Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Possibility of an October Rapture

Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
2 Peter 3:7,8 NKJV

In the past few months there has been an upsurge in conversations among believers concerning the conviction that the rapture of the Church is going to occur during the month of October. This conclusion is based on the fact that many different people, from very diverse backgrounds, using different schools of research, have all arrived at the same approximate point in time as a window for the rapture to occur. I have been asked for my thoughts on this, so for better or worse, what follows is my opinion on the possibility of an October rapture.

Time and space do not allow me to examine all the many ways those much smarter than I have arrived at their conclusions for the timing of the rapture. Some of these include numerology, Bible codes, astronomy, visions and dreams, and even the Great Pyramid in Egypt. I want to make it perfectly clear that I have no reservations whatever about the convictions or the research by believers who hold to these positions, for I am familiar with most and am impressed not only by the scholarship, but by their commitment to serve the body of Christ by their willingness to share the results of their studies, research and experiences.

Regardless of the method used to arrive at their conclusions, those who believe the rapture will occur this month connect those conclusions directly to the events of the flood of Noah, and the fact that the Bible tells us clearly when that occurred. The flood began on Cheshvan 17, or what on our calendar will be October 25. Much of the research used to point to this day as the day of the rapture stems from day counts working backwards from the Holy days of Israel that will occur approximately seven years from now using the length of the Tribulation given to us by the prophet Daniel.

Now, while not having any disagreement with the scholarship, I do have a question concerning using the anniversary of the flood as a day for the rapture of the Church. Why? It's because of a little thing called “typology”. If you are not familiar with this term, let me try to explain it in a way that makes sense. In essence what this term means is that many of the events in the Old Testament were actually pictures of what was to occur in the future, and the study of these events is called typology. Some examples that may help would be the story of Abraham being told to sacrifice his only son Isaac, and God providing a lamb as a substitute. Joseph, sent by his father to visit his brothers and being “killed” in a sense by his imprisonment in Egypt only to reappear as second only to Pharaoh as ruler in Egypt. Jonah, being thrown overboard allowing the others to survive while he suffers the punishment of God's wrath in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights. There are many more, but hopefully
these are enough for you to begin to see what is meant by the study of typology.

So exactly what is the point I'm trying to make here? Simply this; if typology is an accurate method to predict future events, (and as a teacher of mine used to say, “pattern is prologue”), Noah and his family were not “raptured” but preserved “through” the flood which was the “judgment” by water mentioned in this passage from Peter. In the book of Revelation we read that there are those who are preserved “through” the tribulation as well. As this passage also says that another judgment is coming, this time by fire, which we know to be a reference to the coming tribulation, it would seem to me that the anniversary of the flood is better suited to be an indicator of the beginning of the tribulation period and not necessarily the rapture of the Church.

Now rather than being depressing, that conclusion should actually excite us since the rapture of the church (if you hold to the pretribulation rapture view) occurs before the tribulation begins. So if the prevailing opinions that the rapture is this month are accurate, that being the case, a whole lot has to happen in just the next couple of weeks. Now many of you thinking, “so when is the rapture”? Well, I certainly don't profess to know the day or the hour, but considering our little diversion into typology, notice something often overlooked in the story of Noah.

..two by two they went into the ark to Noah, male and female, as God had commanded Noah. And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth.
Genesis 7:9,10 NKJV

So I just wonder; God had everyone and everything get on board and then waited seven days before executing His judgment, so does this possibly mean that God might use the rapture of the Church as a seven day warning of His coming judgment on the earth? Personally I believe that it makes sense that there will be a little time between the rapture and the beginning of the tribulation since there are obviously events that need to occur to prepare the world to accept the reign of the anti-christ. Many scholars believe the destruction of Damascus which we find in the book of Isaiah, and the Gog Magog War found in Ezekiel, will take place immediately before the Tribulation begins. The belief is, in fact, those very events produce the “enforced peace” brokered by the anti-christ.

With that thought in mind, let me create a work of fiction that might help explain my thinking. Part of this will be conclusions I came to when writing my book concerning the coming conflict in Israel, but I think you will agree that most of it makes sense even if it doesn't occur exactly as I lay it out. After reading it, I think you will then understand my statement that a whole lot must happen in a very short time if the Tribulation is to start this month. Again, what follows is not prophecy, just an educated guess as to what might happen in the time between the rapture and the beginning of the tribulation.

IF....the rapture occurs only seven days before the start of the tribulation;

Day One; Total World Upheaval as millions disappear without a trace. Society begins to fall apart as governments, institutions, military and law enforcement agencies, all are crippled.

Day Two; Israel's enemies attack believing the disappearance of the “infidel” , and the crippling of the west is a sign that their cause is just. Unfortunately, they choose to use chemical weapons. Israel responds by using nuclear weapons to defend themselves, resulting in the complete and total destruction of Damascus. (Isaiah 17)

Day Three; What is left of world government, UN, EU, individual countries, condemn Israel's response (naturally) and seek a solution. The nations of Ezekiel 38 agree to combine efforts and come up with a solution of their own.

Day Four; While the debate rages among what is left of world government, the Ezekiel 38 coalition of countries moves their forces by a massive airlift to position themselves for an attack on Israel making no attempt to hide their intentions.

Day Five; A massive attack by the Ezekiel 38 coalition using their combined air assets is attempted and destroyed by God's intervention.

Day Six; A highly respected, powerful individual proposes a solution to the conflict between Israel and it's enemies which guarantees an “enforced” peace.

Day Seven; The government of Israel and the combined governments of their enemies agree to the proposed peace agreement and sign the “covenant with death”. (Isaiah 28:15) The seven year Tribulation begins.

So do you begin to understand what I mean when I say a lot has to happen in a very short time? If the conclusions of many that this is the month of the rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation, many events must transpire in just the next few weeks. Again, I have no idea if events will occur in the order or in the time frame I used here, but I think it will give you an idea of how things just may work out to bring about the time of God's judgment on this earth.

Of course, the question I have often asked in my articles when discussing the rapture of the Church, and our responsibility as watchers, is this; what are you doing about what we are seeing? Are you just sitting there getting all excited or are you looking and searching for ways to share the gospel of Christ with those around you who do not yet believe? As we see the day approaching we need more than ever to be bold when opportunities present themselves to share our faith.

If you are reading this blog and have never made a decision to accept the free gift of salvation offered by our God I encourage you to do that right now. Simply pray to God and confess you are a sinner, ask Him to come into your life and take control, turn away from your old life and seek to live your new life according to His instructions given to us in His word, the Bible. Hopefully we will all meet together very, very soon.

Keep watching.