Pro and Con 175, Uploaded 9-12-98, PM

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Jim Bramlett wrote: Re: Two Comings?:
Someone wrote to M.J. Agee saying he just could not see in the Bible a rapture and two separate comings of the Lord. Oddly, I was just reviewing this concept in the past couple of days.

It seems clear that both Matthew 24 and Luke 21 speak of TWO separate comings. Why?

Because one speaks of a time of building tribulation, starting with the clear sign of the abomination of desolation, then a fleeing to the mountains (probably Petra), persecution, distress, Jerusalem surrounded by armies, signs in the heavens, etc. You can almost construct a checklist, checking off the predicted events, until you can say, "Okay, now it is time for the Son of Man to come in clouds of glory. Checklist complete. Here He comes!" No surprise. This coming should not be unexpected by anyone, that is, anyone left after about 1/2 of the world's population is dead, probably including most of the post-tribbers in their scenario unless they already had their glorified bodies, which means they were previously raptured, probably under protest because they weren't yet worthy. The late scholar Dr. J. Vernon McGee and others insist that this passage applies to Israel only, not the church, during the "time of Jacob's trouble."

But in a big shift right in the middle of the chapter, a totally different coming is described... "as it was in the days of Noah" (24:37). (Prophecy contains many mysteries, and not all of it is described chronologically.) It will be a time of normalcy in the world. People will be eating, drinking, marrying and given in marriage. This has to be the rapture. It will be totally unexpected to the world (but not to those on the ark). One will be taken and the other left, etc. This event is also described as "the coming of the Son of Man," yet it is in a totally different setting (Matt. 24:39).

Two comings: one no surprise after a period of great tribulation, and the other a total surprise to the world in a period of apparent normalcy, like right now, relatively speaking.

MORE. In chapter 5, just after the famous rapture chapter of 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul equates "the day of the Lord" with the "sudden destruction" that will come to the world when they say, "peace and safety"; in other words, sudden and unexpected tribulation (vs. 1-5). This sounds like the beginning of the tribulation, suddenly, when the ark doors slam shut as described in Matthew 24:38, after the rapture. Paul then he goes on to tell us that we have nothing to worry about, that that day will not "overtake" us, perhaps meaning we will not be here to experience it, "for God did not appoint us to wrath" (v. 9). Interestingly, Paul frames that whole destruction passage with verse 4:18, "comfort one another with these words," and 5:11, "comfort and edify each other." Hey, if sudden destruction is coming on me, I gotta tell you that I ain't very comforted, big evidence that we will not experience it! Plus, since the resurrection/rapture verses 4:16-17 PREcede the destruction verses, it is more evidence that we will not be here. Just some thoughts today. Jim

My reply

Well said. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

The section of Mt. 24 following the "as the days of Noe" account speaks of two kinds of the Lord's servants, wise and evil. The wise "give them meat in due season," as you are doing. "Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing" (Mt. 24:45,46).

But, what of the evil servant? "if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord (he is a believer) delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder (cut him off), and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Mt. 24:48-51). Luke 12:46 says, "and will appoint him his portion (the Tribulation) with the UNBELIEVERS."

Thus, the Rapture spoken of in the "as the days of Noe" section, has to take place before the Tribulation. Those left behind have to spend some portion of time with the hypocrites and unbelievers. If this Rapture was at the end of the Tribulation, would there be time left to spend with the hypocrites and unbelievers? No! Not without being subject the the Wrath of God, and no believer has a part in that.

There is a Pre-Wrath Rapture for these who are left behind the first time. We can see it in Mt. 24:31, at the end of the Tribulation section. It says, "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." First, those who have previously been taken to Heaven are gathered in one place. Mark 13:27 says, "And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together HIS ELECT from the four winds, from the uttermost part OF THE EARTH to the uttermost part of heaven." Those gathered from the Earth are the ones left behind at the Pre-Trib Rapture, plus the other Tribulation saints (Rev. 7:14). Those gathered from Heaven are those that were previously part of the Pre-Trib Rapture.

We must rightly divide the word of truth, and the Tribulation section is separated from the "as the days of Noe" section by the parable of the fig tree. It gives us an idea of when the Pre-Trib Rapture will come, for when the fig tree (Israel) "putteth forth leaves," as she did in the Six-Day War, then the Rapture is near, even at the doors.

The first door is set before the Philadelphians, and when the Pre-Trib Rapture is "at hand" (Rev. 1:3; 22:10), it is "an open door" (Rev. 3:8). I think we are living in the days of this open door. We are still able to go into the "Ark" until the day the Lord shuts this door. We should make use of the time we have to make sure we are going to end up inside the "Ark," for outside, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Noah had seven days to load the Ark before the Lord closed the door. Maybe we have a similar seven-year period. If so, they may coincide with the seven good years that precede the seven bad years (typified by the years preceding the Exodus). If we are the fifth of the corn that is to be taken up in the seven good years, the Rapture can't be far in the future. The Oslo Accords, outline of the final 7-year peace treaty yet to be confirmed, were signed on Sept. 13, 1993. Fourteen years from then is Sept. 13, 2007, when I think the Millennium will begin. The year 1993 + 5 = 1998. The seven good years are over two thirds gone. How much longer can the Rapture be? And, what if the fifth of the corn symbolizes the fifth year of the seven good years?

Jesus said, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Mt. 7:13,14). We are facing these gates today. Let's be certain that we find the strait gate and enter it. The alternative presented here, destruction, is not comforting either.

Let's hang in there and strive to enter the strait gate. I am convinced that there is a Pre-Trib Rapture. It is described in I Thess. 4:13-18. We can "comfort one another with these words."

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FWD: From Jim Bramlett: Interesting insights from Charles Ryalls:

Can't remember if I shared this story with you. Our pastor shared an e-mail she received. The sender was a Jewish friend in Jerusalem. They had decided to go to a different synagogue and when they stepped in they were totally blown away, (not by a terrorist bomb this time). The whole congregation was dancing and whirling in a circle dance and singing praises to Messiah, who is coming imminently. They were filled with the joy of the Lord and were proclaiming that Messiah was coming and they were welcoming Him. The e-mailer then said. "Pastor Debbie, you people better get ready, because the Jews all over Israel are coming to this same revelation this year and totally believe Messiah is on His way."

Bramlett note: Please let me repeat the last sentence ***"the Jews all over Israel are coming to this same revelation THIS YEAR and totally believe Messiah is on His way"*** GLORY!!!

Incoming Email

Hello precious sister!! Thank you for taking time to write to me. Well, I praise God for the work you do. I look forward to September 20, 1998 for the rapture. Just in case it does not happen on that day, I am not going to be disappointed, and neither you should be disappointed, because it is going to happen soon. If it is 9/20/98 - are we not s'pposed to alert our friends? Infact I did alert some of mine. Well, see you up there in glory :)

My reply

I feel the same way you do. Hope that is the day, but if not, I intend to stay ready, watching and telling everyone I can to get ready. The Rapture can't be very far off, and we just can't afford to get caught without enough oil of the Holy Spirit in our vessels. I am convinced that the Rapture will happen before the Tribulation begins, and world conditions show that the Tribulation is now in the wings, making ready to come onstage. "THE righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away FROM the evil to come. He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness. But draw near hither, ye sons (the Beast and False Prophet) of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore" (Isa. 57:1-3). "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee FROM the hour of temptation (pierasmos, trial), which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth" (Rev. 3:10). They "that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint" (Isa. 40:31).

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Re: 2nd Rapture:
I want you to know I feel so totally blessed to have your website to read and to ask questions for better understanding in these last days. Our God is so Good!!!! I've even gotten my 15 year old son interested. And he's witnessing to others. Praise God! My question I don't quite understand is this, In the second rapture, are the only ones who go to heaven the dead, martyrded saints? And the live ones go on to the millenium? I get this from the scripture, Rev. 6:11 "Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed." Thank you!

My reply

I'm so glad the Lord has made it possible for me to be able to help. Yes, "Our God is so Good!!!!" Amen to that.

The Pre-Trib Rapture is of both living and dead saints (I Thess. 4:15). The Pre-Wrath Rapture is no different in this respect. I think the latter takes place on the Eve of, or on, Tishri 1, 5768, the Feast of Trumpets that begins the millennial Day of the Lord. That is Sept. 12/13, 2007. At that time, the 144,000 Israelites who are sealed are among the great multitude appearing in Heaven in Rev. 7:14. This is before the wrath of Rev. 8, the seven trumpet judgments, is poured out on Earth.

According to the Old Testament type in Ezek. 9, the sealing "mark" is "set upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst" of Jerusalem. These are living people who have not taken the Mark of the Beast, because those who have taken it "shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God" (Rev. 14:9,10).

Immediately after the sealing, many others are killed. Ezek. 9:5 says, "Go ye after him through the city, and smite." Then in verse 8 we find the reference to God's wrath. It says, "Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy FURY upon Jerusalem?" The reason is in verse 9: Jerusalem is "the city full of perverseness: for they say, The LORD hath forsaken the earth, and the LORD seeth not."

We find out from Zech. 13:9 that the LORD "will bring the third part through the fire...they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God." This remnant lives on into the Millennium, but the 144,000 are taken to heaven with the great multitude that no man can number (Rev. 7:1-14). The Lord never leaves himself without a witness on Earth. The remnant of Israel will be saved in a day (Isa. 66:8), the day of the asteroid impact (Rev. 8:8,10).

According to Ezek. 39:12, there are seven months after the Day of God's Wrath before the Lord sets his feet on the Mt. of Olives (Zech. 14:4). During this time, the Israeli remnant bury the dead to cleanse the land for the Lord's return in glory.

There is a heavenly group of Israelites and an earthly group, both "born" at the same time, the former born into a new world, Heaven, the latter born again on Earth. This is also true of "all nations" (Rev. 7:9). Those who accept Christ in time are raptured. Those who accept him right after the Pre-Wrath Rapture live on into the Millennium. They may have a certain space of time to make up their minds.

Just as the church of Thyatira and "Jezebel" are told, "I gave her space to repent" (Rev. 2:21) before the Pre-Trib Rapture, the Israelites may be given a space to repent at the beginning of the Millennium.

We seem to be living in the "space to repent" given to the church right now. Let's take advantage of it before it is too late. Just as it seems that it will be too late for two thirds of the Israelites on Tishri 1, 5768, it is possible that it will be too late for some to be part of the Pre-Trib Rapture by Tishri 1, 5758, Sept. 21, 1998. Let us get ready now, just in case. We haven't lost anything if we have to wait longer than that, but we could lose a lot if we wait past the date of the Pre-Trib Rapture.

A portion of those left behind will be martyred during the Tribulation. That is not a thing to eagerly look forward to. Not all of the group to be raptured at the end of this age will be martyred, but a certain number will be. Why put our lives in jeapordy when we have the chance to be part of the group that will never have to die? We should get ready now and be caught up to Heaven in the Pre-Trib Rapture. Our lamps must not run low on the oil of the Holy Spirit.

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I visit your site daily, print out all of the pros and cons and pray that your are right on Sept. 20th.  If you are, you may not have time to answer this but that's o.k.  I hope to be in the first load to heaven.

  One question that I have that had never occurred to me even though I have read 1Thess. 4:13-18 many times.  I was reading it again in your Pro-Con 174.  You said the dead in Christ were in Heaven already in parentheses after "even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him."  Then later in the scripture it says "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, .... 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..."  My confusion is this - if the dead in Christ are already with Christ and are coming back with him as he comes to rapture those alive - then do they re-enter the bodies they had when they were here before so that they can rise out of the grave before those who are alive?

  I had always assumed that believers who died were with Christ but this verse makes it sound as if they will bodily come out of their graves before the believers who are alive are caught up to be with Jesus.   If "and the dead in Christ shall rise first:" refers to those who have already 'risen' to be with the Lord, then why would it be put in that verse where it appears that the graves will open and believers will arise from there and then the living believers will be caught up?  If you could clear this up for me, I would appreciate it.

  Glad to hear that Ed is progressing - just think, if you are right, then you and he both will be healed completely Sept. 20th.  I'm sure hoping for that. Sincerely

My reply

Complete healing would be wonderful. When I awoke today, I thought that I ached from head to toe.

I just hope I can shed some light on your question. Not having lived through it, we probably cannot fully understand yet. However, "when he (Christ) shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he (Christ) is pure" (I John 3:2,3).

As I understand it, the saints that are in Heaven now do not have their resurrection bodies. They are alive and have all their previous knowledge, feelings, etc. (Lu. 16:19-31), but they are out of the physical body. Paul said that he could not tell whether the man that had gone to the third heaven was in the body or out of the body (II Cor. 12;2-4). It seems that this is because the celestial body is so similar to the terrestrial body.

On Rapture day, the Lord Jesus Christ will bring the saints with him. Prior to our being caught up with them, they will get their resurrection bodies. What was dead, the physical natural body, shall rise. Each will be reunited with his body. Then we will be caught up, changed, and all then present with the Lord in the air will go with the Bridegroom to his Father's house in Heaven.

When the Pre-Wrath Rapture is at hand, Isa. 26:19-21 says, "Thy dead MEN shall live, TOGETHER WITH my dead body (lit. bodies) shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust...and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation (the asteroid impact) be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of HIS PLACE to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain." The words "men" and "together with" that I capitalized in the above are supplied by the translators. "Body" is plural. Scofield's note says, "Verse 19 should read: "Thy dead shall live: my dead bodies shall rise."

There will be dead bodies that shall rise in the Pre-Trib Rapture also, "every man in his own order (tagmati, rank): Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming" (I Cor. 15:23).

I Cor. 15:35-44 is helpful. It says, "How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?...that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain...God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body....There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another....the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power; It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body...And as we have borne the image of the earthy (Adam), we shall also bear the image of the heavenly (Christ, "the Lord from heaven")."

> then do they re-enter the bodies they had when they were here before so that
> they can rise out of the grave before those who are alive?

I can't be dogmatic on this. However, since some bodies have been cremated, ashes scattered, bones of several mixed, etc., it seems most likely that the Lord creates a new spiritual body that looks much like the natural body of each individual. All things are possible with God.

II Cor. 5:1-5 may help. It says, "FOR we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God."

Maybe someone else will have some ideas on this subject.

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Updated 9-12-98