The Rapture of the Church and the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ

Dear Friends,                                                            

We are exhorted throughout Scripture to look forward to the second coming of Jesus Christ (e.g., 2 Timothy 4:6-8; Titus 2:11–14; Revelation 22:20) and the establishment of His millennial kingdom on earth (Revelation 20:1-10) followed by the eternal state, the new heavens and the new earth seen in Revelation 21 and 22. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for missing the signs for His first coming (109 Old Testament prophecies about Jesus’ first coming were fulfilled in His life, ministry, death and resurrection) and He later responded to the apostles’ request to know the signs of His second coming in what is known as the Olivet Discourse seen in Matthew 24:4-31 and parallel passages in the other Gospels. In order to help you “set your mind on things above” (Colossians 3:2) I recommend a book by Dr. Mark Hitchcock entitled The End. Dr. Hitchcock teaches a pre-tribulation Rapture and pre-millennialism which is reflected in my teaching. In this letter I will share with you from one of his chapters on the five major signs regarding the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Note: these five signs point to and alert us to the nearness of the seven-year tribulation period which ends with the battle of Armageddon and the second coming of Jesus Christ all of which will be preceded by the Rapture of the church which is an imminent, sign-less event that could occur at any moment. The sign-less event of the Rapture is likened to Thanksgiving versus Christmas. When retailers begin to display Christmas decorations in early to mid-November we know that Thanksgiving will come beforehand even though there are no signs for it (or advertisement of it). Thus since the signs of Jesus second coming are in place and the Rapture is imminent we are exhorted to be assured of our salvation (and thus not be left behind at the Rapture) and also to be ready to meet the Lord Jesus as believers at the judgment seat of Christ to receive (or lose) rewards for our works of service done for His glory. (See 1 John 3:2-3 and 1 Corinthians 3:10-15.) Now for the five signs: 

                                                                                                                                                           1. The regathering of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland – This is the most prophesied event regarding end time passages in the entire Bible and is often called the “supersign” of the end times. (See Jeremiah 30:1–5; Ezekiel 34:11–24; Ezekiel 37; Zachariah 10:6–10.) In other words, Jesus Christ could not return until the Jewish people formed the state of Israel in 1948 (which is a modern day miracle considering they were scattered all over the world for 2000+ years and kept their identity and even the Hebrew language) and furthermore Jesus Christ will not return until the Jewish people as a nation (the remnant in the nation near the end of the tribulation) acknowledge Him as their Messiah. For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’” (Matthew 23:39) Here Jesus is speaking to the religious leaders that represent the nation of Israel which has rejected Him as their King and Messiah and stating that His second coming will not occur until they (Israel as a nation) receive Him as their Savior and King. (Zechariah 12:10–14; 13:8–9; Romans 11:26)                                                                            

2. Surging Apostasy – Apostasy (“to fall away”) means a departure from biblical truth both doctrinally and morally.  It does not mean that the apostate actually possessed the truth (i.e., was saved, born-again).  Rather, it is a departure from a truth they professed to have because of an affiliation with a particular church. “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.” (Matthew 24:24; Also see 2 Thessalonians 2:3;1 Timothy 4:1–3; 2 Timothy 3:1–9, 13; Jude 1:1–16.) One blatant and sad example of the depth of apostasy today is that many mainline denominations of the church are ordaining open, non-celibate homosexuals to the pastorate. Also due to the internet and cable T.V. there is a plethora of false teachers, false prophets, and false Christs. (Acts 17:11)  

3. The worldwide clamoring for a peace treaty in the Middle East – The ongoing hostilities in the Middle East and the constant clamoring for a peace treaty is setting the stage for the final covenant of peace between the Antichrist and Israel predicted in the Bible. Hitchcock says, “The event that signals the beginning of the seven-year tribulation is the signing of a peace treaty between the leader of the Western Confederacy (the Antichrist) and the nation of Israel.” Many Bible scholars think this will happen immediately after the church is raptured when the world is in chaos and looking for a leader to bring economic stability and world peace. Daniel’s prophecy in Daniel 9:27 says, “The ruler (Antichrist) will make a treaty with the people (Israel) for a period of one set of seven (seven years) but after half this time (at the midpoint of the tribulation), he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings. And as a climax to all his terrible deeds, he will set up (in the tribulation temple) a sacrilegious object (an image of himself and declare himself to be God) that causes desecration, until the fate decreed for this defiler is finally poured out on him.” (Jesus casts him into the lake of fire. See Revelation 19:20)                                                      

4. Reuniting of the Roman Empire – Dr. Hitchcock says,As the end times begin to unfold, global alliances will emerge as nations scramble for political power and dwindling economic resources. Many interpreters of biblical prophecies believe that the European Union will fulfill this predicted alliance of nations.” “The E.U. incorporates much of the land formerly held by the Roman Empire. It is, therefore, properly considered to be the revived Roman Empire. The Antichrist likely will rule the European Union and seek to rule the world. That is, the Antichrist’s base will be the European Union.” In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay.” (Daniel 2:41) “The ten toes may represent the ten divisions of the world which will come from the Antichrist’s government in the E.U., as ten toes come from feet.” 28.html                                

5. Globalism – Hitchcock says, “Ever since Genesis 10–11 when Satan ruled the world through one man named Nimrod, Satan’s goal has been to get the world together again so he can rule it all. World history bears out this pattern. It’s the record of one person after another trying to rule the world. Now for the first time in history since Genesis 11 and the Tower of Babel, globalization is within man’s (and Satan’s) reach. It is most significant that in the 21st-century not only does a need for a world government exist, but the technology for establishing such a government is now in our hands. The increasing availability of nuclear weapons, the propaganda power of the world media, and the blackmail power of international economic agreements and embargoes will make it possible for a world dictator to seize control (economic and military) that would’ve been impossible in any previous generation.”  Revelation 13 speaks of the military and economic power of Antichrist. “And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast (Antichrist); they worshiped the dragon (Satan) because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17 and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.” (Revelation 13:3-4, 16-17)

                                                                                                                                            “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day (of His return) approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25) “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”  (Revelation 22:20)                                

Len and Kristen

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