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PROPHECY

The Rapture

 

THE RAPTURE, OR "CATCHING AWAY"                  REVELATION 19

We have seen the negative side, now let us look to the positive side of this book.

"Take notice! I tell you a mystery-a secret truth, an event decreed by the hidden purpose or counsel of God. We shall not all fall asleep [in death], but we shall all be changed (transformed) In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the (sound of the) last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound, and the dead [in Christ] will be raised imperishable-free and immune from decay-and we shall be changed (transformed). For this perishable [part of us] must put on the imperishable [nature], and this mortal [part of us]-this nature that is capable of dying-must put on immortality (freedom from death)."
I Corinthians 15:51-53 Amplified Bible

I THESSALONIANS 4:16,17
Lord comes
Archangel shouts
Trump of God
Dead in Christ rise first
The believers that are alive are caught up
Both groups meet the Lord in air
MATTHEW  24:40,41
Two in field and one taken up St.
Two grinding at mill one taken up

Question:    What happens after the rapture of the church?

Answer:

There are two events portrayed in Scripture into which the church will be brought following the rapture which have special significance:

The judgment seat of Christ.
The marriage of the Lamb.

THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST

The time of the judgment of Christ.

When the Lord returns to the earth with His bride to reign, the bride is seen to be already rewarded. This is observed in Revelation 19:8, where it must be observed that the "righteousness of the saints" is plural and can not refer to the imparted righteousness of Christ, which is the believer’s portion, but the righteousness which have survived examination and have become the basis of reward.

The Judge at the Judgment of Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:10 makes it clear that this examination is conducted before the presence of the Son of God. John 5:22 states that all judgment has been committed into the hand of the son.

The subjects of the judgment of Christ.

There can be little doubt that the judgment of Christ is concerned only with believers. Only the believer could have "an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. " Only the believer could experience " mortality .... swallowed up of life."

The basis of the examination at the judgment of Christ.

The question of salvation is not being considered. The salvation given the believer in Christ has perfectly delivered him from all judgment (Rom. 8:1; John 5:24; I John 4:17).The believer’s works are brought into judgment, called "the things done in his body" (2 Cor. 5:10), in order that it may be determined whether they are good or bad.

The results of the examination at the judgment of Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 3:14-15 it is declared that there will be a twofold result of this examination: a reward received or a reward lost. That which determines whether one receives or loses a reward is the trial by fire, (See 2 Cor. 5:10; I Cor. 3:13).

THE MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB

In many New Testament passages the relation between Christ and the church is revealed by the use of the figures of the bridegroom and the bride (John 3:29; Rom. 7:4; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:25-33; Rev. 19:7-8; 21:1-22:7). At the translation of the church Christ is appearing as a bridegroom to take His bride unto Himself, so that the relationship that was pledged might be consummated and that the two might indeed become one.

The time of the marriage

This is revealed in the Scripture as falling between the translation of the church and the second advent (coming) of Christ. Prior to the rapture the church is still anticipating this union. According to Revelation 19:7 this marriage has already taken place at the time of the second advent, for the declaration is:

"the marriage of the Lamb is come."

"Is come," signifies a completed act, showing us that the marriage has been consummated. This marriage is seen to follow the events of the judgment seat of Christ, inasmuch as when the wife appears she appears in the "righteousness of saints" (Rev. 19:8), which can only refer to those things that have been accepted at the judgment seat of Christ.
Thus the marriage itself must be placed between the judgment seat of Christ and the second coming.

The place of the marriage

This can only be in heaven. Inasmuch as this follows the judgment seat of Christ, which has been shown to be in the heavenlies, and it is from the air the church comes when the Lord returns (Rev. 19:14), the marriage must take place in heaven. No other location would fit a heavenly people (Phil. 3:20).

The participants in the marriage

According to Daniel 12:1-3 and Isaiah 26:19-21, the resurrection of Israel and the Old Testament saints will not take place until the second advent of Christ.
Also Revelation 20:4-6 makes it equally clear that the tribulation saints will not be resurrected until that time also.

While it would be impossible to eliminate these groups from the place of observers, they can not be in the position of participants in the event itself.

Note: In this connection it seems necessary to distinguish between the marriage of the Lamb and the marriage supper:
The marriage of the Lamb is an event that has particular reference to the church and takes place in heaven. Revelation 19:1 & 7
The marriage supper is an event that involves Israel and takes place on the earth.

In Matthew 22:1-14; Luke 14:16-24; and Matthew 25:1-13, where Israel is awaiting the return of the bridegroom and the bride, the wedding feast or supper is located on the earth and has particular reference to Israel.

Because of the rejection of the invitation of some of Israel the Gentiles will be included in the invitation.

THE CAMPAIGN OF ARMAGEDDON

The "kings of the earth and of the whole world" are to be gathered together through the activity of the "trinity from hell" to what is called "the battle of that great day of God Almighty" (Rev. 16:14). This confluence of the nations of the earth is in a place called Armageddon (Rev. 16:16). There God deals in judgment with the nations because of their persecution of Israel (Joel 3:2), because of their sinfulness (Rev. 19:15), and because of their godlessness   (Rev. 16:9).

The Greek word polemos, translated "battle" in Revelation 16:14, signifies a war or campaign, while the Greek word mache signifies a battle, and sometimes even single combat. So then because the use of the word polemos (campaign) in Revelation 16:14 would signify that the events that culminate in the gathering at Armageddon at the second advent are viewed by God as one connected campaign.

The location of the campaign

The hill of Megiddo
Located west of the Jordan River in north central Palestine
Ten miles south of Nazareth
Fifteen miles inland from the Mediterranean seacoast
An extended plain on which many of Israel’s battles had been fought
(Judges 4,5,7; I Sam. 31:8; 2 Kings 9:27; 2 Kings 23:29,30; 2 Chron. 35:22).

Note: There are several other geographical locations involved in this campaign:

Joel 3:2,13 speaks of events taking place in the "valley of Jehoshaphat,"
Ezekiel 39:11 speaks of the "valley of the passengers," which may refer to the same area as the valley of Jehoshaphat.
Isaiah 34 and 63 picture the Lord coming from Edom or Idumea, south of Jerusalem, when He returns from the judgment.
Jerusalem itself is seen to be the center of conflict (Zech. 12:2-11;14:2).

Thus the campaign is pictured as extending from the plains of Esdraelon on the north, down through Jerusalem, extending out to the valley of Jehoshaphat on the east and to Edom on the south.

This wide area would cover the entire Land of Israel and this campaign, with all its parts, would confirm what Ezekiel pictures when he says the invaders will "cover the land" (Ezek. 38:9,16).

The book of Revelation also says the blood will flow to the bits of the horses bridles for 1,600 furlongs, which is approximately 200 miles and we are told that this covers the entire length of Israel.

THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE CAMPAIGN

There will be four great world powers in this conflict against the Lord and His armies from heaven:

Ten kingdom federation of nations under the Beast that constitutes the final form of the fourth great world empire.
Some believe this to be an united Europe
Others think it is a restored Roman Empire
The northern federation, Russia and her allies.
Russia
Iran
Ethiopia
Put which is adjacent to Persia or Iran.
Gomer or Germany
Turkey
The Kings of the East, the Asiatic peoples from beyond the Euphrates, including China.
The King of the South, a north African power or powers, Egypt.
Question: Why does Rev. 19:20 speak of the destruction on only the Beast and False Prophet and their armies?
Answer: In Isa. 30,31 there is a description of the destruction of the King of the North. This is followed in Isaiah 33,34 with the destruction of all the nations, and then follows a description of the millennium in Isa. 35.

In the book of Joel we find the same chronology. In Joel 2 there is the description of the invasion by the northern army (v. 20), followed by a description of the destruction of the nations in Joel 3 and then the millennium is described in Joel 3:17-21.

In both of these passages the chronology is the same.

CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS

1. Israel makes a false covenant with the Beast which occupies her land in a false sense of security (Dan. 9:27; Ezek. 38:8,11).
2. Because of a desire for spoil at the expense of an easy prey, the King of the North, satanically motivated, invades Israel  (Ezek. 38:11; Joel 2:1-21; Isaiah 10:12, 30:31-33; 31:8,9).
3. The Beast breaks his covenant with Israel and moves into the land (Daniel 11:41-45).
4. The King of the North is destroyed on the mountains of Israel (Ezek. 39:1-4).
5. The land of Israel is occupied by the armies of the Beast (Dan. 11:45).
6. At this time the great coalition of nations takes place that forms one government under the Beast (Ps. 2:1-3; Rev. 13:7).
7. The Kings of the East are brought in against the armies of the Beast (Rev. 16:12), evidently as a result of the dissolution of the government of Gog.
8. When the nations of the earth are gathered together around Jerusalem (Zech. 14:1-3), and the valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:2).

The invasion by the Lord and His armies

With the King of the south (Egypt) defeated by the armies of the Beast (Restored Roman Empire) and the Northern confederacy (Russia and etc) defeated by the Lord upon the mountains of Israel, we find two opposing forces drawn up in battle array - the armies of the Beast and the armies of the Kings of the East (the nations in Asia). Before this battle can be joined there appears a sign in the heavens, the sign of the Son of man (Matthew 24:30). What this sign is not revealed, but its effect is. It causes the armies to turn from their hostility toward each other (the armies of the Beast + the northern confederacy on one side and the Kings of the east on the other) to unite to fight against the Lord Himself. John says:

"And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army."   Revelation 19:19

Such is the picture of the closing hostilities given in Zechariah 14:3; Revelation 16:14; 17:14; 19:11-21. It is at this point that the armies of the Beast and the East are destroyed by the Lord (Rev. 19:21).

1. The armies of the South are destroyed in campaign.
2. The armies of the northern confederacy are smitten by the Lord.
3. The armies of the Beast and the Kings of the East are slain by the Lord at the second advent (coming).
4. The Beast and the False Prophet are cast into the lake of fire.  (Rev. 19:20).
5. Unbelievers have been purged out of Israel (Zech. 13:8).
6. Believers have been purged as the result of these invasions (Zech. 13:9).
7. Satan is bound (Rev. 20:2).

THUS THE LORD DESTROYS EVERY HOSTILE FORCE THAT WOULD CHALLENGE HIS RIGHT TO RULE AS MESSIAH OVER THE EARTH.....

THE SECOND COMING IS NECESSARY

The large body of unfulfilled prophecy makes the second coming absolutely essential:

It has been promised that He shall come Himself. (Acts 1:11)
The dead will hear His voice. (John 5:28)
He will minister unto His watching servants. (Luke 12:37)
He will come to earth again. (Acts 1:11)
He will come to the same Mount Olivet where He ascended. (Zech. 14:4)
He will come in flaming fire. (2Th 1:8)
He will come in clouds of power and great glory. (Mt. 24:30; I Pet. 1:7;4:13)
He shall stand upon the earth. (Job 19:25)
His saints will come with Him. (I Thess. 3:13; Jude 14)
Every eye shall see Him. (Rev. 1:7)
He shall destroy Antichrist. (2 Thess.2:8)
He shall sit on His throne. (Mt. 25:31; Rev. 5:13)
All nations will gather before Him for Judgment. (Mt. 25:32)
He shall have the throne of David. (Isa. 9:6,7;Lk.1:32;Ezk.21)
He will rule on the earth. (Jer. 23:5,6)
He shall have a kingdom. (Dan. 7:13,14)
He shall rule over it with His saints. (Dan. 7:18-27; Rev. 5:10)
All kings and nations shall serve Him. (Ps. 72:11; Isa. 49:6,7;Rev.15:4)
The kingdoms of this world become His. (Zech. 9:10; Rev. 11:15)
The people shall gather unto Him. (Gen. 49:10)
Every knee shall bow to Him. (Isa. 45:23)
They shall come and worship the King. (Zech. 14:16; Ps. 86:9)
He shall build up Zion. (Ps. 102:16)
His throne shall be in Jerusalem. (Jer. 3:17;Isa. 33:20,21)
The 12 Apostles, sit on thrones,Judging Israel. (Mt. 19:28;Lk.22:28-30)

The entire covenant program with Israel, which has not yet been fulfilled, necessitates the second coming of Messiah to the earth.

THE CHARACTER OF THE MILLENNIUM

REGARDING CHRIST

Jesus Christ will be personally present on earth and sit on the throne of His father David. He will reign over all the earth. (Jer. 23:5,6; Zech. 14:9; Isa. 11:3,4;2:3,4; Ps. 72:6-11). Two things will characterize His kingdom:

Universal peace. (Isa. 2:4; Ps. 72:7)
Universal righteousness. (Isa. 11:4,5; Jer. 23:5,6)

REGARDING THE CHURCH

The Church will reign with Christ over the Gentile world (I Cor. 6:2; Lk. 19:16-19; Rev. 20:4,6; 2 Tim. 2:12). It would seem that the believers will have individual rather than collective responsibility in the kingdom (Luke 19:16-19); but for the most part the details connected with that reign must be left unsettled.

REGARDING THE NATION OF ISRAEL

Most of the teaching concerning this period affects Israel, especially as far as the Old Testament is concerned:

Israel is to be regathered (Ezek. 37:1-4; Isa. 11:10-13; Jer. 16:14,15 23:5-8; Mt. 24:20-33) This we have seen in our life time 1948.
Israel is to repent and be converted (Zech. 12:10-13:3; Isa. 66:8;  Jer. 31:31-37; Ezek. 36:24-29; 37:1-14; Rom. 11:25,26).
Finally they will receive Him who came to be their Saviour long ago, and their receiving by the Lord will be "life from the dead" (Rom. 11:15).
Next we find that Ephraim and Judah are to be reunited (Ezk. 37:16-22; Hos. 1:11; Jer. 3:18; Isa. 11:13).
Further we note, that the temple and its worship are to be restored  (Ezek. 40-46; 37:25-28; Zech. 14:16,17). But when we remember that sacrifices can be MEMORIAL as well as TYPICAL, we see no reason why this prophecy too should not be interpreted literally.
Israel is to be divided among the tribes and to be Israel’s possession for ever (Ezek. 34:28; 37:25).
Israel is to have her judges restored to her (Isa. 1:26; Mt. 19:28).
Israel is to evangelize the Gentiles (Isa. 66:19; Zech. 8:13, 20-23) no doubt this refers to the nations that will be born during the Millennium.

REGARDING THE NATIONS

We have already seen that following the judgment of the nations, the sheep will enter the kingdom (Mt. 25:34-40). They will form the nucleus of the kingdom, together with restored and converted Israel. But it is evident that multitudes will be born during that age (Zech. 8:4-6; Jer. 30:20; Isa. 65:20; Mic. 4:1-5), and these will need to be evangelized. Finally we note that the Gentiles will go up to worship at Jerusalem, especially at the annual feast of Tabernacles (Isa. 2:2-4; Zech. 14:16-19). Then we will have a united people of God and a united worship.

REGARDING NATURE

REGARDING NATURE

This is the time which Jesus calls, "the regeneration" (Matt. 19:28):

It is creation’s rebirth. Creation is now groaning and travailing in pain, but it will be delivered from the bondage of corruption when Christ returns (Rom. 8:19-22).
Great topographical changes will take place (Zech. 14:4,5,8,10;  Isa. 35:1,2; 55:13).
The nature of ferocious animals will be changed (Isa. 11:5-9; 65:25; Ezek. 34:25; Isa. 35:9).
Rain and soil-fertility will be restored (Joel 2:22-27; Isa. 35:2,6,7; Ezek. 34:26,27)
Crop failure will occur only for those who fail to come to worship at Jerusalem  (Zech. 14:17-19).
Human life will be prolonged, but there will be deaths during that period  (Isa. 65:20).
Sickness will decrease with the decrease of sin, but it will not be entirely removed.

REGARDING CONDITIONS IN GENERAL

The Scriptures represent this period as one of great joy and happiness. Physical healing will be granted to many (Isa. 35:5,6); and ransomed of Jehovah will return and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy will be upon their heads: they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away (Isa. 35:10; 51:11). It will also be a time of great material prosperity and security (Mic. 4:2-5). This passage refers to Gentile conditions, not Jewish. It will be a time when "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea" (Isa. 11:9). No doubt, prisons and penitentiaries will give place to schools and houses of worship. Friendly relations will exist, not only between individuals, but also between nations, and men will no longer learn war (Isa. 2:4). Man’s headship in creation, lost through the fall of our first parents, regained through the death of Jesus Christ, will be restored (Gen. 1:28; 3:17-19; Heb. 2:5-10).

REGARDING THE TEMPLE

Through the prophet Ezekiel numerous details are given to us concerning this temple that becomes the center of the millennial earth:

The gates and courts surrounding the temple are first described (Ezek. 40:5-47).
The entire area is enclosed by a wall (Ezek. 40:5) which is to separate that which would defile.
The outer courtyard is described (Ezek. 40:6-27) were the people gather.
This is entered by three gates, one of which, built like all the rest, is the EAST GATE (Ezek. 40:6-16), a structure 25 by 50 cubits (Ezek. 40:21), through which the Shekinah glory (God) enters the temple   (Ezek. 43:1-6), which is kept closed (Ezek. 44:2-3).
There is a gate on the northern side (Ezek. 40:20-23).
There is a gate on the southern side (Ezek. 40:24-27).
Each of these gates is entered by SEVEN steps (Ezek. 40:26), but none on the west (Ezek. 40:24).

It is noteworthy that in all the description there is no mention of an Ark, or Mercy Seat, or Veil, or Cherubim above the mercy seat, or Tables of Stone. The only article of furniture described is the Table or altar of wood (Ezek. 41:22) that answers to the Table of Shewbread, that which speaks of communion with God.

REGARDING LITERAL SACRIFICES

One of the problems accompanying the literal interpretation of the Old Testament presentation of the millennium is the problem surrounding the interpretation of such passages as Ezekiel 43:18-46:24; Ezekiel 20:40,41, all of which teach the:

1. The restoration of a priesthood.
2. The reinstitution of a bloody sacrificial system.

There are certain similarities between the Aaronic and Millennial systems:

In the millennial system we find the worship centers in an altar (Ezekiel 43:13-17) on which blood is sprinkled (Ezek. 43:18) and on which are offered burnt offerings, sin offerings and trespass offerings (Ezek. 40:39).
There is the re-institution of a Levitical order in that the sons of Zadok are set aside for a priestly ministry (Ezek. 43:19).
The meal offering is incorporated in the ritual (Ezek. 42:13).
There are prescribed rituals of cleansing for the altar (Ezek. 43:20-27), for the Levites who minister  (Ezek. 44:25-27), and for the sanctuary (Ezek. 45:18).
There will be the observance of new moon and Sabbath days (Ezek. 46:1).
Morning sacrifices will be offered daily (Ezek. 46:13).
Perpetual inheritances will be recognized (Ezek. 46:16-18).
The Passover feast will be observed again (Ezek. 45:21-25) and the feast of  Tabernacles becomes an annual event (Ezek. 45:25).
The year of jubilee is observed (Ezek. 46:17).
There is a similarity in the regulations given to govern the manner of life, the dress, and the sustenance of the priestly order (Ezek. 44:15-31).

There are many basic differences between the Aaronic and millennial systems.

The significance is not in the similarities but rather in the marked differences between the two systems. The millennial system is marked by OMISSIONS from the Aaronic order that make the two systems so different.

IN THE MILLENNIAL SYSTEM:
There is no Ark of the Covenant.
There is no Pot of Manna.

There is no Aaron’s rod to bud.

There is no Tables of the Law.
There is no Cherubim.
There is no Mercy-Seat.
There is no Golden Candlestick.
There is no shew-bread.
There is no Veil in the Temple.
There is no unapproachable Holy of Holies.
There is no High-Priest to offer atonement to take away sin.

The absence of that which was most vital to the Levitical system shows that the millennial age
will not see the re-establishment of Judaism.

 

  Forward to the Final Section:  Preparation for the Eternal Kingdom

Bibliography

 


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