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Revelations 2000

by M.J. Agee

Chapter 1, Part 2


The time: when the Rapture is at hand

John announces the title of the play

After announcing the title, John gives credit to the author, tells why it was written, and adds details about the unusual way the script was transmitted to him. He will narrate this play for us. Listen as he begins to speak in a deep resonant voice. He starts off with the title of the play.

THE Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
The "testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." This prophetic play was written to reveal who Christ actually is and to show us things that will "shortly come to pass" in our days.

The time is at hand

The very first verse of Revelation tosses us a stimulating challenge. Do not pass over it in haste. Stop and try to figure this out. We are to be shown things which must shortly come to pass. How can that be when this was written in 96 A.D. and most of these things are still future in our days?

The Bible was expressly written for us upon whom the ends of the ages have come, and in our frame of reference, 1,900 years is not a short time. It is more than 25 lifetimes.

As John continues delivering the Lord's words, he promises us a blessing for hearing and restates our problem:

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep (Greek, terountes, hold fast, observe) those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
How can the time be at hand? Many explain that the Greek eggus not only means at hand, but near. However, by now, we can see that these things were not actually very near, and eggus definitely means at hand for it is from en and guion, hand. Yet, the Scriptures cannot lie. It is up to us to figure out what time is at hand.

When we solve this problem, we will remove a great stumbling block and uncover a long-hidden secret.

An easy way to put this book of Revelation in its proper perspective is to look at it as a play, and listen attentively to the reading of the script. In a play, the playwright sets the scene and chooses the time. In Revelation, before the curtain is drawn, the setting is on Earth in the latter days of this age. The time is just before the Rapture takes place. From that vantage point, and actually from ours today also, the time is at hand.

It should be easy for us to project ourselves into this scene, for in our days, in 1996 A.D., as it symbolically was in 96 A.D., the Rapture is due soon, but hopefully not too soon for us to repent of our sins and be filled with the Holy Spirit. He is our transporter. The Greek pneuma, translated Spirit, means a breath or blast of air. This is the breath of God. More than a transfer ticket, the Holy Spirit is the means by which we will be floated up from Earth and whisked to heaven.

It actually will happen very quickly. When the disciples had rowed out about twenty-five to thirty furlongs into the Sea of Galilee, Jesus came to them walking on the sea. "Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went." We who willingly receive him will meet Christ in the air, and then we may appear "immediately" at the assembly point in Heaven, for "with God all things are possible."

When we repent and confess our sins, we are as pure virgins clothed with white wedding garments and filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit. Although Revelation does not tell us what time of day the Rapture will take place, the parable of the ten virgins suggests "midnight" as one possibility. Jesus said to "Watch...for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning." Notice that he did not say that we do not know the day.

To God, we must shine as beckoning lights in the darkness when we are to be picked up. None whose lamp is going out will be taken. To the foolish virgins, he will sternly say, "I know you not."

There will be no crashing the wedding party. Matthew 22:12-14 explains what could happen if anyone tried:
Friend (Tribulation saints are friends of the Bride), how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless (Laodiceans do not realize they are blind and naked). Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.
The Tribulation saints are not part of the Bride of Christ. They are invited to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb as friends of the Bride. The Old Testament saints are the friends of the Bridegroom.

I used to think the Rapture would be so secret that no one would see it take place. We would just vanish. That is not quite right. Psalm 40:1-3 indicates otherwise. It says,
I WAITED patiently (as the Philadelphians do ) for the LORD; and he inclined (leaned down) unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit (as acted out by Jeremiah ), out of the miry clay (i.e., out of the body made from 'the dust of the ground'), and set my feet upon a rock (Heaven), and established my goings (the Rapture). And he hath put a new song (sung after the Rapture) in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it (the Rapture), and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
John, scribe, narrator, and actor in this play, stands firmly on the rocky Earth as he introduces The Revelation of Jesus Christ, but as soon as the cue "the time is at hand" is out of his mouth, he quickly disappears from Patmos and reappears above the undulating curtain of the sky. He has just gone through a great door onto the heavenly stage. On the other side is heavenly "Zion, the perfection of beauty."

Snap! That quick, he acted out the Rapture just as he does when he hears "Come up hither" in chapter 4, verse 1. In 4:1, he speaks from Heaven immediately after the Rapture. Here, he does the same thing; his next words are spoken from Heaven. This is like a preview of what will take place in 4:1. We get a foretaste of things to come. Our wonderful playwright gives us this preview shot for several reasons. One is to prepare us so we will recognize the Rapture later when it happens just as quickly.

This happened so quickly that I need to go back and reread what John said just before the snap. He said,
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep (hold fast, observe) those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
The next thing John knows, he is in Heaven. It was years before I realized that the time indicated here was that close at hand. The Rapture is at hand--only moments away.

Transported, John speaks from Heaven

He identifies himself to the churches on Earth and delivers a salutation before Christ begins to speak. John's dialogue from the heavenly stage opens with these lines:
JOHN to the seven churches which are in Asia (which means mud, i.e., in bodies of clay on Earth): Grace be unto you, and peace, from him (God) which is (at the Rapture), and which was (at the First Advent), and which is to come (at the Second Advent); and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten (first-born ) of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him (Christ) that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made (past tense) us kings and priests (at the Rapture that he just played out) unto God (Jesus Christ) and his Father; to him (one person, our Lord Jesus Christ, who said, 'I and my Father are one') be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall (in the future) see him (at the Second Advent), and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

Christ is the firstborn from the dead. First Corinthians 15:23 says, "Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming."

A trumpet voice speaks from Heaven

With no more introduction than that, the majestic Lord Jesus Christ speaks with a voice like a trumpet because it is a feast day, when the trumpet is sounded. This is the revelation, when Christ reveals who he really is.

He does not start out, "Ladies and gentlemen," or pussyfoot around. Right away, he smacks us with his credentials and establishes his authority. He is THE ALMIGHTY. His forceful words strike our ears, register in our brains, and raise up our hair with awesome effect.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is (at the Rapture), and which was (at the First Advent), and which is to come (at the Second Advent), the Almighty.
Wow! Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters in the Greek alphabet. This indicates that Christ is both the first and the last, both Yahweh (or Jehovah, according to the system of transliteration used) of the Old Testament and Jesus Christ of the New Testament.

Isaiah told us this long ago in the Old Testament, if only we had believed it. Isaiah 44:6 says, "Thus saith the LORD (Yahweh) the King of Israel, and his redeemer (Christ) the LORD (Yahweh) of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God." Verses 16 and 17 continue the theme: "Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD (1), and his Spirit (2), hath sent me (3). Thus saith the LORD (Yahweh), thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD (Yahweh) thy God." The Almighty always was the one who dealt with mankind.

"Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called," he thunders in Isaiah 48:12,13; "I am he; I am the first, I also am the last. Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together."

He is both Yahweh (from the Hebrew YHWH, which means He is, He was, and He will come) and Yahwehshua (which means Yahweh is Saviour), which in the shortened form is Yahshua or Y'shua (Iesous in Greek, Jesus in English). He is the Messiah, Jesus Christ (Yeshua Mashiach to the Messianic Jews), both Lord and Saviour. He is, and always was, The Almighty. Acts 2:36 says,
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
This doctrine is not new; it is just clarified here. This is the same truth taught in II Corinthians 5:18,19. There, Paul spoke of "God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ" and went on to state very clearly that "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself."

Jesus taught this doctrine while on Earth. In John 14:9,11, he told "Philip...he that hath seen me hath seen the Father...Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me." He is of one substance, or essential nature with the Father. This is important, for Jesus said,
Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. I am from above (from Heaven) I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins They understood not that he spake to them of the Father...I am he.
This is of paramount importance. We need to get this straight. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only one of his kind, the God-man, the Word who was with God in the beginning, who was God, and who was made flesh so he could become our Saviour. This is what Hebrews 10:5 means when Jesus says, "a body hast thou prepared me." He has two complete natures, both God and man.

If this is not all entirely clear to us now, it will be immediately after the Rapture takes place. At that time, we will see him as he is. In the meantime, we can pray for the Lord to increase our understanding. He does, step by step, as soon as we are ready for it.

Isaiah 9:6 helps us comprehend the two natures of one person, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

For unto us a child is born (his humanity, the nature he inherited from his mother), unto us a son is given (his deity, the nature he inherited from his Father) and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Jesus Christ is the Almighty, the "everlasting Father." "The first man (the first Adam) is of the earth, earthy: the second man (the second Adam) is the Lord from heaven." Like the first Adam, Jesus Christ was a creature of a different kind. Truly, "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself" (II Corinthians 5:19).

The word Revelation is apokalupsis in the Greek. It has several meanings: disclosure, appearing, coming, uncovering, unveiling, and revealing. All are appropriate. The Revelation of Jesus Christ lifts the veil and reveals exactly who Jesus Christ is in his person and in his offices. He is priest, king, judge, "The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." You can trust it and believe it. Scripture says it. It is the absolute diamond-hard truth.
Psalms 50:1-6 speaks of Yahweh doing the very things that other scriptures indicate that Jesus Christ will do:
The mighty God, even the LORD (YHWH, Yahweh), hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Zion (the heavenly one), the perfection of beauty (Paradise), God hath shined. Our God shall come (Yahweh in Jesus Christ at the Second Advent), and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him (the catastrophe), and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above (to gather those who were taken to Heaven in the first Rapture), and to the earth (to bring the Tribulation Saints to Heaven in Rapture II), that he may judge his people (at the Judgment Seat of Christ). Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice (Jesus Christ's was the perfect sacrifice, and it applies to all who believe in him). And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself.
God, the judge, is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, for "the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son." This is fair to us, for he knows exactly what it is like to live as a human being.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ embraces three of Christ's future appearings, at both Raptures and at the Second Advent. At the first Rapture, righteous believers will rise up to meet him in the air. He will transport them to heaven so they do not have to go through the coming shortened 2,300-day Tribulation. On day 2,300, he will appear (the Sign of the Son of Man ) and pluck the Tribulation saints unscathed out of their fiery furnace. Their clothing will not even smell of smoke. At the Second Advent, he will touch down on the Mount of Olives, the same place from which he ascended.

Since our Lord Jesus Christ is the Almighty, his divine nature knows everything, even when he is coming. Job 24:1 says that "times are not hidden from the Almighty." They cannot be. He planned everything before he did anything. When Jesus said, "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only," he spoke as man, but the Father in him knew. He had two natures. He could speak as man, or he could speak as God. He did not want people of those days to know when he was coming. That information was reserved for us, as the Rapture and end of this age draw near.

Avon Books pub date is January 1, 1998. Books should be in bookstores mid December.

  Revelations 2000, Chapter 1, Part 3

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Updated 4-26-08
© 1997 Marilyn J. Agee