Pro and Con 268

Uploaded 2-15-99

Incoming Email

In 2 Thessalonians 2:3 it talks of a "falling away". Is the word used for falling away (apostasia in the greek- if so does that mean apostasy) or is it the same word for rapture (in the hebrew - to be taken with love) or is it some other word? I've heard different theories on this. Love

My reply

He apostasia means "the departure," and was so translated in early translations, Beza's, Tyndales, The Geneva Bible, Cranmer's, The Great Bible, Breecher's Bible and the Coverdale Bible.

It means separation as in a divorcement (apostacion), where one person leaves.

Incoming Email

I am in a class that has been together several years. We have been studying Revelations since October,so far we have covered the first 13 chapters. Last night, a discussion about who would be raptured came up. I thought all who have put their faith in Jesus Christ and asked Him to dwell in them would be raptured. Two members expressed their belief that besides faith in Jesus it would depend on how good you have been. I was stunned because I believe that noone is good and we are made righteous through His blood. I did read this morning in Hebrews and Romans that salvation is a gift. I am really worried that if we are raptured according to good deeds how can you possibly have assurance. How many good deeds are enough? I hope you can give me an answer to this if you have time. Thanks so much....

My reply

Salvation is a free gift that we cannot work for. All we have to do is accept Christ as our own personal Saviour. However, we can work for rewards.

Like Paul, we can also work to win the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, the Pre-Trib Rapture. In Phil. 3:14, Paul said, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." In I Cor. 9:24-27, he said, "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize. So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air; But I keep under my body and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."

When we first believe, our "old sins" are wiped off the books. But, after that, if we sin, we must confess our sin and get back in fellowship with our holy God. Psa. 32:1-5 says, "BLESSED is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. When I (King David) kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me; my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgression unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah" (meaning pause and look at this; it is important).

This is exactly what we should do when we sin, confess it (I John 1:9) so the Lord can cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Then we are a wise virgin with enough oil of the Holy Spirit.

Peter gave us a list of things we should add to our faith to make our "calling and election sure." Here is his list, "that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature": virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, charity (agape love). "For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind (like the Laodiceans), and cannot see afar off (Heaven at the time of the Pre-Trib Rapture), and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren (believers), give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (II Peter 1:4-11).

Incoming Email

...I'm trying to track down verses that tie Israel to the fig tree. The only one that stands out to me is Hosea 9:10. Are there any others? I giving a prophetic bible study on Matt. 24 and need to explain who/what the fig tree is in verse 32. Thank you for your help.

See you in the clouds real soon. In His Name

Incoming Email

...Matthew 24 is a book many use to describe events leading to the rapture but it seems obvious to me that Jesus was talking to the disciples and said that he would return before some of them died. Since that did not take place what is the explanation for it? Thank You

Incoming Email

I want to thank you for responding to my inquries about the Olivet Discourse. I see exactly what you are talking about.
The Olivet Discourse was one of the first things that REALLY caught my attention about thirty years ago. The first time I read it was the first time I knew for sure that I was living in the last days (even though I didn't know the term 'last days' at that time). I had never heard the interpretation of the fig tree parable until I read 'The end of the Age" two years ago. Before your book, I generally skipped over parable interps in my readings because out of the thousand plus books I've read, there were close to the same number of different interps. I always made the assumption that I would be let on to their true meanings when it was right for me. Apparently, the right time for me was two years ago by way of your book. Since then, I have learned that just about all bible scolars now agree as to the '67' war fullfilling the fig tree parable.

The strange thing about all this is that I did not realize the fig tree parable is in the middle of the Olivet Discourse until a month or so ago. It's not like I don't study much: in fact, study is about all I do now. In the last two years, 90%-plus of my time has been in study. It's almost beyond belief how one can read something over and over, year after year, and then, out of the blue, for no reason, one sees what it Really says. I've read your words to the same effect.

The point to all this is as follows: I've read all your books and most of your P@C 's and I don't think I've run across a place where you go through the Olivet Discourse section by section like I did with my earier e-mail and your reply to it. I know you have referred to all of Matt 24&25 many times over in all your writtings, but not as a single discussion. Since it really helped me, I bet it might help others.

Since you don't have much to do and you have all this time on your hands and are probably looking for a small project, how about a commentary on the flow of Matt 24&25?

My reply

I guess it is time I focus on Mt. 24 and 25, the Olivet discourse. I will tell what I think it means. Remember that I am not a prophet. These are my views. Be sure to compare everything with Scripture and see if these things are so.

MATTHEW 24 OVERVIEW
In verse 2 Jesus foretold in 30 AD what would happen to the temple 40 years later in 70 AD. In verse 3, the disciples asked Jesus, "when shall these things be? (70 AD) and what shall be the SIGN of thy coming, and of the end (sunteleia, full end) of the world (aionos, age)." Jesus did not tell them the clue that would turn out to show us what the SIGN OF THE END OF THE AGE was until the Fig Tree Parable. I think it turned out to be the Six-Day War of 1967, because the fig tree nation (Israel) grew leaves at that time. We know that he did answer their question, for verse 4 starts out, "And Jesus answered."

From 24:5 to that clue that reveals when the end of this age will arrive in 24:34, the whole section is spread over the time from the day the disciples asked the question to the actual end of this age (sixth seal) -- and NO FARTHER. People keep reading the Second Advent into this passage, and I don't think it is there. The disciples asked what shall be the SIGN of thy coming, and of the full end of this age. That is exactly what Jesus told them. The events cover the time to the end of the age, which I think ends as the Millennium begins, Tishri 1, 5768 (Sept. 13, 2007).

What fools some into thinking the Second Advent is there is that v.30 says, "then shall appear THE SIGN OF THE SON OF MAN IN HEAVEN: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall SEE THE SON OF MAN COMING IN THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN WITH POWER AND GREAT GLORY."

What people see at the end of this age is "THE SIGN OF THE SON OF MAN IN HEAVEN." This is at the time of the breaking of the sixth seal on the last day of this age (Elul 29, 5767, our Sept. 12, 2007).

I think the seventh seal is broken the next day, the Feast of Trumpets (Joel 2:1-3), Tishri 1, 5768, our Sept. 13, 2007. It is the first day of the millennial Day of the Lord and the Day of God's Wrath. Mal. 2:3 says, "your solemn FEASTS; and ONE (the Feast of Trumpets) shall take you away with it." Hos. 9:5-7 says, "What will ye do in the solemn day, and in the day of the FEAST of the LORD" For, lo, they are gone because of destruction...The days of visitation are come, the days of recompence are come; Israel shall know it: the prophet (False Prophet) is a fool (Satan possessed), the spiritual man (Tribulation Pope, the Beast) is mad." This gives us a bit of insight into why the False Prophet is able to take the reins of the world government and the world church into his own hands when the Beast is wounded in the middle of the Tribulation. The Beast dies, is revived (Rev. 13:12), but evidently has brain damage.

Thus, the False Prophet can pull off his bloodless coup. He shall "obtain the kingdom by flatteries" (Dan. 11:21). "The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords" (Psa. 55:21).

Following the Day of God's Wrath when the seven trumpet judgments are cast on Earth, there are SEVEN MONTHS before the Second Advent. Ezek. 39:12 says, "seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land. Yea, all the people of the land shall bury them; and it shall be to them a renown THE DAY (I think it is Nisan 1, 5768, our April 6, 2008) that I shall be glorified (the Second Advent), saith the Lord GOD."

Rev. 6:12-17 says, "I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood (from smoke in the air). And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind." Remember the string of "pearls" that hit Jupiter. What is probably a binary asteroid (Rev. 8:8,10) has broken apart releasing a shower of small debris and some larger pieces. Enough has already happened to Earth to cause a great earthquake and smoke. "And the heaven (atmospheric) departed as a scroll when it is rolled together (probably from an impact explosion); and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For THE GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH IS COME (6:00 PM); and who SHALL (on Tishri 1) be able to stand?"

This breaking of the sixth seal is the last day of this age. The seventh seal will be broken the next day, the Feast of Trumpets, the first day of the millennial Day of the Lord.

In Mt. 24:29, we see the same things happening that we saw under the sixth seal: "the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken." Those events begin to take place as this age ends.

From Mt. 4-14, the events seem to spread from the early part of this age all the way to what is called "the end (telos)." In verse 6, there are wars and rumours of wars, "but THE END is not yet." In verse 8, "All these are the BEGINNING of sorrows" (i.e., Israel's birth pangs). In verse 13, "he that shall endure unto THE END (of the age), the same SHALL BE saved" Soon after the Pre-Wrath Rapture. In verse 14, the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached "for a witness unto all nations; and THEN shall THE END come."

The very next verse starts smack dab in the middle of the Tribulation, when the "abomination of desolation" (idol) is placed at the temple. Therefore, the verses from 15 to 31 describe the 1040 days of the shortened Tribulation (the 2300 of Dan. 8:14 minus the 1260 of Rev. 11:3 equals 1040 days).

However, verse 20 may have a double application. It applies to the middle of the Tribulation, but it may also apply to the Pre-Trib Rapture. In verse 19, Jesus said, "And woe unto THEM that are with child, and to THEM that give suck IN THOSE DAYS." He is referring to when the Jews that know their Bible have to flee Jerusalem in the middle of the Tribulation. Rev. 12:6 says, "And the woman (Israel) fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place (Petra) prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days." This is the last half of the seven year Tribulation. In Mt. 24:20, Jesus no longer addressed "them." He may have turned to his disciples and said, "But pray YE that YOUR flight (Rapture?) be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day."

If this applies to the Pre-Trib Rapture, and if the Rapture is to be on Pentecost in 1999, this verse could indicate that it would NOT be on Saturday, Sivan 7, but on Friday, Sivan 6 (May 21, 1999). Time will tell. Song of Solomon 2:11 seems to agree that "winter is past." The Tribulation seems to begin on Sivan 6, so this date for Pentecost seems possible.

Some will say that it all has to be taken in context, but Isa. 28:13 shows that "the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; HERE A LITTLE, AND THERE A LITTLE; that thy might go, and fall backward, and be broken, an snared, and taken." Prov. 2:4 says, "If thou seekest her (wisdom) as silver, and searchest for her as for HID TREASURES; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God."

If you think all has to be understood in context, please explain how the parenthetic section in Col. 4:10,11 can be understood in context. It says, "Aristarchus my fellow prisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (TOUCHING WHOM YE RECEIVED COMMANDMENTS (Moses): IF HE COME UNTO YOU, RECEIVE HIM;) And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me." Colossians means punishment, correction. It contains information needed by the saints left behind for chastisement (Rev. 3:19) during the Tribulation. Therefore, it says, "Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea...cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans" (4:15,16). This parenthetic message is one of the "hid treasures" we are to seek as if searching for an elusive vein of silver (Prov. 2:3-6).

The parable of the fig tree in Mt. 24:32-34 answers the question the disciples asked. It shows us what was the Sign of the End of the Age that indicated that the Raptures (Pre-Trib and Pre-Wrath) are near. The rest of chapter 24, has to do with time of the Pre-Trib Rapture.

Mt. 24 ends with "The lord of that servant (the evil one) 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, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

The companion passage in Lu. 12:46 says, "The lord of that servant (the unfaithful and unwise one) will come in a DAY when he looketh not for him, and at an HOUR when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder (cut him off), and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers" (the shortened Tribulation).

Here it is evident that the wise servant will be looking for Him on a DAY that he IS aware of, and in an HOUR that he IS aware of. It is the evil servant that is NOT AWARE of the DAY or HOUR.

In Rev. 3:3, Jesus warns the churches, "If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what HOUR I will come upon thee." However, if we do watch, he will NOT come on us as a thief, and we shall KNOW what HOUR he will come on us.

This helps us understand Mt. 24:36: "But of that DAY and HOUR knoweth (present tense) no man." On that day, no man knew. Isa. 28:9 says, "Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts." The church is old now and can understand what the baby church could not. In Dan. 12:4, we see that in the time of the end, "knowledge shall be increased." Verse 10 says, "none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise SHALL understand."

THE 1040-DAY GREAT TRIBULATION
When the abomination of desolation is placed in the temple, "then shall be GREAT TRIBULATION, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's (Tribulation saint's) sake those days shall be shortened" (Mt. 24:21,22). The 1260 days of the last half of the seven-year Tribulation are shortened to 1040 days. Dan. 8:14 shows that the entire time that the Jews sacrifice at the temple and the time that they do not because the temple is desolated is 2300 days (2300 - 1260 = 1040). These are 2300 literal days. Dan. 8:26 says, "And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true." From Gen. 1:5, we find that "the evening and the morning were the first day." Therefore, the 2300 days are literal 24-hour days.

When the abomination is placed in the temple, people who know their Bible will flee Judea. We find from Rev. 12:14, that "to the woman (Israel) were given two wings of a great eagle (airplane), that she might fly into the wilderness, into HER PLACE (Petra), where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time (3 1/2 years), from the face of the serpent" (Satan).

"Then (Mid-Trib) if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders (Rev. 13:13,14); insomuch that, if it were possible (and it is not), they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before (so you won't be fooled). Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert (Babylon); go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (in the future).

In verses 28-31, we are now skipping to the very last day of this age. Verse 28 is much misunderstood because of an unfortunate choice of words by the translators. In the KJV, it says, "For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together." The NIV says, "Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather." Even the note in the New Scofield Reference Bible says, "The meaning of this somewhat puzzling verse is illuminated in the final dialogue between God and Job (Job 39:27-30). The spiritual application here is that, where moral corruption exists, divine judgment falls."

Luke 17:36,37 is translated better. It says, "Two men shall be in the field (i.e., the world), the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body (Body of Christ) is (in Heaven), thither will the eagles (high flying Tribulation saints) be gathered together."

Verse 28 goes with verse 31, which says, "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet (the "last trump" of I Cor. 15:52), and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."

It also goes with Mark 13:27: "And then (at the breaking of the sixth seal) 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." The Pre-Wrath Rapture takes place and all the saints are gathered in Heaven for the most momentous day ever. In Heaven, it is Coronation Day, the day of the Marriage of the Lamb, the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

The way I understand Mt. 24:28 is that wherever the BODY (Body of Christ) is (in Heaven, previously caught up in the Pre-Trib Rapture), there will the Tribulation saints be gathered together. The Tribulation saints are called eagles because eagles are high flyers. Isa. 40:31 says, "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."

Verses 28-31 are all at the breaking of the sixth seal on the last day of this age. The sun and moon are darkened by smoke from the rocks that are beginning to strike Earth. Verse 30 says, "And then (sixth seal) shall appear THE SIGN OF THE SON OF MAN IN HEAVEN: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

When the sixth seal is broken, Rev. 6:14 fills in more details about the Sign of the Son of Man that is seen in the sky. It says, "And the HEAVEN DEPARTED AS A SCROLL when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the FACE of him that SITTETH ON THE THRONE, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great DAY OF HIS WRATH is come (6:00 PM); and who shall be able to stand?" The Second Advent is yet seven months in the future (Ezek. 39:12), but Jesus Christ "SITTETH ON THE THRONE" in Heaven on the first day of his 1000-year reign.

Isa. 34:1-10 gives us more details of the end of this age and the beginning of the millennial Day of the Lord. "COME near, ye nations, to hear...let the earth hear...For the indignation of the LORD is upon ALL NATIONS, and his fury upon all their armies (the united nation's army is attacking Israel)...And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the HEAVENS SHALL BE ROLLED TOGETHER AS A SCROLL: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. For my sword ('flaming sword,' Gen. 3:24) shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea (red, earthy), AND upon the people of my curse (Babylon), to JUDGMENT....For IT IS THE DAY (Tishri 1) OF THE LORD'S VENGEANCE, and the year (5768, 2007/8) of recompences for the CONTROVERSY OF ZION (Jerusalem). And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever." We see the controversy of Jerusalem now developing between the PA and Israel.

We have clues to the timing of the Day of the Lord's Vengeance. The First Advent was in 30 AD. Forty years later, Jerusalem was taken away from the Jews. In our days, we see the mirror image. Jerusalem was taken back by the Jews in 5728 (1967/8). Forty years later, in 5768 (2007/8), will, I think, be the Second Advent, seven months (Ezek. 39:12) after the Day of the Lord's Vengeance, Nisan 1, 2008 (Apr. 6, 2008) (Ezek. 29:17,21; Hos. 6:3). In 1967, Jerusalem became as if with child. Normal gestation is about 40 weeks. In 40 years, the number of testing and probation, Jerusalem will bring forth her children.

Isa. 66:5-19 says, "Hear the word of the LORD...he (the LORD of hosts, Christ, Isa. 44:6) shall APPEAR (the Sign of the Son of Man)...shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD....For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his SWORD will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many....And I will set A SIGN (the Sign of the Son of Man) among them."

"I will be known in the EYES of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD" (Ezek. 38:23).

Re: Babylon: "Behold the land of the Chaldeans; this people was not, till the Assyrian founded it for them that dwell in the wilderness: they set up the towers (UN twin towers and Tower of Babel) thereof, they raised up the palaces thereof; and he brought it to ruin" (Isa. 23:13).

"BEHOLD, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down...because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath THE CURSE devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left....The city of confusion (Babylon) is broken down" (Isa. 24:1-10).

"This (the flying rolling thing, i.e., the binary asteroid, twice as long as wide) is THE CURSE that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it (i.e., as one stone tablet on which 5 commandments are written); and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it (i.e., as the other stone tablet with 5 commandments on it). I will bring it (the curse) forth, saith the LORD of hosts (Christ, Isa. 44:6), and it shall enter into the house of the thief (the False Prophet who stole the church), and into the house of him (the Beast, the Tribulation Pope) that sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timer thereof and the stones thereof" (Zech. 5:1-4).

The Tribulation saints are gathered BEFORE the seven trumpet judgments are cast on Earth (Rev. 8f) on the Day of God's Wrath at noon (Zeph. 2:4,5). Therefore, the Rapture of the Tribulation saints is Pre-Wrath, before the judgment trumpets sound. It is not at the seventh trumpet, as some teach.
(continued on Pro and Con 269)

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Updated 2-15-99