Tag: Second Coming

RAPTURE 15(b): SUPPER TIME

Greetings dear reader. Here’s a continuation of my post on the Bride of Christ in relation to the rapture…

There’s some disagreement as to the actual timing of the marriage supper mentioned in Revelation chapter 19. Is it immediately after the rapture, when the tribulation is about to commence; just before the middle of the tribulation when things will really begin to heat up on the earth, or is it towards the end, just before the physical return of Christ? Is it even after the return of Christ to the earth? 

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We’re introduced to the wedding supper by an angel in verse 9 of chapter 19. He speaks immediately after a great multitude in heaven declares that the “wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready” (verses 6-8). It seems to be a natural conclusion that this multitude in heaven, before Christ rides out of heaven on his white horse, praising God for the wedding and the wedding supper, must indeed be the raptured Church, meaning that the rapure occurred before or at least during the tribulation. But when we read the chapter a little more carefully we find some serious problems for this conviction, because the wedding supper is announced at some time after the destruction of the “great prostitute”, or false religion, is celebrated in verses 1 to 3. It’s the Antichrist and his ten henchmen “kings” who are the ones to destroy the prostitute:

They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire” (Revelation 17:16).

To think that the reference to the supper in chapter 19 is a random interjection; an “Oh by the way-don’t forget that the wedding will be before this” sort of reference to something which already happened years ago, and that it is not at all related to its position in the dialogue, is a hopeful assumption without reason.

Since Antichrist can only rule for the last three and a half years of the tribulation (13:5 with 17:12) and his destruction of the “great prostitute” is announced just before the wedding and the wedding supper are also announced, it would seem logical to deduce that the wedding supper of the Lamb is being announced after the mid point of the proposed seven year tribulation, because this is when Antichrist and the ten will gain power. There is therefore no certainty that the bride-if this is the bride in chapter 19- has been in heaven for the entirety of the assumed seven-year period.

There’s also no certainty that the bride is in heaven at all when the wedding and the wedding supper are being proclaimed. As the bride is merely mentioned in chapter 19 before Christ rides in glory to the earth, it’s assumed that she’s been in heaven for the entire tribulation, and that the supper is either occurring at this point or has already taken place. But is she actually, really there at all, even in chapter 19?

A great multitude shouts:

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready” (19:7).

The multitude is speaking not of itself but is speaking in the third person: “his bride has made herself ready”. The KJV also uses the word “herself”, and doesn’t say “We have made ourselves ready”. In other words, the multitude seems to be shouting about other people, not about themselves or even those to whom they’re shouting. The bride is not located or pointed out in this chapter 19 scene. John does not say, “And behold, I saw the bride of the Lamb”. The wedding supper event is not described at all: it’s not in progress. If it’s already been held, it seems almost inconceivable that it hasn’t been at least mentioned or noticed by John. And how many grooms would have a wedding supper with his bride and then take her straight out onto the battlefield?

The angel tells John to write, “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb” (verse 9).

We’re reading about a celebration of the invitation to the wedding supper, not the wedding supper itself. Again, if John was living through these events in real-time, it seems he would surely have described or at least mentioned the supper, if it had already been held, particularly as Revelation is written “For the churches” (Revelation 22:16). If Jesus Christ was seeking to reassure and inform the Church of his grand plan, why is there no description of the marriage supper?

Indeed, had the supper happened during the events of the tribulation, and since John was supposedly “raptured” at its commencement, he should have been a vital part of it. He would surely say something like, “And behold, I saw the wedding supper of the Lamb, and feasted with my fellow disciples”. Instead, though the bride has “made herself ready” in chapter 19, she’s nowhere to be seen, and her groom is on the way out the door to slaughter his enemies and gather his elect!

ARE THE ELECT NOT INVITED?

Context is always vitally important in interpretation of scripture. The context here in chapter 19 and the next chapter is that the great whore has been destroyed, the wedding supper of the Lamb “has come”, and the Lamb himself, Jesus Christ, is about to turn roaring lion and burst forth onto the world in the most spectacular event of the ages. He’s going to defeat his enemies, then he’s going to send angels to gather his elect from the four winds.

This gathering of the elect is described in the Olivet Discourse as happening upon the glorious, visible return of Jesus. Is it possible that Jesus Christ would hold that wedding supper without inviting his elect- those who had been bravely and faithfully opposing the Antichrist and refusing his mark, upholding the testimony of Jesus, and gaining great victory over the beast, the false prophet and the world? Would Jesus Christ really hold that wedding supper without them? I personally very much doubt it. We’re told that those who are invited are blessed (19:9). Are the elect-those who have withstood Antichrist, not blessed? Could they not be at least a part of his Church? They are, after all “his” elect (Matthew 24:31). And remember that once the groom in the parable of the ten virgins had taken his bride, the door was shut and no-one else was allowed to the wedding: there was only one collection of the bride by the groom-not two.

Could it be that the “elect” are Christ’s bride? Could it be that the gathering of his elect which we read about in the Olivet Discourse is the point at which the resurrection takes place and believers still living are gathered, as Paul shared in his first letter to the Thessalonians?

The entire issue of the bride thickens in chapter 21 of Revelation: it isn’t quite so straightforward as we think it is before we dive into the subject. Paul spoke of the marriage between a man and a woman as representing the relationship between Christ and the Church (Ephesians chapter 5). He called the relationship a “mystery”, just as he called the rapture a mystery. We’ve seen how, in Revelation chapter 19 the “bride” has made herself ready for marriage, but when we get to chapter 21 we’re confronted with something of a challenge to our view of the bride, and also to the timing of that wedding.

It is after the new heavens and new earth appear at the start of chapter 21 that we find another mention of a bride. Here the bride is a city, or is it actually the Church metaphorically described as a city: the New Jerusalem? This is a difficult passage, because we evangelicals think of the New Jerusalem as a literal city which we will live in. But when an angel tells John that he will show him “the bride, the wife of the Lamb”, he shows him not a multitude of people, but a seemingly literal, physical city, with gates, walls, a river, trees, and all kinds of decorations. But how can the bride of Christ, the Church, made up of millions of believers, be seen as a literal city? Are both somehow synonymous, so that the Church along with the city are the bride? Or is there perhaps no literal city at all? It seems unlikely that there will be no cities in God’s creation for eternity: why could there not be a literal New Jerusalem? And if we look further into the chapter we see more reference to apparently literal, physical objects and actions. For example, “…its gates will never be shut” (verse 25). How can this be describing people?

It seems that this appearance of the New Jerusalem, which is described as being both “like” a bride (21:2) and as the bride herself (22:9) must be a thousand years after the glorious return of Jesus to the earth and after his thousand year reign (21:1-2). Each is seen by John to descend out of heaven at this time. Perhaps the bride has been based in heaven for the millennium but is transferred to the new earth after it. This is obviously a subject for debate, research and prayer: it is for now its own “mystery” which will only become clear when the time is right.

When does the bride make her first actual appearance, rather than being just spoken about? Is it in Revelation chapter 4, when John arrives in heaven to see the events of the tribulation? No. Is it in chapter 19, before the conquering, vengeful Christ rides out of heaven? No, it’s in chapter 21. It’s after Antichrist and the false prophet are thrown into the Lake of Fire (19:19-20); after those beheaded in the tribulation are raised (20:4); after the first resurrection (20:5) and after our introduction to the thousand year reign (20:6-10).

It’s true that the bride does indeed come out of heaven, but only just in time for the beginning of eternity after the millennium. In verse 2 of chapter 21 the city-the bride- appears, and she has been “prepared”:

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband”.

Remember that the bride of chapter 19 was also “prepared”, but she made no appearance at that point:

…his bride has made herself ready” (19:7).

It’s only when the New Jerusalem appears, after the millennium, that we’re told God is now living with his people:

Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them” (21:3).

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THE BIBLE PROPHECY EXPERT IN THE MIRROR

I’ve studied Bible prophecy for 37 years, and in that time I’ve become increasingly disillusioned with those claiming to be “prophecy experts”…

REMAINS OF THE SECOND JEWISH TEMPLE, WITH ISLAMIC DOME OF THE ROCK BEHIND IT

One by one, the most influential people, the biggest names in Bible prophecy, have proved themselves to me and to many others to be painfully wrong and mistaken. They get entrenched in some kind of prophetic political correctness and refuse to budge from it for fear of denying their faith and of going against the grain of current interpretation. Even the big-wigs, those with international names and a list of formal qualifications a mile long, say and write things which can be shown to be wrong by anyone with discernment, an open mind and an open Bible.

Perhaps it’s understandable, though frustrating, that the most common words and phrases emitted by such people for decades include the following: the stage is being set; it looks like; probably; just about to happen; fulfillment; on the horizon.

Of course, interpreting Bible prophecy can be a tricky pass-time, but it doesn’t have to be. The mistake so many make is in attempting to force their faulty ideas into present-day events and future ones.

Whenever I write on Bible prophecy I get fewer views than I do on any other subject. I see the reason for that to be the fact that people are so numbed to it all by all the many false predictions made in over-confidence, the ridiculous non-Biblical event and date-setting, and sometimes the hands grasping for money which “we badly need to continue this vital ministry”. Ha! I can write here and reach people all around the world, without spending or asking for a penny…why can’t the experts?

Why does it matter? It matters because there are huge numbers of people in the West who see that the world must indeed be headed towards what has been foretold in the Bible, or at least towards some sort of date with destiny, but who are either badly misinformed or uninformed, and fail to ” search the scriptures”. There are millions of others who have no knowledge at all of what is down the road for planet earth, and need to be warned with correct information.

So don’t get me wrong-I’m not mocking the idea of the Second Coming. In fact I’m convinced in my own mind that it certainly is coming…soon. But what does “soon” mean in this context? Does it mean next year, next decade, or in another thousand years or so?

And what gives me the right to find fault with the experts? Who am I and where did I learn my theology and get my ordination? The answer to that is simple: God has not commissioned those self-proclaimed experts to pass on the message while forbidding the rest of us from figuring it all out for ourselves. As Vernon McGee said, God put the cookies on the bottom shelf so that everyone could reach them. The experts are no more “right” than we can be if we simply look into Scripture and look at our world.

As in the dark days when the Bible could only be read in Latin and interpreted by the “experts” in the Church, so now we have such people and their admirers in the Christian media claiming to be the proper proponents of truth while the rest of us…. the ignorant masses… need to pay attention to them and believe every word they say. That’s not God’s truth. We have every right, as believers, to test what we hear and to hunt down the truth for ourselves. In fact we’re obligated to do so. I’ve done plenty of it over the years, and I’ve concluded that there are no experts that I fully trust now. Test everything, I say. Either they’re in it for the money or the prestige, or because they don’t want to have to go out and get a proper job. Or perhaps they’re just plain wrong.

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DADDY’S HOME AGAIN

Widely swung the door. Light poured, then exploded into the room, where dark, dank and despicable creatures crawled and lurked. The owner of the house was finally home…

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AAAGH! GET OUT! they screamed: we don’t WANT you here!

WE HATE YOU…!

We…we….we…..

And the dark, dank, despicable creatures melted away to nothingness from the power of that light. Only friends of the owner’s son survived.

With similar shock factor and irresistible power our Creator will appear with his cleansing presence. Only friends of his Son will survive.

https://nickyfisher.com/?s=WHAT+IS+THE+GOSPEL

RAPTURE: THE COMINGS AND THE GOINGS…

Welcome to part two of my up-dated study on the rapture of the Church…

1: THIEF IN THE NIGHT: WILL THE SECOND COMING BE IN TWO STAGES?

Pre-Tribulation believers see the second coming of Jesus Christ happening in two stages, separated by a time period of at least seven years. 

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The first, they say, will be in secret, like a thief in the night, in the air, to ‘catch up’ the Church into heaven (Revelation 16:15; 2 Peter 3:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:2; Matthew 24:43; 1 Thessalonians 4:17). The second stage, they say, will be for all the world to see, to bring judgment on those who are left behind (Revelation 19:11-16; Matthew 24:30; Zechariah 12:10).

The phrase ‘thief in the night’, taken from 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4, is used by teachers to conjure up visions of the Lord snatching away his Church before any tribulation starts, taking everyone by surprise, and leaving pilot-less planes to fall from the sky. However, the “thief in the night” phrase is taken out of its proper context.

According to Paul it was the day of the Lord which would come like a thief in the night:

“…for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2).

So what exactly is the day of the Lord? Paul described the day of the Lord not as the “snatching up of the Church”, but the time of destruction of the unsaved:

“While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety’, destruction will come on them suddenly…”(verse 3).

Peter also likened the day of the Lord, not Jesus and the rapture, to a thief in the night :

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire…” (2 Peter 3:10).

Peter also said that the day of the Lord would come AFTER the sun turns to darkness and the moon turns blood red:

:“The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord” (Acts 2:20).

Peter was repeating the order of events described by Jesus:

“Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light…At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky…They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:29-30).

Christ says in Revelation 16:15, “Behold, I come like a thief”. Note that this is stated between the sixth and the seventh bowls of God’s wrath, near the end of the Tribulation, just before the battle of Armageddon. This coincides with the recognition by people on the earth that the time of God’s wrath has come, which will be after the sun turns black and the moon turns red, and between the sixth and the seventh seals:

They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Revelation 6:16-17).

Talking of the day of the Lord, Paul went on to say, “you are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief” (1 Thessalonians 5:4). This means that those who know God and their Bible will not be unprepared for the events taking place around them.

2: IS IT TRUE THAT AN IN-THE-AIR GATHERING AND A GLORIOUS APPEARING OF JESUS ARE MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE?

The idea that believers can only join Christ “in the air” if the rapture is before the Tribulation is not logical, because whether the rapture comes before the tribulation, in the middle, or at the end of it, Christ would have to come ‘in the air’ to gather his saints (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), unless he comes by road in a giant bus, or expects everyone to catch buses, planes and trains to get to wherever He is.

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3: WILL THE CHURCH GO TO HEAVEN WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT?

In 2 Thessalonians 2:5-8 Paul tells us that the lawless one, or Antichrist, can only be revealed to the world when the Holy Spirit of God, who is now holding him back, is “taken out of the way”. One view drawn from this verse is that the Spirit is going to be taken back into heaven from the earth, and since He indwells all believers (Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9-11), then all those believers must be taken into heaven with Him, before the Tribulation.

It seems to me that when He is ‘taken out of the way’ (verse 7) He may simply stop restraining the flood of evil, and will not necessarily leave the earth at all. There’s no scriptural statement about the Holy Spirit leaving the earth to go into heaven.

Second, the Antichrist will not be revealed to the world until the mid part of the Tribulation, at the time when he enters the temple and claims to be God (Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Revelation 13:5-6). This, and not before, is the time when the restraining power of the Holy Spirit is removed, mid -way through the Tribulation!

Paul spoke to the believers in Thessalonica as though they would witness the revealing of the antichrist. In fact it’s given as one of the two signs to believers that the “day of the Lord” had truly come (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3). Jesus spoke of the same initial sign to his disciples (Matthew 24:15-21).

4: THE IMMINENCE OF CHRIST’S COMING

Pre-Tribulation believers say that Christ’s coming is ‘imminent’, so that we cannot know the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36-42). According to this view the rapture will come before anything else that’s prophesied, because in contrast there will be plenty of warning signs of His visible return to the earth. If Christians were around when the “seven year” Tribulation starts, they say, we would know that it would be exactly seven years to the coming of Christ-something we can’t know, since Jesus said we can’t know the day nor the hour. The same people will tell you that there are plenty of signs of the coming Tribulation to be seen now. Hmmm!

In response, I would first like to point out that this view assumes the beginning of the final seven years, including the time of day, will be known by all, so that the date and time of the visible return of Jesus could be marked on a calendar. I suggest that that is not the case: we may not know anything about the covenant being signed-it could be an agreement made behind closed doors. Paul said that the first-not the second-unmistakable sign that the of day of the Lord was coming would be a “falling away”, which surely can’t be fixed to a time or day, and the antichrist going into the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus said that the first unmistakable sign would be antichrist standing in the Holy Place of the temple, and didn’t mention any covenant (Matthew 24).

Secondly and more importantly, this view assumes that if we were to see the signing of the covenant, the rapture would have to occur at exactly the same time as Christ’s visible return to the earth. But there is no reason to make such an assumption. Compounding this fact are the three mysteriously different number of days given to Daniel (Daniel 12). These further confuse the issue, so that we really don’t know the day nor the hour of the rapture, even if we do see Daniel’s covenant being signed.

When Jesus said, “No one knows about that day or hour” in Matthew 24:36, what had He been speaking of? Was it the rapture? No, in the previous verses He had been speaking solely of the events of the Tribulation and of His physical appearing for the whole world to see (verses 15-35). He was referring to the “day of the Lord”, not the rapture.

I’ve heard one well-known prophecy teacher say that when Jesus said his disciples would see the antichrist in the temple he was not talking to Christians but to Jews. Jews, he said, would be in the Tribulation, but not Gentiles. I instantly realized that Jesus was in truth talking to his closest disciples who, although Jewish, were born-again Church age disciples. There is really no reason to assume that Jesus was speaking of “left-behind” Jewish believers, without using circular reasoning (“We know that Gentile believers will be raptured by then so Jesus must be speaking of Jewish believers”).

Of course we will not all have to flee Jerusalem and Judea, but worldwide television will show the whole world the antichrist entering the temple. Paul gave the same message to the Thessalonians, who were for the most part Gentiles (Acts 17:4; 1 Thess 1:9-10).

SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION

IS THE BIBLE REALLY OUT-DATED AND IRRELEVANT, OR IS IT WHAT IT CLAIMS TO BE-AN ETERNALLY RELEVANT MESSAGE FROM OUR CREATOR? CAN THERE REALLY BE A GOD WHO KNOWS THE FUTURE AND CONTROLS IT?

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Social media in the 21st century are currently the most effective and rapid conveyors of information-whether true or false. There’s reason to believe this was foreseen in the book of Revelation.

Nineteen centuries ago John was given a glimpse of our lightening-fast information technology, social media and mainstream media, with which we’re all able to see what’s happening on the other side of the world and then react to it within minutes.
Chapter 11  of Revelation discusses two witnesses testifying to the whole world from the street of a city which is never far from the headlines in today’s world: Jerusalem. That soon-to-be number one target of political-correctness and of those who oppose any vestige of Judeo-Christian history, influence and belief, will be the venue of the giving of one of the last messages of God to unwilling mankind before judgment.
The two prophets of God will be killed and left in the street for the whole world to gloat over, but only for three and a half days. The first sentence of chapter 11 could perhaps be speaking of only a local interest in the two, but the second is inescapably global:
Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.
Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. (Revelation 11:9-11 NKJV).
In the first century when John wrote this, news stories would not be available to “those who dwell on the earth” in such a rapid fashion that they could send each other gifts within three and a half days. Now we’re able to send messages, photos, money, coupons, books and music digitally within seconds, and to purchase and have delivered anywhere in the world just about anything we can think of.
Here is one of many evidences that God’s word-the Bible-is to be taken seriously. There really is a day of reckoning coming. You can be ready for that day: see my posts on the gospel of Jesus Christ.