PS: After I read this again I realized an error. That is, it seems to me that anytime is a possible time. I hope you understood my intention of really asking, when do you think it might be more possible? Thanks again!
The words "of birds" and "places" are not in the original. The singing is come (as when the saints sing a new song at the Rapture). Also, this is the secret of the stairs (like Jacob's ladder that reached from Earth to Heaven).
Think about how Isa. 18:3-7 could tie in. It says, "ALL YE INHABITANTS OF THE WORLD, AND DWELLERS ON THE EARTH, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign (flag) on the mountains (kingdoms, nations, i.e., the UN or OWG); and WHEN HE BLOWETH A TRUMPET, HEAR YE. For so the LORD said unto me, I will take my rest, and I will consider (nabat, scan, look intently) in MY DWELLING PLACE like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest. For AFORE THE HARVEST, WHEN the bud is perfect, and THE SOUR GRAPE IS RIPENING in the flower, he shall BOTH (i.e., do 2 things) CUT OFF THE SPRIGS (i.e., the ones having fruit) with pruning hooks, AND TAKE AWAY (at the Pre-Trib Rapture) AND CUT DOWN the branches (i.e., having no fruit). They (those with no fruit) SHALL BE LEFT together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth (i.e., the Beast and False Prophet, Rev. 13): and the fowls shall SUMMER upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall WINTER upon them. IN THAT TIME ('spring,' Eze. 17:9) SHALL THE PRESENT BE BROUGHT UNTO THE LORD OF HOSTS OF A PEOPLE scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, TO THE PLACE of the name (Yeshua, Jesus) of the LORD of hosts, the mount Zion" (the heavenly one. Jn. 14:2,3).
In Micah 7:1,2, Micah played the part of a Tribulation saint. He said, "Woe is me! for I am as (symbolic language) when they have gathered (asaph, taken away) the summer fruits, as the grapegleanings of the vintage (Tishri 1, time of the 2nd Rapture): there is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the firstripe fruit (i.e., the 1st Rapture in the spring). The good man is perished (abad, ESCAPED) out of the earth: and there is none upright among men."
Lu. 21:36 ties in the escape. It says, "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be ACCOUNTED WORTHY to ESCAPE all these things (i.e., the Tribulation) that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." Agape
Isa. 44:6 says, "Thus saith the LORD (YHVH) the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD (YHVH) of hosts; I am the first (YHVH the King of Israel), AND I am the last (Yeshua, the redeemer, the YHVH of hosts); and beside me there is no God."
Isa. 45:21,22 says, "Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD (YHVH)? and there is no God else beside me; a just God AND A SAVIOUR; there is none beside me. LOOK UNTO ME, AND BE YE SAVED, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." Agape
Others have pointed out that the 24 elders are not necessarily resurrected yet. There is no reason to assume they are based on their "white robes" since the "souls under the altar" also have 'white robes' [Rev. 6:11] and they have not been resurrected. Also, the crowns do not prove they have been rewarded, since crowns in scripture also represent authority.
I believe there is a strong possibility that the 24 elders are angelic creatures that minister to the Lord. Notice the following song sung by BOTH the 24 elders and the 4 living creatures (which are clearly NOT human).
Rev 5:7-12: And He came, and He took it out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. "And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth." And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." (NASB)
Notice the 24 elders are joined by the 4 creatures, and later by myriads of other angels, singing this song. Notice that the song is sung in the "third person plural" which EXCLUDES the 24 elders and other angelic beings from those redeemed from every nation, who will reign on the earth! Therefore, the 24 elders are NOT people, but angelic beings like the '4 living creatures.'
I realize the KJV has the passage in the first person plural. However, the great bulk of manuscript evidence is against the KJV in this passage. Also, if the KJV is correct here, then the 4 creatures would have to be 'men' also, since they sing in the first person plural also in the KJV. Therefore, it is pretty obvious that the song is sung in the third person, AND the 24 elders are NOT a part of redeemed mankind.
Notice also, that part of their job is to offer up the "prayers of the saints" to God. This implies a priestly function for the 24 elders in the Temple in heaven. In the earthly tabernacle, the priests were according to 24 courses. This is probably patterened after the 24 elders who minister to the Lord in the heavenly Temple.
The fact is, there is every reason to conclude from the text of Revelation that the 24 elders have been there all along, and did not just arrive when John was caught up to heaven. If John's being caught up to heaven represents the rapture, as many pre-tribbers claim, then it would seem that when John got there, and described what He saw, the 24 elders were already there!
Pre-tribbers play games with Revelation, and draw conclusions from allegories that were not intended. John was caught up to heaven to see what would "come to pass hereafter." When he got there, he described what he saw. That's it! If John represents the Church being raptured to heaven, then the 24 elders must not be the 'Church,' otherwise they would have been raptured along with John! Pre-tribbers play musical chairs with the 'Church.' First the Church is 'John.' Then the church is the '24 elders.' All this to cover up the embarrasing fact that the pre-trib rapture is conspicuously missing from Revelation!
> > Notice that the song is sung in the "third person plural" which EXCLUDES the 24 elders and other angelic beings from those redeemed from every nation, who will reign on the earth! Therefore, the 24 elders are NOT people, but angelic beings like the '4 living creatures.'
The word "THEM" in Rev. 5:9 (NASB) still refers to the saints. The elders are playing harps. It is the saints that are singing the new song.
Rev. 5:8-10 (Green's Interlinear) says, "when He took the book, the four living creatures and THE twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. And each had HARPS and golden bowls full of incenses, which are the prayers of the SAINTS. And THEY (the saints) SANG A NEW SONG, saying, You are worthy to take the book and to open its seals, because You were slain and have purchased US (the saints) to God by Your blood, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation. And You HAVE MADE (i.e., already made) US (the saints out of every nation) kings and priests to our God. And WE SHALL (in the future) rule over the earth."
Psa. 40:1-3 says, "I waited PATIENTLY (as in Rev. 3:10) for the LORD; and he inclined (bent down) unto me, and heard my cry. HE BROUGHT ME UP (the Rapture) also out of an horrible pit (i.e., out of the Earth), out of the miry clay (i.e., body of clay), and set my feet upon a rock (Heaven), and established my goings (i.e., when the trump of God sounded). And HE HATH PUT A NEW SONG IN MY MOUTH, even praise unto our God: many shall see it (the Rapture), and fear, and shall trust in the LORD."
Psa. 149:1-9 says, "Sing unto the LORD a NEW SONG, and his praise in THE CONGREGATION OF SAINTS. Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise his name in the dance: LET THEM SING PRAISES unto him with the timbrel and harp. For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. LET THE SAINTS BE JOYFUL IN GLORY: LET THEM SING aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have ALL HIS SAINTS."
After the 2nd Rapture, Rev. 14:3 says, "they (the 144,000 saints) sung as it were a NEW SONG before the throne, and BEFORE the four beasts, and THE ELDERS: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand (saints), which were redeemed FROM THE EARTH."
When "THE" is given in the Greek, as in "THE twenty-four elders," very often it indicates that we should be able to identify who is being talked about; they have already been introduced to us. I think we can figure out who the elders are.
To me, Rev. 5:8,9 is clear. The elders are the Representatives of the saints, and present our prayers (wishes) to the Lord, just as our Representatives in Congress represent the people when they present our wishes to Congress.
I think Peter is one of the elders. I Peter 5:1 says, "The ELDERS which are among you I exhort, who am also AN ELDER, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ." John is an elder too. III John 1:1 says, "THE ELDER unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth." If two apostles are elders, I think all 12 are. In Mt. 19:28, "Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, YE ALSO SHALL SIT UPON TWELVE THRONES, JUDGING THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL." Lu. 22:30 says, "That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and SIT ON THRONES judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
Twelve patriarchs of Israel are probably the other 12 elders. Nu. 10:2-4 says, "Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps. And when they shall blow with them (i.e., both of them, at the 2nd Rapture), all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And if they blow but with ONE TRUMPET (i.e., at the first Rapture), THEN the PRINCES, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee."
> > If John represents the Church being raptured to heaven, then the 24 elders must not be the 'Church'
John, and Peter, are both saints and elders. They are to sit upon 12 thrones.
> > If the KJV reading is right, then the 4 creatures would have been redeemed from every nation
The NASB of Rev. 5:9,10 says, "the prayers of THE SAINTS. And THEY (the saints)sang a new song, saying, "Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men (not in the original, it should be 'emas,' 'us,' as in the KJV and Green's) from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. "And Thou hast made THEM (the saints) to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth."
The word "THEM" refers back to the redeemed "men" (lit., "us"), which are saints.
> > the pre-trib rapture is conspicuously missing from Revelation!
I don't think so. The "open door" is set before the Philadelphian saints." John and Peter are part of this group. When John goes up through Heaven's open door, Peter and the rest of the Philadelphian saints go through that door too.
> > How can there be a rapture before the harvest of the first resurrection?
The first resurrection is in ranks. I Cor. 15:20-23 says, "now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order (tagmati, rank): Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming."
Christ is the 1st rank. The rest of the sheaf offered at Firstfruits represent the saints that came out of their graves in Mt. 27:52. All those are resurrected. Christ took them to Heaven on his resurrection day. The next rank will be the saints caught up in the Pre-Trib Rapture. The last rank will be at the "last trump." That will be the Tribulation saints, the "great multitude" seen in Heaven in Rev. 7:9,14. Notice that all the Tribulation saints do not sing the new song. Only the 144,000 do. I think that is because of all the Tribulation saints, only the 144,000 are added to the Bride group caught up in the Pre-Trib Rapture. Rev. 14:3-5 says, "they sung AS IT WERE (symbolic language) A NEW SONG before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth" (at the Pre-Wrath Rapture). These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are VIRGINS (as the wise virgins that are caught up in the Pre-Trib Rapture). These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the FIRSTFRUITS (i.e., part of the Bride group) unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are WITHOUT FAULT before the throne of God."
To be part of the Bride group, we must be wearing white wedding garments, which are the "dikaioomata," righteousnesses of saints (Rev. 19:8). This includes Christ's righteousness, imputed to us, plus our own righteous acts when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. For the former, we receive Salvation. For the latter, we will receive rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Agape
There are all kinds of scriptures mentioning patience. Rom. 8:25 says, "if we hope for that we see not, then do we with PATIENCE wait for it." Rom. 15:4 says, "whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through PATIENCE and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." II Cor. 6:4 says, "But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much PATIENCE, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses." I Thess. 1:3 says, "Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father." I Tim. 6:11 says, " follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, PATIENCE, meekness." Heb. 6:12 says, "That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and PATIENCE inherit the promises." Heb. 10:36 says, "For ye have need of PATIENCE, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise." Heb. 12:1 says, " let us run with PATIENCE the race that is set before us." James 1:3 says, "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh PATIENCE." James 5:7 says, "Be PATIENT therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. James 5:7 says, "Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long PATIENCE for it, until he receive the early and latter rain." Rev. 2:3 says, "And hast borne, and hast PATIENCE, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted."
Lu. 21:36 says, "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be ACCOUNTED WORTHY TO ESCAPE all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." Agape
Because Friends Share Secrets
"Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you" (John 15:15).
What about Jesus' statement: "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of Heaven, but my Father only" (Matthew 24:36)? Isn't this verse the reason why we are not supposed to set dates for the Rapture? Not really. Actually, the context of Matthew 24 is referring to the Second Coming of the LORD Jesus Christ, not a Rapture. Notice the references in Matthew 24 to the word "come" in this passage: "the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (24:30), "as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (24:37), "ye know not what hour your LORD doth come" (24:42), "in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (24:44), "Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing" (24:46), and "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" (Matthew 24:50).
Even if Matthew 24 is dealing with the Second Coming of the LORD Jesus Christ, and not the Rapture-- as it does-- still, what about the statement: "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of Heaven, but my Father only" (Matthew 24:36)? The word the King James Version translates as "knoweth" is used in the Greek in the present tense. The limit, of who may know the time and hour of the Second Coming of Christ, was only to the disciples that Jesus addressed at that present time, in Matthew 24.
Why wouldn't the LORD Jesus want those disciples to know the time of His Second Advent? Because He wanted their attention drawn to the Mystery of the Church, and its ensuing 2,000 year history of redemption to the rest of the Gentile world. In other words, it wasn't the right time for the Church to know and focus on that information, which was sealed up to the time of the End. "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased" (Daniel 12:4). Conversely, the Spirit of God is progressively divulging the understanding to the prophecies, on a "need to know basis," as we approach their actual fulfillment. "And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand" (Revelation 22:10).
Immediately before Jesus ascended back into Heaven, the disciples asked, "LORD, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6). Jesus responded: "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power" (Acts 1:7). Jesus' answer has given some, today, the impression that it was not possible for the Church to know, in advance, the actual timing of the End Time events. He was only directing those particular disciples' attention to the immediate task of evangelizing the world and launching the Church 10 days later at Pentecost. "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
The case for knowing the day and hour of the LORD Jesus' Return is built upon friendship with the LORD Jesus. He knows when He will return, and He is absolutely willing to share that information with His friends. "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you" (John 15:15). Only for a short time did Jesus set aside His heavenly glory, and voluntarily limit His knowledge of the future. Thus, He rightly stated that, "of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father" (Mark 13:32). That was then. But now, He is back in Heaven where He is using all of His divine power, as the Saints' Friend and Intercessor, to show them "things to come" (John 16:13).
The secret of what is about to unfold upon the world at the end of this age is given to the righteous. "His secret is with the righteous" (Proverbs 3:32). "Surely the LORD GOD will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7). It is becoming increasingly more difficult to build a case for ignorance of the timing of the Second Advent of Jesus Christ. If God could lead the Wise Men to the LORD Jesus at the First Advent, why wouldn't He lead the wise to the timing of Jesus at His Second Advent? "None of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand" (Daniel 12:10).
If Christians are the friends of the LORD Jesus Christ, then they should know what He will do and when He will do it. "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you" (John 15:15). In Christ, Mark. http://www.insidetheweb.com/mbs.cgi/mb1123981
I think Mt. 24:27-31 takes place on the 1st day of the millennial Day of the Lord, the day of the Pre-Wrath Rapture and Day of God's Wrath. That Feast of Trumpets (Tishri 1) is 7 months prior to the Second Advent on Nisan 1. During the 7 months, the Israelites bury the dead to cleanse the land for the Lord's return (Eze. 39:12,13).
Eze. 29:17 seems to set the day of the Second Advent as "first month, in the first day of the month" (Nisan 1). Then v. 21 says, "In that day (Nisan 1, 1st day of the Regnal and Sacred Year) will I cause the horn (king) of the house of Israel to bud forth, and I will give thee the opening of the mouth (the Logos, the Word) in the midst of them; and they shall know that I am the LORD."
This agrees with Hos. 6:3. It says, "the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth." The former rain starts on Tishri 1 (the 1st Advent). The latter rain starts on Nisan 1 (the 2nd Advent). Agape
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