“… encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25)
Recently, millions of people were told to evacuate from the destructive path of Major Hurricane Irma. They received little warning as to exactly when and where it was going to make landfall. The wise took heed and evacuated; the foolish scoffed and stayed behind. Some are calling it divine wrath, but it wasn’t wrath; it’s mercy, God imploring the world to repent before the real wrath begins. Irma was just a reminder of certain ancient times when similar crises played out—warning, evacuation, destruction. The purpose of such calamities is to show us a faint glimpse of the greater future terror that we’ve been told for thousands of years to anticipate, the Day of YHWH.
“On the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all—it will be just like that on the day the Son of Man is revealed.” (Luke 17:29-30)
The two historical archetypes Jesus gives us to understand the last days are the accounts of Noah and Lot. Both were warned of the coming destruction. Both passed on that warning to the people around them. Both were unaware of the exact timing of the destruction until very shortly before it was to begin. Both were secured before the wrathful destruction poured out.
This is the crisis we find ourselves in now.
We have been warned in prophecy. Believers everywhere are passing on this warning to the people around them. None of us know exactly what day or hour the divine wrath will begin, although we speculate that the Revelation 12 sign marking the new moon festival of Yom Teruah could be like the advance warning given to Noah and Lot very shortly before the destruction began. In the end, the Church will be hidden in heavenly chambers — “In my Father’s house are many rooms.” (John 14:2) — safely kept above while the destructive wrath ravages the world below, just as the doors of the Ark were shut with Noah’s family secured inside as it floated above the wrathful waters of the Flood below.
That’s what boats do, they float. If Noah had a submarine, I might be inclined to think that his story was a foretelling of the Church going through the great tribulation and being protected within the storm of God’s wrath. But the Ark rode above the waters in which the wicked perished, a symbol of the Church standing safely above the place in which the wicked are destroyed, dwelling in heaven far above them.
“The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. But he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.” (John 6:18-20)
In the same way that Noah entered the Ark, the salvation from wrath into which the Church must enter is Jesus; and if we are in Him, the Ark of our salvation, the one who treaded the surface of the water in the storm, then we too are safely above the place of wrath and destruction below.
“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved…” (John 10:9)
The Galilean Sea was under Jesus’ feet, just as, right after the rapture, the world perishing within God’s wrathful judgments will be under the feet of the countless multitude standing in the throne room of heaven above.
“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10)
If you’re not in the Ark, you’re judged outside with the wicked, below. This is what it means to be “in Christ” (2 Cor. 5:17), as opposed to “with the hypocrites” (Matt. 24:51). So what are all these rumours of a post-tribulation rapture? Is the Church with the wicked on the day of their destruction, or with Christ above? (Click here to see my article on when wrath begins and why the rapture must precede it.)
“Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead. Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the wrath has passed by. For behold, YHWH is coming out from His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity…” (Isaiah 26:19-21)
The two angels came to Sodom in the evening. They were going to spend the night in the town square, counting its final hours, but Lot pressed them to stay in his home. Depraved townspeople, like the living dead, were outside groping for his door. The angels finally revealed to Lot, “We are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” As the clock was gradually turning, Lot quickly went out into the city to warn his relatives, “Up! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city.” He met scoffing, laughter. They thought he was joking. When the sun finally began to rise, the angels saw that time was almost up and rushed Lot out with his family. Lot convinced them to spare one of the small nearby towns so that they could flee to it. One of the angels replied, “I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there.”
Jesus said about the story of Lot, “It will be just like that on the day the Son of Man is revealed.” (Luke 17:30)
The two destroying angels could do nothing until Lot had safely evacuated the city. If that story is a shadow of the Church, then we can be confident that God will also evacuate His Church before the greatest outpouring of His wrath, and will reveal no such horror to the world until those in Christ have safely vanished from the punishing grounds—much more so with the blood-bought Bride of Christ than with Lot!
… Yet so many still believe we are going straight through the fire of God’s wrath, wielding iron bravery as we somehow survive the 7 trumpet judgments and 7 bowls of wrath, stranded on the same desperate level as the wicked, the waters all poisoned, the sun burning us alive. That belief comes from a serious failure to realize the main purpose of the great tribulation—the awakening of the Jews. The Antichrist is not a trial for those who have accepted the true Christ. The Antichrist is for the Jews to deal with, because they refused Jesus Christ. But through this severe trial, the 144,000 virgin men from the 12 tribes of Israel (Rev. 7:3-8), sealed by God, will spark the greatest Messianic revival in Jewish history.
The Apostle Paul was crystal clear in Romans 11 that this unblinding and regathering of ethnic Israel would take place one day, and knowing this is key to understanding who the “tribulation saints” really are and why the great tribulation has nothing to do with the Church…
“I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? ‘Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.’ But what is God’s reply to him? ‘I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’ So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace…
“So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!
“… For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches…
“Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob; and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.’ As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy.”
(Romans 11:1-5, 11-12, 15-16, 25-31)
Consider the Church’s appearance in the throne room of heaven between the 6th and 7th seal of Revelation before the trumpet judgments and bowls of wrath even begin, thus identifying it as the “male child” of Revelation 12 who is “caught up to God and to His throne” prior to the dragon’s persecution of the woman (ethnic Israel). The original Greek word for “caught up” is “harpazo”, which is rendered in the Latin Vulgate “raptus”, where we derive the modern term “rapture”. We, the Body of Christ, as the male child of Revelation 12, are raptured to heaven (where we appear in Revelation 7 as a countless multitude) and then the Jews are persecuted in the final trial that awakens them to their Messiah, Jesus Christ.
“For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Matthew 23:39)
As for those who presently worship Jesus, a much more mysterious fate lies just ahead—as mysterious to the unbelieving world as it was to the townspeople of Sodom before a sudden fire rained from heaven.
Time is running out.
The world is a doomed little city on the plains of southern Canaan. I myself have warned people of the coming wrath, and will continue to do so if the Lord grants me. We live in a world that’s spiritually asleep and lost in its dreams, as on a calm, still night in Sodom. Most of the people that heard my warning thought I was joking too. This is a crushing reality to be awake to. YHWH is about to destroy the world and purge it of sinners, and we imperfect believers are just barely scraping out in time through the narrow gate of Christ. He is the only exit in this labyrinth. The part of God’s story in which we have become characters is the final chapter of this age, of which the early tales of Noah and Lot were mere shadows. The greatest calamity is reserved for last, years of inexpressible horror and devastation, beginning suddenly, after birth pangs and signs of warning, at the 6th seal of Revelation…
“When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Revelation 6:12-17)
Now, compare that with the Old Testament.
“Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light. I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless. I will make people more rare than fine gold, and mankind than the gold of Ophir. Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place…” (Isaiah 13:9-13)
If the day of the Lord’s wrath begins early on in the prophetic timeline of Revelation, at the 6th seal before any of the trumpet or bowl judgments begin, then the rapture is even sooner.
“God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9)
“Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.” (Revelation 3:10)
I don’t know whether the rapture will definitely happen on one day or another, but as a watchman of the Master’s return, watching from the heart, I place my hope on every glint of light I see on the horizon. And Yom Teruah 2017 is a very big glint. I implore everyone to consider it as a likely time for the rapture of the Church. There’s never been a high watch date as grand and as universally anticipated as this. It’s a two-day festival at the new moon, the Feast of Trumpets, beginning on the evening of the 21st and ending the evening of the 23rd. On the last day of the festival, the sun, moon, and stars will align with the constellations to perfectly illustrate the celestial sign described in Revelation 12.
It forms in such a way as has never happened before, and will never happen again, with the “king planet” Jupiter as the “male child” retrograding in Virgo’s womb for a period of about 9 months, the exact length of a full embryonic gestation. (Click Here To Read More About The Revelation 12 Sign Appearing This September)
The male child, according to Revelation 12, is caught up to heaven as soon as he’s born. The celestial sign this September may be heralding what’s about to happen, the rapture of the Church… Or, it may be marking the exact time of the rapture. Seeing as the new moon festival upon which the sign forms is the next of the 7 annual festivals to be fulfilled in sequence, and seeing as the rites and observances of the Feast of Trumpets are all symbols traditionally associated with the rapture (See Article), it seems more likely that the event of the rapture will occur during the festival; in fact, that’s what the festivals were established for, not only as commemorations, but rehearsals for future events.
Consider that Jesus died during the 1st festival, Passover.
He was buried during the 2nd festival, Unleavened Bread.
He was resurrected during the 3rd festival, Firstfruits.
The Holy Spirit conceived in the Church during the 4th festival, Pentecost.
And now, we await to see if the next major event in Christian history will be fulfilled during the 5th festival, Trumpets, which is only marked this year, 2017, with the major sign of Revelation 12.
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:29-30)
Note that the event described here in Matthew 24 is, in fact, the 6th seal of Revelation.
The 6th seal, when wrath begins, is clearly connected to the timing of the rapture, as well as the great “sign of the Son of Man” described more lucidly in Revelation 12 as a literal, visible astral arrangement. The Revelation 12 sign involves each the sun, moon, and the stars. One of the two main purposes for the creation of these heavenly luminaries was so that they could be sought for signs — “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons…” — Note that the Hebrew word used here for “seasons” is “moedim“, specifically referring to the 7 annual lunar festivals.
And this year, on the 5th lunar festival, the next one to be fulfilled in sequence, the sun, moon, and stars are all at play together to paint the “great sign” of Revelation 12 in the sky…
… And all this happens when the final blast of the shofar (trumpet) is sounding to end the festival. The final blast of the shofar is called Tekiah Gedolah (“big blast”) and is traditionally a prolonged, unbroken sound typifying a final invitation for Messiah to return.
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16)
That “shout of command” is called in Hebrew “teruah”, meaning “shout”, and refers to the blast of the shofar. The Feast of Trumpets is called “Yom Teruah” (“Day of Shouting”). Think of when Jesus called Lazarus from the grave with a loud shout; so will it be with all the dead and living in Christ when He descends — “The earth will give birth to the dead.” (Isaiah 26:19) — Here, the word “birth” clearly connects this rapture event to the male child that’s birthed in Revelation 12!
The trumpet blast also announces God’s descent, further equating the rapture with the 5th lunar festival, the Feast of Trumpets…
“On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire.” (Exodus 19:16-18)
As we learned from Jesus about His future appearance mirroring the days of Noah and Lot, we can again see that in the mystery of the trumpet—as in the Feast of Trumpets—that God works in cyclical patterns. Remember what God told Moses in Exodus 19:10-11 — “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments, and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.” God informed the people on exactly which day of the week He was going to descend to them. I think it’s entirely possible that He could be revealing again to His people, the Church of His beloved Son, the exact day of His coming. Just as God told the angels to warn Lot that in that very night they came to him the city was going to be destroyed, it is no stretch to think that God is awakening His Church as to the timing of its redemption shortly before that decisive moment arrives, when divine wrath will be revealed to the remaining world like fire raining down from heaven on heedless Sodom.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men…” (Romans 1:18)
God works in patterns. History mirrors itself — “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
Believers in Christ are a man racing around a doomed city in the deep of night warning his friends and relatives, most of whom just want to go back to bed. They’ll cover their ears so they can return to the warmth of sleep and continue dreaming while a terrible reality draws as close as dawn. Few are awake in this dark night; even less make it out in time to meet the Bridegroom.
“As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” (Matthew 25:6)
Advance warning is always given shortly before the event.
The Feast of Trumpets begins at the sighting of the new moon. A new moon is also called a “hidden moon” because it is enveloped in darkness at the beginning of a new cycle, showing only a faint sliver. This is the only one of the 7 annual festivals that takes place on a new moon; the others are all on or near a full moon. That’s what makes Trumpets an especially conspicuous festival, especially in regard to the rapture. The theme of being hidden in heaven in the day of God’s wrath, like the hidden new moon, is strewn throughout Scripture like hidden treasures for those who seek them.
“Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the wrath has passed by. For behold, YHWH is coming out from His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity…” (Isaiah 26:19-21)
“For He will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; He will conceal me under the cover of his tent; He will lift me high upon a rock.” (Psalm 27:5)
Remember, our “rock” is Jesus — “… they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.” (1 Cor. 10:4) — And, as in an Ark riding a Flood, we will be high up with Him in the day of trouble.
“Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.” (Revelation 3:10)
“If God did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from TRIALS (the “hour of trial”, Rev. 3:10) and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment…” (2 Peter 2:5-9)
Everyone has to hide somewhere on the day God’s wrath breaks out, and whoever does not believe in Christ (the Lamb) and falls under His wrath will have nothing but rocks to hide under — “Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!” (Revelation 6:16) — That passage describes everyone on earth, “both slave and free”. I cannot bring myself to imagine that the Bride and Body of Christ is here counted among those seeking mountains to hide from Christ’s wrath! Surely the Church is not among the wicked in that day, but standing with Christ high above, high upon the Rock, the Ark of our salvation! This means that the Church cannot be on earth during this time at the 6th seal.
But I myself didn’t always consider these points. I understand the confusion. If fellow believers, or anyone, reject a particular view of eschatology, even in the form of outright scoffing, it would be far more damning not to respond in love and grace. Without forgiveness, understanding, and the total release of bitterness and anger, we would show ourselves to have learned nothing at all. This is our final test.