Nov 22 2017

One shall be taken and the other left

One shall be taken and the other left

The mid-Tribulation invasion of Judea and Jerusalem

Luke 17:36

By Craig C. White

In Luke 17:36 Jesus gave a prophecy that one day two men will be standing in a field. Then one man will be taken away and the other man will remain.

Luke 17:36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

This passage might sound like it is describing the Rapture but it isn’t. Instead it is describing the invasion of Judea and Jerusalem by the Antichrist during the Tribulation period. First of all this prophecy was given to the Jews before the Church existed. Jesus gave this prophecy to his Disciples. Secondly this prophecy was given in the city of Jerusalem. It concerns the nation of Israel and more specifically it concerns the city of Jerusalem. Jesus also told us when this event will happen. It will happen on “the day when the Son of man is revealed” (Luke 17:30). I know that the term the Son of man can refer to the Messiah but on this day the Antichrist will stand in the temple in Jerusalem showing himself that he is God.

2Th 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

The day when the Son of man is revealed is not a good day. It is the time period when God will allow Israel’s enemies to oppress them. God will first use Israel’s enemies to judge Israel. Jesus will then judge Israel’s enemies at the end of the seven year long Tribulation period.

Amos 5:18 Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.

The second half of the Tribulation period is called Jerusalem’s “Great Tribulation” (Mat 24:21). The man in the field will be taken away at the beginning of Jerusalem’s Great Tribulation on the day that the Antichrist sits in the temple.

One man will be taken away and the other man will remain. Where did Jesus give this Prophecy? Luke tells us. In Luke 17:11 Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. Along the way Jesus met a group of lepers. He healed them and told them to show themselves to the priests at the temple in Jerusalem.

Luke 17:11-14 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

This is off of the subject of being taken or left but I cannot pass by these verses without saying something about them. Jesus sent the lepers to the priests at the temple. It was the priest’s duty to declare that the lepers were now clean (Lev 14:2). Jesus knew that sending the lepers would upset the priests. You see, no person had ever been healed from leprosy and then presented themselves before the priests. The health of the lepers proved that Jesus had the power to heal. The priests knew that the Prophet Isaiah said that the messiah would heal the sick.

Isa 29:18 And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.

Jesus used healing as a sign to prove that he was the Messiah. This was his message to John the Baptist.

Mat 11:5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

After the lepers showed themselves to the priests Jesus was confronted by the Pharisees in Jerusalem. The Pharisees were a sect of religious leaders. So Jesus was in Jerusalem when the Pharisees challenged his authority. They asked him “when would the kingdom of God come?”

Luke 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

Jesus answered the Pharisees in Luke 17:21-25 and then went on to tell his disciples what would happen during the days of the Son of man. That is the day of God’s judgment of Israel and wrath on earth.

Jesus, his disciples, and the Pharisees were in Jerusalem at the time this was said.

Luke 17:26-29 And as it was in the days of Noe (Noah), so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.

There is a day coming that will bring a terrible time of judgment for Israel. Things will be the worst in the city of Jerusalem. It is called Jerusalem’s Great Tribulation (Mat 24:21). Folks in Jerusalem will be going about their lives as usual. But then all of a sudden something terrible will happen. Jerusalem will be attacked by the Antichrist and his army. Half the people will be taken captive. One person will be taken and another will remain.

Jesus warns the people in Jerusalem not to return to their homes! Obviously they will be alerted to some sort of eminent threat. They have been warned by the presence of the Antichrist in the temple and by his plundering army. They will be tempted to return to their homes in order to retrieve their personal belongings. Jesus warns them to not go home!

Luke 17:30-31 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 31 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.

This is the same day that is described in Matthew 24 below.

Mat 24:15-18 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:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

Jesus warns the citizens of Jerusalem and Judea not to go home because danger awaits them there. If they return to their houses they will be killed, abused, or taken captive. Does the Bible tell us about a day when the homes in Jerusalem will be in jeopardy, a day also when one out of two people will be taken away? Yes it does.

Zechariah 14:1-3 tells us that before the day of the Lord, Jerusalem will be attacked. The homes will be robbed, and the women will be raped. One out of two people will be taken away as slaves!

Zechariah 14:1-3 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.

This invasion of Jerusalem will happen halfway through the seven year long Tribulation period. It will begin on the day that the Antichrist sits in the temple (2Th 2:4). It marks the beginning of Jerusalem’s Great Tribulation. Three and a half years after this invasion Jesus will return to defend Jerusalem.

In Daniel 11:44 this future invasion is likened to the invasion of Jerusalem by Antiochus Epiphanies in 167 BC. Antiochus ordered his soldiers to kill people in their homes. Half of the people who survived were taken away as slaves. The future Antichrist will attack Jerusalem in much the same way.

Here is an historical account of Antiochus Epiphanies’ attack on Jerusalem in 167 BC.

2 Maccabees 5:11–14 When these happenings were reported to the king, he thought that Judea was in revolt. Raging like a wild animal, he set out from Egypt and took Jerusalem by storm. He ordered his soldiers to cut down without mercy those whom they met and to slay those who took refuge in their houses. There was a massacre of young and old, a killing of women and children, a slaughter of virgins and infants. In the space of three days, eighty thousand were lost, forty thousand meeting a violent death, and the same number being sold into slavery.

Like Lot’s wife who wanted to return home; anybody returning to their house on this day will be killed or taken as prisoner. Meanwhile away from home, two men will be standing in the field. One will be taken away as a slave and the other man will be left in the field. In this way one half of the people in Jerusalem will be taken away as slaves just as Zechariah 14:2 (above) tells us.

Luke 17:32-36 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. 34 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. 35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

At the start of the Great Tribulation the Antichrist will invade Jerusalem and his army will go from home to home taking every other person prisoner. In that way one half of all Jews found in Jerusalem will be taken away as slaves. The other half will suffer through the Great Tribulation inside of the city (see the end of Zechariah 14:2).

Luke 17:37 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.

Everywhere there is a Jew in Jerusalem their enemies will find them.

One shall be taken and the other left

Read more about Jerusalem’s Great Tribulation and also about the day when the Son of man is revealed in my book Israel’s Beacon of Hope

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Nov 21 2017

“North quarters” refers to the northern provinces of Turkey

“North quarters” refers to the northern provinces of Turkey

Gog and Magog is Turkey not Russia!

Ezekiel 38:6

By Craig C. White

Almost every modern day Bible prophecy teacher says that Gog and Magog in Ezekiel chapter 38 refers to Russia. Ezekiel chapter 38 describes an end time invasion into Israel. They say that Russia will lead Iran, Sudan, and Libya into Israel. Very unfortunately these Bible prophecy buffs are wrong. They use the following verse to conclude that the term “north quarters” identifies the nation that is located furthest to the north of Israel. But hold on just a minute. The term “north quarters” is used elsewhere in the Bible. It always refers to the northern part of a region. It does not refer to a far north nation that is outside of a particular region.

Ezekiel 38:6 Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.

For decades Bible prophecy teachers have exercised exegetical gymnastics to equate the name Togarmah to mean Russia. That is because they are trying to fit the text to their preconceived interpretations. When identifying nations and places the Bible is typically much more straightforward. Togarmah isn’t a nation to the far north of Israel. Instead Togarmah is a northern province inside of the borders of Turkey. Most Bible maps identify Magog, Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, and Togarmah as provinces located inside of the land that we call Turkey. All of these names are mentioned in Ezekiel chapter 38. Just for your information, the highest population density in Turkey is around Istanbul in the far northwestern region of Turkey. Ezekiel is saying that the people of northern Turkey will participate in this invasion into Israel.

The term “north quarters” is comprised of two Hebrew words. Tsaphon meaning northward or northern side and yerekah meaning to the rear of the border. These definitions are from the Strong Hebrew dictionary.

tsâphôn tsâphôn
tsaw-fone’, tsaw-fone’
properly hidden, that is, dark; used only of the north as a quarter (gloomy and unknown): – north (-ern, side, -ward, wind).

yerêkâh
yer-ay-kaw’
properly the flank; but used only figuratively, the rear or recess: – border, coast, part, quarter, side.

Outside of the book of Ezekiel the words tsaphon and yerekah are used together only twice more in the Bible. In Psalm 48:2 and also in Isaiah 14:13 tsaphon and yerekah refer to the north side of Mount Zion. In Psalm 48:2 the phrase “the sides of the north” are the same two Hebrew words that are translated as “north quarters” in Ezekiel 38:6. In Psalm 48:2 below “the sides of the north” identify the north side of Mount Zion in Jerusalem. From there you can view all of the city of Old Jerusalem.

Psalm 48:2 Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.

The north quarters of Mount Zion are within the boundaries of Mount Zion. They are not identifying a far distant northern land. The phrase “the sides of the north” is used in the same way in Isaiah 14:13.

Here is a side note. The two words Hebrew words tsaphon and yerekah are also used in Jeremiah 6:22 but they are not used together. Jeremiah 6:22 does describe a north country. The Hebrew word erets is translated as country in Jeremiah 6:22. The Hebrew word erets very specially means land, or nation, or country. For example, the official Hebrew name for the nation of Israel is Eretz Yisrael meaning the land of Israel. So you can see that the Hebrew language could have very specifically identified Togarmah in Ezekiel 38:6 as a nation but it did not!

Jeremiah 6:22 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, a people cometh from the north country, and a great nation shall be raised from the sides of the earth.

Jeremiah chapter 6 describes the same invasion into Jerusalem and Judea as does Matthew chapter 24. This is the time of Jerusalem’s great tribulation (Matthew 24:21). I won’t take the time to prove it here but Turkey is the northern nation that attacks Jerusalem and Judea to begin their terrible time of trouble.

So the “north quarters” in Ezekiel 38:6 refer to the northern provinces inside of the borders of Turkey. The term “north quarters” never refers to Russia. Turkey is the nation that will lead Iran, Sudan, and Libya into Israel. By the way all of these nations are fighting inside of Syria today! After Turkey conquers Syria and destroys Damascus then Turkey will lead the armies that are fighting in Syria into Israel. Ezekiel chapter 39 describes another Turkish led invasion into Israel. It is the same as the battle of Armageddon. The ancient Assyrian invasions into northern Israel in 734 BC and the separate invasion into southern Israel in 701 BC are models for these two Turkish led end time invasions. It is very likely that after Turkey destroys Damascus that then they will lead an invasion into the Golan Heights. In the news lately there has been a world wide effort to take the Golan Heights away from Israel. Over the past couple of years Israel has already been forced to defend the Golan Heights from Iran and Libya in southern Syria.

In Ezekiel 38:6 “north quarters” refers to the northern provinces of Turkey. In the Bible “north quarters” never once refers to far northern nation beyond the borders of the previously identified nation.

Halfway to Armageddon north quarters

Read all about the first Turkish led invasion into Israel in my book Turkey invades Israel – Halfway to Armageddon

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Nov 20 2017

But of that day and hour knoweth no man

But of that day and hour knoweth no man

What day is this referring to?

By Craig C. White

A lot of Christians point to this verse and conclude that nobody can know the day that Jesus Christ returns for his Church at the Rapture.

Mat 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

But which “day” is Jesus referring to? Jesus is not referring to the day of the Rapture. Jesus is not referring to his second coming. Jesus is telling the Jews living around Jerusalem to watch for the Antichrist approaching. The Antichrist along with his armies will enter Jerusalem and capture or kill the Jews living there. This day begins Jerusalem’s great tribulation.

Jesus warned of great danger in Jerusalem and Judea at a time when its citizens were living their daily lives as usual. He said that it would be like the days of Noah just before the flood. He said that life would be going on normally just like in Sodom before God rained fire upon the city. The following verses do not pertain to Church age believers. They are not describing an abundance of sin on earth. They are not describing the days before the Rapture. They do not refer to Jesus Christ’s second coming. They apply to the region around Jerusalem. It will be life as usual just before the Antichrist invades Jerusalem and Judea during the middle of the seven year tribulation period. This begins Jerusalem’s great tribulation (Mat 24:21).

Luke 17:26-29 And as it was in the days of Noe (Noah), so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.

Mat 24:37-39 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 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, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

In the verse above, the “Son of man” isn’t referring to Jesus Christ. The Son of man is the Antichrist! One minute things will be happening as usual. Then suddenly Israel’s enemies will attack!

Luk 21:24 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.

Read my commentary titled One shall be taken and the other left

If you really want to understand Matthew 24 then read my book Judea Flee! Jerusalem Wait! It was written to the Jews just like Matthew 24.

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Nov 19 2017

The days of Noah. The days of Lot.

The days of Noah. The days of Lot.

What is this referring to?

By Craig C. White

A lot of Christians point to this verse and conclude that nobody can know the day that Jesus Christ returns for his Church at the Rapture.

Mat 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

But which “day” is Jesus referring to? Jesus is not referring to the day of the Rapture. Jesus is not referring to his second coming. Jesus is telling the Jews living around Jerusalem to watch for the Antichrist approaching. The Antichrist along with his armies will enter Jerusalem and capture or kill the Jews living there. This day begins Jerusalem’s great tribulation.

Jesus warned of great danger in Jerusalem and Judea at a time when its citizens were living their daily lives as usual. He said that it would be like the days of Noah just before the flood. He said that life would be going on normally just like in Sodom before God rained fire upon the city. The following verses do not pertain to Church age believers. They are not describing an abundance of sin on earth. They are not describing the days before the Rapture. They do not refer to Jesus Christ’s second coming. They apply to the region around Jerusalem. It will be life as usual just before the Antichrist invades Jerusalem and Judea during the middle of the seven year tribulation period. This begins Jerusalem’s great tribulation (Mat 24:21).

Luke 17:26-29 And as it was in the days of Noe (Noah), so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.

Mat 24:37-39 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 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, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

In the verse above, the “Son of man” isn’t referring to Jesus Christ. The Son of man is the Antichrist! One minute things will be happening as usual. Then suddenly Israel’s enemies will attack!

The days of Noah in these verses do not describe the spiritual rebellion that did exist before the flood. It does not describe the existence of giants in the land. The days of Noah describes normal day to day living before sudden destruction comes.

Luke 21:24 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.

The days of Noah. The days of Lot.

Read my commentary about the term “Son of man”

Read One shall be taken and the other left

Read my book Israel’s Beacon of Hope

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Nov 18 2017

The beginning of sorrows happen during the first half of the 7 year Tribulation period

The beginning of sorrows happen during the first half of the 7 year Tribulation period

The beginning of sorrows are the signs of Israel’s Great Tribulation not signs of the Rapture.

Matthew 24

By Craig C. White

Many Bible teachers say that there will be earthquakes and wars before Jesus Christ returns for his Church. They say that these signs are the beginning of sorrows mentioned in Matthew 24:8. Well hold on just a minute. Are these signs meant for the Church or are these signs meant for the nation of Israel?

In Matthew 24 Jesus is asked the question “what shall be the sign of thy coming?” Which coming is he describing? Is he describing his coming to gather Church age believers, or is he describing the period before he comes to rescue the nation of Israel and set up his throne in Jerusalem?

Matthew 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

First it is important to understand who Jesus is talking to. He is talking to his disciples. It is important to note that they are all Jewish. They are all looking forward to God establishing his kingdom on earth. It is also important to note when the message was given. It was given by Jesus before his death, and before the gospel was preached to the gentile nations. This message was given before the Church was established.

Then it is important to carefully examine the message itself. Are there clues to which group of people Jesus is prophesying about? Yes, there are very clear indications that Jesus is prophesying about the trails of the Jewish people during the Tribulation period. As a matter of fact Matthew 24:21 is the verse where we get the term great tribulation.  So Matthew 24 should not be used to illustrate the signs of the Rapture of the Church. Also Matthew 24 should not be used to prove that the Church will participate in the Tribulation period.

The gospels are very important since they record Jesus Christ’s genealogy, standards of righteousness, forgiveness of sin, miracles, fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, and Christ’s death as payment for the worlds’ sin. The message of the four gospels is to be understood by Church age believers. We should also understand that most of Jesus’ teaching, parables, and prophecy are specifically directed to the nation of Israel. Jesus was sent especially to seek and to save the lost sheep of Israel.

Mat 10:5-6 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Mat 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

It is sometimes difficult to know who is being addressed in the New Testament. Is Jesus talking about the nation of Israel or is he talking about the Church? A rule of thumb is that Jesus was sent to the Jews first and primarily. The gospel of the coming kingdom of God was preached first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. Jesus primarily taught the nation of Israel. The four gospels were written about Jesus’ life and ministry. They primarily address the nation of Israel. Of course, there is plenty of teaching to be absorbed by Church age believers. The disciples taught the Jews first and then the other nations. The Gospels typically address Israel. The epistles (or letters) to the Churches were written specifically to Church age believers!

Act 26:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

Let’s take a quick look at Matthew 24. I know that preachers and prophecy buffs like to identify natural disasters as signs of Jesus’ return for his Church, but these signs were provided for the nation of Israel during the first half of the seven year Tribulation period. They are signs that happen before Israel’s time of trouble. They happen well before Jesus Christ’s second coming to defeat Israel’s enemies and to set up his throne in Jerusalem.

Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

So who is Jesus talking about? As we will see, “the beginning of sorrowsin verse 8 above are not signs that Church age believers should be on the lookout for, instead, they are events that will happen during the first half of the Tribulation period. Jesus is talking to and about the nation of Israel here. In verse 9 below, Jesus tells his Jewish disciples that “ye shall be hated of all nations”. The word translated “nations” is the Greek word “ethnos”. It is often translated as “gentile”. Ethnos refers to non-Jewish nations. It doesn’t refer to all nations in the world. It refers to all families or people groups. In practical terms it refers to the old world nations that came from specific families; like the Greeks, Turks, Egyptians, Syrians, Iranians, Saudis, Jordanians, and many more. So in verse 9 Jesus isn’t saying that Church members will be hated, but that the entire nation of Israel will be hated by all of the surrounding nations.

Matthew 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

In the verses below, Jesus isn’t addressing the Church, but he is warning Jews during the 7 year Tribulation period. Many Jews will disregard God and his promises to Israel. Many Jews will be killed. But those who trust God to the end will be saved. Please read my commentary titled “The Last Jews in Jerusalem” in my book “Israel’s Beacon of Hope”.

Matthew 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

In Matthew 24:14 below we can see that Jesus is talking about the Tribulation period. The Tribulation period is a seven year span designated for God to show his displeasure with Israel’s rejection of him. In Matthew 24:14 the gospel is preached in all the world. This happens during the Tribulation period as described in Revelation. So we can see that Jesus is addressing people that are living during the Tribulation period.

Rev 14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

The following verses are obviously addressed to Jews living around Jerusalem. The inhabitants of Judea (the region around Jerusalem) are called by name in verse 16. So it is very clear that Jesus is describing the coming trials of the nation of Israel, and not the signs of the rapture of his Church.

Matthew 24:15 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:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:

If that isn’t enough evidence that Jesus is describing Israel’s Great Tribulation, then look at Matthew 24:21 below. This is the verse that we get the term “Great Tribulation” from.

Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

Today the Church is suffering at the hands of the nations, but the nation of Israel is scheduled to suffer 7 years of tribulation. In Matthew 24 Jesus is explaining the trials that Israel will suffer during the Tribulation period. The beginning of sorrows in Matthew 24:8 are the events of the first part of the Tribulation. After the abomination of desolation in Matthew 24:15 the worst part of the Tribulation begins (Dan 9:27). It is called “great tribulation” in Matthew 24:21. The second part of the Tribulation lasts 3 ½ years or 42 months or 1260 days (Dan 7:25, Dan 12:7, Rev 11:2-3, Rev 12:6, Rev 12:14, Rev 13:5).

The Tribulation period is designated to exercise God’s indignation towards the nation of Israel, it is not meant not for trying the Church. The 7 year Tribulation period is the same as the seventieth week prophesied by Daniel (Dan 9:24). It is a 7 year period of trouble for the nation of Israel, not a time for trying the Church. Jeremiah calls the Tribulation “the time of Jacob’s trouble” not the time of the Church’s trouble. The seven year long Tribulation period is designated for Israel’s chastisement.

Jer 30:7 Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.

In 1 Thessalonians below, the dead in Christ are raised from the dead. Those “in Christ” are Church age believers. They are “caught up” or taken by force up into the sky. The gathering of Jews will happen differently as we will see. Please read my commentary titled “The Rapture Day!

1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 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.

The gathering of Jewish believers will happen differently. Below, the elect are God’s chosen people (Deu 7:6). They are the people of Israel that have been scattered throughout the world by every past world empire. The people of Israel will be raised from the dead at the end of the Tribulation period. They won’t be taken into the sky. They will walk back to the land of Israel on foot.

Matthew 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Isa 11:11-12 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

God will make a roadway for the Hebrews to return to Israel. In Isaiah 11:15-16 below, Jesus dries up the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea (that is the tongue of the Egyptian sea)! He will also dry up the Nile, Euphrates, and Tigris Rivers in order to make a way for the resurrected Hebrews to cross over them! Please read my commentary titled “Aliyah Israel Arise Return” in my book “The Last Jews in Jerusalem”.

Isa 11:15-16 And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod. 16 And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.

OK we have looked at the signs that happen before Jesus comes back to gather Israel. So what are the signs that happen before of Jesus comes back to gather his Church? Well there isn’t one specific event that triggers the Rapture but we are instructed to understand Old Testament prophecy in order to recognize the Tribulation as it approaches! We will know that the Rapture is near because the Rapture will happen before the Tribulation.

In 2 Thessalonians below, Paul is addressing the Church in Greece. Paul calls them brethren in Christ. So Paul is describing the Rapture of the Church in verse 1. The believers in Thessalonica were worried that the Tribulation was beginning. They were worried that the Rapture had not yet happened! Paul told them that two Old Testament prophecies must take place before Jerusalem’s great tribulation began. Those two events were the falling of Satan from heaven to earth and the revealing of the Antichrist with signs and wonders. I think that these two events may happen before  the seven year Tribulation period begins. Since they had not yet happened Paul was assuring the Thessalonians that the Tribulation had not yet begun. Paul was assuring the Thessalonians that when the time came they would escape the terrible time of trouble on earth. Please read my commentary titled “The Fall of Satan and Rise of the Antichrist” in my book of the same title.

2Th 2:1-3 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

In 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 below, Paul says that the church members in Thessalonica will be saved from the coming tribulation. The word “salvation” in verse 13 isn’t describing deliverance from sin, but it is describing physical rescue from God’s wrath on earth during the Tribulation.

2Th 2:13-14 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here are two other verses that indicate that Church age believers will escape from the wrath of the Tribulation period. These people have already been saved from sin. The term salvation here is the rescue from physical harm during the Tribulation on Earth.

Rom 5:7-10 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Rom 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

 Again physical rescue or “salvation” comes to people who already believe!

If you are still on earth when you see most of the old world nations at full scale war with each other and also hear of famines, and disease outbreaks, and earthquakes happening all over the world, then you are in trouble. You have entered the beginning stages of the Tribulation period. It is High Time to Awake!

beginning of sorrows

Read more about the Rapture of the Church in my book God’s Great Expectations

Read The Fall of Satan and Rise of the Antichrist in my book The Fall of Satan and Rise of the Antichrist

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