Thursday, August 29, 2013

Is The Rapture Now or Seven Years Later?

originally posted as: Is The Rapture Of the Jews?

*I wanted to repost this particular article because for the Pre-Trib believer, it's really coming to the drawing line for the rapture.  I certainly pray that this is the correct end-time scenario, but if Rev. 20:4-6 is the timing of the "catching away" Paul describes in 1 Thess. 4:16, this article will help believers put things into perspective. - - 

I don't know about you, but when it comes to the timing of the Rapture, through the years I've gone through the gamut of different positions of scriptural teaching.  The real problem is that I couldn't reconcile all of the scriptures.

Over the past several years I moved between Pre-Trib and Mid-Trib (or Pre-Wrath) views.  But through this time, the LORD has been gradually moving me to understand more about the Jewishness of Christianity.  The Apostle Paul  taught in his epic work, Romans, that the Gentile believers are like a wild olive branch, literally grafted into the cultivated tree of Israel (Rom. 11:17-21).

Most who hold to the Pre-Tribulational view of the Rapture see it as a rescue from heaven of essentially the Gentile church, while the Jews go through all the trials of the tribulation and its Psuedo-Christ.  In many ways, the Gentile Church did hijack Christianity!  But when we start looking at it through the lens of the Jewish author, and making it about the covenant promises Yahweh made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, one starts to understand the passages a little more consistently (at least, I feel like that has been my experience).

Most Pre-Trib believers take 1 Thess. 4:16-17 as the basis for their view, and hold that chapter 5 is speaking of a later event, namely Armageddon.  But the one scripture that sounded Post-Tribulational to me, which I could not reconcile within my Pre-Tribulational grid-work, was the passage in Revelation 20:4-5.  It speaks of the aftermath of Christ returning at the end of the 'Seventieth Seven,' the Tribulational period, where Messiah Yeshua defeats the Pseudo-Christ who has taken over the nations of the world.  At this point many believers who were executed/persecuted during the tribulation tiime, are raised to life, and reign with Christ for the 1,000 year reign.  Scripture says that this is the first resurrection.

The sequential timing spelled out in this passage is pretty obvious.  And if we realize that God's fulfillment of his promises of giving the land to the descendants of Israel, did not cease at any point to be about Israel, and pass to the Gentiles, but God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He is even today dealing with the nations according to the promise to "curse those who curse [Israel] and bless those who bless [Israel] (Gen. 12:3)."

The "Old Covenant" did not die or cease the way that most Gentile believers think that it ended.  The fact that the Jews are reestablishing their Temple, and will resume it, and that the entire world will celebrate the Feast of Booths under the reign of the Messiah (Zech. 14:16)  It was our justification by faith by grace that was fulfilled in Christ.  Yeshua said, "Do not think I came to abolish the law or the prophets.  I did not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them"  (Mt. 5:18).

So when Gentile believers re-awake to the fact that the faith is first and primarily a Jewish faith, we understand that the LORD is not promising to make a special rescue of a privileged group.  God is fulfilling His promises to Abraham.  We are told, the gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, FIRST THE JEW, then the Gentile (Rom. 1:16).  Yeshua told us "Salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22).

One of the key scriptural passages that helped me to bring the scriptures together, is Romans 11:15.  Paul teaches us, "If their rejection [of Messiah] is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be, but life from the dead."  For me, this verse was key in reconciling together 1 Thess. 4:16 and Rev. 20.  1 Thess. 4:16 speaks of the dead in Christ rising first, and then the remaining believers being caught up together with them, and Revelation 20 speaks of the first resurrection taking place at the end of the Tribulation.  These are one and the same!  Zechariah 12:10speaks of Christ returning to save Israel and destroy the nations of the world coming against her.  The LORD, Yahweh, says, "Then they will look on Me, whom they have pierced!"

The Jews will recognize that they crucified their LORD and God, and with the spirit of supplication and grace He pours out on them, the receive Him as their Messiah (Zech. 12:10).  And the result will be life from the dead!

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