SIGNS TO WATCH FOR, PRIOR TO JESUS RETURN

Jesus does not teach a sign-less, imminent rapture. There are key discernible events/signs that must happen before Jesus returns for his church.

Jesus gave us due warning with signs/events that will occur prior to His return: 

  1. Israel will be reestablished – Jesus told the parable of the fig tree (Israel) when you see it sprouting (reborn). “So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.” Luke 21;31
  2. “False messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.Remember, I have told you ahead of time. Mark 13:21-22
  3.  “And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Matthew 24:6
  4. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:7
  5. There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth nations will be in distress, anxious over the roaring of the sea and the surging waves. People will be fainting from fear and from the expectation of what is coming on the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. “But when these things begin to happen, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
  6. “Now regarding the arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to be with him… Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, and as a result he takes his seat in God’s temple, displaying himself as God. Surely you recall that I used to tell you these things while I was still with you.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1–5
  7. “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and takes the mark on his forehead or his hand, that person will also drink of the wine of God’s anger that has been mixed undiluted in the cup of his wrath, and he will be tortured with fire and sulphur in front of the holy angels and in front of the Lamb… This requires the steadfast endurance of the saints—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to their faith in Jesus. Revelation 14:9–12
  8. So when you see the abomination of desolation–spoken about by Daniel the prophet—standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.

Sadly, much of the church has been deceived into believing a Pretribulation Rapture. The Bible clearly teaches in these Scriptures that the Saints will experience tribulation even great tribulation. However, the Bible also teaches the Saints will be raptured at the sixth seal before God pours out His wrath upon the earth in the trumpet and bowl judgements.

JESUS SECOND COMING

Does the Bible provide much information on Jesus’ Second Coming?

There is more prophetic evidence about Jesus’ second coming than any other prophetic event in the Bible. The end times is the most written-about subject in all of Scripture. There are over 150 chapters in the Bible in which the majority of the chapter is about the end times.  Most of the prophets spoke about the future “Day of the Lord” which relates to the events of Jesus’ coming. For more information go to Mike Bickle’s article entitled “150 Chapters on the End Times.” I can also recommend Nelson Walters book, Revelation Deciphered.

Why is it important that we study “end times” prophecies, particularly the Book of Revelation?

Studying what the Bible has to say about the future empowers us to be victorious in love and power during the most glorious and difficult time in history. It prepares us to actively participate under Jesus in the end-time events and to rightly interpret Jesus’ leadership in the coming global crisis instead of being offended by Him (Matthew 11:6). Studying the end times awakens urgency in us for intercession, knowing that our prayers may minimise evil and increase victory. Understanding end-time Scriptures strengthens our confidence in God’s sovereignty by knowing that He is in control and is never surprised (Joel 2:13-14; Zephaniah 2:3; Matthew 11:6, 24:4; Philippians 1:10; Revelation 12:11).

 How can we be confident that we are living in the “last days”?

There are many biblical trends that reveal “the season or generation” of His coming (Matthew 24:4-8). They include an increase of wickedness (Daniel 8:23, Revelation 14:9), apostasy in the church, the increase of knowledge (Daniel 12;4), emergence of global prayer (Isaiah 56:7), the great harvest from all nations (Matthew 24:14, Revelation 7:9).

Are we able to know the signs of the times?

Yes, Jesus commanded the people who lived in the generation of His return to know the signs (Matt. 24:32-4). Jesus rebuked those who did not heed the prophetic signs that pointed to His coming (Matt. 16:1-4; Luke 19:41-44). Prophetic signs serve the church in the same way that a weather station signals coming trouble so that people can prepare and save lives.

Can the signs of the times be understood?

Yes. The Scriptures on the end times and the signs of the times were written to be understood by all, since the majority of people throughout history have been uneducated peasants. The Scripture was written for them. Jesus and Paul emphasised the know-ability of the prophetic signs of the end times (Matt. 24:32-34, Luke 21:25-29, 1 Thess. 5:1-6, 2 Thess. 2:1-11). The lie is that we are not to know the times and seasons of His return (Acts 1:7-8).

How can we know when Jesus is coming if He says in Matthew 24:36 that “no one knows” the day or the hour? Jesus did not say we could not know the season or the conditions surrounding His coming. Neither did Jesus say that the church would not know the day and hour in the generation the Lord returns. We must seek the Father’s Word as to when this begins, because only the Father knows. God did not want to make the day and hour known in the early church, but Daniel and the apostle John made it clear that the Messiah would come exactly 1,260 days after the abomination of desolation (Dan. 7:25; 12:7; Rev. 11:2-3,12:6, 14; 13:5).

Will the church be on earth during the Tribulation and Great Tribulation spoken of by Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27)?

Yes. The church will absolutely be on the earth during six of the seven years of the Tribulation and Great Tribulation. However, the church will not experience the wrath of God, which is poured out in the trumpet and bowl judgements during the seventh year, prior to Jesus Second Coming to earth with the Saints who were raptured at the sixth seal. The last verse describing the events of the sixth seal announces “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who can stand? (Revelation 6:17). John then sees the resurrected and raptured saints (great multitude which no one could number of all nations, tribes and peoples and tongues standing before the throne and before the lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands.” (Revelation 7:9). This prior to the trumpet and bowl judgements being poured out on unrepentant mankind.

 The end times is the church’s finest hour, when miracles will occur and supernatural prophetic direction will be released. The miracles of Acts and Exodus will be multiplied and combined on a global level (Mic. 7:15). The victorious believer in Revelation 12:11 will overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony and the fact that they did not love their lives to the death.

 

Extracts from article by Mike Bickle: Answers the 100 most frequently asked questions about the End Times. Although I have taken a PreWrath Rapture position and I believe Mike Bickle takes the Post Tribulation position. He is the director of the International House of Prayer Missions Base of Kansas City, Missouri,

TENETS OF PREWRATH RAPTURE

As some of my followers will have determined, I hold to a Prewrath Rapture position. It means that Christians will go through the tribulation period outlined by Daniel and John in Revelation, but not be subjected to the wrath of God that is poured out during the trumpet and bowl judgements.

For those of you who would like to explore this position further, I can recommend the resources produced by Alan Kurschner – Antichrist: Before the Day of the Lord and Nelson Walters – Rapture Case Closed? both who hold to the Prewrath Rapture position.

Don’t forget you can find sermons and videos relevant for these “last days” available for download on my other website http://www.powerpointsermons.net

I found the following fifteen tenets of the Prewrath position as outlined on Alan Kurschner’s website a great help and I hope you do too.

  1. There is a future seven-year period, and at the midpoint the Antichrist will be revealed and commit the abomination of desolation, initiating his great tribulation against the Church and Israel.
  2. There is a biblical distinction between the Antichrist’s great tribulation against the Church and Israel and the day of the Lord’s wrath against the ungodly. The latter event happens after the former event.
  3. The gathering of the elect mentioned in Matthew 24:31 refers to the rapture (cf. Mark 13:27; Luke 21:28; Rev 7:9–17; 1 Thess 4:13–18; 2 Thess 2:1).
  4. At an unknown day and hour during the second half of the seven-year period, the Antichrist’s great tribulation will be cut short by the Revelation of Christ to resurrect and rapture God’s people, and this will be followed immediately by the day of the Lord’s wrath with the trumpet and bowl judgements.
  5. On the same day the rapture happens, the onset of the day of the Lord’s wrath takes place, just as it was in the days of Noah and Lot (Luke 17:22–37; cf. 2 Thess 1:5–10).
  6. The second coming (parousia) is not a simple (instantaneous) event. The second coming is a complex-whole event containing various purposes of God, beginning with the Revelation of Christ in the sky displaying his Shekinah glory and power to the whole world, and resurrecting and rapturing God’s people, followed by the day of the Lord’s judgments upon the ungodly and Antichrist’s kingdom, restoring Israel to salvation, and culminating in Christ’s earthly reign.
  7. Although Armageddon is an element within the complex-whole second coming, Armageddon does not initiate the second coming; instead, the second coming begins between the sixth and seventh seal.
  8. The resurrection and rapture happens between the opening of the sixth seal and the seventh seal.
  9. The first six seals are not part of the day of the Lord’s wrath. The first six seals are conditional events that must happen before Christ’s return.
  10. The sixth seal signals the impending day of the Lord’s wrath as recorded in Joel 2:30–31; Matthew 24:29; Luke 21:25–26; Mark 13:23–25; and Revelation 6:12–17.
  11. The seventh seal pronounces the day of the Lord’s wrath.
  12. The trumpets, bowls, and Armageddon contain and execute the day of the Lord’s wrath.
  13. The trumpets, bowls, and Armageddon will not occur before the seventh seal is opened.
  14. Paul’s “last trumpet” (1 Cor 15:52) is not the seventh trumpet judgment in the book of Revelation.
  15. Christ’s return to resurrect and rapture God’s people is not imminent (“any moment”), since discernible prophesied events must happen first (e.g., the Antichrist’s revelation and his ensuing great tribulation; the apostasy; coming of Elijah; and a cluster of discernible celestial events). Christ can return in any generation of the Church.

—Alan Kurschner, 08/01/12

EVENTS THAT WILL TAKE PLACE BEFORE JESUS RETURNS

“Now when they are saying, ‘There is peace and security,’ then sudden destruction comes on them, like labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will surely not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in the darkness for the day to overtake you like a thief would.” 1 Thess 5:3–4

Paul’s reassurance to the Thessalonians implies that they were anxious that they might not escape the day of the Lord and therefore endure God’s wrath. Paul confirms Christians will be raptured before God’s wrath is poured out on an unbelieving world. It is at the end of the sixth seal being opened that His wrath commences: “For the great day of His wrath has come who can stand.” (Rev. 6:17) The seven trumpet and seven bowl judgements are the wrath of God.

Note, Paul contrasts the ungodly, who will not escape because Christ is coming back as a thief for them (as in the days of Noah) , with believers who are obedient-vigilant and “not in the darkness for the day to overtake you like a thief would.” Incidentally, this reassuring promise undermines the pretribulational notion that Jesus is secretly coming back as a thief for his church.

During the Antichrist’s great tribulation, the world will experience peace and security for those who are loyal to him. Hence, Paul prophesies that the world will be saying, “There is peace and security” before Jesus returns to mete out His day of the Lord’s wrath upon the wicked.

The church will be here to witness the ungodly exclaiming that they are experiencing peace and safety. This prophecy that Paul mentions undermines imminence because it will happen before, not after, the rapture.

This is just another prophesied event in a long series of intervening events that will happen before the rapture—rendering the pretribulation teaching of imminence contradictory in light of this biblical evidence. [1]

The peace and safety will be illusory, a false security for unbelievers, because eventually unforeseen calamity will come upon them just as unexpected labour pains come upon a pregnant woman.

We should be careful not to confuse Paul’s use of the birth pangs analogy with Jesus’ purpose in using the same phrasing in the Olivet Discourse (“All these things are the beginning of birth pains,” Matt 24:8). Paul uses the phrase in a completely different application. Jesus applies the birth pangs metaphor to particular events before the .Antichrist’s great tribulation, while Paul applies it to the situation of the onset of the day of the Lord’s wrath  after the great tribulation.

For a more in depth coverage go to alankurschner.com – The Prophecy – “There is peace and security” contradicts Pretribulation Theology.

IMPORTANCE OF RAPTURE TIMING

Increasingly, this site will focus on prophesied end times as they unfold in our time. The aim, to equip believers to use prophecy in evangelism. As I have mentioned in previous posts, there are far more prophecies about Jesus Second Coming than there were about His First coming. All the OT prophets were given a picture of a restored Israel with Jesus (descendant of King David) ruling and reigning from Jerusalem.

Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Nehemiah, Zechariah, and Micah are all stand outs for me in providing us with pictures of future “end times” events. All through Isaiah we get snippets of Jesus ruling from Jerusalem. As early as Isaiah 2, we read “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be firmly established above other mountains, and exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares  and their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore”. Isaiah then goes on to paint a picture of The Day of the Lord when the Lord alone will be exalted on that day, everything proud and lofty, everything lifted up will be brought low.

As Nelson Walters states in this important video, the timing of the Rapture is not just a theological debate, its timing is critical, in terms of whether the church will face the tribulation, and even great tribulation outlined in Daniel’s 70th week. In the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21), Jesus gave His disciples and us, a lot of information about His Second Coming. He said, many times, WATCH, BE ALERT, for it will be like the days of Noah, they will be eating, sleeping etc and suddenly, He will appear in the clouds with the angels and every eye will see Him, believers will be taken up, but most look for rocks to hide under. God then pours out His wrath upon the unrepentant in the Trumpet and Bowl Judgements.