Subtitle: Let us examine the Scriptural basis for the Rapture of the Church, to see how the "Blessed Hope Of The Church" has never seemed so close. You will also be surprised to learn that the Illuminati is waiting for the Rapture as well! Your faith and understand will be dramatically increased.
The New World Order is coming! Are you ready? Once you understand what this New World Order really is, and how it is being gradually implemented, you will be able to see it progressing in your daily news!!
"Wherefore comfort yourselves together" with these words – The Apostle Paul
Learn how to protect yourself, your loved ones!
Stand by for insights so startling you will never look at the news the same way again.
YOU ARE NOW ON THE CUTTING EDGE
I have used this illustration until it is about worn out, but from the comments we receive disputing our pre-trib position it apparently needs to be repeated and often: what was formerly outside the realm of reason has now become quite reasonable in light of current events. The attacks of 9/11/01 are the best example of this point; prior to these attacks, no one would have ever believed that something like this could have happened. We had caught a lot of grief because we boldly predicted a terrorist attack against both Los Angeles and New York City as part of the plan to propel the world into the Kingdom of Antichrist. Now, we hang on the words of one of the ministers in Israel's Prime Minister's office as he said:
"World War III is coming whether you like it or not; 9/11 attacks were just the beginning"
"World War III is coming whether you like it or not; 9/11 attacks were just the beginning". [Sharon aide, Ra'anan Gissin, Tuscon, Arizona, 4/27/02; reported in Daily News Updates, April 30, 2002]
Some examples of events that seemed ludicrous for many years until they were suddenly fulfilled, or the stage set for their precise fulfillment:
Until the early years of the twentieth century, most prophecy commentators viewed the two hundred million man army of Revelation 9:16 to be so utterly fantastic that they deemed it allegorical—representative of some other spiritual truth. They reasoned that since all of the armies of the world combined did not reach such an astronomical number, it could not be taken literally. However, a century later, we now know China alone could probably field an army that size if they chose to do so. Their one-child policy has resulted in an utterly fantastic overabundance of males that the Army is the only reasonable expectation for many of them. On top of this policy, China has grown to well over 1 billion people, making an army that size perfectly reasonable if former military men were called to duty.
Again, what was formerly outside the realm of reason has now become quite reasonable! The same principle holds true for the rest of prophecy—time inevitably casts more light upon interpretation.
To this day, many still ridicule the concept of what they characterize as "a secret rapture" because they insist a person supposedly named Margaret McDonald concocted the whole thing in 1830—with the idea being picked up subsequently by the Plymouth Brethren, and popularized through the efforts of C.I. Scofield and his now-famous reference Bible.
To reply to these objections all we can say is, "What sayeth the Scriptures"? Does the position (as we strongly affirm) fit with the whole of Scripture and make more sense than those that predate it? Let us find out by viewing the subject as objectively as we can.
That there will be an instantaneous removal of the Church from this earth is beyond dispute because 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 both declare it. The major difference of opinion centers upon when this removal will take place, with many insisting that it will be concurrent with the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the Tribulation Period, rather than prior to the beginning. All believers agree that God can certainly snatch His elect children from this earth any time He chooses, but there are several very logical reasons why we believe a pre-tribulation rapture is intended.
First and foremost, we must understand that the primary purpose of the Tribulation Period ("The Day of the Lord") is to chasten and refine the nation of Israel—not the Church of Jesus Christ , which is His beloved and betrothed Bride. Some (if not most) of the confusion surrounding this subject is caused by a misunderstanding of the term "elect" as it refers to God's children.
The Church is made up exclusively of elect individuals, but there are two distinct groups of the elect outside of the Church: The first is comprised of Old Testament saints and the second is the group of those elect who will be saved during the Tribulation Period.
Therefor, when we see the term "elect" used in Matthew 24, along with a few references in the Gospels of Mark, and Luke—we must understand that these are not Church Age saints—for reasons we will explain in detail later.
Most of the prophetic utterances concerning the Tribulation Period are found in the Old Testament and therefore clearly meant for Israel. Additionally, it makes no sense whatever for the Lord to subject His betrothed Bride to the unimaginable horrors of the Tribulation Period—even though His Church is totally comprised of rotten, hell-deserving sinners. He has saved us by His grace, through no merit of our own, so what purpose would punishment serve? As long as we are in these mortal bodies, sin will continue to characterize our very existence and no amount of punishment will erase the sin nature. Only after we receive our glorified bodies will we finally be free from sin.
And those who insist that the Tribulation Period will serve to remove the "spots and wrinkles" (Eph.5:27) from the Church before it is presented to Christ, overlook this most basic doctrinal fact. Human imperfections and every taint of sin must be removed from us as prerequisite to our standing in the presence of God— Jesus accomplished this purification on the Cross and our bodies will be "perfected" instantaneously at the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:50-58). A belief that a purification period such as the Tribulation is the type of belief forms the foundation of Purgatory, so a person who believes the Church must go through a "cleansing" period is accepting the lie of Purgatory! The Christians comprising the Church are spotless because Jesus Christ has imputed His spotlessness to us!
"DAY OF THE LORD"
Let's look at what the Old Testament Scriptures have to say about the subject of "The Day of the Lord"—"the time of Jacob's trouble"—to gain a better understanding of its application to Israel. As we will find, few biblical themes associated with the end times have drawn as much attention or been so emphasized in the Old Testament.
When the prophets mention "The Day of the Lord," they often sound like Amos when he wrote:
"Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light.  As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.  Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?" (Amos 5:18-20, KJV)
While the "Day of the Lord", as a theological term, includes all that happens in the entire period during which God fulfills His promises and brings history to its conclusion, the emphasis found in most Old Testament passages is on the dark period of tribulation and judgment that will begin that day. It is pictured as a horrible time for humanity; days filled with God's judgment in which the earth is devastated and emptied, its inhabitants dying by the millions. There is gloom and darkness, trouble and woe, as God's wrath is fully unleashed against sinful mankind (compare Deut. 4:30-31; Isaiah 2:19; Isaiah 24:1, 3, 6, 19-21; Isaiah 26:20-21; Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:27; Daniel 12:1; Joel 1:15; Joel 2:1-2; Amos 5:18-20; Zeph. 1:14-15, 18). As we find in these Old Testament Scriptures, both pagan nations and God's elect people are to experience His divine judgment, because the scope of the Tribulation is worldwide.
As Jeremiah said in 25:32-33 (KJV):
"Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.  And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground."
And yet, in spite of all the horrors of this terrible time, the intent is clear that it will lead to deliverance.
Here is what some of the prophets have to say:
"Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it" (Jeremiah 30:7, KJV, emphasis mine) [Note that "he" (Jacob, or Israel) will be saved "out of it"—not "from it."]
"And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant:  And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the Lord" (Ezekiel 20:37-38, KJV).
"And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.  And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God" (Zech. 13:8-9, KJV, emphasis mine). [Note that two thirds of Israel will be killed and only one third will survive the rigors of God's judgment!]
The Tribulation Period is intended for the cleansing (see also Rev. 7:9; Rev. 14:4) and preparation for national conversion of Israel (compare with Ezekiel 20:37-38; Zech. 13:1, 8-9, quoted above). And from all of this, we should understand that worldwide tribulation does lie ahead. But even this most terrible of times is intended by God for ultimate good, and will move history toward the end that He has planned. Additional texts for study are as follows:
Day of the Lord: Isaiah 2:12; Isaiah 13:6; Ezekiel 13:5; Ezekiel 30:3; Joel 1:15; Joel 2:1, 11, 31; Amos 5:18-20; Obadiah 1:15; Zeph. 1:7, 14; Zech. 14:1; Malachi 4:5.
Tribulation: Deut. 4:30-31; Isaiah 2:19; Isaiah 24:1, 3, 6, 19-21; Isaiah 26:20-21; Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:27; Daniel 12:1; Joel 1:15; Joel 2:1-2; Amos 5:18-20; Zeph. 1:14-15, 18.
PRE-TRIBULATIONAL RAPTURE -- MIRRORED BY JEWISH MARRIAGE CUSTOM
Now that we have established the basis for the Tribulation Period and shown that it pertains to Israel and not the Church, let us turn our attention back to the logical, common sense aspects of a pre-tribulational rapture. We have already stated that it is a totally unrealistic and spiritually unproductive point to think that the Lord would subject His beloved Bride to such horrible events. And while we are on the subject of the Bride of Christ, we need to take a brief look at the ancient Jewish betrothal and marriage customs.
Once the parents agreed on their children's marriage and the formal betrothal made, (the betrothal in that day was as binding as marriage), the groom would then leave to build a house for his bride. And this would often take up to two years to complete. As she waited, the bride would remain in her father's house, but she lived in an "any moment" expectation of her groom's return. Her bags remained packed, so to speak, as she eagerly anticipated the day when her intended would come back for her. Then when at last the groom was ready to receive his bride, the joyous wedding party along with "the friend of the bridegroom"—the "paranymph", or "best man" in today's terminology—would approach the bride's house at midnight, where the friend of the bridegroom would shout, "Behold the bridegroom cometh!" The bride, of course, was expected to be awake and to open the door to the wedding party. At this point she would accompany the festive group back to his father's house where the actual marriage ceremony would take place—then afterwards they would move to their new home for a honeymoon that usually lasted seven days.
The parallels between Jewish marriage custom and the rapture of the Church are unmistakable! The bride (The Church) is supposed to wait for the groom (Jesus Christ) in her father's house (this world as controlled by Satan). And when the groom comes back after up to two years of separation (approximately 2000 years so far), the bride is removed to his father's house (God the Father's abode in heaven) where the marriage ceremony takes place. The honeymoon in their new home (the "mansions" of John 14:2) lasts 7 days (corresponds to the 7 year Tribulation Period).
Then we find another strong argument for a pre-tribulation rapture in 1 Thessalonians 5:9 where we read: "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess. 5:9, KJV).
This verse, taken in context, is obviously connected with Paul's teaching concerning the rapture—because that is the subject from chapter four and verse 13 onward through chapter five and verse 11. And one of the main reasons behind this first letter from Paul was that the Thessalonian Church was upset over the fate of their loved ones. Those people had been believers too and it appeared that they died without being taken into heaven by Christ (as Paul had previously taught them would happen some day). But since he had only been with them for about a month, their knowledge of the subject was incomplete. Therefore, in order to correct this misunderstanding, Paul tells them that their deceased loved ones "in Christ" would actually (if only momentarily) precede those who would be alive at the time of the rapture.
Notice that Paul uses the word "comfort" twice in this discourse in an effort to soothe their fears; then he concludes with the verse quoted above (5:9), telling them that God had not "appointed," or destined, them to incur His wrath—A divine wrath that is reserved for the nation of Israel (in particular and the rest of the world in general) and therefore we should understand that his teaching concerning the rapture is intended to be a source of comfort for all Church Age believers.
Since the devil was not through with tormenting these Thessalonian believers, he circulated a false notion that because of the persecution they were then experiencing, the "Day of the Lord" (the Tribulation Period) was already present and they had missed the rapture! This led to Paul's second letter (2nd Thessalonians) in which he gave them (and us today) an unmistakable double event "sign-post" without which the Tribulation Period cannot possibly begin! In verse three of chapter two Paul tells us that we must not let any man deceive us because "that day" will not come until there is "a falling away first"—an apostasy or departure, depending on one's interpretation of the Greek word apostasia—along with the revealing of the "man of sin," or the antichrist. So we must understand that both of these events have to take place before the Tribulation Period will actually commence.
At this point I want you to ask yourself this question: What other reason could possibly have prompted Paul to give the Thessalonian believers this particular teaching if a pre-tribulation rapture was not in view? Meditatate on this fact.
Another interesting point concerns the "falling away" of 2 Thessalonians 2:3. The majority view is that this refers to a mass defection from the faith prior to the Tribulation Period and this would certainly appear to be a possibility when the antichrist comes to power and people all over the world begin to worship him. But over the years several prominent Bible teachers have insisted that the Greek word apostasia can also be translated "departure"—as in departure of the Church from this world—and believe that this refers to a pre-tribulation rapture. However, quite a few Greek scholars—many of them holding to the pre-trib position—do not agree with the "departure" interpretation, so this particular point is far from being settled.
The Amplified Bible Commentary even uses the words, "departure of the church" in the footnote to this verse – 2 Thessalonians 2:3 – as it gives the full meaning of the word, apostasia.
Another portion of Scripture that applies to our discussion is found in Revelation 3:10, where the exalted Lord is addressing the Church at Philadelphia:
"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth" (KJV, emphasis mine). Think carefully about this word, hour. It is an earth-bound term. Once you get above this earth, and out of our solar system, an hour has no relevance!
The seven Churches mentioned in Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, were literal Churches scattered throughout Asia Minor at the time John wrote these words. Many Bible scholars believe that they represent seven distinct periods of Church history, ending with the Laodicean—a time of spiritual "lukewarmness" just prior to the Tribulation Period. Another view is that they are seven types of Churches, containing individual members who are representative of the full range of spirituality and faithfulness to Christ. And it is to the faithful "Philadelphian" character of genuine believers (who will be alive at that time), that the promise is made to "keep them from the hour of temptation, or trial, which shall come upon all the world…." Notice that the promise is to "keep from" and not "keep through" the hour as some post-millennialists insist will be the case.
Noah was saved "from" the wrath of God in the flood, but he went through the hour! Lot was saved from God's wrath, but he went through the hour. Jesus promises the Church He will keep them from the hour of trial coming on the whole earth.
Another interesting point is that the Church is mentioned often up through Revelation chapter three, but then in verse 1 of chapter four an abrupt "Come up hither" (symbolic of the rapture?) command is made to John and the Church is not mentioned again until much later, where we find her as the "Bride of Christ" in chapter 21.
Then in verse 4 of chapter four we find the 24 elders ( Gk - .presbuteros) seated around the heavenly throne and they are dressed in white and wearing golden crowns. Being dressed in white signifies that one is an "overcomer"(Rev.3:4-5) and crowns are consistently portrayed in the New Testament as being representative of reward. So the fact that they are thus arrayed says the Judgment Seat of Christ has already taken place and the rewards already bestowed! If you doubt this interpretation, just look at verse 3 of chapter five, where we find these words: "And no man in heaven….was able to open the book…." Verse 4 continues with "…no man was found worthy…."And even though the literal rendering of the Greek word oudeis is "no one," (translated "no man" in the King James Version) "man stands for person" according to W. E. Vine in his "Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words." My friend, Jesus Christ is both man and God—the second Person of the Trinity—but these comments are obviously not referring to Him! How then are these men, or "persons" in heaven, if not by the rapture? It is our understanding of Scripture that Jesus Christ Himself was the first man to be resurrected to heaven as "the firstfruits of them that slept."
This being the case, Old Testament or Tribulation Period saints cannot precede the Church into heaven as resurrected men because of what we find in the following verses:
"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming" (1 Cor. 15:20-23, KJV, emphasis mine).
Taken in context, the phrase "They that are Christ's," is referring to the Church and therefore it is next in line to be resurrected—with no other group(s) preceding it.
Couple these facts with Revelation 7:13-14 and we must draw another conclusion:
"And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?  And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (KJV, emphasis mine).
That these are Tribulation Period saints in heaven is beyond dispute! And as we have just seen in 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, Jesus Christ is the "firstfruits of them that slept" and afterward those that belong to Him will be resurrected. So when Rev. 7:13-14 informs us of the Tribulation Period saints in heaven, this necessitates the Church having being raptured at some previous point!
At what point does tribulation begin to fall upon the earth? In Revelation 6:1 we find the Lord Jesus Christ breaking the first seal, that signals the onset, but please note something that happens prior to this in chapter five: Verses 8 and 9 tell us that the "four beasts" and 24 elders (the elders being clearly representative of all Christians) "sung a new song, saying….thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God….out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation…." Verse 10 then adds "And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." The phrase "out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" is obviously referring to a much larger group than just the 24 elders.
And then there is the exhortation by the apostle Paul concerning the day of the Lord: "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.  For when they shall say, 'Peace and safety'; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.  But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.  Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.  Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.  For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.  But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.  For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,  Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.  Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do" (1 Thess. 5:1-11, KJV, emphasis mine).
The word translated "watch" in verse 6 is the Greek gregoreuo meaning "vigilance." Why does Paul teach them (and us) to watch if the event is not imminent—could take place at any time and is next on God's prophetic "calendar"? Notice the careful distinction Paul makes between the pronouns "ye", "you," "yourselves," and "they," and "them." This contrast is intended to show believers that we, unlike those who are lost, will not be caught off guard when the day of the Lord "cometh."as a thief in the night—Do not miss this—The day of the Lord will be seven years old by the time of the "Second Coming of Christ," so "cometh" obviously means the beginning of it—just after the "departure" and the revealing of the man of sin.
And this brings us to the subject of Matthew chapter 24—in my humble opinion the most misunderstood and misapplied chapter in the Bible, as far as prophecy is concerned! Even doctors of theology who ought to know better stumble all over this portion of Scripture and take it completely out of context when they try to apply some of it to the rapture. Common sense dictates that Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 15:51, when he said:
"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." (KJV)
What does the word "mystery" (Gk.musterion) mean as it is used in the New Testament? It refers to previously unrevealed Scripture! In other words Paul is telling us something here in approximately 59-60 A.D. that had never before been revealed by God: the subject of the rapture. This fact alone demands that none of the Words of Christ in Matthew 24 can refer to the rapture! Why is this point such a big deal, you ask? Well, let's just look at the chapter and point out a few details.
The scene we have before us is one in which the Lord is answering questions posed to Him by His disciples. And more than likely at this particular point the disciples was comprised completely of Jews. Jesus Christ has not yet died and the age of grace has not yet arrived, so 100% of what we find in the Gospel accounts is under law and not grace! None of the Old Testament prophets "saw" the Church Age because God did not reveal it to them—it was a divine "mystery"! And the Lord's teaching here is perfectly consistent with that principle. He is instructing Jews as to what their "generation" (vs.34) will experience during the Tribulation Period, because the Church is nowhere in sight and yet to be revealed! With this thought in mind, notice that verses 4 through 13 describe conditions as the elect Jewish remnant will experience them during the dark days of the Tribulation Period—the "time of Jacob's trouble."
Matthew 24, Verse 9, very clearly states that "….they will deliver you up to be afflicted and shall kill you and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake." God is going to seal 144,000 Jews at the beginning of this awful time and it is to them this discourse is directed. Verse 13 has been misunderstood and misapplied by many Christians in thinking that it we must "hold out to the end" in order to be saved, when in actual point of fact this is referring to the physical deliverance of the Jews who will still be alive at the Second Coming of Christ—at the end of the Tribulation Period!
(Remember that this cannot possibly apply to Christians in any way shape or form, because at that particular point in time – when Jesus spoke Matthew 24 -- the Church itself was still a mystery (Eph.3:1-6). Notice what verse 14 says: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then the end shall come." My friends, the Gospel of grace was still unknown at that time! This "Gospel of the kingdom"—the message that both John the Baptist and Jesus Christ preached and the one to whom the Lord is referring—was "repent ye for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
And it will be preached again during the Tribulation Period by the 144,000 of Revelation 7 and the "two witnesses" of Revelation 11:3. The end of the Tribulation Period—which will usher in the Second Coming of Christ—will not come until that specific gospel message has been heard by all the nations and through which they are told that the literal reign of Jesus Christ on earth is about to take place. At the time the Lord was telling His disciples this, He had just been rejected as King by the nation of Israel and knew that His words were for a future generation of their descendants. The Church is nowhere in view.
Beginning with verse 15 we have the start of the "great tribulation"—the last half (3 ½ years), which will be so terrible that the Lord made the following comment in verse 21: "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matthew 24:21, KJV).
That the Jews are the primary focus of this discourse is made clear in the parallel account found in Mark 13. Notice the wording of verse 9:
"But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them" (Mark 13:9, KJV, emphasis mine).
To the best of my knowledge, Jews have not made it a practice to bring Christians into their synagogues for any reason, much less to beat them! But during the Tribulation Period the 144,000 elect Jews will be persecuted by their own people as well as by the Gentiles.
Then in verse 22 we have a very interesting statement about "those days" being shortened by God, because if He did not do so, everyone would die! And this has a direct bearing on verse 36—another comment made by the Lord that has been misapplied for many years. Preachers have been telling their flocks, based upon verse 36, that no one can know the "day and hour" of the rapture—when this verse has absolutely nothing to do with the rapture, because taken in proper context it is clearly referring to the Second Coming. The persecution and killing is going to be so great that God will shorten those days in order that some will remain alive to populate the Millennial Kingdom. And because the period will be cut short (something short of the total number of days prophesied by Daniel), no one knows the exact day and hour!!!!!
Remember that Matthew 24 in its entirety is dealing with the Jews under law and not the Church under grace—both the Church and the rapture are, at that particular time, still mysteries hidden in the counsels of God.
Verse 44 has been used to strengthen the argument that no one can know the time of the rapture, when in fact it is speaking of terrified Jews who will be in hiding and their minds occupied by their very survival—not in counting the number of days left in the "Great Tribulation" as given by the prophet Daniel (one of the arguments used against "knowing the day and hour"):
"Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 24:44, KJV).
Think about it—Christians are exhorted throughout the New Testament to watch for the Lord's return to take us unto Himself and we are taught that it will not come as a surprise, according to the following:
"But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.  Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.  Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober" (1 Thess. 5:4-6, KJV, emphasis mine).
So once again, we see that the statements in Matthew 24 cannot possibly be referring to the rapture.
The gathering together of God's elect from "one end of heaven to the other" (vs.31) is "Immediately after the tribulation of those days…." (vs.29)—Again, this is Second Coming and not rapture. The "one taken and one left" illustrations of verses 40 and 41—so often used to depict the rapture—actually refer to the separation of the sheep and goats pictured in Matthew 25:33, with those left being the ones to enter the millennial Kingdom. And that passage is, of course, in unbroken context and part of the Lord's extended remarks regarding His Second Coming.
It is understandable why so many try to use Matthew 24 as a proof text for the rapture because much of it seems to "fit," but as we have seen—a careful look reveals this is just cannot be so.
Though many good men have wound up with "egg on their face" trying to predict the date of the rapture, Matthew 24:36 is not a legitimate barrier!
World events/national attitudes are seemingly at present coming into perfect alignment with what the Scriptures say will be the conditions surrounding the rise of antichrist. This being the case, and for the reasons detailed above, we believe that the rapture is truly and finally imminent. Are you ready to meet the Lord in the air?
FINAL CUTTING EDGE NOTE
Let it be fully known that we do not take the Pre-Tribulation Rapture position because we are not "courageous" enough to go through the persecutions of Antichrist. Many people have emailed us over the years with just this accusation. This notion is nonsense, for one very simple fact: while the Church will be spared the persecutions of Antichrist, we will go through the final birth pangs which will produce Antichrist [Matthew 24:8].
We encourage you to read NEWS1408 which detail this fact clearly. When we go through the "wars, rumors of wars, nation rising against nation, kingdom against kingdom, earthquakes in many places", we will feel very much like we are going through the persecutions of Antichrist in the Tribulation Period. All Christians today need to spiritually mature quickly for we do not know when we might be rounded up, persecuted, and even tortured for our faith.
The very idea we teach the Pre-Tribulation Rapture because we wish to "escape" persecution is ludicrous and false in the extreme.
Truly, events since 9/11/01 have propelled the entire world toward the appearance of Antichrist.
Are you spiritually ready? Is your family? Are you adequately protecting your loved ones? This is the reason for this ministry, to enable you to first understand the peril facing you, and then help you develop strategies to warn and protect your loved ones. Once you have been thoroughly trained, you can also use your knowledge as a means to open the door of discussion with an unsaved person. I have been able to use it many times, and have seen people come to Jesus Christ as a result. These perilous times are also a time when we can reach many souls for Jesus Christ, making an eternal difference.
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, but have come to realize His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to accept His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can also do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you accept Him as Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually.
If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our E-Mail us.
God bless you.
Cutting Edge Home Page PART TWO