Bible Prophecy,The End Times, & The Rapture (What does the Bible really say?)
Updated: Oct 24, 2022
Many years ago I decided I was going to find out what the bible really had to say about prophecy and the end times. I would read bible prophecy books (Hal Lindsey/ Tim LaHaye) and I began to notice how they would piece scriptures together to make it appear to be something totally different than what was intended. They would ignore what Jesus actually said about His return and this disturbed me greatly. It appeared deliberate what they were doing and I wanted to get to the bottom of it. For years I relied on these authors to tell me what the bible said. I wasn't going to be lazy anymore and I was going straight to the source..... The Bible. Many of you are reading this now could be tempted to stop reading. You might say "He don't know what he is talking about" and go back to reading your books about the end times. Please read further and I challenge you read the scriptures for yourself without the help of various end time authors. Study for yourself and you will be amazed at what you are not hearing. If you do not agree with me thats fine. We can agree to disagree.
Here is what the Lord reveals to us through His Scripture.
1. In Revelations the only ones who suffer the wrath of God are those who take the mark of the beast. The Saints of God are protected
2. In Revelations even though the saints of God do not suffer the wrath of God they suffer the wrath of the Antichrist. They are persecuted during the tribulation. But they overcome by the blood of the lamb.
3. According to Jesus own words the rapture (resurrection) takes place after the Tribulation (Matthew 24:29 & Mark 13:27)
4. The rapture takes place at the last (7th) trump. The same time the 2 witnesses are resurrected.
5. Paul states that a falling away will happen, then the Antichist will be revealed, then Christ returns to gather his elect.
Here is where my journey began.
Jesus will return the same way he ascended (With two witnesses)
ACTS 1:10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
As Jesus went up there were two men. These men told the disciple's in this same manner Christ will come back. Remember the two witness's in Revelation. After three and ½ days they will be resurrected and caught up in the air with Jesus Christ. These two men who will be murdered on the streets of Jerusalem will be resurrected that very moment Jesus Christ breaks through the heavens in the days of the last trump.
Revelation 11:11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. 11:12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
Remember these two witnesses were raised from the dead in the days of the 7th Trumpet (The Last Trump).
Revelation 10:7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets
Revelation 11:11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. 11:12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. 11:13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. 11:14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly. 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
John speaks of a "mystery" in (Revelation 10:7) in regards to the 2 witnesses resurrected and the last trump.
What did the Apostle Paul write to the Corinthians?
1Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,15:52 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.
Paul gives us a "mystery" that he speaks of again to the Ephesians.
Ephesians 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
So we can see that at the time of the end (and only then) the mystery is this. When the last trump sounds the two witnesses and the rest of the dead in Christ will be raised from the dead and gathered together with Christ along with those who are alive in Christ at that time.
1Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 1Th 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Scripture supports scripture.
Jesus placed the Resurrection "Rapture" after the Tribulation.
If you read what Jesus says about his return instead of the prophecy books that have been written over the past 50 years you will see that the rapture/resurrection takes place after the tribulation.
MATTHEW 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other
MARK 13:27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. Jesus makes it clear! At his coming he will gather his elect on earth & in heaven.
It takes place at the very end. At the second coming of Christ.
EPHESIANS1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:The mystery of his will is that when He comes back he will gather his people to Him. In the fullness of times. When it is finished . When the kingdoms of the world have become the kingdoms of the Lord. It will not be in phases or in secret. The scriptures make it clear. He returns, gathers together those that are His, and He takes back the earth.
1 CORINTHIANS15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. 15:24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
1st. He returns
2nd. The 1st resurrection
3rd. Then the end. What happens at the end? Armageddon.
Now God can create a man in the twinkling of an eye out of the dust of the earth on a certain day. Why is it so hard for people to believe that God can gather his people and defeat His enemies all in one day?
The Day of Christ (The second coming)
2 THESSALONIANS 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
Notice in verse 1. He say's " by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,". He doesn't say by our gathering together unto him and then 7 years later the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul say's that Christ will come back and get his people and destroy the anti-Christ with the brightness of His coming (verse 8). In verse 2. Paul say's ", as that the day of Christ is at hand."
What is the day of Christ? Look back at verse 1. The day of His coming and our gathering together unto him and in verse 8. at His coming he destroys the ant-Christ. It is (1) day. He doesn't say Christ comes back in secret , gathers us up, we all go back to heaven, wait seven years, and then finally for a 2nd time he comes back and destroys the bad guy's. He says it all happens in one day. In verse 3. Paul say's let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition. He say's not to be deceived about his coming! These day many are deceived about how the second coming of Jesus is going to be. Many are preaching peace and safety to the Christian people. Here in the blessed land of the U.S.A. many a Christian believe no harm will come to them and no persecution will come to the Christians in America. Because we are a "Christian nation" no judgement will fall on this great land because we are in the land. Maybe these preachers of peace should build a time traveling machine, go back in time and tell the early Christians who were martyred that! Go back to the days of the Reformation and tell those Christians you will see no harm. When communism rose up and slaughtered millions of Christians if only Hal Lindsay or Tim LaHaye were there to tell them "don't worry you will see no harm".
So we see this.
1. The Falling Away
2. Antichrist revealed
3. Jesus Returns and gathers his elect
While Hitler was in power he murdered 6 million Jews. But no one ever tells you that 9-10 million other's (mostly Christian's) died in those death camps. Those Christians were not raptured out of persecutions.
Everybody knows what happened in 1948. Israel became a nation again. But no one tells you that in 1948 24.7 million Christians were martyred in China under Mao.I guess modern day bible prophecy teachers don't find that remotely related to bible prophecy. 24.7 million Christians were murdered for the testimony of Jesus Christ. They would not deny Him and they were slaughtered by the Communist.
Why many preacher's will not tell you this is either they just don't know the facts and only preach what they have been taught, or they know if you knew how many millions of Christians have been martyred in the 1900's you would begin to question all the books they have written.
One of the reason's I believe that there will be a falling away is because many believed that they would escape persecution. But when it comes and looks them in their face they will blame God , think that God has forsaken them, and say the Bible must not be true cause it said we would escape tribulation. Even though the bible does not say we will escape tribulation. Be not deceived! Christians will face tribulation just not the Wrath of God.
So the day of His coming and our gathering together unto Him will not happen until there is a falling away and the man of sin revealed. So that is two things that must happen before that day. 1. Many deceived 2. Anti-Christ revealed. Today they say we won’t be here to see the Anti-Christ. Why? The early persecuted church thought that Nero was the Anti-Christ. The persecuted Christians of the reformation thought the Pope was the Anti-Christ. The persecuted Christians in Russia thought Stalin was the Anti-Christ. In 1934 Joseph Stalin attempted to wipe out the entire Christian church. Under his regime 40 million murdered.
The Apostle John writes in 1John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. There are many antichrist out there today. Just look at what ISIS is doing to the Christians in Iraq and Syria. Look at what the Islamic terrorist are doing to Christians in the middles east. Were they raptured before being persecuted? No they were not. Read for yourself my friends. Study the scriptures for yourselves. Find out what Jesus said about the end. Don’t rely on what some preacher says. Go to the source!
To be continued..................................
Pastor Sam Ketcher
Hilltop Free Will Baptist