We spent a good portion of yesterday considering the "escape" as it pertains to the Rapture with specific focus on the "as in the days of Noah" major clue. Let's continue with our next installment of this Rapture series.
Once again, Brother D of the Christian Apostasy blog comes through in the clutch! I'll also be including some of Jack Kelley's work from his Grace Thru Faith ministry. Both should tie a nice little bow around the Pre-Trib (a.k.a. "Escapist") Rapture position and offer it up as the gift it was always meant to be to us true believers in Christ.
A NARROW MINDED FOCUS ABOUT THE DAYS OF NOAH AND LOT
We need to really hone in on the facts found in Scripture, and become narrow minded in our approach. We need to exhibit "tunnel vision" if you will.
With all the uncertainty around what the "escape" is (or is not I suppose), don't you think we should take a REALLY CLOSE LOOK at exactly what happened with Noah and Lot? I mean, the Lord gave us two examples, not just one, to figure out what it is we should be looking for in the future. With these two examples, we are also able to cross reference the commonalities, to know for sure, exactly what's going to happen. Since we know that the coming of the Son of Man will be just like BOTH the days of Noah AND Lot, that means this coming event matches up with both, which means whatever conclusions we come to, those conclusion MUST MATCH BOTH STORIES of Noah and Lot. We need to remember that.
So, we look at the story of Noah and we consider this idea that people tell us about, that Noah was to go into the Ark, and the Bible says he waited 7 days for the rains of the Flood to start. People automatically say, "Hey, see! Noah sat there for 7 days, and not until after the 7 days did the Flood come!" Yes? So? Where was Noah during those 7 days? He was in the Ark. Not only do we know that Noah was in the Ark, we know it was because of the Flood that Noah entered the Ark. Not only do we know that Noah was in the Ark, that he did not tread water for a second, but we also know that the story of Noah MUST MATCH THE STORY of Lot since it applies to the coming of the Son of Man in our very near future.
Do we see anything about Lot waiting for 7 days before leaving Sodom? No, we don't. What do we see? A slightly different - - although very similar where it matters - - series of events.
Genesis 19:15-17 - - "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." (emphasis mine)
Genesis 19:23-25 - - "The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground." (emphasis mine)
What do we see in BOTH stories? Above, we see that not until Lot entered the safe place known as Zoar did the Lord rain fire and brimstone. What do we see with Noah? Not until Noah was safely in the Ark did the Lord rain the flood waters on the Earth.
The SAME IDEA IN BOTH STORIES so you can be absolutely sure that not until we are taken to a safe place will one drop of rain, or one ember of fire and brimstone fall. As it was, so shall it be. At least, that's how I'm reading and seeing this.
Noah escaped all the flood waters. Lot escaped all the fire and brimstone. We shall escape all of what's about to happen. That's verbatim out of the Word of God. What response would we get if we asked a "Post-Tribber" or a "Pre-Wrath" believer how much water Noah had to tread? What if we asked them how many burn spots Lot had on him as he walked out of Sodom? It's a pertinent question to ask yourself if you hold fast to one of these two views regarding the Rapture. I asked myself this very question and the answer was clear - - nada, nothing, zero, ziltch. Surely, if we're lovers of truth like we profess than how do we refute that or deny the plain interpretation?
Noah and Lot escaped all, so unless someone can explain to me why we should ignore this fact about the "as in the days of Noah" MAJOR CLUE that Jesus gave us, I will continue to believe that those who "pray that they are counted worthy" are promised an "escape from all" just as I'm told in Luke 21:36. Even so, I know there will be many Bible-believing, God-fearing, decent men and women who are seekers of the truth who will continue to argue with me insisting that there is no "escape" from all that's about to happen. How can that be?
Some will say it's because this portion of Scripture isn't referring to the end times or the Rapture. Really? "As in the days of Noah..." and this is clearly an account of what happened before God's judgement fell upon the people of Noah and Lot's day. Plus, what are "all these things" that we are to pray to escape? Well, look at what Jesus Himself said in Luke 21. He lays out an ENTIRE PANORAMA of the Tribulation period:
Luke 21:10-36 - - "Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls. And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, 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."
Here it is plain as day. Jesus tells us about EVERYTHING that's going to happen. Then, when He is done telling us what's going to happen, He tells us to "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." This should be all the Scriptural evidence and proof we need, shouldn't it?
Here's something the Lord pointed out to me recently. If the coming of the Son of Man is to be like the days of Noah and Lot, and the Books of Daniel and Revelation work closely together to paint a picture for us of what's going to happen during the Time of Jacob's Trouble (Daniel's 70th Week/Tribulation/Great Tribulation), then shouldn't we see something in either the Book of Daniel, or the Book of Revelation that closely resembles the events in Noah and Lot's day? Yes, I believe it stands to reason that we should. As far as I can tell, we can't find anything in the Book of Daniel that even remotely relates to the days of Noah and Lot. Look at the Book of Revelation. The question I have? If the Mid-Trib, Pre-Wrath, Post-Trib teachers are right, shouldn't we see some kind of Noah and Lot "event" in Revelation that proves their point relating to the coming of the Son of man? You should see that, but you don't see that.
For instance, at the opening of the Seals in Revelation 6, it's become popular these days to tell us that we are going to experience all the Seals right up through the Sixth Seal, and then be raptured. Well, if that's true, don't we have to line it up with the stories of Noah and Lot to fit the "as in the days of Noah..." description? Don't we have to show that the parts about us being persecuted by the Antichrist, being chased down by death and Hell on Earth, and being killed off by famine and the beasts of the Earth has parallels and lines up with the stories of Noah and Lot? Yes, we would have to prove that, but we can't. We can't come even close to proving that. We're told to believe that we are the ones under the altar who were slain for the Word of God and our testimony. I'll entertain these opinions as soon as those who have them can prove that being slain for my testimony lines up with the experiences of Noah and Lot.
TO REITERATE (BECAUSE THESE POINTS CANNOT BE OVERSTATED)
The evidence just keeps mounting that this year may be the last "pre-Flood" year this Earth sees. That is to say, if we are to view our day and age through the context of "as in the days of Noah" then we should expect our escape and Flood-type judgement event soon.
As we look at what is written in the Word of God, we all understand that everything has to "fit." We cannot force things to go where we want them to. Either they fit in the overall context, or they do not. Here's where we come to men making nonsense out of the story of Noah.
First, throw out any preconceived notions men have given you relating to "Pre-Trib," "Mid-Trib," "Pre-Wrath," "Post-Trib," and focus on what the Lord is saying in Luke 17:26 and Matthew 24:37. Time and time again, it's "just as it happened in the days of Noah."
Could the Lord be any more clearer here? Just as it was in the days of Noah - - EXACTLY the same. So, whatever theories men come up with, it has to fit the days of Noah. In fact, it must fit, or its pure nonsense.
The Mid-Trib and Pre-Wrath teachers make nonsense out of the story of Noah by changing the story around to say something to the effect that Noah entered the Ark after 20-30 days of flooding, which means that he and his family were treading water outside the Ark for more than half of the Flood. I'm sorry to be so bold, but do you understand how ridiculous that is? It's beyond ridiculous. It's pure fantasy.
The Post-Trib teacher tells you that Noah and his family were treading water during the entire Flood, then went into the Ark after the Flood was full. That is, after 40 days and nights of rain. Is that the story of Noah you read in Genesis 7? This point of view is also complete fantasy.
Call it whatever you want, but because of the waters of the Flood, Noah went into the Ark, and that's fact, not fiction, and whatever theories men come up with, they better fit that fact.
Luke 21:36 says there is an escape from ALL coming. Does that "fit" the story of Noah? Yes, it does. Noah escaped the entire Flood - - all of it. Does it "fit" the story of Lot? Yes, it does. Lot escaped all the brimstone that fell on Sodom.
Jesus said that it would be like in the days of Noah and Lot, referring to His return and the establishment of The Kingdom. Lot was escorted from his home. Noah entered the Ark seven days before the flood waters came. Scripture, I have learned, is PRECISE to the extreme. In thinking about this I began to notice a slight difference in the accounts of both Noah and Lot.
Consequently, I wondered if there was something to be learned from Noah entering the Ark a week before judgment as opposed to Lot where there really was no similar advance notice. What does this tell us about our coming situation if anything?
In Genesis 7:1 God told Noah to go into the Ark and bring the animals with him because the rain was coming in 7 days. This was the first time they had entered for the purpose of preparing for their departure rather than completing the Ark’s construction. During that 7 days, Noah and his family were in and out of the Ark bringing the animals on board, and there was still time for anyone who so desired to join them. Genesis 7:10 says that after the 7 days the flood waters came.
Genesis 7:13 says that ON THE VERY SAME DAY the flood waters came on the Earth, Noah and his family entered the Ark. This would have been the last time they entered because after that the Lord shut them in (Genesis 7:16), and no one else could come aboard.
Who knows, but perhaps their first entry could be compared to the whatever it is that begins Daniel's 70th Week at the very start of those final 7 years. The countdown to the end will have begun, but there’ll still be time to “get on board” by choosing salvation.
Their final entry, then, could point to the sign of the Son of Man that appears in the sky immediately after the Great Tribulation ends (Matthew 24:29-30) causing all the nations of the Earth to mourn because after that it’ll be too late for anyone to choose the Lord and be saved, just as it was too late for anyone to get on the Ark and escape the Flood after the Lord shut the door.
With Lot it was a little different. According to Genesis 19:22, judgment couldn’t come upon Sodom and Gomorrah until Lot was gone. Oh yeah, and there was no advance notice. The angels came, took Lot away, and the towns were destroyed - - without warning. Lot serves as an example for the Church, not preserved through the judgment like Israel and the Tribulation survivors, but suddenly taken away from the time, the place, and any relation to the judgment, as Paul prophesied in 1 Thessalonians 1:10.
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)
Noah was counted worthy of escape. Lot was counted worthy of escape. We are told to pray that we may be counted worthy of escape. "As it was in the days of Noah and Lot, so shall it be in the days of the son of Man" (Matthew 24:37). It will be exactly the same. Eating, drinking, planting, building, marrying and giving in marriage, right up till the day that destruction falls. Over and over again we read "the same day" that destruction fell, Lot and Noah were out of harm's way.
This point cannot be overstated. The key to understanding the times as well as the timing of the Rapture must be a complete and comprehensive understanding of what Jesus meant when He said it would be "as in the days of Noah."
First, I'd be remiss if I didn't make mention of the mysterious people in Genesis 6:4 called the "Nephilim," offspring of crossbreeding between Fallen Angels and human women. Make no mistake, they're a part of the "days of Noah" too. Interesting then that at this very moment in history we're experiencing a flap in "Alien/UFO" sightings worldwide. Yes, I'm making the connection. Would these beings with supernatural strength (is this the origin of the titans or demi-gods in mythology?) be called "Aliens/Extraterrestrials" today?
Regular readers already know my feelings on that, but as a quick overview, in many documented "Alien" encounters there seems to be a great interest on their part in our reproductive system. Are "Aliens" using humans to breed a super race again? After all, in the King James rendering of Daniel 2:43 there’s a curious reference to someone “mixing themselves with the seed of men” in the last days.
Is the Antichrist part "Alien" or in command of beings that are part "Alien" and part human? Plus, one common thread with all the "Alien abduction" cases are the same - - invoking the name of Jesus Christ during an incident seems to stop them in their tracks. Surely, this is proof that there's spiritual connection to all of this and that what we've been led to believe are "Aliens" over the past few decades are really demons manifesting themselves in our reality. As they were in the days of Noah.
Yet, in all of my years of study comparing the days of Noah with the end of the age, one insight has recently become much clearer to me. In Genesis 6:3 God warned of the removal of His Spirit from Earth before the coming judgement. Some see this passage as defining man’s life span, but it can’t be. In Psalms 90:10 we’re told that man’s life span is 70 years with an extra 10 if we have the strength. 120 years was the time God gave man to prepare for the coming judgement and prior to that judgement He was going to remove His Spirit from the Earth.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:7 a similar warning is given concerning the end of the age, and there is confusion over it’s interpretation just as with Genesis 6:3. The only truly literal interpretation of this passage is that before the Antichrist can be revealed in all his power beginning the Great Tribulation, the restraining force of the Holy Spirit must be taken out of the way (literally out of the midst, or from among).
Genesis 5:24 - - "Enoch walked with God and then he was no more because God took him away."
Seeing those two verses side by side the sequence of events suddenly became so obvious to me. Enoch was taken alive from Earth and the Holy Spirit was withdrawn. Then in Genesis 6:5 man’s behavior is described as having become unbearably wicked, and in Genesis 7 the judgement came - - in that specific order.
Enoch’s name means "teaching," and according to Jude 14-15 he gave the first prophecy of the Second Coming. Hebrew tradition holds that he was born on the 6th day of Sivan on the Hebrew calendar and was taken by God on his birthday. The 6th of Sivan is the day we know as Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. For these reasons, Enoch is often seen as a model or type of the church, whose calling is also to teach the world the ways of the Lord and to talk about His coming.
The Bible declares that the Holy Spirit is sealed within believers as a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14). Paul wrote that the Holy Spirit will be withdrawn from earth before the Antichrist is allowed to begin the judgement known as the Great Tribulation. Withdrawing the Holy Spirit with out removing the Church as well would break God’s promise to us since it would require “unsealing” the Holy spirit from with in us.
If Enoch is indeed a model of the church and if the Lord’s prophecy of Matthew 24:37 includes the sequence of events, as seems likely, then one day soon we will be taken alive (raptured) from Earth, the Holy Spirit withdrawn. Man’s behavior will become unbearably wicked and the judgement will come, all in that order. As it was in the days of Noah.
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE RAPTURE
The verse we want here is 2 Thessalonians 2:7 that reads: “For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.”
In the context of the passage, Paul explained that the Antichrist could not be revealed until the One who restrains, or holds back, his power is taken out of the way, or literally out of the midst. Pre-Tribbers believe that this Restrainer is the Holy Spirit as resident in the Church. If that's the case, then since He’s sealed within us, if He goes we go too, right?
The SAME circumstances involving Enoch prevailed before Noah’s Flood. The Holy Spirit was withdrawn, and then the Flood came (Genesis 6:3). As it was in the days of Noah.
Again, since the Holy Spirit is sealed within us as a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14), when He’s taken out of the world we would have to go with Him. But once we receive our inheritance by arriving in Heaven, He’ll be free to resume His ministry on Earth, such as assisting the 144,000 in their spread of the Gospel by softening the hearts of people to receive it.
This is how I reconcile the conflicting passages of Scripture as found in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, Matthew 24:29-31, Daniel 7:21, Daniel 7:25, Daniel 8:24, Revelation 12:17, Revelation 13:7, Revelation 14:12-13, and Revelation 20:4. These verses must be referring to the Tribulation Saints, correct? At least, that's how I interpret them.
In any event, the only major difference I’m aware of is that the Holy Spirit won’t be sealed within Tribulation believers as He is in the Church. Just as there were gifted teachers in the Old Testament, so will there be in the Tribulation, and they will draw believers to them.
So, to quickly recap, while we’re on Earth the Holy Spirit is sealed inside us. At the Rapture, we’ll ascend to Heaven where we’ll receive our new bodies and lose our sin nature. We’ll no longer need the Holy Spirit to guide our behavior and convict us of our sin because we’ll no longer have the desire to sin.
The Holy Spirit will return to Earth in a ministry similar to the Old Testament. He’ll convict people of their sins and bring them to the Lord as He always has. He’ll be with believers (the Tribulation Saints) and come upon them in power when needed, but He won’t be sealed within them to guarantee their salvation. That blessing belongs to the Church alone.
A BOTTOM LINE ANALYSIS
Here's a bottom line question that would be good for anyone holding fast to a Mid-Trib, Pre-Wrath, Post-Trib position: How much of the Flood did Noah have to endure before he entered the Ark?How much fire and brimstone did Lot have to endure before he left Sodom? The answer to both questions? NONE OF IT AT ALL!
There's a one-stop shopping way to shutdown all the arguments I think. Here's something to realize though - - many will go through the Tribulation (those first 3.5 years of the final 7 years) as they shall not escape, but you brothers and sisters can still pray that you may be counted worthy to not experience the Flood of Noah's day, or the fire and brimstone of Lot's day. If the days of the Son of Man are going to be EXACTLY the same, then they will be EXACTLY the same. That's not open for debate.
One final note on this. Take a look at another telling bit of Scripture.
Luke 17:22 - - "And He said to the disciples, 'The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.'"
You will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man? Obviously, "the days of the Son of Man" are good days, or at least tolerable days. This world is approaching a time that will seem unreal, but it will be very real. What's coming is beyond bad, its mind numbing, surreal type of something terrible. What's coming is every single Hollywood summer blockbuster action film rolled into one. Just imagine the effect of the break down of law and order? What happens when governments are so broke they don't pay the police anymore? Think Somalia with warlords running things in regional areas, but here in America instead.
Don't think it can happen? Wait and see. The Army is already gaming these scenarios out. Are they insane too? If I talk about it, I'm a "nutcase," but when the government spends billions of dollars preparing for it, it's perfectly sane. How does that work? That's the game we are playing today. Spiritual deception rules the day. As in the days of Noah.
I can't guarantee you much, but I can guarantee you this: when the Word of God tells you that something is going to happen a certain way, it's GUARANTEED to happen that way. So, put yourself in Noah's shoes today because we are modern day "Noah's and Lot's." I didn't say that, Jesus Christ did.
"The coming of the Son of Man" will be just like the days of Noah and Lot. Do not allow men to re-write the stories of Noah and Lot for you. If something did not happen in the stories of Noah and Lot, it won't happen during the coming of the Son of Man either. If it did happen, it will happen again.
I should take this opportunity to also address a common objection to this "Escapist" view. I know that there are many of you out there who say something to the effect of, "Christians were persecuted and suffered at the hands of Nero so why should we think we're any more worthy to escape what our future is?" You know, I'll admit that this is a good point and one that I've often clinged to myself when I've stood firmly on anything but a Pre-Trib/Escapist position.
The best I can do to answer that off the top of my head right now is that there has always been persecution of the Saints. There always has been, and there always will be. We have Brothers and Sisters in Christ in Asia and the Middle East (as well as many other parts of the world) right now who are being persecuted (some killed) for their faith in Jesus Christ while we get to live a life without that kind of brutality. I'm not sure what to call that or why that is, but I don't think it has to do with our "worthiness" as it exists at this very moment in this life.
In the end, I just keep coming back to the same thoughts. Is it possible that I am completely off base with all of this? It's possible, but if there is no "escape" from all that's about to happen, then I guess we should take a pencil out and erase Luke 21:36 from the Bible. If the church is not kept from the hour of trial coming on the entire Earth, then we need to erase Revelation 3:10 too. If we are going to go through half or more of the Tribulation/Great Tribulation, then we need to get out a bigger eraser and edit the stories of Noah and Lot to make them "fit" our interpretation. If we are all destined to take the brunt of the Tribulation on the chin because we're no better than the multitude of martyred Christians who came before us, then there's a lot that will have to be re-written in the Bible, but you know, and I know, that's not going to happen.
I will always keep an open mind about all things and about this. However, at the moment, my intent with this series is to explain to all of you why I currently hold the belief that I do about the Rapture. It's about sharing my story with you so you know where I'm coming from. You can disagree with me, that's perfectly all right. I'm really not trying to change anyone's mind here as much as I am simply going "on record" and stating what I believe at this specific moment in my life.
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