1 THESSALONIANS 4:13-18

THE RAPTURE

I) [1 Thes 4:13]:

(v. 13) "Brothers we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope."

A) FELLOW BELIEVERS ARE BEING ADDRESSED

"Brothers" = fellow believers:

1) [1 Thes 1:1, 7]:

(v. 1) "To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace and peace to you."

(v. 7) "And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia."

B) WHAT IS BEING ADDRESSED IS A CORRECTION OF THE FALSE IDEA THAT THOSE THESSALONIAN BELIEVERS WHO HAVE ALREADY DIED WOULD MISS THE VICTORIES & GLORY OF THE LORD'S RETURN FOR THEM IN THE RAPTURE

"we do not want you to be ignorant" =

Robert L Thomas states, (The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol 11, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, Mich., Frank E Gaebelin, Editor, 1978, p. 276):

"Paul's words 'we do not want you to be ignorant' as usual mark what follows for special attention. Here they introduce the correction of false impressions (cf Rom 11:25; 1 Cor 10:1; 12:1). The Thessalonians had concluded that 'those who sleep' would miss the victories and glory of the Lord's return [for them in the Rapture]."

Compare the next verse which affirms that all those believers who have died, God will raise up and bring them back to heaven in the Rapture with Jesus Christ.

1) [1 Thes 4:14]:

"We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him [to heaven, (Jn 14:1-4)]."

At the particular time that Paul was writing to the Thessalonians, they were undergoing tremendous persecution such that many of them thought that this was the actual Tribulation Period that Paul taught them about and that the Rapture which he mentioned had already occurred and thus was already missed.

I) [1 Thes 4:13 cont.]:

(v. 13) "Brothers we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope."

C) "THOSE WHO FALL ASLEEP" = BELIEVERS WHO HAVE DIED ARE IN VIEW

"about those who fall asleep" = Those believers who have physically died, which is confirmed by the context of verse 15:

1) [Compare 1 Thes 4:15]:

"According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep [i.e., are not still alive]."

"still alive" is juxtaposed within the verse to "fallen asleep" as an opposite. Therefore "fallen asleep" or "those who sleep" refers to those who are not alive, i.e., physically dead.

2) [Compare Jn 11:11-13]:

(v. 11) "After He [Jesus, (v. 9)] said this, He went on to tell them [the disciples, (v. 12)], 'Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.'

(v. 12) His disciples replied, 'Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.'

(v. 13) Jesus had been speaking of his death, but His disciples thought He meant natural sleep.".

D) BELIEVERS WHO HAVE "FALLEN ASLEEP", I.E., HAVE PHYSICALLY DIED ARE PRESENT WITH THE LORD AND ARE ASSURED OF A BODILY RESURRECTION

[Thomas, ibid.]:

" 'Those who sleep' ('Ton koimomenon') is an expression chosen in lieu of [those who are] 'dead', (v. 15) because of death's temporary nature for Christians (cf. 1 Cor 7:39; 11:30; 15:6, 18, 20, 51; cf. also John 11:11).

Though the pagans used 'sleep' as a metaphor for 'death,' it is especially appropriate for Christians because of their assured bodily resurrection."

1) [Compare Jn 6:40]:

"[Jesus said] 'For My Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.' "

[Thomas, cont.]:

"Paul had previously taught the Thessalonians about the resurrection [hence the reference to them of having a sure 'hope']. On the basis of the resurrection our Christian 'hope' has objective reality. That this death refers to the physical body and not to man's spirit is clear for several reasons. Death for Paul did not mean a state of unconscious repose, but a condition of being with Christ...."

2) [Compare Phil 1:22-24]

(v. 22) " 'If I [Paul, (v. 1)] am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me

(v. 23) I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far

(v. 24) but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.' "

[Thomas, cont.]:

"....Note that the expression 'dead in Christ' (v. 16) would be meaningless in connection with the false doctrine of soul sleep, for a nonexistent sleeper could hardly be in union with Christ. On the contrary, Paul viewed 'those who sleep' as continuing their relationship with Christ in heaven with their spirits and souls while their physical bodies were in the grave, awaiting resurrection [into a perfect body finally joining with the soul and spirit, (ref: 1 Cor 15:51-54)]."

I) [1 Thes 4:13 cont.]:

(v. 13) "Brothers we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope."

E) "TO GRIEVE LIKE THE REST OF MEN" = CHURCH AGE BELIEVERS SHOULD NOT GRIEVE FOR THEY HAVE THE SURE HOPE OF ESCAPING GOD'S WRATH

"to grieve like the rest of men" = The rest of men, i.e., the unsaved world have no hope of escaping God's wrath. But the believer - one who has trusted alone in Christ's sacrifice on the cross for ones sins - thus Christ subjecting Himself to all the wrath due that individual in his place - that believer can have a sure hope that he will escape God's wrath both on the earth in the final days and for all eternity; and in fact be with God for all eternity.

[Renald E. Showers states, 'MARANATHA, OUR LORD, COME!, Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Bellmawr, N.J., 1995, p. 198]:

"The word translated 'sorrow' [= grieve] means 'be sad, be distressed, grieve.' Paul's statement indicates that the Thessalonian believers were distressed over the fact that some of their fellow saints had died....

[and thereby they mistakenly thought they missed the victories and glory of the Lord's return for them in the Rapture].

***We should note two things concerning this distress and Paul's response to it.

First, if these church saints had been taught that the church must go through all or any part of the........Tribulation, with its intense outpouring of God's wrath, the logical reaction for them would have been to rejoice that these loved ones had escaped that great period of suffering' through death (cp. Job 3:11-26; Eccl. 4:1-2; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23). There is, however, no indication that they found any reason to rejoice over the deaths of their fellow saints. This at least implies that they had not been taught that the church must go through all or any part of the Tribulation and experience God's wrath.

Second, the only means Paul used to relieve their distress over the deaths of their fellow saints was the truth of the future Rapture of the church. If these distressed saints had been taught that the church must go through all or any part of the Tribulation, why didn't Paul comfort them further with the additional fact that through their deaths, their fellow saints had escaped that future time of God's wrath?"

1) [Compare 1 Thes 1:9-10]:

"For they themselves [believers everywhere] report what kind of reception you gave us [Paul, Silas and Timothy, (v. 1)]. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,

(v. 10) and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead - Jesus, Who rescues us from the coming wrath."

[RETURN TO TRUMPETS {short description of image}]

F) THE WRATH OF GOD IN THE TRIBULATION, DESCRIBED AS BIRTH PANGS ELSEWHERE IN THE BIBLE, IS NOT GOING TO BE WHAT ANYONE IN THE CHURCH EXPERIENCES

1) [Compare 1 Thes 5:1-9]:

(v. 1) "Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you,

(v. 2) for you do need to write to you,

(v. 3) While people are saying, 'Peace and safety,' destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

[Notice that the Tribulation Period of God's wrath is in view]

(v. 4) But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.

[And brothers, i.e., believers will thus NOT be surprised by this period of wrath]

(v. 5) You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.

(v. 6) So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.

(v. 7) For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night.

(v. 8) But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

(v. 9) For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."

So the Church Age believer will not suffer the Tribulation wrath of God.

2) [Compare Mt 24:3-8]:

(v. 3) '''As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"

(v. 4) Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you.

(v. 5) For many will come in My name, claiming, 'I am the Christ, and will deceive many.

(v. 6) You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.

(v. 7) Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

(v. 8) All these are the beginning of birth pains." '''

And our Lord continues to describe these birth pangs leading up to His Second Coming, (vv., 30-31), throughout this passage summarizing them as follows below. Such summary clearly indicates a future series of unparalleled events over a very short period of time having no precedence in history so far!!!

3) [Compare Mt 24:21-22]:

(v. 21) "For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now - and never to be equaled again.

(v. 22) If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened."

The beginning of the seven year tribulation period is described in Mt 24:3-8 as the beginning of birth pangs. And these birth pangs are characterized as the wrath of God in judgment on mankind which the church will not be subjected to, (1 Thes 5:1-9).

[Showers, op. cit., p. 23]:

"The concept of birth pangs has played a significant role in the content of Scripture as well. The birth pangs (as described in these succeeding quotes from the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament) are 'recurring spasms of pain which are not subject to conscious control, during which the woman in labor writhes - a process that can be accompanied by a sense of fear or anxiety, screams, and groans.'

The Scriptures have used this concept to refer to other situations that involve painful experiences comparable to the pains of childbirth. In this usage 'birth pangs' are a favorite metaphor for the tribulations God's judgment brings upon man.

The Bible includes several samples of this metaphoric use. Job declared, 'God distributeth sorrows [a translation of a Hebrew word for birth pangs] in his anger' (Job 21:17). The wicked peoples of Israel and Jerusalem (Isa. 26:17-18; Jer. 4:31; 6:24; 13:21; Hos. 13:12-13; Mic. 4:9-10), Babylon (Isa. 13:8; Jer. 50:43), Damascus (Jer. 49:24), Moab (Jer. 48:41), Edom (Jer. 49:22), and Nineveh (Hab. 2:10) all experienced birth pangs. (Some Hebrew words for birth pangs have been translated with the English words 'distress' and 'sorrows.') The contexts of these passages indicate that these birth pangs were associated with God's purposed judgment, wrath, and fierce anger on these peoples frequently through other nations warring against them.

The Scriptures describe the physical effects of being seized by birth pangs - the loins are filled with pain, the heart faints, the knees tremble, the face flushes with anxiety (Isa. 13:7-8; Nah 2:10), the hands become helpless (Jer 6:24), and the voice groans and cries (Isa. 26:17; Jer. 4:31; Mic. 4:9). Thus, birth pangs involve a state of 'involuntary and uncontrolled spasmodic movement, to which the body is surrendered, accompanied by a sense of weakness and heat.'

'Such a state can occur in the face of battle, in times of judgment, on the 'day of Yahweh.'

Not only for the judgment of events now past, but also for judgment in the future, the Bible makes metaphoric use of birth pangs. In the Old Testament they are associated with the future Time of Jacob's Trouble (Jer. 30:6-7)."

G) THE WRATH OF GOD IN THE TRIBULATION PERIOD IS FUTURE - NONE OF IT HAS OCCURRED YET

1) [Compare Matthew chapter 24]:

Let us now consider the text in Matthew chapter 24 with respect to our Lord's answer to the disciples' three questions about the end of the age. Keep in mind that Matthew's focus is on the future tribulation time and our Lord's Second Coming:

a) [Mt 24:3]:

"As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately. 'Tell us,' they said, 'When will this happen [when Jerusalem will be destroyed, (v. 2)], and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?' "

It is also especially evident in Revelation chapter 11 that Jerusalem will again be trampled upon in the future tribulation period. This correlates with Luke's account of the temple's destruction in Lk 21:20-24 which states that Jerusalem will "be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled":

i) [Compare Rev 11:1-2]:

(v. 1) "I [The Apostle John] was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, 'Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshippers there.

(v. 2) But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the Holy City for 42 months.' "

This passage in Revelation speaks of a literal historical happening: the trampling on Jerusalem for 3 1/2 years beginning at the midpoint of the 7 year tribulation period - the middle of the 70th week as defined in Daniel chapter 9:24-27.

This seven year tribulation period, Daniel's 70th week, then completes the required seven years of the 490 year period of the Jewish Mosaic Law period and ushers in our Lord's Millennial Kingdom rule.

[Further details of this 490 period and the 70th week of Daniel: {short description of image}]

This 3 1/2 years or "42 months" will also mark the end of world domination by Gentiles, the end of the tribulation period and will mark the beginning of our Lord's Return and the ushering in of the kingdom which Matthew focuses in on in chapters 24 and 25. (Cp Rev 13:5; Dan 7:25; 12:11):

a) [Mt 24:3 cont.]:

"As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately. 'Tell us,' they said, 'When will this happen [when Jerusalem will be destroyed, (v. 2)], and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?'

Our Lord's answers to the disciples' last two questions focus historically on the period of the tribulation, (Mt 24:4-25:46). There are a least seven evidences in Scripture in this passage by Matthew pointing to a future period rather than 70 A.D. or any other period other than the future seven year tribulation period - a period of future birth pangs of God's wrath from which the saints of the Church Age will be raptured out beforehand, not to be subjected to such wrath:

b) [Mt 24:3-14, 21]:

(v. 3) "As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately. 'Tell us,' they said, 'when will this happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the Age?'

(v. 4) Jesus answered: 'Watch out that no one deceives you.

(v. 5) For many will come in My name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.

(v. 6) You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.

(v. 7) Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

[Compare v. 21 referring to the same events and time: "For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now - and never to be equaled again."]

(v. 8) All these are the beginning of birth pains.

(v. 9) Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me.

(v. 10) At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,

(v. 11) and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.

(v. 12) Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,

(v. 13) but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

(v. 14) And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come......

(v. 21) For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now and never to be equaled again."

i) THE BIRTH PAINS OF THE TRIBULATION PERIOD HAVE NOT OCCURRED YET

"All these are the beginning of birth pains" = refers to those events leading up to the Second Coming and as stipulated in Mt 24:4-25:46.

"Birth pains" such as these have not yet occurred in history as our Lord described them 'unequaled.... and never to be equaled again' - especially not all in the same period of time in the same sequence and with the same intensity:

John MacArthur states it this way,

[MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Matthew 24-28; Moody Press; Chicago; 1989; p. 15]:

"...Labor pains do not occur at conception or throughout pregnancy but just before birth. The figure of birth pains therefore would not have been appropriate to represent either the destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred very near the beginning of the church age, or the church age as a whole.....

.....labor pains do not begin until shortly before delivery time, and they occur with increasing frequency until the baby is born. In the same way, the events connected with the Lord's Return will not begin until just before His Return, and they will occur with increasing rapidity, building to an explosion of catastrophic events. The same epoch is pictured in the book of Revelation, as the seal judgments unfold over a period of perhaps years (See Rev 6:1-8:1-6), the trumpet judgments over a much shorter period of time, perhaps weeks (see Rev 8:7-9:21; 11:15-19) and the bowl judgments over a period of perhaps a few days or even hours (see Rev 16:1-21)."

c) [Mt 24:12-14]:

(v. 12) "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,

(v. 13) but he who endures until the end will be saved [from physical death].

(v. 14) And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."

i) "ENDURE UNTIL THE END" IN MT 24:12-14 REFERS TO THE FUTURE - FOR NO ONE IN VIEW IN THE PASSAGE HAS YET ENDURED TO THE END OF ANY AGE

"endures until the end" - This phrase in Mt 24:13 sets the time of our Lord's answer to the future and another age. For the disciples [whom our Lord was addressing] did not live to the end of the age. Furthermore, all church age believers will be raptured before the end times begin...

[End times = the tribulation period. Ref. 1 Thes 4:13-18]

...So this phrase "endure until the end" can only apply to saints of the tribulation period whose faith in Christ as Savior and faithful walk with Him providentially secures their endurance and thereby preserves their physical lives to the end of the age so that they will be alive and able to enter into the kingdom as the first subjects of our Lord's earthly reign....

[Note that salvation unto eternal life is not in view here - but being saved from loss of physical life is. Unfaithful believers and divinely appointed martyrs will have already physically perished and will have already entered into the Lord's presence in heaven]

d) [Mt 24:14]:

(v. 14) "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."

i) THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL TO THE WHOLE WORLD IS STILL A FUTURE HAPPENING

"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all nations...." = This phrase in Mt 24:14 rules out any period of time in history heretofore. The gospel has yet to reach billions of people even today with mass media technology.

Therefore as our Lord implied in verse 14 and as verified in Rev 14:6-7, there will be a future worldwide instantaneous and miraculous declaration of the gospel of the kingdom to every individual on the face of the earth. This has never happened before as it is described in the following passage:

[Compare Rev 14:6-7]:

(v. 6) "Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth - to every nation, tribe, language and people.

(v. 7) He said in a loud voice, 'Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come. Worship Him Who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.' "

[Note that the contexts within this passage and other passages indicate that God will continuously provide the complete gospel of salvation to the whole world via His angels and man during this period of tribulation]

e) [Mt 24:15-16]:

(v. 15) "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel - let the reader understand

(v. 16) then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.' "

i) THE 'ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION' OF THE TRIBULATION PERIOD IS FUTURE NOT PAST

"The abomination of desolation: (v.15) - is future, and is predicted to occur just before our Lord returns. This rules out what happened in 70 A.D. or before since the sequence of events and details in Scripture of this particular event have not occurred yet in history and certainly do not perfectly match up with anything that has happened in the past in every detail.

Detailed Explanation: (Dan 9:27 {short description of image}),

The fifth indicator is the conditions of the world which our Lord describes as leading up to the end of the age. These conditions of tribulation are to be the worst ever in human history - never to be equaled again - all taking place in sequence and within a very short period of time:

f) [Compare Mt 24:21]:

"For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now - and never to be equaled again."

[Compare Rev 6:12-14; 8:7-12; 9:all; Rev 11-13, 15-18]

i) THE CONDITIONS OF THE WORLD LEADING TO THE END OF THE AGE DESCRIBED AS THE WORST EVER IN HISTORY ARE FUTURE NOT PAST

Number six indicator is future:

g) [Mt 24:29-30]:

(v. 29) " 'Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.'

(v. 30) At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory."

i) THE SUN BEING DARKENED, THE MOON NOT GIVING ITS LIGHT AND HEAVENLY BODIES BEING SHAKEN & FALLING FROM THE SKY HAVE NEVER HAPPENED ALL AT ONCE - IT IS FUTURE NEVER HAVING OCCURRED IN THE PAST

And finally, indicator #7: verses 32-35 of Matthew 24 in which our Lord speaks of a fig tree:

h) [Mt 24:32-35]:

(v. 32) " 'Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.

(v. 33) Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.

(v. 34) I tell you the truth, this generation [the generation that is living during the time of these end time events] will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

(v. 35) Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.' "

i) THE GENERATION LIVING IN THE TIMES OF THE TRIBULATION WILL NOT PASS AWAY UNTIL THE SECOND COMING INDICATING A FUTURE EVENT NOT A PAST ONE

MacArthur comments, (op. cit. p. 16):

'''Just as the budding leaves of a fig tree signal that summer is near, so the occurring of these events Jesus mentions here will signal His imminent return. "This generation", that is the generation living during the time of those end time events, "will not pass away until all these things take place." The signs of Matthew 24-25 will be fully experienced within one generation, a generation that could be no other than the generation living when Christ returns.'''

The events of Matthew 24-25 are "unique to the end times in detail, in sequence, in scale and in extent. Some of the events such as the disruption of the physical universe (24:29 quoted above), will be completely unique." (MacArthur, op. cit., p. 16).

Many have focused on our Lord's use of the word "you" (2nd person) and state that this applies exclusively and only to the disciples - to their generation. However, it is standard procedure for prophetic statements to be made in such a way that it is pictured as happening in the present times - that those actually hearing the prophecy from the lips of our Lord or a prophet is pictured as living in the end times. Those who would actually be addressed as living through whatever is prophesied are not even born yet but the statement addresses them as if they were.

MacArthur puts it this way, (op. cit., p. 17):

'''The Old Testament prophets frequently addressed messages to people yet unborn, some of whom would live hundreds of years in the future. God picked up the prophet as it were, and transported him to the time of which he was to prophecy, and he spoke as if he were standing directly before those future generations...............

Jesus was saying, in effect, "You who are alive at that time....."

Compare the following prophecy:

[Zech 9:9 was written in the 6th century B.C. - BEFORE CHRIST, yet the author writes as if people of his time are observing something 600 years in the future!]:

[Zech 9:9]:

"Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion [Israel]! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."

Cp Isa 33:17-24; 66:10-14

So, since many generations have passed over the period of this age without experiencing all of the signs our Lord spoke of, then it is evident that these events are future and the generation to experience them is likewise.

2) CONCLUSION: THE SEVEN YEAR TRIBULATION PERIOD IS FUTURE & THE CHURCH WILL NOT EXPERIENCE IT

So since the Tribulation period is future and will commence with the beginnings of birth pangs, i.e., the wrath of God,

and since the Church will not be "appoint[ed]... to suffer wrath", (1 Thes 5:9)

then the Church will not experience any part of the tribulation period at all.

Thus it is evident that the Rapture will catch up the Church saints into the heavens for further transportation to heaven with our Lord before the seven year Tribulation period begins.

I) [1 Thes 4:13 cont.]:

(v. 13) "Brothers we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope."

H) "LIKE THE REST OF MEN WHO HAVE NO HOPE" = "HOPE" = "ELIPDA" = REFERS TO THE SURE HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE AND THE ACCOMPANYING RESURRECTION WITHOUT BEING SUBJECT TO THE WRATH OF GOD

1) [Compare 1 Pet 1:3-4]:

(v. 3) "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

(v. 4) and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade - kept in heaven for you."

[Notice that the inheritance of the new birth, i.e., eternal life is a "living hope" - "that can never perish, spoil or fade - kept in heaven for you"]

2) [Compare 1 Jn 5:13]:

"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."

[Notice that one can be assured, i.e., have a sure hope of ones eternal destiny simply by affirming what John has written in the bible i.e., those "who believe in the name of the Son of God" may have a sure hope that they have eternal life]

3) [Compare Titus 2:11-13]:

(v. 11) "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.

(v. 12) It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,

(v. 13) while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ."

"The blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" = So the glorious appearing of our Lord for the believer is a blessed hope - no eternal wrath to befall God's child.

4) [Compare 1 Thes 5:9]:

"For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."

So the believer's hope is assuredly one of salvation and never one of falling into eternal wrath.

5) [Compare Rev 3:9-10]:

(v. 9) "I [Jesus, (v. 7)] will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars - I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.....

[and continuing the thought]:

(v. 10a) since you have kept My command to endure patiently.

[Then a new thought begins which refers to the church saints not being subject to the wrath of the Tribulation period]:

(v. 10b) I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth."

Notice that the believer will be kept from the hour of trial giving him a blessed and sure hope for the future and not a fearful one.

I) THE SURE HOPE OF THE BELIEVER INCLUDES THE FACT THAT HE WILL NOT HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE WRATH OF THE FUTURE DAY OF THE LORD, I.E., THE TRIBULATION PERIOD

1) INTRODUCTION

Since 1 Thes 5:9 and Rev 3:10 both state that believers of the church age will not be subject to wrath. (And these passages do state that church age believers will not be subject to wrath)

and since Titus 2:13 says:

"While we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (And it does)

then the doctrine that the church has to go through the tribulation and be decimated by the catastrophes and judgments that occur leaving only a fraction of the world's population surviving with many church age believers martyred is false.

It is difficult to support the concept that the CHURCH AGE believer's "blessed hope" is that of being subject to God's wrath while waiting for the Lord's return, thus having to go through the tribulation until He comes at the end. Believers of the church age await the Lord's return for them when He will meet them in the air BEFORE the tribulation begins, (1 Thes 4:13-18; 2 Thes 2:1-4; 5:1-9). This is what Paul refers to as the "blessed hope" of the church age believer, (Titus 2:13).

2) THE BLESSED HOPE OF THE BELIEVER IS THAT HE WILL NOT BE SUBJECT TO THE WRATH OF THE FUTURE DAY OF THE LORD

a) THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE DAY OF THE LORD IN GENERAL

[Showers, op. cit., pp. 30-39]:

"The Scriptures teach that God created the universe for His own purposes (Rev 4:11). As a result, the heavenly and earthly realms are owned and ruled by God (1 Chr 29:11-12; 2 Chr 20:6; Ps 47:2; 103:19; 135:6; Isa 40:12-26; Jer 10:1, 10; Dan 4:17, 34-35, 37; Acts 17:24; 1 Tim 1:17; Rev 5:13). As the owner and ruler of the earth, God has His own sovereign purpose for world history and, therefore, for specific events within that history (Isa 14:24-27; 19:12; 23:9; 46:8-11; Jer 4:28; 23:20; 26:3; 30:24; 36:3; 49:20; 50:45; 51:29; Lam 2:8; Rom 8:28; 9:11, 17; Eph 1:9-11; 3:10-11; 2 Tim 1:9; 1 Jn 3:8).

In the Scriptures the expression 'the Day of the LORD' (together with other synonymous expressions, such as 'that day,' 'the day of God,' etc.) is strongly related to God's rule of the earth and, therefore, to His sovereign purpose for world history and specific events within that history. The Day of the LORD refers to God's special interventions into the course of world events to judge His enemies, accomplish His purpose for history, and thereby demonstrate who He is - the sovereign God of the universe (Isa 2:10-22; Ezek 13:5, 9, 14, 21, 23; 30:3, 8, 19, 25-26)....

Evidence for this significance of the Day of the LORD is found in past Days of the Lord referred to in the Scriptures. The Bible indicates that there have been several Days of the Lord in the past in which God demonstrated His sovereign rule by raising up several nations to execute His judgment on other nations. He raised up Assyria to judge the northern kingdom of Israel during the 700s B.C. (Amos 5:18, 20), Babylon to judge the southern kingdom of Judah during the 600s and 500s B.C. (Lam 1:12; 2:1, 21-22; Ezek 7:19; 13:5; Zeph 2:2-3), Babylon to judge Egypt and its allies during the 500s B.C. (Jer 46:10; Ezek 30:3), and Medo-Persia to judge Babylon during the 500s B.C. (Isa 13:6, 9)...

In these past Days of the Lord, God used human instruments and activity through war to execute His sovereign purpose against His enemies.

b) THE DAY OF THE LORD IN THE FUTURE

i) INTRODUCTION

[2 Thes 2:1-2]:

(v. 1) "Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him, we ask you, brothers,

["the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him" = the coming of the Lord to gather His church up to Him in the heavens in the Rapture which event precedes the Day of the LORD, the Tribulation period]

(v. 2) not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us saying that the Day of the LORD has already come."

"the Day of the LORD" = refers to that particular part of the Day of the LORD beginning with the birth pangs of the Tribulation period.

[Showers, cont.]:

"The Scriptures indicated that the concept of the Day of the LORD is applicable, not only to the past intervention of God in history, but also to the future. Several things in the Bible make this very obvious. First, Isaiah 2:10-22 describes a Day of the LORD that will involve the sixth seal described by the Apostle John in Revelation 6:12-17. Because this sixth seal will take place during the 70th week of Daniel 9, the Day of the LORD that will involve that seal must also take place during that future time period.

Second, Isaiah 34:1-8 and Obadiah 15 describe a Day of the LORD when God will judge all nations or Gentiles of the world. None of the past Days of the Lord involved divine judgment of all the nations. Up to this point in history, there has not been a judgment of all nations during the same time period. In light of this, we can conclude that the Day of the LORD of Isaiah 34 and Obadiah must be future.

Third, Joel 3:1-13 and Zechariah 14:1-3, 12-15 refer to a Day of the LORD that will involve God's judgment of the armies of all the nations of the world, when those armies gather in Israel to wage war against that nation and the city of Jerusalem and when the Messiah comes to war against them. According to Revelation 16:12-16, those armies will not begin to gather until the sixth bowl is poured out during the 70th week of Daniel 9. In addition, Revelation 19:11-21 indicates that Christ will wage war against them when He comes from heaven to earth. This, too, forces the conclusion that the Day of the LORD of Joel 3 and Zechariah 14 is future.

Fourth, in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 the Apostle Paul referred to a Day of the LORD that was future beyond the time when he wrote his epistle and that would bring sudden, inescapable destruction upon the unsaved of the world. That Day of the LORD had not taken place before Paul wrote his Thessalonian epistle, and it seems evident that nothing of its nature has transpired since. Thus, the Day of the LORD of 1 Thessalonians 5 is also future."

ii) THE FUTURE DAY OF THE LORD: WRATH THEN BLESSING

[Showers, cont.]:

"The Scriptures indicate that the future Day of the LORD will have at least a twofold nature. First, it will be characterized by darkness and a tremendous outpouring of divine wrath upon the world....

[Joel 2:1-2]:

(v. 1) "Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the Day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand -

(v. 2) a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come."

[Amos 5:18-20]:

(v. 18) "Woe to you who long for the Day of the LORD! Why do you long for the Day of the LORD? That Day will be darkness, not light.

(v. 19) It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him.

(v. 20) Will not the Day of the LORD be darkness, not light - pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?"

[Zech 1:14-15]:

(v. 14) "Then the angel who was speaking to me said, 'Proclaim this word: This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'I am very jealous for Jerusalem and Zion,

(v. 15) but I am very angry with the nations that feel secure. I was only a little angry, but they added to the calamity.' "

[1 Thes 5:1-11]:

(v. 1) "Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you,

(v. 2) for you know very well that the Day of the LORD will come like a thief in the night.

(v. 3) While people are saying, 'Peace and safety,' destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

(v. 4) But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.

(v. 5) You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.

(v. 6) So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.

(v. 7) For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night.

(v. 8) But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

(v. 9) For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(v. 10) He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him.

(v. 11) Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."

Amos 5:18-20 emphasizes that this will be the total nature of the Day of the LORD for God's enemies. It will bring no divine light or blessing to them. This will be the nature of the Day of the LORD during the 70th week of Daniel.

Second, the Day of the LORD will also be characterized by light, an outpouring of divine blessing, and the administration of God's rule. The Prophet Joel, after talking about the darkening of the sun, moon, and stars and God's Day of the LORD judgment of the armies of the nations gathered in Israel (3:9-16), foretold great divine blessing 'in that day' (vv. 17-21)......

[Joel 3:9-21]:

(v. 9) "Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare for war! Rouse the warriors! Let all the fighting men draw near and attack.

(v. 10) Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weakling say, 'I am strong!'

(v. 11) Come quickly, all you nations from every side, and assemble there. Bring down your warriors, O LORD!

(v. 12) Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side.

(v. 13) Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow - so great is their wickedness!

(v. 14) Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the Day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.

(v. 15) The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine.

(v. 16) The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for His people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.

(v. 17) Then you will know that I, the LORD your God, dwell in Zion, My holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her.

[Then final restoration. Full kingdom blessing]:

(v. 18) In that day the mountains will drip new wine, and the hills will flow with milk; all the ravines of Judah will run with water. A fountain will flow out of the LORD's house and will water the valley of acacias.

(v. 19) But Egypt will be desolate, Edom a desert waste, because of violence done to the people of Judah, in whose land they shed innocent blood.

(v. 20 Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations.

(v. 21) Their blood guilt, which I have not pardoned, I will pardon. The LORD dwells in Zion!"

In addition, the Prophet Zechariah, after discussing the future Day of the LORD, when all nations will war against Jerusalem and the Messiah will come to the earth part of 'that day' will be characterized by darkness, the latter part will be characterized by light (vv. 6-7), great blessing (v. 8), and God's rule over all the earth (v. 9). This will be the nature of the Day of the LORD during the Millennium....

Thus, the Day of the LORD in the future will be at least twofold in nature. Just as each day of creation and the Jewish day consisted of two phases - a time of darkness ('evening') followed by a time of light ('day') [Gen 1:4-6] - so the future Day of the LORD will consist of two phases, a period of darkness (judgment) followed by a period of light (divine rule and blessing).

Since, as noted earlier, the Day of the LORD will demonstrate Who God is, it would seem strange for the God Who is light and in Whom there is no darkness at all (1 Jn 1:5) to have His day consist totally of darkness with no period of light, especially since the present day of Satan and rebellious mankind is characterized by a rule of darkness (Eph 6:12; Col 1:13).

In addition, since, as shall be seen later, the present day of Satan and rebellious mankind involves their rule of the world system, the future Day of the LORD would not truly be His day if it did not involve His rule of the world system during the Millennium. How could the Day of the LORD fully demonstrate Who He is - the sovereign God of the universe - without the sovereign exercise of His rule in visible form over the entire world?"

iii) THE BACKGROUND OF THE FUTURE DAY OF THE LORD

[Showers, cont.]:

"Why has the Holy Spirit chosen to use the expression 'the Day of the LORD' for God's divine interventions into the course of world events to judge His enemies, accomplish His purpose for world history, and demonstrate Who He is - the sovereign God of the universe? Some background is necessary to understand the reason.

After God created mankind, He gave them dominion over everything on planet earth (Gen 1:26, 28; Ps 8:3-9). This indicates that God intended mankind to serve as His representative, administering His rule over the earthly province of His universal domain. In other words, God designed the government of the earth to be a theocracy, a form of government in which He is the sovereign Ruler of the earth; but His rule is administered through an Adam, a human representative.

As a result of Satan's convincing the first Adam to rebel against God and His rule, God's theocratic kingdom rule over the world system was lost (Gen 3). Through Adam's rebellion, Satan usurped the rule of the world system away from God (Lk 4:5-6; Jn 14:30; 1 Jn 5:19). Since that time, Satan and rebellious mankind have been dominating the world system according to their own thoughts and ways (Isa 55:7-9). They have been having their day in the world during which they try to establish and assert their own sovereignty and deity.

In light of what has happened, God's purpose for world history is to glorify Himself by demonstrating that He alone is the sovereign God. To accomplish this purpose, He has determined to have His day in the end times of world history (Isa 2:10-22).

Several times in the past, God has broken into the day of Satan and mankind with the interventions of Days of the Lord that were noted earlier. He did this to accomplish an immediate divine purpose (namely, the disruption, frustration, or destruction of some plan, purpose, or accomplishment of Satan and rebellious mankind), to graphically remind them that God is still the ultimate sovereign over the earth and universe, and to give them a foretaste or forewarning of the ultimate Day of the LORD that will come at the end of world history.

The future Day of the LORD will be far more significant that those days of the past. Its first phase will be a period of unprecedented, concentrated judgment involving the 70th week of Daniel and the coming of Christ after that week. In this phase God, Who throughout most of history has permitted Satan and rebellious mankind to have their day, will suddenly intervene to destroy their rule over the world system, evict them from the earth, and thereby end their day in the world (Isa 42:13-14; Rev 6-19). This phase will be characterized by darkness and an intense outpouring of God's wrath.

The second phase will be a period of divine dominion over the world system. God will intervene to restore and exercise His theocratic-kingdom rule over the world through the last Adam, Jesus Christ (Zech 14:1-9; 1 Cor 15:45, 47; Rev 20:1-6). This phase will be characterized by light and an outpouring of God's blessing.

iv) THE BROAD AND NARROW SENSE OF THE DAY OF THE LORD

[Showers, cont.]:

"We have seen that the Day of the LORD will have a twofold nature and, therefore, two phases [a wrath then a blessing phase]. In addition, we should note that the biblical expression 'the Day of the LORD' has a double sense (broad and narrow) in relationship to the future....

...Just as the word 'day' in Genesis 1:5 has both a broad sense (a 24-hour day)....

[Gen 1:5]:

"And the evening and the morning were the first day

[...and a narrow sense (the light part of a 24-hour day in contrast with the darkness part]

And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night."

...so the expression 'the Day of the LORD' has both a broad and a narrow sense in relationship to the future...

The broad sense refers to an extended period of time involving divine interventions related at least to the 70th week of Daniel [of 7 years of God's wrath] and the thousand-year Millennium [of God's blessing].... [A total of 1,007 years from the Rapture point of it's then beginning to the end of the 1,000 year millennial rule and the beginning of Eternity Future]

...The narrow sense refers to one specific day - the day on which Christ will return to the earth from heaven with His angels...."

[Compare Mt 24:29-30]:

(v. 29) "Immediately after the distress of those days 'the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.'

(v. 30) At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory."

[Compare Zep 1:14-18]:

(v. 14) "The great day of the LORD is near - near and coming quickly.

Listen! The cry on the day of the LORD will be bitter, the shouting of the warrior there.

(v. 15) That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness,

(v. 16) a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the corner towers.

(v. 17) I will bring distress on the people and they will walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their entrails like filth.

(v. 18) "Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the LORD's wrath. In the fire of His jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for He will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth."

[Compare Zech 14:1-9]:

(v. 1) A day of the LORD is coming when our plunder will be divided among you.

(v. 2) I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captures, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city.

(v. 3) Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle.

(v. 4) On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.

(v. 5) You will flee by My mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Usaiah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and the holy ones with Him.

(v. 6) In that day there will be no light, no cold or frost,
(v. 7) It will be a unique day, without daytime or night time - a day known to the LORD. When evening comes, there will be light.

(v. 8) On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter.

(v. 9) The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and His name the only name."

v) EVIDENCE FOR THE NARROW SENSE OF THE DAY OF THE LORD

[Showers, cont.]:

"The fact that the Scriptures present a future Day of the LORD that will be narrowed or limited to one specific day is evident from the following combination of facts.

[Rev 16:12-16]:

(v. 12) "The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings of the East.

(v. 13) Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

(v. 14) They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great Day of God Almighty.

(v. 15) 'Behold, I come like a thief! [=the Lord's Second Coming, (1 Thes 5:2)] Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.'

(v. 16) Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon."

Revelation 16:12-16 [as quoted above] indicates that the armies of all the nations of the world will not begin to gather in Israel for Armageddon until the sixth bowl is poured out. We should note that the pouring out of the sixth bowl and the resultant gathering of the armies will take place after a significant part of the broad Day of the LORD has already run it course.

[Joel 3:9-16]:

(v. 9) "Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare for war! Rouse the warriors! Let all the fighting men draw near and attack.

(v. 10) Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weakling say, 'I am strong!'

(v. 11) Come quickly, all you nations from every side, and assemble there. Bring down your warriors, O LORD!

(v. 12) Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side.

(v. 13) Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and vats overflow - so great is their wickedness!

(v. 14) Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the Day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.

(v. 15) The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine.

(v. 16) The LORD will roar from Zion and the thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for His people, a stronghold for the people of Israel."

[Compare Zech 14:1-5]:

(v. 1) "A Day of the LORD is coming when your plunder will be divided among you.

(v. 2) I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city.

(v. 3) Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of the battle.

[Notice: 'day of the battle']

(v. 4) On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.

(v. 5) You will flee by My mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with Him."

Second, both Joel 3:9-16 and Zechariah 14:1-5 [quoted above] indicate that after the armies of the nations have gathered in Israel, 'the Day of the LORD cometh' and is 'near.' It is obvious from the language that this Day of the LORD will not take place until after the armies have gathered in Israel.

Since the Day of the LORD of Joel 3 and Zechariah 14 will not take place until after the armies have gathered in Israel, and since the armies will not begin to gather until after a significant part of the broad Day has run its course, another Day of the LORD will be yet to come.

This other Day will be one part of the broad Day of the LORD, but there is a genuine sense in which it will be a complete Day of the LORD on its own, different from the broad Day of the LORD. One difference will be its duration. As noted earlier, the broad Day will cover an extended period of time. By contrast, the Joel 3 and Zechariah 14 Day will be narrow or limited in time. Thus, there will be two future Days of the LORD.

Third, both Joel 3 and Zechariah 14 indicate that their Day of the LORD will be the specific time when the Messiah comes to fight against and destroy the armies gathered in Israel. Revelation 19:11-21 says that time will be when Christ comes from heaven to the earth. Thus, the narrow Day of Joel 3 and Zechariah 14 will be the day on which Christ comes to the earth."

vi) THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE DAY OF THE LORD = THE NARROW DAY OF THE LORD

[Showers, op. cit., pp. 36-37]:

"We should note that Joel 3:14-15 indicates that the sun, moon, and stars will be darkened when the narrow Day of the LORD is near. Those heavenly bodies will be darkened before the narrow Day comes. Joel 2:31 declares that the heavenly bodies will be darkened before 'the great and terrible day of the LORD come.' It is obvious from this that Joel 3 and 2 are referring to the same Day of the LORD. We can conclude, then, that the narrow Day of Joel 3 and Zechariah 14 is to be identified with the great and terrible Day of the LORD - the day on which Christ will come to the earth.....

In light of what we have seen, we should not that the Scriptures apply the expression 'the great and terrible day of the LORD' to the narrow Day, not the broad Day. The implication is that the narrow Day will differ from the rest of the broad Day, not only in duration, but also in significance. Although the earlier part of the judgment phase of the broad Day will involve a great outpouring of divine wrath upon the domain of Satan and mankind, the narrow Day will be the grand climax of that judgment phase. Thus, E. W. Bullinger, when referring to the Day of the LORD of Joel 2:31, said, 'It is called '''the great and terrible day of the LORD,' as though it were the climax of the whole period known as '''the day of the LORD.''' '

Along similar lines, C. F. Keil, when referring to the judgment of the narrow Day of Joel 3, declared, 'It is the last decisive judgment, in which all the single judgments find their end.'

The narrow Day will be the great and terrible Day of the LORD because, in contrast with the earlier part of the judgment phase of the broad Day, the narrow Day will involve the coming of Christ from heaven to the earth. It therefore will do several things. It will expose God's enemies to the actual presence of Christ and the fullness of His divine power and glory, judgment and warfare (Mt 24:29-30; 25:31; Rev 19:11-12, 15). It will bring the angelic armies of heaven against these enemies (Mt 13:40-42, 49-50; 25:31; Rev 19:14). It will end the rule of Satan and rebellious mankind over the world system and evict them from the earth (Mt 13:40-42, 49-50; 25:41, 46; Lk 17:26-37; Rev 19:17-20:3), thus ending their day on earth forever.

Because the narrow Day of the LORD will bring such a decisive, permanent change to the world, the Prophet Joel called the place where the grand climax of God's judgment will fall on Satan and rebellious mankind 'the valley of decision' (3:14).....

vii) SIGNIFICANCE OF THE NARROW VS THE BROAD DAY OF THE LORD

[Showers, cont.]:

"There are at least two significant implications of the fact that there will be both a broad Day of the LORD and a narrow Day of the LORD.

Since, as noted earlier, the narrow Day of Joel 3 and Zechariah 14 will take place after a significant part of the broad Day has already run its course, and since that narrow Day will be the day on which Christ comes to the earth, we can conclude that Christ will come to the earth after a significant part of the broad Day has already run its course, after a major part of God's wrath has been poured out upon the world. It will not take place before or at the beginning of the outpouring of God's wrath upon the world.

Second... the expression 'the great and terrible day of the LORD' of Joel 2:31 refers to the narrow Day when Christ will come to the earth....

The Prophet Malachi (4:5) referred to the same great and terrible Day of the LORD as Joel (Malachi used identically the same Hebrew words and constructions that Joel used for the great and terrible Day of the LORD in 2:31)....

[So] Malachi's great and terrible Day of the LORD is also the narrow Day, the day on which Christ will come after the 70th week [has transpired]....

Malachi declared that God will send Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible Day of the LORD (4:5).

Since Malachi was referring to the narrow Day, we can conclude that he was indicating that God will send Elijah before the narrow Day, not before the broad Day when God begins to pour out His wrath upon the world. In light of the meaning of the great and terrible Day of the LORD, Malachi's declaration leaves room for Elijah to come and minister after the broad Day has begun and, therefore, while the wrath of God is being poured out upon the world."

b) THE DAY OF THE LORD IN THE FUTURE, cont.

viii) [Compare 2 Thes 2:1-4]:

(v. 1) "Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him [in the Rapture], we ask you, brothers,

(v. 2) not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report of letter supposed to have come from us saying that the Day of the LORD has already come.

(v. 3) Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the "apostasia" [= standing away] occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.

(v. 4) He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God"

Paul is answering in this passage whether or not the Tribulation period had already begun. Notice the mention of the deceptive teaching referred to in vv. 2-3 which was falsely attributed to Paul. Paul's answer is 'No, the Tribulation has not yet begun', and he gives two reasons for this in verse 3 - the first being that the "apostasia" has not yet occurred and the second: the man of lawlessness, i.e., the Antichrist has not yet been revealed to the world:

"The day [of God's wrath in the Tribulation period] will not come until 'he apostasia' occurs" =

viii_1) THE DAY OF THE LORD WILL NOT OCCUR UNTIL THE 'APOSTASIA' OCCURS

viii_1_a) DERIVATION & AVAILABLE MEANINGS OF APOSTASIA, APOSTASION

The noun "he apostasia" = in this precise form is a feminine noun. It is used nowhere else in the New Testament, so its meaning must be defined by its context here. It is derived from two Greek words, apo (meaning "away from" ) and stasis (meaning "standing"). It could properly be rendered "standing away" in the sense of a physical departure, rather than falling away from religious convictions in the sense of the English word apostasy.

The noun "he apostasia" comes from the verb aphistemi meaning to go away, depart. It can mean "the falling away" = as in "the apostasy" or "the rebellion", or it can mean "the standing away" as in the Rapture. This word "apostasia" is used in only one other place in the Bible, Acts 21:21. The meaning there is to turn away from, depart from. "He apostasia" has commonly been transliterated as "the apostasy".

"Apostasion" = neuter of a (presumed) adjective from a derivative of afisthmi = something separative, i.e. (specially) divorce:--(writing of) divorcement.

[http://www.zianet.com/maxey/Down7.htm#Apostasion]:

"Apostasion is a compound formed by the joining of two separate Greek words. The preposition apo (from, away from) is added as a prefix to stasis, which means “a standing, a state, existence.” It imparts to the reader the idea of “standing off from” someone or something. When used with reference to the state of marriage, it bespeaks a state of existence in which there is a “standing away from” one another. The “one flesh” state of being between a man and woman is severed; their lives are no longer intertwined; they have parted company, and each stands separately and apart from the other. Generally, apostasion is used in conjunction with the word biblion (scroll, document, certificate), and the resultant phrase is most often translated “certificate of divorce.” It was, thus, an official document signifying the termination of a covenant of marriage between a husband and wife. From a legal perspective, they would thereafter be recognized as existing in a state separate and apart from one another; a state of union was no longer regarded as existing. This particular word appears only 3 times within the pages of the New Testament documents [Matthew 5:31; 19:7; Mark 10:4]. In the Septuagint it can be found in Deuteronomy 24:3,5; Isaiah 50:1; and Jeremiah 3:8."

viii_1_b) BIBLICAL USAGE OF APOSTASIA, APOSTASION

[William W. Combs, "Is Apostasia in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 a reference to the Rapture",http://www.dbts.edu/media/journals/1998/combs.pdf]:

"The translation [of "apostasia" is some versions which is] 'departing' does not give any more credence to the Rapture view since the English word departing can be used in both a spatial and nonspatial sense. In Hebrews 3:12 the KJV says: “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” Obviously, this “departing” is not a spatial one....

In the LXX apostasia is found five times: Joshua 22:22; 2 Chronicles 29:19; 33:19; Jeremiah 2:19; 1 Maccabees 2:15. 76 It also occurs seven times in Aquila (Deut 15:9; Judges 19:22; 1 Kgdms 2:12; 10:27; 25:17; Prov 16:27; Nah 1:11), once in Theodotion (3 Kgdms 21:13), and twice in Symmachus (1 Kgdms 1:16; 2:12).77 In every one of these instances from the OT and Apocrypha, the meaning is religious or political defection....

"Apostasia" is only used one other time in the New Testament, in Acts 21:21 ["apostasian"] to describe "forsaking", or "going away from" the teachings of Moses."

[Acts 21:21]:

"They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away ["apostasian"] from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs"

.….Here it is agreed that "apostasian" refers to religious apostasy....

The cognate verb of apostasia, afisthmi, is found fourteen times in the NT. It is used in both a spatial and nonspatial sense. Only three times is it used of religious apostasy (Luke 8:13; 1 Tim 4:1; Heb 3:12). No one questions the fact that the word most often designates a spatial departure. It is found with that meaning throughout all periods of Greek literature....

...As was noted earlier, a major part of the case for understanding apostasia as a spatial departure is its relationship to its cognate verb afisthmi. The argument suggests that the meaning of the verb can also be applied to the noun. .... It is evident, then that the verb aphisteemi [ sic] does have the meaning to depart in the New Testament, in a very general sense which is not specialized as being related to rebellion against God or forsaking the faith. And, since a noun takes it meaning from the verb, the noun, too, may have such a broad connotation."

"Apostasion", another closely related noun appears in Matt 5:31, & 19:7, and Mark 10:4 where it describes a "writing of divorcement", or "papers that separate". Thus we have a spatial departure in view:

[Compare Mt 5:31, 19:7]:

(v. 5:31) "It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.' "

"certificate of divorce" = "apostasion"

(v. 19:7) "Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?"

[Compare Mk 10:4]:

"They said, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away."

viii_1_c) ANCIENT USAGE OF APOSTASIA, APOSTASION SUPPORTS THE POSSIBILITY APOSTASIA POINTING TO THE RAPTURE

Apostasia" was used in extra Biblical Greek literature to describe political revolt, or a "going away from the establishment" and in the Septuagint (LXX) when the Jews would "go away from God" to worship other gods.

[Combs, Ibid]:

'''Apostasia itself, apparently, first occurs in Greek literature outside the Bible in the first century B.C. Lampe’s lexicon of the patristic period also lists “revolt, defection as the primary meaning of apostasia; however, there is one example given of spatial departure...

This reference to a spatial departure is found in a NT apocryphal work entitled The Assumption of the Virgin. In sections 31–32 we read:

"But the Holy Ghost said to the apostles and the mother of the Lord, 'Behold, the governor has sent a captain of a thousand against you, because the Jews have made a tumult. Go out therefore from Bethlehem, and fear not; for behold, I will bring you by a cloud to Jerusalem…."

The apostles therefore rose up straightaway and went out of the house, bearing the bed of their lady the mother of God, and went forward towards Jerusalem: and immediately, just as the Holy Ghost said, they were lifted up by a cloud and were found at Jerusalem in the house of their lady.'''

Here we clearly have the description of a “rapture” of the apostles and mother of the Lord. The story continues in section 33:

"But when the captain came to Bethlehem and did not find there the mother of the Lord, nor the apostles, he laid hold upon the Bethlehemites… For the captain did not know of the departure of the apostles and the mother of the Lord to Jerusalem."

This “rapture” is now described as a “departure,” the Greek word being apostasia. Here is clear evidence that apostasia can refer to a “rapture”; however, 'The Assumption of the Virgin' can be dated no earlier than the fifth century A.D.'''

"In the LXX apostasia is found five times: Joshua 22:22; 2 Chronicles 29:19; 33:19; Jeremiah 2:19; 1 Maccabees 2:15. 76 It also occurs seven times in Aquila (Deut 15:9; Judges 19:22; 1 Kgdms 2:12; 10:27; 25:17; Prov 16:27; Nah 1:11), once in Theodotion (3 Kgdms 21:13), and twice in Symmachus (1 Kgdms 1:16; 2:12).77 In every one of these instances from the OT and Apocrypha, the meaning is religious or political defection....

...This is probably why this meaning is not found in the standard NT lexicon by Bauer, nor by its predecessor Thayer. The same is true for the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, and the more recent Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament....

...because of the evidence for such a meaning possibly before the koine period but clearly after it, it cannot be entirely ruled out."

Consider that NT lexicons are limited to the interpretations of theologians relative to particular bible versions. They do not provide all possibilities for each particular word. So it cannot be concluded that apostasia cannot mean spatial departure in the Bible because of it's absence in certain NT lexicons. General koine Greek lexicons which reflect all usages of the word "apostasia" and it's family of words which are available for that word; and the context of each passage must be carefully considered to determine which usage most fits the context.

viii_1_d) CONTEXT IN 2 THES CHAPTER 2 POINTS TO THE RAPTURE

The Greek word "apostasia" in 2 Thess. 2:3 also has the Greek article "the" in front of it in the Greek text, which makes it not a general "going away", or "departure", but "The Departure", a specialevent that the reader is expected to already know about.

In other words, the use of the article "the" with "apostasia" in 2 Thess. 2:3 indicates that Paul expects the Thessalonian Christians to already understand that this is the title of an event, and to already know what it means. Had the Apostle Paul already taught the Thessalonians about an "EVENT" that could be described as a "departure", or "going away"? Absolutely, yes. Paul had already taught the Thessalonian Church about the Catching Away and "departure" of the Church in 1 Thess 4:13-18.

In 2 Thess 2:5, Paul says don’t you remember when I was with you I taught you about these things? I don't see where Paul taught them at all about "a falling away from the truth" in his first letter, but he taught them about the Rapture of the church in five passages in 1st Thessalonians:

Furthermore, Paul refers to the last days as a time when there will be a forsaking of fundamental truths, i.e., an apostasy in other letters; but he has not mentioned that idea in either of the letters to the Thessalonians and these are the first that he wrote to them. Hence, if this specific great worldwide doctrinal defection is what he meant, it is doubtful if the Thessalonians would have understood him.

On the other hand in Paul's previous letter to the Thessalonians he had discussed, at length, a coming physical departure from the earth by all believers when Christ returns to meet them in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). This standing away from, in context, seems to refer to all the raptured believers standing away from the earth, as they stand before their returning Lord when they meet Him in the heavens. Here, Paul is simply reminding them that the "sudden destruction" that would come upon unbelievers when the Day of the LORD begins could not happen until the rapture - the standing away - from the earth before Christ (Romans 14:10) - had taken place. The entire context, before and after, fits this understanding of the text better than the idea of the apostasy from the faith.

[1 Thess 1:10]:

"And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, [even] Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come."

[1 Thess 2:19]:

"For what [is] our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? [Are] not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?"

[1 Thess 3:13]:

"To the end he may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints."

[1 Thess 4:13 - 5:10]:

(v. 13) "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

(v. 14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

(v. 15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

(v. 16) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

(v. 17) Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

(v. 18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words."

(v. 5:1) But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.

(v. 2) For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

(v. 3) For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

(v. 4) But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

(v. 5) Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

(v. 6) Therefore let us not sleep, as [do] others; but let us watch and be sober.

(v. 7) For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

(v. 8) But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

(v. 9) For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

(v. 10) Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

[1 Thess 5:23]:

" And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

viii_1_e) APOSTASY = DEPARTURE FROM A RELIGIOUS FAITH IS NOT IN VIEW

Paul refers to the last days as a time when there will be a forsaking of fundamental truths, i.e., an apostasy in other letters; but he has not mentioned that idea as a particular event to precede the revelation of the man of lawlessness in either of the letters to the Thessalonians; and these are the first letters that he wrote to them. Hence, if this specific great worldwide doctrinal defection is what he meant in 2 Thes 2:3 as a one time historical event after which the man of lawlessness is revealed, it is doubtful if the Thessalonians would have understood him.

Notice below that Paul refers to a general defection of the faith but no particular historical benchmark event:

[Compare 1Tim 4:1-4]:

(v. 1) "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.

(v. 2) Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

(v. 3) They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.

(v. 4) For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,

(v. 5) because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer."

[Compare 2 Timothy 3:1-6]:

(v. 1) "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.

(v. 2) People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,

(v. 3) without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,

(v. 4) treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God -

(v. 5) having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

(v. 6) They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires,

(v. 7) always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.

(v. 8) Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth--men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.

(v. 9) But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone."

Furthermore, "he apostasia" could not be a single historical benchmark event of apostasy of true believers from the Christian faith because the Rapture evacuates all believers before the "day of the Lord", i.e., the wrath of the Tribulation period. Only believers can apostasize, i.e., depart from the Christian faith. Unbelievers do not have a true Christian faith to depart from until they become believers.

The definite article is significant in that it indicates something that Paul had already told them about. If it is to be then assumed to apply to the final, great religious apostasy at the end of the age we must take into perspective that there has transpired over 1950 years since Paul wrote these lines, numerous great apostasies from the faith; and none of these introduced the Day of the LORD, although persecuted believers in each case might easily have so interpreted them.

Furthermore, there is no passage by Paul that points to a specific, historical, benchmark apostasy from the Christian faith or any faith.

Since a one time event of apostasy is not evident in Scripture that meets the qualifications in 1 Thessalonians and since the definite article is also used to describe the man of sin, the Antichrist, and is in OT passages for the Thessalonians to be aware of and since Paul spoke of the rapture in 1 Thes 4:13-18 then the definite article leans toward the rapture rather than a one time apostasy from the Christian faith.

If Paul had been referring to a "general falling away from the truth", it would have "proved" nothing to the Church at Thessalonica, because there were at the time, and have been and will continue to be, great periods of falling away from the truth throughout the Church Age.

viii_1_f) PAUL REFERS TO HAVING TAUGHT THE APOSTASIA PREVIOUSLY - WHICH SCRIPTURE POINTS MOST POWERFULLY TO THE RAPTURE

Paul refers to the last days as a time when there will be a forsaking of fundamental truths, i.e., an apostasy in other letters; but he has not mentioned that idea as a particular event to precede the revelation of the man of lawlessness in either of the letters to the Thessalonians; and these are the first letters that he wrote to them. Hence, if this specific great worldwide doctrinal defection is what he meant in 2 Thes 2:3 as a one time historical event after which the man of lawlessness is revealed, it is doubtful if the Thessalonians would have understood him.

Notice below that Paul refers to a general defection of the faith but no particular historical benchmark event:

[Compare 1Tim 4:1-4]:

(v. 1) "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.

(v. 2) Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

(v. 3) They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.

(v. 4) For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,

(v. 5) because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer."

[Compare 2 Timothy 3:1-6]:

(v. 1) "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.

(v. 2) People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,

(v. 3) without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,

(v. 4) treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God -

(v. 5) having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

(v. 6) They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires,

(v. 7) always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.

(v. 8) Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth--men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.

(v. 9) But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone."

viii_1_g) THE APOSTASY OF MANKIND TO WORSHIP THE DEVIL IS PROPHESIED IN SCRIPTURE BUT IT DOES NOT FIT THE CONTEXT OF 2 THES 2:3

Another kind of worldwide dramatic, benchmark event of apostasy, not from the Christian faith, but from faith in God is prophesied in the Bible. This is an apostasy, not of the Christian faith, for all believers will be caught up before this, but of the rest of humanity who will depart from worship of God to worship of the devil. Such a benchmark historical event of worldwide apostasy will be part of a future series of historical events over a very short period of time as described in Rev 13:4-8 and elsewhere. It includes the revelation of the man of lawlessness and the abomination of desecration in the Temple in Jerusalem linked together with it:

[Rev 13:4-8]:

(v. 4) "Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, ‘Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?’

5) The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months.

6) He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven.

7) He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation.

8) All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast--all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world."

[Compare Rev 13:11-15]:

(v. 11) "Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon.

(v. 12) He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed.

(v. 13) And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men.

(v. 14) Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived.

(v. 15) He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed."

[Compare Dan 11:31; 12:11]:

31) "His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation."

[This pictures an event in ancient history by Antiochus Epiphanies - a similar event to be reproduced in the future by the Antichrist, the man of lawlessness - a near and far prophecy]:

(v. 12:11) "From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days."

[Compare Mt 24:15-16]:

(v. 15) "So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel--let the reader understand --

(v. 16) then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains."

The chronology of this apostasy = worship of the devil and the Antichrist, occurs after the man of lawlessness is revealed or at least simultaneous with it as an intertwined series of events. This does not perfectly fit the context of 2 Thess 2:3 which has the apostasia occurring as one event then the man of lawlessness is revealed. These events are not portrayed as intertwined. Hence, "he apostasia" in 2 Thes 2:3 is best viewed as an event, the Rapture, rather than the apostasy of the world to worshipping the devil.

ix) THE DAY OF THE LORD WILL NOT OCCUR UNTIL THE REVELATION OF THE MAN OF SIN OCCURS

[2 Thes 2:1-4]:

(v. 1) "Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him [in the Rapture], we ask you, brothers,

(v. 2) not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us saying that the Day of the LORD has already come.

(v. 3) Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the "apostasia" [=standing away] occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.

(v. 4) He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God"

"that day will not come until.. the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction." = The revelation to the world of the man of lawlessness, the Antichrist.

[Showers, op. cit., pp. 65-67:

"In order to prove to the Thessalonians that the Day of the LORD had not begun, Paul presented two things that had not yet happened but that must happen before the Day of the LORD can begin....

[First "he apostasia" = "the standing away", the Rapture and then the revelation of the "man of sin" (v. 3)]

Since the revelation of the man of sin is the latter of the two things, it, rather than.. [the Rapture], will take place closer to the beginning of the Day of the LORD. Therefore, when trying to determine when the Day of the LORD will begin, it is more crucial to discern when the man of sin will be revealed than when the apostasy [or 'standing away' of the Rapture] will take place."

x) THE MAN OF SIN WILL NOT BE REVEALED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE 70TH WEEK, RATHER HE WILL MAKE HIMSELF KNOWN AT ITS BEGINNING

[Showers, op. cit., pp. 65-67]:

"Some propose that the revelation of the man of sin will occur in the middle of the 70th week, when he declares himself to be God (Dan 9:27; 11:36-37; 2 Thes 2:4). On the basis of this proposal and Paul's teaching that the Day of the LORD will not come until the man of sin is revealed, some conclude that the Day of the LORD will not start until sometime after the middle of the 70th week.

There is a significant problem with this proposal, however. In the Scriptures, God has revealed other activities of the man of sin that will precede his declaration to be God and reveal who he is at least three and one-half years before that declaration.

First, the man of sin will rise to power as the 11th ruler within the already formed ten-division confederation that will constitute the revived Roman Empire (Dan 7:7-8, 20, 23-24).

Second, as the man of sin rises to power, he will overthrow three of the original ten rulers of the revived Roman Empire (Dan 7:20, 24, 26; Rev 17: 12-13, 16-17).

Fourth, as the dominant ruler of the revived Roman Empire, the man of sin will establish a seven-year covenant of peace with the nation of Israel, and the establishment of the covenant will be the historic starting point of the 70th week (Dan 9:27).

If the man of sin is not to be revealed until the middle of the 70th week, why did God reveal these specific activities that will occur at least three and one-half years before the middle of the 70th week and will make the man of sin clearly identifiable?

Since these divinely foretold activities will reveal who the man of sin is, and since they will be performed by the beginning of the 70th week, we can conclude that the man of sin will be revealed by the beginning of the 70th week.

Since the man of sin will be revealed at the time, and since his revelation is the latter of the two things that must occur before the Day of the LORD can begin, we can conclude two things: The Day of the LORD does not have to wait until sometime after the middle of the 70th week to begin; and the Day of the LORD can begin at the start of the 70th week."

xi) THE DAY OF THE LORD IS REFERRED TO AS FUTURE DUE TO PAUL'S COMFORTING MESSAGE TO THE THESSALONIANS

The Apostle Paul also stated in 2 Thes 2:1-12 that the Thessalonians were not in the time of the tribulation in spite of false reports to the contrary. Paul then reaffirmed that they would not go through it by indicating that certain events had not yet occurred which would only be part of that terrible time. Paul's comforting message to the Thessalonians would seem untrustworthy and unbelievable if the Thessalonians who were alive at the time of his letter were not to see their loved ones who already died until after they potentially went through the tribulation (which has always been imminent). This would not then be a comforting message and therefore would not belong in Scripture if the saints were not to be raptured before the time of God's great wrath.

Since all believers are saved solely by grace through faith because their Lord Jesus Christ received the wrath that was due to them for their sin then why would the church be further subjected to wrath? So why be subjected to the wrath that is due to the world that has rejected Christ?

xii) SINCE MOST CHURCH AGE BELIEVERS HAVE ALREADY DIED & ARE "PRESENT WITH THE LORD" AND WERE NOT SUBJECT TO PURIFICATION REFINING, I.E., THE KIND OF WRATH AS REVEALED IN THE TRIBULATION PERIOD PASSAGES, THEN TO PROPOSE THAT THE REMAINING FEW IN THE LAST DAYS WILL BE PUT THROUGH A PURIFICATION REFINING IN THE TRIBULATION WRATH OF GOD IS NOT NOT CONSISTENT

If the church is to be purified by going through the tribulation wrath, what about 95% of the church age believers who lived in earlier times and died beforehand and therefore are already in heaven and have missed the Tribulation? Were they that much better Christians than those 'poor' believers who lived at the end of the Church Age and would face catastrophes, disasters, deprivation, fugitive living and martyrdom such as the world has never seen - for the purpose of purification??? I wouldn't wish or preach or pray or impose that on anyone who has been saved by grace and neither does the Bible!!!

3) OTHER PASSAGES WHICH INDICATE THAT THE CHURCH AGE BELIEVERS WILL NOT BE PRESENT IN THE TRIBULATION PERIOD

a) THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST FOR BELIEVERS TAKES PLACE IN HEAVEN UNLIKE THE EVENTS OF THE SECOND COMING WHICH OCCUR ON THE EARTH

i) [Rev 19:8]:

(v. 7) " 'Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come,

(v. 8) Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her [the Church = the Bride of Christ, (Eph 5:25-32)] to wear.'

(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)"

The Church Age believers will be with our Lord at His Second Coming clothed with part of the rewards they received for their righteous acts - those meted out to them at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Such dispensing of rewards must have occurred while the Church Age believers were with our Lord in heaven after He took them back with Himself to heaven prior to His Second Coming - thus missing the Tribulation on the earth during that time:

ii) [2 Cor 5:10]:

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad."

iii) [1 Cor 3:11-15]:

(v. 11) "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

(v. 12) If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,

(v. 13) his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.

(v. 14) If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.

(v. 15) If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames."

Since all Church Age believers have already been rewarded before the Second Coming and are with our Lord coming from heaven at that Second Coming showing evidences of those rewards, ("fine linens"); then the Judgment Seat of Christ must have occurred before the Second Coming - evidently in heaven during the same time period as the earthly Tribulation Period. So the Rapture evidently brings all Church Age believers into heaven before the Tribulation Period begins in order for them to attend the Judgment Seat of Christ.

b) THE "RESTRAINER OF SIN", THE HOLY SPIRIT, IS TAKEN OUT OF THE WAY NECESSITATING THE CHURCH TO GO LIKEWISE SINCE IT WAS INDWELT WITH HIM

i) [2 Thes 2:6-7]:

(v. 6) "An now you know what is holding him [the man of lawlessness] back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time.

(v. 7) For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the One who now holds it back [God the Holy Spirit] will continue to do so till He is taken out of the way."

2 Thes 2:7 quoted above states that the coming of the man of lawlessness will not occur until after what is holding back or restraining sin "is taken out of the way". That Restrainer is the Holy Spirit Who indwells all Church Age believers. The only agent which can restrain sin is God and historically this has been the Holy Spirit's work. Since He is removed and since all Church Age believers are permanently indwelt by the Spirit, then the church must be removed also - in the rapture!

[Robert L. Thomas states, Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol 11, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1978, p. 324-5]:

"So he [author Paul] can declare, 'You know what is holding him back.' 'Now' should be connected with 'what is holding him back' to indicate that 'holding back' is a present phenomenon. [i.e, it is evident from the context and directly stipulated in verse 7]. To katechon ('what is holding back') is a neuter title for this restraining force. The word recurs in the masculine in v. 7 where it is translated 'who... holds it back.'

Proposed identifications of to katechon have been multiple. Because of inability to explain the neuter-masculine combination, such suggestions as the preaching of the gospel, the Jewish state, the binding of Satan, the church, Gentile world dominion, and human government are improbable. To identify to katechon with a supernatural force or person hostile to God is difficult in a paragraph such as this because the restrainer is limiting Satan (vv. 7-9), not cooperating with him...

A popular understanding since early times has been that this is a reference to the Roman Empire (neuter) and its ruler (masc.)... Paul had several times benefited from the intervention of the Roman government (Acts 17:6ff; 18:6ff). In other writings he limits the roll of human government ((Rom 13:1, 3)... Though preferable to some other solutions, this explanation is disappointing in several ways. To predict the demise of the Roman Empire (cf. v. 7) is very uncharacteristic of Paul.... Then too, the Roman Emperor sometimes precipitated anti-Christian activities rather than restrained them... Elimination of this solution is sealed when we remember that the Roman Empire has long since ceased to exist, and the appearance of Christ or the lawless one has yet to take place...

It is evident that the restrainer, to accomplish his mission, must have supernatural power to hold back a supernatural enemy (v. 9). God and the outworking of His providence is the natural answer."

[Compare Gen 6:3]:

"Then the LORD said, 'My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years."

[Compare John 16:7-8]:

(v. 7) "But I [Jesus] tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor [Holy Spirit] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

(v. 8) When He comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment."

[Compare 1 Jn 4:3-4]:

(v. 3) "but every spirit [relative to that which is behind the teachings of prophets - true or false, (v. 1)] that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

(v. 4) You, dear children [believers], are from God and have overcome them

[them = the false prophets and their false message which is characterized by the "spirit of the Antichrist", i.e., you dear children are saved unto eternal life],

because the One [Holy Spirit] Who is in you is greater than the one [Satan] who is in the world."

[Notice that the Holy Spirit indwells the believer and thus is key in the protection of the believer from the effects of the "spirit of the Antichrist" via the efforts of false prophets. Thus it is the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit to restrain the spirit of the Antichrist from overcoming believers]

[Robert L. Thomas, cont.]:

"Reference to God is favored by the restrainer's harmony with divine purpose and a divine timetable ('at the proper time,' v. 6)....

Yet to say that God is the restrainer is not quite enough to explain the variation in gender. To one familiar with the Lord Jesus' Upper Room Discourse, as Paul undoubtedly was, fluctuation between neuter and masculine recalls how the Holy Spirit is spoken of. Either gender is appropriate, depending on whether the speaker (or writer) thinks of natural agreement (masc. because of the Spirit's personality) or grammatical (neuter because of the noun pneuma; see John 14:26; 15:26: 16:13, 14)... The special presence of the Spirit as the indweller of saints will terminate abruptly at the parousia [of the Holy Spirit] as it began abruptly at Pentecost [Acts 2:1-21]. Once the body of Christ has been caught away to heaven, the Spirit's ministry will revert back to what he did for believers during the OT period... His function of restraining evil through the body of Christ (John 17:7-11; 1 John 4:4) will cease similarly to the way he terminated his striving in the days of Noah (Gen 6:3). At that point the reins will be removed from lawlessness and the Satanically inspired rebellion will begin. It appears that to katechon ('what is holding back') was well known at Thessalonica as a title for the Holy Spirit on whom the readers had come to depend in their personal attempts to combat lawlessness."

[1 Thess 1:6]:

"You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit."

[Notice that God the Holy Spirit provides information, faith and joy in the face of severe suffering as a result of persecution of the Thessalonian believers - combatting the spirit of the Antichrist, resisting sin in the lives of the Thessalonians]

c) THE 24 ELDERS REPRESENTING THE CHURCH ARE IN HEAVEN BEFORE THE TRIBULATION AND SECOND COMING

If the 24 elders in heaven, (Rev 4-5), represent the church as judged for their divine good for rewards and glorified, then a pretribulation rapture is required because chapters 4 & 5 in Revelation relate to the period before the tribulation & Second Coming.

d) THE WEDDING FEAST IN REV 19:7-10 OF OUR LORD & THE CHURCH OCCURS IN HEAVEN BEFORE THE TRIBULATION

i) [Rev 19:7-10]:

(v. 7) " 'Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made her self ready.

(v. 8) Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.' (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)

(v. 9) Then the angel said to me, 'Write: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!' And he added 'These are the true words of God.

(v. 10) At this I fell at His feet to worship him. But he said to me, 'Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.' "

The wedding feast announced in Rev 19:7-10 implies that the Groom, Jesus Christ, has already come for His bride, the church , because the feast is on the final stage in the oriental order of marriage and that is portrayed as occurring on earth after the Second Coming during the Millennial Rule. Therefore the church must have been taken out of the earth in order to be in heaven with the Lord before the Tribulation period.

e) THE RAPTURE CANNOT INVOLVE TRIBULATION SAINTS FOR THAT WOULD LEAVE NO MORTALS TO LIVE IN THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM AS GOD PROPHESIED THERE WOULD BE:

i) [Isa 65:20-25]:

(v. 20) "No longer will there be in it [Jerusalem, (v. 19), i.e., the whole world] an infant who lives but a few days,

Or an old man who does not live out his days;

For the youth will die at the age of one hundred

And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred

Shall be thought accursed.

(v. 21) And they shall build houses and inhabit them; They shall also plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

(v. 22) They shall not build, and another inhabit, They shall not plant, and another eat; for as the lifetime of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, And My chosen ones shall wear out the work of their hands.

(v. 23) They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; For they are the offspring of those blessed by the LORD, AND THEIR DESCENDANTS WITH THEM.

(v. 24) It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer and while they are still speaking, I will hear.

(v. 25) The wolf and the lamb shall graze together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent's food. They shall do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,' says the LORD."

Surviving believers of the tribulation will have to be in their natural bodies in order to live on into the millennium to carry on normal activities of humanity. If all of the tribulation saints were raptured at the time of the Second Coming there would be no one to occupy the earth in mortal bodies and fulfill these prophecies of the millennium because the rest of the earth's inhabitants were unsaved and therefore put to death, leaving only immortal believers in perfect resurrection bodies unable to procreate so a new generation can inhabit the earth.

f) A RAPTURE OF SURVIVING TRIBULATION BELIEVERS SERVES NO PURPOSE & DEFEATS THE PURPOSE OF GOD'S JUDGMENT ON THE EARTH

If the surviving believers of the tribulation period were to be raptured into the air at the Second Coming of our Lord they would have to be supernaturally preserved in their natural bodies throughout this stratospheric rapture journey in order to survive the journey which would bring them into the earth's upper atmosphere. This would have to be so in order to fulfill the prophecy of mortal believers living on the earth during the millennial period. But this begs the question: What would be the point of catching believers up to the heavens and then bringing them immediately back down to the earth with our Lord at the Second Coming to complete His work of judgment? The judgment following Christ's Second Coming when the sheep (saved) will be separated from the goats (unsaved; Ref. Mt 25:31-46) would then be seriously in question as serving any purpose; for the separation of believers from unbelievers would have already taken place via the rapture of the elect before Christ arrived on earth so that the prophesied Judgment of the Nations would be unnecessary.

g) A RAPTURE AT THE SECOND COMING OF THE CHURCH WOULD RESULT IN THE CHURCH IMMEDIATELY COMING BACK TO EARTH SERVING NO PURPOSE EITHER

Since the church is to be with the Lord at His Second Coming, then a Rapture at that time would separate them from unbelievers and then instantly bring them back to earth with the Lord at the Second Coming - defeating the purpose of the judgment/separation of believers from unbelievers on the earth's surface.

The judgment of the people of the nation Israel, when saved Israelites will be separated from unsaved, (Ez 20:34-38), would also be unnecessary if all of the elect - all believers - have already been raptured up beforehand, including believers of the tribulation period, leaving no one except unbelievers on the earth and no further need for an earthly judgment.

II) [1 Thes 4:14]:

(v. 14) "We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him."

A) THE BELIEVER'S BODY, SOUL & SPIRIT WILL BE REJOINED IN A PERFECT & RIGHTEOUS RESURRECTED BODY & BE BROUGHT BACK TO HEAVEN WITH OUR LORD

Just as our Lord died and rose again so God will bring with Jesus to heaven those who have fallen asleep in Him, i.e., believers who have physically died.

Since a believer's spirit and soul go to be with the Lord in heaven immediately following physical death,

(2 Cor 5:8),

and since the physical body is obviously left behind,

then this can only refer to the physical body being resurrected, i.e., being joined with the soul & spirit once more, albeit this time in a perfect and righteous state.

III) [1 Thes 4:15]:

(v. 15) "According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep."

A) THIS IS THE COMING OF OUR LORD FOR HIS CHURCH AND NOT THE SECOND COMING TO THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH TO BEGIN HIS REIGN

This Particular coming of our Lord to catch up the saints of the church from Earth in resurrection bodies to bring them into heaven differs from His Second Coming to the Earth to judge men on the earth who remain alive and begin His earthly millennial rule. This rule will occur approximately 7 years after the catching up which is described in 1 Thes 4:13-18 and in the following passage:

1) [Compare Jn 14:2-3]:

(v. 2) "In My Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you.

(v. 3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back [to earth since that is where the disciples were] and take you to be with Me [to where He went in the first place which could only be heaven] that you also may be where I am [i.e., heaven].

Click here for a detailed study on this passage in John chapter 14: {short description of image}

IV) [1 Thes 4:16-18]:

(v. 16) "For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God and the dead in Christ will rise first.

(v. 17) After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

(v. 18) Therefore encourage each other with these words."

A) FOR THE LORD HIMSELF WILL COME DOWN FROM HEAVEN TO MEET HIS CHURCH IN THE AIR, (NOT ON THE EARTH AS IN THE SECOND COMING), & TO BRING HIS CHURCH BACK TO HEAVEN WITH HIM

"For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven" = "For" = Because = Refers to the previous context of v. 15 which refers to this specific coming of our Lord from where He was seated in heaven at the right hand of God the Father as corroborated in Jn 14:2-3. This is about to be further defined in the rest of verses 16 and 17 as a coming to catch up His church from the face of the earth, both alive and dead in resurrected bodies.

B) THE TRUMPET CALL OF THE RAPTURE VS THE TRUMPET CALL OF THE SECOND COMING

"with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet call of God" = Our Lord's coming down from heaven to catch up the saints in the Rapture is immediately preceded by a "loud command, the voice of the archangel" and the "trumpet of God".

1) [Compare 1 Cor 15:51-53]:

(v. 51) "Listen, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed [into resurrection bodies] -

(v. 52) in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

(v. 53) For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality."

2) [Compare the trumpet which announces the Second Coming]:

i) [Mt 24:30-31]:

(v. 30) "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.

(v. 31) And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heaven to the other."

The trumpet of the Second Coming is not the same as the trumpet of 1 Thes 4:17 and the last trumpet call in 1 Cor 15:51-53:

[Showers, op. cit., Chapter Fifteen]:

"We should note that in this passage, (1 Cor 15:51-53), Paul taught that a trumpet will be sounded in conjunction with the resurrection of the bodies of dead church saints and the changing of the bodies of living church saints. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 Paul taught that a trumpet will be sounded in conjunction with the resurrection of the bodies of dead church saints and the rapturing of those saints, together with living church saints, from the earth to meet Christ in the air. A comparison of these two passages indicates that Paul was referring to the same event in both. Thus, we can conclude that since 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 is a reference to the Rapture of the church, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 is also a reference to that Rapture, and both passages refer to the same trumpet. It also means that the trumpet to be sounded in conjunction with the Rapture of the church is 'the last trump' of 1 Corinthians 15:52..."

3) WHAT THE LAST TRUMPET OF 1 CORINTHIANS 15:52 CANNOT MEAN

[Showers, cont.]:

"Any approach to this potential problem must try to discern what Paul meant by 'the last trump.' In this attempt it is necessary to examine what he could not have meant as well as the possibilities of what he did mean.

Foundational to this attempt is the fact that Paul simply referred to the last trump. He did not give the Corinthians any explanation of what that designation meant. This implies that the Corinthians already knew the identification of the last trump. Apparently the last trump related to something in the portions of Scripture they already possessed or had been taught before Paul wrote 1 Corinthians; to something with which they were familiar from their own Greek background or from practices of the Roman Empire in which they lived; or to something from the beliefs and practices of Judaism of which they had knowledge as the result of contact with Jews in their community....

....If one insists on understanding the word 'last' in the expression 'the last trump' to mean that it will be absolutely the final trumpet, after which there will be no more trumpets, then there are certain things that Paul could not have meant by 'the last trump.'

For example, he could not have meant that the seventh trumpet of Revelation 11:15 or all seven trumpets of Revelation collectively are the last trump [of the Rapture to which Paul refers in 1 Cor 15:51]. There is more than one reason for this conclusion.

First, Jesus taught that a trumpet will be sounded in conjunction with His coming with His angels (Mt 24:29-31), and the chronological order of Revelation indicates that that coming will take place sometime after all seven trumpets of Revelation have been sounded. Thus, the trumpet associated with that coming of Christ will be sounded after the seven trumpets.

Second, Zechariah 14:16-19 indicates that the Feast of Tabernacles will be observed each year throughout the Millennium, and the Feast of Tabernacles involves the sounding of trumpets. The Millennium will begin after the seven trumpets of Revelation, meaning that the trumpets of the Feast of Tabernacles during the Millennium will take place after the seven trumpets of Revelation.

Third, the Book of the Revelation, which records God's revelation concerning all seven trumpets, was not written until several decades after Paul wrote 1 Corinthians with his statement about the last trump. As a result, the Corinthians would not have known about the seventh trumpet of Revelation 11:15 or all seven trumpets of Revelation. Thus, they could not have identified the last trump with any or all of those seven trumpets. By contrast, we noted earlier that the Corinthians must have already known the identification of the last trump when they received 1 Corinthians, which means that when Paul wrote about the last trump in 1 Corinthians 15:52, he could not have been referring to any or all of the seven trumpets of Revelation. In conjunction with this, J. R. Caldwell wrote, 'It would have been manifestly absurd for the apostle to refer in a letter to the Corinthian church to prophecies not yet uttered, and to a book not yet written.'

Fourth, Paul could not have meant all seven trumpets (plural) of Revelation collectively because in 1 Corinthians 15:52 and its parallel passage, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, Paul referred to only one trumpet (singular).

If we insist that the last trump of 1 Corinthians 15:52 will be the absolutely final trumpet, after which there will be no more trumpets, Paul could not have been referring to the trumpet that Christ taught will be sounded in conjunction with His coming with His angels after the Tribulation period (Mt 24:29-31) because, as noted above, trumpets will be sounded in conjunction with the Feast of Tabernacles each year throughout the Millennium. Since Christ's coming with His angels will take place before the Millennium begins, there will be many trumpets sounded throughout the Millennium after the trumpet associated with that coming."

In the Jewish customs and traditions, the "last trump" is a Jewish idiom for Rosh Hashanna. And, Paul being a Jew would know precisely what this Jewish idiom meant. Paul knew that his audience would know as well. Therefore, in 1 Corinthians 15:52, when Paul says that we shall not all sleep, but at the "last trump" we shall all be changed, Paul was referring to Rosh Hashanna and not Yom Kippur as most, if not all, non pretribulationists claim.

The phrase "last trump" is a Jewish Idiom for Rosh Hashanna! Which, in Jewish literature, is shown to occur on Tishrei 1. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ, or in other words Yom Kippur, occurs on Tishrei 10. Rosh Hashanna lasts for two days and Yom Kippur lasts for one day. We are forced to see a separation between these two days of 7 days that separate Rosh Hashanna and Yom Kippur!

[This seven days corresponds to the 7 year Tribulation Period of Days of Awe]

There is no way around this! To make this point even more astounding is to take a look at the current month of March. There are 31 days in this month. March 1 is a Saturday and March 10 is a Monday! There is no way that you can mix these two days and say they are the very same day. That is virtually impossible to do, unless, you change the calendar. Conversely, the only way to make Rosh Hashanna and Yom Kippur the very same day is to change the Bible!

Secondly, Rosh Hashanna represents the call for repentance and judgment. Rosh Hashanna is also known as the Unknown Day and Hour Feast.

The words of Jesus in Matthew 24:36 ring a bell on this point of Rosh Hashanna.

[Mt 24:36]:

"No one know about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

Thirdly, Rosh Hashanna always occurs before the Days of Awe. In view of end time Bible prophecy events in the New Testament, we should see that the Bible is true and correct and that the Bible supports itself in Scripture interpretation.

Rosh Hashanna has another name: the Day of the Awakening Blast!

In the New Testament, When Paul said that the Dead in Christ shall rise first, he was referring to the dead in Christ who will be awakened in their graves and arise from their graves with the Awakening Blast in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 with the Trump of God.

Then, we, who are alive and remain, are changed at the last trump. The Last trump which ends Rosh Hashanna, not Yom Kippur, (1 Corinthians 15:52).

Then the Days of Awe occur. This is a time of great trouble and distress, (Matthew 24:4-30, Revelation Chapters 6-18). Matthew 24:4-14 represents the first 3 1/2 years of the 70th Week of Daniel. Matthew 24:15-30 represents the last 3 1/2 years of the 70th Week of Daniel. So, We have 7 years of Tribulation. In other words, 7 years of great trouble and distress.

Then, We have the Second Coming of Jesus Christ on the Day of Yom Kippur, (Matthew 24:29-31). This day is initiated by the Shofar of HaGadol (Great Trumpet), which is not the same trumpet as the last trump in 1 Corinthians 15:52.

People, today, who say that the Rapture teaching did not come about until the 1800's do not see the picture of this in the Old Testament. A study of the Torah and Jewish customs and traditions corroborates this.

4) THE LAST TRUMP = THE LAST TRUMP OF A PARTICULAR SERIES OF TRUMPETS

[Showers, cont.]

"It could be that when Paul referred to the last trump, he did not mean that it will be the absolutely final trumpet, after which there will be no more trumpets. In conjunction with this, Henry Alford warned that the meaning of the word 'last' in the expression 'the last trump' should not be pressed too closely as if there were necessarily no trump after it.' Several uses of trumpets in the ancient world, together with the context of Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians 15:52, make possible other meanings of the expression 'the last trump.'

...In ancient times, a trumpet was sounded when God called His people together for an assembly where He was present in a unique sense. An excellent example of this is found in Exodus 19:10-20 when a trumpet sounded to call the people of Israel together around the base of Mount Sinai to meet with God when He came down to that mountain.

It is interesting to note that the Romans had a similar use of the trumpet. A trumpet sounded the classicum, the call that summoned citizens together for an assembly where the emperor was present. Because of its function, the classicum was known as 'the Emperor's trumpet-call.'

The trumpet also was used in ancient times to terrify an enemy or issue a warning of coming danger or judgment. Biblical examples of this use are found in Jeremiah 4:19-21; 6:1; Ezekiel 33:3-6; and Amos 3:6.

Concerning items from the context of 1 Corinthians 15, we should note several things. First, the primary subject of 1 Corinthians 15 is the bodily resurrection of the dead and the defeat of death.

Second, in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul referred to three 'last' things: the last enemy to be destroyed or abolished (death, v. 26), the last Adam (Christ, v. 45), and the last trump (v. 52).

Third, much of 1 Corinthians 15 is characterized by contrasts. Paul contrasted corruption and incorruption, dishonor and glory, weakness and power, the natural body and the spiritual body, earthly and heavenly, mortal and immortality, and the first Adam and the last Adam. Most, if not all, of these contrasts are related to the contrast between physical death and bodily resurrection. For example, in the contrast between the first Adam and the last Adam, Paul emphasized that physical death came through the first Adam, but victory over death by means of bodily resurrection or transformation will come through the last Adam, Christ (vv. 20-22, 45, 54, 57).

Fourth, in 1 Corinthians 15:56 Paul indicated that death is caused by sin (cp. Rom. 5:12-19) and that the strength of death-causing sin was the law that God gave at Mount Sinai (cp. Rom. 4:15; 5:13, 20; 7:7-13)...

...in 1 Corinthians, Paul demonstrated the association between New Testament truth and Israel's seven holy seasons found in Leviticus 23. For example, in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 Paul associated Christ's death and the sinlessness of His blood offering with Israel's Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. In 1 Corinthians 15:20-24 he tied Christ's resurrection to the Feast of Firstfruits.

...Paul [then] in 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 connected the Rapture of the church with the Feast of Trumpets.

[Arnold Fructhenbaum is quoted here, ("A Review of the Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church"; Tustin, Ca; Ariel Ministeries, p. 58)

'''The "last trump" refers to the Feast of Trumpets and the Jewish practice of blowing trumpets at this feast each year. During the ceremony, there is a series of short trumpet blasts of various lengths, concluding with the longest blast of all, called the tekiah gedolah: the great, or "last trump." Judaism connected this last trump with the resurrection of the dead, and so does Paul. So, Paul's point here is that the Rapture will be the fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets.'''

...Paul had already taught the Corinthians about the seven holy seasons of Israel before he wrote 1 Corinthians. The fact that Paul referred to several of those seasons in 1 Corinthians without explaining them indicates that the Corinthians already knew about them. Thus, they would have known about this last trump of the Feast of Trumpets and its association with the bodily resurrection of the dead...

...the fulfillment of Israel's seven holy seasons of Leviticus 23 takes place in the order in which those seasons occur. He pointed out that the Feast of Trumpets occurs before the Day of Atonement, Israel's day of affliction of soul and national atonement. He claimed that the Day of Atonement will [Fructhenbaum, cont.]: '''be fulfilled by the seven years of Tribulation, during which Israel will suffer affliction leading to her national repentance and restoration.''' In light of this Tribulation fulfillment of the Day of Atonement.. since the Feast of Trumpets will be fulfilled by the Rapture of the church, the Rapture of the church will occur before the seven year Tribulation period."

IV) [1 Thes 4:16-18 cont.]:

(v. 16) "For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God and the dead in Christ will rise first.

(v. 17) After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

(v. 18) Therefore encourage each other with these words."

C) "WE WHO ARE STILL ALIVE AND ARE LEFT WILL BE CAUGHT UP TOGETHER IN THE CLOUDS TO MEET THE LORD IN THE AIR"

[Showers, op. cit. 198-199]:

"In verses 16 and 17 [of 1 Thes 4] Paul taught that when Christ comes from heaven to rapture [=from the Latin 'rapturo' as translated from the original Greek: harpagesometha = shall be caught away] the church, the dead church saints will be resurrected and then caught up together with the living church saints to meet Christ in the air."

D) "SHALL BE CAUGHT UP TOGETHER IN THE CLOUDS TO MEET THE LORD IN THE AIR." = TO BE RESCUED BY GOD FROM THE DANGER OF THE ENTIRE 7 YEAR TRIBULATION PERIOD

"caught up" = "harpagesometha" = "rapturo", (Latin Vulgate) = rapture (English).

[Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, W. E. Vine, Fleming H. Revell Co., Old Tappan, N.J., 1981, p. 174]:

"HARPAZO to snatch or catch away, is said of the act of the Spirit of the Lord in regard to Philip in Acts 8:39; of Paul in being caught up to Paradise, 2 Cor 12:2; of the Rapture of the saints at the return of the Lord, 1 Thes 4:17; of the rapture of the man child in the vision of Rev. 12:5. This verb conveys the idea of force suddenly exercised [and in the Bible it is always done by God]."

[Showers, cont.]:

"Three things should be noted concerning the verb translated 'shall be caught up.'

First, the verb means to 'snatch' or 'take away'. In this instance, Paul used it for Christ's snatching up or taking away of church saints from the earth to Himself in the air (v. 17).

Second. sometimes it was used 'of rescue from a threatening danger' (for example, Jude 23).

Third, whenever it was used for divine activity, it was 'always expressing the mighty operation of God.' On this occasion Paul used it for Christ's might act of catching up all church saints from the earth to the air.

In all three of these details, this verb is basically parallel with the verb form translated 'delivered' in 1 Thessalonians 1:10....

1) [1 Thes 1:8-10]:

(v. 8) "The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia - your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it.

(v. 9) for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,

(v. 10) and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead - Jesus, Who rescues [i.e., "ruomenon" = part. noun, accus, sing., masc. = the One Who delivers] us from the coming wrath."

[Showers, cont.]:

"...As we noted earlier, that verb form [='caught up' in 1 Thes 4:17] means 'to draw or snatch out to oneself;' it normally referred to deliverance from some evil, or enemy and indicated deliverance by a might act of power.

Conclusion. The threefold parallelism just observed, together with the two things noted in conjunction with the sorrow of the Thessalonian saints*** , prompts the conclusion that 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1:10 refer to the same future event - Christ's coming from heaven to snatch out the church saints from the earth to Himself, thereby preventing them from entering the threatening danger of the Tribulation with its intense outpouring of God's wrath. Thus, both passages refer to the Rapture of the church before God's wrath of the Tribulation begins. Therefore, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 indicates the church saints will have no relationship to this future wrath of God."

2) [Compare 1 Thes 5:9-10]:

(v. 9) "For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(v. 10) He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him."

[Showers, cont.]:

"We should note that the language of 1 Thessalonians 5:10-11 is parallel to the Rapture language of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 in three points.

First, as we say earlier, the language of 5:10 concerning dead church saints living physically with Christ implies physical resurrection for them, and 1 Thessalonians 4:16 specifically refers to the physical resurrection of dead church saints at the Rapture.

Second, 1 Thessalonians 5:10 indicates that living and dead church saints will live together with Christ at the same time and in the same place, and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 teaches that at the Rapture living and dead church saints will be caught up together at the same time to meet Christ in the same place and, as a result, will always be with Him.

Third, in 1 Thessalonians 5:10 church saints are commanded to continuously comfort and edify one another with the truth of their destiny of living with Christ instead of experiencing the Day of the LORD wrath. In 1 Thessalonians 4:18 church saints are commanded to continuously comfort one another with the truth of their destiny of being raptured to be with Christ.

In addition, we should observe that both 1 Thessalonians passages are parallel to John 14:2-3, which... refers to a future coming of Christ in which He will receive His believers to Himself so that they can be where He is...

Conclusion

In light of the parallelism just observed and the fact that... ...Paul exhorted church saints to be continuously alert [1 Thess 5:6] or on the watch for Christ to come at any moment, it appears that it will be through the Rapture that church saints will experience their destiny of living together with Christ and being saved from the Day of the LORD wrath by being removed from the earth in the Rapture before the wrathful first phase of the broad Day of the LORD begins."

3) [Compare Rev 3:9-10]:

(v. 9) "I [Jesus, (v. 7)] will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars - I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you

[and continuing the thought]:

(v. 10a) since you have kept My command top endure patiently.

[Then a new thought begins which refers to the church saints not being subject to the wrath of the Tribulation period]:

(v. 10b) I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth."

[Robert Wilkin, (Grace Evangelical Society, Irving, Tx, states in a 8/18/90 email]:

"The verse is not punctuated properly. (The original Greek had no punctuation at all). The words 'because you have kept My command to persevere' are actually the end of verse 9. Jesus has loved them because they kept His command... Verse 10 should begin with the new thought, 'I also will keep you...' The Rapture is guaranteed of all believers. See 1 Thes 5:10."

V) [1 Thes 4:17-18]:

(v. 17) After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

(v. 18) Therefore encourage each other with these words."

"Therefore encourage each other with these words." = These words which describe our Lord's coming for His own indeed are encouraging words especially in the light of the imminency of this grand event:

A) THE COMING OF THE LORD TO CATCH UP HIS SAINTS IS IMMINENT

[Showers, cont. p. 128-142]:

1) INTRODUCTION

"In light of the meaning of the term 'imminent' and the fact that the next coming of Christ has not happened yet, we can conclude that the concept of the imminent coming of Christ is that His next coming is always hanging overhead, is constantly ready to befall or overtake us, is always close at hand in the sense that it could happen at any moment. Other things may happen before Christ's coming, but nothing else must happen before it takes place. If something else must happen before it can take place, then it is not imminent. The necessity of something else taking place first destroys the concept of the imminent coming of Christ.

Because we do not know exactly when Christ will come, three things are true. First, we cannot count on a certain amount of time transpiring before Christ's coming; therefore we should always be prepared for that event to happen at any moment. Second, we cannot legitimately set a date for Christ's coming. Third, we cannot legitimately say that Christ's coming will happen soon. Again, it may happen soon, but it does not have to in order to be imminent.

Christians should have an expectant attitude toward Christ's coming. Since it is imminent and therefore could happen at any moment, believers should constantly look forward to, look out for, or wait for that event.

2) THE NEW TESTAMENT SUPPORTS THE IMMINENT COMING OF CHRIST

[Showers, cont.]:

a) [1 Cor 1:7]:

"Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed."

Notice that believers are in view - believers of the first century church who "eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed", i.e., a concept of our Lord's appearance being eagerly expected at any time being in view.

b) [1 Cor 4:5]:

"Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive His praise from God."

Notice that the Corinthians of the first century church were told to wait till the Lord comes, obviously in their time: an expectation of our Lord coming at anytime, in their time. No other event mentioned as having to occur before this.

c) [1 Cor 15:51-52]:

(v. 51) "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed -

(v. 52) in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."

Notice again Paul's expectation of the possibility that he would not necessarily die before he is changed into an imperishable being, which necessitates a view of imminency of our Lord's return to do just that at anytime within Paul's lifetime - nothing else thus having to happen before that.

d) [1 Cor 16:22]:

"If anyone does not love the Lord - a curse be on him. Maranatha."

[Showers, op. cit., p. 130]:

"The significant part of this statement in relationship to Christ's coming is the term 'Maranatha,' which was one of several 'eschatological statements concerning Christ's coming...within the framework of early Christian tradition.' It was distinctive among these statements because it was an Aramaic expression. It had the form of a petition. The Didache (10.6), an ancient Christian manual of worship, used this petition in statements that were to be made at the end of the communion service. This usage helps to clarify the meaning of this expression, especially in light of Paul's reference to the future coming of Christ in conjunction with the observance of communion:

e) [Compare 1 Cor 11:26]:

"For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes."

[Showers, cont.]:

"The term 'Maranatha' consists of three Aramaic words: 'Mar" ('Lord'), 'ana' ('our'), and 'tha' ('come'); thus, the entire term meant 'our Lord, come.' [i.e.,] ....practically equivalent to the expression 'The Lord is at hand'....

The term 'Maranatha' must have expressed a sentiment that the early Church regarded as supremely important, else it would never have been taken over in this way by the Greek-speaking Christians.

It would appear, then, that the fixed usage of the term 'Maranatha' by the early Christians was a witness to their strong belief in the imminent return of Christ. If they knew that Christ could not return at any moment because of other events or a time period that had to transpire first, why did they petition Him in a way that implied that He could come at any moment?"

f) [Compare Phil 3:20]:

"But our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ"

[Showers, op. cit., p. 131]:

"The compound word translated 'look for' implies disregard of other things and concentration on one object.'

This implies an imminent event - something that is looked to "eagerly".

g) [Compare Phil 4:5]:

"Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near."

The strongest possibility here would be that the Lord's return is imminent rather than He is always present in the lives of believers The latter possibility is certainly an important point to consider in the daily lives of believers; but it is not immediately in view because the context of our Lord's imminent return has just been developed and expounded upon in 3:20-4:1: The fact that a believer is a citizen of heaven and that he awaits our Lord's imminent return such that the believer's transformation into a body that will "be like His glorious body" is immediately in view. This is carried over to the rest of chapter 4 which continues believers to lead righteous lives in view of our Lord's imminent return just presented.

h) [1 Thes 1:9b-10]:

(v. 9b) "They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,

(v. 10) And to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead - Jesus, Who rescues us from the coming wrath."

The phrase "to wait for" in this context includes a confidence due to the assumption that those addressed were indeed waiting; and an imminency of such return for the Thessalonians are told to wait for our Lord's return in their life times - otherwise why wait if you will die beforehand? Note that being rescued from the coming wrath is a benefit of this return. More specifically, being rescued from the coming wrath of the Tribulation via being taken out of the scenario where that wrath occurs is supported here, and certainly not ruled out, i.e., the pretrib rapture into heaven.

[Showers, cont.]:

"The Thessalonian believers are pictured as waiting for the return of Christ. The clear implication is that they had a hope of His imminent return [in their lifetimes]. If they had been taught that the Great Tribulation, in whole or in part, must first run its course, it is difficult to see how they would be described as expectantly awaiting Christ's return. Then they should rather have been described as bracing themselves for the Great Tribulation and the painful events connected with it. [Some to be martyred, some protected, some to fall prey to it = all to be subjected to it and experience it in some horrible way, if only to view it firsthand, the horrors, deaths, disease, agonies, murders, treachery, deceit, betrayal, unbridled sin, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc., etc.]"

i) [Titus 2:13]:

"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ."

[Showers, cont.]:

"The word translated 'looking' has the sense of 'to await' and is 'used of the subject of Christian expectation.'...

[Note that the word "hope" is translated from the Greek word "Elpida" which means a sure hope, a sure expectation. Such hope is described in this verse as a "blessed" one; one which, by definition, would not have in view the terrible events of the Tribulation such as billions of people dying in violent, diseased or natural disaster deaths; unbridled acts of sin including mass persecution murders and wars such as the world has never seen; unparalleled worldwide natural disasters such as famines, multiple earthquakes, volcanoes, loss of drinking water from corner to corner on the planet, etc. etc.]

In the New Testament hope does not indicate merely what is wished for but what is assured.

Paul described this particular hope as 'blessed.' In the New Testament this word 'refers overwhelmingly to the distinctive religious joy which accrues to man from his share in the salvation of the kingdom of God.'

According to the Greek text, the expression 'the glorious appearing' should be translated 'appearing of the glory.' The full expression 'the appearing of the glory of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ' does not refer to some event separate from the blessed hope. Instead, it describes the event that is that hope. Thus, the Christians' hope is the appearing of the divine glory that belongs to God and Christ. Surely Christians will see that glory in Christ when He comes to rapture the church.

In light of these observation, we can conclude that in the context of Titus 1 Paul was saying the following in verse 13: Grace [vv. 11-13] is teaching Christians to live sober, righteous, godly lives in this present age in conjunction with their expectant waiting for the appearing of the divine glory in Christ when He comes to rapture the church. The assurance of that appearing is a source of great joy to Christians because that appearing will bring incredibly happy changes for them, such as the loss of their sin nature and the reception of an immortal body....

Why should Christians always be prepared for Christ's coming, unless that coming could take place at any moment?"

j) [Compare Jas 5:7-9]:

(v. 7) "Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.

(v. 8) You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming has drawn near.

(v. 9) Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing [lit. has stood, perfect tense, i.e., has been standing] at the door!"

[Zane C. Hodges states, ("The Epistle of James", Grace Evangelical Society, Irving, Texas, 1994, pp. 17-18)]:

"James refers to his readers as his brethren, not because they are fellow Jews but because they have been born from above, brought...forth by the word of truth (1:18; cf. Acts 9:30; 10:23, etc.)...

James addresses an audience whom he calls the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad. If we are right in thinking that this epistle was written to Jewish Christians not long after the first persecution of the church in Jerusalem (ca. A.D. 35...), the addressees are the true twelve tribes because their hearts have been circumcised by faith (Col 2:11-12).

In this light, the reference to the readers being scattered abroad (Greek: en te diaspora, 'in the dispersion') does not refer to the Diaspora, i.e., to the dispersion of ethnic Jews all over the Roman world that took place centuries earlier. Instead, it refers to the scattering of Jewish believers in the persecution that followed the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 8:1)."

[Showers, cont.]:

"The Greek verbs translated ['has drawn near'] (v. 8) and ['stands at the door', lit. 'has stood', i.e., 'has been standing'] (v. 9) are in the perfect tense and indicative mood, meaning that each of these verbs refers to an action that was completed before James wrote his epistle and that continues on in that completed state. The implication is that Christ's coming drew near before James wrote his epistle, and His coming continues to be near. In addition, Christ as judge began to stand before the door before James wrote his epistle, and Christ as judge continues to stand before the door. In other words, Christ's coming was imminent in New Testament times and continues to be imminent. James wanted to impress his readers with the fact that Christ could come through the door at any moment and cause them as Christians to stand before Him at the Judgment Seat of Christ. He could do so today."

k) [1 John 2:28]:

"And now, dear children, abide in Him, so that when He appears we may be confident and unashamed before Him at His coming."

John is exhorting his 'dear children', i.e., believers to whom he was ministering, to live faithful lives in the Lord. And he commanded them to do this in the light of our Lord's appearance at His coming - in their lifetimes is a possibility which is in view - so that they may be 'confident and unashamed before Him.' If there were to be events that must occur before this particular Lord's coming such that thousands of years must go by and/or nearly 7 years of unimaginably devastating events - billions dying, often horribly - bodies lying in the streets, blood flowing like rivers do, unparalleled natural disasters, horrifying villainy by mankind to his fellow man, etc. - then this statement would certainly be lacking some kind of qualifying term. But no such statements are in the text, so the possibility of our Lord's return without such notable things must be the foremost possibility of what is meant in this passage.

l) [Rev 3:20; 22:7, 12, 20]:

"I am coming quickly"

"quickly" = "tachu" [not soon]

Considering the immediate audience who would be hearing the message within the time of its writing, imminency is in view because the message would make no sense, nor be truthful to that audience at that time if our Lord was conveying a message that there was no possibility that He could not come in their lifetimes at any time. He said, "I come quickly" to them at that time with no qualifiers that would indicate the necessity of any intervening events or time. This imminency likewise stands throughout the age also in the absence of any qualifiers that would affect future generations.

VII) CONCLUSION

A) A PRETRIBULATION RAPTURE WAS HELD TO BY AT LEAST SOME BELIEVERS DURING THE EARLY CHURCH AGE

[ http://www.according2prophecy.org/ancient.html ]

Ephraem of Nisibis (306-73) was claimed to have written and delivered a sermon on the subject of the pretribulation rapture. Today it is called Pseudo-Ephraem due to it's unsure authorship. In spite of this, it prompted many during the early church years to consider the pretribulation rapture as biblical in view of the passages referred to.

Once the content was seriously considered in the light of the Scriptures it was accepted by many as biblical. The sermon was copied and widely distributed in Greek, Latin as well as Syriac throughout the early Christian world. It was even corrected and was continued to be distributed and taught throughout the early church period.

Here is an excerpt:

"For all the saints and Elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins."

The word "Pseudo" (Greek for false) is a prefix attached by scholars to the name of a famous historical person or book of the Bible when one writes using that name. Pseudo-Ephraem claims that the sermon was written by Ephraem of Nisibis (306-73), considered to be the greatest figure in the history of the Syrian church, but this in not well enough verified, so it is called Pseudo-Ephraem.

The sermon consists of just under 1500 words, divided into ten sections and has been preserved in four Latin manuscripts. Three of these date from the eighth century and ascribe the sermon to Ephraem. A fourth manuscript from the ninth century, claims not Ephraem, but Isidore of Seville (d. 636) as author. Additionally, there are three subsequent Greek and Syriac versions of the sermon which have raised questions regarding the language of the original manuscript. On the basis of lexical analysis and study of the biblical citations within the sermon with Latin, Greek, and Syriac versions of the Bible, Alexander believed it most probable that the homily was composed in Syriac, translated first into Greek, and then into Latin from the Greek. Regardless of the original language, the vocabulary and style of the extant copies are consistent with the writings of Ephraem and his era. It appears likely that the sermon was written near the time of Ephraem and underwent slight change during subsequent coping.

What is most significant for present-day readers is the fact that the sermon was popular enough to be translated into several languages fairly soon after its composition. The significance of the sermon for us today is that it represents a prophetic view of a pre-trib rapture within the orthodox circles of its day.

The sermon is built around the three themes of the title, On the Last Times, the Antichrist, and the End of the World and proceeds chronologically. The fact that the pre-trib statement occurs in section 2, while the Antichrist and tribulation are developed throughout the middle sections, followed by Christ's second coming to the earth in the final section supports a pre-trib sequence. This characteristic of the sermon fits the first criteria outlined by William Bell, namely "that Christ's second coming was to consist of more than one phase, separated by an interval of years." Thus, phase one is the rapture statement from section 2; the interval of 3 1/2 years, 42 months, and 1,260 days, said to be the tribulation in sections 7 and 8; the second phase of Christ's return is noted in section 10 and said to take place "when the three and a half years have been completed."

1) Section 2 of the sermon begins with a statement about imminency: "We ought to understand thoroughly therefore, my brothers, what is imminent [Latin "immineat"] or overhanging."18 This is similar to the modern pre-trib view of imminency and considering the subsequent rapture statements supports a pre-trib scenario.

2) As I break down the rapture statement, notice the following observations: "All the saints and elect of God are gathered . . ." Gathered where? A later clause says they "are taken to the Lord." Where is the Lord? Earlier in the paragraph the sermon speaks of "the meeting of the Lord Christ, so that he may draw us from the confusion. . ."

Thus the movement is from the earth toward the Lord who is apparently in heaven. Once again, in conformity to a translation scenario found in the pre-trib teaching.

The next phrase says that the gathering takes place "prior to the tribulation that is to come. . ." so we see that the event is pretribulational and the tribulation is future to the time in which Pseudo-Ephraem wrote. The purpose for the gathering was so that they would not "see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of their sins." Here we have the purpose of the tribulation judgments stated and that was to be a time of judgment upon the world because of their sin, thus, the church was to be taken out.

3) Finally, the Byzantine scholar Paul Alexander clearly believed that Pseudo-Ephraem was teaching what we call today a pre-trib rapture. According to Alexander, most Byzantine apocalypses were concerned with how Christians would survive the time of severe persecution by Antichrist. The normal approach given by other apocalyptic texts was a shortening of the time to three and a half years, enabling the survival of some Christians.19 Unlike those texts, this sermon has Christians being removed from the time of tribulation. Alexander observed:

It is probably no accident that Pseudo-Ephraem does not mention the shortening of the time intervals for the Antichrist's persecution, for if prior to it the Elect are 'taken to the Lord,' i.e., participate at least in some measure in beatitude, there is no need for further mitigating action on their behalf. The Gathering of the Elect according to Pseudo-Ephraem is an alternative to the shortening of the time intervals.

Conclusion

Regardless of what else the writer of this sermon believed, he did believe that all believers would be removed before the tribulation-a pre-trib rapture view. Thus, we have seen that those who have said that there was no one before 1830 who taught the pre-trib rapture position will have to revise their statements by well over 1,000 years. This statement does not prove the pre-trib position, only the Bible can do that, but it should change many people's historical views on the matter."

B) SUMMARY CHART OF RAPTURE VS THE SECOND COMING

RAPTURE SECOND COMING
At the time of the translation, the saints will meet the Lord in the air [1 Thes 4:13-18. Mount of Olives unchanged] At the time of the second coming, Christ will return to the Mount of Olives which on that occasion will undergo a great transformation, a valley being formed to the east of Jerusalem where the Mount of Olives was formerly located (Zech 14:4-5).
At the coming of Christ for the church, the living saints are translated..

[Believers are translated & are given immortal bodies (1 Cor 15:35-54; 1 Thes 3:13-18)]

At the coming of Christ to establish His kingdom, there is no translation whatever
At the translation of the church, Christ returns with the saints to heaven.

[Believers go from earth to heaven (Jn14:2-3; 1 Thes 4:13-18). Our Lord does not go to the surface of the earth]
At the Second Coming , Christ remains on the earth and reigns as King.

[Believers go from heaven to earth (Rev 19:11-21). Christ will meet tribulation saints and unbelievers on the surface of the earth (Mt 25:31-46; Rev 19:11-21; Zech 14:1-15). No mention of this translation & the immortal bodies happening in all of the passages that are clearly the Second Coming]

At the time of the translation, the earth is not judged and sin continues.

[Jn14:2-3; 1 Thes 4:13-18; 1 Cor15:35-57) - only church age believers will be judged relative to their divine good work production for rewards (2 Cor 5:10, 2 Cor 11-15) Concerns only the saved]

At the time of the second coming, sin is judged and righteousness fills the earth.

[All mankind living at the time is judged
Judgment of the saved and the lost (Mt 25:31-46)
The translation is before the day of wrath from which the church is promised deliverance. (1 Thes 5:9; Rev 2:10) The Second Coming follows the great tribulation and outpoured judgment and brings them to climax and culmination in the establishment of the millennial kingdom.
The translation is described as an imminent event.
[The Rapture is an imminent event which will occur quickly (1 Cor 15:51-57; 1 Thes 4:13-18). No signs required first before the rapture occurs.]
The second coming will follow definite prophesied signs.

[Series of events that will take many hours
(Rev 19:11-21. Many signs as yet to be fulfilled (2 Thes 2:3-12; Mt 24:3-31; Rev 4:1-19:10)]
The translation of the church is revealed only in the New Testament. The Second Coming of Christ is the subject of prophecy in both Testaments.
The translation concerns only the saved of this age. The second coming of Christ deals with saved and unsaved.
At the translation, only those in Christ are affected. Satan's activity not changed At the second coming, not only men are affected but Satan is bound.

[Satan bound for 1000 years (Rev 20:1-3)]

C) THE PRETRIBULATION RAPTURE IS PICTURED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

OLD TESTAMENT TORAH
Rosh Hashanna Days of Awe Yom Kippur
Resurrection Tribulation Day of Atonement
NEW TESTAMENT ENDTIME BIBLE PROPHECY
PreTrib Rapture 70th Week of Daniel Second Coming
1 Thess 4:16-17 Daniel 9:27 Matthew 24:29-31

In the Jewish customs and traditions, the "last trump" is a Jewish idiom for Rosh Hashanna. And, Paul being a Jew would know precisely what this Jewish idiom meant. Paul knew that his audience would know as well. Therefore, in 1 Corinthians 15:52, when Paul says that we shall not all sleep, but at the "last trump" we shall all be changed, Paul was referring to Rosh Hashanna and not Yom Kippur as most, if not all, non pretribulationists claim.

The phrase "last trump" is a Jewish Idiom for Rosh Hashanna! Which, in Jewish literature, is shown to occur on Tishrei 1. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ, or in other words Yom Kippur, occurs on Tishrei 10. Rosh Hashanna lasts for two days and Yom Kippur lasts for one day. We are forced to see a separation between these two days of 7 days that separate Rosh Hashanna and Yom Kippur! There is no way around this! To make this point even more astounding is to take a look a the current month of March. There are 31 days in this month. March 1 is a Saturday and March 10 is a Monday! There is no way that you can mix these two days and say they are the very same day. That is virtually impossible to do, unless, you change the calendar. Conversely, the only way to make Rosh Hashanna and Yom Kippur the very same day is to change the Bible!

Secondly, Rosh Hashanna represents the call for repentance and judgment. Rosh Hashanna is also known as the Unknown Day and Hour Feast.

The words of Jesus in Matthew 24:36 ring a bell on this point of Rosh Hashanna.

[Mt 24:36]:

"No one know about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

Thirdly, Rosh Hashanna always occurs before the Days of Awe. IN view of end time Bible prophecy events in the New Testament, we should see that the Bible is true and correct and that the Bible supports itself in Scripture interpretation. Let us look at these two graphs one more time as follows. Rosh Hashanna has another name: the Day of the Awajebubg Blast!

In the New Testament, When Paul said that the Dead in Christ shall rise first, he was referring to the dead in Christ who will be awakened in their graves and arise from their graves with the Awakening Blast in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 with the Trump of God.

Then, we, who are alive and remain, are changed at the last trump. The Last trump which ends Rosh Hashanna, not Yom Kippur, (1 Corinthians 15:52).

Then the Days of Awe occur. This is a time of great trouble and distress, (Matthew 24:4-30, Revelation Chapters 6-18). Matthew 24:4-14 represents the first 3 1/2 years of the 70th Week of Daniel. Matthew 24:15-30 represents the last 3 1/2 years of the 70th Week of Daniel. So, We have 7 years of Tribulation. In other words, 7 years of great trouble and distress.

Then, We have the Second Coming of Jesus Christ on the Day of Yom Kippur, (Matthew 24:29-31). This day is initiated by the Shofar of HaGadol (Great Trumpet), which is not the same trumpet as the last trump in 1 Corinthians 15:52.

People, today, who say that the Rapture teaching did not come about until the 1800's do not see the picture of this in the Old Testament. A study of the Torah and Jewish customs and traditions corroborates this.