Scriptural Proofs to Support a Pre-Tribulation Catching AwayJanuary 15 2011 at 7:09 AM
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Every rapture position has its fervent defenders who have utilized questionable reasonings or faulty methodology to establish their point.
Yet, there is but One Truth, and history will unfold in one way, that which God has laid out for those that love Him to understand from His Holy Word. Only He knows the end from the beginning and He has shared that future with us.
I truly am astonished at the apathy (then again why should I be) of not only the world but the Christian church as well, regarding the coming of the LORD, Jesus Christ. I'm not sure what to attribute this indifference to, but I have a few thoughts. I think primarily, we have reached a time when individuals have become "lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God." People are so caught-up with the cares and pleasures of this life that they have little or no concern in the things of eternity. Unfortunately, a lack of scripturally based teaching on prophecy and the resurrection has left todays church blissfully ignorant regarding future prophesied events.
Additionally and unfavorably, I think the most dangerous of all reasons for this lethargy, is a false teaching concerning the catching away and end-time events in general. Sadly, I have found that most of the more popular end-times authors and teachers are all promoting this counterfeit doctrine. Is it not supposed, that heresy begets heresy, and deviation begets deviation?
The un-scriptural teaching of a mid-Tribulation or a post-Tribulation catching away leads to a warped perspective and wrong priorities. Instead of awaiting for the coming of Christ, people are awaiting for the antichrist, and compromising their commitment to the LORD, Jesus Christ!
Instead of striving for sanctification in expectation of the imminent coming of our heavenly Bridegroom, they feebly plan for earthly survival through the Tribulation period on their own merit. The command to us is not to prepare for the coming of the antichrist, but for the coming of our risen KING, Jesus Christ!
More often than not, it isn't the attitudes we openly display that are so dangerous, as much as the attitudes we possess within our hearts. Remember, Jesus said, For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Luke 12:34. For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he Proverbs 23:7.
To interpret the Bible, with the Bible, one leaves much of the error out of the equation and rather trust in the Word to define what must be understood. Time and again Christ and the Pauline letters prophesied of Christ's coming to be likened unto a thief in the night. Many simply gloss over this account with a meager superficial comprehension, likening this to His second advent (second physical return) without getting any true essence from it.
Additionally, if there were any sign preceding the catching away, then we would possess characteristics of those days, being able to maintain a timetable. Does this sound like a thief in the night, given that no thief gives warning signs? The scriptures themselves make a distinction between Christ's catching away of His bride and His coming to the earth (Second Advent). In those scriptures pertaining to His coming to the earth, there are many recorded signs that precede it. In those scriptures pertaining to the catching away, there are no signs that precede it. Not even one, why, because no thief gives warning signs!
Consider this, if Christ is coming as a thief, of course, it will be at an unforeseen and unanticipated hour, but a thief does not come and move into your dwelling and take up permanent occupancy. Correct? No, he arrives when you least expect it, and carries away, by selection, your most cherished possessions. In this instance, the pearl of great price, the very pearl He sold everything He had in order to acquire. Subsequently, the thief departs, taking His valuables with Him, leaving the dwelling burglarized and the residents despondent over their loss, emotionally violated, and sorrowful for not being attentive and prepared.
In the first correspondence to the Thessalonians, Paul illustrates a division between the world and the church that also addresses the catching away. Pay close attention to they / them and the you / ye / us / we:
It is written, But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. (verse 9-10) For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6
It is written, For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. Mat 24:38-42
Yet another reasoning for addressing these specific verses was not to expound upon persons being caught away, as much as it was the timing of its occurrence, which I feel has gone unnoticed by many. Look closely at the time frames (plural) that involve the individuals in these verses.
The first, concerns two men sleeping in bed; the second, depict two women grinding grain at the mill; and the third, talks about two men working in the field. Here Jesus was talking about three separate times of the day. Clearly, the men sleeping would be at night or early morning. The second time frame would be in the mid-morning when women of the ancient world grinded grain to make bread. The third time frame would be the rest of the workday, which for farming, world represent dawn to dusk. Jesus here is relating a worldwide occurrence, asserting that when He comes back to catch away His bride, it will be morning in some parts of the world, evening in other parts of the world and nighttime in other parts of the world. Consequently, it has to be the catching away that is occurring on a global basis.
The Lord Jesus says that there is a clear connection between these historical events and Gods end-time dealing with believers and unbelievers. The depravity which characterized the time of both Noah and Lot is typical of the spiritual, moral and social decline of the last days. Society not only will be, but has become, uncaring and ignorant of God and His ways. Not only that, they will go out of their way to put God aside in a wanton desire to fulfill their own wills.
In the times of Noah and Lot lawlessness prevailed in these lawless and promiscuous societies (sex with persons that are not ones spouse / casual sex). Violence was the most common means used to resolve conflicts. So will it be again...
In the times of Noah and Lot moral depravity (perversion) was widespread. People became so corrupt that they were wicked in every intent of their thoughts. So will it be again...
In the times of Noah and Lot people were excessively materialistic and adopted permissive life-styles involving all sorts of licentiousness (lacking restraint), including sodomy (homosexual proclivities). So will it be again...
In the times of Noah and Lot people scoffed at the believers and chose to ignore the prophetic warnings of forthcoming judgments. They regarded them as far-fetched speculation and continued with their reckless lives. So will it be again...
In the times of Noah and Lot, God gave the degenerate sinners reasonable time to repent of their evil ways. They refused to repent and thereby sealed their own fate. They had only themselves to blame for their downfall and punishment. So will it be again...
In the times of Noah and Lot, God offered a way of escape to the believers at the critical moment before He turned in wrath to punish the wicked. The order of events was: First the prophetic warnings about the impending judgments, then the safeguarding of the believers who took heed of the appeal to repent, and ultimately the outpouring of wrath upon the wicked. So will it be again...
In the times of Noah and Lot there was no security for nominal believers whose hearts were still devoted to the things of this world. Lots wife was a type of those believers who only have an outward form of godliness, but are still spiritually dead. This false pretence cost her life at the last moment. So will it be again...
In the times of Noah and Lot an awful disaster struck this world soon after the evacuation of the believers. Death and destruction occurred as never before in history. So will it be again...
In the times of Noah and Lot the wicked did not realize how many privileges and blessings they enjoyed due to the presence of a few believers in their midst. God was prepared to pardon a whole city if there were only ten believers in it. When these believers, who shown like lights in a wicked and perverted generation, were taken out of the way, complete spiritual darkness characterized the godless, and provoked the anger of God. So will it be again...
In the times of Noah people scoffed at the builders of the ark, and in their ignorance were unaware of their peril until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be (Mt. 24:39).
The minds of those at enmity with God are darkened and they persist in pride and rebellion until disaster and judgment overtakes them.
It is written, But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. I Peter 4:7
It is written, Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. Revelation 16:15
It is written, And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting (excess), and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 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. Luke 21:34-36
Jesus said in Mathew 18:16 that, "in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established." Here we have many witnesses clearly commanded to watch for His return. Why would we be admonished to watch and pray fervently about an event if our involvement wasnt an inevitable conclusion. That sounds like an exercise in futility if you ask me. Jesus means precisely what He says, and says what He means. If He commanded us to watch and pray, then obviously it has some eternal impact on our soul!
The Saints are commanded to watch. They are not commanded to watch for the Tribulation, but for the blessed hope, which is the catching away. If the Saints were to go through the Tribulation, would it not contradict and nullify Gods Word? To be ready for the catching away, therefore, implies readiness to give account of ones life and stewardship before Christs judgment seat.
Why would we be instructed to pray "always" that we be accounted "worthy" to escape the Tribulation if it were an inevitable conclusion? Again, this would be an exercise in futility if it had no influence and impact on the outcome of our lives.
Of the Saints that get saved during the Tribulation, most will be greatly persecuted and killed. The few that survive will go into the Millennium to repopulate the earth. If the catching away came after the Tribulation, there would be no Saints to go into the Millennium. This would make the fulfillment of Gods Word on this subject, impossible.
The judgment of the nations, mentioned in Matthew 25, are held immediately after the Tribulation and Armageddon. If the Catching Away had just happened, there would be no "sheep" at this judgment. As it is written, and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left Mathew 25:33. The sheep are those that are saved. The goats are the unsaved. Again, Gods Word could not be fulfilled, if the catching away comes after the Tribulation.
If the church were to go through the Tribulation, it would contradict many verses in the Bible. Most of the Saints will be put to death. The Bible clearly demonstrates, the antichrist will prevail and triumph against the Saints. Anyone that claims the church will go through the Tribulation does not appear to understand what the Tribulation will really be like. Very few people will be left alive afterward. If Jesus did not come back exactly when He does, there should no flesh be left alive.
It is written, Wherefore comfort one another with these words 1 Thes. 4:18. These "words" contain instructions about the resurrection and the catching away of course. If we were watching for the HORRIBLE Tribulation period, we would not be comforted. We would be TERRIFIED. This Scripture could not be fulfilled, if the Saints were to go into the Tribulation period.
It is written, and when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption (your catching away) draweth nigh Luke 21:28. In Luke 21, events of the Tribulation are described. Verse 28 shows that when these events begin to happen, after Israels rebirth, then we are to know that the catching away is about to happen. Note, it Did Not say, when they "have" happened, but when they "begin" to happen. They begin to happen as birth pangs of a woman about to have a child. Again, if a person was going to go through the Tribulation, the wording of this verse would be inaccurate.
It is written, blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when he cometh shall find so doing (denoting working for and serving God) Luke 12:43. The Scriptures clearly show that during the Tribulation a time will come when the Saints will not be able to work.
As it is written, I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh (representing the Tribulation), when no man can work John 9:4. This Scripture of the Lord appearing at the catching away clearly show that it happens before the Tribulation. During the Tribulation, especially the second part, it will be nearly impossible to work, yet, before the catching away occurs the Saints can or should be working. Verse 45 confirms it is the period prior to the catching away when people are saying, My Lord delayed His coming. This same message is confirmed in Mathew 24:45-48.
The seven feasts of Israel give us Gods timetable. These are covered in Leviticus 23. Biblically, the number seven is used to mean total or completeness. It seems evident that all Bible doctrine and prophecy are founded in these feasts. They reveal the time for the fulfillment of Jesus Christs crucifixion, His coming again, and the millennial Kingdom.
The following give a brief example of what is being said. These events occurred on the exact dates that God had set over 1400 years before Jesus was born. Keep in mind that the Jewish day begins in the evening (near dusk), on the previous day. Feasts appear in the order that God gave them (Leviticus 23).
These feasts were observed on specific days. When Jesus came the first time, He fulfilled the first three feasts on the precise days and in the same order that God had given them. The fourth feast was also fulfilled ten days after Jesus ascended into heaven, when He sent the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
The Feast of Passover was fulfilled on Gods exact date, when Jesus became our Passover Lamb. As it is written, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world John 1:29.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread was fulfilled, when Jesus (representing the middle loaf that is hidden) was buried on this exact date. Unleavened bread represents no sin. Jesus was called the Bread of life and was without sin.
The Feast of Firstfruits was fulfilled on Gods exact date, when Jesus became the Firstfruits out of the grave. He rose from the dead.
The Feast of Pentecost was fulfilled on Gods exact date, when the Holy Spirit came in His fullness upon the chosen disciples. This marked the beginning of the summer wheat harvest; the firstfruits of the second harvest are offered at this feast.
The next feast is the Feast of Trumpets. The next major event to look for is the catching away, which involves the blowing of trumpets. God has set specific dates for certain events to happen to fulfill His Word.
The last three feasts are awaiting fulfillment and are associated with events surrounding His second coming. When Jesus returns the second time, there are actually two phases to His coming:
1.) Before the Tribulation, He comes in the clouds to catch away the Saints.
It is written, For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (KJV)
2.) After the Tribulation, He physically returns to the earth (Second Advent), and every eye shall see Him.
It is written, Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Mathew 24:29-30 (KJV)
It is written, And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. Zechariah 12:10
The next feast to be fulfilled is Trumpets; the next event to be fulfilled on Gods prophetic timetable is the catching away. In the wilderness account, there were two trumpets blown, the first one and the last one. The first trumpet was for the gathering or calling of the people; the second (or last) was for the people to move out.
It is written, And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps Numbers 10:1-2
Note: There are two events in the catching away. For it is written, For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: The first event is, and the dead in Christ shall rise first: The second event is, Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
Note also, that there is a cry made (a notification or calling aloud), alerting the virgins that the Bridegroom is coming; afterward, they "move out" or are taken, Mathew 25:6.
Lets now take into consideration Revelation 4:10-11, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
These elders already have their crowns in chapter four 4, the crowns are awarded at the return of Jesus as mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:8:
It is written, Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
If they already have their crowns at this point, the Lord has undoubtedly already come and taken unto Himself His church.
Again, in the Revelation, the church is mentioned many times. However, after Rev 3:22, the words "church and churches" do not appear again as referring to a church present on the earth. The seven churches previous to chapter four represent "completeness." They are described as candlesticks. It is written, and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches Rev 1:20. A bit further on in the Revelation, the events of the Tribulation begin to unfold, which clearly denote the church is gone.
The seven churches (representing the entire church age) are covered in Revelation chapter 2 through Revelation chapter 3:22. The very next verses indicate the Catching Away. As it is written, after this (after the seventh church) I (John) looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter Rev 4:1. Hereafter, what? What was the Bible just talking about? The seven churches. After the seven churches, comes the catching away of the church. From this point on, no church is ever mentioned as being present on the earth during the Tribulation. The only thing mentioned is the great harlot, which is an abomination before God and shall be destroyed sometime during the Tribulation.
The word Saints occurs 96 times in 95 verses in the King James Bible, 34 times in the Old Testament, 61 times in the New Testament, of which only 13 times is it found in the book of Revelation. Part of the problem in this theory is that it is found in chapter 5 - 20 times in the Apocalypse account, the period of testing or the Tribulation, but not once during the first 3 chapters in which the words church or churches is used 20 times.
Also, the word Saint is used to show that someone is redeemed by God without regard for their church affiliation. Just as there are Old Testaments Saints and New Testament Saints, there will also be those that come to faith during the Tribulation period who will also be called Saints. If this is the strongest argument for a mid-Tribulation catching away it is rather weak at best. Yet, there is more. We see that the Tribulation period is a time of testing, a time of trying the hearts of men. This actually lends credibility to the pre-Tribulation perspective which is the only possible and reasonable explanation.
The evangelizing of the earth during the Tribulation is clearly given to the 144,000 male, virgin Jewish Saints from the twelve tribes of Israel, Revelation 7 and 14. These come forth during the first part of the Tribulation. They will preach the everlasting gospel and the gospel of the kingdom Rev 14:6 and Mt 24:14. It is written, And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. There is absolutely no mention of the church evangelizing the earth at all during the Tribulation. If the church were present, the Scriptures concerning the 144,000 would undoubtedly be incorrect.
The time of testing, the Tribulation period, is described time and again in the book of Revelation as the wrath of the Lamb or the wrath of God, which is judgment against sinful, wickedness. It is important to understand that the end of times leading up to the Tribulation period is 'like labor pains' and sudden destruction is the event or events that will occur just prior to the revelation of the antichrist on the world scene (as well as during the Tribulation period) when it will be beyond a shadow of a doubt who he is to them that will be saved during this time, which, as seen in the previous scripture, cannot happen until the catching away, the removal of the He that restrains or the Holy Spirit indwelt believers called the church and the Bride of Christ.
Numerous times in the Revelation the word "wrath" is mentioned as pertaining to the Tribulation:
Wrath of the Lamb Rev 6:16
For the great day of his wrath is come Rev 6:17
And thy wrath is come Rev 11:18
The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God Rev 14:10
The great winepress of the wrath of God Rev 14:19
In them is filled up the wrath of God Rev 15:1
Pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth Rev 16:1
Fierceness of his wrath Rev 16:15
Now, check this out, For God hath not appointed us (the Saints) to wrath 1 Thes 5. The verse concludes by saying, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. These verses are unmistakably clear. If a person belongs to Jesus, they will not see the wrath of God. Many times in the Scriptures the term, "the wrath of God," is applied to the Tribulation.
It is written, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come (which is the Tribulation) -1 Thes 1:10. What is the "wrath to come?" The Bible has just told us ten times about the wrath of God to come in the Tribulation. It is also written, Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. Romans 5:1&9
Further, it is written, he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. John 3:36. The Scriptures are very clear. The Tribulation is a time of Gods wrath. The Saints will be delivered from the wrath to come. Those who share in the first resurrection are declared blessed; therefore, to be declared part of this resurrection signifies a very privileged status.
Other Biblical words that are associated with the Tribulation or Armageddon are: cruel, trouble, distress, wasteness, desolation, darkness, gloominess, clouds, thick darkness, blood, vengeance, destruction, fierce anger, fire, jealousy, revengeth, furious, arrows drunk with blood, sword, devour flesh, terrible, great distress, mens hearts failing them for fear, powers of heaven shall be shaken, wars, great earthquakes, famines, pestilences, and fearful signs. This is only but a partial list.
In Luke 21:8-26, many of the verses are dealing with the Tribulation. Then Jesus gives us a command: pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass Luke 21:36. We may ask, "Escape all what things?" The answer is, all those things that have been described, which includes the Tribulation. In other words, the Saints are to pray that they are accounted worthy to escape the Tribulation by being caught away. The catching away that is covered in verse 28.
What a temptation it will be as the people come face to face with death or worshipping the image of the beast! What a temptation it will be to have a newborn baby starving in your arms, as you cannot buy or sell without the mark of the beast! Will a mother watch her baby slowly starve to death, or take the mark? Will a person stand by and watch as their loved ones are beheaded, and then themselves, or will they give in and worship the image? Most people will do nearly anything when their life is at stake. What a day of temptation it will be! The Bible calls the Tribulation, the hour of temptation Rev 3:10.
Once Noah was safe, then the flood came. God waited until Noah and his family were able to escape the terrible judgment that was about to come upon the earth. It is written:
God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing 1 Peter 3:20.
For if God...spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person 2 Peter 2:4-5.
The Lord knoweth how to deliver the Godly out of temptation 2 Peter 2.
The Lord knows how to deliver the Saints out of the Tribulation and its temptations.
The Tribulation is a great time of temptation. When a person prays the Lords prayer, do they not pray the following:
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil Mathew 6:13
Lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil Luke 11:4
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation Mathew 26:41
Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation Mark 14:38
He said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. Luke 22:40
The next verse is distinctly clear. The Saints that keep Gods Word will absolutely, beyond any doubt, not go into the Tribulation. It is written, Because thou hast kept the word. That bears repeating: Because thou hast kept the word of my patience (now check this out) I ALSO WILL God is giving a promise that He will do something for those that have kept His Word. I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation (which is the Tribulation), which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Rev 3:10.
It is extremely clear, IF a person repents, they will not go into the Great Tribulation. If they do not repent, they will go into the Great Tribulation. It is written, Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. Rev 2:22.
It is written, Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do anything till thou be come thither Gen 19:22. The LORD is saying, I cannot do anything till the righteous are taken out of the way. Then the judgments shall come. Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven Gen 19:24. In the same manner, the LORD will rain His wrath upon the inhabitants of the earth during the Tribulation, after the righteous are caught away.
It is written, Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our LORD Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him (catching away). 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. And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 2 Thes 2:1,3,6.
And Now Ye Know. The people are being told that they know something. That something is, What Withholdeth (or what is restraining, or holding the antichrist back). Paul had apparently clearly explained what it was that was withholding the antichrist from coming forth.
Paul here is assuring the people that the antichrist is still being held back from being revealed until something happens. That something is very clearly stated. Verses 1-3 have shown us an order of events.
First, there had to come a falling away. Religious deception was also alluded to.
Second, the Saints had to be gathered unto Jesus.
Third, the antichrist could then be revealed. From these words of God, the people could know what was holding back the antichrist from coming forth.
We see that a falling away had to occur. Then the catching away had to take place. Until the "catching away" of Gods people comes, the antichrist shall not be revealed, which is "seal one." Once the antichrist is revealed, then the signing of the covenant with Israel can occur - Daniel 9:27. This begins the Tribulation.
That he (the antichrist) might be revealed in his (proper) time. There is a specific time for the antichrist to be revealed. There is a specific time for the catching away to occur. These scriptures show very clearly that the catching away must come first, and only then will the antichrist be allowed to come forth and the Tribulation begin.
For the mystery of iniquity (secret power of lawlessness) doth already work (is already at work): only he who now letteth (restrainer) will let, until he be taken out of the way (the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way). And then shall that Wicked (lawless one) be revealed 2 Thes 2:7-8
For the mystery of iniquity (power of lawlessness) doth already work (is already at work). The mysterious, hidden power that is behind wickedness or sin, and the planned coming forth of the antichrist is already working to accomplish its purpose. Satan and his kingdom are already at work.
Only he who now letteth (restrainer) will let (or will continue to do so), until he be taken out of the way
It is saying that someone ("he") is holding back, or restraining the antichrist from being revealed, or from being let loose, or coming forth until that someone ("he") is taken out of the way or is removed.
The "he" in this verse may be much debated, yet, Gods Word has clearly shown the catching away of the Saints must occur and then the antichrist can be let loose or come forth and be revealed. Some say the "he" represents the church. Others say the "he" represents the Holy Spirit. Others say the "he" represents the restraining power of the Holy Spirit that is in the believers.
There is however no question that the Holy Spirit will not leave the earth, because people cannot be saved apart from the Holy Spirit. As the Words states, NO person comes least they are drawn by the Holy Spirit. Many people will be saved during the Tribulation, which follows the antichrist coming forth.
So, it would appear that the "he" would represent the restraining power of the Holy Spirit that is in the believers. The Holy Spirit does appear to be holding back the antichrist from being revealed; however, there is a day coming when it appears that He will let the antichrist come forth. "He will be taken out of the way," perhaps, means that His restraining power will be taken out of the way. That the scriptures can be fulfilled.
As a result, when the church is caught away, immediately the antichrist should come forth and be revealed, in order to initiate his plan to dominate the world. And then, once the Saints have been taken out, shall that wicked (lawless one), which is the antichrist, be revealed. The antichrist will be allowed to come forth, be revealed, and confirm a covenant with Israel which begins the Tribulation. 2 Thes 2:8 and Dan 9:27.
Scripture shows us clearly, that the catching away comes before the antichrist is revealed and before the Tribulation.
The dead in Christ shall rise first, then we which are alive and remain shall join them in the air. Since the scriptures show us that the resurrection happens prior to the Tribulation, then we have absolute proof that the catching away, which immediately follows, also has to happen before the Tribulation.
Isaiah 26:19-21 shows very clearly, the dead (in Christ) shall live "before" the Lord comes to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, which is the Tribulation.
It is written, Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation (the Tribulation) be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity:
Multiple accounts and reasons have come forth that scripturally show the catching away will come prior to the Tribulation. Some of these have also shown that the catching away must come before the antichrist can be revealed.
The following scriptures portray the caught away Saints before the throne of God prior to the first seal of the Revelation being opened. This, again, clearly shows the catching away comes before the Tribulation.
It is written, And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book (scroll), and to open (break) the seals thereof: for thou wast slain (slaughtered), and hast redeemed (ransomed or purchased) us to (for) God by thy blood out of every kindred (tribe), and tongue (language), and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings (a kingdom) and priests (to serve our God): and we shall reign on (rule over) the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne (encircled the throne) and the beasts (living beings) and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Rev 5:9-11
And they sung a new song. The four living beings and the elders appear to be singing. saying, Thou art worthy to take the book (scroll), and to open (break) the seals thereof:. In this passage, taking the scroll and breaking the seals is mentioned. Opening the scroll is not mentioned at this point. for thou wast slain (slaughtered). Jesus was worthy, because He was slain and has redeemed (purchased or ransomed) us (the saints). As it is written, and hast redeemed (ransomed or purchased) us. Here are the Saints (US) pictured before the throne of God BEFORE the first seal is ever opened. Here are the saints that have just been caught away. We are redeemed to (for) God by thy blood. Angels are not ransomed by the blood of the Lamb. We (the saints) are. Where do we (the saints) come from? We come out of every kindred (tribe), and tongue (language), and people, and nation. It is impossible for these to be angels, as the angels do not come from every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. John heard the voice, COME UP HITHER Rev 4:1, which is symbolic of the catching away. The church age is over. Now, John is relating what he is seeing. John sees "us." As it is written.
Rev 5:10, And hast made us. Here is the second time this word is used. That word means exactly what it says, "US."
Now combine this with the words of Rev 3:10 - Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation (the Tribulation), which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Here is clear, unmistakable proof that the Saints will not go into the Tribulation. They shall be caught-up and shall be before the throne of God prior to the first seal being opened. Thus, it is written, and thus, it shall be.
Verses continue to state, and has made, us unto our God kings and priests (to serve our God). We are a kingdom unto God and shall be kings and priests, and we shall reign on (rule over) the earth. There are those that may say, this verse does not mean exactly what it says. The singing in the verse now turns to the future and shows that we (the Saints) shall reign on the earth. This is describing the millennial reign of Jesus Christ, as we shall reign and rule with Jesus for one thousand years. Here the word "we" is used as referring to the "Saints." Here again, "we" (the Saints) are pictured before the throne of God prior to the first seal ever being opened. Rev 5:11, And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels. The voices now include the angels, which were round about the throne (they encircled the throne) and the beasts (living beings) and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.
The question arises, are these angels, or are they the Saints that are now called angels? The singing that has just been going on used such words as, "redeemed us, made us, and we shall." If these words are correctly translated by the direction of the Holy Spirit, then the angels before the throne appear to be the Saints.
Consider the following: And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets. Rev 22:8-9. This same John, that used the word "angels" in Rev 5:11, thought this person was also an angel, yet he was not. He was a Saint that had been redeemed by the blood of Jesus. We might ask, how can this be? Note the words of Jesus. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven Mathew 22:30. The Saints become as the angels.
John fell at his feet to worship what seemingly appeared to be an angel. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: Rev 19:10. Yet again, we note that once we are in heaven, Jesus said we are as the angels of God. However, the true angels of God are not redeemed.
Considering the scriptures and what was being said, it appears the multitude of angels before the throne are the Saints that were redeemed.
And the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands Rev 5:11. This totals to one hundred million, and thousands of thousands. While this seems like an extremely large number, "if" this represents the resurrected and caught away Saints for all times, then the percentage of people that are redeemed, throughout all of history, is extremely small. Jesus did say in Mathew 7:14, Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Some might say that this number simply represents an infinite number which no man can know. Nevertheless, if the number is taken as it is written in the KJV, then it appears to be as previously stated.
Here again are some valid points to consider regarding the pre-Tribulation catching away.
The fact that God was going to form Jews and Gentiles into one body was not revealed in the Old Testament and is a mystery in which Paul writes:
It is written, For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Ephesians 3:1-7
It is written, Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen. Romans 16:25-27
It is written, Saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily. Colossians 1:26-29
The Church was formed as a result of Israels rejection of Messiah. Therefore, the church was a temporary agenda, if you will, which will be concluded before God resumes his dealings with Israel.
Many signs were given to Israel, which would precede the Second Advent. The church however, is told to live in the light of the imminent coming of the LORD to translate them into his presence.
It is written, And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:2-3
It is written, For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: Philippians 3:20
It is written, When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:4
The believer is warned to watch for the Lords coming:
It is written, Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 1 Thessalonians 5:6
It is written, Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Revelation 3:3
Since the signs are given to Israel and the church is told to watch, this prevents the churchs participation in the 70th Week.
Certain events follow the catching away of the church, that require time.
The Judgment seat of Christ
The Presentation of the Church
The Marriage of the Lamb
The following passages show the church has been examined and has received her rewards prior to the Second Advent (second physical coming of Christ to the earth).
It is written, For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 1 Corinthians 3:11-16 (KJV)
It is written, And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. Revelation 4:4 (KJV)
It is written, And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. Revelation 19:8 (KJV)
It is written, And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. Revelation 19:14 (KJV)
The Marriage of the Lamb precedes the Second Advent:
It is written, Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
Revelation 19:7-9 (KJV)
It is written, For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. Romans 11:24-25 (KJV)
It is ever so clear that there is a distinct program for Israel and the Church. The catching away removes the church, which completes the period known as the fullness of the Gentiles.
The tribulation period is the time of Gods wrath where He deals with the sins of the world. He would be pouring out His wrath and anger upon His own people if the Saints go through the Tribulation. Some however, who do go through the Tribulation will become believers after the catching away. Christ returning when Israel accepts Him as their Messiah.
The message to the church and to Israel is distinct, the church does not know the day or the hour of His return and we are told to keep watch. While, Israel is told His return immediately follows the Tribulation period. So, specific signs do precede Christs return to Israel.
If the catching away occurred at the end of the Tribulation, all the Saints would be resurrected and transformed into glorified bodies. Who therefore would enter the Millennium, to repopulate the earth? The reason there would be no one left to enter the Millennium is that even the unsaved will not be here. They are the "goats" in the "goats and sheep" passage that Jesus spoke of and the "tares" in the "tares and wheat" passage that He also foretold of. In any event, the unsaved will not enter into the Millennial period. After Christ returns (Second Advent) the nations will be judged, and only the Sheep enter the Millennium. The sheep being those who know Christ as Savior and were not killed during the Tribulation period.
Lets expound on this for clarification. In every scripture in the entire Bible that pertains to the Millennial Reign of Christ, the (earthly) individuals who enter into it, are alive, in their mortal body and not a glorified body.
The event of Matthew 25:31-46, is not Christ returning for His church, His church had been caught-up, met Him in the clouds, and will always be with Him. The Sheep and the Goats however are those who are on the earth when every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him. This judgment determines who enters the Millennium of those who survived the Tribulation period.
Sadly moreover, the expectation of a catching away and Second Advent of Christ is greeted more with skepticism by a world, which views Christianity and the Bible as more myth and folklore than truth.
Peter, did in fact write about the cynical and disbelieving view of the Lords return,
It is written, Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 2 Peter 3:3-4 (KJV)
To those who indeed wholly trust the Bible as Gods word, the second coming of Christ is not in question, only the timing of the event and the circumstances surrounding it. Peter forewarned the future generation being skeptical regarding the promises of Christ. Jesus also warned the skeptics of his return, using the example of five foolish virgins who running out of oil, stopped waiting for the bridegroom and left, and while gone the bridegroom came and they were left.
The literal word Rapture, is not referenced within the pages of the Bible, so it surely must be an erroneous concept perpetrated by the unlearned! My reply to such statements, "According to your faith be it unto you" (Matthew 9:29).
The expression Rapture is from the Latin Raptus meaning the state or experience of being carried away. The Greek word, aJrpavzw or Harpazo, means a snatching or taking away, catch (away, up), plucked, pulled, or take (by force) which is referenced in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, yet only in relation to those who are saved by believing upon Jesus as their Redeemer.
So why then, do some Christians find it so hard to fathom a catching away, in lieu of Biblical accounts?
In this account, Paul also states he too was caught up to the third heaven, and heard unspeakable things, which it was "not lawful for a man to utter". Nevertheless, he said he was forcibly caught up into paradise when it happened, and could not tell whether he was in his body or out of his body when it happened. This account, therefore, suggests it is possible to be caught up, while the body remains on earth. Although Paul wrote this account in the third person, it is clear from reading the rest of the chapter that the person to whom the experience happened was Paul himself.
It is written, It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 (KJV)
In this account, Luke the physician tells us that Philip was conversing with an Ethiopian consulate, who was reading from the book of Isaiah in that great chapter, 53. As Philip witnessed to the eunuch, he believed and wanted to be baptized. Therefore, they stopped the chariot, found some water, and Philip baptized the eunuch. As they were walking up out of the water, Philip was forcibly caught away from that place and placed in the town of Azotus (known in Hebrew as Ashdod, a Philistine city about 30 miles from where Philip and the eunuch were). This account tells us that Philip's physical body was definitely moved from one place to another.
It is written, And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea. Act 8:38-40 (KJV)
In the beginning of Revelation 12, that after the birth of Jesus Christ, he was forcibly caught-up to the throne of God. This is the ascension of Christ to heaven, where he was bodily lifted in front of many witnesses up into the clouds. Therefore, this account too shows that the physical body is removed when caught away.
It is written, And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. Revelation 12:4-5
It is written, And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Act 1:9-10 (KJV)
Perhaps the strongest argument that our mortal bodies WILL NOT remain on the earth at the catching away is found in I Corinthians 15, just after Paul reveals the mystery of the catching away:
It is written, So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 (KJV)
It is written, For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 1 Corinthians 15:53-54 (KJV)
We see here that our current, mortal bodies must "put on" (gain) an incorruptible body. The mortal body will be transformed into a new one.
Matthew 27 instructs us that many Saints (Old Testament) rose from the dead, went to Jerusalem, and actually appeared too many people. These Saints arose with incorruptible bodies. This grouping of Saints is those who were faithful to God under the old covenant, and actually accompanied Jesus to heaven at his ascension. The "cloud" that received him out of their sight in Acts chapter 1, is the same word as found in Hebrews 12:1 in describing the "cloud of witnesses" that we are surrounded by as we run the race of our lives. Those "witnesses" are described throughout Hebrews chapter 11.
It is written, Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Matthew 27:50-53
In the amazing account of the future two witnesses during Daniel's final week of 70 weeks, we read that the beast takes over Jerusalem in the middle of the seven year period and kills the two witnesses. After 3.5 days of lying dead in the streets for the whole world to see, the Spirit of God Almighty will enter those corpses and bring them to life. They receive their glorified bodies at this time and ascend to eternity with their Father. Enoch and Elijah, possibly, nonetheless, two men who have never died according the scriptures. Zechariah tells us in chapter 4 that the two "candlesticks" have the holy anointing oil constantly pouring through their bodies, and Revelation chapter 11 tells that the two witnesses are these two candlesticks. Their mortal bodies are being supernaturally preserved until their appointed time, when they will again come to the earth, minister during the tribulation, and be killed as Hebrews 9:27 tells us every man, other than those alive at the catching away, must experience.
It is written, And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Revelation 11:7-8 (KJV)
It is written, And after three days and a half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. Revelation 11:11-12 (KJV)
One of the more common verses of scripture used to reinforce a catching away is Luke 17:34-36:
It is written, I tell you, in that night (singular period of time) there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
There are so many warnings and reprimands in the Word of God that we must be ready for the Lord's return. All of these warnings become nothing more than idle words if they don't ring true. However, the Bible I read declares let God be true and every man be a liar.
We are told several times in New Covenant scripture that those who are Born Again in the Holy Spirit through the Blood of Jesus are The Bride of Messiah. New Testament scripture becomes more understandable with the benefit of the context of the Jewish wedding, and what more beautiful image of the catching away of the church, than Jesus returning for His covenant Bride.
Jewish marriage in the day began with a covenant, an agreement. A potential groom would propose his intent to the prospective brides family and that agreement would become a covenant between them. Our relationship with God is described as a covenant, and He illustrate that covenantal love of that of a husband.
It is written, Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: Jeremiah 31:31-32 (KJV)
A Jewish groom paid dowry (gift offering) to reimburse a family for raising a godly woman. Jesus Christ too paid a ransom, but not of silver or gold. The Lord, Jesus Christ paid for you with His precious lifeblood, being the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.
It is written, Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 1 Peter 1:18-20 (KJV)
Once the betrayal conditions were set forth, the arrangement was sealed by the drinking of a cup of wine. Jesus Christ too sealed the covenant with His bride, on the day of His death. Taking of the cup, Jesus signified He was more than willing to pay the full price. He additionally asked of His disciples to drink signifying they would wait for His return and be His bride.
Jesus, as they ate, took bread and blessed it. Breaking it in pieces He gave it to His followers, saying, "Take, eat; this is my body." He also took a cup of wine giving thanks to God for it. He too gave it to the disciples saying, "Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. Mat 26:26-29 (KJV)
In Christs day, the groom would leave his betrothed bride with her family. Returning to his fathers house to build a new bridal chamber. The groom would also make preparation for a seven-day wedding celebration. Jesus said, Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know." John 14:1-4 (KJV)
A Jewish father would oversee the preparations because he would be the host while the groom attended his wife for seven days in the wedding chamber. When all was prepared, the Father would give his approval. Jesus taught about the catching away of the church with this wedding. He said; "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Mark 13:32 (KJV)
The clearest comparison of the relationship between God and man to the Jewish wedding is Matthew 25:1-13, the parable of the ten virgins. Here we are warned to Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
The Jewish wedding captured the heart of a betrothed bride with romance and anticipation. Nevertheless, the bride would undergo apprehension about her coming nakedness soon to come and pain of loosing her virginity. Will the Church not experience the same apprehension at its nakedness and exposure being revealed at the catching away? Yes, we will be spared from the coming judgment, even though, we will however experience Christs Judgment Day, the Bema Seat of Christ when the catching away occurs.
It is written, But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Romans 14:10 (KJV)
It is written, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:10 (KJV)
A Jewish bride was carried off or stolen away in the night by their bridegroom. As the groom and his entourage drew near the brides home shouts or blasts from shofars (rams horns) gave warning of the grooms approach. The bride had been made aware that, The grooms coming was at hand! Likewise, Christs own Bride will not know the exact day nor hour of the return of our Bridegroom, yet, He did not leave us clueless.
It is written, So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. Mathew 24:33,36 (KJV)
It is written, For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (KJV)
The Jewish bride and groom first went to their prepared wedding chamber, while the guests waited for the covenant to be consummated before celebrating. Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. Revelation 19:9 (KJV) and He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. John 3:29 (KJV)
After seven days, the Jewish bride and groom would come out from their wedding chamber to attend the wedding supper. This could very well be the seven years between the catching away and the Second Advent. Having been through the judgment seat of Christ, the church will be purified by fire and be ready to take Her rightful place alongside Jesus in the Kingdom of God!
It is written, Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." Revelation 19:7-8 (KJV).
Currently we are in our betrothal period with the LORD. We are consecrated, set apart, and have been bought with a price. We can stand in prayer and adoration before the Lord with an attitude of authority. We can approach Christ knowing we are deeply and intimately loved by Him.
After His resurrection, Jesus was seen only by believers. At His ascension He was separated from them, and with the catching away He will be re-united with them. The rest of mankind however will be left on earth because, by their own neglect, they will not be among the born-again believers who belong to Jesus and with whom He has a special appointment.
Today I plead with you, that if you are not saved, please repent of your sins NOW, for time is quickly running out. If you are a "lukewarm" Christian who is living with un-confessed and unrepentant willful sin, I beg of you to repent. Please do not take for granted that somehow it will all work out in the end. Eternity is not something to gamble with. I will end this article with some good advice from the Master Himself.
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.
Until the Harpazo, Maranatha!