The Rapture

“The pre-tribulation rapture enables Israel to fulfil her 70 weeks timeline

With this message I will demonstrate that the only logical time for the rapture is at the start of a seven-year tribulation so that Israel can have its timeline (according to Daniel) completed. The passage in Daniel is very important but must be consistently lined up with all other references to the same event.

1/. A period of seven years remains on Israel’s timeline.

Daniel 9:24-2724 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. 25 Know therefore and understand, [that] from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince [shall be] seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof [shall be] with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make [it] desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

This passage is critical to our understanding of the end-times timeline. It is clear that Daniel meant each day to represent a year. The command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was given to Ezra in the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes (465 BC to 425 BC) – also known as Longimanus because his right hand was longer than his left.

Ezra 7:11-1311 Now this [is] the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes gave unto Ezra the priest, the scribe, [even] a scribe of the words of the commandments of the Lord, and of his statutes to Israel. 12 Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect [peace], and at such a time. 13 I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and [of] his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee.

This places the command around 458-457 BC. 69 times 7 years = 483 years takes us to around 27 AD, with the crucifixion (assuming Jesus was 33 years old) generally around 28-29 AD. So we can assume that Daniel’s prophecy means the crucifixion date after 49 weeks of years. Note that the uncertainty of the absolute date of that command, means that to arrive within a year or two of Jesus’ crucifixion has to be fairly conclusive! Thus Daniel’s prophecy leaves us just one week of years remaining of Israel’s timeline.

The whole 70 weeks was to finish the transgression of Israel and to bring in everlasting righteousness. This hasn’t happened yet, nor will it until after Jesus returns to reign as King at Jerusalem for a thousand years. Thus, sometime between the crucifixion and the second coming is a seven year period (the last week of years) yet to run on Israel’s timeline. It is logical to assume that this will be the last seven years before their Messiah returns. Clearly it hasn’t happened yet!

Zechariah 12:10And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for [his] only [son], and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for [his] firstborn.

The seven year period appears to be reinforced by Ezekiel in what appears to be the war that triggers Israel returning to God as His people.

Ezekiel 39:1-101 Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I [am] against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshechand Tubal: 2 And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: 3 And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. 4 Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that [is] with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and [to] the beasts of the field to be devoured.  5 Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken [it], saith the Lord God. 6 And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I [am] the Lord. 7So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not [let them] pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I [am] the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. 8 Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord God; this [is] the day whereof I have spoken. 9 And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years:  10 So that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down [any] out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire: and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord God.

We also have a number of times mentioned which correspond to around three and a half years, or in two cases with extra added on.

“a time, times and a half” = 3½ years (Eg Daniel 12:7)

“a time and times and the dividing of time” = 3½ years (Eg Daniel 7:25)

“a thousand, two hundred and ninety days” = 3½ years plus 30 days (Eg Daniel 12:11)

“thousand three hundred and five and thirty days” = 3½ years plus 75 days (Eg Daniel 12:12).

Also note “forty {and} two months” = 3½ years (Revelation 11:2)

“a thousand two hundred {and} threescore days” 1260 days = 3½ years (Revelation 12:6.

It is generally accepted that the tribulation will last either for 3½ years or 7 years, depending on whether you determine the timespans to be concurrent or consecutive. On this basis, some determine the rapture to be either 3½ or 7 years before the second coming. Some consider the tribulation period to be 7 years with only the second half a time of great suffering. However, a reasonably literal interpretation of the Bible has to assume a 7 year period left of Israel’s timeline between the crucifixion and the second coming.

2/. A complete unbroken 7 year period is indicated by Daniel.

Daniel 9:27aAnd he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation (offering) to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make [it] desolate,

overspreading – out of 108 usages in KJV, 74 are “wing” and 14 are “skirt”.

“he” is the prince that shall come …..

Daniel 9:26And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof {shall be} with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

In 70 AD the people of Rome destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the temple, and it shall be the prince of this same people (that is, the Romans) who will then confirm the covenant with Israel for that final week of years.

The idea appears to be that this prince (the antichrist) will make use of abominations, causing them to serve his purposes to make the city of Jerusalem desolate. Daniel states that this prince of Rome, the antichrist, will set up abominations in the midst of his covenanted week with Israel, clearly using the offence to attempt to take greater control of Jerusalem and the temple in particular.

The abomination mentioned by Daniel is in the midst of the week of years. This says that he (the antichrist) will make a covenant or agreement with many (including Israel) for a week, apparently to reinstate the sacrifices in the temple. Note that the daily sacrifice is taken away when the abomination of desolation is set up (in the temple, in the middle of that covenant week).

Daniel 12:11And from the time [that] the daily [sacrifice] shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, [there shall be] a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

This 1290 days (Daniel 12:11) includes the 1260 days Israel is protected in the wilderness (Revelation 12:6). That is, after the abomination in the midst of the week, a period of 3½ years follows until the lead-up to Armageddon and the second coming. This has to also assume a corresponding period of 3½ years before the abomination.

Revelation 12:6And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days (= 1260 days or 3½ years).

The extra 30 days appears to be the time taken for the 7 bowls of wrath of God leading up to Armageddon (Revelation 16). This is the culmination of the tribulation. It is likely that Israel, after being protected by God in the wilderness for 1260 days (3½ years) is brought back to Jerusalem to face the build-up to the battle of Armageddon, a time period of probably only 30 days. Thus the 1260 + 30 = 1290 days.

Jesus taught about the “abomination” of Daniel 9:27 and 12:11 in Matthew 24 and Mark 13.

Matthew 24:15-2215 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 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. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

(Luke 21 also appears to be talking about the same event; however, though many aspects are similar, he is really writing about the lead-up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD.)

Some say that Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy is of Antiochus IV Epiphanes who, in 167 BC, desecrated the temple.

…..the worship of Yahweh and all of the Jewish rites were forbidden on pain of death. In the Temple an altar to Zeus Olympios was erected, and sacrifices were to be made at the feet of an idol in the image of the King. (Encyc. Britannica)

He also allegedly sacrificed a pig on the temple altar to punish the Jews. However, Jesus talked about the abomination as yet in the future. It is likely, though, that Antiochus IV Epiphanes was a first level of the prophecy, yet still just a figure of the main event in the future. This often happens in prophecy.

Another passage in Daniel (8:13-14) appears to mention the tribulation, yet makes it 2300 days, a bit short of the seven years. Some commentators also say this relates instead to Antiochus IV Epiphanes. However, once again, Antiochus is probably a type of the tribulation to come. But 2300 is too short; yet some say the original read 2500 days. This passage is too unclear to determine which it might mean so it’s best to accept the consistency of the rest of the Bible in establishing a 7 year period. Likewise, Daniel 11:31 which appears to be about Antiochus who is but a type of the antichrist; there is so much prophecy that is on two levels though.

Daniel 8:13-1413 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain [saint] which spake, How long [shall be] the vision [concerning] the daily[sacrifice], and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? 14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

Daniel 11:31And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily {sacrifice}, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.

Note also Daniel 7:25And he shall speak [great] words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

Once again 3½ years appears.

3/. This final 7 year period is for Israel and not for the Church.

The Bible makes it clear that the Church has taken the place of a rejected Israel (Romans 11), being grafted as wild olive branches onto the natural rootstock of the olive tree representing Israel. However, it also makes it clear that Israel cannot be grafted back on again until the purpose for the Church to be on the olive tree is completed or fulfilled.

Romans 11:24-2724 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural [branches], be graffed into their own olive tree? 25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

fulnesspleroma (that which fills or with which a thing is filled:-
(a) of those things which a ship is filled, freight and merchandise, sailors, oarsmen, soldiers
(b) completeness or fullness of time. That is, the full complement or manifest of people are on board when the ship sails. Thus, the full complement of the Church (the Gentiles) must be included on the manifest so that the ship can depart and Israel can then “see” again and be saved. This will happen seven years before the second coming of Jesus.

There are those (primarily from a more reformed or calvinistic persuasion) who do not accept that Israel comes back onto her own timeline for the last seven years. They prefer to teach that there are three main covenants, the covenants of redemption, works, and grace, and that these covenants have then been transferred to the Church (which either stands in Israel’s place, or even totally replaces Israel). The two covenants of works and of grace are those which apply to mankind. This is called covenant theology.

WikipediaHistorical Reformed systems of thought treat covenant theology not merely as a point of doctrine or as a central dogma, but as the structure by which the biblical text organizes itself.

….. the Covenant of Redemption, is the agreement within the Godhead that the Father would appoint his son Jesus to give up his life for mankind and that Jesus would do so (cf. Titus 1:1-3). ….. the Covenant of Works, was made in the Garden of Eden between God and Adam and promised life for obedience and death for disobedience. Adam disobeyed God and broke the covenant, and so the third covenant was made between God and all of mankind, who also fell with Adam according to Romans 5:12-21. …. (the) third covenant, the Covenant of Grace, promised eternal blessing for belief in Christ and obedience to God’s word. …. Covenant theology has roots in the writings ofAugustine and John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion 2:9-11). http://www.theopedia.com/covenant-theology

Covenant theology is clearly outlined in Chapter 7 of the Westminster Confession (a declaration of calvinist or reformed beliefs).

In the covenant of grace, God freely offers to sinners (that is, those who fail to live up to the covenant of works) eternal life and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Covenant theology is often seen as Replacement theology; that is, the covenants remain in place, but the Church replaces Israel as the one with whom God makes the covenants. The covenant theology supporters say “Replacement theology” is an incorrect label and that there isn’t a sharp distinction between the Church and Israel.

Some have accused Covenant Theology as teaching what is called “Replacement Theology” (i.e., the Church replaces Israel). This couldn’t be further from the truth. Unlike Dispensationalism, Covenant Theology does not see a sharp distinction between Israel and the Church. Israel constituted the people of the God in the OT, and the Church (which is made up of Jew and Gentile) constitutes the people of God in the NT; both just make up one people of God (Ephesians 2:11-20). The Church doesn’t replace Israel; the Church is Israel and Israel is the Church (Galatians 6:16). All people who exercise the same faith as Abraham are part of the covenant people of God (Galatians 3:25-29). http://www.gotquestions.org/covenant-theology.html

Thus, in covenant theology, Israel ceases to exist separately from the Church. That is, in prophetical passages concerning Israel, the Church has taken on the role of Israel, including all the actions and responsibilities. Some, though, teach that Israel has ceased as a people of God, and that the Church has completely replaced Israel; that is, every time Israel is mentioned after her rejection, it is really the Church that is involved. Extreme views of this are held by such as the British Israelites, although strict calvinists generally believe in this also. Others, though, teach that Israel and the Church have merged such that both exist concurrently, without clear distinction for each, especially in the end-times. Most old-fashioned reform beliefs not only wipe Israel off the religious calendar completely; they also go further and remove the event that follows the tribulation, the millennium reign of Christ. Thus, they do not believe in a literal millennial reign of Jesus. This view is termed amillennialism. Presbyterian and other reform belief, such as Dutch Reform, fall into this category.

However, for the above views, there is no real rapture. Where Israel is mentioned (for example, in Revelation), it really means the Church which has either merged with Israel or completely replaced Israel. Some believe the rapture is symbolic and that when the Messiah returns, He will redeem all His people, and others believe that the rapture occurs just before the second coming, such that Jesus comes with clouds (of believers, that is). Much of this is believed by reformed or calvinist people.

Therefore, we will dismiss a rapture at the end of the tribulation as non-scriptural. Such an event presupposes that Israel is no longer a separate entity from the Church. However, many fundamentalists still maintain that the rapture will be 3½ years before the end, that is, around the time when the abomination is set up. They look at passages such as Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 to support their views. However, they must assume that such passages are discussing more than just Israel (covenant theology may still be a problem in their thinking here) whereas it does seem clear that Jesus was talking about Israel in each case, noting the connection of the Matthew 24 and Mark 13 passages with Revelation 12 where Israel flees into the wilderness for 1260 days during the tribulation. Note too that Luke 21 is about something that occurs before the Great Dispersion after 70 AD.

Luke 21:24And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

Also note that where it discusses what appears to be the rapture in Matthew 24:37-42, it is a different section of that passage. For if Matthew 24:15-22 is talking about those people of God who must flee for their lives (it seems to be Israel that is indicated here), then why flee if those people of God are also going to be snatched away (raptured) instead? Thus there are two separate events involving two separate groups of people here, (a) Israel which has to flee when they see the abomination, and (b) the Church which will be snatched away (raptured) probably 3½ years before this.

Matthew 24:37-4237 But as the days of Noe (Noah) [were], so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe (Noah) entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two [women shall be] grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

Other things to note are that the Church isn’t mentioned playing any part in any tribulation etc after the letters to the seven churches are completed in Revelation Chapters 3 & 4. Only by making the Church part of Israel (or Israel part of the Church, or Israel replaced by the Church) can you make the Church logically be part of the tribulation of Revelation. A pre-tribulation rapture is consistently supported by teaching that demonstrates that the ministry of the church is fulfilled (relating to the full ship’s complement or manifest being on board before the ship sails – “the fullness of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:25) before salvation can come back to Israel – “all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26).

Another point to note is that, while many teach that the two witnesses in Jerusalem (Revelation 11:3-14) are present during the first half of the tribulation, also note carefully that the seven final vials (bowls) of wrath (= the last woe) follow immediately after those two witnesses ascend to heaven. This is more consistent with the two witnesses being present in the second half of the tribulation, ascending to heaven just before the final seven vials are poured out upon the earth (Revelation 16). These final seven vials probably span a period of only thirty days, culminating in the battle of Armageddon.

Revelation 11:3-143 And I will give [power] unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days (1260 days = 3½ years), clothed in sackcloth. 4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. 6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. 7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies [shall lie] in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. 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. 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. 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. 14 The second woe is past; [and], behold, the third woe cometh quickly.

(This third and last woe includes the seven vials of the wrath of God leading up to Armegeddon.)

Biblical consistency shows that the Church (which is collectively the temple of the Holy Spirit – Ephesians 2:22In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.) must be removed before the antichrist may be revealed.

2 Thessalonians 2:7-87 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let], until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

This following passage describes the rapture, yet it says little concerning the timeline, other than the “already dead” Christians will rise first.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-1716 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: 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.

It is also generally believed that the wedding feast of the Lamb will take place between the rapture and the second coming, although this is likely to be on a timeline independent of earth’s timeline! However, this is not clear yet, nor will be until it happens, apparently.

4/. Conclusion

So we know there is going to be a seven year period at the end; complete, though in two sections, yet concurrent (that is, one following the other). Revelation makes it clear this is to do with Israel with the sealing of 12,000 from each tribe in Revelation 7:4-8, and that the Church must “leave” before Israel can come back on stage. The only logical conclusion is that the Church must sail with its full complement on board (= fulfilled) before the final seven years commence. Consider the alternatives: the Church sits around doing nothing for 3½ to 7 years? The Church joins up with Israel? The Church is Israel? There is no tribulation period? There is no millennium? Most of Revelation (and other end-times prophecy is hypothetical or allegorical? Or perhaps the rapture is actually just before the seven year tribulation period commences, just as the Bible teaches!

We would have to re-write much of the Bible to prevent Israel from coming back for her last seven years on Daniel’s timeline! And why not also re-write the creation account to also be allegorical? And perhaps everything else? We have lost the desire to seek the truth for what it is, because we have disobeyed God’s command to test all things.

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