When is Christ coming for His Church? Part 1 PRE-WRATH

When is Christ coming for His Church?  Part 1 PRE-WRATH

Welcome to the final part of our examination of the 4 major beliefs of the Church regarding the rapture. Ray is about to explore the A-millennial position. Join him now.

POSITION

PREWRATH

AUTHOR

Gary Waterlaus

e-mail

gvaterlaus@signministries.org

MAIN VERSE

THE RAPTURE IN MATTHEW 24:27-31

In the Olivet discourse, Jesus is answering the disciples question: “What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”. Jesus answers their question in the following verses: “But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken, and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.” Matt. 24:29-31

The event described in Matthew 24:29 is the single most important clue as to the timing of the Rapture. The event described in Matthew 24:29 is the sign that indicates the beginning of the wrath of God. It is clear that the Lord lifted His words directly from the Old Testament prophets. Isaiah, Joel and Zephaniah predicted that these very signs would signal the beginning of God’s wrath against the wicked during a time period known as the Day of the Lord.

Joel specifically states that the cataclysmic disturbances in the sky would come before the actual beginning of the eschatological Day of the Lord when he wrote, “The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes” (Joel 2:31). This one fact alone dispels any possible notion that the entire seven year period known as Daniel’s Seventieth Week is the wrath of God. It also gives us the single most important clue about the beginning point of God’s wrath. The Lord states that the Day of the Lord begins immediately after the tribulation of Satan/Antichrist is cut short (Matt. 24:21-22,29).

With the universe devoid of light, a second sign occurs. The sign of the Son of Man appears in the sky (Matt 24:27, 30). All the tribes of the earth begin to mourn when they see it. Christ is then seen “coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory”. Matthew 24:31 then states, “And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.” This is the rapture that Paul speaks of in 1 Thess. 4:13-18.

SUPPORTING VERSES

THE RAPTURE IN 1 THESSALONIANS 4:13-5:11

Paul wrote: “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: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air….For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night….But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief” (1 Thess. 4:16-17, 5:2-4).

In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11, Paul does not give any indication of the timing of the Parousia of Christ. One knows what will happen, but nothing about when it will happen. However, once the unity of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 is recognized, the reader is able to discern a very important connection. The teaching of Paul and the teaching of the Lord in Matthew 24-25 are parallel. In fact, no less than sixteen parallels occur between Matthew 24-25 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5. Note the following parallels:

1.Christ Himself returns (1 Thess. 4:16 with Mart 24:30).

2.From heaven (1 Thess. 4:16 with Matt. 24:30).

3.With a shout (1 Thess. 4:16 with Matt. 24:30 [in power]).

4.Accompanied by angels (1 Thess. 4:16 with Matt. 24:31).

5.With the trumpet of God (1 Thess. 4:16 with Matt. 24:31.

6.Believers are supernaturally gathered to Christ (1 Thess. 4:17 with Matt. 24:3 1, 40-41).

7.Believers meet the Lord (1 Thess. 4:17 [apantesis] with Matt. 25:1, 6 [upantesis and apantesis]).

8.In the clouds (1 Thess. 4:17 with Matt. 24:30).

9.The time is unknown (1 Thess. 5:1-2 with Matt. 24:36);

10.          Will come as a thief (1 Thess. 5:2,4 with Matt. 24:43).

11.          Will come at night (1 Thess. 5:2 with Matt. 24:43).

12.          Unbelievers are unaware of impending judgment (1 Thess. 5:3 with Matt. 24:37-39).

13.          Judgment comes as travail upon an expectant mother (1 Thess. 5:3 with Matt. 24:8 [cf. RSV]).

14.          Believers not deceived (1 Thess. 5:6 with Matt. 24:4-5).

15.          Believers are to watch (1 Thess. 5:6 with Matt. 24:42).

16.          Warning against drunkenness (1 Thess 5:7 with Matt. 24:49).

This evidence is compelling. We are able to conclude that the Lord and Paul are teaching the same sequence of events concerning the Parousia. The Rapture initiates the Day of the Lord, which is the wrath of God against the wicked.

THE RAPTURE IN REVELATION 6:1-17, 7:9-17

Just as Paul follows the end-times sequence which the Lord gives in Matthew’s Olivet Discourse, so do the seals in the book of the Revelation. The beginning birth pang of false Christs (Matt 24:5) is represented in the first seal. The false Christ begins his reign by conquering nations (Rev. 6:2). The second beginning birth pang of wars (Matt 24:6-7a) is represented in the second seal of wars (Rev. 6:4). The third beginning birth pang of famine (Matt 24:7b) is presented in the third seal of famine (Rev. 6:6). The period of hard labor (persecution and apostasy Matt. 24:9-13) is represented in the fourth seal of death (Rev. 6:8). Satan/Antichrist unleash their God-ordained three and a half year campaign of persecution against God’s elect. The fifth seal represents those who are killed because of their faith in Christ as the Lord prophesied (Matt 24:9). The sixth seal represents the sign that initiates the Parousia of Christ&emdash;the sign in the sun, moon, and stars (Matthew 24:29).

As in Matthew, John indicates that immediately after the sign in the sun, moon, and stars, a gathering of God’s people will occur. Between the sixth and seventh seals, 144,00 Jews are sealed on earth from any experience of the wrath of God soon to fall in the Trumpet judgments. A second group of individuals is highlighted in Revelation 7:9-17. These can be none other than the raptured Saints of the ages – the Church. There are six reasons for this conclusion.

1.The timing is right. It follows the persecution of Satan/ Antichrist, but precedes the wrath of God. John is told that this great multitude “are the ones who come out of the great tribulation.” Thus the object of the persecution is removed from earth during the time period known as the “great tribulation”.

2.The numbers are right. John describes the raptured saints as “a great multitude which no one could count.” The raptured saints of all the ages are the only ones that will literally fulfill this tremendous number of individuals.

3.The ethnic composition is right. John proclaims that this great multitude is composed of people from “every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues.” These are the very ones John indicated the Lamb purchased for God with His blood (Rev. 5:9).

4.Their bodies are right. John determines that this great multitude is “standing before the throne [of God] and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands and they cry out with a loud voice…” These can only be individuals who have been resurrected. Paul indicates that the resurrection of the Saints will occur at the Rapture (1 Thess. 4:16; 1 Cor. 15:52).

5.The multitude sings the right song. The multitude proclaims, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” The word salvation is better translated victory here. God is not in need of physical or spiritual deliverance, which is what the term usually means. However, the emphasis here is on the victory God will have against the wicked, which is insured by the resurrection of the righteous.

6.The promise is right. This great multitude is promised both spiritual and physical comfort forever. No hunger, no thirst, no heat exhaustion, no tears, and eternal satisfaction are the rewards of the resurrected. This is in contrast to the condition of those underneath the altar in Revelation 6:9 who must wait before they will realize their reward. The difference is that one group is raised and one group is not.

These points taken together argue strongly for the case that the Rapture occurs in Revelation 7 just before the wrath of God comes at the seventh seal (chapter 8), which is the Day of the Lord.

THE DAY OF THE LORD

The prewrath position teaches that the sixth seal of Revelation 6:12-17, which is described in the same language as Joel 2:28-32, is the beginning of the eschatological Day of the Lord. The sixth seal follows the persecution of Satan/Antichrist, and that by definition, must start after Satan/Antichrist’s persecution is cut short. There are three reasons for this conclusion.

1.The sequence is right in the book of Revelation. The sign of the sun, moon and stars is an indication to the wicked that the wrath of God is about to start. This is followed by a great multitude that no man can number showing up in heaven. Then finally this is immediately followed by the wrath of God to the nations (trumpets and bowls) and the millennial blessings. This is the same sequence developed by Joel, adopted by the Prophets and expanded in the New Testament.

2.The reaction of the wicked is right. Isaiah prophesied that the wicked would run to hide in the rocks when God comes to “shake the earth” (Isaiah 2:12-21).

3.The timing is right. The very first Greek word in Rev 6:17 is (hoti). It, along with the verb has come, indicates that verse 17 is the reason for the activity in verses l5-16. There are two reasons given for the wicked hiding and seeking death &emdash; the face of Him who sits on the throne (God the Father) and the wrath of the Lamb (Jesus Christ). The “face” of God is a figure of speech. God the Father does not have a literal face (John 4:24). The word face is placed in the verse to denote His presence or person. This is a very common expression in the Old Testament (Ps. 42:5, II; 1 Kings 10:24; Lev. 23:40). The wicked are seeking to get away from the presence of God the Father.

CONCLUSION

Concerning the place of the Rapture in the divine sequence of the end times, a clear pattern has emerged. Prior to AD 325, the church fathers, with few exceptions, held to a “post-persecution” return of Christ, which would result in the deliverance of the righteous and destruction of the wicked. This teaching was based directly on the teachings of Christ, specifically given in the Olivet Discourse of Matthew in many cases. The Revelation of Jesus Christ to the Apostle John follows the exact same sequence outlined in the Olivet Discourse. The Rapture of the church takes place after the persecution of Satan/Antichrist (sixth seal), but before the wrath of God (Trumpet judgments). The Apostle Paul follows the same sequence in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 that the Lord gave in Matthew 24-25. The pattern is clear: the Rapture will initiate the Day of the Lord, which occurs sometime after the mid-point of the 70th week of Daniel, after the persecution of Satan/Antichrist, but before the wrath of God is poured out in the trumpet and bowl judgements.

(The above material was taken from “Leg’s to Stand On” by Charles Cooper, © 1998 The Sign Ministries)

WHY DO I BELIEVE THIS WAY

Simply put, I believe this way because it is what the Bible clearly teaches. When one approaches scripture with a consistent hermeneutic and compares scripture with scripture, not trying to interpret scripture to fit a pre-conceived theology, the prewrath position is the natural result.

The prewrath rapture position harmonizes all scriptures relating to Christ’s Second Coming. It harmonizes the clear teaching of Scripture, including the following facts:

1.The church is exempted from the eschatological wrath of God (1 Thess. 1:10, 5:9)

2.The 70th week of Daniel is composed of two parts: the wrath of Antichrist/Satan and the wrath of God (Day of the Lord) (Rev. 12:12-14; Rev. 6:12-17; Rev. 15:1)

3.The eschatological Day of the Lord follows the period called “The Great Tribulation” that begins at the middle of the seventieth week of Daniel. (Matt. 24: 27-31; 2 Thess. 2:1-8)

4.Antichrist/Satan’s persecution will be “cut short” by the removal of the object of his persecution – the Church – by rapture to heaven. (Matt. 24:21-22; Rev. 7:13-14)

I held to the pretribulation position for over 15 years, but had never really studied it. There had always been verses that bothered me and didn’t seem to fit with the position. Once I sat down with an open mind to see just what Scripture really taught concerning Christ’s Second Coming, it all came together and fit so well with the prewrath position.

WHERE ARE WE NOW IN THE TIMEFRAME

Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Matt. 24:36). We cannot know the exact time of Christ’s return. However our Lord also says in verses 32-33, “…when [the fig tree’s] branch has already become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; even so you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.” And in Luke 21:28 He states, “when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

I believe that the time is nearing. We have seen the reestablishment of Israel into her land in 1948. They took control of Jerusalem in 1967. And, with the tumoil in the Middle East, they are desperate for a peace accord. There are no other events which must take place before the events of the 70th week can begin. Whether it happens in my life time or that of my children’s or grandchildren’s, I do not know. But I do know that we are to be prepared, living in holiness, being sober and watchful.

 

Pre-trib    Mid-trib    Post-trib    Prewrath    A-millennial

 

 

 

POSITION PREWRATH
AUTHOR Gary Waterlaus
e-mail gvaterlaus@signministries.org
MAIN VERSE
THE RAPTURE IN MATTHEW 24:27-31

In the Olivet discourse, Jesus is answering the disciples question: “What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”. Jesus answers their question in the following verses: “But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken, and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.” Matt. 24:29-31

The event described in Matthew 24:29 is the single most important clue as to the timing of the Rapture. The event described in Matthew 24:29 is the sign that indicates the beginning of the wrath of God. It is clear that the Lord lifted His words directly from the Old Testament prophets. Isaiah, Joel and Zephaniah predicted that these very signs would signal the beginning of God’s wrath against the wicked during a time period known as the Day of the Lord.

Joel specifically states that the cataclysmic disturbances in the sky would come before the actual beginning of the eschatological Day of the Lord when he wrote, “The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes” (Joel 2:31). This one fact alone dispels any possible notion that the entire seven year period known as Daniel’s Seventieth Week is the wrath of God. It also gives us the single most important clue about the beginning point of God’s wrath. The Lord states that the Day of the Lord begins immediately after the tribulation of Satan/Antichrist is cut short (Matt. 24:21-22,29).

With the universe devoid of light, a second sign occurs. The sign of the Son of Man appears in the sky (Matt 24:27, 30). All the tribes of the earth begin to mourn when they see it. Christ is then seen “coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory”. Matthew 24:31 then states, “And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.” This is the rapture that Paul speaks of in 1 Thess. 4:13-18.

SUPPORTING VERSES
THE RAPTURE IN 1 THESSALONIANS 4:13-5:11

Paul wrote: “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: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air….For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night….But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief” (1 Thess. 4:16-17, 5:2-4).

In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11, Paul does not give any indication of the timing of the Parousia of Christ. One knows what will happen, but nothing about when it will happen. However, once the unity of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 is recognized, the reader is able to discern a very important connection. The teaching of Paul and the teaching of the Lord in Matthew 24-25 are parallel. In fact, no less than sixteen parallels occur between Matthew 24-25 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5. Note the following parallels:

 

1.Christ Himself returns (1 Thess. 4:16 with Mart 24:30).

2.From heaven (1 Thess. 4:16 with Matt. 24:30).

3.With a shout (1 Thess. 4:16 with Matt. 24:30 [in power]).

4.Accompanied by angels (1 Thess. 4:16 with Matt. 24:31).

5.With the trumpet of God (1 Thess. 4:16 with Matt. 24:31.

6.Believers are supernaturally gathered to Christ (1 Thess. 4:17 with Matt. 24:3 1, 40-41).

7.Believers meet the Lord (1 Thess. 4:17 [apantesis] with Matt. 25:1, 6 [upantesis and apantesis]).

8.In the clouds (1 Thess. 4:17 with Matt. 24:30).

9.The time is unknown (1 Thess. 5:1-2 with Matt. 24:36);

10.          Will come as a thief (1 Thess. 5:2,4 with Matt. 24:43).

11.          Will come at night (1 Thess. 5:2 with Matt. 24:43).

12.          Unbelievers are unaware of impending judgment (1 Thess. 5:3 with Matt. 24:37-39).

13.          Judgment comes as travail upon an expectant mother (1 Thess. 5:3 with Matt. 24:8 [cf. RSV]).

14.          Believers not deceived (1 Thess. 5:6 with Matt. 24:4-5).

15.          Believers are to watch (1 Thess. 5:6 with Matt. 24:42).

16.          Warning against drunkenness (1 Thess 5:7 with Matt. 24:49).

This evidence is compelling. We are able to conclude that the Lord and Paul are teaching the same sequence of events concerning the Parousia. The Rapture initiates the Day of the Lord, which is the wrath of God against the wicked.

THE RAPTURE IN REVELATION 6:1-17, 7:9-17

Just as Paul follows the end-times sequence which the Lord gives in Matthew’s Olivet Discourse, so do the seals in the book of the Revelation. The beginning birth pang of false Christs (Matt 24:5) is represented in the first seal. The false Christ begins his reign by conquering nations (Rev. 6:2). The second beginning birth pang of wars (Matt 24:6-7a) is represented in the second seal of wars (Rev. 6:4). The third beginning birth pang of famine (Matt 24:7b) is presented in the third seal of famine (Rev. 6:6). The period of hard labor (persecution and apostasy Matt. 24:9-13) is represented in the fourth seal of death (Rev. 6:8). Satan/Antichrist unleash their God-ordained three and a half year campaign of persecution against God’s elect. The fifth seal represents those who are killed because of their faith in Christ as the Lord prophesied (Matt 24:9). The sixth seal represents the sign that initiates the Parousia of Christ&emdash;the sign in the sun, moon, and stars (Matthew 24:29).

As in Matthew, John indicates that immediately after the sign in the sun, moon, and stars, a gathering of God’s people will occur. Between the sixth and seventh seals, 144,00 Jews are sealed on earth from any experience of the wrath of God soon to fall in the Trumpet judgments. A second group of individuals is highlighted in Revelation 7:9-17. These can be none other than the raptured Saints of the ages – the Church. There are six reasons for this conclusion.

 

1.The timing is right. It follows the persecution of Satan/ Antichrist, but precedes the wrath of God. John is told that this great multitude “are the ones who come out of the great tribulation.” Thus the object of the persecution is removed from earth during the time period known as the “great tribulation”.

2.The numbers are right. John describes the raptured saints as “a great multitude which no one could count.” The raptured saints of all the ages are the only ones that will literally fulfill this tremendous number of individuals.

3.The ethnic composition is right. John proclaims that this great multitude is composed of people from “every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues.” These are the very ones John indicated the Lamb purchased for God with His blood (Rev. 5:9).

4.Their bodies are right. John determines that this great multitude is “standing before the throne [of God] and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands and they cry out with a loud voice…” These can only be individuals who have been resurrected. Paul indicates that the resurrection of the Saints will occur at the Rapture (1 Thess. 4:16; 1 Cor. 15:52).

5.The multitude sings the right song. The multitude proclaims, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” The word salvation is better translated victory here. God is not in need of physical or spiritual deliverance, which is what the term usually means. However, the emphasis here is on the victory God will have against the wicked, which is insured by the resurrection of the righteous.

6.The promise is right. This great multitude is promised both spiritual and physical comfort forever. No hunger, no thirst, no heat exhaustion, no tears, and eternal satisfaction are the rewards of the resurrected. This is in contrast to the condition of those underneath the altar in Revelation 6:9 who must wait before they will realize their reward. The difference is that one group is raised and one group is not.

These points taken together argue strongly for the case that the Rapture occurs in Revelation 7 just before the wrath of God comes at the seventh seal (chapter 8), which is the Day of the Lord.

THE DAY OF THE LORD

The prewrath position teaches that the sixth seal of Revelation 6:12-17, which is described in the same language as Joel 2:28-32, is the beginning of the eschatological Day of the Lord. The sixth seal follows the persecution of Satan/Antichrist, and that by definition, must start after Satan/Antichrist’s persecution is cut short. There are three reasons for this conclusion.

1.The sequence is right in the book of Revelation. The sign of the sun, moon and stars is an indication to the wicked that the wrath of God is about to start. This is followed by a great multitude that no man can number showing up in heaven. Then finally this is immediately followed by the wrath of God to the nations (trumpets and bowls) and the millennial blessings. This is the same sequence developed by Joel, adopted by the Prophets and expanded in the New Testament.

2.The reaction of the wicked is right. Isaiah prophesied that the wicked would run to hide in the rocks when God comes to “shake the earth” (Isaiah 2:12-21).

3.The timing is right. The very first Greek word in Rev 6:17 is (hoti). It, along with the verb has come, indicates that verse 17 is the reason for the activity in verses l5-16. There are two reasons given for the wicked hiding and seeking death &emdash; the face of Him who sits on the throne (God the Father) and the wrath of the Lamb (Jesus Christ). The “face” of God is a figure of speech. God the Father does not have a literal face (John 4:24). The word face is placed in the verse to denote His presence or person. This is a very common expression in the Old Testament (Ps. 42:5, II; 1 Kings 10:24; Lev. 23:40). The wicked are seeking to get away from the presence of God the Father.

CONCLUSION

Concerning the place of the Rapture in the divine sequence of the end times, a clear pattern has emerged. Prior to AD 325, the church fathers, with few exceptions, held to a “post-persecution” return of Christ, which would result in the deliverance of the righteous and destruction of the wicked. This teaching was based directly on the teachings of Christ, specifically given in the Olivet Discourse of Matthew in many cases. The Revelation of Jesus Christ to the Apostle John follows the exact same sequence outlined in the Olivet Discourse. The Rapture of the church takes place after the persecution of Satan/Antichrist (sixth seal), but before the wrath of God (Trumpet judgments). The Apostle Paul follows the same sequence in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 that the Lord gave in Matthew 24-25. The pattern is clear: the Rapture will initiate the Day of the Lord, which occurs sometime after the mid-point of the 70th week of Daniel, after the persecution of Satan/Antichrist, but before the wrath of God is poured out in the trumpet and bowl judgements.

(The above material was taken from “Leg’s to Stand On” by Charles Cooper, © 1998 The Sign Ministries)

WHY DO I BELIEVE THIS WAY
Simply put, I believe this way because it is what the Bible clearly teaches. When one approaches scripture with a consistent hermeneutic and compares scripture with scripture, not trying to interpret scripture to fit a pre-conceived theology, the prewrath position is the natural result.

The prewrath rapture position harmonizes all scriptures relating to Christ’s Second Coming. It harmonizes the clear teaching of Scripture, including the following facts:

1.The church is exempted from the eschatological wrath of God (1 Thess. 1:10, 5:9)

2.The 70th week of Daniel is composed of two parts: the wrath of Antichrist/Satan and the wrath of God (Day of the Lord) (Rev. 12:12-14; Rev. 6:12-17; Rev. 15:1)

3.The eschatological Day of the Lord follows the period called “The Great Tribulation” that begins at the middle of the seventieth week of Daniel. (Matt. 24: 27-31; 2 Thess. 2:1-8)

4.Antichrist/Satan’s persecution will be “cut short” by the removal of the object of his persecution – the Church – by rapture to heaven. (Matt. 24:21-22; Rev. 7:13-14)

I held to the pretribulation position for over 15 years, but had never really studied it. There had always been verses that bothered me and didn’t seem to fit with the position. Once I sat down with an open mind to see just what Scripture really taught concerning Christ’s Second Coming, it all came together and fit so well with the prewrath position.

WHERE ARE WE NOW IN THE TIMEFRAME
Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Matt. 24:36). We cannot know the exact time of Christ’s return. However our Lord also says in verses 32-33, “…when [the fig tree’s] branch has already become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; even so you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.” And in Luke 21:28 He states, “when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

I believe that the time is nearing. We have seen the reestablishment of Israel into her land in 1948. They took control of Jerusalem in 1967. And, with the turmoil in the Middle East, they are desperate for a peace accord. There are no other events which must take place before the events of the 70th week can begin. Whether it happens in my life time or that of my children’s or grandchildren’s, I do not know. But I do know that we are to be prepared, living in holiness, being sober and watchful.

PRE-MID-POST When is Christ coming for His Church?  Part 1 PRE-WRATH