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In the first of our series of didactic on the end times, including the Rapture and Christ’s Second Coming, we will provide an explanation of the meaning and origin of the term, Rapture. The Rapture is popularly referred to by Bible-believing Christians as the snatching away into heaven of the Church, or Body of Christ, by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Are You Ready for the Rapture and Second Coming of Yeshua Ha Mashiach?

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The Rapture is real and has been foretold in the Word of God as one of God’s prophetic end-times events. This event, translated from the Greek, Harpazo, will precede the Great Tribulation, a time when God’s wrath will be poured out on earth dwellers – those left behind – for judgment before the Second Coming of Christ to defeat the evil wrought by the Anti-Christ and destroy the world systems that he (Anti-Christ) will have put in place, including his global totalitarian reign and false world religion.

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Subsequent posts will attempt to delineate the significance of world events that are taking and will take, place in the light of Bible prophecy and these world events will be presented as proof that we are living in the last days prior to the Rapture and Great Tribulation. These events are signs that also herald Christ’s soon return. As noted prophecy teacher and author, Chuck Missler (Strategic Trends, The Cosmic Codes), has aptly put it, we are living in the times of the (last-days) signs. These signs are evidence we will put forward for the imminence of the Rapture and return of the Messiah, Christ Jesus.

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Introduction – What is “The Rapture” exactly?

[1]
By The Whyman
The rapture is an event that will take place sometime in the near future. Jesus will come in the air, catch up the Church from the earth, and then return to heaven with the Church.

The Apostle Paul gave a clear description of the rapture event in his letters to the Thessalonians and Corinthians.

“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: 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thess. 4:16 – 18).

“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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:51 – 53).

The timing of the rapture is not known. However, from the Word of God and from sound reasoning — something Jesus used quite frequently — the reality of the pre-tribulation rapture, can be proven.

The word “rapture” comes from the phrase “caught up” in verse 17. The phrase is translated from the Greek word harpazo, which means “to carry off,” “snatch up,” or “grasp hastily.” The translation from harpazo to “rapture” involved two steps: first, harpazo became the Latin word raptus; second, raptus became the English word “rapture.”

Therefore, despite the claims of the ignorant, the doctrine of “the rapture” is indeed biblical.

Footnote:
1. Introductory material adapted from Todd Strandberg.

Prophetic Signs of the Imminency of the Rapture and Jesus’ Second Coming

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The Re-birth of Israel

One of the signs of the end-times and Jesus’ Second Coming is the re-birth of Israel as a nation, in itself a miracle considering the history of Jewry long-suffering and persecution. Besides the restoration of the nation of Israel, the Bible also foretells of the recovery of the use of the ancient language of Hebrew by the people who call themselves Jews.

The prophecies ~
Prooftexts: Matthew 24, Isaiah 66, Ezekiel 37

The Bible foretold a long time ago by the prophets and the Lord Jesus Christ that Israel would be scattered among the nations where she would be taken into captivity. Much later, the LORD would re-gather them from the four corners of the world, and the nation would be re-born in a single day.

The prophet Ezekiel said: “I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land” (Ezekiel. 37:21).

In Isaiah 66:7 – 8 we read: “Hear that uproar from the city, hear that noise from the temple! It is the sound of the LORD repaying his enemies all they deserve. Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.”

The fulfillment ~

First, the dispersal of Israel (Diaspora)

As stated above, Scriptures prophesied that Israel would be dispersed among the nations. The Jewish Diaspora began with the Assyrian conquest (722 BC), which scattered the Hebrews throughout the Middle East.

After that King Nebuchadnezzar exiled the Judaeans in 597 and 586 BC, to Babylon in which they were to remain for hundreds of years. A group of Judaeans fled to Egypt, where they settled in the Nile delta. From 597 BC, there were three distinct groups of Hebrews: one in Babylon and other parts of the Middle East, another in Judaea, and the last in Egypt. Although in exile in foreign lands, the Jews retained their religion, identity, and social customs, and even their laws during the reign of the Medo-Persians and Greeks.

In 63 BC, Judaea became a protectorate of Rome. The Roman governors heavily taxed the inhabitants of Judaea and living under them was like wearing a yoke around the Hebrews’ necks. Consequently, in 70 AD, the Jews revolted, but it was a desperate revolt that ended tragically. In 73 AD, the last of the revolutionaries were holed up in a mountain fort called Masada; the Romans had besieged the fort for two years, and the 1000 men, women, and children inside starved. The Romans successfully destroyed Jerusalem, annexed Judaea as a Roman province, and systematically drove the Jews from Palestine. From 73 AD, the Diaspora continued as the Jews settled in lands in various parts of Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Next, the regathering and rebirth of Israel

Scriptures foretold that Israel would be dispersed as a nation but later brought out from among the nations of the world in a gradual process that would culminate in the establishment of Israel as a nation in a single day.
The prophet Isaiah foretold of the re-birth of Israel, which would happen in a single day. (Refer to prooftext from Isaiah provided above.) The woman giving birth before going into labor represents Israel. This accurately describes what happened on May 14, 1948, when the Jews declared independence for Israel as a united and sovereign nation for the first time in 2,900 years.

During that same day, the United States issued a statement recognizing Israel’s sovereignty. And, only hours beforehand, a United Nations mandate expired, ending British control of the land. Within 24 hours, foreign control of the land of Israel formally ceased, and Israel declared its independence, which was acknowledged by other nations. Modern Israel was literally born in a single day.

Isaiah said the birth would take place before there would be labor pains. And that too was fulfilled when a movement, called Zionism, commenced in the 1800s which resulted in the first wave of Jewish Aliyah into Israel.

Fulfilling every letter of the Word with precision, Israel’s status as a sovereign nation was established and reaffirmed during the course of a single day*, and that it was born of a movement called Zionism, not as the result of war but of the Zionist cause.

(*The Bible has also foretold the exact year in which this would happen.)

The Restoration of the Hebrew language in Prophecy

Israel’s re-birth is truly a miracle but equally miraculous is the restoration of the Hebrew language to everyday usage. Hebrew was considered a dead language, not a commonly spoken language and limited to study, prayer, communal observances or ritual purposes. That was until Eliezer Ben-Yehuda (1858 – 1922). Eliezer was one of the first Zionists and is credited with the revival of Hebrew as a modern tongue spoken by a renascent Jewish nation. After marrying his childhood sweetheart, Deborah Jonas, they established the first Hebrew-speaking home in Eretz Yisrael, and their son, Ben-Zion was the first child in modern times to be nurtured with Hebrew as his native language.

His was an apparent divine calling; as Eliezer described it in his own words: “Suddenly the sky seemed to open up, a bright light shone in my eyes, and a strong inner voice rang in my ears, ‘Rebirth of Israel in the land of their forefathers.’ After a soul-searching inner struggle, a new idea took sway and the words which captured all my life were, “Israel in its land and its language.'”

Soon after his arrival in Jerusalem, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda accepted a teaching position at the Alliance School, which became the first school where some courses were taught in Hebrew, due to Eliezer’s insistence that Hebrew be the official language of instruction for Jewish subjects.

Eliezer wrote for “Hakhavatzelet” (The Lily), a Hebrew literary periodical, and launched “Hatzvi” – The Deer – a weekly newspaper. “Hatzvi” was the first Hebrew paper to report what was happening throughout the land. For this paper, Eliezer needed to coin new Hebrew words for objects and verbs that did not exist in the days of the last Hebrew commonwealth.

Through his newspaper and by other means, he persevered in his determination to make Hebrew a spoken language once again. Fortunately, he lived to see the day when the Palestine census was taken, and virtually every Jew in the land listed “Hebrew” as his language.

Eliezer traveled far and wide to gather materials and to research the world’s libraries for lost Hebrew roots. He founded and presided over Va’ad Halashon, the forerunner of the Hebrew Language Academy, and worked 18 hours a day on his “Complete Dictionary of Ancient and Modern Hebrew.” In 1910 he published the first of six volumes, and after his death in 1922 his widow and son Ehud continued publishing his manuscript, a task which was completed in 1959. The dictionary lists all the words used in Hebrew literature from the time of Abraham to modern times. Eliezer Ben-Yehuda was able to see his dream become a reality: a modern nation speaking an ancient tongue – Yisrael be’artzo uvilshono.

All this happened in fulfillment of the prophecy written in Zephaniah 3:9: “For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the LORD, to serve Him with one accord.”

What this means for the world

In Matthew 24:32 – 35, Jesus Himself, when His disciples asked Him when the end would come, attested to the fact that Israel’s re-birth would be an important sign of the end of this age and His return: “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”

Israel is symbolically referred to as a fig tree in Scripture. The Lord Jesus’ own promises concerning Israel’s restoration are a re-iteration of the prophecies of Ezekiel and Isaiah, which foretell that Israel’s restoration as a nation will point towards the coming of the Messiah, and this will be followed by the end of the age (as we know it). In Jesus’ own words, the generation that witnesses the prophetic fulfillment of the re-birth and restoration of Israel as a nation will also witness His return.

A generation is about 70 years. Israel was re-born as a nation in 1948. Ergo, many scholars believe that this is the millennium that will see the return of Jesus Christ and the culmination of history. Rebuilding The Third Temple is a special signal to inspect now also.

The Rebuilding of the Jewish Temple

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Prooftexts: Ezekiel 37, Daniel 9, Matthew 24.

This is an update on my previous post concerning the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. See here The Temple Institute.

Spearheaded by the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement, the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple and restoration of the ancient Jewish sacrificial system are making great strides in Israel’s progress towards the fulfillment of her prophesied redemption. According to the former’s website, ‘Israel’s redemption will proceed in an orderly fashion according to God’s plan. First, is the foundation of the modern state of Israel and the miraculous victories that God gave the people of Israel in the wars against 22 Arab enemy states. Second is the regathering of the people of Israel from all over the world to the Promised Land. Third is the liberation and consecration of the Temple Mount and fourth is the building of the third Temple. The final step is the coming of the King of Israel, Messiah Ben David.’

On June 17, Sheikh Salah, leader of Islamic Movement’s northern branch, issued a warning to Muslim students at Haifa University that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, had fully intended to complete plans to gain control of the Temple Mount from his first tenure. He went on to suggest that the Prime Minister’s desire was complete during his current term what he did not complete during his first one – “to dig additional tunnels under al-Aqsa and rebuild the Temple on the Temple Mount.”

Netanyahu was quite ostensibly echoing the sentiment of millions of Jews who reside within and without Israel. I might add that this sentiment represents, as well, the desire of the majority of Bible-believing, Israel-supporting evangelical Christians around the world.

Jerusalem had seen the destruction of two Jewish Temples prior to the rebirth of Israel in 1948. The first Temple, built by King Solomon, was destroyed by the armies of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The second Temple, which was built by King Zerubbabel, was destroyed by the armies of the Romans in 70 AD, as foretold by Jesus Christ before His death on the cross.

From the time of the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD, the world’s Jews, both out in the diaspora and back in Eretz Israel, have lamented the loss of their holy place of worship and longed to rebuild their Temple. This is, thence, a 1900-year-old desire. A recent report by the Ynet-Gesher survey apprised that nearly two-thirds of Israelis believed that the time was right to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple, and half of non-religious Jews favored rebuilding the Holy Temple. [2]

However, from a political perspective the idea of a restored Jewish Temple has been unthinkable, even impossible – at least, it appears, until this millennium. The site of the most sacred of Jewish holy places, which is the Temple Mount area, has been in Arab hands under the Waqf, a Jordanian-controlled Muslim trust, since Moshe Dayan handed it to the Arabs. Touted the most prized real estate on earth, the Temple Mount is untouchable without the permission of the Waqf – what a bane to the devout Jews who are still longing for a third Temple. What’s more, the Western Wall, the last remaining remnant of Solomon’s Temple, and sacred to Jews for over 2000 years, has been in Jordanian-controlled Jerusalem since 1949.

Nevertheless, Scriptures imply that the political balance of power must shift some time soon, within this generation, I believe, and the Temple Mount will be dramatically seized from Islamic control and assured for Israel. This shift is imperative; nevertheless, a Mideast peace is a necessary requisite for Israel to go ahead with the building of the Temple on the oft-fought-over Temple Mount area. Which begs the question: how will this peace come about?

The prophet, Isaiah, foretold that in the last days God would regather His people from all the lands where He had scattered them (Isaiah 43:6 – 7). Israel’s redemption was initiated with the first wave of Aliyah in the 1800s, and the Jewish people started returning to, and rebuilding, Zion. This has been happening for the past one hundred years. This tiny nation’s redemption will be complete when the Jews seize control of the Temple Mount and all of Jerusalem and, as prophesied in Scripture, are once again worshiping God in their Holy of Holies. And current events in the Mideast, as well as the ongoing development of Temple affairs, all point toward this coming to pass.

(For the latest update on the progress of the third Temple, see here at Facebook.)

The rebuilt Temple – or Temples – will have a significant role to play in prophecy and end time scenario. For one, the new Jewish Temple has to be in place and functioning in order for the Antichrist to enter and defile it. This event is known biblically as the Abomination of Desolation and will occur, in the Dispensational view, before the seven-year Great Tribulation, but after the Rapture of the church.

In Daniel 9:27 we read: “He (Antichrist) will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven’ (year period). In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”

Antichrist is prophesied to sign a peace covenant with Israel, bringing about the period called the Great Tribulation. Midway through the Tribulation he will enter the Holy of Holies of the Temple and proclaim himself as God, setting up an image of himself there and making it mandatory for the whole world to worship it. This is the defilement known as the Abomination of Desolation. (How this fits into a Pre-Trib Rapture)

The Jerusalem Temple will also be the scene of worship during the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Ezekiel is one of many Old Testament prophets who have described the Millennial Temple in Jerusalem as the seat of the Messiah and it is upon this seat that Messiah will reign on the throne of David in Jerusalem forever and sit in judgment of the world during the Millennium to come:

“I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. Then the nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.” (See Ezekiel 37:26 – 28; and 40 – 48.)

At this juncture, let me qualify the above by explaining that the Millennium Temple may be a different one from the third Temple; it is one that that will be built by the Messiah, and apparently not by unsaved Jews since, according to Ezekiel 43:7 and 44:9, “no foreigner uncircumcised in heart or in flesh shall enter My sanctuary.” Therefore, probably, the Antichrist cannot have set foot on the Millennial Temple.

In any case, I have no doubt that the third Jewish Temple will be built in this generation and this is one of the prominent signs of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, first for His church at the Rapture, and then on His blessed Second Coming, as a Warrior King to battle and destroy the armies of the Antichrist. Many believe that the Messiah will return to Jerusalem via the eastern gate of the Temple, for His Second Coming has been prophesied to be in the direction from Edom and Bozrah, which are areas to the east (Isaiah 63:1 – 6).

In the meantime, as mentioned above, a number of events must be actualised to propel the Mideast peace process forward: someone must arise on the scene, possibly presenting himself as pro-Israel and with much political clout, in order to broker this Mideast peace so that the foundation stone of the third Temple may be laid on the Temple Mount. It is quite likely that the Roadmap to Peace, which sets incremental steps on a path toward Middle East peace, is this process that will successfully lead to some semblance of Mideast peace – albeit a false compromising peace – being brokered between Israel and the Arabs. It is also not farfetched to predict that some conflict, or threat of conflict, will have to be waged in order for peace to be forcibly secured in the Middle East.

For the Lord Himself told His disciples that wars and rumours of wars are yet another sign of the last days: “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end” (Matthew 24:6).

Maranatha!

Footnote:
2. Survey and report excerpted from World Net Daily.

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