When I do not want Jesus to return yet… Time is still running out.

by Jon Zenor

Have you ever had the thought that you wish God would not come back anytime soon?  I have…

Not for any worldly reasons, because I want to stay and enjoy my house or my stuff or do more stuff in the world that I want to do.  Not for anything like that.  But because I want to do more for God before that time.

Well, more specifically because I do not feel like I do much now for God and I want to make my life actually mean something in the eternal realm.

If you do have these same thoughts that I do you have to realize something.  God is not delaying his return until you feel like you are ready.  Jesus is coming back at a set time, and our involvement in the kingdom is not going to hinder or speed things up.

But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.  (Matthew 24:36-47)

The facts are this.

Jesus is coming back, could be tomorrow, could be 20 years from now, but soon.  We were saved for a purpose, to glorify God, and God wants us to help those in need, but Satan paralyzes us with every tactic he can throw at us, sin, entertainment, work.

What should we be doing?

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (James 1:21-22, 26-27)

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; (Matthew 28:19-20)

We have been given a job to do here, to help those in need, to spread the gospel message.  The more we make ourselves busy with the things of this world, the more we become of this world, the less we will want to do for God.

Face it, doing what God wants us to do we know is the right and better thing to do, but it is so much harder to do.  We all really want to help out those in need, but not during the football game. Maybe after this tv show, or just let me finish this one level in this game.

We all get sucked into things we would rather be doing and it takes us away from the important task we were sent here for.

We do not have long to live

We do not have much time in this world.  Either because Jesus is going to come back soon or because we could die.  James 4 says “what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”  Don’t waste that little amount of time we have.

I am convinced that as we get older every day passes by faster and faster.  You plan on doing something you know you should do, but you put it off just one day.  And somehow, before you know it, that one day has turned into a month, then a year is gone, then another year.

Last night I had a dream.  The tribulation was obviously starting, the world breaking out in war and natural disasters, Christianity was outlawed, and I was watching the news unfold thinking of all the stuff that I had the opportunity to do to help others, to witness to others, but now it was too late.

At work the other day we had a conversation about people some of the guys knew, who died or lost their children when they went in the hospital for a very routine procedure (such as a girl getting tubes put in her ears) and ended up dying from it.

We just never know how much longer we have left to do the things we know we should be doing.

But we do know that with every day that passes, we have one less day to do those things.

101 Last Days Prophecies

The Bible predicts many specific signs that will culminate in the last days. Notice that none of these prophecies are vague. Also consider that Jesus indicated these signs would arise concurrently (pretty much at the same time), gaining momentum like birth pains, as His return draws near (Matthew 24:33-34, Matthew 24:8).

Though many of these prophecies won’t climax until the Tribulation period, our generation is the first to see every trend in place. As the final seconds of this age tick away, these events will come into even clearer focus.

Keep in mind as you read this list that these prophecies were penned 1900 to 3500 years ago!

1. False Bible teachers would be money hungry. They would be smooth talkers, have many followers, and slur the Christian faith (2 Peter 2:1-3).

2. Mankind would be capable of destroying all life (Matthew 24:21-22). Consider that when Jesus made this prediction the armaments of His day were swords and spears. But today, with nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, it is possible to wipe out all flesh on planet earth.

3. The use of nuclear weapons anticipated (Zechariah 14:12).
The neutron bomb melts (dissolves) its victims –
just as Zechariah predicted 2500 years ago.

4. There would be a global cry for peace (1 Thessalonians 5:3).

5. The Antichrist would use (false) peace to destroy many (Daniel 8:23-25). With all the problems facing mankind, multitudes are looking for a “savior” to usher in peace and prosperity without moral accountability. The Antichrist will promise the world such a peace if they follow him – but his intentions will be sinister.

6. Damascus would be destroyed (Isaiah 17:1, 14; Jeremiah 49:23-27; Amos 1:3-5). Damascus, Syria is increasingly in the news and is extremely anti-Semitic. Many terrorist organizations have their bases in Damascus. God declares that they will become a ruinous heap because they have violently taken what was not theirs.

7. Chaotic weather would be prevalent (Luke 21:25-26). Jesus foresaw “the seas and the waves roaring” in the last days. He also likened these signs to birth pangs (Matthew 24:8). The Greek word odin, often translated as sorrows in Matthew 24:8, literally means birth pangs.

Furthermore, the apostle Paul reminded us that the creation itself will be delivered from the curse at the end of the age (Romans 8:21). And that the “the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs” (Romans 8:22).

As delivery draws near, birth pangs always increase in both intensity and frequency. Therefore, the creation itself would travail as the time of delivery draws near. Of course chaotic weather has always existed, but there are indications that we are witnessing an increase in strange weather.

8. Global communications foreseen (Revelation 11:9-10; 17:8).
The Bible predicts that the entire world will “see” certain events unfold.

The invention of the television and the deployment of global satellite networks during the 20th century allow news to travel the world at the speed of light for the first time ever. Remember that in the apostle John’s day, news traveled at the speed of horseback.

9. The Christian gospel would be preached as a warning to all nations (Matthew 24:14; Mark 13:10). Today, portions or all of the Bible have been translated into over 2,300 languages and dialects covering over 90% of the world’s population.

10. There would be a move toward a global government (Daniel 2:40-44; 7:23; Revelation 13:7-8). The former Roman Empire – which encompassed present-day Europe – would revive and eventually dominate the world.

The European Union has steadily moved forward in its attempt to unite Europe politically and economically. It has succeeded in creating a European parliament, a court, and a common currency.

11. Literal Babylon (formerly called Babel) would reemerge in the land of Shinar – known today as Iraq (Zechariah 5:11; Genesis 10:10; Genesis 11:1-9; Isaiah 13). Saddam Hussein spent over 20 years and many hundreds of millions of dollars rebuilding the city of Babylon.

12. The possesion of Jerusalem would be at the center of international turmoil (Zechariah 12:3). Almost daily the world news reports on the conflict over Jerusalem.

13. The fact that God once flooded the earth (the Noahic Flood) would be denied (2 Peter 3:5-6). There is a mass of fossil evidence to prove this fact, yet it is flatly ignored by the scientific world because of its uncanny implication.

14. Increased interest in vegetarianism anticipated (1 Timothy 4:3-4). The New Age Movement has swept the globe during the past 40 years popularizing this.

15. Many wars would erupt (Mark 13:7-8). According to Project Ploughshares, there are about 40 armed conflicts in the world today.

16. The earth would be filled with violence (Luke 17:26; Genesis 6:11-13). In the United States alone, violent crime has increased nearly 500% since 1960.

Fifty years ago abortion (the violent murder of an unborn child) was illegal in most countries. Today abortion is legal in most countries and 50 million children are aborted each year.

Jesus also predicted that there would be fearful sights (Luke 21:11). The Greek word translated fearful is phobetron, which can also be translated terror. According to the U.S. State Department, between 1981 and 2000, there were 9,179 international terrorist attacks.

17. Knowledge would increase (Daniel 12:4; Isaiah 11:9). Specifically, this is referring to an understanding of Bible prophecy, but also an increase in scientific knowledge is implied.

18. Despite an increase in scientific knowledge, deadly diseases (which the Bible calls “pestilences”) would be prevalent (Matthew 24:7).

Emerging diseases such as AIDS, Ebola, Hanta virus, Dengue, West Nile, SARS, etc., underscore this fact. Ironically, just a few decades ago, some scientists were forecasting that advances in medicine might soon eradicate deadly diseases.

19. There would be technology capable of tracking the world’s population and commerce (Revelation 13:16-17).

20. Despite technological advancements, famines would be common (Luke 21:11; Revelation 6:5-8).

21. The ancient city of Petra (Sela – the rock city) in Jordan would exist and become the refuge for the fleeing Jews during the Tribulation (Isaiah 16:1-4; Matthew 24:16; Revelation 12:6, 14).

In 1994, Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty making Petra a potential refuge for fleeing Jews.

22. Russia (Magog) would rise as a military power and lead a surprise attack on Israel just prior to the final seven years of this age (Ezekiel 38). Today, most of the southern states of the former Soviet Union are both military powerhouses and Muslim.

23. Turkey (Meshech) would also turn on Israel in the same surprise attack (Ezekiel 38). In November of 2002, Turkey elected a pro-Islamic party to govern the country.

24. Iran (Persia), Sudan (Cush), and Libya (Put) would also partake in the surprise attack on Israel (Ezekiel 38).

Anti-Semitism in the Arab world is rampant. According to the Koran and Hadith, all Muslims are commanded to kill Jews, Christians, and non-believers in Jihad (holy war) unless they convert to Islam (Surahs 9:5 and 47:4; Volume 1, book 2, numbers 24 and 35).

25. Ironically, Egypt and Jordan would not participate in this surprise attack (Ezekiel 38). Astoundingly, they are the only two Arab nations that have signed a peace treaty with Israel. Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994 and Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

26. Birds of prey would eat the dead flesh of the enemy armies that fall in battle against Israel (Ezekiel 39:4, 17; Revelation 19:17-21).

It is a little known fact that Israel is the bird migration capital of the world. In fact, 500 million to 1.5 billion birds fly over Israel each spring. During the fall migration an estimated 1 to 4 billion birds traverse Israel. Many of these migratory birds are raptors – carrion (dead flesh) eating birds of prey. In fact, 34 species of raptors migrate over Israel.

27. Great signs from heaven predicted (Luke 21:11). Both natural and supernatural phenomena in the earth and sky appear to be increasing.

28. The sun would scorch the inhabitants of the earth (Revelation 16:8-9). Though this prophecy is clearly a divine judgment on unrepentant mankind, it is interesting that a compromise in the earth’s atmosphere due to nuclear war or other ecological disaster could facilitate this judgment.

29. The nation Israel would be born in one day (Isaiah 66:8).
On May 14, 1948 Israel became a nation.

30. The Jews would begin to regather in Israel (Jeremiah 31:7-10; Ezekiel 37:21-22; 38:8). 5.4 million and counting!

31. The Jews would regain control of biblical Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:6; Luke 21:24).
This happened in 1967!

32. The Eastern Gate would remain closed until the Messiah returns. At Christ’s Second Coming, He will enter Jerusalem through the now sealed Eastern Gate (Ezekiel 44:1-3). Today, as predicted, the Eastern Gate remains sealed.

33. The nation of Israel, which had been divided into two kingdoms since the time of Solomon (950 B.C.) – Israel in the north and Judah in the south – would be one united nation in the last days (Ezekiel 37:15-17, Ezekiel 37:22). At present, as predicted, Israel is one nation.

34. The returning Jews would have no king in the last days (Hosea 3:4-5). Amazingly, not only is Israel no longer a theocracy, but today the Jewish state is governed by a democracy comprised of some 30 political parties.

35. During the diaspora (the dispersion of the Jews to the four corners of the globe), Israel would become a wasteland (Deuteronomy 29:23-28; Ezekiel 36:8-11; Ezekiel 36:33-36). During the past 1900 years Israel became a nearly uninhabited, desolate wasteland.

36. Israel, once a desolate desert, would blossom in the last days and export produce to the world (Isaiah 27:6; 35:1-2; Ezekiel 36:34-36). Israel’s increased rainfall and world-renowned irrigation technology have caused the land to blossom.

Incredibly, as predicted, they currently export 800 million dollars worth of fresh produce each year.

37. Israel would once again plant vineyards on the mountains of Israel (Joel 3:17-18; Amos 9:13). Today, sweet wine flows from the Golan Heights and many other vineyards on the mountains of Israel.

38. The last days Jews would plant forests of trees. The Bible even specifies the variety of trees – cedar, acacia, myrtle, oil, cypress, pine, and box (Isaiah 41:18-20). This has happened in our day.

39. Though Israel would be the focus of many fulfilled prophecies, most Jews would remain blind to the fact that Jesus is their Messiah until the very end (Luke 19:41-42; Luke 13:34-35; Romans 11:25-26).

40. The Euphrates River would be dried up (Revelation 16:12). Today, the massive Ataturk Dam in Turkey, completed in 1990, can hold back the Euphrates to a trickle.

41. Asia (the kings from the east) would be capable of deploying a 200-million-man army during earth’s final days (Revelation 9:14-16; 16:12). Bear in mind, in Jesus’ day there were only an estimated 170 to 400 million people on the entire planet.

42. Population explosion predicted (Revelation 7:9, 14). The apostle John, who wrote the Book of Revelation, was told the number of an army in the last days – two hundred million (Revelation 9:16). This was the approximate population of the world at that time.

That John also beholds “a great multitude which no one could number” coming out of the Great Tribulation at the end of the age (Revelation 7:9, 14). indicates an enormous number of people on planet earth in the last days.

43. The nations would bud (Luke 21:29-33). In Scripture, the tree is often used figuratively of a nation (Ezekiel 31:3-6; Daniel 4:20-22). During the past century we have seen the end of the colonial era and the rapid growth in the number of newly formed independent nations.

44. Egypt, one of the world’s greatest ancient civilizations, would exist in the last days – but only as a lowly third world nation (Ezekiel 29:14-16). Today, as predicted, Egypt remains an impoverished nation. To show how amazing this prophecy is, compare modern Egypt with the tiny nation of Austria. Egypt has ten times more land area, and a population eight times greater then Austria. Yet, Epypt’s Gross Domestic Product is only one-fifth of Austria’s GDP.

45. Earthquakes occurring in diverse places predicted.
(Matthew 24:7).

46. Marriage would be forbidden by many (1 Timothy 4:3). The Bible states that marriage is honorable among all (Hebrews 13:4). Despite this, the Catholic Church forbids their 400,000 priests 800,000 nuns, and numerous bishops, cardinals, nuns, and monks from marrying. The Orthodox Church, as well as Hindus, Buddhists, and other religious groups also impose mandatory celibacy for certain orders.

47. Deceptive signs and wonders would abound
(Matthew 24:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:9).

48. Youth would become increasingly rebellious
(2 Timothy 3:2-3; Mark 13:12).

49. There would be many involved in travel (Daniel 12:4). Prior to the industrial revolution, few individuals traveled beyond their community. Until recently, horse, foot, and boat were the only modes of transportation. Yet, in our day millions travel to and fro great distances every year.

50. The rise of anti-Semitism worldwide anticipated (Joel 3:2; Zechariah 12:2-3). In the 1940s, Hitler tried to exterminate every Jew. And in the final 3 � years of the Tribulation, Antichrist will turn on the Jews and attempt the same.

51. Jesus said Christians would be hated for His name’s sake (Luke 21:17; Revelation 6:9-11; 20:4). The banning of the Bible, prayer, the Ten Commandments, nativity scenes, Christmas songs, etc., reflects this trend. Also consider that more Christians were martyed during the past century than during any other period in history.

52. Humanity would become increasingly materialistic and lovers of pleasure (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

53. Homosexuality would be flaunted at the end of the age (Luke 17:28-30; Genesis 19).
Ask your grandparents if there were such things as Gay Pride parades in their day.

54. The Hebrew language would be restored (Zephaniah 3:9). Remarkable, but today Hebrew is once again the official language of Israel.

Ultimately, when Christ returns to set up His kingdom, all people will share one speech. Not only will one language be restored, as it was before Babel (Genesis 11:1), but all people will call on the Lord with one accord.

55. The Ethiopian Jews would return to Israel (Zephaniah 3:10).
At least 60,000 Ethiopian Jews have returned during the past 20 years.

56. Substantial wealth and luxuries foreseen (James 5:1-3; Revelation 3:17; Revelation 18). It is interesting that 40 years ago some authorities forecasted that the growing mass of humanity was so quickly depleting the world’s resources, that many resources would be exhausted in a few decades. Yet today, vast material wealth and luxuries are in abundant supply – just as the Bible indicated 2000 years ago.

57. Despite increases in wealth, disparity between the wealthy and poor would continue to increase (Revelation 6:6). In Scripture, oil and wine often denote luxurious abundance (Proverbs 21:17; Joel 2:24; Revelation 18:13). Therefore this prophecy indicates that the wealthy will continue to flourish while the poor can scarcely afford bread.

Thirty years ago, the world’s richest 20% had 30 times the income of the poorest quintile. Today the ratio is 60 to 1. That means that the top 20% account for 85% of the world income, while the bottom billion’s share is only 1.4%.

58. Stress would increase because of selfishness (2 Timothy 3:1-2). In verse 1 of 2 Timothy 3, the Greek word chalepos can be translated perilous or difficult or grievous or stressful. The main reason for this stress is because “men will be lovers of themselves.”

59. Religious cults would mushroom (Matthew 24:5, 11; 2 Peter 2:1).
Numerous cults have emerged in these last days.

60. The returning Jews would once again use the ancient shekel for commerce (Ezekiel 45:12; Amos 8:5). Amazingly, the shekel is now Israel’s official currency.

61. A large asteroid or meteorite predicted to hit the earth during the Tribulation (Revelation 8:10-11). In 2002, an asteroid the size of a football field passed extremely close to Earth, remaining undetected until days later.

62. Nuclear energy foreseen (Revelation 8:10-11). While this prophecy is clearly a divine judgment, it is interesting that an asteroid or comet strike could easily breach nuclear power plants which are commonly located near large bodies of water. This would contaminate (make bitter) vast waterways.

63. Plans to rebuild the temple in Israel anticipated (Revelation 11:1-2; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4; Matthew 24:15). Preparations by the Temple Institute are nearly complete.

64. A red heifer without blemish must be born and sacrificed to purify the temple in Israel (Numbers 19:2, 3, 5, 9). A kosher red heifer was born in 2002 and remains without blemish!

65. The temple sacrifices would be reinstitued in Israel in the last days (Daniel 9:27; Daniel 12:11). Daniel foresaw the Antichrist ending the daily sacrifices. Therefore, the Jewish sacrificial system must have first been restored in the last days.

Currently, the Temple Institute has created all the temple furniture and vessels. There are also several hundred young Jewish men in training for the Levitical priesthood.

66. In the last days, Israel would be surrounded by enemy Nations. (Psalm 83:4-8).

67. Israel would remain invincible except during the Great Tribulation (Zechariah 12:6-9). Even during those last 3 � years, when it looks like Israel will be destroyed, the Lord shall deliver Israel from the hands of her enemies. (Jeremiah 30:3-7; Zechariah 14; Mark 13:14-20).

Since 1948, Israel has been attacked in three major wars and six lesser wars, yet despite being vastly outnumbered, they have destroyed all attacking foes.

68. In the last days, fallen angels would mingle with mankind (Luke 17:26; Genesis 6:1-4). This may account for the explosion of ET/Alien abduction reports during the last 50 years.

69. The majority of those in the last days church would be lukewarm, wealthy, complacent and would be vomited into tribulation (Revelation 3:14-16). Polls reveal that a high percentage of professing Christians deny that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Many even deny that Jesus is God.

70. There would be a move towards a one-world religion.
(Revelation 13:8,12; Revelation 17).

71. Many would say that Christ is in the “secret chambers” or “inner rooms” in the last days. (Matthew 24:26). According to the Catholic Church, Christ is in the inner rooms of hundreds of thousands of Catholic churches – either in Eucharistic tabernacles or in Eucharistic monstrances. Jesus also warned that this deception would be acompanied by great signs and wonders (Matthew 24:23-27). Currently, Eucharistic miracles are reported around the globe.

72.
A woman, who is an impostor, would call herself “queen” and head the global counterfeit church in the last days (Revelation 17; 18:7).

Tens of millions follow the apparition of Mary, who claims that she is the Mother of the Church, the Lady of All Nations, the Co-Redemptrix, and the Queen of Heaven and Earth.

73. The woman would also embody a great city set on seven hills (Revelation 17:9, 18). The Queen of Heaven is considered the Mother of the Roman Catholic Church which has its headquarters (the Vatican) situated on seven hills. As the Catholic Encyclopedia states, “It is within the city of Rome, called the city of seven hills, that the entire area of Vatican State proper is now confined.”

74. In the last days, this wicked woman would go out over the face of the whole earth. She would be associated with a global curse. Her final destination would be Babylon – in the land of Shinar (Zechariah 5).

Interestingly, the apparition of Mary claims that she will soon travel through the entire world saving those who look to her.

75. This female impostor would come in Christ’s name seducing His followers to commit idolatry (Revelation 2:20-22; 17:4,5).

The apparition of Mary encourages millions to bow down to her statues and visit her shrines. Worldwide, she also stresses the importance of worshiping the Eucharist.

76. The Lady of Kingdoms would deceive God’s people.
Ultimately, the Lord would expose her true identity (Isaiah 47).

It is provocative that an apparition of Mary entitled “The Lady of Nations” has initiated Catholics to petition the pope to declare her Co-Redemptrix. Nearly 7 million petitions have been sent to the pope urging him to declare her Co-Redemptrix.

77. Epidemic drug use predicted (Revelation 9:21). The Greek word translated sorceries is pharmakeia which refers to drug use, both illegal drugs and mind-altering drugs.

78. Sorceries – referring to witchcraft, magic, or occult practices used to enchant and deceive – are also anticipated in the last days (Revelation 9:21; Revelation 18:23; Isaiah 47:9-15; Micah 5:10-15)

79. Israel would be partitioned by other nations (Joel 3:2; Daniel 11:39). This has been a top priority for the United Nations since Israel’s statehood. Currently, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and Gaza, have been divided up into Jewish and Palestinian settlements.

80. A global arms race would occur (Joel 3:9-14; Revelation 16:14).
Never in history have so many nations stockpiled armaments.

81. Atomic fission anticipated (2 Peter 3:10-12). The Greek word translated elements is stoicheion which refers to the Greek letters: alpha, beta, gamma, etc. These are fundamental particles and rays of the atomic nuclei which are emitted from a molecule during radioactive decay. Peter predicted these elements would “melt with fervent heat” when the earth and the heavens are “dissolved” by fire. Today we understand that if the elements of the atom are loosed, there would be an enormous release of heat and energy (radiation).

82. Financial systems would depend on numbers not cash (Revelation 13:17-18).

83. Environmental devastation of the planet foreseen (Revelation 11:18). Our generation has done more to ravage the environment than any previous generation.

84. A global economic system would exist ( Revelation 13:17; 18:3, 11 , 19 , 23 ). Today, globalists in every level of government are seeking to unite the world. Connecting the world monetarily is crucial to their goal.

85. There would be “signs in the sun” (Luke 21:25).
This could refer to the increase in sunspots and solar flares.

86. Many would call themselves the Christ (Matthew 24:5). Jesus was an itinerate preacher who never traveled outside the tiny nation of Israel and He had the audacity to say that many would come in His name, claiming to be the Christ. And yet today, multitudes within the New Age Movement, Eastern religions, and the cults call themselves the Christ.

87. God predicted that His name would be great among the nations (Malachi 1:11; Philippians 2:9-11). As we begin the 3rd millennium, nearly 2 billion people profess to be Christians.

Ironically, over one billion Muslims regard Jesus as the Christ and the only sinless prophet, though they deny His claims that He rose from the dead and that He is divine.

Most of the remaining population regard Jesus as the greatest prophet and teacher ever. As foretold, no other name compares to the fame ascribed to Jesus Christ.

88. Jesus predicted that even after heaven and earth pass away, His words would never be forgotten (Luke 21:33). As we near the end of the age, we see that Christ’s words remain as accurate, renowned, and relevant as they were 2000 years ago. Today, Bible societies distribute approximately 600 million Scripture portions or entire Bibles every single year.

89. Despite the Bible’s numerous warnings and last days prophecies, most people would be taken off guard when these events culminate (Luke 21:35-36; 1 Thessalonians 5:2).

90. All true followers of Christ would suddenly vanish – raptured (caught up) by God to heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

A false explanation will deceive the unsuspecting masses (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).

Today many apparitions, angels, ETs, cults, and New Agers are offering a counterfeit explanation for this soon to take place event.

91. After the Rapture (during the Tribulation), innumerable multitudes from every nation would wake up and turn to the true Jesus of the Bible and be saved (Revelation 7:9-17).

In addition, the Bible indicates that after a chastening period (the Tribulation) multitudes from Egypt to Assyria (Iraq and surrounding nations) would call upon the name of the Lord and be saved (Isaiah 19:16-25).

Today, the seeds of the gospel are being spread in every nation – including the Middle East!

92. In the last days Israel would have a peace treaty in place that the Antichrist will confirm and eventually break (Daniel 9:27).

Currently the world’s governments are striving for an Israeli peace treaty.

93. The final generation would be open to receiving a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads (Revelation 13:16). Consider how the up and coming generation is tattooed, pierced and marked with all kinds of insignia.

94. Some professing Christians would give heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1). This generation has witnessed the explosion of apparitions and other “heavenly visitors” that are embraced by professing Christians even though their doctrines contradict the Word of God.

95. People would reject the sound doctrine of the Word of God and follow the doctrines of men that appeal to their own lusts ( 2 Timothy 4:3-4; Acts 20:29-30).

Jesus also predicted that there would be many hypocrites within the church (Matthew 24:48-51; Matthew 7:22-23).

96. Many would forsake the Ten Commandments as a moral code:
blaspheming, committing adultery, disobeying parents, stealing, lying, coveting, etc.
(Matthew 24:12; Revelation 9:21).

97. Idolatry would be pervasive (Revelation 9:20). An idol is anything that competes with the attention due only to our Creator. Money, position, pleasure, a person, possessions, and any created thing can all become idols (Romans 1:18-25; 2 Timothy 3:1-4).

98. Blasphemy would be common (2 Timothy 3:2; Revelation 16:9, 11, 21).

Consider how often people use their Creator’s name (God or Jesus Christ) as a curse word. What they have done is liken the One who is the source of every blessing (eyesight, sunsets, food, family, friends, etc.) to a four-letter curse word.

Fifty years ago, Hollywood seldom used God’s name in vain.
Today, nearly every movie includes blasphemy.

99. Sexual immorality would be rampant (Jude 18; Revelation 9:21).

Keep in mind, Jesus said whoever looks to lust has already committed adultery in his heart (Matthew 5:28). Therefore, God equates Internet porn, lustful movies, TV shows, and magazines to fornication.

100. Men would sear their conscience so they could continue in sin (1 Timothy 4:2).

The conscience is where God reveals right and wrong.
Con means with and science means knowledge.

Therefore we sin “with knowledge” when we ignore God’s moral law and violate our own conscience.

101. Men would mock the warning signs of the end of the age saying,
“These signs have always been around” (2 Peter 3:3-4).
The Bible even reveals their motivation, they love lust.

There are many more last days prophecies (several too detailed for this brief list), however these 101 demonstrate that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. It is true that some of these signs have been around for millennia. But only our generation has witnessed the coming together of every one of these events. Contrast the Bible’s 100% track record with other self-proclaimed prophetic sources and there is no comparison. The false prophets typically repackage and plagiarize the Bible’s prophecies for the unsuspecting masses, or they make so many vague prophecies that one is bound to be fulfilled. Nostradamus did both.

Jesus also predicted that when these signs begin to happen that some men would be paralyzed with fear (Luke 21:26), while others would look up with hopeful expectation (Luke 21:28). Which camp do you fall into? If you’re fearful, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that God will judge every man who breaks even one of His laws. Have you ever blasphemed your Creator’s name? Lied (white lies and fibs count)? Stolen (cheating on a test or taxes is stealing)? Looked with lust? If you have answered “Yes” to these questions, then by your own admission, you are a blaspheming, lying, thieving, adulterer at heart. And we have only looked at four of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20).

That’s how God sees you. Keep in mind, God sees every secret sin of your past as if it just occurred. Nothing is hidden from His holy eyes. Also remember that Jesus rebuked the pious religious leaders of His day because, though they appeared good on the outside, inside they were prideful hypocrites. They were trusting in their own “goodness,” but the Lord saw their heart. No matter how upright we may appear on the surface, all of us have broken God’s holy commandments and need the Savior. Please listen to your conscience. You know you are guilty, and therefore will end up in hell. That’s not God’s will. In fact, God “is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

The good news is that God has made a way to freely forgive us so that we may spend eternity with Him in heaven. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God desires a loving, eternal relationship with each person – free from sin, fear, and pain. Therefore, He sent His Son to die as our substitute on the cross. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Jesus never sinned, yet He bore all our sins on the cross. All who turn from their sins and call on His name will be saved. That is awesome news!

If these signs alarm you, thank God, because the Lord wants to wake you from your spiritual slumber and give you eternal life. To repent of your sins and place your trust in Jesus Christ, make Psalm 51 your prayer. Then read your Bible daily, obeying what you read. God will never let you down.

Courtesy of an article on http://livingwaters.com

Outline of End-time events

I. Events Before, During, and After the Seven-Year End-Time Period (this seven-year period is the 70th “seven” of Daniel, Daniel 9:27)

A. Events immediately before the seven year period

1. Church raptured (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; Revelation 3:10)

2. Restrainer removed (2 Thessalonians 2:7)

3. Judgment seat of Christ (in heaven, 1 Corinthians 3:12-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10)

B. Events at the beginning of the seven-year period

1. Antichrist (the coming “ruler”) makes a covenant with Isreal (Daniel 9:26-27)

2. Two witnesses begin their ministry (Revelation 11:3) note: some bible scholars say the work of the two witnesses will be in the second half of the tribulation)

C. Events in the first half of the seven-year period

1. Antichrist arises to power over the Roman confederacy (Daniel 7:20; Daniel 7:24) note: some identify Antichrist’s initial rise to power with the first seal judgment (Revelation 6:1-2)

2. Israel living in peace in the land (Ezekiel 38:8)

3. Temple sacrifices instituted (Revelation 11:1-2)

4. World church dominates religion and the Antichrist (Revelation 17)

D. Events perhaps just before the middle of the seven year period

1. Gog and his allies invade Palestine from the north (Ezekiel 38:2; Ezekiel 38:5-6; Ezekiel 38:22)

2. Gog and his allies destroyed by God (Ezekiel 38:17-23)

E. Events at the middle of the seven year period

1. Satan cast down from heaven and energizes the Antichrist (Revelation 12:12-17)

2. Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel, causing her sacrifices to cease (Daniel 9:27)

3. The 10 kings under the Antichrist destroy the world church (Revelation 17:16-18)

4. The 144,000 Israelites saved and sealed (Revelation 7:1-8)

F. Events of the second half of the seven year period. These three and one half years are called “the Great Tribulation” (Revelation 7:14; cf. “great distress,” Matthew 24:21; “time of distress,” Daniel 12:1; and “a time of trouble for Jacob,” Jeremiah 30:7)

1. Rebellion (apostasy) against the truth in the professing church (Matthew 24:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:3)

2. Antichrist becomes a world ruler (1st seal, Revelation 6:1-2) with support of the Western confederacy (Revelation 13:5; Revelation 13:7; Revelation 17:12-13)

3. Antichrist revealed as “the man of lawlessness,” “the lawless one” (2 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-9)

4. War, famine, and death (2nd, 3rd, and 4th seals, Revelation 6:3-8)

5. Converted multitudes from every nation martyred (5th seal, Revelation 6:9-11; Revelation 7:9-14; Matthew 24:9)

6. Natural disturbances and worldwide fear of divine wrath (6th seal, Revelation 6:12-17)

7. Antichrist’s image (an “abomination”) set up for worship (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 13:14-15)

8. The false prophet promotes the Antichrist, who is worshiped by nations and unbelieving Israel (Matthew 24:11-12; 2 Thessalonians 2:11; Revelation 13:4; Revelation 13:11-15)

9. Mark of the beast used to promote worship of the Antichrist (Revelation 13:16-18)

10. Two witnesses slain by the Antichrist (Revelation 11:7)

11. Two witnesses resurrected (Revelation 11:11-12)

12. Israel scattered because of the anger of Satan (Revelation 12:6, Revelation 12:13-17) and because of the “abomination” (Antichrist’s image) in the temple (Matthew 24:15-26)

13. Jerusalem overrun by Gentiles (Luke 21:24; Revelation 11:2)

14. Antichrist and false prophets deceive many people (Matthew 24:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11)

15. The gospel of the kingdom proclaimed (Matthew 24:14)

16. Israel persecuted by the Antichrist (Jeremiah 30:5-7; Daniel 12:1; Zechariah 13:8; Matthew 24:21-22)

17. Trumpet judgments (Revelation 8; Revelation 9) and bowl judgments (Revelation 16) poured out by God on Antichrist’s empire

18. Blasphemy increases as the judgments intensify (Revelation 16:8-11)

G. Events concluding the seven-year period

1. The king of the South (Egypt) and the king of the North fight against the Antichrist (Daniel 11:40)

2. Antichrist enters Palestine and defeats Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia (Daniel 11:40-43)

3. Armies from the East and the North move toward Palestine (Daniel 11:44; Revelation 16:12)

4. Jerusalem is ravaged (Zechariah 14:1-4)

5. Commercial Babylon is destroyed (Revelation 16:19; Revelation 18:1-3; Revelation 18:21-24)

6. Signs appear in the earth and sky (Isaiah 13:10; Joel 2:10; Joel 2:30-31; Joel 3:15; Matthew 24:29)

7. Christ returns with the armies of heaven (Matthew 24:27-31; Revelation 19:11-16)

8. Jews flee Jerusalem facilitated by topographical changes (Zechariah 14:5)

9. Armies unite at Armageddon against Christ and the armies of heaven (Joel 3:9-11; Revelation 16:16; Revelation 19:17-19)

10. Armies are destroyed by Christ (Revelation 19:19; Revelation 19:21)

11. The beast (Antichrist) and the false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20)

H. Events Following the seven year period

1. Final regathering of Israel (Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 30:3; Ezekiel 36:24; Ezekiel 37:1-14; Amos 9:14-15; Micah 4:6-7; Matthew 24:31)

2. A remnant of Israelites turn to the Lord and are forgiven and cleansed (Hosea 14:1-5; Zechariah 12:10; Zechariah 13:1)

3. National deliverance of Israel from the Antichrist (Daniel 12:1; Zechariah 12:10; Zechariah 13:1; Romans 11:26-27)

4. Judgment of living Israel (Ezekiel 20:33-38; Matthew 25:1-30)

5. Judgment of living Gentiles (Matthew 25:31-46)

6. Satan cast into the abyss (Revelation 20:1-3)

7. Old Testament saints resurrected (Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:1-3)

8. Tribulation saints resurrected (Revelation 20:4-6)

9. Daniel 9:24 fulfilled

10. Marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-9)

11. Christ begins His reign on earth (Psalm 72:8; Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 2:14-35; Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:13-14; Zechariah 9:10; Revelation 20:4)

Why the Rapture is at hand

Only the Father knows the day and the hour, but there are verses which tell us the “season” or “generation” of His return.
Matthew 24:31-33 31And he will send forth his angels with the sound of a mighty trumpet blast, and they will gather together his chosen ones from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.
32″Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its buds become tender and its leaves begin to sprout, you know without being told that summer is near. 33Just so, when you see the events I’ve described beginning to happen, you can know his return is very near, right at the door.”
Jesus had used the fig tree as a symbol for Israel a couple days before because the OT scriptures repeatedly speak of the fig tree as figurative for the nation.
a. In Jeremiah 24, the people of Israel are likened to figs.
b. in Joel 1 the land of Israel is summed up as a vine & fig tree.
c. in fact, over & over in the OT, from 1 Kings through the prophets, the land of Israel is likened to a vine & fig tree.
d. when the people are faithful the vine is full of grapes & the boughs of the fig tree are heavy with fruit,
e. but when the people turn from God, the vine & tree are barren.
Remember earlier in Matthew when Jesus had cursed the fig tree? Well when Jesus cursed the fig tree, the disciples knew He was announcing God’s judgment on Israel for their rejection of the Him. That judgment came in 68-70 AD when the armies of Rome descended on the land to crush yet another Jewish rebellion. The Jews were banned from entering the district of Jerusalem altogether! A pagan temple to Jupiter was built on the temple mount, and as a final insult, the land was renamed Palestine, after Israel’s longtime enemy & rival, the Philistines who lived nearby.
The point is this–just as the fig tree on the Mt. of Olives withered & died, so the nation of Israel for all intents & purposes withered & died as a nation in 70 AD. And that was it’s condition until May of 1948 when the world, in a moment of sympathy for the horror suffered by the Jews under Hitler’s Holocaust, moved in a brief spasm of reparation and allowed the Jews their own nation and homeland once again.
Israel declared itself a nation on May 14th, 1948; the USA immediately recognized her, and the UN quickly followed suit. [And that was probably the last time Israel, the US and the UN agreed on anything!]
The fig tree, once dead, was renewed to life. And the land, that had been badly neglected & abused by it’s Muslim landowners for centuries ” began to spring to life. The Jewish immigrants bought the land, cleaned the silt out of the rivers and bays,
1) drained the swamps, replanted forests,
2) plowed & planted fields, put in extensive irrigation
3) built powerplants and factories
4) and turned the once dead land into a thriving 1st world country that today is Europe’s 3rd largest importer of citrus and it’s largest importer of flowers!
5) Israel has become a center of the world’s gold, diamond and platinum industry
6) and Israeli research facilities are on the cutting edge of technological development in many fields.
In 1947, Palestine was a desert wasteland, barely able to support a half million people. In 2004, Israel is a lush & fertile garden that supports a population of nearly 7 million. After Israel was declared a nation, it went from an impoverished, desert-like 3rd world country to a lush, successful first world country in the period of 2 decades…if THAT’s not a “budding” or “flowering” then i don’t know what is!
In v. 32, the parable of the fig tree is a lesson that began a couple days before when Jesus had cursed it for its barrenness.
a. here He makes it clear the parable goes on ” the fig tree, at one time dead, will once again spring to life and send forth leaves.
b. life will flow into its dead branches & twigs once again.
c. and when it does, that’s a sign that the season of it’s fruitfulness has come.
Jesus then says that the generation that witnesses all these things, including the renewal of the dead fig tree, the rebirth of the nation of Israel, will also see His return.
Matthew 24:34-35 “34I assure you, this generation[a] will not pass from the scene before all these things take place. 35Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will remain forever.”
[a] generation=this age
So, what does Jesus mean by “this generation?
a. He could not have meant the generation to which He was speaking at that moment because many of the signs He gave in the previous verses they didn’t see.
b. the generation He was referring to was the generation that witnessed the budding of the fig tree, the rebirth of the nation of Israel.
c. the generation refers to a specific group of people who all live within the same time-context of one another ” they all share the same specific period of history
It’s now 2005; 57 years have passed since the rebirth of Israel. And God has regathered the
Jews out of many nations into her land and has restored them to life as an official nation.
Thus we MUST BE the generation referred to here since it is in the time period of 1948 to now that the world has seen Israel as a nation rebirthed.
Matthew 24:36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”
While the rebirth of Israel identifies the last generation before He comes, that’s as narrow as the time frame will get. No one but the Father knows the exact time of the Lord’s return.
Matthew 24: 37-39 “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”
What Jesus says here is crucial because it helps us understand what coming He’s referring to. He must be referring to the Rapture of the Church and not the Second Coming. Here’s why ” when Jesus comes back visibly in the Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation, what will it be like on Earth?
1) is it going to be business as usual or total chaos?
2) prophecies regarding the Tribulation period present a scene of utter devastation on Earth.
3) the population of the Planet will be about half what it was 7 years before.
4) the air will be choking to breathe, the water bitter to the taste, and violence will be rampant.
How does Jesus describe things here in vs. 37-38? It’s business as usual!
It’s normal everyday life ” as most of history has known. So Jesus can’t be referring here to the Second Coming ” He is speaking of the Rapture of the Church, which takes place before the Tribulation.
Jesus uses the analogy and example of Noah here because it’s the perfect parallel to the Rapture. Noah spent 120 years building the ark ” and the entire project was one long warning sign to that generation that judgment was coming.
a. but besides Noah’s family, no one heeded the warning.
b. the signs of the Last Days and the coming judgment of God on this sinful and Christ rejecting world are abundant & clear.
c. and just like the people of Noah’s day, the people of this generation go about their lives as though it will all just go on forever.
Look at this verse, 2 Peter 3:3-4 “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4They will say, “Where is this coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.
Peter then goes on to say that these last days’ mockers will repeat the error of the people of Noah’s day.
Matthew 24:40-1 “Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.”
Again, it’s a picture of life as usual when all of a sudden, a distinction is made between one person and another. A dramatic separation is effected.
What Jesus says here reminds us of the parable of the wheat & tares;
a. how they grew up together until the time of harvest,
b. then the wheat was gathered into the Lord’s storehouse while the tares were collected for burning.
Matthew 24:42-44 “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
Jesus is saying that we mustn’t camp on our pet ideas on how the signs of His coming will be fulfilled, and when we don’t see things falling in to the neat little last days scenario we’ve set for them, think that the Lord’s return must be way off in the future. No ” we don’t know when the Rapture will take place ” and because we don’t know, we need to be ready when? AT ALL TIMES!
He wants us to keep a close watch on our hearts, that we don’t slip into the place of spiritual neglect that would lead to spiritual apathy & moral sloppiness. It’s a self-watch He’s calling us to. The very best way to be ready for the Lord’s return is to be so close to Him already that when He comes, there’s not much distance to go.
sorry that ended up being so long..but i get a lot from people saying, “but no one knows the day or hour”…very true..i don’t dispute that…but as you can see, Jesus DID give us an idea of the approximate “season” of His return by use of the fig tree..and then He explains WHICH coming…the Rapture!

Only the Father knows the day and the hour, but there are verses which tell us the “season” or “generation” of His return.

Matthew 24:31-33 31And he will send forth his angels with the sound of a mighty trumpet blast, and they will gather together his chosen ones from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.32″Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its buds become tender and its leaves begin to sprout, you know without being told that summer is near. 33Just so, when you see the events I’ve described beginning to happen, you can know his return is very near, right at the door.”

Jesus had used the fig tree as a symbol for Israel a couple days before because the OT scriptures repeatedly speak of the fig tree as figurative for the nation.
a. In Jeremiah 24, the people of Israel are likened to figs.
b. in Joel 1 the land of Israel is summed up as a vine & fig tree.
c. in fact, over & over in the OT, from 1 Kings through the prophets, the land of Israel is likened to a vine & fig tree.
d. when the people are faithful the vine is full of grapes & the boughs of the fig tree are heavy with fruit,
e. but when the people turn from God, the vine & tree are barren.

Remember earlier in Matthew when Jesus had cursed the fig tree? Well when Jesus cursed the fig tree, the disciples knew He was announcing God’s judgment on Israel for their rejection of the Him. That judgment came in 68-70 AD when the armies of Rome descended on the land to crush yet another Jewish rebellion. The Jews were banned from entering the district of Jerusalem altogether! A pagan temple to Jupiter was built on the temple mount, and as a final insult, the land was renamed Palestine, after Israel’s longtime enemy & rival, the Philistines who lived nearby.

The point is this–just as the fig tree on the Mt. of Olives withered & died, so the nation of Israel for all intents & purposes withered & died as a nation in 70 AD. And that was it’s condition until May of 1948 when the world, in a moment of sympathy for the horror suffered by the Jews under Hitler’s Holocaust, moved in a brief spasm of reparation and allowed the Jews their own nation and homeland once again.

Israel declared itself a nation on May 14th, 1948; the USA immediately recognized her, and the UN quickly followed suit. [And that was probably the last time Israel, the US and the UN agreed on anything!]

The fig tree, once dead, was renewed to life. And the land, that had been badly neglected & abused by it’s Muslim landowners for centuries ” began to spring to life. The Jewish immigrants bought the land, cleaned the silt out of the rivers and bays,
1) drained the swamps, replanted forests,
2) plowed & planted fields, put in extensive irrigation
3) built powerplants and factories
4) and turned the once dead land into a thriving 1st world country that today is Europe’s 3rd largest importer of citrus and it’s largest importer of flowers!
5) Israel has become a center of the world’s gold, diamond and platinum industry
6) and Israeli research facilities are on the cutting edge of technological development in many fields.

In 1947, Palestine was a desert wasteland, barely able to support a half million people. In 2004, Israel is a lush & fertile garden that supports a population of nearly 7 million. After Israel was declared a nation, it went from an impoverished, desert-like 3rd world country to a lush, successful first world country in the period of 2 decades…if THAT’s not a “budding” or “flowering” then i don’t know what is!

In v. 32, the parable of the fig tree is a lesson that began a couple days before when Jesus had cursed it for its barrenness.
a. here He makes it clear the parable goes on ” the fig tree, at one time dead, will once again spring to life and send forth leaves.
b. life will flow into its dead branches & twigs once again.
c. and when it does, that’s a sign that the season of it’s fruitfulness has come.

Jesus then says that the generation that witnesses all these things, including the renewal of the dead fig tree, the rebirth of the nation of Israel, will also see His return.

Matthew 24:34-35 “34I assure you, this generation[a] will not pass from the scene before all these things take place. 35Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will remain forever.”
[a] generation=this age
So, what does Jesus mean by “this generation?
a. He could not have meant the generation to which He was speaking at that moment because many of the signs He gave in the previous verses they didn’t see.
b. the generation He was referring to was the generation that witnessed the budding of the fig tree, the rebirth of the nation of Israel.
c. the generation refers to a specific group of people who all live within the same time-context of one another ” they all share the same specific period of history

It’s now 2005; 57 years have passed since the rebirth of Israel. And God has regathered the Jews out of many nations into her land and has restored them to life as an official nation.

Thus we MUST BE the generation referred to here since it is in the time period of 1948 to now that the world has seen Israel as a nation rebirthed.
Matthew 24:36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”

While the rebirth of Israel identifies the last generation before He comes, that’s as narrow as the time frame will get. No one but the Father knows the exact time of the Lord’s return.

Matthew 24: 37-39 “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”

What Jesus says here is crucial because it helps us understand what coming He’s referring to. He must be referring to the Rapture of the Church and not the Second Coming. Here’s why ” when Jesus comes back visibly in the Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation, what will it be like on Earth?
1) is it going to be business as usual or total chaos?
2) prophecies regarding the Tribulation period present a scene of utter devastation on Earth.
3) the population of the Planet will be about half what it was 7 years before.
4) the air will be choking to breathe, the water bitter to the taste, and violence will be rampant.

How does Jesus describe things here in vs. 37-38? It’s business as usual!It’s normal everyday life ” as most of history has known. So Jesus can’t be referring here to the Second Coming ” He is speaking of the Rapture of the Church, which takes place before the Tribulation.Jesus uses the analogy and example of Noah here because it’s the perfect parallel to the Rapture. Noah spent 120 years building the ark ” and the entire project was one long warning sign to that generation that judgment was coming.
a. but besides Noah’s family, no one heeded the warning.
b. the signs of the Last Days and the coming judgment of God on this sinful and Christ rejecting world are abundant & clear.
c. and just like the people of Noah’s day, the people of this generation go about their lives as though it will all just go on forever.
Look at this verse, 2 Peter 3:3-4 “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4They will say, “Where is this coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.Peter then goes on to say that these last days’ mockers will repeat the error of the people of Noah’s day.

Matthew 24:40-1 “Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.”Again, it’s a picture of life as usual when all of a sudden, a distinction is made between one person and another. A dramatic separation is effected.What Jesus says here reminds us of the parable of the wheat & tares;
a. how they grew up together until the time of harvest,
b. then the wheat was gathered into the Lord’s storehouse while the tares were collected for burning.

Matthew 24:42-44 “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

Jesus is saying that we mustn’t camp on our pet ideas on how the signs of His coming will be fulfilled, and when we don’t see things falling in to the neat little last days scenario we’ve set for them, think that the Lord’s return must be way off in the future. No ” we don’t know when the Rapture will take place ” and because we don’t know, we need to be ready when? AT ALL TIMES!

He wants us to keep a close watch on our hearts, that we don’t slip into the place of spiritual neglect that would lead to spiritual apathy & moral sloppiness. It’s a self-watch He’s calling us to. The very best way to be ready for the Lord’s return is to be so close to Him already that when He comes, there’s not much distance to go.

sorry that ended up being so long..but i get a lot from people saying, “but no one knows the day or hour”…very true..i don’t dispute that…but as you can see, Jesus DID give us an idea of the approximate “season” of His return by use of the fig tree..and then He explains WHICH coming…the Rapture!

13 Reasons Why The Rapture will be Pre-Tribulation

I. The Blessed Hope
1. The first reason we believe the Rapture takes place before the Tribulation is because it’s called the Blessed Hope in Titus 2:13
“. . . looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”
2. Remember what Paul said in 1 Thess 4:18?
“Therefore comfort one another with these words”
3. If the Rapture doesn’t occur until the middle or end of the Tribulation, where’s the comfort in that?
4. Let’s say you had never heard of the Rapture before and I was teaching it for the very first time.
a. and let’s pretend that I was telling you all about the Last Days
b. and I told you about the horrors of the Tribulation
1) all the death and destruction that will take place
2) I did a review of all the terrible things we find in the Book of Revelation
3) plagues, pestilence, famine, drought, economic and social upheaval on a scale never seen in history
4) a third of the earth’s population is wiped out, then another fourth!
5) the rise of the antichrist and false prophet
6) and finally, the Battle of Armageddon, earth’s worst and bloodiest war
c. and then I say, but comfort one another, cause when it’s all over, we’ll be caught up to meet the Lord in the air
d. you’d think I was nuts! There’s no comfort in knowing you’ve got to pass through all of that to get to the Rapture!
e. the ONLY comfort you could gain was by hoping the Last Days were a long way off in the future and that the return of Jesus was nowhere near.
5. But that isn’t at all what the Bible tells us our attitude ought to be!
a. we ought to be hoping and looking for the Rapture..
b. the comfort of the blessed hope, the Rapture, comes from knowing it comes before the hour of trial that is coming upon the whole earth.
II. God’s Wrath
1. In Revelation 6:15-17 we learn that the Tribulation is a time of God’s wrath being poured out on the earth-dwellers.
“15And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
2. Yet 1 Thess 5:9-11 says
“9For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. 11Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”
3. We who’ve been born again are not appointed to God’s wrath and that is precisely what the Tribulation is ” the hour of God’s wrath, testing the hearts of the earth-dwellers.
4. God’s wrath against our sin was fully satisfied by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
a. when Jesus declared, “It is finished” he meant that the holy demands of God’s justice were completely satisfied
b. Jesus took our place on the Cross as the object of God’s wrath
c. therefore, it would be UNJUST for God to inflict His wrath on us!
5. We can’t be here for the Tribulation because it is the hour of God’s wrath and we’ve been saved from that very thing!
III. Lot
1. In Genesis 18, Lot and his family were delivered from the flaming judgment of God on wicked Sodom.
2. God didn’t protect them IN the judgment, He removed them FROM the very time and place of the judgment and took them up into the hills.
3. In 2 Peter 2:9, Peter speaks of Lot as an example and says
“. . . the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment”
4. What’s interesting is that the word translated “temptations” is the same word used for tribulation.
IV. Enoch
1. In Genesis 5 we read about Enoch.
2. His story is interesting because we read he never died, God simply took him one day!
3. This occurred prior to the Flood, which was God’s judgment on a rebellious world
4. Now, someone might counter and say, but what about Noah?
a. he was a righteous man too but he went through the Flood,
b. being protected by God in the ark
c. isn’t that a better picture of God protecting the Church during the Tribulation?
5. No ” Noah isn’t a picture of the Church ” He’s a picture of God’s sovereign protection of Israel during the Tribulation, a subject that gets much coverage in the Book of Revelation.
6. Noah pictures Israel, while Enoch represents the Church, which is raptured prior to judgment.
V. Daniel
1. Did you ever wonder where Daniel was when Shadrach, Mesheck and Abed-nego were in the fiery furnace in Daniel 3?
2. They were there for refusing to bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s image.
3. By the way, Nebuchadnezzar serves as a fitting picture and type of the antichrist who makes an image and demands the world to worship it.
4. Where was Daniel? Did he bow to the image? No way! So why wasn’t he with his three friends?
5. That’s the point! That he’s not even mentioned is a mystery ” foreshadowing the mystery of the Rapture of the Church.
6. Like Noah – Shadrach, Mesheck and Abed-nego represent Israel and how God will preserve them during the fiery trial of the Tribulation.
7. But Daniel’s absence pictures the Church’s absence from the very hour of the trial.
VI. We Are To Pray For Escape!
1. I’m a bit weary of those who mock the Pre-Tribulation position and say it’s escapist.
2. They say that countless believers have faced tribulation, persecution and martyrdom ” why should we hope to escape it?
3. The answer to that is simple ” the trouble previous generations of Christians have faced came from this corrupt and rebellious world system that hated them; it was satan’s wrath they endured.
4. Jesus told us to expect THAT kind of trouble.
5. But the trouble of the Tribulation comes from God’s hand ” it’s His wrath as we’ve already seen, and Jesus already paid that for us.
6. In Luke 21:34-36 Jesus said “
34“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.”
a. the “Day” He means here is the Day of the Lord, which begins with the Rapture!
“35For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.”
b. there’s that phrase ” “earth-dwellers” again
“36Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
7. Compare what Jesus says here in Luke 21:36 with what he tells the Philadelphians in Revelation
“Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.”
8. The Pre-Trib rapture isn’t escapist ” it’s the very thing Jesus told us to look and pray we’d be ready for.
VII. The Jewish Wedding Ceremony
1. In John 14 Jesus spoke some incredibly comforting words –
1“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2In My Father’s house are many dwelling palces; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
2. Being Gentiles brought up in the 20th Century, we miss out on how the original disciples would have heard and understood this.
3. You see, Jesus is using the terminology of the Jewish wedding ceremony.
a. once a man and woman were betrothed, he would return to his father’s house and add on a new room.
b. once the room was nearing completion, he would send a friend to go tell the betrothed that the time for the wedding was almost there
c. she would get ready, but rarely knew the precise moment of his arrival; it was part of the suspense and romance of the event that she had to wait without knowing the precise hour of his arrival.
d. but finally the day would come and the groom would go forth to claim his bride
e. his friends would go with him and make noise, blowing trumpets and shouting to let everyone know the time for the wedding had finally come.
f. when he arrived, there was a huge feast ” the wedding supper, after which the man would take his wife into the new room he’d made, and they would stay sequestered there for 7 days!
g. after which they would emerge and he would present her to the community as his beloved, sharing with him from then on in the life of the village.
4. This is how the Rapture will occur.
a. we are now betrothed to Christ and He has gone to prepare our chamber
b. we do not know the day or hour of His return, but we do know the times and seasons because He’s sent His friends, the prophets to describe them
c. when the time is ripe, He will come, with the voice of the archangel, a mighty shout, and the trumpet of God,
d. then He will take us to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and we’ll be sequestered with Him in heaven for the 7 years of the Tribulation.
e. then when He comes again, emerging from Heaven in glory, we come with Him to rule and reign for a 1000 years.
VIII. The Outline of Revelation
1. A Pre-tribulation rapture follows the outline for the Book of Revelation given to us in 1:19
“Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.”
a. a 3-fold division of Revelation is given here
b. the things John had seen ” meaning the vision of Jesus in ch. 1
c. the things which are ” are found in chs. 2 & 3 in the message to the 7 churches
d. and the things which will take place after this ” are found in chs. 4-22
e. in fact, that very phrase “after this” opens chapter 4
“After these things [meaning chs. 2 & 3] I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”
2. What happened to John? After speaking to the churches, He was taken up to heaven ” and it’s from that vantage point that he saw a description of the terrors of the Tribulation!
3. It’s interesting that the word “church” is used 18 times in chs. 1-3, but then isn’t used even once until the very end of Revelation.
4. Chapters 6-19 which describe the Tribulation don’t ever use the word “church!”
a. why?!
b. because the church isn’t on earth ” it’s in heaven!
c. Chs. 4 & 5 describe the church in heaven, worshipping God
5. If the Mid-Tribulation Rapture position is correct, then chs. 4 & 5 would have to be placed after chapter 11, and if the post-Tribulation view is right, chs. 4 & 5 would have to placed after chapter 19.
6. Only the Pre-Tribulation rapture makes sense of the flow of the Book of Revelation and follows the outline Jesus gave John in Revelation 1:19
IX. A Conditional Tribulation
1. In the Letter to the Church at Thyatira in Revelation ch. 2, Jesus rebukes the church for allowing a gross polluter of the Church to remain among them.
2. In v. 22 Jesus says –
“22Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.”
3. If the Rapture occurred after the Tribulation, this wouldn’t make any sense.
4. This is one more proof that the Rapture occurs before the Tribulation and will sort out the genuine believers from those who are mere professors.
5. Genuine believers will repent, and so be delivered from great tribulation.
X. Unknown Time Of Christ’s Return
1. One of the most powerful proofs for the Pre-Trib rapture is that it’s the only one that can account for the repeated reference to the coming of the Lord being at a time not expected.
2. Daniel 9 spells out clearly that there will be 1260 days from the time the Antichrist enters the temple in Jerusalem and declares himself god, till the Return of Jesus Christ.
3. Yet Matthew 24:36 makes it clear that no one knows the day of Jesus’s Return.
4. The only way to reconcile this is to see the Rapture and the Second Coming as two different events ” separated by 7 years.
5. The Jews of Jesus’s day missed His first coming because they had misinterpreted the prophecies of His coming.
a. one set of prophecies foretold a suffering servant
b. while the other set foretold a conquering King
c. they’d come to see the suffering servant prophecies as symbolic but interpreted the conquering king ones as literal.
d. so they looked for the Messiah to come in Majesty and missed His coming in humility.
6. We need to learn this lesson, for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ has two phases, just like the OT prophecies of the Messiah’s coming.
a. before Jesus comes to earth in glory as the Conquering King,
b. He will come secretly in the clouds to receive His bride.
7. This coming, as Paul says in 1 Thess. 5, is like a thief in the night, not a King in the mid-day sun.
8. No one knows when Jesus comes in the Rapture, which is very different from His actual Second coming, which will be 1260 days after the Antichrist enters the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem.
XI. Tribulation Is Unnecessary For The Church
1. In Jer. 30:7, the Tribulation is called Jacob’s trouble.
2. It’s called this because it’s a unique time in which God awakens the Jews to embrace Jesus as their Messiah.
3. In Deut 4, Moses made this remarkable statement “
“29From there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice 31(for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.”
4. All of God’s promises to Israel will be fulfilled and it’s during the Tribulation that He will move decisively to make Himself known to her.
5. But in order for God to make Israel the focus of His redemptive attention, He will need to switch that focus off the Church.
6. The only way to do that, and not violate His promise to never leave nor forsake us is to take the church out of the earth and transport her to heaven.
XII. Squares With 70 Weeks of Daniel
1. This is a rather complex and involved proof, but one of the most powerful.
2. Let me try to summarize it as quickly as possible.
3. In Daniel 9, God told the prophet that 490 years had been set aside for God to deal with the Jews and Jerusalem in a special way of focus.
4. The first 483 of those years were fulfilled right down to the very day!
5. That leaves one last period of 7 years.
6. If the first 483 years were literal, we have to accept the last 7 as literal as well.
7. Now, God said these 490 years were all set aside for God’s unique focus on Israel.
8. So just as with reason XI, in order for God to turn his attention to the nation of Israel, He must turn His focus away from the Church, and the only way He can do that is if the Church has been raptured and is with Him in heaven.
9. The church wasn’t here for the first 483 years of Daniel’s prophecy; it’s not going to be here for the last 7 either!
10. And by the way ” as Daniel foretells, that last 7 years begins when the Antichrist forges a special agreement with many nations that appears to have something to do with the City of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple
11. In light of all that’s taking place in the Middle East today, and how the nations of the world are lining up trying to figure out what to do to bring peace, this all becomes very interesting to students of the Bible.
XIII. The Rapture Is Imminent!
1. Finally, the apostles and the early Church all believed in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.
2. We know that because they believed Jesus could come at any moment ” but they knew they weren’t in the Tribulation!
3. We find the expectation of Jesus’ coming all over the letters of Peter, Paul, and John!
4. The writings of the earliest of the church fathers carry a very strong expectation of the Lord’s coming for the Church.
5. This simply isn’t what we would find if they believed and taught a mid or post-tribulation rapture.
6. They took Jesus’ words literally and seriously when He said, “Watch and be ready, for in such an hour as you think not, the Son of Man comes.” [Matthew 24:42 25:13]
Conclusion
A. It Matters What You Believe!
1. The timing of the Rapture is not an essential of the faith.
2. And good people do disagree!
3. But we ought not say that it doesn’t matter what a person believes about this issue ” it does matter!
4. You see, it’s inevitable that when one believes the Rapture takes place is going to effect the way they live.
5. If I believe the rapture is before the Tribulation then I am going to live as if it could be any moment ” so I’ll be watching and ready for Him.
6. In 1 John 3:2-3 John writes “
“2Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
7. If I hold to a mid or post-trib position, then quite frankly I’m probably not very hopeful of the Lord’s coming!
a. I’d prefer it was stuck way off in the future because I don’t want to have to endure the Tribulation
b. and if it is near, I won’t be looking for Jesus so much as I’ll be looking for the evidences that I’m in the Tribulation.
c. instead of looking for Christ, I’ll be looking for antichrist, knowing I have to see him before I’ll see Jesus.
8. Also, if I have to endure the Tribulation, instead of keeping a light touch with the world, I’m going to be highly motivated to dig in.
9. I’ll develop a survivalist mentality, and start building a shelter and storing food and figuring out how not to take the mark of the beast.
10. So it does matter when you believe the Rapture takes place because what we believe is the basis for how we live.
Taken from Pastor Lance Ralston’s notes from Calvary Chapel of Oxnard

I. The Blessed Hope
1. The first reason we believe the Rapture takes place before the Tribulation is because it’s called the Blessed Hope in Titus 2:13
“. . . looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”
2. Remember what Paul said in 1 Thess 4:18?
“Therefore comfort one another with these words”
3. If the Rapture doesn’t occur until the middle or end of the Tribulation, where’s the comfort in that?
4. Let’s say you had never heard of the Rapture before and I was teaching it for the very first time.
a. and let’s pretend that I was telling you all about the Last Days
b. and I told you about the horrors of the Tribulation
1) all the death and destruction that will take place
2) I did a review of all the terrible things we find in the Book of Revelation
3) plagues, pestilence, famine, drought, economic and social upheaval on a scale never seen in history
4) a third of the earth’s population is wiped out, then another fourth!
5) the rise of the antichrist and false prophet
6) and finally, the Battle of Armageddon, earth’s worst and bloodiest war
c. and then I say, but comfort one another, cause when it’s all over, we’ll be caught up to meet the Lord in the air
d. you’d think I was nuts! There’s no comfort in knowing you’ve got to pass through all of that to get to the Rapture!
e. the ONLY comfort you could gain was by hoping the Last Days were a long way off in the future and that the return of Jesus was nowhere near.
5. But that isn’t at all what the Bible tells us our attitude ought to be!
a. we ought to be hoping and looking for the Rapture..
b. the comfort of the blessed hope, the Rapture, comes from knowing it comes before the hour of trial that is coming upon the whole earth.
II. God’s Wrath
1. In Revelation 6:15-17 we learn that the Tribulation is a time of God’s wrath being poured out on the earth-dwellers.
“15And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

2. Yet 1 Thess 5:9-11 says
“9For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. 11Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”
3. We who’ve been born again are not appointed to God’s wrath and that is precisely what the Tribulation is ” the hour of God’s wrath, testing the hearts of the earth-dwellers.
4. God’s wrath against our sin was fully satisfied by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
a. when Jesus declared, “It is finished” he meant that the holy demands of God’s justice were completely satisfied
b. Jesus took our place on the Cross as the object of God’s wrath
c. therefore, it would be UNJUST for God to inflict His wrath on us!
5. We can’t be here for the Tribulation because it is the hour of God’s wrath and we’ve been saved from that very thing!
III. Lot
1. In Genesis 18, Lot and his family were delivered from the flaming judgment of God on wicked Sodom.
2. God didn’t protect them IN the judgment, He removed them FROM the very time and place of the judgment and took them up into the hills.
3. In 2 Peter 2:9, Peter speaks of Lot as an example and says
“. . . the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment”
4. What’s interesting is that the word translated “temptations” is the same word used for tribulation.
IV. Enoch
1. In Genesis 5 we read about Enoch.
2. His story is interesting because we read he never died, God simply took him one day!
3. This occurred prior to the Flood, which was God’s judgment on a rebellious world
4. Now, someone might counter and say, but what about Noah?
a. he was a righteous man too but he went through the Flood,
b. being protected by God in the ark
c. isn’t that a better picture of God protecting the Church during the Tribulation?
5. No ” Noah isn’t a picture of the Church ” He’s a picture of God’s sovereign protection of Israel during the Tribulation, a subject that gets much coverage in the Book of Revelation.
6. Noah pictures Israel, while Enoch represents the Church, which is raptured prior to judgment.
V. Daniel
1. Did you ever wonder where Daniel was when Shadrach, Mesheck and Abed-nego were in the fiery furnace in Daniel 3?
2. They were there for refusing to bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s image.
3. By the way, Nebuchadnezzar serves as a fitting picture and type of the antichrist who makes an image and demands the world to worship it.
4. Where was Daniel? Did he bow to the image? No way! So why wasn’t he with his three friends?
5. That’s the point! That he’s not even mentioned is a mystery ” foreshadowing the mystery of the Rapture of the Church.
6. Like Noah – Shadrach, Mesheck and Abed-nego represent Israel and how God will preserve them during the fiery trial of the Tribulation.
7. But Daniel’s absence pictures the Church’s absence from the very hour of the trial.
VI. We Are To Pray For Escape!
1. I’m a bit weary of those who mock the Pre-Tribulation position and say it’s escapist.
2. They say that countless believers have faced tribulation, persecution and martyrdom ” why should we hope to escape it?
3. The answer to that is simple ” the trouble previous generations of Christians have faced came from this corrupt and rebellious world system that hated them; it was satan’s wrath they endured.
4. Jesus told us to expect THAT kind of trouble.
5. But the trouble of the Tribulation comes from God’s hand ” it’s His wrath as we’ve already seen, and Jesus already paid that for us.
6. In Luke 21:34-36 Jesus said ”
34“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.”
a. the “Day” He means here is the Day of the Lord, which begins with the Rapture!
“35For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.”
b. there’s that phrase ” “earth-dwellers” again
“36Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
7. Compare what Jesus says here in Luke 21:36 with what he tells the Philadelphians in Revelation
“Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.”
8. The Pre-Trib rapture isn’t escapist ” it’s the very thing Jesus told us to look and pray we’d be ready for.
VII. The Jewish Wedding Ceremony
1. In John 14 Jesus spoke some incredibly comforting words –
1“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2In My Father’s house are many dwelling palces; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
2. Being Gentiles brought up in the 20th Century, we miss out on how the original disciples would have heard and understood this.
3. You see, Jesus is using the terminology of the Jewish wedding ceremony.
a. once a man and woman were betrothed, he would return to his father’s house and add on a new room.
b. once the room was nearing completion, he would send a friend to go tell the betrothed that the time for the wedding was almost there
c. she would get ready, but rarely knew the precise moment of his arrival; it was part of the suspense and romance of the event that she had to wait without knowing the precise hour of his arrival.
d. but finally the day would come and the groom would go forth to claim his bride
e. his friends would go with him and make noise, blowing trumpets and shouting to let everyone know the time for the wedding had finally come.
f. when he arrived, there was a huge feast ” the wedding supper, after which the man would take his wife into the new room he’d made, and they would stay sequestered there for 7 days!
g. after which they would emerge and he would present her to the community as his beloved, sharing with him from then on in the life of the village.
4. This is how the Rapture will occur.
a. we are now betrothed to Christ and He has gone to prepare our chamber
b. we do not know the day or hour of His return, but we do know the times and seasons because He’s sent His friends, the prophets to describe them
c. when the time is ripe, He will come, with the voice of the archangel, a mighty shout, and the trumpet of God,
d. then He will take us to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and we’ll be sequestered with Him in heaven for the 7 years of the Tribulation.
e. then when He comes again, emerging from Heaven in glory, we come with Him to rule and reign for a 1000 years.
VIII. The Outline of Revelation
1. A Pre-tribulation rapture follows the outline for the Book of Revelation given to us in 1:19
“Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.”
a. a 3-fold division of Revelation is given here
b. the things John had seen ” meaning the vision of Jesus in ch. 1
c. the things which are ” are found in chs. 2 & 3 in the message to the 7 churches
d. and the things which will take place after this ” are found in chs. 4-22
e. in fact, that very phrase “after this” opens chapter 4
“After these things [meaning chs. 2 & 3] I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”
2. What happened to John? After speaking to the churches, He was taken up to heaven ” and it’s from that vantage point that he saw a description of the terrors of the Tribulation!
3. It’s interesting that the word “church” is used 18 times in chs. 1-3, but then isn’t used even once until the very end of Revelation.
4. Chapters 6-19 which describe the Tribulation don’t ever use the word “church!”
a. why?!
b. because the church isn’t on earth ” it’s in heaven!
c. Chs. 4 & 5 describe the church in heaven, worshipping God
5. If the Mid-Tribulation Rapture position is correct, then chs. 4 & 5 would have to be placed after chapter 11, and if the post-Tribulation view is right, chs. 4 & 5 would have to placed after chapter 19.
6. Only the Pre-Tribulation rapture makes sense of the flow of the Book of Revelation and follows the outline Jesus gave John in Revelation 1:19
IX. A Conditional Tribulation
1. In the Letter to the Church at Thyatira in Revelation ch. 2, Jesus rebukes the church for allowing a gross polluter of the Church to remain among them.
2. In v. 22 Jesus says –
“22Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.”
3. If the Rapture occurred after the Tribulation, this wouldn’t make any sense.
4. This is one more proof that the Rapture occurs before the Tribulation and will sort out the genuine believers from those who are mere professors.
5. Genuine believers will repent, and so be delivered from great tribulation.
X. Unknown Time Of Christ’s Return
1. One of the most powerful proofs for the Pre-Trib rapture is that it’s the only one that can account for the repeated reference to the coming of the Lord being at a time not expected.
2. Daniel 9 spells out clearly that there will be 1260 days from the time the Antichrist enters the temple in Jerusalem and declares himself god, till the Return of Jesus Christ.
3. Yet Matthew 24:36 makes it clear that no one knows the day of Jesus’s Return.
4. The only way to reconcile this is to see the Rapture and the Second Coming as two different events ” separated by 7 years.
5. The Jews of Jesus’s day missed His first coming because they had misinterpreted the prophecies of His coming.
a. one set of prophecies foretold a suffering servant
b. while the other set foretold a conquering King
c. they’d come to see the suffering servant prophecies as symbolic but interpreted the conquering king ones as literal.
d. so they looked for the Messiah to come in Majesty and missed His coming in humility.
6. We need to learn this lesson, for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ has two phases, just like the OT prophecies of the Messiah’s coming.
a. before Jesus comes to earth in glory as the Conquering King,
b. He will come secretly in the clouds to receive His bride.
7. This coming, as Paul says in 1 Thess. 5, is like a thief in the night, not a King in the mid-day sun.
8. No one knows when Jesus comes in the Rapture, which is very different from His actual Second coming, which will be 1260 days after the Antichrist enters the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem.
XI. Tribulation Is Unnecessary For The Church
1. In Jer. 30:7, the Tribulation is called Jacob’s trouble.
2. It’s called this because it’s a unique time in which God awakens the Jews to embrace Jesus as their Messiah.
3. In Deut 4, Moses made this remarkable statement ”
“29From there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice 31(for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.”
4. All of God’s promises to Israel will be fulfilled and it’s during the Tribulation that He will move decisively to make Himself known to her.
5. But in order for God to make Israel the focus of His redemptive attention, He will need to switch that focus off the Church.
6. The only way to do that, and not violate His promise to never leave nor forsake us is to take the church out of the earth and transport her to heaven.
XII. Squares With 70 Weeks of Daniel
1. This is a rather complex and involved proof, but one of the most powerful.
2. Let me try to summarize it as quickly as possible.
3. In Daniel 9, God told the prophet that 490 years had been set aside for God to deal with the Jews and Jerusalem in a special way of focus.
4. The first 483 of those years were fulfilled right down to the very day!
5. That leaves one last period of 7 years.
6. If the first 483 years were literal, we have to accept the last 7 as literal as well.
7. Now, God said these 490 years were all set aside for God’s unique focus on Israel.
8. So just as with reason XI, in order for God to turn his attention to the nation of Israel, He must turn His focus away from the Church, and the only way He can do that is if the Church has been raptured and is with Him in heaven.
9. The church wasn’t here for the first 483 years of Daniel’s prophecy; it’s not going to be here for the last 7 either!
10. And by the way ” as Daniel foretells, that last 7 years begins when the Antichrist forges a special agreement with many nations that appears to have something to do with the City of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple
11. In light of all that’s taking place in the Middle East today, and how the nations of the world are lining up trying to figure out what to do to bring peace, this all becomes very interesting to students of the Bible.
XIII. The Rapture Is Imminent!
1. Finally, the apostles and the early Church all believed in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.
2. We know that because they believed Jesus could come at any moment ” but they knew they weren’t in the Tribulation!
3. We find the expectation of Jesus’ coming all over the letters of Peter, Paul, and John!
4. The writings of the earliest of the church fathers carry a very strong expectation of the Lord’s coming for the Church.
5. This simply isn’t what we would find if they believed and taught a mid or post-tribulation rapture.
6. They took Jesus’ words literally and seriously when He said, “Watch and be ready, for in such an hour as you think not, the Son of Man comes.” [Matthew 24:42 25:13]
Conclusion
A. It Matters What You Believe!
1. The timing of the Rapture is not an essential of the faith.
2. And good people do disagree!
3. But we ought not say that it doesn’t matter what a person believes about this issue ” it does matter!
4. You see, it’s inevitable that when one believes the Rapture takes place is going to effect the way they live.
5. If I believe the rapture is before the Tribulation then I am going to live as if it could be any moment ” so I’ll be watching and ready for Him.
6. In 1 John 3:2-3 John writes ”
“2Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
7. If I hold to a mid or post-trib position, then quite frankly I’m probably not very hopeful of the Lord’s coming!
a. I’d prefer it was stuck way off in the future because I don’t want to have to endure the Tribulation
b. and if it is near, I won’t be looking for Jesus so much as I’ll be looking for the evidences that I’m in the Tribulation.
c. instead of looking for Christ, I’ll be looking for antichrist, knowing I have to see him before I’ll see Jesus.
8. Also, if I have to endure the Tribulation, instead of keeping a light touch with the world, I’m going to be highly motivated to dig in.
9. I’ll develop a survivalist mentality, and start building a shelter and storing food and figuring out how not to take the mark of the beast.
10. So it does matter when you believe the Rapture takes place because what we believe is the basis for how we live.

Taken from Pastor Lance Ralston’s notes from Calvary Chapel of Oxnard