Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Gap Theory

A question that often comes up when discussing the rapture of the church, if you hold to the pre-tribulation rapture position, concerns how much time may there be between the rapture and the beginning of the tribulation? Many people believe there is no gap, and that the tribulation begins right after the rapture takes place, while others feel there may be some time between the two events. Personally, I am not too sure there is any way to know the answer to that precisely, but it's possible there are clues to be found in scripture.

We looked last week at the story of Noah and the circumstances surrounding his following the command of God to enter. We saw there was a period of seven days that separated his entering the ark with the beginning of the rain that fell for forty days and forty nights. If we consider the entering of the ark and the closing of the door to be a picture of the rapture of the church, could it be that this is a clue that there might be a little gap of time between the rapture and the tribulation?

Another possible clue might be found by examining some of the specific circumstances the Bible tells us will occur during the tribulation, and consider if the rapture might well be the event that produces the environment needed to force the world to make the moves we are told will occur. If you remember what we discussed last week, you will recall the following passage.

For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, Matthew 24:38 NKJV

We mentioned the fact that according to this verse, life on earth changed on the day Noah entered the ark. I don't believe anyone would care to argue that life on this earth will change dramatically immediately after the rapture. One of the biggest questions one might have is how will the governments of the world react to this event, especially in the area of enforcing peace in what will most assuredly be chaos?

When the Bible talks about government during the tribulation period, it tells us a couple of things. In Daniel 7 we see described a time when the world will be divided into 10 "kingdoms". The word for kingdom used here is "malkuw" which can be translated "realm" (of territory). So in essence Daniel is saying that during the tribulation the world will be divided into ten distinct regions or territories.

In Revelation 13 we are told that during the tribulation, the coming world leader will amass so much power that all the nations (the ten territories) will give their allegiance to him, thus establishing a one world government. Looking at both of these prophecies makes one seriously question the possibility the entire world could even talk about a one world government, much less agree to it if the period of time between the rapture and the beginning of the tribulation was short.

Of course, there is an easy answer to that and it's this; what if the framework was already done, and only had to be enacted or ratified by the governments of the world immediately after the rapture? If that were the case, the church would have two really big signs to look for to know without a doubt that the rapture was near, right? Well, I didn't bring all this up just to let you down, so listen to this.

In case you are unaware, the European Union has already divided the world into ten regions, or territories. You can check them out by using the following link.

As far as the one world government is concerned, in December the United Nations will convene in Copenhagen Denmark to ratify a new treaty on "global-warming". So what? Well, it is reported that although this treaty is said to be about global warming, what it really does is create a new political entity with the power to govern the world. Did you get that? In essence, it creates a one-world government. If you find that hard to swallow, I suggest you use the following link to read what others have to say about it.

So my question to you is this, if the world is already prepared to enact the conditions described as existing during the tribulation, just how close is the rapture of the church? Is it possible the tribulation could begin in as little as seven days after the rapture just like the picture we see in the story of Noah?

Keep watching.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Noah and the Rapture

"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, [fn] but My Father only. But as the days of Noah [were], so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Matthew 24:36-39 NKJV

These verses from the Olivet Discourse are probably familiar with many, if not most believers today. Jesus is talking about His return for His church, which we know as the rapture, and He describes that time as being like the times of Noah. As with most of you, I always seem to find there is more than meets the eye when studying scripture. Just when I think I have figured a passage out, something else, another question or idea pops out of nowhere and forces me to look even deeper. This passage is no exception.

The subject of the flood of Noah has always been a favorite of mine. Years ago I spent a great deal of time and money actually searching for the resting place of the Ark using clues from the Bible, ancient accounts and maps, and satellite imagery of the geographical area I felt it had landed. ( yes, I think I found it, and I have an interesting satellite pic to prove it but no one believes me ) At this time of the year, when the rest of the world is preparing to celebrate Halloween, I am always especially reminded of the flood because the Bible tells us it occurred on the seventeenth day of the second month on the Jewish calendar. That puts it around the same time of the year as Halloween, All Hallows Eve, The Day of the Dead, and all the other names it has gone by throughout history. ( yes, celebrated at the same time of the year the flood occurred is just another coincidence, right? )

So to be sure, this week I was studying this passage yet again when something came to mind that I had not considered before, and that is what I want to share with you today. If you look closely at the passage, notice something Jesus said. He said that people in Noah's day went about their lives doing what they did "until the day that Noah entered the ark". So? Well, let's look closely at the passage in Genesis that talks about that day.

Then the LORD said to Noah, "Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth.For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made." Genesis 7:1-4 NKJV

What these verses tell us is that God told Noah to go into the Ark because in seven days the flood was going to begin. Do you see where I am going? Matthew tells us that the normal, everyday life of the unbelievers of Noah's day continued until "the day" Noah entered the Ark. If the flood did not begin until seven days after Noah entered the Ark, what happened on that day that got their attention to the extent they changed what they had been doing? Since Noah had been going in and out of the Ark for 150 years while he built it means something different had to have happened this particular day. Considering this, the only answer I could come up with is found in the following verse.

So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the LORD shut him in. Genesis 7:16 NKJV

To put it another way, after everybody went in, God shut the door! Now I got to thinking about the door, and the first thought I had was "just how big was that door"? I mean, it had to be big enough for the largest animals on the earth to walk through. That door must have been huge! With a background in construction, my next thought was how was it engineered? Hinges? Sliding? Let's not forget weight either. Made of wood thick enough to withstand the pressures it would face from the sea, and treated with pitch which would make it even heavier. It would have taken a massive effort on the part of Noah and his sons to put that door in place. But the Bible tells us God shut the door. What exactly did the people outside see and hear when God shut it? Did they see it closing seemingly all by itself? Did it close slowly or slam shut with a loud noise? Maybe a little thunder and lightning thrown in for good measure? Whatever happened, if people changed their behavior when that door shut there must have been a message there that they heard loud and clear.

What might that message have been? I wonder if it was a sense that no matter if they changed their minds or not, they had lost their chance to get in? Thinking about this led me to a couple of other passages where God talks about closing a door.

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. "Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Matthew 25:10-12 NKJV

Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open for us,' and He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know you, where you are from,' Luke 13:24-25 NKJV

I think the message God intends for the world is clear. In order to escape the judgment that is coming, you must enter before the door is shut. In Noah's day, I believe the people of the earth had a good idea what was coming when they saw the door shut, and realized they had lost their chance to escape. When the world sees the church disappear in the rapture, they will know just as the people of Noah's day knew, that the door was shut. My prayer is that you have made the choice to enter in before that door shuts. The day that Noah entered the Ark, the tenth day of the second month, occurs this week. Have you made your choice? Jesus said this;

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:20 NKJV

I pray you have asked Jesus to come into your heart, and have given your life to Him. If you have, we will walk through that door together. Hopefully soon.

Keep watching.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Setting the Stage

My apologies for the delay to those who faithfully look for my posts every week, but the motherboard (who named it that?) on my computer decided on it's own to "retire" without warning and the results were predictable. So after waiting a week to get a new one installed, and discovering how much was "lost" and after having to rebuild, I think I'm back in a position to pick up where we left off. Hopefully this won't happen again anytime soon, or at least until I figure out what "backup" means.

Actually, although it might sound far fetched to some, I am curious as to the timing of my system failure. Many events in the Middle East are beginning to combine in such a way as to point exactly to the prophetic scenarios detailed in the Bible to occur immediately before, and after, the beginning of the tribulation. Some of you have read my book on the Isaiah 17 prophecy, and are familiar with the geopolitical alliances revealed there which exist at the time of the destruction of Damascus. These are also detailed extensively in the book "Isralestine" by Bill Salus which examines the prophecy of Psalms 83. I had just received an e-mail from him concerning the events outlined in my book when my system crashed. Coincidence? Who knows. But what I do know, and what many are seeing right now occur in the Middle East, is an acceleration of events which seem to be pointing to a very rapid fulfillment of these prophecies.

What I am going to do today is simply give you some links to follow to read what I and many others are seeing. I hope they will encourage you to be even more diligent to "scatter seed" and take advantage of the little time we have left. Remember, if you would like a copy of my book, they are free and I can send you a copy by e-mail as they are in an adobe pdf file. I'm sure there is probably a way to add it to this blog as a click and download feature, but I'm sure you have figured out by now I am not the most computer literate guy out here. So just e-mail me your request and I will send it along.

Keep watching.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Celebrating the Harvest

Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine: And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that [are] within thy gates. Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD shall choose: because the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice. Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: Deuteronomy 16:13-16 KJV

Growing up in Southern California, I was only familiar with two seasons; warm and hot. It took a move to the Pacific Northwest to experience what four seasons was really all about, and actually having four choices as to which one I enjoyed the most. I don’t know about any of you, but my favorite has always been the fall. Just to experience the relief from the long, hot summer, feel the weather changing to cooler, and doing yard work as the leaves change color and then fall, and looking forward to taking it a little easier in the winter all bring me a sense of enjoyment. I suppose it also brings me a sense of anticipation too as I enjoy listening to it rain, then slowly turn to snow as I am big on winter recreation. (I traded my surfboard for skis)

The Feast of Tabernacles is the last of the seven feasts appointed by the Lord for the nation of Israel. It occurs in the fall between the 15th and the 21st of the month of Tishri, which usually occurs in late September and early October. It is also known by other names as well, some of these being Sukkot, The Season of Our Joy, and The Feast of Ingathering. It is the last of the three holidays in which all Jewish males were required to make the pilgrimage to the temple, yet as opposed to the others, the word joy (simchah) is used several times to describe it. I want to look at just a few reasons why this holiday is known as the “Season of Our Joy”, and consider the possibility it might prove to be a time we as believers need to “watch” with special anticipation.

Say not ye, There are yet four months, and [then] cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. John 4:35 KJV

Also known as the Feast of Ingathering, the Feast of Tabernacles celebrates the last harvest in Israel for the year. Traditionally there are three harvests, these being the barley harvest, wheat harvest, and fruit harvest. In the fall, after these three were completed, you would celebrate the finish of your labors for the year. Obviously it was a time of celebration for your work was done, and you could look at the results sitting in your storehouse. How often did Jesus use the illustration of planting and harvesting in His teaching while on this earth? Could the Feast of Ingathering give us a clue as to when Jesus might return for His people?

In my Father's house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also. John 14:2-3 KJV

Known traditionally as the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot, this feast also serves as a reminder of the time the children of Israel dwelt in the wilderness in “temporary” dwellings before they were delivered to the promised land. During this feast Jews will construct “Sukkahs” or temporary shelters and will stay in them to remind them of what the children of Israel went through during their wilderness wanderings. As believers, we know that our time on this earth and in these bodies is but temporary as well. Not only do we have the promise from Jesus that He is building us a new and eternally permanent home, but will at the rapture present us with new and eternal bodies as well. Could this feast again be a foreshadow of that coming time when our hope in Christ will be rewarded?

Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand. John 7:2 KJV

In the last day, that great [day] of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. John 7:37, 38 KJV

One of the more interesting traditions associated with this feast was the drawing of water from the pool of Siloam. Every day a priest would fill a golden vase with water known as the living water (mayim hayim) and take it to the temple where it would be poured out on a corner of the altar. In these verses from John we see that Jesus used this time of celebration to announce to the world that He was, in fact, offering mankind the water of eternal life. John also makes it clear that this occurred on the “last great day” of the feast. This in fact is a reference to the eighth day which is known as Shmini Atzeret. It is not part of the Feast of Tabernacles, but is celebrated the day after and it is then that the people would begin to pray for rain for the coming year. Water has always been at a premium in Israel, and without it the land would become desert. Yet Jesus took this day as an opportunity to announce that He had come to save the world. Is it no wonder this celebration is also referred to as the "Season of Our Joy"?

This last feast seems to be both an end, and a beginning. A celebration of harvest and the end of the year's work, and the beginning of a time of rest to enjoy the fruits of labor. Jesus came to earth to do the "work" it required for us to obtain eternal life. How appropriate would it be for we as believers to experience the rest we so anxiously look forward to at this time of the year? The Feast of Tabernacles began this past Sunday, and will continue until this next Sunday. During this week why don't you join me in being "joyful" as we look back at the past year of hard work and pray for the coming of our Lord and Saviour to take us to our "permanent" home?

Keep watching.