As a quick disclaimer: I have seen your replies and clearly some of you have a heart for God. Others, spend far too much time listening to the doctrines of demons. Know this, unless they block me I will not quit. I write for a world that is filled with people with a heart like mine; one that has learned to err on the side of mercy. Have a great day basking in the love of Jesus Christ our soon coming King.
Now, on with the post.
Having addressed who or what Gog could be in my previous post, we now look at the directive given to Ezekiel to prophecy against Gog (from a great distance, and through time,) about what God's plan is, for the last days.
Ezekiel 38:3 NASB and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.
Eugene Peterson's “The Message” gives us this, “Be warned, Gog. I am against you.
Ezekiel 38:4 CJB I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen, all completely equipped, a great horde with breastplates and shields, all wielding swords.
Why would verse four be immensely significant in the Jewish mind?
If you think back to the story of Jonah you remember that Jonah was asked to prophesy against Nineveh and tell them their days were numbered. While that might seem appropriate, especially if you had an intense hatred for the Ninevehites and wanted them dead because they were sadistically cruel and bloody people.
But Jonah also knew something about God that most of us miss, and that was that God's nature was one of mercy. The other thing that Jonah understood was that the Ninevehites were a part of the Assyrian nation, just as Gog is, and they had the nasty habit of dragging their victims back to their lands by putting hooks in their mouths, among other places.
“I will turn you around.”
Another piece of insight for you. Having recently gone to the beach to be with family, I took an ice chest of cold drinks. I dragged that chest from the car, across the beach sand, and now, later in the day, I was dragging it back again. By the time I got to the stairs that lead up to the car, I was exhausted. I could feel the full weight of the ice chest as I went up the first step. Suddenly it got lighter. I actually thought I was going to turn around and see an angel. What I saw was the long-haired young man whom I had just passed carrying a skateboard. My wife, who was about 22 meters behind me, saw the skateboarder and internally had said, Lord, that would be great if that young man helped my husband. With that, the young man stopped, turned, and began to help me without saying a word. You see, God has ways of his will without a word being exchanged; and, the young man, he probably thought it was his great idea.
“and bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen, all completely equipped, a great horde with breastplates and shields, all wielding swords.”
In one of my posts on Ezekiel 38, I went into great detail about the people of that region, the Scythians. One of their claims to fame is that they were skillful horsemen and deadly with weapons as they rode. Would Ezekiel have known that? It is highly possible as the line of descendants that produced these people existed long before Ezekiel did and he would have learned this through oral history.
At this point, I only wish to say, that someone attempted to challenge my previous assertions about Gog, saying, Gog was Satan. Based upon verse four alone is that probable?
Not likely seeing as 1Chronicles 5:4 shows us the lineage of a man named Gog, a descendant of Reuben – the disinherited son of Jacob, but then, Ezekiel's prophecy and the actual occurrence of these events spans well over two thousand years and no one lives that long. The only other thing that has credence is a demonic spirit/ fallen angel that carries that name.
In this battle coming against Israel, who are the players?
Ezekiel 38:5-6 NASB Persia, Ethiopia and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6) Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops-many peoples with you.
Persia – Modern day Iran
Ethiopia – At one time Ethiopia was known as Cush.
Put - Put is the Libyans. While Qaddafi may have been a wild man, since his removal the nation has turned into a violent Muslim nation.
Gomer - Sits squarely in modern day Turkey.
Beth-togarmah - This was territory from which the Medes emanated. It is the region in which the Armenians resided. At one point in time, the Assyrian nations bordered Beth-togarmah, and it is the Caucasus region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. While Russia has dominated these people at times they seem to be independent of Russia while maintaining civil war amongst themselves.
There is a strong clue embedded within the verse that says, “in the far reaches of the north, with all its troops-many peoples are with you." Again, this is the Scythian region and one of their claims to fame was Genghis Khan.
Ezekiel 38:7 CJB Prepare yourself, get ready, you and all your crowd gathered around you; and take charge of them.
Consider something here. Ezekiel is writing this while he is in Babylonian captivity; which for him, began around 570 B.C. Now, over 2570 years later, God is finally bringing this collection of assailants together for a horrendous battle. A battle, that for Israel, will look impossible.
Many will add another war in here, the Psalm 83 war. Some even insert it before the events that Ezekiel lays out before us.
Psalms 83:3-8 ISV They plot against your people and conspire against your cherished ones. 4) They say, "Let us go and erase them as a nation so the name of Israel will not be remembered anymore." 5) Indeed, they shrewdly planned together, forming an alliance against you— 6) the tents of Edom, the Ishmaelites, Moab, the Hagrites, 7) Gebal, Ammon, Amalek, Philistia, and the inhabitants of Tyre. 😎 Even Assyria joined them to strengthen the descendants of Lot. Interlude.
Psalm 83 has similarities to what we see in Ezekiel 38 and 39, but what I don't see is Cush, and Put – Egypt and Libya. I am not sure those nations can be excluded as the descendants traveled extensively.
Ezekiel 38:8 CJB After many days have passed, you will be mustered for service; in later years you will invade the land which has been brought back from the sword, gathered out of many peoples, the mountains of Isra'el. They had been lying in ruins for a long time, but now Isra'el has been extracted from the peoples and all of them are living there securely.
“After many days have passed,”
Far too many read this and think it merely means weeks later. This phrase, like “the prince that shall come,” that is defined for us in Daniel 9:26, has several encroachments into history. The problem is, these intrusions are spread across thousands of years.
Many is the Hebrew word rab meaning much, many, numerous, and abundance, among others.
Verse eight is clearly a description of Israel.
Ezekiel 38:9 CJB You will come up like a storm, you will be like a cloud covering the land—you and all your troops, and many other peoples with you.'
“You will come up like a storm,”
Sudden and overwhelming. Are all storms sudden? No, in many cases people will say, this is storm weather and it always starts like this. So, the implication is that we have a strong probability of knowing when this will come. Just today (6/29/2018), through the MEMRI website, I learned of a Middle Eastern newspaper that leans heavily toward Erdoğan, publishing an article calling for the Muslim of the world to gather in Jihad against Israel (this article was published in Dec of 2017 – not that long ago. An aspect of the article was a map which showed Israel surrounded on every side with army tanks. Surrounded on every side sounds very much like Ezekiel's words.
“you will be like a cloud covering the land.” - Clouds are formed by thousands of drops of water. We are told that the number seems innumerable.
“you and all your troops, and many other peoples with you.” - These are people of a like mind – Muslims may not be unified in “religion” but they all seem to understand the idea of Jihad.
Ezekiel 38:10-12 CJB "Adonai Elohim says: 'When that day comes, thoughts will well up in your mind, and you will devise a sinister scheme. 11) You will say, "I am going to invade this land of unwalled villages; I will take by surprise these people who are at peace, living securely, all in places without walls, bars or gates. 12) I will seize the spoil and take the plunder." You will attack the former ruins that are now inhabited and come against the people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and other wealth and are living in the central parts of the land.
“ When that day comes,” - Question, does God do anything at random? The answer is NO, as everything is part of a precise and well thought out plan; a plan which includes giving man a free will and the opportunity to choose life or death.
Regardless of the optional qualities, the plan is still in place and intact. So, is it possible that God would leave the option for Gog to design and plan out “his” own destiny? Not a chance and verse ten is no different, as “that day” is entirely in God's hands, and, a part of God's plan.
Another consideration is the terminology “that day.” The phrase is attributed to several events; one of which is the return of Jesus as the warring and conquering Messiah, who also fights a bloody battle in the Jezreel Valley; there is the great white throne judgment and the entirety of the seven-years of God's wrath upon the earth.
Are any of those events what we are looking at here? I do not believe so as there are always other events associated, which we do not see here.
“thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil plan,” -
The Hebrew word for thoughts is dāḇār and literally means words. I could read this when that day comes, words will pop into your head, you are going to think this is your sinister scheme, but in reality, you will be doing what I have planned all along.
Mind is the Hebrew word lēḇāḇ and also means heart. In God's understanding, the heart and the mind are one in the same.
Devise is from the Hebrew word châshab and means to weave, fabricate, or plot.
“You will say, "I am going to invade this land of unwalled villages; I will take by surprise these people who are at peace, living securely, all in places without walls, bars or gates. 12) I will seize the spoil and take the plunder.”
The context of Deuteronomy 3:5 is applied to Israel's conquer of Og, the King of Bashan. Having destroyed Og's fortified cities they were never rebuilt by Israel. It also demonstrates that cities were typically fortresses; this is not what you see in Israel today.
Deuteronomy 3:3-6 NASB "All these were cities fortified with high walls, gates, and bars, besides a great many unwalled towns.
Zechariah 2:4 NASB and said to him, "Run, speak to that young man, saying, 'Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls because of the multitude of men and cattle within it.
I like the way the ISV version translates Ezekiel 38:12, “the people … who live at the center of the world's attention.” Currently, all the world seems to be looking at Israel, once again. Whether Israel is at the center of the world or not is debatable, but God is making that nation the center of attention.
And, although we have not covered the verse yet, it sums up the reason behind all this tumult.
Ezekiel 38:16 ERV...I will bring you to fight against my land. Then, Gog, the nations will learn how powerful I am! They will learn to respect me and know that I am holy.
"knock and the door will be opened to you." Imagine this unprecedented event. Christians, from all over the world, united physically in congregations, united virtually through technology, united spiritually in the Holy Ghost, praying together with a clear, unified intention: shortening, hastening the Return of the Lord (Peter 3:12, Revelation 22:20, Matthew 6:5-13, Luke 18:1-8) Wouldn’t the Lord be quick, in fulfilling their holy prayer? “[…] And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” This is not happening yet, but we can make it happen. SUMMARY (You can freely download the pdf) 1 - Brief history of the Church 2 – God wants men to cooperate his plans 3 – The importance of prayer and the Lord’s prayer 4 – The Last Day 5 – While in the world 6 – Warnings 7 – Avoid misconceptions 8 – An unprecedented event 9 – SOURCES 1 - Brief history of the Church Along the history, many spiritual leaders did not listen to (Matthew 23:9-10) “And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah.” Therefore, it comes as no surprise that many false teachings did spread for centuries. Nor it is a surprise that true Christians come to a better understanding of some concepts through centuries, because luckily some of them are able to get rid of the false teachings they have received. Indeed, luckily some listened to Matthew 23:9-10. Moreover, Jesus said (John 16:12): ”I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” Thus, an increasing understanding, founded on the Gospels and never contradicting them, is to be expected through history. 2 – God wants men to cooperate his plans Even though God could do everything alone, by not waiting his followers to align their will to His will, still he wants men to decide to cooperate with Him, to proceed in His salvation Plan. For those who knows the Scriptures, it’s not needed to quote the countless times in which God waited for men to turn to Him, and adhere His plan, before making things happen. Because being a loving Father, he doesn’t force His will upon men. 3 – The importance of prayer and the Lord’s prayer Point 2 on cooperation between God and men, is one of the reasons why Jesus stressed so much the importance of prayer. To be short, we only quote some passages, but there are countless ones in the Gospels alone: (Matthew 7:7) “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (John 16:24) “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” Of course, we need to make prayers aligned with God’s will. But even if something is already in God’s will, it’s really important for us to pray for it, because the Lord don’t want to force his gifts upon us, but want us to desire Him. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any need for any prayer whatsoever. Now, what’s the only prayer that the Lord directly taught us? The Lord’s prayer. Let’s examine some passages: “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” […] “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Now, let’s think about it, by knowing the Scriptures. When and how can the Lord completely fulfill these requests? Could they be fulfilled while we are still on earth? 4 – The Last Day It doesn’t take a leap of imagination, to realize that the Lord’s prayer promises will be fully fulfilled only with the Rapture and His Second Coming. [Even the only apparently not messianic request about the “bread”, is translated somewhere as “the bread of tomorrow”, thus indicating the bread of the Kingdom.] Now, it’s not a purpose of this work to choose which interpretation of the Second Coming is more Scriptural. Whatever it is, pre/post/multi/anti/tribulation,this is not the point here. The point is that only in the Last Day, the Lord will fully fulfill the Lord’s prayer requests. Now, are we aware of this? Are we, most Christians, praying that prayer with full intention and awareness, with the awareness that we are asking the Lord, according to His will, to shorten the days of His coming? It doesn’t seem like this awareness has been fully reached so far, but now the times may be arrived. Now this intention can be shared to Christians all over the earth. And it’s nothing new, it’s something fully Scriptural (Peter 3:12, Revelation 22:20, Matthew 6:13), it’s just a better understanding of the power of our prayer in the name of Jesus. We are not predicting the day or the hour, and we’ll never try to do it. There is no needing of knowing the day nor the our, to ask the Lord to come quick, according to His will. How powerful would be this prayer, shouted by all His elects? What if some wise pastors could be able to share this intention to Christians all over the world, and all together we could pray “Come”, and “Deliver us from evil”, with the full understanding that we are asking for the Rapture, instead of passively waiting for it? This would be an unprecedented event in History, since so far most Christians have passively waited for it 5 – While in the world Asking for the rapture, doesn’t cut off any obligation for a true Christian life. Before Jesus returns, we’ll still have the obligation to love everyone, serve other people, improve the society, improve ourself, spread the Gospel. All of these commandments are in the Gospel and are immutable. At the same time, with this prayer, we clarify our intention to God, we tell Him that we are ready, and it is now time for our plans to align with His plans, and that we fully want and responsibly request His return for the elects. 6 – Warnings Unfortunately, there will always be some Christians who don’t really want the Lord to come soon. They are not excited at all about Heaven. Exactly like in these Parables: (Luke 14:15-20) “When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ (Luke 19:14) "But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, 'We don't want this man to be our king.' (John 12:43) “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” But other Christians who aspire to Heaven, would have no reason to not pray this prayer. In the worst case, it will have no effect. In the best case, how glad we will be, to see the Lord coming quickly for us. 7 – Avoid misconceptions Q: “Does praying the Lord to come quickly mean that we don’t trust His promise that He will come?” A: “Absolutely not. The Lord knew the future. He knew about the prayers from His elects, and that he wouldn’t wait to fulfill them. Exactly as in countless other situations, in which the Lord has waited for men to ask Him for what is good. (Matthew 15:21-28). We are sure that His promise will be fulfilled, but we want to be among the ones that have aligned with His will and asked Him to fulfill it quickly.” Q: “Are we forcing the Lord to do something not in His will? Doesn’t He know the Right Time?” A: “He knows the Right Time, and we don’t know according to which criteria He has decided it. But according to the prayer He taught, when He decided it, part of the weight for the decision, came from considering the prayers of His elects (Peter 3:12, Revelation 22:20, Matthew 6:13, Luke 18:1-8). Exactly as in other situations, He gave importance and weight to the will of his disciples and prophets, when aligned to His will” Q: “Are Christians praying this prayer exempt to contribute to society, and to spend their lives serving others until the Lord come?” A: “Absolutely not. A real Christian will follow all Jesus words,not only ones about prayer,respect the laws of his country, and will spend His life helping other people, so that when the Lord will come, he will find him ready.” (Matthew 24:45-51) “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Q: “Will shortening the return of the Lord prevent some people from salvation?” A: “First off, remember that there will never be a moment on earth in which everyone will be Christian, before the rapture. It is not written anywhere. On the contrary, it is written about an increasingly diminishing of faith. Moreover, people who haven’t met Christ but are seeking for the Truth in their hearts, and are loving their brothers, will be likely raptured too. Exactly as some other righteous people like Socrates, will be raised in the last day, while evil people who are not seeking for repentance because they don’t have the seed of repentance in their hearts, will be left. Therefore, there is no such risk in shortening the day. Otherwise, the Lord wouldn’t have taught us this prayer.” Q:”What about theological and philosophical implications of this event Why someone is taken and someone else left?” A: “These are not treated here. They will be treated in other works, and some wise pastors will be able to answer this, by following the Scriptures” 8 – An unprecedented event If most Christian living today will share this intention, and pray together for it, this will be an unprecedented even in the history of the world. If the rapture happened centuries ago, it would have likely remained unexplained and not testified everywhere. But nowadays, thanks to technologies and to the Gospel spread everywhere, it will be testified to people of all nations, and everyone will know what happened. Now, our hope is that some wise Christian, who spent their lifes in the hope of Jesus’ Return, will actively spread this prayer and this intention among other pastors and Christians, so that all of us may be reunited under the Lord’s prayer, and pray together, with full intention and understanding and without the usual countless distractions and desires: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day the bread of the Day that is coming. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Maranatha. Our Lord, come!
9 - SOURCES:
By Brother Duke
Here is a study I have been working on.
Woe, Woe, woe.
Revelation uses woes as markers or time stamps. The trumpets, seals and bowls are grouped within the 3 woes. The word Alas is translated from the same word in the Greek that is Woe. I have also noticed the great earthquake is always around the resurrection. There was a great earthquake when Christ was resurrected and there was an earthquake when the two witness were brought back to life.
Revelation 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 by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!
1st woe devil is cast out and tribulation starts.
Revelation 9:1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
Revelation 12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
Matthew 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
2nd woe resurrection/rapture. Babylon is judged.
Matthew 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Revelation 9:12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
Revelation 11:14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
Revelation 11:13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
Revelation 16:18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
Revelation 6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
Revelation 9:13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
Revelation 11:11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
Revelation 18:10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
Revelation 18:16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!
Revelation 18:19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.
Revelation 14:8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
Revelation 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held
3rd woe God's wrath
Revelation 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
Revelation 11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
Revelation 6::17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
I primarily use the NASB, but occasionally I find it deficient; I will insert other translations if they can clarify the context. Those translations will be duly noted.
Chapter one was an appropriate greeting, but chapter two stands alone and begins to immediately address fears that have come as the result of some false teaching.
This theme was not a new to Paul as he had written to the Christ-followers in Thessalonica on a previous occasion.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 NASB 13) But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15) For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16) For the Lord, Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17) Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
Considering the years between these two letters, the new members that had been added to the church body, and the addition of some false teachings, the fear has had a chance to creep in. I see the effects of false teachings frequently in the church bodies I have had dealings with, as people espouse things they know so little about; all the while continuing to cloud the issue.
So let's dissect the passages and see if we can understand all that Paul is trying to say.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 NASB 1) Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
“with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,”
Coming – is the Greek word parousia; a being near, that is, advent (often, return; specifically of Christ to punish Jerusalem, or finally the wicked.) Strong's concordance.
In the explanation above I see two distinctly different things.
One being Jehovah's return in the clouds to catch His church away. This catching away is called the harpazo, but it is also known as the advent or return.
The second possible understanding is this idea of the punishment of Jerusalem or the wicked. This concept pertains to the wrath of God being poured out. One of the keys to understanding the difference between Jesus return for His church and His coming as the conquering Messiah hangs on this phrase - " the day of the Lord.” Using the NASB concordance, the expression shows up in 22 verses. 18 of those references are found in the Old Testament. Since the Tenach is designed for a Jewish audience then the language and references are expressly Jewish; that means that the phrase – the day of the Lord, is almost exclusively about the return of the Messiah.
Of the four verses left and found in the New Testament, three of them are exclusively about the catching away of the church. This catching away is that time when Jesus comes back in the clouds for His church, and they will be caught up to meet Him in the air. 2Peter 3:10 leans more toward the time of the end, as it tells us that, “the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” While all of these things are a part of the seven-year period the implications are that this will happen almost all at once when Jesus returns to the earth for the final time. You see, this is one of those areas that are not that black and white.
So, let's see if the context of the passage answers the question about when this event will happen.
While I understand that Paul was addressing the body of believers in Thessalonica (a primarily Jewish audience,) these words also apply to us. I do not hear this complaint or question anymore, but I am aware that many do believe that Christ has already returned. If that is the case, what are we doing and why are we wasting our time?
But Christ has not already returned. How do I know that? Well there are markers, or some might think of them as guideposts along the way, and Paul spells them out.
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 NASB 3) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4) who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.
“The apostasy comes first.”
Since apostasy means a falling away, I ask you, has that happened? Absolutely, and at an exponential rate.
“and the man of lawlessness is revealed,”
I want to show you some alternate readings.
This second selection is from the Complete Jewish Bible, and it translates this passage entirely different from anyone else. Why is this significant? Because even the Muslims have prophecies, and one of them describes such a man;
2 Thessalonians 2:3 Darby Let not any one deceive you in any manner, because it will not be unless the apostasy have first come, and the man of sin have been revealed, the son of perdition;
2 Thessalonians 2:3 CJB Don't let anyone deceive you in any way. For the Day will not come until after the Apostasy has come and the man who separates himself from Torah has been revealed, the one destined for doom.
A man who is a descendant of Aaron –
The priests were to come from the lineage of Aaron. Since we know that the temple will be rebuilt, then practically every preparation would have to be made at this point, for a high priest to be installed. He then would be the one to enter the Holy of Holies and sprinkle the blood of the lamb.
The Muslim prophecies tell us that this Jew will reject the Torah, pay homage to the Mahdi, and follow him.
Do you grasp the depth of this action? Many who have esteemed this Jew enough to appoint him as the high priest over the new temple will be deceived, turn from the true God, and follow his actions as they too will bow to the Mahdi in worship. This Mahdi appears to be the Islamic religious leader that will soon be saying peace peace. Most of this takes place 1260 days into the time of wrath upon the earth.
I am always concerned that people will see my words as unbelievable.
If, you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then, you are under a mandate to study to show not only, yourself, to be approved by God, but to judge the words being said to you, as to whether they are true or not. You are not doing this type of study to bash people, although I sometimes think that many should shut their mouths, but you are studying these things so that you can know what is right.
Let me show you an example: I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture, regardless of the poor choice of words we traditionally use. Although there is a voluminous amount of those in opposition to this understanding, I did my homework and became even more thoroughly convinced that Jesus is coming back for His church that is waiting for Him, and, He is going to do so before God's wrath is poured out upon the earth.
Specific reasons why I believe in a pre-wrath rapture.
Matthew 3:7 NASB But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
The obvious thing I see here is that Jesus just acknowledged that it is purposeful to flee from the wrath, and, that there is wrath coming.
Luke 21:23 NASB ... for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people;
Here we can see that the intended target is the land and these people. Now the statement, "o this people" is relatively generic and needs some clarity. Luke 21:24 NASB tells us that “they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations;”
It is easy enough to see that a part of this fulfillment comes upon Israel and it's people, the Jews. However, pay attention, and you can see one other group, the Gentiles. The Gentiles and the nations are the same. If you are not a Jew, and you are a follower of Christ, then you have been engrafted into the vine and no longer fall under the category of being a Gentile in God's eyes.
Those with a veil over their eyes will not get this concept. Since we are “in Christ” then we are part of the church and not subject to this wrath.
Romans 1:18 NASB For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
What is evident to me is the terminology, the wrath of God. Pay attention to the words being used and upon whom they are directed. Romans 1:18 can be taken as a somewhat broad spectrum statement.
An example of this broad spectrum idea – I know a man who came to church for a time and did all the appropriate things. He came down front, cried his eyes out, made sorrowful and repentant statements. Why he even got baptized in a swimming pool as a symbol of this new and changed life he wanted to live. That didn't last long. Does he belong to God and is therefore not going to be subject to this wrath because he is part of the church. I do not know, because any fruit he produces is rotten and stinks before it falls off the tree. This pattern has been going on for years.
Ephesians 2:3 NASB Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
The Apostle Paul taught that we were formerly children of wrath, and no longer subject to the “wrath of God.”
1 Thessalonians 1:10 NASB 10) and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.
1 Thessalonians 1:10 is one of the most specific examples that Paul gave us. Since we are in Christ, Jesus has rescued us from the wrath that is to come.
1 Thessalonians 5:9 NASB 9) For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Many think that we deserve punishment. Well, that might have been true, but as followers of Christ, we are of those who have agreed to and accepted His salvation. You see, you need to have a firm grasp on what Jesus did. I am continually trying to remind people that all sins were forgiven – past, present, and future. Then what are people being punished for? Look at what Colossians 3:5-6 tells us,
Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6) For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, NASB
Simply put, you either follow Jesus, or you follow the god of this world, Satan. He will go to an eternal punishment, as will all those who choose to follow him. This punishment, as many want to believe, is not the end-all statement, as God is a merciful God beyond everything else; ask Jonah. And that is why we have the sheep and goats of Matthew 25. Take the time to study that.
Revelation 6:14-17 NASB 14) The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15) Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16) and they *said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17) for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?"
There are three things I want you to see here. Verse 15 gives us a description of some of the people affected by what is happening: kings of the earth; great men; commanders; the rich and strong, and every slave and free man. No one upon the earth is left unscathed by what is coming.
In verse 16 we see them crying out to be hid from the presence of “Him who sits on the throne, AND from the wrath of the Lamb. This lamb is Jesus Christ. Since I used an example from the Revelation, let me point something out to you. This entire book is a Revelation of Jesus Christ. Even the rich, in this scenario, understood that God played a hand in this, and at the same time, they are acknowledging Jesus. It's all about Jesus.
And the last thing, although I have already intimated it, is that this wrath is coming from God/Jesus.
Since we are going to be like Bereans, a people who had enough sense to verify that what Paul was teaching was right, what then do we use as a basis for what is true? Keep in mind, that the Bereans did not have Bibles, they had some scrolls. Those scrolls were so valued that only a limited number of priests could handle them, and so the Torah and Tanakh were read aloud. This idea of scrolls changes the whole idea of Bible study. The Bereans had no New Testament, it was being spoken in their ears by Paul and lived out right in front of them. I, on the other hand, have over thirty translations of the Bible on my computer, and over forty commentaries that I can glean from. I have no excuses.
The answer to the question is The Word of God. Now, since we know that there are errors across translations, is it wise to merely open the NIV for example, read it, and then say, “this is how that is supposed to be understood!” NO, because, as I said, there are errors. (Do not for a moment think that these errors are on God's part, as God's wisdom has been substantiated by His ability to get His message across plainly to those who choose to pursue this wisdom.)
So, what am I saying to you? Be open but alert; trust the Holy Spirit to guide you; judge everything against the word of God, and, remove yourself, if you can, from false teachers. They will corrupt you with the simplest of things, such as David conquering Goliath when David was only four foot tall. That is not even close to the terminology used in the descriptions of David. King Saul, who knew David well for David was his ARMOR bearer, called him a youth. But what does that mean? Are these things critical to the story? NO, but if you are willing to build false images about the nature and character of David, what else will a false teacher do with God and His word.
I can tell you what some will do, for I have experienced this first hand. These false teachers send everyone that comes to the Great White throne judgment to hell. There is nothing about that scenario that definitively points to that happening; these same teachers refuse to see that Matthew 25 and the story of the sheep and the goats, is just another picture of the Great White Throne. In other words, they will twist the gospel so tightly that in time, you will not be able to understand what is true.
The Feasts Fulfilled
from 18 Feb 1991ml I have made some changes. See end for notes.
Jews in ancient Israel were required to go to Jerusalem to celebrate three feasts, Passover, Pentecost, and in the autumn, Trumpets.
Jesus fulfilled Passover which occurred on a full moon, the 14th day of the month Nisan.
Passover celebrates the Exodus from Egypt, which bespeaks salvation, escape, deliverance.
Nisan 1 commences at the New Moon, as do all months on the Jewish calendar. This month should mark the beginning of the year by Jews (rather than in September/October as they presently observe, the Civil Year.)
Ex. 12:1-3: "And the Lord spoke unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb .... a lamb for an house."
Jesus, the slain Lamb, is the only acceptable sacrifice, and believers trust in the Blood of the Lamb and are thereby saved.
Jesus fulfilled the Feast of Unleavened Bread which commenced the same day as Passover, on the 14th day of Nisan, and it was a seven day period of eating bread without leavening, which represents sin. This feast was fulfilled before God only, as Jesus, the sinless one was lifted up before God.
Jesus fulfilled Firstfruits by arising from the grave on the third day after His death. The term Firstfruits refers to the first sheaves of barley which were ready to cut and Jesus's resurrection is the fulfillment. [Lev. 23:10.] Many saved people were also resurrected from their graves and walked about the Jerusalem area at the time of Jesus's resurrection. This first group of resurrected saints compares to the Rapture of believers as the world goes on around the event.
I believe the Rapture of the Church is shown in the following Scriptures. Jesus the grain, died, brought forth much fruit, and His Church is likened to a harvest of grain. Jesus often likened Himself to a husbandman also, and here He is waiting for the precious fruit, the gathering of the harvest of souls.
John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
James 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
The barley and wheat harvests in Israel are the early crops, with the earliest, the barley harvest completed in April, and the wheat completed in May. This year of 2018, Passover commences Friday evening, March 30, and the counting of the days, Lag b'Omer, and Omer 1 starts on March 31. Jesus arose on Firstfruits, "the morrow after the Sabbath," Sunday, and in 2018, Firstfruits is Sunday, April 1, through Saturday, April 7. The Lag b'Omer ends on the 50th day, the morrow after the Sabbath, which is Pentecost. Lev. 23. Centuries ago, the Jewish calendar was changed, and Pentecost was shifted from always being on a Sunday 'the morrow after the Sabbath,' to Sivan 6. This year of 2018, Sivan 6 happens to fall on Pentecost Sunday.
These days are for me a time of considering whether He may gather us during the period of the grain harvest.
Lev. 23:10-11 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.
The people were not to eat of the grain until it had been waved before the Lord.
We see a picture of a time of rejoicing for Israel revealed in the story of old Naomi, and her restoration and joy in having a little boy to care for in her old age. Ruth was married and taken into Boaz's house and lifted out of her time of gleaning in the field. The son of Boaz, Obed, is born. Others have noted that the book of Ruth is like the story of the Church and the Lord Jesus, and I think there is also this parallel to Israel revealed in Naomi's story, that Jesus is like Boaz, and when He and the Church are wed in heaven, a son will be born, the sealed servants in Israel.
Naomi will be brought back to joys she had thought were lost forever. Just as Obed means "serving," so the end time, 144,000 believing Jews will be excellent servants of God as we are told in Revelation. Naomi means "pleasantness" but she said she had become bitterness. Naomi's joy will return. Other types of these victorious, believing Jews are seen in the three young men in the fiery furnace; in Elisha; and in Ephraim, the younger son of Joseph; and in Benjamin.
I believe the harvest of grain in springtime points to the season of the coming of the Lord for His believers. The increase of the grain, the harvest reveals the way He has multiplied His believers like a sower who cultivates His field.
Pentecost celebrates the giving of the law, and occurs after seven sabbaths, on a Sunday ("the morrow after the sabbath") according to Scripture, (making it another reason for us to worship on Sunday, the day Christ arose).
This fulfillment occurred when the Holy Spirit fell upon the gathered believers, as Jesus had promised. He came with a noise of a mighty wind, and the separated 120 believers saw the flames of fire on one another's heads. Believers spoke in other tongues, telling about Jesus to people of other nations. Just as fire came on Sinai as the law was given, so fire came on the Church in Jerusalem.
Observance on Sunday has been set aside by the Jews as explained above.
Tradition says that Enoch was born on Pentecost and was also taken up by God on Pentecost.
Feast of Trumpets
Next is the Feast of Trumpets, a convocation of trumpets, and all Jews are to gather in Jerusalem. Some think the convocation of trumpets will be fulfilled by believers going up to heaven, being gathered to Him, and that Jesus, as High Priest, will blow the trumpet ['the trump of God' I Thes.] just as occurred at this feast in Israel near sundown on the evening before the new moon of Tishri 1 when the High Priest blew the shofar to gather the people, who were to immediately go to the temple.
The Day of Atonement
The Day of Atonement was a solemn fast day when the Jews were not to work. For thousands of years, annually on this day the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled the blood of a sacrifice and interceded for the people. A rope was tied around his ankle in order to pull him out if he died in there and the sacrifice was not accepted. Jesus went into the Holy of Holies before the Lord and made an atonement for us by the sprinkling of His own Blood.
After the Rapture of the believers, there will be, I believe, an awed multitude of Jews who see that something has happened and many will seek the Lord. I think this time of shock is revealed in the first chapter of the Book of Joel, and that following chapters describe the tribulation and their comfort as they find God has not forsaken them. (I have done a little study on Joel which indicates my reasons.) Jesus has made our atonement and we won't ever experience the earthly fulfillment of that dreadful dark period.
I believe the Jews will experience great revival and miracles, and will believe and evangelize. The tremendous outpouring of God's Spirit as related in Joel will fall upon them. I believe "Ephraim" was born in 1948, as Israel became a nation. During the terrible time of God's wrath outpoured upon the sinful earth, Israel will experience great things. I believe this is borne out in books of the Old Testament and in the Book of Revelation. Far from the Jews staying behind to experience only curses, I believe many will believe and please the Lord. They will become a true witness, just as the three young men in the fiery furnace in Daniel, and the Lord will be manifested among them! They will live through terrible times as they wait to see Him. No wonder that He said blessed are those who believe without having to see.
Believers have received the Blood of the slain Passover Lamb, His offering of Unleavened Bread, and we have taken the symbols of His Blood in the wine and His body in the broken bread. We have believed in Firstfruits, with Jesus raised from the dead, like a grain of wheat buried, seemingly dead, and then sprouted in new life. We have experienced Pentecost and are in a time of waiting and watching for Jesus to come. We will never again experience a day of crying out and seeking an atonement because Jesus is our all in all.
Tabernacles, Booths, Succot
At this feast, all Jews were to go up to Jerusalem for the great gathering of the people. They were told by the Lord to live out of doors for a week in little booths made of tree limbs and branches to remind them of the way God had protected them in their sojourn from Egypt. Tabernacles commences on the full moon, the harvest moon. Most of the crops are in, the grape harvest is ending in September.
The olive will be harvested during September, October, November.
Revelation mentions the pressing of grapes was the time of His wrath.
Are the 144,000 believing Jews like olives, pressed, yielding precious oil? The two witnesses of the Book of Revelation are likened to two olive trees. The olive harvest and pressing reminds us of the oil being used for the Menorah lamp. We know that the grapes of wrath reveal the wicked.
Tabernacles will be fulfilled by the Lord setting His Throne in Jerusalem so all the saved would come up to it, since it is on a mountain, Mount Olivet.
Remaining Jews will experience the time of Jacob's trouble and consider the fulfillments of some of the feasts, and realize what the Lord has done. The periods of time spoken of by the prophet Daniel will commence to be fulfilled.
The Lord has a marvelous plan for the Jews. He will mightily undertake for them, and just as Joseph dealt with his brothers and restored them to himself in a time of great famine, so the Lord will undertake for them in the dark days prophesied in the Scriptures, and they will be restored to Him with tears of joy.
We are soon coming to the sunset, it seems to me. In the twilight after we believers are gone, the Day of the Lord will commence.
The sun was darkened when Jesus died, and the Jewish day commences at sunset, and with it begins the dark Day of the Lord. The Day of Atonement will come and stretch on as the Jews seek God's salvation in that awful time.
The seven years start with the covenant of the evil one and Israel, but there could be some intervening time between the Rapture and the start of the Tribulation. The time of Jacob's trouble will commence, the time of Daniel's seventieth "week." Greater things than the Exodus will occur. Afterward, Tabernacles, and then the light of the new day will come, the thousand year earthly reign of Christ here on earth. And He shall reign forever and ever.
Some say the Church will go through the tribulation, that God fulfilled the spring feasts in a mighty way on the earth, but that both believers and unbelievers will move together into the tribulation.
Jesus will set up His kingdom on earth, and sit upon the throne of David, and rule the earth from Jerusalem. Every year, all people of the earth will come to worship Him there or they will have no rain, according to Zechariah. Jesus will reign one thousand years, and turn all over to His Father for eternity.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
Notes, 26 March 2018:
I want to say a bit more about a group referred to by various names: NAR New Apostolic Revolution, Latter Day Rain, MSOG or Manifest Sons of God, Kingdom Now, Dominion Theology, Identity. They and others teach against pre-tribulation Rapture and that Jesus will not come until believers take over, have dominion over the world. I've read that they believe that the office of Apostle can be conferred by the laying on of their hands, and that the Church has replaced Israel, Replacement Theology.
In 2018, Paul Smith of Calvary Chapel states that the "New Evangelical" outlook, which I think is spreading among some churches, is that Jesus is gradually coming into hearts. [So many are being taught to not take the Scripture literally as to Jesus' return.]
I visited a Manifest Sons type of group with an acquaintance, in 1980s, for their large Feast of Tabernacles meetings and celebration, and it took me awhile, but I realized, 'What about the blessed hope?'
I take the Scriptures literally and decided the blessed hope is the hope of His coming for believers -- not death, not tribulation, not being hidden in Petra in the mountains southwest of Jerusalem.
I'm surprised, but these post-tribulation ideas are still growing and are found among many. The Manifest Sons group has their main weekly meeting on Saturday, is allied with "CCC" Christ Community Churches. Dominion Theology people preach that the Church must bring the earth under control before Jesus can come again.
We will benefit from comparing Scriptures about 1) the grain harvest 2) the coming for the Bride 3) the householder on a journey who exhorts his servants to watch, and will learn much by looking again at the parables of Jesus.
All unbelieving people left behind at the Rapture will live during the Time of Jacob's trouble. God's plan will be fulfilled and many will be saved, but many will die, many will be executed, and suffering will be great. One hundred forty four thousand Jewish men from the tribes will evangelize and many will believe. After the departing of the Church, the Scripture will be fulfilled, Jeremiah 8:20 The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.
The book of Joel chapter 1 speaks of an event that has occurred: "The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel. Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers? Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation." Verse 7: "He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white." Does this event point to the missing believers and realization by Jews that they had not recognized Messiah, or does it indicate there has been a military attack on Israel?
Specifics for events in the time of tribulation can be found in Daniel and in the Book of Revelation.
The evil man will arise and set up world government and eventually enter the Temple in Jerusalem, saying he is God, and the most awful times will occur. Great numbers of new believers, who will refuse to take his mark, will be beheaded. Eventually, as Jesus warned, some will flee Jerusalem and hide in the mountains to the southeast, and be sustained by the Lord.
Evil unbelieving people of the tribulation are compared to a harvest gathering of grapes, to be crushed.
Believers during the Time of Jacob's trouble might be compared to the olive harvest, the last harvest of the agricultural year, and the pressing of the olives.
After a specific number of days, Jesus will come with all His saints, on white horses and clothed in white linen, and He will split Mount Olivet in Jerusalem, east to west. He will slay all His enemies upon the earth by the word from His mouth. Some people will live through the tribulation and have children, in a time of peace, blessing, abundance. Satan will be bound, Rev. 20.
Rev. 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
We look forward to His gathering of His grain harvest. Rev. 22:20 Even so, come, Lord Jesus.