The Rapture Question – Part 2

The Rapture Question - Part 2

The Rapture Question - Part 2

In the last issue I
introduced the subject of the Rapture
Question. In doing so, we investigated the reason why Israel was
taken into captivity for 70 years. It was for the reason that
they had not observed the Sabbath or 7 year of rest for the land,
a period of 490 years, representing 70 years of Sabbath.
Therefore God took them into captivity for the exact amount of
time the land had been robbed of its rest.

In Daniel 9, we found Daniel himself reading Jeremiah’s
prophecy concerning their captivity. On realizing the time of
captivity was nearly up Daniel begins to fast and pray, asking
God what the future of Jerusalem and it’s people would be.
Immediately, the Archangel Gabriel appeared before him, bringing
him a prophetic word which could easily be considered as
history’s greatest prophecy. In this prophecy God reveals
that He has specifically allocated another 70 weeks or 490 years
(490 is 70 weeks of years – 70x7) in His further dealings
with His people Israel. These years are in 3 groups of varying
time spans and we pick up the story again right here.

A question that comes quickly to mind is why this new
allocation of 490 years to the Jewish Nation should be split into
three groups of time. There is a good reason for this, as most of
this allocated time has now elapsed, allowing us to see clearly
how these group of years fit in with history.

The prophecy is remarkable in declaring that as soon as the
first 69 weeks, (out of 70 given), or 483 years, (out of 490
given) elapse in this new allocation of years given by God in His
dealings with the Jews, Israel would see the manifestation of
their long sought after Messiah! This still stands as a black and
white proof to every Jew today that their promised Messiah has
truly come.

The start time was set in concrete by God as was the revealing
of the Messiah. Verse 25 tells us how we would know when the time
frame would begin and end. God’s stopwatch was prophesied
to start to tick and begin to count down the time - "…from
the going forth of the command to restore and rebuild
Jerusalem…" Then, in the fullness of time when 69 weeks of
years (490 years) had passed, Messiah would be revealed to the
House of Judah.

v24 Seventy weeks are determined For your people and your
holy city, To finish the trangression To make an end of sins, To
make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting
righteous ness To seal up the vision and prophecy. And to anoint
the Most Holy.

v25 Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth
of the command To restore and rebuild Jerusalem Until Messiah the
Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The
street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome
times.

v26 And after the sixty two weeks Messiah shall be cut off,
but not for himself, And the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be
with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are
determined.

v27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice
and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be the one
who makes desolate, Even unto the consummation, which is
determined, Is poured out on the desolate.

The details of the start and of the conclusion of this block
of time is an exciting story, but too long to record here, but we
will do so on a future occasion. Suffice to say that recorded
history shows us that this prophetic word was fulfilled in every
way. The 69 weeks or 483 years of the total of 490 given, were
divided into 2 sections of time. These two sections of time
require comment.

THE 7 WEEKS (or 49 years)

This smaller segment of the prophetic time clock began at the
giving of the commandment to restore Jerusalem, as mentioned
above. But it is highly significant, because in this period of 49
years the balance of other Old Testament books are added to Holy
writ until finally Malachi closes and completes the Old Testament
writings. In these 49 years, the Jews receive the Restoration
books, both historical and prophetic, with Ezra, Esther,
Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi contributing to Scripture
between BC457 to BC 408, although some had been written
beforehand in captivity.

THE 62 WEEKS (or 434 years)

This much larger period of time represents the exact period of
time when God remained silent. No Prophets prophesied. No
Scripture was received. The silence (and this time span) was
initiated by a prophecy from Gabriel and broken by Gabriel also,
when he appeared to Zacharias and Mary with news of two impending
births – one being John the Baptist and the other the
Messiah Himself.

It is worthwhile to repeat at this stage that everything that
has been written in these articles so far is done to provide the
best possible foundation to allow a full and better understanding
of the Rapture question. The Bible counsels us to "rightly divide
the Word…" and so we must.

With regard to the above blocks of time, we find Jesus
speaking some very revealing words in Mark 1:15. Jesus has just
been baptized. The Holy Spirit has anointed the Christ or the
"anointed one" and after the temptation in the wilderness, Jesus
begins His public ministry in Galilee preaching the Gospel of the
Kingdom of God, saying "THE TIME IS FULFILLED." The 69 weeks or
483 years of time allocated by God to Israel were fulfilled. This
was the close of the second period of time given to Israel. Now
there is just a small amount of time left where God will deal
specifically with Israel.

THE 1 WEEK (or 7 years)

Many of you reading this may now have latched on to the fact
that this remaining amount of time (7 years) is something you
have read about or been taught on regarding the Tribulation
period.

One of the most popular End Times scenarios, has taken this 7
year period to fulfill all things Jewish, and ascribed this time
to a period we know as the Great Tribulation. This block of time
is apocalyptic, unlike any time the world has ever seen. It sees
the rise of the Antichrist, and the implementation of a one-world
political, economic and religious system, thereby creating a
revived Roman Empire as the last man-controlled world Empire the
world will ever see as prophesied in Daniel 2.

We have seen a plethora of popular writers supporting such a
scenario, including Tim La Haye, Charles Capps, Hilton Sutton,
Hal Lindsay, Jack van Impe, and Grant Jeffrey to name just a few.
I have read all their books and possess many of them. One wonders
at times whether we act like lemmings with the prophetic,
especially when the bulk of these writers have come out of one
particular denominational group.

It is valuable at this time to mention again the inherent
danger of being closed-minded concerning the prophetic. There is
a lesson to be learnt here which I mentioned in the last issue -
the lesson being that 37 Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled
during the time of the arrest, trial, crucifixion and
resurrection of Jesus, and NO ONE, either mother, brother,
disciple, believer or priest understood what was going on even
though the Scriptures they had access to were as clear as a bell
as to what would happen. Even Jesus had forewarned them.

This is a LOUD AND CLEAR warning to run to our Word and allow
the Lord to speak to us by His Spirit regarding the things of the
future. For it is certain that the Biblical prophetic word has a
happy knack of coming to pass in a different way to what many
expect. We are a blessed generation in many ways, because we have
more knowledge and understanding today than any of those who have
lived before us, simply because of the principle of progressive
revelation. Yet we need to heed the lessons of previous
experience for God changes not.

I now wish to challenge you to do your own research and ask
God to give you revelation knowledge by facing some questions
which have not been handled well by many Christian writers. In
fact, individual Christians and many Pastors and Ministers have
taken the easy way out, having been influenced by books other
than the Bible, the short term benefit being the time saved by
giving them a reason not to do their own research. Yet Proverbs 25:2
teaches, "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but
the glory of kings is to search out a matter."

The question we need to ask and answer then is this. Is there
anything we have missed concerning Daniel’s 70th week? For
my part, I think there is!

SEVENS AND REVELATION

The Bible has a seal or a watermark running through it in the
same way as a genuine bank note. If we think about it, why
wouldn’t God seal His Word? The numeric pattern in the
Bible is marked by sevens. Simply explained, all the languages
used in writing the Bible had a numerical equivalent for each
alphabetical letter. Just like "V" as "5" in Roman numerals. This
means every phrase or sentence in the Bible can be expressed as a
number, and in the Bible every phrase, sentence, chapter and book
is divisible numerically by 7! Truly a divine seal.

The Book of Revelation itself is known as the book of sevens.
Here lies an unbelievably high number of things numbered by seven
– There are 7 Churches, 7 lampstands, 7 stars, 7 spirits, 7
lamps of fire, 7 seals, 7 horns, 7 eyes, 7 angels, 7 trumpets, 7
thunders, 7 thousands, 7 plagues, 7 heads, 7 diadems, 7 golden
bowls, 7 mountains and 7 kings – a total of 18 instances
altogether.

Do you not think it strange then, when most of Revelation is
focused on Antichrist, the Tribulation, and End Time events, that
there is NO MENTION of 7 years? A lawyer would
find it strange. A debater would find it strange – and
surely a Bible student would find it strange also, because God is
a God of harmony.

Yet there is mentioned in Revelation 1260 days, 42 months and
3½ years – these are all ways of expressing half of
a 7 year duration. Is there a reason for this? Yes – I am
certain, convinced and positive there is, and I want to share
this with you.

Could this 3½ year period mentioned in Revelation be
the true length of the Tribulation? If this is a possibility and
indeed the answer, then 3½ years are still missing from
the final week of 7 years of the prophecy of Daniel 9. We need to
find a missing 3½ years out of 490 years which was
specifically given over to God’s dealings with the Jewish
people. This is not the difficult task it appears to be, but
ridiculously simple in fact.

Those 3½ years are easily found in the ministry of
Jesus Christ 2000 years ago. Remember that before Jesus ministry
began there were just 7 years left from the time allocation that
God had specifically put aside for His dealings with His chosen
nation. The period of Jesus earthly ministry, from the time of
his baptism to the time of His crucifixion, was 3½ years.
We know that Jesus was the Messiah of the Jews. His mission was
not to the Gentiles but to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.
Matthew 15:24 records, "But He (Jesus) answered and said,
‘I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the House of
Israel."’

And so we find Luke 19:37-44 recording these poignant words at
the time of Jesus triumphal entry. "Then, as He was now drawing
near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of
the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice
for all the mighty works they had seen, saying "Blessed is the
King who comes in the name of the LORD! Peace in heaven and glory
in the highest!"

And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd,
"Teacher, rebuke Your disciples." But He answered and said to
them, "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones
would immediately cry out."

Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying,
"If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the
things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from
your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will
build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on
every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the
ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another,
because you did not know the time of your visitation." NKJV

This 3½ year time of the Lord’s ministry on earth
is part of the prophetic allotment of time to Israel. As recorded
in the 1st part of this teaching, God in His foreknowledge knew
this rejection would happen, and so the door was opened to preach
the Gospel to the Gentiles and birth the New Testament Church.
The Jew is not forgotten. Nor is Israel, for there is still
3½ years left where God will endeavour to turn His people
to Himself. That time prophetically we know to be the Tribulation
period. This fact in itself shows the hardline teaching aspects
of Replacement Theology to be in error.

Now many of you who have a working knowledge of the Word will
be saying something like – "But what about the prophecy in
v27 of Daniel 9 which says that the Antichrist will make a
covenant with many for one week (7 years) and in the middle of
the week the sacrifice and oblation will cease? I have been
taught that he will set his own image in the Temple and prevent
the Jews worshipping God. Does that not upset this whole approach
because it seems to be obvious that this verse is speaking here
of a 7 year Tribulation."

I don’t think so. That is the cardinal interpretive
error which has caused many to stumble, and here is the key as to
why I believe this to be so. As mentioned in the last issue,
there is a very small word in this passage which, if not
interpreted correctly, can skew our whole approach to this
subject. That word is "he." Or should I say "He!" I believe there
are strong reasons to interpret the "He" of Daniel 9 as JESUS,
not the Antichrist. Here are some of these.

Satan, Antichrist or any other demonically empowered entity,
does not and cannot make Covenants! Satan is a liar from the
beginning. He couldn’t keep a Covenant if he tried. Not for
a week, a day, or even an hour. The God of the Bible is a
Covenant making and a Covenant keeping God. In fact the Bible
records 9 Covenants made between God and man, the first being the
"Edenic Covenant" and the last being fittingly called the
"Everlasting Covenant."

The Covenant that is confirmed in Daniel 9 is the Abrahamic
Covenant. Jesus is the seed of the Covenant of Abraham. The
Covenant was confirmed in the 3½ years of Jesus ministry
with signs, wonders and miracles and will be again in the final 3
½years of the Tribulation.

If we can get a grasp of this, it becomes very easy to
interpret the words "And in the middle of the week, He shall
bring an end to sacrifice and offering." This refers to the veil
being torn in the Temple, exactly at the time of Christ’s
death and 3½ years into His ministry, the exact halfway
point of the final 7 years of Daniel’s prophecy! This
tearing of the veil cancelled the need for animal sacrifices and
trespass offerings for all time, ushering in the dispensation of
Grace where sin is not just covered, but is thoroughly washed
away by the precious Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the
simple, logical answer to this prophetic Scripture.

The teaching that has accompanied the identifying of the
Antichrist as the Covenant maker in Daniel 9:27 has caused the
following flow on effects. (1) This interpretation demands a 7
year tribulation period, otherwise how could Antichrist do
something in the middle of the week! (2) This interpretation also
demands a decision on pre, mid or post Tribulation rapture of the
Church which has confused millions. (3) The rebuilt Temple in
Jerusalem becomes the place of abomination by Antichrist’s
actions of desecration in that place.

Yet how simple it is to see that if Jesus is the one who
confirms the Covenant for one week, then by His crucifixion the
dispensation of Grace began. At that moment the need for
sacrifice of animals and offerings of grain and suchlike were
consigned to history. The shed Blood of Jesus now does not just
cover, but washes away all sin. That is why the heavy veil in the
Temple ripped in two at the time of Jesus death. The Law was
superceded by Grace. No more sacrifice. No more offerings.
They’ve ceased!

If this is so, then the Scripture regarding the timing of the
Rapture that we began with last issue appears in a new light. I
have no problem with a rebuilt Temple, but I don’t see a
confirmation and 2nd or 3rd witness anywhere else in Scripture
that shows that sacrifice and offerings have been, or will be
terminated by the Antichrist. Here are the words of 2 Thessalonians 2:4
for your consideration, which are preceded by
the phrase, "concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,"
clearly setting out the subject for us.

"Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not
come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is
revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself
above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he
sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is
God."

In the light of the interpretation I have proposed, these
words seem to solve the timing of the Rapture. The Antichrist
must be revealed before the Church is raptured. That is exactly
what the Apostle Paul is teaching. Should we be fearful of this?
Not at all. I believe God has a plan to keep and protect His
Church. I will share the details with you, along with some more
teaching in the 3rd and concluding installment of The Rapture
Question which will appear in the August edition.

I should mention in closing that I personally changed my
thinking on the Rapture Question after much study. I am also
happy to say that I joined and am being joined by a significant
number of genuine teachers of the Word who like myself, are more
interested in truth than human pride, as many of us have
previously published a contrary opinion.