“The Rapture Is So Close!” Some Further Thoughts :: By Matthew L. Rice

This past summer I wrote an article about a 100-year-old WW2 veteran who, every time he would show up for a medical office visit, would state:  “The rapture is so close!  It is so close!”  Here is the article:  (http://www.raptureready.com/2017/06/24/the-rapture-is-so-close/).

I believe that dear saint (who is now with his beloved Savior) was right on target!  And to quote Paul: “Salvation is nearer to us” today than it was eight months ago! (Romans 13:11).

Because of that article, I received many emails from Christians all over America and a few from other countries.  There was a common theme that emerged in several of these emails:  Many believers are experiencing spiritual “battle fatigue.”  They long to see Jesus.  They long to be done with their struggle with evil (their own indwelling fleshly evil as well as the external evils of the world and the devil).  I very much identify with this myself.

Some of the brethren who communicated to me had placed their hope in a September 23, 2017 rapture of the church.  But once again, this storied day came and went without the anticipated fulfillment.  Once more, the truth of Mark 13:32 and Matthew 24:36 were spotlighted.  Date setting for the rapture is wrong!  If Christ Himself says: “no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:32), why do we still try and set dates?  When the dates come and go, the world scoffs and believers can lose their hope and enthusiasm.

So, should we even be looking for His coming?  Absolutely!  We must!  I believe we are in the season of Christ’s Second Coming!

Jesus excoriated the Pharisees for not knowing the “signs of the times.”  He said to them:  “You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky but you cannot interpret the signs of the times” (Matt. 16:3).[1]

His exhortation to us, the final generation (I strongly believe this), is quite similar:  “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door” (Matt. 24:32-33, emphasis mine).

The word “recognize” is the Greek word “to come to know, recognize, perceive”[2] and is also the Hebrew idiom for intimate relations between a man and a woman (whereby the two become one flesh).[3]  This conviction (that He is near) is to become one with us.  It is part of who we are.   But it gets even stronger than that!

The mood of this verb is most certainly an imperative (i.e. a command).[4]  So, Jesus is commanding us to know for sure that His coming is near!  Let me put it in modern lingo:  “I want you guys to know in the core of your being that My coming is really near—like right at the door!”

This needs to be reiterated.  Jesus is commanding the final generation that when they see the labor pains happening (false Christs, wars, rumors of wars, plagues, famines, earthquakes, terrors and great signs from heaven (Matt. 24 and Luke 21), they are to know in the core of their being that He is near, just outside the door!

Brothers and sisters, these things are happening before our very eyes!  Let me name just a few:

–Israel is born in a day (Isaiah 66:8).

–Russia, Iran and Turkey form a partnership, which must happen to fulfill the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecy. (The following picture speaks a thousand words:[5])  Click on it and see!


–Intense interest within Israel for the building of the third temple (see:  http://www.templeinstitute.org)

–Earthquakes in unusual places[6]

–“Damascus is about to be removed from being a city and will become a fallen ruin” (Isaiah 17:1).  It appears this prophecy is on the cusp of being fulfilled.

The confluence of many end-times prophecies is happening!

Yet the skeptics (sadly, even some within the churches) say that these things have always happened.  They say for thousands, if not millions, of years everything “continues just as it [has] from the beginning”—fulfilling (as the words fall from their own lips) the 2 Peter 3:4 last-days prophecy![7]—that they would say this very thing!

“Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Matt. 24:34).

Although Jesus’ Second Coming has always been imminent, there is a difference today.  Israel has been reborn!

God has been infinitely patient, pushing off the return of Christ for His church one generation after another because He is “not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3: 9).  But there will be a final generation,[8] a terminal generation, if you will.  The generation that sees the signs of the end will be the generation that witnesses the end itself.  In other words, once the movement to the return of Christ starts, all the events connected with it happen very quickly, in rapid succession.”[9]

The next critical question is how long is a generation?  Psalm 90 gives us the answer:  “As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years” (Psalm 90:10).

There are other possibilities: “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years” (Genesis 6:3).  But this lifespan was antediluvian (before Noah’s flood).  After the worldwide flood we see the lifespans drastically shrinking to about one tenth of what they were previously.  By 1500 BC (around the time Moses wrote the piece that became Psalm 90) humankind’s longevity had shrunk to “seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years.”

Our Lord Jesus offers even further evidence that the seventy to eighty year lifespan comprises a generation.  In Matthew 23 Jesus terrifyingly pronounces His eight woes upon the Scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy.  He then, with pinpoint accuracy, predicts:

“I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes (for example, Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen and Saul—Acts13:1); some of them you will kill (Stephen—Acts 7; James the brother of John—Acts 12:2-3) and crucify (Peter, according to tradition, was crucified upside down), and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues (Paul was scourged five times by the Jews—2 Cor. 11:24) and persecute from city to city (the early church—Acts 8:4; Paul and companions—Acts 20:23), so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth…

“Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation…Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!…Behold, your house [i.e. the temple] is being left to you desolate!” (verses 34-38).

Jesus was a part of “this generation” (Matt. 23:36).  As a whole, how long did that generation last?  Let us use Him, the most preeminent man of any generation, as a yardstick.  It is widely held that Jesus of Nazareth was born between 6-4 BC.  The destruction of the second Temple occurred in 70 AD.  That equals about 75 years.  Jesus prophesies that His generation will experience this desolation (Matt. 23:38).[10]  This falls nicely within Psalm 90’s “seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years.”

Do you see?  God does not wish that any perish (2 Pet. 3:9) so he pushes off the destruction of Jerusalem to somewhere between 70 and 80 years.

Israel was founded on May 14, 1948.  This coming May 14th will be the 70th year of her existence.  And remember, there are still seven years of Daniel’s final week of years remaining (Dan. 9:27).  In just a few months that will put us at the 77th year!  That leaves three years to go before we reach the 80th year.  And I truly doubt that God will push it out to the very end.  Is this date setting?  Not at all!  I would rather call it “season reckoning.”  We are in the season of Christ’s Second Coming!

Brothers and sisters, Jesus’ generation lasted about 75 years.  We are already in the 70th year since Israel came into existence.  Any moment now we may suddenly hear the shout, the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God (1 Thes. 4:13-18)!   And we shall all be changed (1 Cor. 15:52)!

There has never been a better time to “straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28).  And why do we lift up our heads?  Because we are going to meet Him in the air!  Just like He left (Acts 1:9-11)!  This is another way of saying:  “Look for My coming!”

Be encouraged!  He is near.  Right at the door!

Maranatha!  Come Lord Jesus!


[1] “As primitive as their method of predicting the weather was, their ability to discern spiritual matters was worse.  They had the long-promised Messiah in their midst and refused to acknowledge him” (MacArthur Study Bible, electronic application, Matt. 16:2-3).

 [2] Ginōskete: http://biblehub.com/lexicon/matthew/24-33.htm

3] ibid.

[4] “The verb…can be parsed as either present indicative or present imperative.  In this context the imperative [a command] fits better, since the movement is from analogy (trees and seasons) to the future (the signs of the coming of the kingdom) and since the emphasis is on preparation for this event”.  The NET Bible, page 1856.  Scripture Quoted By Permission.

 [5] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/22/iranian-and-turkish-leaders-arrive-in-russia-for-syria-talks-with-putin

 [6] http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/312-16/8945-fracking-suspected-in-rash-of-earthquakes-in-unlikely-places

 [7] “The early church believed that Jesus was coming back imminently…These scoffers employed an emotional argument against imminency rather than a biblical argument.  Their argument played on ridicule and disappointment…This argument against the second coming of Christ is based on the theory of uniformitarianism, which says that all natural phenomena have operated uniformly since the beginning of the earth.  The false teachers were also implying that God is absent from earth affairs.

In effect, they were teaching that, ‘There will not be a great cataclysmic judgmental event at the end of history, because that is not how the universe works. Instead, everything in the universe is stable, closed, fixed, and governed by never-varying patterns and principles of evolution.  Nothing catastrophic has ever happened in the past, so nothing catastrophic ever will happen in the future.  There will be no divine invasion, no supernatural judgment on mankind’.  (The MacArthur Study Bible, electronic application, 2 Peter 3:4 “John’s Notes”).

 [8] What is the meaning of “generation”?  Let’s see what some trusted scholars say:  “…Various views exist for what generation means. (1) Some take it as meaning “race” and thus as an assurance that the Jewish race (nation) will not pass away.  But it is very questionable that the Greek term genea can have this meaning.  Two other options are possible. (2) Generation might mean ‘this type of generation’ and refers to the generation of wicked humanity.  Then the point is that humanity will not perish, because God will redeem it.


Or (3) generation may refer to ‘the generation that sees the signs of the end’…, who will also see the end itself.  In other words, once the movement to the return of Christ starts, all the events connected with it happen very quickly, in rapid succession.” (The NET Bible, page 1856). This latter interpretation of “generation” (#3 above) is what this author strongly believes to be true.

 [9] The NET Bible, page 1856.

 [10]  “A few days earlier, Christ had referred to the temple as his Father’s ‘house’ ([Matt.] 21:13).  But the blessing and glory of God were being removed from Israel (see 1 Sam. 4:21).  When Christ ‘left the temple’ (Matt. 24:1), the glory of God went with him.  Ezekiel 11:23 described Ezekiel’s vision of the departure of the Shekinah glory in his day.  The glory left the temple and stood on the Mount of Olives…exactly the same route Christ followed here.” (MacArthur Study Bible i-phone Application, notes on Matt. 23:38).