moral lapse on our part.  To be angry with them, to call them ignorant or unthinking comprises a serious sin which Christ solemnly warns us against. “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca (“Good-for-nothing”) shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Matthew 5:22)  The time has come to place this insight and commandment of our personal point of view above what we deem constitutes doctrinal correctness.  We should stand up for what we believe, but not while we tear someone else down.  To do less, is to dishonor God who commanded we love one another and Him with all our heart, soul, and mind.

    A Frequent Charge Leveled Against the Pre-Trib Position

    Having presented the previous as my context for speaking on the topic, allow me to narrow my focus to just one matter:  whether there is a single verse that proves the Pre-Trib rapture interpretation of the resurrection and coming of Christ for His saints. It is indeed one of the arguments advanced against those who espouse the Pre-Tribulation rapture of the church, that we should be able to “name one verse that proves the Pre-Trib position is true.”  The argument obviously originates with a brother or sister (usually a brother!) that takes the view that the rapture happens right before the wrath of God is poured out on an unbelieving and unrepentant world, or one who believes that the rapture and the visible Second Coming of Christ happens immediately before (or maybe one 24-hour period before [1] the visible return of Christ to this earth.  Of course, these latter two views are the Pre-Wrath and Post-Trib point of view.  But the arguer when advancing his or her argument assumes that there isn’t one verse that by itself can prove the Pre-Trib position stands true.  Furthermore, the “arguer” assumes (wrongly I might add) that if there isn’t any single verse that clearly states the Pre-Trib position (and eschews the others), then, obviously, the doctrine of the Pre-Trib view must be wrong.  In other words, any doctrine worth its salt must have at least one, clearcut verse (not passage mind you, just a verse) that says explicitly, “Jesus Christ comes for His Church before the “Tribulation Period of the Last Days” commences.

    Lot Flees from the Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

    The fact of the matter is that any doctrine worth its salt will indeed have several verses (that to those who believe the doctrine) seemingly offering substantial corroboration, as well as evincing whole passages that teach the doctrinal truth, as well as scores of hints and antitypes scattered throughout the scripture, and furthermore, will correspond and

    coordinate with other biblical doctrines.  Despite this being so, on the other hand, for the unbeliever in a doctrine, who has his or her mind made up “for good” and likely fears changing his or her mind for one of many reasons (some psychological, some prideful, some scriptural), the opposite will be true.  One verse won’t convince them, whole

    passages won’t convince them, antitypes  scattered throughout the Bible will be discounted, and other doctrines that could reinforce the doctrine in question will be dismissed as obviously unrelated if not totally antithetical to it.  Ladies and gentlemen:  That constitutes the way we humans are wired.  As the saying goes, once we have a horse in the

    race and the betting window closes, we are more than reluctant to give up on that horse.

    Three of those “Just One Verse” Verses

    With this as backdrop, allow me then as one who believes the Pre-Trib rapture has merit and is supported by scripture, to recite just a few verses that we who believe this way ascribe as scriptural evidence for our position.  For those who believe otherwise, these verses can be interpreted in such a way as to not support the Pre-Trib understanding.  That is a given.  Nevertheless, these few verses hold meaning to me to substantiate that the rapture comes before the time of great tribulation.  I will quote both the traditional King James version as well as the New English Translation (a more modern version but based on more numerous and more highly regarded Greek manuscripts) just to show that the meaning of the verses isn’t altered by moving from one version to another.  Then I will provide some very modest commentary just to make my point in this article.  Now, the three one-verse rejoinders:

    Luke 21:36–Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (KJV)

    But stay alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that must happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (NET)

    Revelation 3:10--Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (KJV) Because you have kept my admonition to endure steadfastly, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is about to come on the whole world to test those who live on the earth.  (NET)

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

    For God did not destine us for wrath but for gaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. (NET)

    As we read these verses, please understand they do not prove any of the rapture positions outright.  But they can support any of the positions, including the Pre-Trib position. There are antitypes in the Old Testament of being “kept from” (as in preserving–think of Noah and his family, or Daniel in the Lion’s Den) as well as rescued from (as in escaping--think of Lot and his daughters, or Rahab from Jericho).  These verses, all three, or any one support the Pre-Trib rapture.  But like other “single verses” that support other doctrines, they need to be read in light of the meaning of resurrection, the meaning of salvation, and God’s antitypes like the harpazo (or rapture) of Enoch and of Elijah.

    The Parousia–The Coming of the Lord

    The IVP Bible Background Commentary (New Testament) Craig S. Keener provides this same perspective in which any of the various views of the rapture can be supported, including the Pre-Trib point of view:

    Apocalypses sometimes prophesied special deliverance (i.e., protection) for the righteous in the coming times of hardship; the Old Testament also promised God’s faithfulness to his people in such times… Some texts (e.g., the Dead Sea Scrolls) spoke of the righteous being tested by the future time of suffering, although the motif of the righteous  being tested in sufferings in general was a common one (“Keep from” could mean “protect from” [cf.Rev 7:3; cf. Jn 17:15, the only other New Testament use of the construction] or “preserve from.”)  Revelation probably contrasts the wicked “earth dwellers” with the righteous “heaven dwellers”; apocalypses (like 4 Ezra, Similitudes of Enoch and 2 Baruch) also announce judgments on the “inhabitants of the earth.” [2]

    In regards to Luke 21:36, Keener points out the same perspective again:  the verse could easily support a Pre-Trib point of view, but one can’t be dogmatic about it.

    “Strength to escape” (v. 36) could refer back to the escape of verse (Luke 21:) 21 or to enduring the persecutions of verses 12-19; “standing before the Son of Man” may mean persevering or being presented triumphant before him. [3]

    When we come to the verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:9, those who discount that this verse refers to the wrath of God described in Revelation’s “trials, vials and trumpets” argue that the salvation proclaimed here is soteriological  salvation–in short, being saved from God’s wrath in hell not from the wrath of God poured out on the “earth dwellers”

    in John’s apocalypse.  However, I disagree strongly on this point primarily because the entire context of Paul’s discourse relates to the day of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:2) coming as a thief to those who are “in the dark”.  Paul admonishes them that they are not living in the dark, but in the light.  They are children of the day so they WILL NOT be caught by surprise (so long as they live by faith, live soberly, put on the breastplate of righteousness, etc.). Whether they wake or sleep (5:10) they will live together with Christ.  The use of those terms, waking and sleeping, reminds us of Paul’s exquisite wording on the rapture and resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:51: “We shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed.”   And likewise, his introduction to this passage from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, “concerning them that have fallen asleep.”  At a future great day, the Lord will bring with him those that have fallen asleep, and “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 4:17).

    From my point of view, the argument advanced against the Pre-Trib position (“there is not one verse that proves it”) is a two-edged sword.  There is no verse that disproves it unless it is taken out of context and detached from the rest of  biblical teaching. There are indeed many arguments pro and con:  And I believe all of those arguments can be adduced in support of or against any of the positions held on the timing of the rapture.  That doesn’t mean that they are all equally true; contrariwise, it does not mean that none of them are true.  One will be proven true.  And frankly, as we get closer and closer to the great tribulation of the last days the correct point of view will become rather obvious.  In the meantime, I believe we are called to continue to study the scriptures, listen intently to teachers representing any of the positions as long as they do not teach from envy or strife (1 Timothy 6:4, Philippians 1:15), and test our views making more sure the word of the Lord… and, especially as Paul and the Lord Jesus Himself said, that we are counted worthy to stand before the Lord, whether triumphant in heaven or valiant in the midst of persecution here on earth.  For in either case, the Lord Jesus will be with us and we will be with Him.  And, whether because of the refinement from earthly persecution or the glorification which comes as part of the heavenly parousia, the debate will be over–we will be together and living harmoniously in the knowledge of the truth.


    [1] There are those who believe the “Day of the Lord” (which most all scholars associate with the wrath of God and the Day of Judgment) is a literal 24-hour day.  I do not hold to that point of view.

    [2]  Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary–New Testament, Downers Grove, Illinois:  IVP Academic, see commentary of Revelation 3:10, pp. 736.

    [3] Ibid., p. 235.

    If you enjoyed this article, you may enjoy Doug Woodward’s ” Lying Wonders of the Red Planet” offered FREE with a one – year Subscription to Prophecy in the News magazine.


2015 Second Orlando Prophecy Summit, Special Edition

Donald Perkins  /  Mark Of The Beast

This message is from a wonderful preacher in Southern California who has been preaching the Gospel for thirty years.  Unlike the many other installations of the 2015 Orlando Prophecy Summit on this blog site, you can watch this message live.  You will never hear a finer preacher who makes the Gospel plain and easy to understand.  Donald is patient, speaks plainly, and will talk at length with anyone  in his spare moments who sees him at the conference.  Our son Matthew and I were at this seminar.  This special edition video is the same as 2015 Second Orlando Prophecy Summit, Part 8.  Enjoy…   Pastor Steve   <><

Evangelist Don Perkins and his beautiful wife, Marie, are both Spirit-filled and committed Christians. They reside in Southern California. He has been ministering the Gospel of Jesus Christ for nearly thirty years and has been a guest speaker several times at our prophecy conferences.
He is an absolutely wonderful preacher and also a dear friend to Linda Church and Prophecy in the News. We have just started offering his DVD sets of messages for the first time. Watch below as he speaks the message of “The Mark of the Beast” from our 2015 Orlando Prophecy Summit.


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