|This ministry has a distinct kingdom, Messianic vision, identifying with God’s call and plan for the Jewish people and the church. My position is pre-trib! Personally: I was saved in 1976 while working as a war correspondent, journalist, photographer, artist and environmentalist. My calling is to share these great end-time dramas, to stand as a watchman and above all, to glorify my God.|
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Edition 348: January 25th
The error of imminence:
The error of imminence:
The doctrine of the rapture is the most exciting of all. It is highly controversial thanks to the devil’s interference in it. It has so many misconceptions associated with it as well, and all out attacks by many within the church.
The imminence is not a salvation issue, so don’t get bent out of shape about it. But do dive into the scriptures afresh with eyes of logic open. I have a far greater problem with those who deny the rapture altogether and the post-tribbers, than with those who believe in imminence.
The doctrine of imminence essentially maintains that the rapture can happen at any time, without any previous warning signs. There will be no way of knowing when it will happen, except that it will happen before the tribulation period begins.
I am in full agreement with the pre-tribulation rapture position, but not the imminent occurrence.
In this edition I’ve included a brief description of the psychological conditions of people in the tribulation period, who missed the rapture, which I’ve compiled from numerous verses.
The origin of the “imminent” doctrine:
Those who believe in the imminent rapture always say that the early church believed it would be raptured at any time without prior warning. They say that Paul himself believed he would be raptured at any time.
The key “imminence” verse is: “No one knows the day or hour of the Lord’s coming” (Matthew 24:36)
Paul writes on this saying: “Concerning the coming of our Lord and our gathering together to him, be not soon shaken...that day will not come until the falling away (Lit=departure of the church) comes first...” (2 Thessalonians 2:2-3)
And Paul also says: “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 Messiah will arise 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 will always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
So here we see that Paul was the author of some of the great rapture verses.
But hang on a minute, Paul could not have believed in imminence for himself, nor could the rest of the early church!
Paul was told by our Lord that he would die an old man. So how could he have been looking for an imminent rapture? Some of the early churches were told that they would die in persecution.
Many who criticise us for rejecting imminence go into the ditch on the other side and accuse us of being date-setters.
Is it in God’s character to warn before judgement? It most certainly is. So why should that situation now suddenly be any different?
So many churches, ministers and ministries are beginning to see eye to eye on these things like never before in these days.
Rapture and dispensations:
The rapture would be easier to prove as an imminent event if it was lifted out of prophetic time and seen as a separate event without anything else occurring anywhere near it, but that is not the case.
The rapture clearly ends the dispensation of the church, with a new dispensation beginning immediately. This new one is called the seventieth week of Daniel, or the time of Jacob’s trouble, or the seven year tribulation. These terms are all for the Jews and not the church.
There is no and can never be any inter-dispensation period of time. Because of the different destinies of the dead, dispensations must follow each other immediately as they did in history. For example, the Bible says that the “dead in Messiah will rise first and we who are alive will be caught up...” That is not the same destiny as the Old Covenant saints.
So, we have to see the rapture as the event ending the church age and starting the seven-year tribulation with the revealing of the antichrist. Before the tribulation as a dispensation, can even begin the “restrainer” must be removed.
I’m not getting into this in any detail here, but there is enough biblical consensus and agreement amongst students and watchers that the “restrainer” is in fact the church indwelt by the Spirit of God. He is not the Spirit of God alone, nor the church alone, but both. The Spirit of God will still be here in the tribulation, but in a limited capacity as He was during Old Covenant times.
The “restrainer” to be removed is not the archangel Michael, because he is “released” to help out in the tribulation, not taken out of the way as the restrainer is.
No one knows the day?
Does the Bible say “no one knows the day or hour of the Lord’s coming or the tribulation start?
We may not know the actual day and hour of the rapture / tribulation start, but we are most likely to know within a very short period of time. “Day and hour” is in fact a very short, specific space in time.
God will give us warnings as the day approaches.
Here are some examples of God’s warnings
Ezekiel 3:17 “I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel, therefore hear and give them warning from Me.”
Ezekiel 33:6 “If the watchmen sees the sword coming, and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned and they are taken away in their iniquity, his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.”
There are many more.
The point is that God warns. These verses relate to Israel, but as said, the rapture begins the dispensation of the “seventieth week” which is for Israel.
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons that so many oppose anything to do with the rapture and tribulation start is because it is all about judgement, and people don’t like that!
It’s the “crowd speak” and the “confirmation bias” of the group that gives them comfort and assurance that they’re okay. But the biggest problem they have made is in following each other into a fool’s paradise believing no judgement is coming.
Feeding your naive, short-sighted flock with happy promise-box verses and saying to them, “these are for you for today and for the year” is actually tremendous error when in fact great judgement is coming soon.
The all-important identification:
I heard someone ask the question: “Why would the rapture happen on a Jewish feast day when we are Christians and not Jewish?
The rapture is very much about Israel and the Jews as well! The end of the church dispensation immediately begins the dispensation where the Jews are primarily in focus and this is coming soon.
It’s very important to know and understand your spiritual heritage. Although the dispensation of the church is mainly Gentile and is about to end, we have a strong heritage and identity with those Jews who are to become tribulation saints.
Is the true church a product of Israel or Babylon / Rome / the Catholics? Its heritage is entirely of Israel, and the Jews. We all know the lineage: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who became Israel, the Jews and Messiah and the church. Well, if we trace it back the other way, we see our heritage. It is the church, Messiah, the Jews, Israel, Jacob, Isaac and Abraham.
Every one of the identities found in Babylon, Rome and the Catholics are the counterfeit!
Galatians 6:16 “As many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and the Israel of God.”
The Bible speaks of the Israel of God and the commonwealth of Israel. These are the true, saved Christians. We are of the commonwealth of Israel and not of Rome!
As such we have our identity forever merged with Israel. If your church has no Israeli, Jewish identity it is counterfeit, formed and born in Babylon / Rome.
It’s not God’s style to trip up His own children! It’s not His style to catch them out. Throughout the Bible, God warns of coming judgement. God uses many signs, symbols, parables and even hidden messages to inform us.
He uses His watchmen to watch and warn and He does all things decently and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:40)
We are commanded to "watch, be ready and know the signs". Most churches today say, "don't watch, don't bother with these silly signs, just give us your money and you will be happy!"
The doctrine of imminence doesn’t quite add up. The Bible commands us to “know the times and seasons.” Yes, this is a broader term than “day and hour” but it still carries great importance.
What does God get out of imminence? The answer is nothing really. What does God get out of pre-warned and knowing children? He gets; readiness, holiness, watchfulness, and children in inner peace.
What if you’re wrong?
The argument used against those who are watchful in terms of signs and dates is always, “What if you’re wrong?”
It’s a very good argument, which I understand. Personally, I’m always careful with the words I use.
Firstly, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Never make these signs your central thing. Watch, pray, be ready, look at times and season, but always with an air of caution. Your central and main thing must always be knowing Him with times and seasons secondary.
“People will be discouraged if you’re wrong” they say. Well, again these are people with their eyes in the wrong place.
If you were at the train station and the schedule says the train is due at 9am and it doesn’t come, what are you to do? Well, simply, you would think it’s late and wait a bit longer. You wouldn’t get all discouraged, leave the station and go home.
It’s the same thing here. If the Lord does not come at the expected time, just wait! He’s coming soon!
Now, what if you were to go to the train station, but you had no idea when the train was coming (imminence)? Are you likely to be caught off guard? Of course you are.
Imminence will catch many off guard and not ready, while knowing when the train is coming will see many ready and prepared to step right in!
To be honest, imminence does nothing for my faith. Personally, I live in an always ready state anyway. So imminence, for me would be no big deal.
On the other hand, if I knew my Lord was coming within a short space of time that would motivate me more now than ever to be ready. But, as said, you should live ready all the time!
The plot contained in the Feast of Trumpets:
The seven feasts of the Lord have a miraculous, specific yet different message for Israel and for the church.
The seven feasts plot the course of history!
The feasts are: Passover, Unleavened Bread, First fruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Yom Kippur, and Tabernacles.
●Passover represents the original Passover when the children of Israel sprinkled the blood of the lamb on the doorposts. This was fulfilled in the shed blood of Messiah at the cross.
●Unleavened Bread represents holiness, the cleansing of the Jewish home and eating of matzos. This was fulfilled further by the work of the cross.
●First Fruits represents the first harvest offering to God. This was fulfilled in the resurrection.
●Pentecost represents the law given to Moses in stone, and the original birthday of Israel, as Moses came down from the mount on the first Pentecost. It was fulfilled in the law now given in our hearts by the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the church. Its fulfilment includes the dispensational change from the 69-weeks of years of the Old Covenant to the New Covenant.
●Trumpets(Rosh Hashanah / New Year) represents the warning trumpet blasts of God, the judgement of God, and a new dispensation, the seventieth week of Daniel. It is still to be fulfilled.
●Yom Kippur (Atonement) represents the wrath of God in full fury. It has not been fulfilled yet and will be in and by the second half of the tribulation period, called “the wrath of God.”
●Tabernacles represents the coming of our Lord to “tabernacle” with His people. This has not been fulfilled yet and will be at the Second Coming, which is also a dispensational change into the Millennium.
So here we have the incredible plot of history from the Old Covenant law, through the cross, into the tribulation, the Second Coming and the Millennium.
Note the last three are in red. These are the fall feasts, still to find fulfilment in future events.
I am aware that many within the churches of replacement theology reject any future fulfilment for the Jews. They are more wrong than you can imagine! They say that everything has already been fulfilled by our Lord. Of course that is true spiritually speaking, but it is not true in reality for the Jew.
An additional problem with that view is that to make all the feasts fit our Lord you have to jump around from the cross to the Second Coming and back to the cross.
God has revealed, in the feasts, the continuous plot of the ages.
So the next feast to find its fulfilment is Trumpets, the warning signs of God, which will be fulfilled in the rapture and the tribulation start.
The Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) :
This feast is incredible in that it has numerous names and meanings, all of significance.
In Jewish tradition Rosh Hashanah is the universal birthday of the world. It was the day of the creation of Adam, but also the day sin entered the world. So this day is a commemoration of creation and the fall of man.
One of the numerous names of the feast is: “The feast of which no one knows the day or hour.” The reason for this is because it begins on the sighting of the new moon, which could be over a two day period.
Was our Lord giving us a hint when the rapture would take place when He said, it would be on a day that no one knows the day or hour? Can we know when it is?
Of course we can know when this feast occurs simply by looking at the Hebrew calendar. But which one will be the one of actual fulfilment?
If we could know which Feast of Trumpets, would we be violating the “no one knows the day and hour” verse? No we would not because this feast could occur on any one of two days.
How will we know which Feast of Trumpets?
Personally, I believe that God will reveal and unveil more and more things about this as we get nearer.
There will have to be a confluence of signs, symbols and events all dovetailing together. When we see that – we’ve got it! Without all the signs together, it’s back to the drawing board.
If it’s not this Feast of Trumpets, it will be the next in 2018.
Watch for all the signs starting to come together like ducks in a row. I already see dozens starting to take shape apart from those already known and evident.
Tribulation descriptions of terror:
What follows is a brief description I have put together of the psychological conditions of people in the tribulation period. I’ve compiled this from the hundreds of verses on the subject. As you read this, bear in mind that those who are taken in the pre-tribulation rapture will see none of this, and be experiencing the exact opposite of it all.
The final hours of the tribulation:
Many will have lost the desire to live. Dark demons will be all around. Many will turn against God in a futile, blaspheming rage of bitter hatred. Emptiness of spirit and soul will be magnified and multiplied.
People will see visions of shock and suddenly realise that they’re not visions! Fright, terror, deep sorrow and overwhelming fear will engulf many.
People will “see” the eternal glory of heaven, but be unable to reach it as it suddenly dims into darkness before them. Terrible torment and suffering will be the order of the day. Like a broken clay doll people will continue to live in their suffering. Suicide will be the thought, but they will not die even through trying.
Enormous supernatural events of God’s wrath will shake and rock the whole world. People will see their friend, “mother earth” turn into a whore of destruction as even the previously gentle creatures of the earth become enraged flesh eaters.
The sun will burn to such a degree that the earth will be scorched and many millions will die from its heat. Nations will become filled with hatred for each other and Israel in particular. They will become murderous killing machines.
People will realise that punishment is the reason for the judgement, but it will be too late for them. There will be many masses with them, but they will be more alone than ever before.
They will wish they had paid attention to God’s servants before when they had the chance. But they will now be paralysed in their fear.
People will see the devil and his demons and now understand why they are one with them.
Fearful tears of deep regret and shame for attacking God all their lives will engulf the people. They will wish they did non-exist. “Somebody help me” will be the call, but there will only be others in the same situation around them. Howling and crying in great despair.
The stench of fear and the flood of tears will fill these people, abandoned, alone and empty, as hell and eternal suffering approaches.
The world’s heroes, paupers and kings will all be there in the same boat. Many will find their own family members right there in the midst of the terror, screaming and suffering with them, all unable to help each other one bit.
People who were great in the world’s eyes will be there. All the church wolves who thought they were shepherds will be there as their flock now tries to kill them for leading them into the great tribulation.
People will know the truth now, but it will be too late. That alone is the greatest terror. There will be no place to run or to hide.
Indescribable chaos will rule. The lucky ones will be slaughtered, releasing them from the ongoing torment.
The most wretched of all, in the deepest torment ever will be those who once walked with the Lord and His family, but turned their backs on Him and walked away, rather to serve the world.
In this, the worst time the world has known or ever will know, many will turn in all sincerity to our Lord for salvation. They will not b be saved in the born-again sense belonging to the church, but they will become “tribulation saints.” Most of them will be immediately killed.
But my friends, you don’t have to go through any of this. You can be redeemed and set free right now. If you’re not already saved, do the wise thing and get saved fast!
So many things are starting to take shape prophetically, and many more will occur within months. We are in exciting times alright! Turn your eyes your heart and soul to our Lord and His word in surrender. Learn and cultivate the fear of the Lord, and He will show you many wonderful things to come!
I took this picture of the Kokerboom (quiver tree) out in the Richtersveld. The branches of these trees were used by the Bushmen (Koi) for quivers for their arrows.
Shalom and grow in His Grace!