How Close Are We? (Hosea 5:14 – 6:2)

Ten Years?

If the necessary preceding events fall into place within the next few years, then yes, we could be as little as ten years away.

If we interpret the thousand years of Rev 20 as literal and exact (rather than symbolic or approximate), then we have our key to the three days of Hos 6:2. The question in dispute is whether this is a key that God intends. Or is this merely symbolic of a brief period of time, as thought by most commentators?

But what is brief about two days if it represents the whole duration of the age of exile and covenant judgment? And why is the golden age of Jewish hope limited to only one day (i.e., “the third day”)? Surely a mystery is invested in this unusual usage that is set to serve its greatest purpose at the time of the end (Dan 12:4, 9).

One thing should be undeniably clear. The “affliction” of Hos 5:15 can be nothing less than the great tribulation of the latter days spoken of by Moses and all the prophets. Beginning with Moses, this transitional event was seen as the great dividing line between “this age” of estrangement and covenant judgement, and “the age to come” of ultimate covenant fulfillment when the nation’s perennial blindness would be lifted forever (Deut 29:4; Isa 6:10-11; 32:13-17; Eze 39:22, 28-29).

It is well documented that many have understood the course of civilization to be on a scale of six millennia given to the government of man (the number of man), and a seventh, millennial sabbath of the kingdom of God on earth. On this reckoning, the metaphorical third day envisions the millennium of Rev 20.

So the “third day” as the post-tribulational millennium becomes our key to the duration of the two days as the end of Israel’s covenant estrangement, and God’s temporary disownment and desertion, in the foretold hiding of His face (Deut 31:17-18; 32:20; Isa 54:8; 64:7; Hos 1:9-10; 2:23; 3:5; 4:6; 5:6, 15; Mic 3:4; 5:3; Eze 39:23-24, 28-29). If the third day begins at the end of a yet future tribulation, this can only mean that the two days must be reckoned, not from the beginning of exile in 722 B. C., but from some point approximately 2000 years before the end of the final tribulation.

The question of what determines the point that begins the two days must be something of awesome magnitude. This is strongly hinted in Hos 5:15 in comparison with Mic 5:1-3. The context assumes, not the general apostasy of the nation, such as would not discontinue seasons of blessing, even occasional revival up to the time of Jesus. No, this is something more final.

The offense that Israel is confessing at the end of the tribulation is the ultimate provocation that reached its climax in the rejection of the Son. What else would be sufficient cause for such an age long abandonment?

Hosea 5:15
I will go and return to my place,
till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face:
in their affliction they will seek me early.

Micah 5:1-3 tells us plainly what that consummate offense was. It was the smiting of the ruler ruler from Bethlehem. Only this could evoke such solemn words that so well sum up the long and tortured history of the Jewish people.

Now gather yourself in troops, O daughter of troops:
he has laid siege against us:
they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.
But you, Bethlehem Ephratah,
though you be little among the thousands of Judah,
yet out of you shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel;
whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Therefore (for this cause) will he give them up,
until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth:
then shall the remnant of his brethren return …

Commentators will typically say that the one who is smitten with a rod upon the cheek (a metaphor for cruel humiliation) was the king of Israel. (Commentators are divided as to whether this was Hoshea at the time of the Assyrian invasion, or Zedekiah at the time of the Babylonian invasion). But notice, what if the judge (ruler) of Israel in verse one is the pre-existent ruler from Bethlehem of verse two, the Messiah from David’s line?

This alone is sufficient to explain the gravity and tragic implications of what takes place as the result of the smiting of the judge. It is the age long “giving up” of the elect nation. Nothing could be more solemn and full of tragic portent. If I am Jewish, contemplating the saga of my nation’s tragic history, this verse should evoke the deepest emotion. Notice carefully the decisive connective, “therefore”, in verse three.

What is the ‘therefore’ there for? To what does the ‘therefore’ of verse three refer to as the causal source of what follows? We must ask, what offense, what momentous provocation is sufficient cause for God to use such solemn and foreboding words as these? “Therefore (for this cause) shall He give them up UNTIL the time when she who travails has come to birth” (compare Isa 13:8; 26:16-17; 66:8; Jer 30:6-7; Dan 12:1).

What cause could be so great enough for God to withdraw and hide His face? This is the language of divine desertion! This is wrath upon the “people of My wrath” (Isa 10:6; Lk 21:22-23). To answer this question is to identify a particular “offense”, not offenses (plural) or guilt in general, but ‘THE’ consummate offense (singular) that moved the Lord to “go and return to My place”.

The implications are as clear as they are profound. With the ultimate rejection of God in the person of the Son, the larger part of the nation would be “given up” until the post-tribulational birth / resurrection of the fallen nation (Isa 66:8).

[I cannot speak of Mic 5:1-4 without mentioning how beautifully typified this reunion is by the reunion of Joseph to his estranged brethren. Here, as also typified in the weeping of Zech 12:10, Joseph’s brethren come in bowed submission to their brother, exactly as in the dream that so angered them as to plot his murder. The parallels are sublime!]

With Israel’s fateful “fall” (Ro 11:11-12), the foretold stumbling at the tested cornerstone laid in Zion, as the glory of the Lord had departed from the temple in Ezekiel’s vision, so now the Lord of glory departs from the temple with the words, “Your house is left to you desolate. You will not see Me again UNTIL you will say, ‘blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord’” (Mt 23:39). In a few days, He rises, and after 40 days returns to His Father’s right hand, there waiting ‘UNTIL’ His enemies are made His footstool.

Can this all be incidental, unrelated to Hos 6:2, so that the three days are nothing more than a mere metaphor for an indeterminate period of time? That is the question each one will have to answer in their own heart before the Lord. This is a mystery. It is somewhat hidden for a purpose. It is for babes, not for those who are wise in their own eyes.

Nothing else so well agrees, not only with the immediate context, but with the mystery of the two comings that progressive revelation will bring to light at the appointed time (1Cor 2:7-8). If the two days are to be reckoned from the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, and if they are to be taken with the same literalness and exactness of the millennial third day, then, yes, we are fast approaching His return to within a decade or very closely thereabouts.

Where better to mark the beginning of the two days than the Lord’s departure to the Father’s right hand, after what Paul will call Israel’s “fall”? (Ro 11:11-12). This climactic fall and special hardening does not begin with the exile. Nor is it simply the continuum of Israel’s perennial blindness and covenant dereliction, reaching back to Moses (Deut 4:25-27; 29:4). No, this is reckoned from the time that Israel stumbled at the rejected cornerstone (Ps 118:22; Isa 8:14; 28:16; Mt 21:42; Acts 4:11; 1Pet 2:4, 6-8).

From this point, and not before, “a door of faith” was opened, as God began now to “visit the gentiles to call out from them a people for His name” (compare Mat 10:5; 15:26-27; 28:19 , with Acts 14:27; 15:14). This special, very unexpected ‘pre-tribulational’ visitation of the gentiles will continue “UNTIL” the fullness of the gentiles has come in” at the time of the Deliverer’s return to Zion. (Isa 59:20-21; Ro 11:25-27).

Note that it was well known that the nations would be blessed by Israel’s return and exaltation AFTER the tribulation. It was unknown that the gentiles would be made fellow heirs by the revelation of the gospel BEFORE Israel’s national day of deliverance. That a great installment of the promise to bless all nations through Abraham’s seed would be fulfilled while Israel yet remained in blindness and further exile was unknown and unexpected. This belonged to the mystery hidden in other ages (Ro 16:25-26; Eph 3:4-6, 9; 6:19; Col 1:26-27; 4:3).

Though not anticipated, this astonishing turn of events was nonetheless prophesied by Moses and Isaiah (Deut 32:21; Isa 49:5-6; 56:8; 65:1; Mt 21:43; Ro 10:19; 1Pet 2:10). This would be the time when an alien people (Isa 28:11), a “no people”, a “foolish nation”, would be chosen to provoke the wayward nation to jealousy (Deut 32:21; Isa 28:11; 49:5-6; 56:8; 65:1; Mt 21:43; Ro 10:19; 1Pet 2:10). How appropriate if this hidden interim should last 2000 years in agreement with the two days that exist between the Lord’s return to the Father’s right hand at the end of the 69th week, and His return to destroy the Antichrist and establish His reign over restored Israel at the end of the 70th.

The question of how literally and exactly we can take the three days of Hos 6:2 as symbolic of three millennia will depend on how literal and exact we see the thousand years of Rev 20. This will determine how literal and exact we see the two days that end with the tribulation. If, on the other hand, the thousand years is not literal, or only approximate, as even many premillennialists hold, then Hos 5:15-6:2 must be accounted for in some other way. There is no shortage of suggestions by commentators, though some old school premillennial scholars have long since held the very position we take, and this was many years before our time when the two days are now so close to expiration.

The question is what do we believe of God’s ways to hide His secrets from the wise and prudent as He reveals them to babes? Can this be such a mystery set within the text for His people to search out and detect as the time draws near? And what of the competing interpretations? Which of these do we consider would most glorify the Lord? Of course, it is the interpretation that proves true, but we are also informed by the examples of time prophecies that have already been fulfilled.

We have only to look at Jeremiah’s 70 years and Daniel’s seventy sevens. Some deny, but we have shown that these predicted numbers (except the much disputed final seven of Dan 9:27) were all miraculously fulfilled, very literally and very exactly, to the very year. This tells us something of God’s pattern of commitment to specificity and precision. This demonstration of such amazing chronological accuracy argues well for the literal and precise fulfillment of what remains. After all, when, after “the desolation of many generations” (Isa 61:4), has history ever been so ‘poised’ for the speedy fulfillment of all that remains to be fulfilled before the Lord can return?

With the second Roman destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 132, and the many generations that the Land lay desolate, it naturally became quite un-attractive to tie the return of the Lord to a yet future restoration of Jerusalem and destruction of a yet future temple. But now, since the miracles of 1948 and 1967, we have come full circle! Exactly as the Jerusalem of the first century was a trembling cup, tilting towards ‘a’ (not “THE”) great tribulation, it is the same now again, only this time it is all the nations of the globe that will be burdened with this burdensome stone (Isa 34:8; Zech 12:2-3). The die is cast and we’re on a manifest trajectory for the full balance of all that remains. Who can deny?

So what if His return proves to be “right on time”, according to a mystery of the time indicator that lay hidden in the text, particularly, but not only in Hosea’s prophecy of the two days? Did He not expect His people to be ‘’connecting the dots” at the time of the end? (Dan 12:4, 9). Did He not say, “I have foretold you all things”? (Mk 13:23). Other than the very precise “day and hour”, is there anything pertaining to His plan that He did not most gloriously foretell?

Lest it be said that this is date setting, we ask, was Jeremiah’s 70, or Daniel’s 70 7’s date setting? Did those who received the prophecy know something certainly and definitely about the time? Will those living to see the abomination be unaware that approximately 3 1/2 years remains till His coming in the clouds? Will those living in “those days” after the man of sin is revealed in the temple know they have entered upon the final 3 ½ years? “When you therefore will see the abomination …” Both Jesus and Paul fully expect that the saints living at that time will see this event and know what follows (Mt 24:15-16, 21; 2Thes 2:4).

What of those who will see the fateful peace arrangement (Isa 28:15, 18, Eze 38:8, 11, 14; Dan 9:27; 11:23; 1Thes 5:3). Not just any peace agreement but the one that will permit the return of the orthodox to temple and sacrifice? (Dan 11:31; 12:11; Mt 24:14). Will those witnessing this not know that the door of the last seven years has just closed fast behind them?

What an advantage it will be to the bride in her preparation if she knows she has only a little while (the first half of the week) before the Jews will be thrust into the waiting arms of gentile servants and fully equipped witnesses who are prepared to receive them with love and patience, enduring the same afflictions with them, knowing their eyes are very soon to be opened.

Finally, suppose we are wrong in our interpretation. Does this set us up to be ‘date setters’, further discrediting the testimony? Not if we understand what Daniel, Jesus, Paul, and John give as essential preceding criteria that will either qualify or dismiss our interpretation well in advance of any potential false alarms.

Here, we are greatly safeguarded against premature declarations. If the two thousand years (the symbolic two days) pass uneventfully. If by a certain time there has been no temple and no sacrifice, then we have only ventured a reasonable, we think God glorifying, interpretation of the text. Our case is no case at all unless a great deal of preceding fulfillment follows very soon in due order, since 2000 years since Jesus’ departure is almost upon us. But again, how approximate was Jeremiah’s 70, or Daniel’s 69? (Reference the detailed chronology laid out in the Simple Layman series on YouTube. I forget which sessions).

Until such confirming events are clearly in view, we must be committed to caution. Both Jesus and Paul give one particular sign on which all else depends, and even this will not come without much that must precede, namely, a disarming peace agreement that permits the return of the regular sacrifice on mount Moriah. So a lot must happen in order for all of this to fall sufficiently into place in the time that these compelling considerations lead us to expect.

In any event, we are safeguarded by this: Our interpretation can be no better than these necessary, verifying preliminarily events. Can so much be fulfilled in so short a time? It will be a wonder to behold! But God is well able. And it just may please Him to wait till very late to move the political mountains that make such a swift transition appear most improbable. I think here of the suddenness with which the Berlin wall came down with the overnight fall of the Soviet Union.

Romans 9:28
For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.

Nonetheless, for many more reasons than brevity will permit, we feel quite sure that such a literal and precise fulfillment is how the Lord has chosen to most wondrously vindicate His faithfulness to foretell all us “all things”, even this. (Amos 3:7; Mk 13:23; Acts 26:22-23; Rev 10:7).

If the two days are reckoned from the cross and the ascension. If they are not approximate but represent two thousand years exactly, this would suggest that as early as the last year of the next administration’s term in office, we could be seeing the start of the final seven.

How will this be recognized? If we have understood correctly, the final seven begins with a deceptive peace arrangement. History has seen many of these, so what distinguishes this from all others?

It is the recognition by many nations of Israel’s covenant right to practice their religion at the designated location in Jerusalem (Dan 9:27). Therefore, if this is indeed the peace that seduces Israel into a fatal false trust (Isa 28:15, 18; Eze 38:8, 11, 14; Dan 8:25; 9:27; 11:23-24; Mt 24:15-16; 1Thes 5:3; Rev 12:6), it will mean that very soon after this agreement has been ratified, preparations to begin the regular sacrifice will shortly follow.

Not only this, but according to a much disputed portion of Daniel’s prophecy (Dan 10:14-12:13), most commentators (certainly not all) assign to antiquity much that remains still in the future. This is not the place to make the case, but the evidence will show that Dan 11:21 introduces the Antichrist who is only partially and very imperfectly pre-typified by the Syrian tyrant, Antiochus IV, of the second century B.C. It is the Antichrist himself that places the abomination in Dan 11:31 (with Dan 12:11), and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped in Dan 11:36-37 (with 2Thes 2:4).

This suggests that the first half of the week begins with the league / alliance of Dan 11:23. (“AFTER the league made with him he shall work deceitfully and come up and become strong with a small people”). This means that from Dan 11:23-31, we have the first half of the week covered in amazing, very observable detail that will further confirm the time, predicted event following predicted event (a play by play sequence). This will give the believing observer a clear countdown of preceding events leading up to the abomination.

What will this mean for the prophetically informed saints for their crucial preparation and witness? Everything! It will be priceless! Time fails to begin to touch on all that God has invested for our help by telling us all things in advance when we are about to enter upon the greatest global hardship in the history of the planet. Through the power and clarity of the spirit of prophecy (Rev 19:10), it will be the church’s finest hour (Dan 11:32; Rev 12:10).

I heard a well meaning friend’s complaint that scripture couldn’t possibly intend a literal temple and literal sacrifice because this would be too “formulaic”, too easy for all to recognize. Well, as convincing as this line of reasoning may sound, it fails the test of what I like to call, “the plain person’s plain reading of plain language.”

Never mind this being too obvious. The scripture is clear that despite being put on open display, the true spiritual meaning of these things will utterly elude the wisdom of this age. And that is just the point. These things will NOT be “done in a corner”! On the contrary, the greater the visibility and accessibility of these public events, the greater accountability and exposure of the heart, but also the greater usefulness of the miracle of prophecy for the instruction of an innumerable multitude (Dan 11:33; 12:3 with Rev 7:9, 13-14).

Yet, for all this, the holy messenger says to Daniel, “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand” (Dan 12:10). This makes perfect sense of how it is that so late as the 6th bowl, the Lord’s return will yet come upon the unsuspecting wicked as a thief, signs, wonders, and the most prolific fulfillment of prophecy notwithstanding (Rev 16:12-16).

Yours in the Beloved, Reggie

Posted in Daniel, Hosea, The Last Days | Comments Off on How Close Are We? (Hosea 5:14 – 6:2)

The Flight of the Jews

I don’t know if my generation will be the ones who enter into Daniel’s 70th week. It is very hard to believe that I won’t see that in my life time but that’s not up to me. I specifically remember hearing some discussions about in the time of Jacob’s trouble the believers having a role to play. And that role being helping out Jews that are inflight or fleeing. When I first heard that it felt like it sent shock waves through my spirit (in a good way). Would you mind to comment on your thoughts on this and what could that practically look like for a believer in the time of their great distress/tribulation, maybe even specifically for our situation in the US? (I very much love the testimony of the Ten Boom family and it seems like that may be a good picture of what it could be like).

Yes, the story of the Ten Boom family is no accident, nor is the carefully archived history of Nazi Europe. It was a divinely ordained pre-view of the mystery of lawlessness as it will be most fully embodied and revealed in the coming ‘man of lawlessness’. Along with all the general mayhem and lawlessness that will abound (is abounding!), international hatred of the Jew will once more, as never before, be front and center.

Knowing then what the scripture teaches concerning the coming flight of the woman, and the sure promise of divine provision for refuge and survival (Rev 12:6, 14), we ask, “Where is this place? and who are “they” who are appointed to “feed her there”? Will it be ravens, angels, or saints who have “foreseen the evil and hid themselves”? (Prov 22:3; 27:12).

This flight, we expect, will not only be out of Judea into the neighboring wilderness (Mt 24:15-16; for OT background compare Isa 16:1-5; 42:10-14; Dan 11:41 KJV), but from all the great population centers, as far as the long arm of the Antichrist will reach. Jews, with any who harbor them, will be the special target of Antichrist fury and pursuit. This is because Satan’s great dread is for the elect remnant to reach their destination of national salvation at the end of the tribulation. He knows so much better than the church that if the Word concerning Israel’s post-tribulational salvation can fail, so fails the Word of God that condemns him to the lake of fire.

The end that God has appointed is the ultimate, climatic convergence of all the great themes, principles and patterns of the past in final, open demonstration. For Israel, the church, and the world, it is the ultimate test on the widest possible scale.

You ask, “how I expect the believer’s relation to Jews in flight may look, especially in the US?” I suspect it will look very much like it did in the story of the Hiding Place. Yet, I would think it very unfortunate if great lessons are not taken. For example, on a visit to an Ann Franke exhibit, I made note of the great statistical disparity between the rate of Jewish survival within the population centers and those who managed to escape into the countryside. So there’s much practical wisdom that can be gleaned if even a relative certainty concerning the time could be known in advance, but that’s precisely the problem. I’ll come back to this.

Some years back I wrote an article that Art was very keen to post on our website at the time. It was entitled, “A Prophetic Call to Practical Preparation.” As evident in the Corrie Ten Boom story, the “Hiding Place”, there is a practical side to our faith that goes beyond all the inferences and speculations on many of the details that will always be debated. It centers on the substance and essence of what we really believe and expect and what our response should be.

Of course, as always, the only thing ultimately decisive is the issue of being “led by the Spirit”. This may be different in many particulars for different ones in different places, but with any divine trust of revealed truth there comes a corresponding responsibility. If God has spoken, if the lion has roared, if the trumpet has given a certain sound, who can justify the complacency of neglect that accompanies unbelief? The only ultimately decisive question is “has God really said?” All else is relative to that.

So before we can be concerned with what the church ‘should’ believe, our first responsibility is to what we have heard personally and understood for ourselves. The question is never ‘what shall this man do?”, but “you follow Me”.

If we know that the woman will be pursued into a prepared place of hiding, and if we believe this has a world wide application, it follows that the great witness to Israel and the world will be the expectancy and preparation of believers, as based on the sure word of prophecy, most particularly Jesus’ strategic directive in Mt 24:15, “let the reader understand” (Mt 24:15). The Lord expects us to go to Daniel, locate and ‘understand’ this event. By so directing, Jesus knows that we will find much more than this particular event. To understand the abomination of desolation is also to see what precedes and what follows this event, and therefore an entire context that centers around God’s special covenant with the Jews and the meaning of “those days” and the use of this knowledge to “instruct many” and “turn many to righteousness” (Dan 11:32-33; 12:3, 10).

Never will there be a greater opportunity for believers to move Jews to emulation than by the practical provision made by the mouth of their own, rejected Joseph-Messiah. But as long as the wise virgins remain asleep, and as long as there remains great confusion as to the time and order of events that signal the time, it is as the scripture says, “if the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to battle?” (ICor 14:8).

I would personally despair of hope of a mobilized army of prophetically prepared forerunners if I did not believe that God has, in unspeakable kindness and mercy, given us the first half of Daniel’s 70th week to awaken and prepare for the second half of the last seven years. The importance of this could hardly be too stressed.

Yet, not surprisingly, it is the most scorned and denied of all the competing interpretations among ‘futurists’ (those believing in a future tribulation). Not only does the battle rage over Daniel’s authenticity, but over its interpretation, and nowhere else is this more the case than in the question of whether a gap (hidden age) exists between the 69th and 70th weeks of Dan 9:24-27. But so much depends on this crucial knowledge that is key to the preparation of the remnant of the ‘maskilim’ (those having understanding) in those critical, ultimately transitional days.

If God has been so specific in the past (e.g., the 70 years of Jeremiah, the 70 weeks of Daniel, etc.), can it be that He has given His people sufficient sign posts, time markers to show the time that preparation of an unusual and urgent kind should be made? Some of us believe God has revealed (in a somewhat hidden way) a substantial and compelling case that the two days of Hos 6:2 represents the whole time of Jesus’ session at God’s right hand, from the time of Israel’s stumbling to the time of their return when they will enter upon the ‘third day’ as a raised and revived nation fulfilling their millennial destiny (Hos 5:15-6:2; Mic 5:1-4; Zech 3:9; 12:10; Mt 23:39; Ro 11:26; Rev 1:7)

The argumentation for this, not so well known or well agreed, is based on more solid and compelling evidence than many suspect, too much to go into here (see “Simple Layman: Teaching the Prophetic Time-line” on youtube). But if true, then God has indeed given something more definite as to the time than most have been led to believe possible, or even conceive as orthodox (“but of that day and hour …”).

Whether such a view can be vindicated remains to be seen. Still, it is something worth keeping an eye on, lest we hastily dismiss God’s provision for His people, but even more His own greater glory in so precisely and completely foretelling all things in advance (Mk 13:23). In any event, God has provided protection against the false alarms of prophetic speculation by a tightly connected constellation of events that will either confirm or deny the presumption that the end of the two days is very near. Yet, unless clarity comes as to the time (when it is time to know the time), it is unlikely that there will be any real, unified, mobilization of the church, even the true body, until very late at best.

The very great doctrinal divide, particularly in the chaos of eschatology, virtually ensures that the time will not only come upon the world as a thief, but many who profess Christ (contrast the two servants of Lk 12:42-48). Even the five wise virgins are depicted as also sleeping when the time arrives. But we may take hope that from some source that is not sleeping comes the midnight call, “Behold, the bridegroom comes! Go out to meet Him!”

There is one thing that greatly puzzles me. It is the fact that quite apart from anything very definite as to the time, I think of young king Josiah when he found the lost book of the law. He had no definite prophetic timeline, no books of Daniel or Revelation. It was enough that he read the proverbial writing on the wall in the threats of the broken covenant (Lev 26; Deut 28-32). This stirred him to sober trembling and repentance. He fled for refuge, not to the wilderness but to righteousness.

Yet, today, even if it were questioned whether we have entered upon the time of the preceding birth pangs. Even if we imagine the time when none may buy or sell might indeed be a good ways off. Still, what do the wise do when they foresee, not perhaps specifically defined prophetic time markers, but a culture and civilization teetering on the brink, under ominously looming judgment? “A prudent man foresees the evil and hides himself but the simple pass on and are punished” (Prov 22:3; 27:12).

Isn’t that enough to greatly question how far invested we have become in a highly integrated, highly interdependent world system under such manifestly looming judgment? (Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? Jeremiah 5:9, 29; 9:9). Isn’t that enough to think of practical measures of practical preparation, not as flight, but as wisdom for the sake of the vulnerable and the weak who may not be called to go into places of radical obedience ‘where angels fear to tread’?

The command to flee the proverbial ‘city of destruction’, as the symbolic city of man is first and foremost spiritual, of course, but there comes a time when it is unbelief and sin not to expect plague and curse and calamity when a nation’s cup of iniquity has reached its tilting point. So it is a question much to be considered among the brethren, how, and in what ways can practical measures be taken to provide for our own (Gal 6:10; 1Tim 5:8), and this includes the Lord’s brethren, the hated, hunted Jews of “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Mt 25:40 with Isa 26:16-17; 66:7; 30:6-7; Mic 5:3-4).

When it comes to the wisdom of practical preparation, not as means of escaping persecution, or anything God has ordained, such as the certainty of tribulation (Acts 14:22), of course, but as a practical corollary and witness to what is surely believed (“and being warned of God of things not seen as yet”), isn’t it enough to know the words of the Psalmist concerning the fate of any nation that forgets God? “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Ps 9:17).

Add these fundamental principles to the never before fulfilled prophecies that are so clearly before us and developing rapidly along an inexorable trajectory of utmost prophetic certainty, it is hard to see how we can continue as though “all things continue”. Is it not time to put feet to our faith and prepare now for the flight of the Jews and our own flight from foolish, excessive, and unnecessary dependency on the world’s system, as though only the last 3 ½ years is our only concern?

And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do … (1 Chron 12:32).

Whoever keeps the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerns both time and judgment. Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. For he knows not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be? (Ecclesiastes 8:5-7)

These two things, time and judgment, are particularly hard to bring together. Even if the time is known, what if it is not known what should be done? And even if what should be done is agreed, is the time right?

Our prayer is for the raising up, not merely those who assume to know much about the time, whether general or specific, but those who can instruct and advise, not only in spiritual matters but of practical preparation. Paul says, “you have many teachers but not many fathers.” Where there is hardly, if any agreement concerning the time, or even the possibility of knowing anything at all about the time, there is not likely to be much clarity on what should be done of a practical nature. So until such agreement emerges, perhaps very late into the seven years, each one must answer that question for themselves. I believe we will look back and realize how much was indeed knowable except for our condition to know it.

Yours in the Beloved, Reggie

Posted in The Last Days | Comments Off on The Flight of the Jews

Questions on Revelation 3:10

Question 1

In vs. 10 Jesus states that He will keep them from the hour of temptation which will come upon the whole world, to try them that dwell upon the Earth. My question is what is the hour of temptation?

Revelation 3:10
Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Seen best in light of:

Luke 21:34-35
And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

And perhaps also:

Joel 3:14
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision:
for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.

What is this hour, and what does it mean to be ‘kept from’ it?

The term hour in the NT is often used of an appointed time or a time that is in some way decisive (Mt 26:45; Jn 2:4; 4:23; 5:25; 12:23; 16:21; 17:1). In at least one instance in Rev 17:12, an hour is shown to cover the whole time that the ten kings give their strength and power to the beast. This would appear to include the entire 3 1/2 years of the unequaled tribulation. Elsewhere in the Revelation, the term carries a much more narrow usage, as in the case of great Babylon’s destruction. There, the hour describes the time of the 7th bowl of wrath, the very end of the end (Rev 16:17-18; 18:10, 17, 19). But in only one great and unequaled tribulation will the whole of the earth be so ultimately and finally tested.

In what sense is one to be ‘kept from’ the hour of testing? Some argue that here is promised, not only deliverance from what the hour threatens but physical removal from its very presence. Advocates of this view point out that the Greek words that are translated ‘kept from’ can as well be translated “kept out of”. However, we see the same words in John 17:15, and there the promise is not exemption from the presence of danger but protection from falling under the power of Satan.

I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.

How can we determine whether to be ‘kept from’ or ‘kept out of’ the hour is promise of physical immunity from the time of the final, great test, or divine preservation within it?

Before coming to the specifics of that question, it is well we remember that this promise was addressed particularly to the deeply tested church of Philadelphia. Even though the ultimate, age ending great tribulation would not come until a later time, the promise of divine preservation in the midst of great trial was no less serviceable and applicable to believers under severe testing all throughout the whole time of the church’s struggle on earth. So however “kept from the hour” is understood, its meaning and application cannot be limited only to the time of the last persecution under the last beast.

It is clear that escape and protection is promised to tribulation believers, not from persecution and suffering, of course, (Dan 7:21, 25; 11:33-35; 12:10; Rev 6:11; 13:7; 14:13; 20:4), but from demonic deception, and the plagues of divine wrath that will be inflicted ONLY on those who take the mark.

We see this in the pre-tribulational sealing of the 144,000 (Rev 7:3), and in the flight of the woman (Israel) to seek refuge in the wilderness (Rev 12:6, 14). Not only are believers protected from the evil one (Jn 17:15), but even unbelievers, particularly the elect remnant of Israel, are seen to survive to the day of national repentance at the Lord’s return (Ps 102:13; Isa 59:20-21; 66:8; Eze 39:22; Zech 3:9; 12:10; Mt 23:39; Mt 24:22; Ro 11:26-27; Rev 1:7). Not only this, but the scripture makes equally clear that there will be gentile survivors who apparently were not saved in time for the rapture. These will join themselves to the penitent survivors of Israel and joyously assist in their return to the Land (see Zech 8:23; Isa 14:1-2; 49:22; 60:9; 66:20).

Such manifest survival, even by many who are not saved till the end, fully exposes the fallacy of the argument that in order for the church to escape wrath, she must be removed from the earth. There could hardly be a greater misuse and misapplication of the promise of 1Thes 5:9.

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Interestingly, the words of the glorified Jesus in Rev 3:10 (red in some Bibles) are very nearly the same words He spoke on earth in Lk 21:34-35. This is remarkable proof that John is carefully writing the very words of Jesus that appear only here and in Luke’s account of the Olivet discourse. For me, such manifestly parallel usage is decisive for the interpretation of Rev 3:10.

When we closely examine the context of Luke’s account of Jesus’ parallel warning, we see that what is to be escaped by the wakeful, praying believer is not the time that these events will be happening, but the things (perils and pressures) that would threaten to subvert his or hers ability to “stand before the Son of man” (Lk 21:36). As the context makes indisputably clear, this time of ‘standing before the Son of man’ cannot refer to a presumed rapture before the tribulation but to Jesus’ post-tribulational return in power and glory (Lk 21:27 with Lk 21:36).

That ‘day’ comes suddenly, but not without warning. It will not come “unaware“, like a thief, upon wakeful and observant believers (Lk 21:34 with 1Thes 5:2-4) They will recognize the signs (Mt 24:3, 15; Lk 21:10-11, 20-21, 25-26; 1Thes 5:3; 2Thes 2:4). 

Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near (Lk 21:28). So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near (Lk 21:31).

Jesus anticipates that the matter will be quite the opposite with some claiming the Christian faith.  

But if that servant says in his heart, “My Lord delays His coming”; and begins to beat the male and female servants, and eat and drink and be drunk, the lord that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when it is not aware, and will cut him asunder and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers (Lk 12:45-46). 

Note how nearly the language here compares with Luke’s account of the Olivet prophecy, 

“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Lk 21:34-36), 

and also with Paul’s description of the day of the Lord in 1Thes 5:2-4.

For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.

In all of these references, we observe that the great scandal will be that many professing Christian faith will be caught unaware and unprepared, not for an imminent, un-signaled rapture of the church, but for the post-tribulational return of Christ.

Paul equates such ignorance with a state of spiritual darkness. Such darkness is fully expected of the world but not of believers. This is the scandal of the end times, and we see why.

It speaks of an unconscionable rejection of the truth, leaving one vulnerable to the great delusion that Paul says that God Himself will be obliged to send on all  who have not received the love of the truth. This will be particularly the case when it is seen just how much light professing Christendom will have rejected in the face of some of the most compelling evidence of fulfilled prophecy ever seen on earth since the time of Jesus. 

The scandal will not be that professing Christians were caught unprepared for a Lk any moment rapture. The far greater indictment will be that many who count themselves Christians will not be alerted by some of the most outstanding and clearly defined signs as laid down by the prophets, Jesus, and Paul.

This means that all of the fully foretold signs and otherwise recognizable evidence that the great tribulation is here, and the Lord’s return near, will have passed without awakening these professors of the Christian religion out of their spiritual stupor. 

This is not because there has been no signs. On the contrary, the scripture reads clear. These are professing Christians that will remain unmoved by the signs, even in their manifest presence. This is the great anomaly and scandal. It is the ultimate indictment on apostate Christendom. 

It is telling that as late as the 6th bowl, just before the final 7th bowl is poured out to bring the “great day of God Almighty” (Rev 16:16-17), Jesus interjects to announce that His coming, now so truly imminent, will yet take many as a thief, even Christians with stained garments (Rev 16:15).

This tells us that despite all the magnificent, fully foretold sign events of the tribulation, Jesus’ return will not only overtake the world as a thief, but many who claim Jesus as their Lord. Context will not permit us the luxury of applying this to an earlier, secret, un-signaled return. It is manifestly Jesus’ post-tribulational return that is shown to take the hypocrites unaware, as a thief, and this despite all the highly detailed prophecies clearly marking the time and describing the meaning of these events. There is good reason why and how this will be so, but that discussion would take us too far from our topic to enter upon here. 

Many ask how can such thoroughly foretold events take the world, and particularly Christians unaware, as a thief? For this very cause, some have argued for the necessity of an earlier, un-signaled return that is to be distinguished from the well signaled return after the tribulation (Mt 24:15-31; 2Thes 2:3-4; Rev 6-19), hence the ‘inference’ of two distinct comings. But aren’t we seeing this now? Behold the confusion that reigns in the study of prophecy! How many optional interpretations of the end can there be?! One can only think of Daniel’s prophecy. “Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand” (Dan 12:10).

Those who “escape all these things” in order to be prepared to “stand before the Son of man” are the same wakeful believers who recognize the signs that are ‘beginning to come to pass.”

And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near (Lk 21:28). 

That certain definite, alerting signs can be seen does not comport with pretribulationism’s doctrine of an unsignaled, any moment rapture. Yet the very believers who are commanded to pray to “escape all these things” are being told that they will see “these things begin to come to pass”. In keeping with Jesus’ warning elsewhere in the other synoptic accounts of the Olivet prophecy, with Paul’s warning warning in 1Thes 5:2-4; 2Thes 2:3-4, Peter’s warning (2Pet 3:10), and Jesus’ warning in Rev 16:15, the only ones who will be caught “unawares” are those who abide in darkness and fail to vigilantly watch for “all these things” that will signal the Lord’s now truly ‘imminent’ return. 

So what are the “all these things” that is being escaped in Lk 21:36? Is it the foreboding portents of terror?   

“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Lk 21:25-26).

If that were so, we would not see the following encouragement. 

“Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” Lk 21:28). 

Rather, where the believer is concerned, it is the urgency to not fall prey to the great and unparalleled deception against which Jesus and Paul so gravely and repeatedly warn (Mt 24:4, 11, 24; 2Thes 2:3, 11). This is why I included Joel 3:14 as a possible reference to this “hour”. This is why there is such a great premium that must be placed on the interpretation of what these events mean that will be so decisive for the escape and salvation of many during the time of the great test (Dan 11:33). Therefore, the safe keeping that is promised cannot be immunity from persecution, but escape from the unequaled deception that will expose one to the wrath that will be poured out, not on believers, of course, but only upon the fatally deceived followers of the beast (Rev 11:18: 16:2, 10).

It is another discussion, too involved to enter upon here, but it can be shown exactly when Paul expected to be raised and translated at the resurrection on the last day. When this is proven beyond reasonable dispute, it becomes clear that however we understand “the hour” or the nature of what it means to be “kept from” it, one thing we know. It cannot mean an early exit, physical removal, or exemption from tribulation to which all saints are appointed (see Acts 14:22).

I tend to think the hour of Rev 3:10 includes more than the last hour of Babylon’s destruction, which is identified with the Lord’s thief-like return at the great day of God (2Pet 3:10-12; Rev 16:14-17; 18:10, 17, 19 with Eze 39:8). I believe it should be equated with the great tribulation of the final 3 1/2 years, and not just a final period of wrath at the very end, as some have argued. 

So in what sense are we kept from that hour? I think the promise is that the faithful will be kept from ‘the power of the hour’, which is to say, saved from the deception and the pressures to defect that will be extreme. The overcoming saints of Revelation are kept, not only from wrath but from the peril of loss of witness and the shame of a spotted garment (Rev 2:10, 22-23; 3:3, 16; 16:15).

One final point: never before the 19th century was the promise of being “kept from the hour” interpreted to mean physical exemption from the great test, and total removal from the earth, as this would be to contradict, not only many clear texts, but the whole pattern of God’s work in the past by setting forth in every season of crisis a witness of overcoming faith under fire. How then, by any reckoning, are tribulation saints, who are no less the dear children of God, to be denied the promise of being ‘kept from the hour’?

It is ridiculous to argue that only those believers living before the tribulation are “not appointed to wrath” (1Thes 5:9), as if to suggest that the saints living during the tribulation are any the less partakers of this promise. Whether living before or during the tribulation, never are the children of God the subject of divine wrath. This alone is sufficient to prove that one does not have to be absent from the hour of the test in order to escape its dangers and evils.    

Followup Question
Would you be able to direct me to the scripture(s) where Paul expects to be raised and resurrected at the end of the 3 1/2 years?

Yes, the object first must be to establish when the OT saints expected to be raised, show those passages in their native contexts, and then show that Paul expected his own resurrection with “all who belong to Christ” (1Cor 15:23) to be at the same time that the OT righteous are raised. A careful comparison of scripture will show decisively that the time of the resurrection never changed from OT to NT.

It is easy to prove from Job, Isaiah, and Daniel when the OT saints would be raised. Let’s start there and then move to Paul’s direct exclamation that ties his hope of translation to the same time, namely, the end of the final tribulation at the day of the Lord.

Let’s start with Job.

Notice that Job’s inspired expectation agrees with Paul’s affirmation that we all must be “changed” (1Cor 15:51-52).

Job 14:14
If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.

Then in Job 19, we have that grand and glorious assurance that Job will see that great, curse reversing, atoning “Redeemer” with human feet standing on the earth in the latter day.

Job 19:25-27
For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

Zechariah tells us exactly when this will be.

Zechariah 14:4-5
And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and …. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; … and the LORD my God shall come,
and all the saints with thee.

Then there is Isaiah’s assurance of the time of his personal resurrection with all the righteous of Israel. Note especially Isa 25:7-8, which Paul will very significantly quote as referencing the time of the church’s resurrection in 1Cor 15:54.

Isaiah 25:7-8
And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.

Seen in its larger context, there is no scholar or interpreter of which I’m aware that does not recognize that this passage has in view the resurrection of the righteous of Israel at the post-tribulational day of the Lord. Now turn the page and see in the next chapter where Isaiah places his own resurrection AFTER the final travail that is elsewhere shown to be the tribulation / travail of Jacob’s trouble (see Isa 13:8; Isa 66:8; Mic 5:3; Jer 30:6-7; Dan 12:1).

Isaiah 26:17-19
Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD. We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen. Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.

Interestingly, in the next chapter, we see the very trumpet that all agree is the trumpet that Jesus has in view in Mt 24:31.

Isaiah 27:13
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.

Could this be the same trumpet that Paul calls “last” in 1Cor 15:52? The evidence will leave no question that it is.

Now look at Daniel’s assurance that he would stand in his lot at the end of days (Dan 12:13) and receive his inheritance at that time with all the righteous who are to be raised AFTER the great, unequaled trouble.

Daniel 12:1-2
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who stands for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

So the time when the OT saints will be raised is put beyond reasonable dispute. After the devastating critique by Alexander Reese in his “The Approaching Advent of Christ” published in the 1940’s, modern pre-trib scholars now unanimously accept that the OT saints remain in “the dust of the earth” for an additional seven years while the bride is taken up to heaven for the marriage feast of the Lamb. What’s wrong with this picture?

Side note: According to the defenders of the pre-trib rapture, born again saints of the tribulation are not to be reckoned as “church saints” but “tribulation saints”, since in their view the body of Christ is believed to include only those living between Pentecost and the rapture. Saints living before Pentecost or after the rapture are not considered part of the body of Christ. Even though born of the Spirit, they are believed to belong to a different “people of God”, with a different destiny and uniquely distinct inheritance. This view was unheard of in church history until introduced in the mid 1800’s by J. N. Darby of the Plymouth Brethren movement. It was exponentially popularized by the publication of the famously well received Scofield reference Bible, first published in 1909.

So with the time of the resurrection of OT believers infallibly established, the question at hand becomes whether the body of Christ is to be raised at the same time or some earlier time? If so, what is the biblical basis for this inference?

Much more can be said concerning the NT view of the OT day of the Lord that also fixes the time of the resurrection of the NT believer no less than the OT saints, but before coming to the most decisive evidence of Paul’s own blessed hope, it is important to observe Jesus’ reference to this common Jewish hope of resurrection at the “last day” (Jn 11:24).

Jesus promised that all who the Father gives and draws to Him will be raised at the “last day” (Jn 6:39-40, 44). In Jn 11:24, we see from Martha’s reply that this was the common expectation of the Jews. Pre-tribulationists will point out that Jesus’ promise was before the church came newly into existence at Pentecost. On this presumption it is argued that only those dying before Pentecost will be raised at the last day.

While recognizing that the mystery of the many membered mystical body of Christ was not yet revealed (though new revelation does not necessarily mean new existence), it is most unnatural to suppose that the promise that those coming to Jesus would be raised at the last day only applied until Pentecost, and that believers dying after Pentecost, but before Paul’s revelation of the mystery of the rapture, were wrong to expect resurrection at the last day. It will surely be admitted that for one not already committed to the pre-trib position, this appears quite forced.

We are very familiar with Paul’s mention of the timing of the rapture / translation of living believers in connection with what he calls, “the last trump” (1Cor 15:52). However, pre-tribulationists are instant to caution us against associating Paul’s last trump with the 7th trumpet of Rev 10:7; 11:15, since John had not yet written the Revelation. Well, fair enough. Still, it is much to be observed that the last trumpet in the sequence of trumpets in the Revelation ‘just happens’ to have something very significantly in common with Paul’s last trump, namely, attendance by the Lord’s return to gather His saints.

Moreover, it was well known that Jesus spoke of a trumpet in connection with His return “immediately after the tribulation of those days” in Mt 24:39-31. There we see that the elect are “gathered together” and Paul will use this very language to describe “OUR gathering together” in 2Thes 2:1. So the old argument that Mt 24 is strictly “Jewish ground” that has nothing to do with the “church” will not hold up.

So would Paul have left his Corinthians without further qualification and distinction when such a natural ‘mis-association’ would have been so inevitable? But there is something even more decisive on the timing of the rapture that is seldom, if ever noticed.

All will agree that if we can rightly establish the time Paul’s last trump, we have established the time of the rapture. How then can we prove that Paul’s last trump is the same trumpet that Jesus says will attend His return after the tribulation? Paul tells us very plainly by his use of OT prophecy. Notice carefully.

1 Corinthians 15:51-54
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

Now the decisive question is this? When is then? What time is in view? The problem for the pre-trib view comes in when was ask where the saying is written? When we locate the saying that Paul is referencing in Isa 25:8, an examination of the context leaves no question that the time in view is the post-tribulational day of the Lord. Only by separating what God has clearly joined can the time of the last trump of 1Cor 15:52 be exegetically disjoined or logically separated from the time that this ‘saying’ will be fulfilled. “For then (at the last trump) shall the saying be brought to pass that is written …”

If we begin by assuming that the last trump is before the tribulation, we are faced by a serious conflict, because the saying recorded in Isa 25:8 very clearly has its fulfillment after the tribulation. Recognizing this, the pre-tribulationists must argue for a double fulfillment, one before the tribulation and another that is after.

Herein lies the conflict that demands honest resolution. Are we really to believe that Isa 25:8 is fulfilled for Paul and the church seven years earlier than it is for the righteous of Israel, for Job (Job 19:25; Zech 14:4), for Isaiah (Isa 26:19), or Daniel? (Dan 12:2). 

Not only this, but Isa 25:8 very significantly belongs to a literary section of Isaiah that has been very well distinguished and called by scholars, “Isaiah’s little apocalypse”. Isa 24 begins a highly developed description of the cataclysmic day of the Lord and continues on this theme through to Isa 27 that ends, again, very significantly, with the jubilee trumpet of Isa 27:12-13. This trumpet announces the end of tribulation and penitent Israel’s regathering to the Land.

Pre-trib scholars and teachers recognize that this is indeed the trumpet to which Jesus refers in Mt 24:31. Yet, they insist we should distinguish between this obviously later trumpet and Paul’s supposedly earlier “last” trump. But are we to suppose that Paul would not have anticipated such an easy and natural confusion? Would he not, in practical anticipation, have said more to qualify and clarify this very natural, really inevitable association?

How natural to interpret Paul as having the same time in view that anyone reading Isa 25:8 would assume. And how much more this would be expected in view of what Jesus says of His post-tribulational return being accompanied by the well known trumpet of Isa 27:13, as well as His clear promise of the resurrection of His elect at the last day? (Jn 6:39-40, 44).

I think even a devoted pre-tribber would find it hard to imagine that Paul would not have taken greater pains to distinguish the otherwise indistinguishable. Better to see that Paul fixes his own blessed hope with all the redeemed at the post-tribulational day of the Lord, which the Jews, but most importantly Jesus, identifies as taking place at “the last day.”

Thus, it is NOT the time of the resurrection that constitutes the mystery. That was well known. Rather, is the nature of the translation and catching up for re-location, re-union, and spiritual rule that adds crucial insight to what was already well established and well known.

This is only a sample of so much more that could be said. Obviously many books have been written. But in view of such evidence, (“the plain person’s plain reading of plain language”), it is hard to imagine anything but the most determined emotionalism that would insist on clinging to such a precarious and potentially disarming position.

With due respect for the earnest hearts and well meaning quest for harmony of scripture by godly, sincere believers, I have come to believe that the doctrine of an any moment return to rapture the church seven years before the Lord’s return to rule is a dangerously disarming Trojan horse that has come into the evangelical camp for such a time as this.

Hope that helps.

Yours in the Beloved, Reggie

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Simple Layman

Travis Bennett has started a new YouTube Channel called “Simple Layman”. He and Reggie Kelly have been working diligently during the Covid 19 crisis on a series called “Teaching the Prophetic Timeline” You can check it out HERE.

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Tribute to Philip Haney

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