Monday, July 31, 2006

The Fast of the Ninth of Av

The Feasts of Israel
The Fast Of The Ninth Month - Tisha B'Av
The fast of the ninth month refers to the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av, which is a day of fasting and mourning for the Jewish people. It commemorates the day both the first and second temples were destroyed. It has also been a day of other catastrophes for Israel including the erection of idols in the temple during the Roman invasion, and the start of the Spanish Inquisition in 1492.
Jews mourn on Tishah B'AV as the nation feel the depth of sadness and grief that has marked this day in Jewish history.
Jeremiah wrote in Lamentations concerning Israel's mourning:
Lament. 2:18 - Their heart cried unto the Lord, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night: give thyself no rest; let not the apple of thine eye cease.
The Observance
The synagogue is dimly lit during the observance of Tishah B'AV and the congregation is plunged into mourning. The curtains covering the ark are removed, symbolizing that the TORAH (the Bible) is also mourning. To further symbolize mourning, Jews sit on the floor and/or low stools, and the "Scroll of Lamentations," bemoaning the sacking of Jerusalem and the fall of the first temple is chanted.
Dirges lamenting the various episodes of Jewish suffering on Tisha B'Av are also recited. Today, in modern times, it is also customary to add special dirges, or readings, in remembrance of those Jews killed in the Holocaust. But in spite of the mourning, this day is injected with a note of hope and optimism. Jewish tradition says that Messiah will be born on this day, and that in messianic times this mournful fast day will be transformed into one of great joy and celebration.
The fast usually takes place during the summer months around late July-early August. This year (2001) the celebration took place from sundown on July 29 to sundown on the 29th.
The Fast And Jesus Warning To Jerusalem
In relation to this fast of the fifth month, Jesus warned the nation at His crucifixion that days of mourning were ahead of her, especially her capital city, Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the SPIRITUAL HEART OF JUDAISM!. God summoned Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice on Mt. Moriah within her gates. A thousand years later Solomon built his temple to the Lord on the same mountain. Solomon's father, David, chose Jerusalem to be the capital for the nation of Israel when he purchased the land on Mount Moriah where the temple would eventually stand. Jerusalem was God's CHOICE and is still God's CHOICE TODAY!
Later, when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and took the Jews into captivity in Babylon, the city was still foremost in the hearts and minds of her citizens:
Psalm 137:1 - By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
Psalm 137:5-6 - If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. [6] If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.
The Jewish people returned to Babylon to reclaim the land and rebuild their city. A new temple, though modest in comparison to the one built by Solomon, again graced Mount Moriah. It took an additional 80 years for Jerusalem's walls to be rebuilt, but God raised up Nehemiah to complete the task. Nehemiah records the adversity and opposition his people faced during these times of turmoil and triumph.
From the close of the Old Testament to the beginning of the New Testament, the Jewish people occupied the land and worshipped in their temple. But there was one notable exception. In 169 B.C., Antiochus IV Epiphanes plundered the temple, converting it into a pagan shrine to Zeus. He actively persecuted anyone who dared to resist or who sought to follow the Law of Moses. God raised up an elderly priest, Mattathias, and his son, Judas Maccabees ("Judah the Hammer") to drive the Syrians from Jerusalem and to rededicate the temple to the Lord. This victory is recounted in the Jewish Feast Of Hanukkah.
By the time of Jesus, Herod the Great had renovated and enlarged the temple. It was once again a thing of beauty. The platform built by Herod to hold the expanded temple, is, today, the same platform on which the Al Aksa mosque and Dome of the Rock sit. This was the temple admired by the disciples. But, as Jesus predicted in the Olivet Discourse and at His Crucifixion, Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed.
In A.D. 70 the Roman army attacked Jerusalem in response to the Jewish revolt that began four years earlier. Rome killed thousands of Jews and deported thousands more sold as slaves. A new Diaspora began that has lasted for 1900 years. But during all those years the focus for the Jewish people was and still is Jerusalem and their temple. As the Jewish Midrash so eloquently exclaimed, "the land of Israel is at the center of the world; Jerusalem is at the center of the land of Israel and the temple is at the center of Jerusalem."
Even as we move forward into the 21rst Century the soul of Judaism remained bound to Jerusalem. God has placed Jerusalem in the eye of a coming storm over her gates once again. The temple will be rebuilt and once again it will be destroyed. The mournings of this great fast pale in comparison to the mourning Israel will have during the coming Tribulation period. A temporary calm may return to the Middle East but nothing will last. The sticking point for any agreement will be the status of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount - the two focal points for Israel's mourning during the fast of the fifth month.
Zechariah's Prophecy And The Fast Of The Fifth Month
Zech. 12:10-14 - And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. [11] In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddo. [12] And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; [13] The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; [14] All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.
The prophet Zechariah lived at the time of the nation's return to the land following their 75-year captivity in Babylon and the destruction of the first temple. He encouraged the people to rebuild the temple, but he also looked far into Israel's future to see the days ahead of us when there will be such a mourning throughout all Israel for the rejection of her Messiah. In Chapters 9-14 the prophet had two extended prophecies (called "oracles" or "burdens") that provide a detailed account of the first and second comings of Israel's Messiah. The events of the first coming, which centered on Jerusalem, were dramatically fulfilled. Zechariah's second message (12-14) focuses on events leading up the SECOND COMING OF MESSIAH. Again, ground zero for all these events will be the TEMPLE and JERUSALEM.
Zech. 12:2-3 - Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. [3] And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.

The last days that are ahead of us will be a time when Israel and Jerusalem dominate the world's attention, though in a negative way. Nations will try to "move" God's people, but none will succeed. The entire Middle East conflict right now centers on nation's trying to wrest control of Jerusalem from Israel. These will be countries (i.e. the Muslim/Arab world) that Israel will have the greatest conflict, and who will suffer defeat at Israel's hands.
Zech. 12:6 - In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.
There are storm clouds on the horizon. The distant rumbles of thunder are being heard. War is coming, not peace. The Great Tribulation is ahead. Israel will once again mourn for Her Messiah in the not too distant future. It will be very similar to her celebration of this fast day - the Fast of Tishah B'AV. We need to pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
Another report on the 3 of Aug this year whi is when the Jews will mourn over Tish'a'B'av
We are fast-approaching the date of Tisha b'Av on the Jewish calendar, which falls this year on August 3. It always falls in late July or early August. It is a date of ironic Jewish tragedies over thousands of years. Are the dates coincidental? Here are just some examples of what happened on Tisha b'Av throughout history:


The first Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. and the second Temple was demolished on the same date by the Romans in 70 A.D.


The Jews were expelled from Spain on that date in 1492.


The Russian pogroms, World War I and World War II all occurred on that day. (Remember, the date varies from year to year.)


The Jews were exiled from England on that date in 1290.


Moses broke the tablets at Mount Sinai following the sin of the golden calf on that date.
It would seem to stretch credulity to suggest that these incidents (and others not listed) fell on Tisha b'Av by coincidence.
The ongoing escalation in Israel/Lebanon brings to mind Golda Meier's statement that the animosity will end only when, "....the Arabs love their children more than they hate ours." Children and other innocent civilians in Lebanon are being used, once again, as human shields as Islam does not love life; it celebrates death.
Yet what we are seeing is further fulfillment of Zechariah 12 - 14 where all nations turn on Israel (and all are injured), for many in the world are now beginning to hate Israel more than Hezbollah, which is a sister organization to al-Qaida. Israel is doing some of the Western world's dirty work in the war against Islamo-fascism and at the same time, being condemned for it.
This is a call to prayer on behalf of those who want to stand by Israel, freedom, and truth, and who serve the God of Israel. August 3 is just around the corner....Tisha b'Av.


Now I see this as agreat sign when people will really study the minor feasts of Israel. I did this study a few years ago as you will see by the dates when lookin at the feast and the minor feast as in the prophetic view. I do not think that we call these things concindental. I fear for the Jews on the 3 of Av which will begin wed nith at sundown and end on thursday nite at sundown. Remember that the Jews always start the day at sundown and any part of that day counts as the 3.
I have kept count of this day for many years. I realize that not many student see the feast as what they truly are. Yes they are but they are also signs for us the Spring feasts have already been fulfilled by Christ but not the fall and not all of the minor feasts. It is an interesting day to look at. Especially when you look at the Scriptures that tell us about it. Then we can understand why the Jews call this the darkest days in their history.
It is just a day to keep a close at and see what transpires in whatever time we have left on this earth. I have always believed that you must look at Israel to begin any study in Prophecy. Guess this is why I see this as an importation day. Especialy looking at the things that are taking place now and seeing that everyone was on Israel side in the beginning and we see satan begin to turns the tide now and they are looking at the hezobollas as heroes. If you notice we do not hear the number of death in Israel and how many people there are homeless and living in Bomb shelters and the fact that 100 to 150 rockets are hitting there daily. Yet you see the beloved hand of the Lord in His protection of His promished land.
Also it was just a year ago that we watched the Israelies being taken out of their home to give them to the palestines. I do not know how many are aware but up to 1967 there was never heard of a palestine state. People that had been raised like in Jordan believed they were Jordians and the day after the 6 day war they were then called Palestines and that happened in all the various muslims lands.
I pray that this helps all some about the different days of the various feasts, last years this was Aug 14. It is a floating day as most of the holidays are now as they go by a different calendar than we do. If any one wants to know about the other feasts please let me know and I will be glad to share what little knowledge that my studies have brought me to now.
Agape
Zelma

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Columbine by Darrell Scott

On Thursday, May 27, 1999, Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott,
a victim of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton,
Colorado, was invited to address the House Judiciary Committee's
sub-committee. What he said to our national leaders during this
special session of Congress was painfully truthful. They were not
prepared for what he was to say, nor was it received well. It needs to
be heard by every parent, every teacher, every politician, every
sociologist, every psychologist, and every so-called expert! These
courageous words spoken by Darrell Scott are powerful, penetrating,
and deeply personal. There is no doubt that God sent this man as a
voice crying in the wilderness. The following is a portion of the
transcript:


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Since the dawn of creation there has been both good and evil in the
hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the
seeds of violence.
The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths
of that heroic teacher and the other eleven children who died must not
be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.

The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel
out in the field. The villain was not the club he used. Neither was it
the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and
the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain's heart.

In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how
quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am
not a member of the NRA.

I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent
or defend the NRA — because I don't believe that they are responsible
for my daughter's death. Therefore I do not believe they need to be
defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel's murder I
would be their strongest opponent.

I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy — it
was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the
real blame lies!

Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies
behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves.

I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best.
This was written way before I knew I would be speaking here today:


Your laws ignore our deepest needs
Your words are empty air
You've stripped away our heritage
You've outlawed simple prayer

Now gunshots fill our classrooms
And precious children die
You seek for answers everywhere
And ask the question "Why"?

You regulate restrictive laws
Through legislative creed
And yet you fail to understand
That God is what we need

Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, soul, and
spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we
create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and
wreak havoc.

Spiritual influences were present within our educational systems for
most of our nation's history. Many of our major colleges began as
theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened
to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we
open the doors to hatred and violence.

And when something as terrible as Columbine's tragedy occurs —
politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They
immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to
erode away our personal and private liberties.

We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have
been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop
someone who spends months planning this type of massacre.

The real villain lies within our own hearts.

Political posturing and restrictive legislation are not the answers.

The young people of our nation hold the key. There is a spiritual
awakening taking place that will not be squelched!

We do not need more religion. We do not need more gaudy television
evangelists spewing out verbal religious garbage. We do not need more
million dollar church buildings built while people with basic needs
are being ignored.

We do need a change of heart and a humble acknowledgment that this
nation was founded on the principle of simple trust in God!

As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his
two friends murdered before his very eyes — He did not hesitate to
pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right!

I challenge every young person in America, and around the world, to
realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was
brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by
those students be in vain.

Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for
legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with
Him.

To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA I give to you a
sincere challenge. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the
first stone!

My daughter's death will not be in vain! The young people of this
country will not allow that to happen!



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Be courageous enough to do what the media did not — let the nation
hear this man's speech. Please send this out to everyone you can!!!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I had to put my blog on moderated list.

To all my Precious friends:
I had an antichrist came in on one of my writings today and say that he was Jesus the Messiah and printed up a lot of garbage, I instantly knew who his farher was and it wwas the father of lies. He calls himsel the seven hand sword. Because I do not wish to endanger any of my christian friends to any of this I went to two of my closest and they told me get it off there and my bleoved Son, Steve sick as a dog went ahead and did it for me. So Steve many thanks from your adopted Mom. Please feel free to comment. All will go through and be posted except this kind of garbage. Just wanted to let you all know why my site is moderated now. I would of prefered not to have done it but I will not give one inch to the enemy of our souls. God bless you all. I love you in Christ and thank you for your understanding. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Marananatha dear Jesus.
Agape
Zelma

Another Early Christian writer on the Rapture

Opponents of pretribulationism have often tried to "poison the well" by
contending that a pre-trib understanding of the Bible is novel and/or has
sprung from a polluted source. However, the last few years have witnessed
the discovery of voices from the past testifying to a two-stage return of
Christ. The latest pre-Darby voice to join the chorus, is that of an early
American Baptist pastor and educator, Morgan Edwards (1722-95).

WHO IS MORGAN EDWARDS?

Morgan Edwards was born May 9, 1722, in Trevethin parish, Wales, and after
education at Bristol College, began preaching in 1738. He served several
small Baptist congregations in England for seven years, before moving to
Cork, Ireland, where he pastored for nine years. Edwards immigrated to
America and in May 1761, became pastor of the Baptist Church in
Philadelphia.
1. After the Revolutionary War (He was the only known Baptist
clergy of Tory persuasion.), Edwards became an educator and the premier
Baptist historian of his day. His major work Materials Toward A History of
the Baptists is an important seminal work outlining American Baptist history
of the era. Edwards founded the first Baptist college in the Colonies, Rhode
Island College, which we know today as Brown University of the Ivy League.As
was typical of early American Colonists, Edwards experienced significant
tragedy in his life. He outlived two wives and most of his children. During
a "dark period" in his life, he ceased attending church, took to drink and
was excommunicated from his church. "After making repeated efforts to be
restored, he was received into the church on October 6, 1788, and thereafter
lived an exemplary life."
2. Baptist historian Robert Torbet described Edwards as a man of versatility,
being both a capable leader for many years and a historian of some importance.
In temperament he was eccentric and choleric.
. . . With all of his varied gifts, he was always evangelistic in spirit.
3. Another historian similarly says of Edwards:
Scholarly, laborious, warm-hearted, eccentric, choleric Morgan Edwards,
one of the most interesting of the early Baptist ministers of our country
and one of those most deserving of honor. His very faults had a leaning
toward virtues side, and in good works he was exceeded by none of his day,
if indeed by any of any day. . . . He was an able preacher and a good man,
but not always an easy man to get on with.

I. EDWARDS AND THE RAPTURE
During his student days at Bristol Baptist Seminary in England (1742-44),
Morgan Edwards wrote an essay for eschatology class on his views of Bible
prophecy. This essay was later published in Philadelphia (1788) under the
following title: Two Academical Exercises on Subjects Bearing the following
Titles; Millennium, Last-Novelties. (This is actually one of the shorter
titles for a book published in his day.) The term in the title
"Last-Novelties" refers to what we would call today the eternal state;
"novelties" refers to the new conditions of the future new heavens and new
earth. Upon reading the 56 page work, it is clear that Edwards published it
unchanged from his student days. Thus, it represents a view developed by the
early 1740s.

Morgan Edwards taught some form of pretribulationism as can be gleaned from
the following statement in his book:

II. The distance between the first and second resurrection will be somewhat
more than a thousand years.

"I say, somewhat more --; because the dead saints will be raised, and the
living changed at Christ's "appearing in the air" (I Thes. iv. 17); and this
will be about three years and a half before the millennium, as we shall see
hereafter: but will he and they abide in the air all that time? No: they
will ascend to paradise, or to some one of those many "mansions in the
father's house" (John xiv. 2), and so disappear during the foresaid period
of time. The design of this retreat and disappearing will be to judge the
risen and changed saints; for "now the time is come that judgment must
begin," and that will be "at the house of God" (I Pet. iv. 17)... (p. 7; the
spelling of all Edwards quotes have been modernized)

What has Edwards said? Note the following:

a.. He believes that at least 1,003.5 years will transpire between
resurrections.

b.. He associates the first resurrection with the rapture in 1 Thess.
4:17, occurring at least 3.5 years before the start of the millennium (i.e.,
at least 3.5 years before the second coming of Christ at the start of the
millennium.

c.. He associates the meeting of believers with Christ in the air and
returning to the Father's house with John 14:2, as do modern
pretribulationists.

d.. He sees believers disappearing during the time of the tribulation,
which he goes on to talk about in the rest of the section from which the
rapture statement is taken.

e.. He, like modern pretribulationists, links the time in heaven, during
the tribulation, with the "bema" judgment of believers.

The only difference, at least as far as the above statements go, between
current pretribulationism and Edwards is the time interval of 3.5 years
instead of 7. In fact, anti-pretribulationist John Bray wonders,

It would be interesting to know what, in those early years at the Academy,
led Edwards to his concept of a pre-tribulation rapture. One could almost
think he had been studying at one of our modern dispensational-entrenched
schools, the teaching is so similar to that which is being taught today.

It would be interesting to know what he studied at Bristol, but Edwards
makes it clear in the introduction that his views are not those normally
held in his day and that he was approaching eschatology with a literal
hermeneutic. Such an approach is said by modern pretribulationists to be the
primary determinative factor leading to pretribulationism. This is what J.N.
Darby claimed and so does Edwards before Darby.

I will do my possible: and in the attempt will work by a rule you have
often recommended, viz. "to take the scriptures in a literal sense, except
when that leads to contradiction or absurdity." . . . Very able men have
already handled the subject in a mystical, or allegorical, or spiritual way.
(pp. 5-6)

Historian John Moore, quoting from Rev. William Rogers' sermon at Edwards
funeral: "There was nothing uncommon in Mr. Edwards' person; but he
possessed an original genius." Thus, as an original thinker, Edwards, like
Darby, apparently saw his views flowing from a literal reading of the Bible.
Also, like Darby, Edwards developed these views early in life. Edwards was
between the ages of 20 and 22, while Darby was about 26 years old.

Edwards adds to his earlier rapture statement later when he says,

" Another event previous to the millennium will be the appearing of the son
of man in the clouds, coming to raise the dead saints and change the living,
and to catch them up to himself, and then withdraw with them, as observed
before. [i.e., p. 7] This event will come to pass when Antichrist be arrived
at Jerusalem in his conquest of the world; and about three years and a half
before his killing the witnesses and assumption of godhead. . . . "(p. 21)

It is clear that Edwards separates the rapture and the second coming from
the following statements:

"The last event and the event that will usher in the millennium, will
be the coming of Christ from paradise to earth, with all the saints he had
taken up thither (about three years and a half before) . . . (p. 24)
Millions and millions of saints will have been on earth from the days of
the first Adam, to the coming of the second Adam. All these will Christ
bring with him. The place where they will alight is the "Mount of Olives,
which is before Jerusalem on the east." Zech. xiv, 4. (p. 25)

Of interest is the fact that Edwards wrote 42 volumes of sermons, about 12
sermons per volume, that were never published. Other than his historical
writings and ecclesiastical helps, his essay on Bible prophecy was his only
other published work. It is significant that this essay, from his youth, was
published and not something else. This evidences that there was some
interest in his views on this subject. Such an interest would have surely
risen out of his bringing it to the attention of those to whom he
ministered. Yet, on the other hand, the book only went through one printing,
showing that all books on the rapture do not automatically become a number
one best seller. It could also reflect the fact that Baptists were not a
large denomination at this time in America. Nevertheless, Edwards' work on
Bible prophecy did have some circulation and exposed early Americans to many
of the ideas that would come to dominate Evangelicalism a century later.

CONCLUSION
Detractors of pretribulationism often want to say or imply that our view
cannot be found in the pages of the Bible and must have come from a deviant
source. Of course, we strongly object to such a notion and have taken great
pains over the years to show that the New Testament not only teaches
pretribulationism, but holds it forth as our "Blessed Hope"-a central focus
of faith. The bringing to light of Morgan Edwards' views of the rapture do
demonstrate (again) that a consistently literal approach to Bible
interpretation leads many to distinguish between Christ's coming in the air
for His bride and His return to earth with His saints. Edwards, along with
Pseudo-Ephraem's fourth century sermon (and perhaps others) make it clear
that, while Darby may have restored the pretrib rapture, he did not
originate it. Pretribulationism is found first in the New Testament and at
times throughout the history of the church. Maranatha!

Zelma

ENDNOTES
1 "Edwards, Morgan" in John McClintock & James Strong, Cyclopedia of
Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (Grand Rapids: Baker
Book House, 1981 [1867-87]), XII vols, III:69.

2 John S. Moore, "Morgan Edwards: Baptist Statesman," Baptist History and
Heritage (VI:1; January 1971), p. 31.

3 Robert G. Torbet, A History of the Baptists (Philadelphia: The Judson
Press, 1950), pp. 243-44.

4 Henry C. Vedder, A Short History of the Baptists (Philadelphia: The
American Baptist Publishing Society, 1907), p. 232.

5 John Bray, Morgan Edwards & the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Teaching (1788)
(Lakeland, FL: John L. Bray Ministries, 1995): 8

6 See Floyd Elmore, "J. N. Darby's Early Years," in Thomas Ice and Timothy
Demy, When The Trumpet Sounds (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1995), pp. 127-50.

7 John Moore, "Morgan Edwards," p. 33.

8 For information about the Pseudo-Ephraem material see Grant R. Jeffrey, "A
Pretrib Rapture Statement in the Early Medieval Church," in Thomas Ice and
Timothy Demy, When The Trumpet Sounds (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1995), pp.
105-25. Timothy Demy and Thomas Ice, "The Rapture and an Early Medieval
Citation" Bibliotheca Sacra 152 (July-September 1995), pp. 306-17.

The teachings of Clement

The Pre-Tribulation Rapture: A new idea?
by Michael G. Mickey

If you listen to the skeptics, the doctrine of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture of the Church is practically a brand new idea. According to many, the doctrine wasn't even hinted at prior to 1830. Is that accurate?

As you can imagine, I do a lot of reading, especially in regard to the alleged origins of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture doctrine, primarily because I've always found it astounding anyone could allege something as clear in Scripture as the Pre-Tribulational Rapture is wasn't spoken of prior to 1830.

I was pleasantly surprised recently to learn one of the early Church fathers, Clement, may have written quite extensively on the principles of the topic in an epistle to the Corinthians he drafted in either 68 or 97 AD - less than 70 years after Christ's death on the cross - a considerable period of time before 1830.

All of the excerpts I'm about to include of Clement's writings can be found at a website documenting the writings of the Early Church Fathers. In Clement's First Epistle to the Corinthians he wrote, as can be found on this page of the website, the following:

Chapter IX - Examples of the Saints.

Wherefore, let us yield obedience to His excellent and glorious will; and imploring His mercy and loving-kindness, while we forsake all fruitless labours, and strife, and envy, which leads to death, let us turn and have recourse to His compassions. Let us stedfastly contemplate those who have perfectly ministered to His excellent glory. Let us take (for instance) Enoch, who, being found righteous in obedience, was translated, and death was never known to happen to him. Noah, being found faithful, preached regeneration to the world through his ministry; and the Lord saved by him the animals which, with one accord, entered into the ark.

Clement refers to Enoch who was raptured without seeing death, as seen in Genesis 5:24: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

Secondly, Clement mentions Noah - a man Clement calls faithful who Scripture teaches us was spared God's judgment during the Great Flood because he walked with God and was righteous in God's eyes, as seen in Genesis 6:8-9: But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

Continuing with Clement's writings:

Chapter XI - Continuation. Lot.

On account of his hospitality and godliness, Lot was saved out of Sodore when all the country round was punished by means of fire and brimstone, the Lord thus making it manifest that He does not forsake those that hope in Him, but gives up such as depart from Him to punishment and torture. For Lot's wife, who went forth with him, being of a different mind from himself and not continuing in agreement with him [as to the command which had been given them], was made an example of, so as to be a pillar of salt unto this day. This was done that all might know that those who are of a double mind, and who distrust the power of God, bring down judgment on themselves and become a sign to all succeeding generations.

Much as Clement referred to Enoch and Noah, Clement writes next about Lot, another man who was saved from God's judgment as a direct result of his godliness, particularly mentioning the fact that God does not forsake those that hope in Him!

Interestingly enough, Clement also addresses Lot's wife, particularly noting she was of a different mindset than Lot, the end result of which left her standing in the desert as a pillar of salt. Clement tells us God made Lot's wife an example, demonstrating how those of a double mind bring God's judgment down on themselves by distrusting the power of God!

In spite of Scripture indicating the Church isn't appointed to wrath, there are many Christians today who, in a fashion similar to Lot's wife, fearfully look over their shoulders while stating we may need to begin preparing ourselves mentally and spiritually to enter the Tribulation Period - a time the Apostle John refers to as the great day of His [the Lord's] wrath in Revelation 6:17.

If the Church isn't appointed to wrath, and it isn't as seen in 1st Thessalonians 5:9, why do some Christians keep trying to place the Church inside the Tribulation Period? On one hand, these Christians profess having faith in Christ yet, on the other hand, indicate we shouldn't depend on Him delivering the Church from having to suffer in the Tribulation Period via a Pre-Tribulational Rapture of the Church that is clearly in Scripture - a classic example of a double mind where placing trust in the power of God is concerned!

As you can imagine, I couldn't help but smile upon reading Clement's comments because they're precisely in keeping with what I say all the time concerning the many naysayers in the world today who mock those who trust in the power of God and their belief in an overwhelming amount of Scriptural evidence that the Lord Jesus Christ is going to protect His Church by rapturing it before the onset of the Tribulation Period!

Those who mock the faithful need to consider Clement's words and the story of Lot's wife very carefully. They likewise need to read the eleventh chapter of Hebrews in its entirety, especially the portion which deals with Enoch's translation mentioned earlier. Why? Because it's demonstrative of why those who are going to be raptured at the Pre-Tribulational Rapture of the Church will be kept from the hour of temptation - because of their FAITH in Jesus Christ!

Hebrews 11:5: By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death, Christians! By FAITH!!!

Continuing with Clement's writings:

Chapter XIX - Imitating These Examples, Let Us Seek After Peace.

Thus the humility and godly submission of so great and illustrious men have rendered not only us, but also all the generations before us, better; even as many as have received His oracles in fear and truth. Wherefore, having so many great and glorious examples set before us, let us turn again to the practice of that peace which from the beginning was the mark set before us; and let us look stedfastly to the Father and Creator of the universe, and cleave to His mighty and surpassingly great gifts and benefactions, of peace. Let us contemplate Him with our understanding, and look with the eyes of our soul to His long-suffering will. Let us reflect how free from wrath He is towards all His creation.

Are we to believe Christ, who Clement writes is free from wrath toward all His creation, is going to appoint His beloved Church to suffer at His own hand during the great day of His wrath? Scripture answers that question.

1st Thessalonians 5:9: For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

Continuing with Clement's writings:

Chapter XXII - These Exhortations are Confirmed by the Christian Faith, Which Proclaims the Misery of Sinful Conduct.

Now the faith which is in Christ confirms all these admonitions. For He Himself by the Holy Ghost thus addresses us: "Come, ye children, hearken unto Me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. What man is he that desireth life, and loveth to see good days? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are [open] unto their prayers. The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cried, and the Lord heard him, and delivered him out of all his troubles. Many are the stripes [appointed for] the wicked; but mercy shall compass those about who hope in the Lord."

The Lord looks upon His own, hears them when they cry out to Him, and delivers them out of their troubles! Wrath, the many stripes Clement refers to in the passage, is appointed to the wicked, not the righteous! Mercy encompasses those who hope in the Lord!

Continuing with Clement's writings:

Chapter XXIII - Be Humble, and Believe that Christ Will Come Again.

The all-merciful and beneficent Father has bowels [of compassion] towards those that fear Him, and kindly and lovingly bestows His favours upon those who come to Him with a simple mind. Wherefore let us not be double-minded; neither let our soul be lifted up on account of His exceedingly great and glorious gifts. Far from us be that which is written, "Wretched are they who are of a double mind, and of a doubting heart; who say, These things we have heard even in the times of our fathers; but, behold, we have grown old, and none of them has happened unto us. Ye foolish ones! compare yourselves to a tree: take [for instance] the vine. First of all, it sheds its leaves, then it buds, next it puts forth leaves, and then it flowers; after that comes the sour grape, and then follows the ripened fruit. Ye perceive how in a little time the fruit of a tree comes to maturity. Of a truth, soon and suddenly shall His will be accomplished, as the Scripture also bears witness, saying, "Speedily will He come, and will not tarry; " and, "The Lord shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Holy One, for whom ye look."

The Father is compassionate toward His own. Does this even have to be said? As Clement said, far be it from us that we be wretched like those who are of a double mind and a doubting heart where the mercies of the Lord are concerned! Let us come before the Lord with the simple mind of a child, filled with abundant faith and hope in His power to deliver us from darkness into light!

Continuing with Clement's writings:

Chapter XXVIII - God Sees All Things: Therefore Let Us Avoid Transgression.

Since then all things are seen and heard [by God], let us fear Him, and forsake those wicked works which proceed from evil desires; so that, through His mercy, we may be protected from the judgments to come. For whither can any of us flee from His mighty hand? Or what world will receive any of those who run away from Him? For the Scripture saith in a certain place, "Whither shall I go, and where shall I be hid from Thy presence? If I ascend into heaven, Thou art there; if I go away even to the uttermost parts of the earth, there is Thy right hand; if I make my bed in the abyss, there is Thy Spirit."Whither, then, shall any one go, or where shall he escape from Him who comprehends all things?

Clement certainly didn't seem to see the Church squaring off with the Antichrist in the Tribulation Period. Long before John Edward Darby supposedly cooked up the Pre-Tribulational Rapture of the Church, Clement was seeing a way for the Church to be protected from the judgments to come through a fearful respect of God and righteous living. How could Clement have thought that so long before 1830? Guess, naysayers!

The following section of Clement's writings is taken out of order as I want to close with it:

Chapter XLV - It is the Part of the Wicked to Vex the Righteous.

Ye are fond of contention, brethren, and full of zeal about things which do not pertain to salvation. Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit. Observe that nothing of an unjust or counterfeit character is written in them. There you will not find that the righteous were cast off by men who themselves were holy. The righteous were indeed persecuted, but only by the wicked. They were cast into prison, but only by the unholy; they were stoned, but only by transgressors; they were slain, but only by the accursed, and such as had conceived an unrighteous envy against them. Exposed to such sufferings, they endured them gloriously. For what shall we say, brethren? Was Daniel cast into the den of lions by such as feared God? Were Ananias, and Azarias, and Mishael shut up in a furnace of fire by those who observed the great and glorious worship of the Most High? Far from us be such a thought! Who, then, were they that did such things? The hateful, and those full of all wickedness, were roused to such a pitch of fury, that they inflicted torture on those who served God with a holy and blameless purpose [of heart], not knowing that the Most High is the Defender and Protector of all such as with a pure conscience venerate His all-excellent name; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. But they who with confidence endured these things are now heirs of glory and honour, and have been exalted and made illustrious by God in their memorial for ever and ever. Amen.


There are many who want to argue and fight about every manner of doctrine. As Clement put it aptly, we should look carefully into the Scriptures in order to confirm and preserve our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord as it's through Scripture, not through the wisdom of men, that we find the true utterances of the Holy Spirit!

Those who choose to believe the Church is going to join the unrepentant world in suffering in the Tribulation Period need to reflect, as Clement did, on how the Church has suffered tribulation to this point.

There are two totally different types of tribulation we need to understand as Christians. The first type of tribulation comes to the Church by way of man's wickedness. The second kind of Tribulation is the kind those dwelling inside the Tribulation Period will have to endure. They are not one and the same!

Many today whose doctrines tell us the Church is going to be thrown into the Tribulation Period with the wicked tend to point to tribulations the Church has suffered at the hands of wicked mankind in the past as an example of Christ's willingness to let His Bride suffer at His own hand in the Tribulation Period that will come to test the whole earth. Ridiculous! It's like comparing a peach to a bowling ball!

As Clement put it, the Church has been persecuted, but only by the wicked. Members of the Church have been (and still are being) cast into prison, but only by the unholy! Members of the Church have been stoned, but only by transgressors! Members of the Church have been slain, but only by the accursed! Daniel wasn't cast into the lion's den by the Lord or anyone who feared the Lord. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego weren't placed in the fiery furnace by God, but by the wicked.

Clement credited the hateful and those full of wickedness for inflicting torture on those who served God with a holy and blameless purpose of heart in his day. He further indicated the wicked who did so failed to understand something about God Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego understood about Him - that He was the Defender and Protector of all those who trust in Him with a pure conscience.

Would the Lord have delivered Daniel from the lion's den if he'd had no faith in Him? Would the flames and smoke of the fiery furnace have stood back in the presence of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego if they'd had no faith in the Lord's ability to deliver them from it? I doubt it, which is precisely why those who are placing their trust in Jesus Christ to gather them to His side in a Pre-Tribulational Rapture of the Church are far more in touch with the God of the Bible than those who preach the Church is going to have to suffer alongside the wicked in the Tribulation Period.

It's interesting to me Clement spoke of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the manner he did as a Post-Tribulational Rapture believer would point to those incidents as proof the Church is going to go through the Tribulation Period, but be protected.

If the faithful Church was going to have to endure the horrors of the Tribulation Period, there couldn't have been any finer examples than Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, whose stories of boldly overcoming tribulation are recorded in Daniel, chapters 6 and 3 respectively, right?

If the Church is going to have to suffer in the Tribulation Period as those holding a Mid-Trib, Pre-Wrath, or Post-Tribulational Rapture doctrine would suggest, why did Christ Himself point to two men I spoke of earlier in the commentary, Noah and Lot, who were completely delivered from God's judgment, when speaking of the end times, as recorded in Luke 17:26-30?

I believe Clement understood there was going to be a Pre-Tribulational Rapture of the Church well ahead of John Darby allegedly dreaming the idea up in 1830. If so, it's not such a new idea after all, is it?

Early teachings on the Pre-trib Rapture

Examining an Ancient Pre-Trib Rapture Statement

All the saints and elect of God are gathered together before the tribulation, which is to come, and are taken to the Lord, in order that they may not see at any time the confusion which overwhelms the world because of our sins. -Pseudo-Ephraem (c. 374-627)

Critics of pretribulationism sometimes state that belief in the rapture is a doctrinal development of recent origin. They argue that the doctrine of the rapture or any semblance of it was completely unknown before the early 1800s and the writings of John Nelson Darby. One of the most vocal and sensational critics of the rapture is Dave MacPherson, who argues that, "during the first 18 centuries of the Christian era, believers were never 'Rapture separaters' [sic]; they never separated the minor Rapture aspect of the Second Coming of Christ from the Second Coming itself."1

A second critic, John Bray, also vehemently opposes a pretribulational rapture, writing, "this teaching is not a RECOVERY of truth once taught and then neglected. No, it never was taught-for 1800 years nearly no one knew anything about such a scheme."2 More recently, pre-trib opponent Robert Van Kampen proclaimed, "The pretribulational rapture position with its dual parousias was unheard of in church history prior to 1830."3 In our previous issue of Pre-Trib Perspectives, I noted that pre-wrath advocate Marvin Rosenthal has also joined the chorus.4

Christian reconstructionists have also consistently and almost universally condemned premillennialism and pretribulationism, favoring instead, postmillen-nialism. One sample of their prolific and often vitri-olic opposition can be seen in Gary North's derisive description of the rapture as "the Church's hoped-for Escape Hatch on the world's sinking ship," which he, like MacPherson, believes was invented in 1830.5

How to Find the Rapture in History

Is pretribulationism as theologically bankrupt as its critics profess, or are there answers to these charges? If there are reasonable answers, then the burden of proof and historical argumentation shifts back to the critics. Rapture critics must acknowledge and interact with the historical and theological evidence.

Rapture critic William Bell has formulated three criteria for establishing the validity of a historical citation regarding the rapture. If any of his three criteria are met, then he acknowledges it is "of crucial importance, if found, whether by direct statement or clear inference." As will be seen, the Pseudo-Ephraem sermon meets not one, but two of his canons, namely, "Any mention that Christ's second coming was to consist of more than one phase, separated by an interval of years," and "any mention that Christ was to remove the church from the earth before the tribulation period."6

Pseudo-Ephraem's Rapture Statement

I vividly remember the phone call at my office late one afternoon from Canadian prophecy teacher and writer Grant Jeffrey.7 He told me that he had found an ancient pre-trib rapture statement. I said, "Let's hear it." He read the following to me over the phone:

All the saints and elect of God are gathered together before the tribulation, which is to come, and are taken to the Lord, in order that they may not see at any time the confusion which overwhelms the world because of our sins.

I said that it sure sounds like a pre-trib statement and began to fire at him all the questions I have since received many times when telling others about the statement from Pseudo-Ephraem's sermon On the Last Times, the Antichrist, and the End of the World.8 Grant's phone call started me on journey through many of the substantial libraries throughout the Washington, D.C. area in an effort to learn all I could about this historically significant statement. The more information I acquired led me to conclude that Grant is right to conclude that this is a pre-trib rapture statement of antiquity.

Who is Pseudo-Ephraem?

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 his sermon was written by Ephraem of Nisibis (306-73), considered to be the greatest figure in the history of the Syrian church. He was well-known for his poetics, rejection of rationalism, and confrontations with the heresies of Marcion, Mani, and the Arians. As a poet, exegete, and theologian, his style was similar to that of the Jewish midrashic and targumic traditions and he favored a contemplative approach to spirituality. So popular were his works that in the fifth and sixth centuries he was adopted by several Christian communities as a spiritual father and role model. His many works, some of doubtful authenticity, were soon translated from Syriac into Greek, Armenian, and Latin.

It is not at all unreasonable to expect that a prolific and prominent figure such as Ephraem would have writings ascribed to him. While there is little support for Ephraem as the author of the Sermon on the End of the World, Caspari and Alexander have demonstrated that Pseudo-Ephraem was "heavily influenced by the genuine works of Ephraem."9 What is more difficult, though secondary to the main purpose of this article, is determining the exact date, purpose, location of, and extent of subsequent editorial changes to the sermon.10

Suggestions on the date of the writing of the original sermon range from as early as Wilhelm Bousset's 373 date,11 to Caspari's estimation of sometime between 565 and 627.12 Paul Alexander, after reviewing all the argumentation, favors a date for the final form similar to that suggested by Caspari,13 but Alexander also states simply, "It will indeed not be easy to decide on the matter."14 All are clear that it had to have been written before the advent of Islam.

Pseudo-Ephraem's Sermon

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.15 Additionally, there are 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.16 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."17

Why Pseudo-Ephraem's Statement is Pretribulational

After learning of Pseudo-Ephraem's rapture statement, I shared it with a number of colleagues. My favorite approach was to simply read the statement, free of any introductory remarks, and ask what they thought. Every person, whether pre-trib or not, concluded that it was some kind of pre-trib statement. A few thought it was a statement from such pre-trib proponents like John Walvoord orCharles Ryrie. Most noted the clear statement concerning the removal of believers before thetribulation as a reason for thinking the statement pre-trib. This is Bell's second criteria for identifying a pre-trib statement from the past, namely, "any mention that Christ was to remove the church from the earth before the tribulation period." Note the following reasons why this should be taken as a pre-trib statement:

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.20

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.

ENDNOTES

1 Dave MacPherson, The Great Rapture Hoax (Fletcher, NC: New Puritan Library, 1983), 15. For a refutation of MacPherson's charges see Thomas D. Ice, "Why the Doctrine of the Pretribulational Rapture Did Not Begin with Margaret Macdonald," Bibliotheca Sacra 147 (1990): 155-68.

2 John L. Bray, The Origin of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Teaching (Lakeland, FL.: John L. Bray Ministry, 1982), 31-32.

3 Robert Van Kampen, The Sign (Wheaton, IL.: Crossway Books, 1992), 445.

4 Thomas Ice, "Is The Pre-Trib Rapture A Satanic Deception?" Pre-Trib Perspectives (II:1; March 1995):1-3.

5 Gary North, Rapture Fever: Why Dispensationalism is Paralyzed (Tyler, TX.: Institute for Christian Economics, 1993), 105.

6 William E. Bell, "A Critical Evaluation of the Pretribulation Rapture Doctrine in Christian Eschatology" (Ph.D. diss., New York University, 1967), 26-27.

7 For more information on the Pseudo-Ephraem statement see Grant R. Jeffrey, Final Warning (Toronto: Frontier Research Publications, 1995). Forthcoming, Timothy Demy and Thomas Ice, "The Rapture and an Early Medieval Citation" Bibliotheca Sacra 152 (July 1995): 300-11. Grant R. Jeffrey, "A Pretribulational Rapture Statement in the Early Medieval Church" in Thomas Ice and Timothy Demy, ed., When the Trumpet Sounds: Today's Foremost Authorities Speak Out on End-Time Controversies (Eugene, Or: Harvest House, 1995).

8 Grant Jeffrey found the statement in Paul J. Alexander, The Byzantine Apocalyptic Tradition, by (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985), 2.10. The late Alexander found the sermon in C. P. Caspari, ed. Briefe, Abhandlungen und Predigten aus den zwei letzten Jahrhunderten des kirchlichen Altertums und dem Anfang des Mittelaters, (Christiania, 1890), 208-20. This German work also contains Caspari's commentary on the sermon on pages 429-72.

9 Paul J. Alexander, "The Diffusion of Byzantine Apocalypses in the Medieval West and the Beginnings of Joachimism," in Prophecy and Millenarianism: Essays in Honour of Marjorie Reeves, ed. Ann Williams (Essex, U.K. : Longman, 1980), 59.

10 Paul J. Alexander, "Medieval Apocalypses as Historical Sources," American Historical Review 73 (1968): 1017. In this essay Alexander addresses in-depth the historical difficulties facing the interpreter of such texts. To these difficulties, issues of theological interpretation and concern must also be added.

11 W. Bousset, The Antichrist Legend, trans. A. H. Keane (London: Hutchinson and Co., 1896), 33-41. An early date is also accepted by Andrew R. Anderson, Alexander's Gate: Gog and Magog and the Enclosed Nations. Monographs of the Mediaeval Academy of America, no. 5. (Cambridge, MA.: Mediaeval Academy of America, 1932):16-18.

12 Caspari, 437-42.

13 Alexander, Byzantine Apocalyptic Tradition, 147. This leaves the possibility that the work may have been altered or revised prior to the date of the extant manuscripts.

14 Ibid., 145. Earlier, he writes: "All that is certain, is as Caspari pointed out, that it must have been written prior to Heraclius' victories over Sassanid Persia, for the author talks repeatedly of wars between Rome and Persia and such discussions do not make sense after Heraclius' victories and the beginning of the Arab invasions" (144).

15 Ibid., 136-37. The only critical edition is Caspari's which suffers a lack of objectivity in that he relied upon only two of the four extant manuscripts.

16 Ibid., 140-44.

17 Caspari, 219. English citations are taken from a translation of the sermon provided by Cameron

Rhoades, instructor of Latin at Tyndale Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, TX.

18 Ibid., 210.

19 Alexander, 209.

20 Ibid., 210-11.
Ephraem the Syrian

For many years post-tribulationists and amillenialists have claimed that the pre-tribulational viewpoint is a recent teaching (circa 1800's) in the almost 2000 year history of the Church. And many claim that this lack of teaching by the early forefathers of the Church indicates that it is not a valid teaching because it would have been carried down in the Church writings.

Well that has all changed now with the recent translations of the writings of Ephraem the Syrian, circa 373 A.D. Ephraem was a major theologian and Christian writer of the Byzantine Church. He lived from approximately 306 A.D. to 373 A.D. Until recently a large number of his writing had yet to be translated into English.

In 1994, Grant R. Jeffrey discovered some ancient manuscripts of Ephraem. Following are some key excerpts of that text. The translation was done by Professor Cameron Rhoades, of Tyndale Theological Seminary, at the request of Mr. Jeffrey. The excerpts are taken from Grant Jeffrey's recent book, Final Warning, published by Frontier Research Publications, Inc., Box 120, Station "U", Toronto, Ontario M8Z 5M4. You can find it in most Christian bookstores. I highly recommend it as there are many other items of eschatological interest, including some excerpts of Ephraem's writings on Daniel's 70 weeks prophecies.

I wish to acknowledge and thank Mr. Jeffrey for his permission to post the following information from his book for the Church to see.

The following is excerpted from © 1995 Grant R. Jeffrey, Final Warning, published by Frontier Research Publications, Inc., Box 120, Station "U", Toronto, Ontario M8Z 5M4

Ephraem's Teaching on the Pre-Tribulation Rapture

"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" (On the Last Times, the Antichrist, and the End of the World, by Ephraem the Syrian, A.D. 373).

The early Christian writer and poet, Ephraem the Syrian, (who lived from A. D. 306 to 373) was a major theologian of the early Byzantine Eastern Church. He was born near Nisbis, in the Roman province of Syria, near present day Edessa, Turkey. Ephraem displayed a profound love of the Scriptures in his writings as illustrated by several of his written comments quoted in the Works of Nathaniel Lardner, Vol. 4, 1788). "I esteem no man more happy than him, who diligently reads the Scriptures delivered to us by the Spirit of God, and thinks how he may order his conversation by the precepts of them." To this day, his hymns and homilies are used in the liturgy of the Greek Orthodox and Middle Eastern Nestorian Church. While the sixteen-volume Post-Nicene Library includes a number of homilies and psalms by Ephraem the Syrian, the editors noted that he also wrote a large number of commentaries that have never been translated into English.

Ephraem's fascinating teaching on the Antichrist has never been published in English until now. This critically important prophecy manuscript from the fourth century of the Church era reveals a literal method of interpretation and a teaching of the pre-millennial return of Christ. More importantly, Ephraem's text revealed a very clear statement about the pretribulational return of Christ to take His elect saints home to heaven to escape the coming Tribulation. In addition, Ephraem declares his belief in a personal, Jewish Antichrist, who will rule the Roman Empire during the last days, a rebuilt Temple, the two witnesses and a literal Great Tribulation lasting 1,260 days. It is also fascinating to note that he taught that the War of Gog and Magog would precede the tribulation period. I discovered another text by Ephraem, called The Book of the Cave of Treasure, that revealed he taught that Daniel's Seventieth Week will be fulfilled in the final seven years at the end of this age that will conclude with Christ's return at the Battle of Armageddon to establish His kingdom.

The following section includes key passages from Ephraem's important text, written about A.D. 373, and translated by Professor Cameron Rhoades, of Tyndale Theological Seminary, at my request.

On the Last Times, the Antichrist, and the End of the World

"1. Most dearly beloved brothers, believe the Holy Spirit who speaks in us. Now we have spoken before, because the end of the world is very near, and the consummation remains. Has not the first faith withered away in men? ...

"2. We ought to understand thoroughly therefore, my brothers what is imminent or overhanging. Already there have been hunger and plagues, violent movements of nations and signs, which have been predicted by the Lord, they have already been fulfilled, and there is not other which remains, except the advent of the wicked one in the completion of the Roman kingdom. Why therefore are we occupied with worldly business, and why is our mind held fixed on the lusts of the world or the anxieties of the ages? Why therefore do we not reject every care of earthly actions and prepare ourselves for the meeting of the Lord Christ, so that He may draw us from the confusion, which overwhelms the world? Believe you me, dearest brothers, because the coming of the Lord is nigh, believe you me, because the end of the world is at hand, believe me, because it is the very last time.... Because all saints and the Elect of the Lord are gathered together before the tribulation which is to about to come and are taken to the Lord, in order that they may not see at any time the confusion which overwhelms the world because of our sins (italics added). And so, brothers, most dear to me, it is the eleventh hour, and the end of this world comes to the harvest, and angels, armed and prepared, hold sickles in their hands, awaiting the empire of the Lord ....

"3. When therefore the end of the world comes, there arise diverse wars, commotions on all sides, horrible earthquakes, perturbations of nations, tempests throughout the lands, plagues, famine, drought throughout the thoroughfares, great danger throughout the sea and dry land, constant persecutions, slaughters and massacres everywhere ....

"6. When therefore the end of the world comes, that abominable, lying and murderous one is born from the tribe of Dan. He is conceived from the seed of a man and from a most vile virgin, mixed with an evil or worthless spirit ....

"7. But when the time of the abomination of his desolation begins to approach, having been made legal, he takes the empire.... Therefore, when he receives the kingdom, he orders the temple of God to be rebuilt for himself, which is in Jerusalem; who, after coming into it, he shall sit as God and order that he be adored by all nations ... then all people from everywhere shall flock together to him at the city of Jerusalem, and the holy city shall be trampled on by the nations for forty-two months just as the holy apostle says in the Apocalypse, which become three and a half years, 1260 days.

"8. In these three years and a half the heaven shall suspend its dew; because there will be no rain upon the earth and there will be a great tribulation, as there has not been, since people began to be upon the earth and no one is able to sell or to buy of the grain of the fall harvest, unless he is one who has the serpentine sign on the forehead or the hand

"10. And when the three and a half years have been completed, the time of the Antichrist, through which he will have seduced the world, after the resurrection of the two prophets, in the hour which the world does not know, and on the day which the enemy or son of perdition does not know, will come the sign of the Son of Man, and coming forward the Lord shall appear with great power and much majesty, with the sign of the word of salvation going before him, and also even with all the powers of the heavens with the whole chorus of the saints.... Then Christ shall come and the enemy shall be thrown into confusion, and the Lord shall destroy him by the Spirit of his mouth. And he shall be bound and shall be plunged into the abyss of everlasting fire alive with his father Satan; and all people, who do his wishes, shall perish with him forever; but the righteous ones shall inherit everlasting life with the Lord for ever and ever."

To summarize the key points in Ephraem's text on the last days:

1. Ephraem's manuscript lays out the events of the last days in chronological sequence. Significantly he began with the Rapture using the word "imminent," then, he described the Great Tribulation of three and a half years duration under the Antichrist's tyranny, followed by the second coming of Christ to earth with his saints to defeat the Antichrist.

2. Significantly, at the beginning of his treatise in Section 2, Ephraem used the word "imminent" to describe the Rapture occurring before the tribulation and the coming of the Antichrist. "We ought to understand thoroughly therefore, my brothers what is imminent or overhanging."

3. He clearly described the pre-tribulation rapture: "Because all saints and the Elect of the Lord are gathered together before the tribulation which is to about to come and are taken to the Lord, in order that they may not see at any time the confusion which overwhelms the world because of our sins."

4. He then gives the purpose of God rapturing the Church "before the tribulation" so that "they may not see at any time the confusion which overwhelms the world because of our sins." Ephraem used the word "confusion" as a synonym for the tribulation period.

5. Ephraem described the duration of the "great tribulation" (the last half of the seven year tribulation period) in sections 7, 8 and 10 as follows: "forty-two months" and "three and a half years" and "1260 days."

6. He summarized: "There will be a great tribulation, as there has not been since people began to be upon the earth" and described the Mark of the Beast system.

7. He declared that Christ will come to the earth after the "three and a half years" tribulation period in Section 10: "And when the three and a half years have been completed, the time of the Antichrist, through which he will have seduced the world, after the resurrection of the two prophets... will come the sign of the Son of Man, and coming forward the Lord shall appear with great power and much majesty"

Dr. Paul Alexander, perhaps the most authoritative scholar on the writings of the early Byzantine Church, concluded that Ephraem's text on The Antichrist taught that the Lord would supernaturally remove the saints of the Church from the earth is prior to the tribulations that is to come." Ephraem wrote that the saints will be "taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins." Dr. Alexander believed this text was written by some unknown writer in the sixth century but he concluded that it was derived from an original Ephraem manuscript (A.D. 373). other scholars, including the German editor Professor Caspari who wrote a German commentary on this Latin manuscript in 1890, believed that Ephraem's manuscript was written by the genuine Ephraem in A.D. 373. Professor Cameron Rhoades, professor of Latin at Tyndale Theological Seminary, translated Ephraem's Latin text into English.

he 70 weeks of Daniel

Hi Everyone. I am going to try and put down the seventy weeks of Scriptues as I learned them many years ago and being that I have them on a kinda Zelma chart they may not turn out as well if I just type them out. I believe that this is a study well forth checking out and it is proven by history and also Scriptures.

The Seventy weeks or 490 years.

1 From the birth of Abraham to the Exodus.

1ST 70 week=from Abraham Birth to the Exodus

Abrahams Birth BC 2111

a. Abraham walked 75 years with the Lord then he was give the promise. Gen. 12:4

b. Gen 16:16 Ishamael conceived BC 2026. Ishamael was a usurper for 15 years.

c. Isaac born Gen 21;15. BC 2011

Now we have the actual amount of years as 505, then we will go to the 15 uears that Ishmael was the usurper, and subtract and we will go to the Exodus. Total time being 490 years.

2 Seventy weeks or 490 year

From the Exodus to the Dedication of Solomons Temple. 490 Years

This is the time of Servitude, or the 2nd 490 years.

a The jews were in servitude to Mesopotomia 8 years. Judges 3;8

b. the jews were then in servitutude the second time to the Moabites 18 years. Judges 3; 12-14.

c. Third servitude Cananites for 20 years. Judges 4; 2-3

d Forth servitude Midianites 7 years. Judges 6;1

e Fifth servitude Philistines and Ammonites 18 years. 18 years. Judges 10: 7-8/

f Sixth servitude Philistines 40 years.

Now we have the building of the Temple BC 1015 1 Kings 6; 1-38, this took 10 years.

Actual time counting the servitude 591 years, remove the time of the servitude and you have your second 490 years.

3 From the Dedication of Solomons Temple to the edict of Artaxerxes or 490 years.

a. From B.C. 606 the Jews were in captivity till B.C 536

b. Now we come to the Edit of Artaxerxes March 14 B.C. 445 Neh 21.

Actual time line, counting the 70 years of capitivity 560 years but since God does not count time when Israel is out of favor with God we then have another 490 years.

4. From the Edict of Artaxerxes to the second coming of Jesus Christ.

a. We begin with the edict of Artaxterxes. Neh 21 March 14 445 B.C.

b we have seven weeks from 445B.C. to 396 .

c Daniel 9; 24-26 62 weeks

d Now Neh 2;1 tells us the exact day that the Messiah was cut of, 173,880 days from Neh 2;1 A.D 32 Jesus was then crucified.April 10 32 A.D.

e Now we come to the future we have been in the Church age since the Messiah has been cut of, we will remain in this age until the fullness of the gentiles be come in. Romans 11;25.

f then the rapture,

g. Now the final seven years comes Antichrist comes on the scene in daniel 27 and makes a covenant of peace with Israel and then we go to Revelation 6 and there is the future.

Antichrist makes and breaks the cioenant and demands that he be worship as God. This did not happen in 70 as, as titus took a statue of Zeus his god into the temple and demanded that the people worship his god not him. He then killed millions of jews and took many of them into capativity.

My younger life and my life now

Good morning to all:
I just thought that this would touch people heart upon waking up this morning. Oh God I pray for the Peace pf Jerusalem. My heart breaks on what I see happening over there now. So many death, so many innocent victims. All because the Lord choose a nation and a people to be His. In my spirit I am weeping over the devastation over there in all countries. War is horrible in any case but as we all know Israel will be victorious as she has the Lord on her side while the others are ruled by satan. Just another sign that we are living in the ends of times.
I was talking to my Mom yesterday and our generation now is 94 years old. My Aunt just turned 94 and my Mom 86 and they are spry as bumble bees. How I love them so and the baby is now 6. I look back and my childhood was so precious to me that I remember even when I was little bitty. Mom is amazed at what I remember and share with her and she will say yes that is exactly what happened. God has given me such grace to be born into a family that shows love and still remains so close. My Sisters are my dearest friends and I long to go and visit with them and hope to go in August to spend some time there. Not many can look back and only see love but that is all I knew in my life from all of my family. I guess that is why I can love Jesus so very much as my only examples in life were a family of love. My Dad who was my stepfather was the most loving man I ever knew and when I was three year old he sat down and talked with me and told me that he would like to be my father. Out of all the lil girls in the world he choose me to love and would I love him back and be his daughter. He told me he would always stand by my side no matter what and Lois no matter what I went thru in my life my Dad was there. He stood and wept over me in a hospital bed many times and would not leave. Others would go to rest but not Dad He would stay and I knew when I opened my eyes that he would be there. That made my conversion so glorious as if my earthly Father loved me that much how much more does my Heavenly Father love me. It would break my heart when I was little if I disappointed my Dad so now it breaks my heart when disappoint Jesus. How fortunate I was to have that kind of love and to still have it going from generation to generation. I look at my brothers now passed on and my sisters children and I see the same love that flows from the fountain so freely. So I have always in a way had the touch of God in my life and How I praise Jesus for that.
Life passes so fast and I can only try and share the love of God with others. He will never leave us or forsake us. Thou we all go thru dark valleys He walks besides us and urges us on simply saying because of you I died, because of Me you live. Oh what praise sing out of my heart to God! May you all have a precious day in the Lord and remember that Jesus loves you beyond belief, Oh Lord help our unbelief. Always my dear ones Look up because Jesus is looking up with You just reach out and touch Him. He is there for us all. Love is the key and it mst start at home. Wrath is not evr allowed in the family of God.
Blessings to all in Jesus Name;
Agape
Zelma

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The pre-Tribulation Rapture

Scriptures showing that the Rapture is "PRE-Tribulation"

[2Thess 2:1] Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

(The coming of our Lord Jesus, and our gathering together unto him is the rapture.)

[2Thess 2:2] That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

("The day of Christ is at hand" refers not to the rapture, but to the day of wrath, the seven years of tribulation. {Amos 5:18 below}The church of Thessalonia must have gotten a letter that said they were living in the tribulation--which is shaking and troubling news. They could not have thought that they were living in the rapture, or that it was "at hand" or "now" because the rapture happens suddenly, instantaneously. And if the report was that the rapture was "soon to come", that would not be shaking or troubling, but glorious and wonderful. The only option, for the verse to make sense, is that they thought that the rapture had passed, and that they were in the tribulation.)

They were fearing this: [Dan 7:21] I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;

What IS the "day of Christ" anyway, is it the rapture?

[Amos 5:18] Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.

(This "day of the Lord" cannot be the rapture, because we look forward to the rapture. There are many other scriptures that say the same thing. The day of the Lord is tribulation, also known as the time of Jacob's trouble, Isreal's trouble, the days of Awe.)

[2Thess 2:3] Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [tribulation--the day of Christ] shall not come, except there come a falling away [apostacy--or departure (some assume this means departure from the faith, but it can also mean departure from the earth, as in rapture)] first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

(Now, if they were troubled that the rapture had passed, Paul is assuring the Church that they didn't miss anything, saying that that the tribulation that they feared is preceeded by several important key events: First, the rapture, which reveals the antichrist...)

[2Thess 2:4] Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

(who doesn't even sit in the temple until 3.5 years into the tribulation... See Rev (which they didn't know at the time)-- But this is why this point, of the AntiChrist being revealed after the rapture--who goes on to sit in the temple, is proof that they hadn't missed the rapture. There is no antichrist revealed yet.)

[2Thess 2:5] Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

[2Thess 2:6] And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

(In other words, the Christians in Thessalonia couldn't have missed the rapture, because there is no AntiChrist sitting in the temple, claiming to be God, who has yet to be revealed. And that the AntiChrist is still being held back by their presence in the world--since the rapture reveals the antichrist as in verse 3.)

[2Thess 2:7] For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

(Christians are the "He" who letteth will let and will be taken out of the way. That is, whatsoever we bound on earth will be bound in heaven. And once we are removed/raptured, then the AntiChrist will have the freedom to fulfill his plans. After all, the gates of hell cannot prevail against the Church; (Mat 16:18), and the Church is not destined for wrath (verse))

[2Thess 2:8] And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

[2Thess 2:9] Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

[2Thess 2:10] And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

[2Thess 2:11] And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

[2Thess 2:12] That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

[2Thess 2:13] But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

[2Thess 2:14] Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

[2Thess 2:15] Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

[2Thess 2:16] Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,

[2Thess 2:17] Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.

Finally, yes, the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine is accused of being a "comfort doctrine"... Well, it IS, the scripures even say so. It's consolation, hope, comforting for believers.

To recap, and summarize by clarifying the verses with modern terminology:

1 I beg you, by the Pre-Tribulation Rapture promise of Christ,

2 That you don't worry if you "hear by letter" that you are in the 7 year Great Tribulation of God's wrath

3 Don't be decieved. The Tribulation doesn't come until after the world wide events of the Great resurrection and rapture, which removes the righteous and leaves only those in rebellion and apostacy, which allows for the revealing of the AntiChrist,

4 Who says he is God, and who will sit in the temple and declare claim to be God.

5 Don't you remember this doctrine I told you already?

6 And now you know why the AntiChrist is not yet revealed to the world

7 Yes, the AntiChrist is working, but not fully, because you are still here, preventing his works by your prayers, until the rapture, when you will be taken out of the way.

8 And then the AntiChrist will come out of hiding, and the Lord will destroy him.

I can hear Paul thinking to himself... how could my diciples have been so easily misled, decived and troubled that they missed the rapture? And by a mere letter? It's a world-wide gospel-promoting supernatural event that no person could miss who was looking forward to it! They know it includes people rising from the dead, the last trump, and all the rest. I told them that in my first letter to them in Chapter 4, in fact, it was the only doctrinal teaching in my entire letter! Sheesh! I'd better make another journey back to Thessalonia to set these guys straight and reassure them, just in case my letter doesn't do it!



Now, I'm not ignorant of the fact that post trib rapture believers interpret 2 Thess 2 in the opposite way,

and use it to prove a post trib rapture... here's how they do it.

[2Thess 2:1] Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

(they say this is the rapture, correctly, but then say the next verse "day of Christ" refers to the rapture as well.)

[2Thess 2:2] That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

(Obviously, the Post Tribulationists are afraid of the Rapture, because this is the only way that that verse makes any sense. Yes, fear of the Lord is a good thing, but you should not let it affect your theology to the point where you are praying for the Lord to not come until after 7 years of tribulation!.... Also, being a post tribulationist, if you disbelieve Christ's ability to cleanse you of sin, and believe you need further cleansing through tribulation, being a post trib believer, there is plenty of extra time to repent, 7 years, and/or simply stand up for Christ and accept a beheading to achieve "trib saint status", which may give one a full licence to sin all they want until that time, since the imminency of the rapture, which comes first, is removed. Perhaps the post tribulationists feel they deserve punishment for their sins, because they have a hard time accepting the free gift of salvation through Christ. I'm speculating that IF the post tribulationists really want to go through the tribulation, Christ may let them. After all, one may be able to disobey when the trumpet call goes out to "Come up here!")

[2Thess 2:3] Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [rapture--which they fear] shall not come, except there come a falling away [they assume means "from the faith"--which, they say, includes false doctrine, such as pre-trib rapture teaching, which somehow leads one to worship Satan through complacency and laziness, but I've never seen how that is possible if one is truly focused on Christ and knows the Bible, since the Antichist cannot deceive the elect--so their fears of the AntiChrist's deception are also baseless (man, these post trib guys fear a lot... consider Rev which says the fearful have thier lot in Hell)] first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

[2Thess 2:4] Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

[2Thess 2:5] Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

[2Thess 2:6] And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

[2Thess 2:7] For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

(Since this further explanation of Christians being removed disproves what they are saying, they say the "he" is undefined, and may mean "Michael, the chief/arch angel, whose removal allows for the rising of the Antichrist, although there is no other scripture anywhere in the Bible to support this teaching, other than the fact that Michael is a strong and powerful Angel, able to aid the delivering of a message to Daniel.)

[2Thess 2:8] And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:



Now, as for mid trib or pre trib. If the rapture reveals the antichrist, is the antichrist revealed when he sits in the temple or earlier? Well, in Daniel, the antichrist is revealed when he acts in front of "many"

[Dan 9:27.6] And he [antichrist] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [of years]: and in the midst of the week [of years] he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

And in Rev. he breaks the covenant 3.5 years into it when he sits in the temple and says he is God and receives power to make war against the saints, and make the mark of the beast mandatory.

[Rev 13:5] And there was given unto him [antichrist] a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies;

and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. [3.5 years]

[Rev 13:6] And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and

his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

And when does the antichrist reveive power to continue for 3.5 years?

[Rev 11:7] And when they [the two witnesses] shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit [antichrist/Satan Rev 9:11, 17:8, Rev 20:3] shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

The antichrist receives power after he kills God's two witnesses who prophesy for the first half of the 7 year trib, 1260 days...

[Rev 11:3] And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

I believe that Satan is cast down to earth at the time of the beginning of the 7 year tribulation, after all, the antichrist is revealed after/at the rapture, and I don't think the rapture would occur while Satan is still in Heaven--we Christians, who will judge angels, would slaughter him (and the Bible never describes a heavenly conflict between the raptured humans and Satan in Heaven), so, instead, the angels throw him out, just in time for our arrival in Heaven.

[Rev 12:7] And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

[Rev 12:13] And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.

[Rev 12:6] And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. [3.5 years]

[Rev 12:14] And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time [the other way to say 3.5 years], from the face of the serpent.

In other words, Satan cannot make war against these saints (Isreal, the woman, and all who obey the commandments) for the first half of the 7 year tribulation, before he has any real power to do so, and while the woman is still being protected by God.

So, therefore, since the antichrist is revealed at the 7 year covenant, and he will need the 3.5 years just to solidify his world political power as well, the rapture MUST take place prior to the confirmation of the 7 year covenant, which represents the 7 year tribulation, or final week of Daniel's prophesy, the 70th week:.

[Dan 9:24] Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

[Dan 9:25] Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

Satan receives power just as God's wrath is being poured out in full, the last half of the 3.5 years of tribulation...



Here are a few verses that show the rapture takes place *prior* to the wrath of the tribulation: (just in case the previous exposition was not enough to convince you). There are many more verses that talk about the rapture, but I'm only listing a few that show "PRE" tribulation below:

[Isa 26:20] Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee:

hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.

[Isa 26:21] For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the

earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.

[Isa 57:1] The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.

[Mal 3:16] Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD

hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that

feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.

[Mal 3:17] And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my

jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

[Pss 97:10] Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.

[Luke 21:36] Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

[1 Thessalonians 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 Thessalonians 5:9] For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

[Rom 5:9] Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

[2Pet 2:9] The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

[Rev 2:22] Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

[Rev 3:10] Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial which is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell upon the earth.

[Revelation 4:1] After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

[Rev 8:13] And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth [those not raptured?] by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

[Rev 19:1] And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven [the raptured?], saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:

Finally, read all of Psalm 27, which is supposed to be read daily, every day for 30 days, during the 30 day time period of repentance that come prior to the Feast of Trumpets, also known as 'the last trump' the 'day that no man knows but the father', the day that comes 'like a thief in the night', also known as the 'wedding of the messiah', --and the Church is the Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5)

[Pss 27:1] The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

[Pss 27:2] When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

[Pss 27:3] Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

[Pss 27:4] One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

[Pss 27:5] For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

[Pss 27:6] And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.

[Pss 27:7] Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

[Pss 27:8] When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.

[Pss 27:9] Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.

[Pss 27:10] When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.

[Pss 27:11] Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.

[Pss 27:12] Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.

[Pss 27:13] I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

[Pss 27:14] Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

And there are many, many more verses that show that God saves his people during all kinds of trouble and tribulation. In fact, you could say that God's mercy and deliverance is a major theme of the Bible. There are no less than 6 examples of the pre-tribulation rapture in Genesis alone; (Noah and Lot are only two).





Not to mention the examples from the stories and accounts of Joshua, Esther, Ruth, David, Sampson, Jacob, and more!

1. Joshua marches against Jericho with trumpets, and the walls fall down, and the people rise up to enter the city to conquor it, symbolic of entering New Jerusalem, or going up in the rapture. (Joshua 6)

2. Esther, the bride, marries king Mordechi, who, through marriage, is exalted, enabling her to aid and interceed on behalf of the Jews before their tribulation at the hands of Haman, who is defeated. (Esther)

3. Ruth, a woman/bride, a gentile, who is so dedicated to Naomi and says "whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: Thy people shall my people and thy God shall be my God