Yesterday, we took a good hard look at several Scriptural proofs that I think settles the entire Rapture debate once and for all. At least, for me it does (for now anyway).
I admit, there are still a few "issues" I have with my "Escape" position (formerly known as the "Pre-Trib" perspective) as others have made some excellent points in the Comments Section, but I'm not going to get into addressing my thoughts on all of that for another few days or so. So, please stay tuned for upcoming commentaries if that discussion is of more interest to you.
I've continued to catch up on all my reading over at Brother D's Christian Apostasy blog since then. As promised, I wanted to report back with additional findings that I think might interest all of you. I can't thank him enough for his illuminating insights, and his method of explaining things always strikes a chord with me.
It's on his shoulder I stand and come to you now with this next installment. Hopefully, this will add more clarification to this subject and pick up right where we left off.
LET'S TALK ABOUT THE "ESCAPE" AGAIN
I want to be clear. When I write about Jesus' command that we are to "pray to be counted worthy to escape such things" I'm by no means insinuating that this is a words-based, salvation issue. In fact, this has nothing to do with one's salvation, but more about their belief regarding a literal Rapture event. Thanks to those of you who asked me to clarify.
Let's stay with this for a moment though. Obviously, Jesus gives us a clear command to "pray that we're counted worthy to escape" so it must be important. While this has absolutely NOTHING to do with our salvation and where we'll spend eternity when our physical bodies die, what if it has EVERYTHING to do with whether or not we'll be Raptured or have to endure some of the Tribulation? More on this in a bit.
We talked about the key to understanding yesterday, which is "knowledge of the Holy One" (Proverbs 9:10). If a person doesn't really know the true Son of God, they will never, ever "get" what the Bible is saying because He is the key to it all. In fact, He is it all. Jesus equals the Word of God, and the Word of God equals Jesus. No Jesus, no key, no understanding. We must know Him today, and be known by Him today or we are in bad shape.
So, where do we find evidence of this "escape" in the Bible? Furthermore, what can we learn about it as it relates to these end times and the coming Daniel's 70th Week (Tribulation + Great Tribulation = Final 7 Years)?
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." (emphasis mine)
Revelation 3:10 - - "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." (emphasis mine)
Matthew 24:39-44 - - "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. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." (emphasis mine)
Luke 17:34-37 - - "I tell you, in that night 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. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together." (emphasis mine)
What? Wherever the body is? The eagles gathered together? This has to make some kind of sense for the Lord to have written it, right? Perhaps this will help us:
Revelation 4:1 - - "After this I 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." (emphasis mine)
Notice the specific wording used above in Luke 17:37 - - "eagles," "air," "gathered together." Let those words sink in for a moment. "Eagles"...you know, things that fly in the AIR? Being "gathered together"? A door open in Heaven in Revelation 4? "Come up here?" What about this "body"(evoking a dead body). Where is it?
Revelation 5:6-7 - - "And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne." (emphasis mine)
Ok, so we have a "slain Lamb" (a "body") to deal with here. Where is it? It's in Heaven. Who is the "slain Lamb" spoken of? It's none other than Jesus Christ Himself. Again, remember, "Gathering together" and "in the air."
1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 - - "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." (emphasis mine)
It does'nt stop there! Also, notice the words "the body." "Wherever the body is..." What body? The slain body? Whose slain body? Christ's slain body! What is Christ's body? THE CHURCH! So, wherever the body is (wherever the church is), there will "those in flight/in the air/eagles" be "gathered together." Where is "the body, also known as the church" in Revelation 5? It's in Heaven in the midst of the throne.
There are redeemed men in Heaven with crowns on. Where do crowns come from? From the rewards given at the Judgement Seat of Christ, right? Is the Lord going to have multiple Judgement Seats? If not, then the Judgement Seat for crowns/rewards had to happen at or before Revelaion 5 I think.
Lately, I keep saying that I'm prepared for all sceanrios when it comes to the Rapture, but my faith and hope is today in a Pre-Trib view of the whole thing. Most people in this world will be going through the Tribulation so when you hear people arguing that we will be going through it (and that they believe they will), don't debate them because they probably will go through it. I'm beginning to think that that doesn't mean that you have to. What the Lord said will happen, will happen. If He said we should "pray to be counted worthy of an escape from all," then there absolutely - - positively - - is an escape from all coming. We will look back someday and say, "Hey look! It happened just like He said it would! We escaped from all, just like Noah and Lot did!"
I encourage you to take the Lord at His word today. The things coming on this world will shock and terrify mankind. The shock will come from the fact that those who are alive now have never seen anything like the coming horrors. Perhaps some of the few surviving people who were in Hitler's concentration camps will be able to relate, but few others will. The Fourth Reich is coming. It will be history repeating itself except this time it will be on steroids. This time, devils and demons will incarnate and walk the Earth openly (see previous articles on the coming "Black Awakening"). That's what I firmly believe.
What I want you to see here is the contrast between the relative peace we have today, and the Hell on Earth tomorrow. For many people, they will have their "aha, I get it" moment way too late. The Lord said its going to be bad. Very bad. Mankind will be made rarer than pure gold He said. That means lots and lots and lots of death. Death will come to most in all different manners and forms. You don't have to be part of that. We have a promise that it's possible to be kept, to escape all. We have gems hidden in plain sight throughout the Bible for those who have eyes to see them, like:
Zephaniah 2:3 - - "Seek the LORD, All you humble of the earth Who have carried out His ordinances; Seek righteousness, seek humility. Perhaps you will be hidden In the day of the LORD'S anger." (emphasis mine)
"Hidden in the day of the Lord's anger." Do you see that? "Perhaps" because unless you "pray that you may be counted worthy to escape" you won't "be hidden in the day of the Lord's anger."
Here's another clue of where some will be on the day of the Lord:
Revelation 1:10 - - "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and...I came to be in the Spirit on the Day of the Lord, when I heard a loud voice behind me like a trumpet..." (emphasis mine)
So, on the "day of the Lord" John was "in the Spirit" when he heard a "trumpet." Trumpet, Day of the Lord, in the Spirit. It's all there for us hidden in plain sight.
The worst is yet to come. A day of wrath and vengeance for those who are not pure of heart, those who do not obey, those with deceit in their spirit, but not for you. If you are "in Christ" then stay there. He paid the price already for your mess-ups, but you need to stay under His protection. Do what He tells you to do. He tells you to "pray that you may be counted worthy of the escape." If you are "in Christ" then I pray this prayer for you, with you, every day. You, my brothers and sisters, are in my prayers. Please keep me and my family in yours. Grace and peace.
THE COMING DAY OF NOAH
This leads me to the coming day of Noah. We have a day coming soon that will be EXACTLY like it was for Noah. Think about that. The Lord specifically tells us that a day is coming that will be EXACTLY like the days of Noah and Lot (Luke 17; Matthew 24). What happened in the days of Noah?
Genesis 7:1 - - "And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation." (emphasis mine)
Genesis 7:4-5 - - "For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him." (emphasis mine)
Verse 1 says what? "Come into the Ark." Verse 4 says "in seven more days I will bring the rain." People like to argue, "Hey, but it didn't rain for 7 more days!" Who cares? What happened first? Noah was told to come into the Ark - - FIRST. Once in the Ark, who cares when it rained? I don't mean to be bluntly insensitive, but it's just a natural thought I have.
What do we know about Noah's experience? He did what the Lord commanded (he was obedient), and he was physically separated/segragated from the wrath and judgement. You need to read the specific words of how he was separated:
Genesis 7:17 - - "And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth." (emphasis mine)
So, we enter the Ark BEFORE the "7 days" and BEFORE the "40 days and nights of rain," and we are lifted up above the Earth. Arguing about the 7 and 40 days seems irrelevant. The relevant fact to our escape is that Noah entered first. Before. Everything has to fit. We can't force pieces into the puzzle, right?
Luke 21:36 tells us there is an escape from all that's coming. Did Noah escape all? Yes, he did. Did Lot escape all? Yes, he did. Will we (if counted worthy) escape all? Yes, we will. I am absolutely 100% positive that we will look back on history, after the Lord does what He does and say "Yep, exactly, precisely like it happened to Noah and Lot. Yep, we did 'escape all' exactly as the Lord said it would happen." The details are in the Lord's hands.
To really understand how this is going to work, transport your mind back in time, into Noah's or Lot's body, and take with you your understanding of every detail of how their experience worked out for them. That's what is coming. We are going to have a "Noah and Lot experience." It will be EXACTLY like that. The Lord said it, not me.
Many are those who would explain new details into the Noah and Lot experience. Read both stories. I see nothing - - absolutely nothing - - about them being persecuted, executed, chased/hunted down by wicked men, treading water, putting out fires on their clothes from brimstone saying "whoa, that was close!" Nada, not even remotely close. Before a single act of judgement even starts, the righteous have to be removed, that seems to be the fact of the matter to me. Could I be wrong? Sure. Am I open to that possibility? Of course I am. I just keep thinking though, Who said that? Look below. Also, guess what word I see written five times down there? You guessed it - - "escape."
Genesis 19:15-22 - - "And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my LORD: Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast showed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do anything till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar." (emphasis mine)
"I cannot do anything till thou be come thither?" Yes, no destruction, not a lick of it, until Lot was out. And escape, escape, escape, escape, escape. Gosh, where have we read that before?
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." (emphasis mine)
The indisputable facts of the Noah and Lot stories were that Noah went into the Ark first (Genesis 7:1), and then he waited 7 days (Genesis 7:4), and 40 days for men to be judged. Lot went out of Sodom before a single fiery ember was allowed to fall.
Here's something else thats very important to take note of. What was Noah and Lot's situation before Noah entered the Ark, and before Lot left Sodom? Do we read anything about them suffering the judgements of sword, famine, death and Hell on Earth (i.e. plagues, beasts of the Earth hunting them down, etc.?). Well, that's what's coming for this world. If Noah and Lot didn't face those things, how can we not infer that neither will we especially in light of what Jesus told us and what Scripture plainly says? Yes, I realize that the world was a depraved place in their time (i.e. raping going on in the streets let's say), but that's still not on par with what we're talking about here I don't think.
The Book of Ezekiel clearly states that the sword and famine are signature judgements by the Lord our God. We looked at that in yesterday's piece on this subject. Those exact same judgements are what open the Tribulation period in the First Seal to the Fifth Seal.
The Book of Matthew tells us that the world was eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage right up to the day Noah entered the Ark. So, you should expect to eat, drink, marry and give in marriage right up to the day we enter the Ark so to speak. If the Holy Spirit wanted Matthew to tell us, "Be ready to dodge the sword, famine, beasts, the Antichrist, death and Hell on Earth up until the day you enter the Ark..." he could have, but he didn't, right?
The Lord's Word will be exalted. It will be vindicated. So, we can give ourselves a 100% guarantee that right up to the day we enter our "Ark," this is what we will see:
Luke 17:28-30 - - "Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed." (emphasis mine)
The Lord told Noah "come in here," and our Lord Jesus will tell us "come up here." Noah entered the Ark through an open door, then the Lord closed the door behind Noah. We will enter Heaven through an open door (Revelation 4) and the Lord will close it behind us:
Matthew 25:10-13 - - "And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." (emphasis mine)
Our Noah/Lot experience is ahead of us and approaching quickly. If you want to understand the experience, just put yourselves in Noah's and/or Lot's shoes. With your mind and spirit, enter their experience and understand it the way it happened to them because that's what's coming - - EXACTLY like that.
Physical removal from the physical location of judgement and wrath is what happened. This time, the wrath and judgement will be worldwide, so where do you think we'll go? A door open in Heaven give you any clue?
Many will be left behind for various reasons. We know that. Already, their hearts tell them they will be in the Tribulation even though they don't have to be. That's right. I'm seriously beginning to believe that while our salvation is certainly secure, the timing of when we are actually "caught up" is determined by our belief and faith in the Rapture.
Thus, maybe that's why there's so much confusion on this topic. Maybe that's why so many Christians have opposing views about the Rapture let alone the timing of such a monumental event. Perhaps there are more than just one Rapture event for believers, and that the one that you are "in line for" is directly determined by what you personally believe about it all. Why not? I'll expand more upon this line of thinking in the days ahead.
Unfortunately, if this is the case, there's very little time left for us to change our position and to pray that we are counted worthy to escape such things.
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."
Matthew Henry had this to say about Luke 21:29-38: "Christ tells his disciples to observe the signs of the times, which they might judge by. He cautions them against being secure and sensual. It will be a terror and a destruction to them. Here see what should be our aim, that we may be accounted worthy to escape all those things; that when the judgements of God are abroad, we may not be in the common calamity, or it may not be that to us which it is to others."
MORE FACTS FROM THE ACCOUNT OF THE FLOOD
Here are some key words I'd like to highlight for you this morning: "For as in the days that were before the flood" (Matthew 24:38). Let the words "days before the flood" sink in for a moment.
What about the days before the Flood? What is Jesus telling us about these days before the Flood? People were eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. Yea, so? People will be doing the EXACT same things. Up until when? Until the day that Noah entered into the Ark. Whoa! So, it appears that the day Noah entered the Ark was a "transformative" day for the world, wouldn't you say? Why? What happened the day that Noah entered the Ark? They knew not until the Flood came and took them all away. Read it again below:
Matthew 24:36-44 - - "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 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. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."
You know what I find amazing? I find it amazing that in spite of all the bad news, economic problems, etc. that for many people, eating, drinking and marrying/giving in marriage continues as it always has (perhaps minus a couple steak dinners per week in lieu of burgers). What does the Noah account in Matthew tell us? It tells us something very specific about "the coming of the Son of Man."
"The coming of the Son of Man" has very specific "word markers" attached to it. Read them again. Words are used for a reason. How does Jesus paint the word picture for us surrounding this "coming of the Son of Man?" Here it is:
> days of Noah
> coming of the Son of man
> days that were before the flood
> eating, drinking, marriage/giving in marriage
> until the day Noah entered the ark
> they knew not
> flood took them all away
> one taken, the other left
> ye know not the hour
> be ye also ready
> hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh
I won't even get into the "one taken, the other left" argument right now, but suffice it to say that we know an escape from all is coming. That's seems to me to be a fact. We know that some will be kept from the hour of trial to come on all the Earth. We know that the Seals are judgements and they are the first things listed in the Book of Revelation as our God's dealing with this wicked world.
The escape, being kept, Noah entering the Ark, Lot leaving Sodom - - they are all pieces of the end time puzzle, and they all fit somewhere. Many are the "teachers" today who will argue you, until blue in the face, that the pieces to this puzzle our Lord gives us fit nowhere. They'd rather just throw those pieces out. I'm sorry, but that's just the way I'm starting to feel about it, and the way I'm starting to see this entire debate.
The end time puzzle is a big one, and different people will fit into this puzzle in different ways. Some will escape, some will be sealed as part of the Lamb's 144,000, some will be martyred saints, some will be kept by our God's power in the desert for 3+ years, many will die from sword, famine, beasts, pestilence. One size does not fit all here. So, when we hear people telling us that what they see ahead is Tribulation for themselves and others, just realize that to a hammer everything looks like a nail. We are close enough to the Time of Jacob's Trouble that people's hearts are being prepared for what lays ahead of them. Again, one size does not fit all.
One other important comment. Holding fast to one particular Rapture perspective over another does not make anyone any "more" or "less" of a Christian. I don't see that as being the case at all. It also doesn't make anyone "right" or "wrong" per se. The way I see it, I have a theory as to why there is so much confusion amongst Christians when it comes to the Rapture. I will write about this extensively soon with PLENTY of Scriptural evidence too.
If you are living and breathing, and reading this now, you still have a chance to pray that you may be counted worthy of the escape that is coming (Luke 21:36). Knowledge of the Holy One is understanding, so, get to know Him today. If you already know Him, get to know him better. Some people will spend eternity never even scratching the surface of the depth and breadth of the wonders of our God because He is that magnificent.
Time is short so be watching and ready. The things going on around us today are final touches on preparation for the 7 years of Hell on Earth. Those 7 years do not have to be for you. If you are pure in heart, with no deceit in your spirit, if you are "in Christ," and you strive to please Him each and every day, what need have you for wrath and judgement? In Christ, there is no longer condemnation for you.
Noah and Lot walked as right standing men in the eyes of our God, and they were spared from the judgements of their day. Our God tells us that those who walk before Him today in that same way will be spared from the judgements coming soon. Our God does not lie. If He said there's an escape from all, then there is an escape from all. If He said the coming of the Son of Man will be EXACTLY like the days of Noah and Lot, it will be EXACTLY like the days of Noah and Lot. You can count on it. I am looking for it. I am counting on it.
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