Can It Be
Prophecy “experts” have always had their divided end time’s opinions. Many have placed precise dates on when the Rapture of the Church will occur - and all have been disappointed. All those dates have come and gone, yet the Church is still here. The latest prophetic scenario is not so much focusing on an exact date, but on a period of time prior to a specific year, 2012.
Can it be that God has given us a more precise insight into when the Rapture will occur? Will it occur prior to the year 2012? We may all find that scenario both interesting as well as provocative. I’ve done a little research, well both my wife and I, and have found that just about every prediction of future cataclysmic occurrences culminate in 2012. Even little things that don’t mean much to the casual observer will, according to the reports we read, come to fulfillment by 2012. I’m not talking about the Mayan calendar coming to an end, but actual real time events that are to come to an end in that year. They are too numerous to mention, and to be honest we haven’t actually recorded them in a journal or anything like that. But we get a real kick every time something pops up claiming fulfillment in 2012, enough so that we both believe something of significance could be on the horizon for the year 2011.
Just about every end time’s biblical prophecy centers on the nation of Israel, once again becoming a fully established nation, and living in the land God gave them. Way back in the book of Deuteronomy, Moses gives us a prophecy about the nation of Israel being scattered (Deuteronomy 4:25-27) and of their rebirth as a nation in the last days (Deuteronomy 4:30). The prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Amos give us similar scenarios. Regarding the return of the Jews to their own land, this latest prophetic scenario is no different as it too centers on Israel.
The re-gathering of the Jewish people into the land God gave them is still going on today. In 1948 the Jewish people became, once again and for the final time, a sovereign nation, being fully recognized as such even by the United Nations. Today it’s hard to find a nation, other than Israel itself, who would admit publically that the Jewish people belong in the land which they now occupy. The latest prophetic rapture related scenario adds one generation to the year of Israel’s rebirth in 1948 (according to Psalm 90:10 and Isaiah 23:15 a generation is 70 years). Using this approach we’re catapulted into the future to the year 2018. Of course we must then subtract Daniel’s prophesied 70th week (7 years) and we can see that the year 2011 is definitely a focal year. Can it be?
To establish a foundation for this newest prophetic scenario for the timing of the rapture of the Church, we need to go back two thousand years to the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry. In the Gospel of Matthew in chapter 24, we find Jesus in the midst of explaining the end time’s events to His Jewish disciples. Something many Bible commentators miss is the fact that our Lord never mentions His Church during this meeting. Might we conclude then that the Church will not see the unfolding of the events Jesus describes?
“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” Matthew 24:36. This verse is constantly being misinterpreted as referring to the Rapture of Christ’s Church. The admonition that no man can know the day or the hour is actually referring to the day and the hour of His Second Advent. When Jesus physically returns and sets His feet on planet earth a second time it will be sometime after the tribulation, but no one knows just exactly when that will be (day or hour). The above verse has nothing whatsoever to do with the Rapture. Jesus is referring to those people who’ve rejected His free gift of salvation and who have entered into, and will be going through, the Tribulation. His Church is excluded from that event. How do I know? “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 1:10.
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,” Mark 13:3. Jesus begins His discourse in this private meeting by answering a couple of questions put to Him by His disciples. He then begins to focus in on the difficulties the last days Jewish population will be faced with just prior to His return. Jesus’ focus is on the re-birth of Israel, as well as some interesting signs that will be prevalent in the last days. “This generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened” Matthew 24:34. “This generation” being the generation of Jews who would witness the rebirth of their own nation, Israel. This would mark the beginning of the last days.
In verse 15 of Matthew 24, Jesus refers to the prophet Daniel and more specifically to an event (the Abomination of Desolation) which will be the catalyst that shifts somewhat normal times into what Jesus refers to as the Great Tribulation which will be filled with God’s wrath. But the 70th week that Daniel speaks about will actually begin 3 ½ years prior to the tribulation (Daniel 12:7). By the time the Abomination of Desolation occurs in the rebuilt Temple in the Holy of Holies, the Church will have been gone for some time.
Those who don’t believe in the Rapture are not anticipating Christ’s Second Advent. It’s a given that most Christian denominations, as well as many non-denominations, ignore or misinterpret the verses that clearly state a future Rapture of Christ’s Church. Therefore there is no urgency in their pulpit messages. Jesus’ Second Advent has always been looked at as something that will occur, but at some time far removed from the here and now.
So let’s all just calm down, relax, let life be what it is, right? “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” 2 Peter 3:3-4. Most Christians don’t see the end times events unfolding because they just don’t believe God and His end times explanations. Erroneous teachings have had a severe affect on the Church.
“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:37-39. These verses are very important to all who would read them and understand them. They paint a vivid picture of apathy and ignorance. Many in the Church today are just as clueless as those who perished during the flood of Noah. They will not heed this clear warning from the Creator of the universe. Although the focus is on the last days Jews, they must give the rest of us pause when we realize that Jesus knew that in the last days not many would be taking His word seriously, analogous to the antediluvian period.
Right now anyone who picks up a newspaper, or listens to the nightly news reports, or reads online news sources can be fully assured that the birth pangs which Jesus spoke about in the discourse to His disciples are upon us. This tells us the Church’s earthly duration is coming to an end, and soon. Have you considered how birth pangs actually work?
Many Bible commentators of years past didn’t believe in the prophecy of the restoration of the nation of Israel, they just couldn’t see it happening. Thus they couldn’t see the birth pangs that would follow shortly after Israel’s rebirth. They simply wrote off all prophecy as having already been fulfilled. Sadly, many still don’t see it and continue to dismiss it as lunacy as they teach others to do the same.
There is very little thought given today for tomorrow. “The future is what it is” is a quote from an old movie I watched recently. That’s a somewhat true statement, but the future is fully known by God, and God alone. Believers “in Christ” must rely on His word as a focus for their lives both now and for the future. In the minds of many Christians today the rapture of Christ’s Church is an erroneous interpretation of scripture. Since they’re not looking for signs indicating the lateness of the hour, witnessing becomes a casual, almost wasteful expenditure of energy.
“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” Matthew 24:42. Even though I’m placing scripture verses in this commentary that clearly refer to the Jews of the last days and not Christ’s Church, today’s Christian are not excluded from heeding Christ’s warnings. Since the signs are obvious – easily recognizable and very near on the horizon – the shortness of the hour becomes paramount. As Christ’s followers we should all be encouraged, excited, and working.
God is at the controls and He is fully aware of the events which are occurring here on His earth. Satan too, being aware of end times signs, is in full military mode pushing to corrupt the masses and to defile the works of God. God’s word is true and we must study it more than just read it. Be assured He will give you understanding. Those of us who are in full anticipation of the coming events should also be fully entrenched in our determination to comply with Jesus’ command of spreading the Gospel.
Most Bible commentators who interpret the scriptures correctly understand that the Rapture of Christ’s Church is imminent. Whether the Rapture occurs today or in the future it is near, even at the door. We’re given God’s word on that and we are expected to believe it no matter what the naysayers believe and promote to the contrary. When God tells us that certain things are going to come to pass and then they do that’s enough proof that He means what He says. Hundreds of biblical prophecies have been fulfilled and so will the Rapture of His Church.
Proclaiming the message of the cross, at minimum as far as our little part of this world extends, means not one of our friends or family members should be ignorant of the Gospel of Christ. Even though time is running out for the Church here on earth we’re obviously still here and fully capable of spreading His Gospel and possibly making a difference in someone else’s life.
Consensus is that the year 2011 is shaping up to be quite significant for “in Christ” believers. Can it be that what we are seeing is a window opening up for the Rapture to occur? We shall all see. But one thing is sure, those who are lost cannot see.
My brothers and sisters, until the end comes we have our marching orders. Will we cower in a corner while we wait for the rapture, or boldly step up and proclaim the truth of the Gospel to a perishing world? You all know what you’re supposed to be doing – go do it.
God bless you all,