Sunday, July 5, 2020

Guest Post: The More Sure Word

Although Peter was one of the eyewitnesses, he does not ask that we believe only his testimony. He says that we should examine evidence even stronger than eyewitness accounts. He says we have “the more sure word of prophecy” (2 Peter 1:19).

For over a thousand years, holy, godly men wrote down
the inspirations that God sent to their hearts, telling of One whom God would send to be the Savior of the world. They listed His birthplace, the circumstances of His birth, and the events of His life. They even predicted how He would suffer and the way He would die. Finally, they wrote of His resurrection.

Examining the records of these holy men of God, we find over 300 stipulations concerning the Messiah and what He would accomplish in His birth, life, death, and resurrection. It is fair to ask about the possibility of one person fulfilling all of the requirements by just “being in the right place at the right time.” There is a way to compute the chance factor of this occurring.

The scientific “Law of Compound Probabilities” allows us to accurately calculate the chance of any prophesied event taking place. Each stipulation added to the prediction lessens the chance of the event’s occurrence, because the possibility of several details coinciding is more remote than the possibility of one event occurring alone. When 300 details are considered, the chance factor becomes astronomical. Let’s look at the Law of Compound Probability by starting with just eight of the biblical prophecies pertaining to the Messiah and calculating the possibility of one man fulfilling all eight of those requirements.

For instance, Micah 5:2 said Christ would be born in the city of Bethlehem. The chance of an individual being born in Bethlehem is easy to determine by taking the average population of Bethlehem since the time of the prophecy in about 725 B.C.—it turns out to be about 7,000—and comparing it with the average population of the earth—about 700 million. Divide the second by the first, and you find there is one chance in 100,000 of being born in Bethlehem.

Then Malachi 3:1 said there would be a forerunner who would go before Christ to prepare His way. How many men have had a forerunner prepare the hearts of the people to receive them? Though I can’t think of any, let’s say one in 1,000. 

Zechariah 9:9 said Christ would make His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. How many of the great rulers of history have made their triumphant entries on donkeys? I don’t know of any others, but let’s say one in 1,000 again, to keep it conservative. Most triumphant entries are made on something like a majestic stallion or in a great chariot—certainly not on donkeys. But Zechariah said, “Behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” 

Zechariah also said He would be betrayed for thirty  pieces of silver by a friend (Zechariah 11:12). How many men in history have been betrayed by a friend for exactly thirty pieces of silver? Again, keeping our estimates low, let’s say one in 10,000.

Then Zechariah 11:13 added that the thirty pieces of silver would be used to buy a potter’s field. What are the chances of that coincidence? Let’s say one in 100,000, though I don’t know of any others in history. Isaiah 53:7 says that, although He was innocent, He would make no defense. How many innocent men refuse to answer in their own defense when brought before a court? An innocent man falsely accused wants everyone to know about his innocence—that’s a natural reaction. Still conservative, we’ll say only one man in 10,000 would be silent in the face of false charges. Finally, Psalm 22 said that both His hands and feet would be pierced. On the average, how many men could you find with both hands and feet pierced? We’ll say one in 10,000.

Multiplying these chance factors according to the Law of Compound Probability, we establish how many men we would have to look at before we found one who met all eight stipulations. The number of men would be 10 to the twenty-eighth power, or 10 followed by 28 zeroes. And ours were just conservative estimates! (We can subtract the total estimated population factor of 10 to the eleventh power, but  that still makes the chance factor one in 10 to the seventeenth power.)

If you had that many silver dollars, you could cover the entire state of Texas with a layer of silver dollars two feet thick—and Texas is a big state! If you marked one of these silver dollars and let someone roam through them blindfolded, his chance of coming up with that marked silver dollar would be the same as the chance of one person just happening to fulfill the eight requirements laid out in the prophecies we looked at. But there were over 300 stipulations contained in the prophecies! Let’s examine the chance of 16 requirements being fulfilled by one man.

Assuming the chance factors for another eight prophecies would be fairly equal to the factors of the prophecies we examined, there would be one in 10 to the forty-fifth power, or 10 followed by 45 zeroes. This is a number so vast that if you had this many silver dollars, you could make a ball of silver dollars with a diameter which would be 30 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun. Can you imagine marking one of these silver dollars and letting some fellow dive into the pile blindfolded? Can you imagine him grabbing the dollar you marked, just by chance? The coincidence of this is the same as the chance of Jesus fulfilling 16 of the prophetic requirements, just by accident. And again, remember, He fulfilled over 300!

Increase the number to 48 requirements. Now the chance factor increases to one in 10 followed by 157 zeroes, a number so huge our minds can’t really conceive it. There’s no way to make a ball this size of silver dollars. Even if there were enough silver dollars to make it, the universe is just too small. Let’s compare the number to one of the smallest things we know—an electron. If two and a half quintillion electrons were placed single file, the line of them would only be an inch long. That would be 2.5 x 10 to the fifteenth power. To count these electrons would take one person nineteen million years of counting day and night at the rate of 250 per minute. Imagine how many electrons there are in a one inch cube—two and a half quintillion times two and a half quintillion times two and a half quintillion. To count that many would take 6,859,000,000,000,000,000,000 years!

Ten to the one hundred and fifty-seventh power electrons make a solid ball the estimated size of our universe, which has a radius of approximately six billion light years. In fact, if you could go into mass production and somehow start manufacturing these balls at the rate of about five hundred per minute, you could go on making them for six billion years (the estimated amount of time that this universe has been in existence) and you could do that 100,000,000,000 times over. Now if you marked just one of the electrons you had used to make the balls and asked someone to find it, the chance that it would be found by random selection is the same chance that Jesus had of fulfilling forty-eight of the requirements set forth in prophecy just by accident. And Christ fulfilled over three hundred!

That is why Peter said: I was an eyewitness; I saw it all happen; I heard it all. But if you don’t believe me, look at something more sure than what I’ve seen and heard: evidence that is stronger than an eyewitness account. Look at the evidence of God’s sure word of prophecy fulfilled by Jesus Christ.

It’s Time for Your Verdict!
In the prophecies mentioned, I didn’t include Daniel 9:25, in which Daniel said: “from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince, shall be [sixty-nine sevens]…” (or 483 years). Because Daniel was computing with the Babylonian calendar, we refer to a year with just 360 days, so it was 173,880 days from the time of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem to the coming of the Messiah, according to Daniel’s prophecy. Artaxerxes, the Persian king, was the one to command the restoration of Jerusalem in the year 445 B.C. on March 14. We know this because the Persian record has been preserved by God so we can be sure of the exact date.

Starting then, on March 14, 445 B.C. and marking the next 173,880 days off the calendar, we come to April 6, 32 A.D. This happened to be a Sunday, the day that Jesus made His triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem.

Luke 19:41 tells us that Jesus wept over Jerusalem that day as He beheld it. Now how many men made a triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem that day? Just one man, the one who fulfilled this and all of the other prophecies concerning the Messiah…Jesus Christ!

Now you must make your decision based on the evidence set out for you. Jesus asked, “What think ye of Christ? Whose son is he?” (Matthew 22:42). Now you must answer that important question.

If your verdict is: “Yes, Jesus is the Christ, the promised Messiah,” then you should make Him the Lord of your life. There is something very interesting about your decision concerning Jesus Christ. Though you are the judge, what you conclude will not change HIS destiny at all. Your decision determines your destiny because you will eventually be judged by your decision concerning Jesus Christ. He is what He is, whether you believe it or not.

John said, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:11–12).

It’s time for your verdict. You have examined the evidence. What will you do with Jesus who is called the Christ?

Taken from the chapter "The More Sure Word" 

Monday, June 1, 2020

Not Like a Thief!

Jesus said that no one knows the day and hour of His return.

How do we reconcile Jesus’ words about His return with the fact that Daniel and John give the exact day of the Second Coming? Bible prophecy is like a puzzle. First, we will lay out all the pieces. Next, we will see what may or may not fit together. And, finally, as pieces begin to fit, the picture will emerge.

Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only... Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore, you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect (Matthew 24:36, 42-44).”

Most people think that since no one can know when the Lord will return that we are better off not even thinking about it. That is called a false equivalence, and it is the opposite of what Jesus taught. Just because we cannot know the day and hour of our Lord’s return does not mean that we should ignore eschatology, the study of the things of the last days. Look at Matthew 24! Jesus is giving us signs of the end-times for a reason. In fact, He says, “Watch therefore, for (because) you do not know what hour your Lord is coming (Matthew 24:42).” We are to watch. And we are to study the Bible. In the same chapter, Jesus points us to the prophet Daniel, who He encourages us to read regarding matters of “the end of the age.”

In Matthew 24:15, Jesus mentions “the ‘abomination of desolation’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet.”

That is interesting to consider in light of what we read in Daniel about the ‘abomination of desolation,’ and specifically the seven-year tribulation. The consummation is the end of the seven-year period of God’s judgment of the world and when the Second Coming of Christ occurs.

“Then he [the Antichrist] shall confirm a covenant with the many [Israel] for one week [7 years]; But in the middle of the week [3 ½ years] he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate (Daniel 9:27)."

“And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.  Blessed is he who waits and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days (Daniel 12:11-12).”

Regarding the ‘abomination of desolation,’ here is what the Apostle Paul said,

“[the Antichrist] opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God (2 Thessalonians 2:4).”

Validated by Jesus Himself, we do know from Daniel 9:24-27 that the tribulation period is the 70th week of Daniel, a week of seven years. And we do know from Daniel, as confirmed by Jesus, that 3 ½ years into that seven-year period the Antichrist commits the ‘abomination of desolation.’ Jesus points us to these passages in Daniel as if they were to be considered in the literal sense and would give us a fuller understanding of what He is speaking of in Matthew 24 & 25. With a little further investigation, one finds the passages are indeed straight forward and that the first 69 weeks of years were fulfilled literally, and to the day, during the final days of Christ’s earthly ministry. The fulfillment of this Messianic prophecy has been well documented and is verifiable by simply counting forward from the time the decree was given in Nehemiah to the days just before the death and resurrection of Jesus. I would encourage everyone to study the “70 weeks of Daniel” in detail, as it contains some of the most incredible prophecies in the Bible! In this article, we are focusing on the 70th week.

In agreement with Daniel, the Apostle John says of the Antichrist,

“And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven (Revelation 13:5-6).”

John speaks of periods of 1,260 days and periods of 42 months in the book of Revelation. On the Jewish calendar one year is 360 days, so 1,260 days, like 42 months, is 3 ½ years. The Second Coming of Christ is 3 ½ years after the ‘abomination of desolation (Daniel 9:24-27).’ According to Daniel, who Jesus Himself points us to, the exact day of the Second Coming will be known once the covenant is confirmed between Israel and the Antichrist, when the tribulation period starts. And, according to the prophet Daniel and the Apostle John, the exact day of the Second Coming will be known once the ‘abomination of desolation’ takes place. Daniel then mentions the 1,290th day and the 1,335th day after the ‘abomination of desolation’ as milestones, creating an additional 75 day period after Christ’s return, likely being the time of the establishment of His Kingdom on earth (Daniel 7:22) and the judgment of the nations (Matthew 25:31-46).

Why don’t we know when the Lord will return?
So why did Jesus say, “of that day and hour no one knows” even though He knew exactly what Daniel had written? There are two primary reasons why we do not presently know when the tribulation will begin, and therefore when the Second Coming of Christ will occur. One, we do not know the day that the seven-year agreement will be signed by the Antichrist and Israel, initiating the 70th week of Daniel. Two, according to the Apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2, God is restraining the Antichrist from being revealed. Shortly after he is no longer constrained by the Holy Spirit working through the church, then the Antichrist will burst onto the scene and make the seven-year covenant with the nation of Israel a reality. That covenant is what starts the seven-year countdown to the return of Jesus to rule and reign on earth.

“And now you know what is restraining, that he (the Antichrist) may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8).”

Obviously, only God can be the “He who now restrains.” But, how can God be taken out of the way? According to the New Testament, the church is the “body of Christ” and each believer the “temple of the Holy Spirit.” God only indwells those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. His power and presence in His church is what is now restraining the Antichrist. Any other reading of these verses fashion what is inevitably a weaker argument, reluctantly given to support an alternative notion of the timing of the rapture. What, or who else could possibly be restraining satanic, demonic forces from overtaking the world? 

"And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18)."

Once the church is removed, God will then begin drawing those left behind to Himself. In that gap, the Antichrist (the “Beast” of Revelation) will be allowed by God to be revealed and to begin his rise to prominence.

There is a moment, that only God knows, when He will remove the faithful in Christ Jesus from the earth at was is known as “the rapture” of the church. Once the Holy Spirit operating in the church is removed, then the Antichrist will be revealed. Christians are not looking for the Antichrist to come into power, we are looking for the rapture of the church. Our minds are to be on things above, and our eyes looking to Jesus, which harmonizes with what He taught in Matthew 24. Jesus did not say, “no one knows the day and hour of the covenant.” He did not tell us to be watching for the deal between Antichrist and Israel. In Matthew 24, He said, “you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” He exhorts us to be watching and ready for His coming.

“The thief” and “the labor pains”
The Apostle Paul explained for us exactly what Jesus meant when He said, “if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.” Paul said, “you, brothers and sisters [Christians], are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.” If the master of the house is watching and ready for the thief, that house will not be overtaken! According to Paul, the tribulation period outlined in the Olivet Discourse will not come as a thief in the night to Christians, and there is only one possible way: we will not be here for the seven-year tribulation. The Master of the house will not allow His house to be broken into!

“… you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’ Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone (1 Peter 2:5-7).’"

The Day of the Lord breaks in like a thief in the night on all unbelievers. Speaking of the time just before the tribulation begins, notice in the following passage, “sudden destruction comes upon them and they shall not escape… but you brethren.”

“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren [Christians], you have no need that I should write to you. 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 (this is the beginning of the tribulation, the “beginning of labor pains” found in Matt. 24:8. See the NIV for the correct translation of the Greek word “ōdin”). And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness... For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:1-5, 9).”

In that passage, clearly Paul is referring to the remarks of Jesus in Matthew 24. He mentions both “the thief” and “the labor pains” found in the Olivet Discourse. In 1 Thessalonians 5:2, Paul gives us a detail that Jesus chose not to expand on in Matthew 24, as His primary audience at that time was still first and foremost the Jewish nation of Israel. The Olivet Discourse took place before He had gone to the cross and before the church was born on the following Pentecost. The focus of Jesus in that discourse were the signs and events of the 70th week of Daniel, the abomination of desolation, and His Second Coming at which time He will inaugurate God’s Kingdom on earth. Approximately twenty years later, Paul exposited the passage for the church, clarifying that the Lord is referring to the entire tribulation period when He said, “that day and hour no one knows.”

Speaking of the “day and hour” and “the thief” of Matthew 24, the Apostle Paul said, “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2).”

Since Paul used the phrase “the Day of the Lord” to explain what Jesus was speaking of in Matthew 24, he sheds light on the Lord’s fuller meaning and its implication for the church. That phrase is used often in the Old Testament to describe the entire seven-year period of God’s judgment. While it does include the Second Coming as its consummation, “the Day of the Lord” encompasses the whole 70th week of Daniel. So, when does “the day of the Lord so come as a thief in the night?” At the beginning of the seven-year tribulation, of course. When else could it come but when it first arrives! It is not a single day, but as was revealed to Daniel and John, and as is obvious throughout the Olivet Discourse, the Day of the Lord happens within a set time frame, seven years, as has been abundantly documented. So, how is it that Christians will not be overtaken as a thief if that day comes as a thief?

In 1 Thessalonians, what is Paul speaking of just before he exposited “the thief” and “the labor pains?” The rapture of the church!

“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep (have already died in Christ). For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up (“raptured” in the Latin Bible) together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18).”

What follows verse 18? 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11. Paul’s explanation is so clear, there is little room for debate.

“The day of the Lord” comes as a thief upon them, and they shall not escape. “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.” Paul even references the “labor pains” to set the time of “this Day” at the commencement of the tribulation period. The tribulation, “the day of the Lord,” follows the rapture of the church.

Correlating Matthew 24 with First Thessalonians 4:18-5:11 and Second Thessalonians 2, which are both parts of two letters consecutively sent to the same church in the Grecian town of Thessaloniki, Paul makes the pre-tribulation rapture of the church apparent to the Thessalonian believers. The rapture of the church takes place when the Lord gives the order and calls His church home!

The tribulation commences when the labor pains begin and the thief breaks in, catching the disobedient by surprise. The Antichrist will have been revealed. The covenant between Israel and the Antichrist will be signed in the following days and the 70th week of Daniel begins to unfold. Half-way through, the abomination of desolation will take place. As we have shown, these two events are markers during the 70th week of Daniel for the tribulation saints to calculate the exact, literal day of the return of Messiah.

Ready for the rapture by faith in Jesus Christ
We do not know at this time when the tribulation period will begin, or the day of the establishment of God’s Kingdom on earth at Christ’s Second Coming, precisely because we do not know the day of the rapture of the church. But, like every writer of the New Testament, as Jesus commanded, we are watching and ready for the rapture of the church so that the Day of the Lord will not overtake us like a thief! We are ready because we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ through faith in Jesus. A new creation. Saved by grace, through faith. Born again. Seated in the heavenlies in Christ. Forgiven! God’s wrath is not upon us anymore.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him (Romans 5:8-9).”

“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight (Colossians 1:21-22).”

“and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).”

“looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13).”

“In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also (John 14:2-3).”

The prophet Daniel and the Apostle John were given markers for the tribulation saints to calculate the day of the Second Coming, to the day. What day is Jesus speaking of when He says, “you do not know what hour your Lord is coming?” Paul has made that unequivocal: “the day of the Lord.” In the context of Matthew 24, the day and hour Jesus spoke of is the entire seven-year tribulation period, culminating in the Second Coming. Paul cleared it up for the church because there were some misunderstandings. When we recognize that we do not know the day and the hour of the tribulation or the Second Coming because we currently do not know the day and the hour of the rapture of the church, the Lord’s teaching becomes crystal clear. There is only one possible reason that we do not know the day and the hour of His Second Coming, just as we do not know the day and the hour that the covenant between Antichrist and Israel will be signed: the date of the rapture of the church is unknown. And since it is the event restraining the Antichrist from being revealed, and for several other reasons, it must take place before the tribulation period begins.

As further confirmation we can turn to every single writer of the books of the New Testament, who were all plainly looking for the Lord’s return at any moment. They considered the rapture imminent, free to occur at any time, not as constrained to a set day or time period already known to them. Neither could they have possibly believed the rapture would occur during the seven-year tribulation. If they believed that the rapture would happen during the tribulation period, they would not have written, every single one of them, encouraging the church to live in expectancy of and looking for the return of the Lord imminently!

The self-extinction of humanity cut-off by Jesus
Now, some say that the great tribulation is shortened. Speaking of the last 3 ½ years, commencing from the ‘abomination of desolation,’ Jesus said,

“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened (Matthew 24:21-22).”

Jesus said, “unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved.” Here He is not predicting that the length of days will be shortened, rather what His return will be cutting short: the self-extinction of humanity. What is happening on earth just before the Second Coming of Christ, during the final portion of the last 1,260 days? Scripture tells us plainly: the nations of the world have gathered in the valley of Megiddo in northern Israel and are about to go to war for world domination (Revelation 16:14-16). The self-extinction of humanity would follow, according to Jesus, but is “shortened,” in the Greek kolobóō, literally “cut off” by the Lord’s return at that time (refer to Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words and Strong's Number: g2856). The quotation from Matthew 24:22 would be more obvious to us in English if it read, “unless those days were cut off, no flesh would be saved.” When we read verse 22 as “shortened or cut off” by the Lord’s return instead of a subtraction of actual days, the passage no longer negates the words of the Lord through Daniel and John.

Remember, the Apostle John confirmed Daniel’s timing when he said in the book of Revelation, 13:5-6, that from the time “he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme… His tabernacle,” the Antichrist “was given authority to continue for forty-two months.” That forty-two months is the same 3 ½ years revealed to Daniel. Jesus Himself referred us to Daniel in Matthew 24. John received the Revelation of Jesus Christ at the end of the first century, decades after the Olivet Discourse was given, and he did not subtract any days from the previously stated timeframe. And, as independently verified by Peter and recorded in the Gospel of Mark, John was one of only four in the inner circle who heard the Olivet Discourse that day.

“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately… (Mark 13:3)”

Because we are given the exact day of His return in Daniel and Revelation, known to the tribulation saints once the rapture has occurred and the covenant between Antichrist and Israel is established, Jesus must be referring to the end of the seven-year period itself being the “cutting off” of humanity’s self-destruction. In other words, Jesus is speaking of God’s foreknowledge of the fact that if He did not return by the end of the 70th week of Daniel no person on the planet would survive. There is no other way to interpret this, otherwise Daniel’s words mean nothing. And, Jesus quotes Daniel in Matthew 24, pointing us to these very passages in Daniel that reference the final seven-year tribulation! The fact that Jesus quotes the passage from Daniel confirms that we should take Daniel’s “seventy weeks” of years literally and that the final seven years (the 70th week) of Daniel does indeed pertain to the last days before His return.

At the Lord’s appearance, 3 ½ years after the ‘abomination of desolation,’ the nations of the world are stopped from initiating what would become the global annihilation of humanity. Instead, they maliciously turn to fight Christ and His followers. Jesus destroys them with the breath of His mouth before they can fire one shot (Revelation 19:15, 19-21; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Isaiah 11:4). Jesus destroys those destroying armies because they were not only going to annihilate each other, but all of humanity. When the Lord returns at that time, according to Matthew 25:31-46, there will be a remnant of both Jewish and Gentile believers who will go into His Messianic Kingdom to follow. He will save those faithful ones by destroying the armies who would have ended all human life on earth, if allowed. God’s actions are always perfectly just, right and good.

I will keep you from the hour of trial
When we put these and other related passages together, like pieces of a complex puzzle, they synchronize the words of Jesus, Daniel, John, and Paul, and they confirm the fact of the pre-tribulation rapture.

The New Testament is clear: the rapture is imminent, it can happen at any time, and our hearts should be looking for it earnestly. It is the translation of the church into the glory of the Lord. And, if you are in Christ by faith, you are ready. That day will not overtake you as a thief because the church will be kept from that time of great tribulation, the ‘time of Jacob’s trouble.’  

The day of the Second Coming will be known to the believers alive during the 70th week of Daniel, after the rapture and the covenant is signed, because God gave it to Daniel and John for them to know. They, like the church before them, will be ready by faith in Christ, awaiting His glorious return to establish God’s Kingdom.

Here is a simple fact: the pre-tribulation timing of the rapture has vastly more support in the Scripture than any of the alternative times. The mid-tribulation, the pre-wrath, and the post-tribulation rapture theories produce scant scriptural evidence comparatively. Those positions harmonize far less often with the whole of Scripture on the subject and contradict related Scripture far too often to be correct. Once all of the puzzle pieces of God’s Word are put together and this intricate subject is seen in full, harmonizing with the whole Bible, it is absolutely impossible that the rapture of the church, our glorious and blessed hope, can happen at any other time but before the tribulation period.

“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 (Luke 21:36).”

“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth (Revelation 3:10).”

For more on the rapture, check out this author’s booklet titled, “The Timing & Significance of the Rapture.” The free PDF may be found here:

Brian Farrell is a follower of Jesus, saved by God's amazing grace through faith in Christ. Brian is a Bible teacher and the founder of Walking With Jesus Ministries. He lives with his wife Dana in Temecula, California.

Thursday, May 21, 2020


“What would I give up?”  I ask myself,
To spend time now in prayer?
To intercede for another who is
Burdened down with care?

Who would I draw near to
And come quietly to their side?
Would I sacrifice the time right now
As in Jesus I abide?

Who would I spend time with
Without a thought for self?
If only to sit and listen humbly
Like a cup upon a shelf?

Like a cup we are God’s vessel
Filled with hope that’s from above
God “pours us out” to others
Who then drink of God’s great love!

“What would I give up?”  I ask
To give myself away?
Without a single thought
That today is just “my day!”

Our days belong to Jesus
Each day He made for me.
He lives His Days through us
Is not that clear to see?

His life is one of sacrifice,
Yielding to serve the good.
It always costs to do God’s Will,
See our Lord on a cross of wood.

In Christ we die to self each day
But out of this comes life!
The “pain” we feel is truly short-lived
Peace and freedom replace the strife!

The Christian life we misunderstand
It is not all “peaches and cream”!
It is in fact humbling sacrifice
Where doing God’s will is supreme.

The Blood of Jesus marks our paths
As we walk in the Spirit each hour
Giving is gaining as disciples of Him
As the Spirit gives us Christ’s power!

So let not our hearts be troubled
Sacrifice is God’s most rarest gem.
By His Spirit it becomes our “way of life”
It is surely not I but Him!

Ron Bolt is a retired pastor who lives in Temecula, California with wife Lois and two adult children.  Born in Chicago he was raised primarily in Minnesota and is a graduate of Wheaton College and Fuller Theological Seminary.