God, Man, and the Coming Judgment: Part II :: By Terry James

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful” (Revelation 21:1-5).

The Lord Himself expounded upon what that day would be like. I believe He spoke directly to what the very start of that day would be like for both God’s children (all born-again into God’s family through belief in Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross) and for unbelievers who are alive at the time of His sudden break-in upon the world:

“In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.

Remember Lot’s wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.

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. (Luke 17:31–37)

Again, this corresponds to the words of Jesus:

“And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not” (Luke 21:39–40).

Significant Differing View

Some, likely most, of the great seminary scholars in premillennial, pre-Trib teachers of eschatology hold that the Scriptures in these passages predict the Tribulation, just before Christ returns in the Second Advent. They, for the most part, believe these refer to the people who are to suffer God’s wrath and judgment.

I fall into the Dave Hunt camp regarding these matters. I am more and more convinced that these prophecies, given in more or less parabolic language by the Lord, are not about the last of the Tribulation era but about the time when the Lord calls the Church to be with Him—the Rapture.

Actually, I believe the Lord is talking about both the middle of the Tribulation in the first part of His prophecy and the time of Rapture in the second part.

First, Jesus says:

“In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.

Remember Lot’s wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.”

Jesus was talking about, I’m convinced, the same directive to the Jews as He gives in the Olivet Discourse:

“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:15-21).

As Different as Day and Night

The second part of Jesus’ prophecy is not about the “day” (time) when the Jews are in the middle of the “day of the Lord” (the middle of the seven-year Tribulation when Antichrist is in the Temple declaring himself to be God). Jesus talks next about “in that night.” I believe He’s referring to the end of the Church Age. He abruptly stops foretelling the conditions in the middle of the “day of the Lord” and reverts to talking about “that night,” the night into which He likens the unguarded moment when the thief breaks in. And, note that this time of taking is in all different time zones, referring to both time of sleep and of the working day:

“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.”

Jesus Is Not PC

One of the problems many seminarians will argue is that Jesus can’t be talking about the Rapture because of the distasteful, even grisly, analogy He draws in describing this one-taken, one-left account:

“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.”

Jesus would never make such a reference in describing His Bride, the Church, as “eagles” (“vultures” in Biblical vernacular) or to Himself as a dead body (after all, He is the Resurrected Lord!).

That argument is very weak. We see where the Lord gives the analogy of breaking in on an unsuspecting world, likening himself to a thief. That’s not a very attractive description of the Living God. He is the Creator of all things, and by Him all things are held together. Jesus Christ, however, who is God, doesn’t have to worry about the wokeness, the political correctness, or the false niceties of this phony world system. He makes His points in the strongest terms at times because He doesn’t want the fallen minds of men to miss His point.

This is the description of the Rapture, I believe, as my late friend Dave Hunt once wrote. And, why should we not trust that the Lord of Heaven would forewarn in the strongest terms about the stupefying event that will mean absolute joy and ecstasy to believers alive at the time of its occurrence, and abject terror to those who don’t know Christ for salvation?

He would not and did not leave such an astoundingly vital prophecy to the Apostle Paul without adding His own words of foretelling. As a matter of fact, as I’ve often expressed, I believe Jesus’ words recorded in the Gospel account by John were about the “mystery,” which Paul later prophesied (1 Corinthians, chapter 15).

John’s earlier recording of Jesus’ prophecy was a mystery not understood by those listening at the time.

“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” (John 14:1–3).

This declaration by the Lord Jesus Christ has a significant and direct connection to His Olivet Discourse words:

“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.”

The Greek word paralambano is all important here.

Many seminaries teach that those removed or taken away in the “days of Noah” prophecy are those being taken for punishment. Therefore, they say this isn’t a Rapture passage but a reference to the Tribulation.

During Dave Hunt’s lecture at the Pre-Trib Conference in Dallas in 1998, the following statement of biblical fact was presented (taken from a transcript of that lecture):

In the 24th chapter [of Matthew], we read that they were all taken away in the flood [in judgment]. Well that’s there, and I’m not a Greek scholar, but [that word for “taken” away to punishment would be] kai erenhapantas, a completely different expression than when Jesus says one will be taken, and one will be left behind. The “taken” there is from paralambanó, the same word Jesus uses in John 14:2–3, “I will come and receive you.” “Receive” and “taken” use the same word, paralambanó, “I will receive you unto myself, for where I am, there ye may be also,” and that’s the Rapture.

As also expressed many times before, I believe prophecies about the days of Noah and the days of Lot, as well as Jesus’ words about the thief in the night breaking in on an unsuspecting world, cannot be the end of the Tribulation when Christ returns. Perhaps as many as three-fourths of the world’s population will have died by the time the horrendous wrath of God has fallen in judgment upon the wicked. It will NOT be business as usual. People will not be building, marrying, buying, or selling in anywhere near the normal fashion Jesus described in the Luke 17 accounts. It will be hell on earth at that time.

Frightening/Exciting Time to Be Alive

This is a generation that can, if one’s head isn’t buried in the sand, sense the groping fingers of ungodly forces reaching, grasping, to strangle anything that puts forward the name of Jesus Christ and His righteousness. In sheer political terms, there is wicked law such as the “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) that will, it is almost certain, stifle biblical teaching against the abominable practice of homosexuality. Legislation to increase legalization parameters for killing babies in their mothers’ wombs continues to expand in Congress and can’t be overridden by presidential veto or even filibustered against in the legislative process. There now is a president who is favorably inclined to support both of these egregious anti-God actions.

Time and time again, we have pointed to the signals that illustrate dramatically the almost certainty that the present generation is experiencing the birth-pang convulsions Jesus described in the Olivet Discourse.

The geopolitical upheavals moving the world toward globalization at a dazzling rate, with the likely prospect of sudden economic meltdown, are drawing even avowed foes into new arrangements to try to avert international financial collapse. All of this should alert us that the shout “Come up here!” can’t be far from happening.

At the same time, the terrifying prospect for those who will be left behind is mind-boggling. So we must be about the Father’s business. We must witness to the saving power of Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross.

Again, here is the message to present to those who will be lost in sin for eternity if they do not heed the grace gift of salvation offered:

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).

 

 

Are You Looking For Christ’s Return? :: By Grant Phillips

The Church is on the very cusp of our Lord’s return for His bride, but how many are actually aware or even care how close that day may be?

Every pulpit in this country should be proclaiming that Jesus is coming soon to remove His bride and then bring judgment upon a sin-depraved world. Instead, only a few eagerly await His return. Only a few have their nose pressed against the window, eagerly looking for the bridegroom. Most go about their own affairs with no thought and no concern for what will soon take place.

The Bible provides many prophecies of Jesus’ return to earth. It clearly tells us that before He arrives on Mount Olivet, there will be seven years of judgment upon the earth. These seven years are the remaining years God promised Israel, “to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy” (Daniel 9:24).

This seven-year period, we call the Tribulation, will also bring God’s judgment upon a corrupt world that offers nothing for God except to blaspheme His holy name.

Who would have ever dreamed just five or ten years ago that the depravity of mankind would be so open and accepted by so many as it is today? Utter depravity beyond belief is openly accepted by a large populace, by our government officials, by moms and dads, and even by many churches.

Joyous hymns of praise to the Lord Jesus Christ have been replaced with the music of demons while Satan’s worshippers run through the crowd like decapitated chickens. Pulpits have been taken over by those of such perverseness, even the demons must blush.

Behind all this can be heard Lucifer’s cackling laughter as children are openly attacked by a perverseness their innocent minds should never have to take in. Jesus said, “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6). If these followers of Satan don’t repent and fall at Jesus’ feet seeking forgiveness, I shudder to imagine their fate.

I am so thankful that Jesus will remove His bride before the Tribulation, which is His coming wrath. This removal of the Church (bride) by Jesus (the bridegroom) is commonly called the Rapture, and it could be so much closer than any of us think. Revelation 3:10 says, “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”

God, through His Word, does not provide any signs for the Rapture. Jesus actually said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:32). To the contrary, there are many signs for the Tribulation which follows, and all are in view for its arrival. Let me explain what I mean by “in view.”

The Tribulation is like a storm coming. It hasn’t arrived yet, but we can tell it is close because the temperature has changed, the wind is picking up, dark clouds are rolling in, and thunder can be heard in the distance. All the signs of the storm are present (in view) for its arrival, even though the storm hasn’t arrived yet. When it gets here, the rain (judgment) will follow.

How can any believer of Jesus be nonchalant about the days in which you and I live? All this chaos we see every day we open our eyes is telling us that this world is quickly running out of time. Can anyone deny the following Scripture being applicable today … right now?

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
And prudent in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:20-21).

God created a man and a woman to be husband and wife, but today, homosexual marriages are accepted in the courts and in many churches. Isaiah 5:20-21 is being fulfilled right before our very eyes.

One person is born a male, but says he is a female. Another is born a female but says she is a male. One female even says she is a cat. Some even identify as neither male nor female (non-binary). And this is only the beginning of this madness! Again, Isaiah 5:20-21 is all around us.

Opposite sex is now different sex. Mother is now gestational parent. This is just a sample of our lunacy. There are hundreds of other terms and phrases that have been changed, eliminated, or added. Isaiah 5:20-21 again.

Are you looking for Jesus’ return, or yawning in disbelief? The apostle Peter had this to say about our Lord’s return:

“Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, ‘What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.’

They deliberately forget that God made the heavens by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment when ungodly people will be destroyed.

But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment” (2 Peter 3:3-10, NLT).

The bride of Christ (true Church) will be removed first (Rapture, 1 Thessalonians 5:9; 4:13-18), then the Tribulation will begin when the Antichrist confirms a covenant with Israel (Daniel 9:27). At the end of the seven-year Tribulation, the Church will return with Christ at His second coming (2 Peter 3:10).

If you know Jesus as your Savior and Lord, keep looking up because He is coming for His bride, the Church. It may not be today, but then again, it may be.

If you have never put your faith in Jesus and been born again (John 3:3), do so today, and you will not be left behind to face the wrath of God.

Grant Phillips

Email: Phillip5769@twc.com
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com
Rapture Ready: https://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html