The following information is taken from the e-book series:

BABYLON RISING: And The First Shall Be The Last
written by Rob Skiba II
Copyright © 2011


The Rapture Riddle

Part 2: The Ten Clues

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A Quick Review:

The primary verse everyone uses to describe the Rapture is in 1 Thessalonians:

We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.

- 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 (NLT)

[emphasis mine]

The phrase "caught up" comes from the word "harpazó" in Greek [Strong's 726]. It literally means, to "seize or snatch up, suddenly and decisively." That is where we get the whole idea of a Rapture. And there is a companion passage of Scripture to this one, again written by Paul that we must also take into consideration.

Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

- 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 (NKJV) [emphasis mine]

These two passages of Scripture tell us how and when this "catching up" event takes place. Paul gives us a great deal of detail to know exactly what to expect. Thus, all of the following points must be present in order for us to consider the Rapture to be taking place:

  1. The Lord's coming and His gathering together of the Saints happens on the "Day of Christ" (AKA, the "Day of the Lord.")
  2. The Day of the Lord will not happen until there first come a great falling away (apostasy), and the Anti-Christ man of sin is revealed, exalting himself above all by going into the Temple showing himself to be God.
  3. When the Rapture (catching up/gathering) happens, it will be heralded by the Lord's appearing in the clouds accompanied by a shout from the archangel and the sounding of the trumpet of God.
  4. The dead will rise first, then we who are alive and remain will be "caught up" (Raptured) to meet the Lord in the air in bodily form. That means, our physical bodies will literally rise up off the ground and go up into the clouds exactly the way all others in the Bible who were "Raptured" did; Enoch, Elijah and Yeshua all went up in physical form, lifted up from the ground to disappear in the clouds above.

In order for the Rapture to occur, it must happen this way and in no other fashion, for this is how the Holy Spirit revealed the order of events to Paul in the Scriptures.

CLICK HERE for a pop-up window that will keep the above list handy as we move forward in this blog.

The Rapture Riddle itself is contained within all of the descriptions given about the Last Days by the Prophets and Apostles and indeed by Yeshua Himself. It appears that the answer to this riddle is hidden for us in Yeshua's Olivet Discourse, thus giving us the master key for unlocking all prophecies concerning End Time events. Therefore, using His discourse as our guide, we must dive into the Scriptures and explore a number of clues that hopefully, by the end of this blog will enable us to solve The Rapture Riddle together!


Here are the ten clues that I believe will help us solve this riddle:

  1. The Exodus - Revelation Parallels
  2. The Plurality of the Bride
  3. The Torah Reveals Many Answers
  4. We Are Talking About Marriage
  5. Shutting Doors and Places of Safety
  6. The Tribulation Saints
  7. The Restrainer Steps Away
  8. The Gathering in the Middle
  9. The Post-Tribulation Harvest Gathering
  10. The Marriage of the Lamb

CLUE #1: The Exodus - Revelation Parallels

The Bible tells us that all Scripture is inspired by God:

 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

- 2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)

The NIV renders the phrase "given by inspiration of God" as "God-breathed." The Scriptures were written by men, under the inspiration - or breath - of God. But I submit to you that some of the Scriptures go even beyond that. Many believe that the Torah was personally dictated to Moses by God in the wilderness! If this is true, then the words contained in the first five books of the Bible come directly from the mouth of God as a dictation rather than an inspiration. That is not meant to cast doubt on the "inspired" works, but rather to show more direct, personal interaction on the part of God in laying the foundation of our faith through his great prophet Moses. There is no question that the Torah is unique in many ways. By studying it, I believe we will see why the Holy Spirit appears to "agree" with all views of the Rapture given above. So, let's start there!

Consider the following parallels between the books of Exodus and Revelation (Note: the plagues that did/do not affect God's people are highlighted in blue):

EXODUS
REVELATION
The plagues of Egypt listed in order:
End Times Parallel Plagues:
Trumpet Judgments
Bowl
Judgments
1. Blood Water Ex. 7:14-22 1. Blood Water Rev. 8:8-9 Rev. 16:3-7
2. Frogs Ex. 8:1-12 2. Frogs .......................... Rev. 16:12-14
3. Gnats Ex. 8:16-19 3. Gnats .......................... ..........................
4. Flies Ex. 8:20-32 4. Flies .......................... ..........................
5. Dead Animals Ex. 9:1-7 5. Dead Animals Rev. 8:7-9 Rev. 16:3,8
6. Skin Boils Ex. 9:8-12 6. Skin Boils .......................... Rev. 16:1-2, 8
7. Hail Ex. 9:13-35 7. Hail Rev. 8:7,11:19 Rev.16:17-21
8. Locusts Ex. 10:1-20 8. (Demon) Locusts Rev. 9:1-11 ..........................
9. Darkness Ex. 10:21-29 9. Darkness Rev. 8:12 Rev. 16:10
10. People Killed by God's Judgments Ex. 12:21-30 10. People Killed by God's Judgments Rev. 9:13-16 Rev. 16:1-21

As you can see, with the exception of gnats and flies the plagues listed in the Book of Revelation are virtually identical to those of the Book of Exodus. Of course, where Revelation lacks gnats and flies, Exodus lacks massive earthquakes, mountains and asteroids falling out of the sky and some of the other horrors of The Seven Year Tribulation Period. But you get the point. The similarities are definitely there! Revelation appears to depict an amped up replay of Exodus! So, if the plagues are so similar, might not the escape from them be as well?

In the Nimrod, Abraham, the Pharaohs and Moses blog, we learned that he first Anti-Christ, Nimrod, who was known to the Egyptians as Osiris had died. Shortly after that, the cult of Osiris began to take root. Then a Pharaoh arose that did not remember Joseph. This Pharaoh thought of himself as a god. He thought he was a reincarnation of Osiris and thus the second Anit-Christ figure began to persecute the people of God. If the thesis of this e-book is true - that Nimrod will rise again and the first shall be the last Anti-Christ - then Revelation really is an exact repeat of Exodus.

It is God's final war against the same Egyptian gods of antiquity that He fought once before, with Osiris-Nimrod leading the assault. But in the coming Apocalypse, I suspect we will see an all out assault of all of the ancient gods (Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek, Norse, Mayan, Hindu... all of them!) coming against our God. Satan is going to unleash everything he's got. But this is not something God is worried about. His victory is just as assured in our day as it was in the time of the Exodus.

‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.

- Exodus 12:12 (NKJV) [emphasis mine]

The Lord will terrify them as he destroys all the gods in the land.Then nations around the world will worship the Lord, each in their own land.

- Zephaniah 2:11 (NLT) [emphasis mine]

Another parallel in the Book of Revelation is that we are talking about a marriage. In the Building a Pure Nation and Exodus and the Promised Land (coming soon) blogs , I showed you how God chose a nation for Himself. He chose a group of people that He would call His own. But it went deeper than that. God chose a bride for Himself. It wasn't just a "Law" that was given to Moses and the Israelites. It was a marriage covenant. God married Israel in the Exodus! He chose them and they agreed to make Him their God and husband.

Vying for Israel
Exodus 6:7-11

In the Exodus 6 passage, God announced His intention to take Israel as His bride. The expression, "You will be my people and I will be your God" is a legal formulation from the sphere of marriage. Within the legal marriage documents of the Ancient Near East, the phrase is, "You will be my wife and I will be your husband." Thus, when God tells Moses that He intends for Israel to be His people and Himself to be their God, He is implying a marriage between Himself and Israel.

Henceforth Israel will be called, 'the people of God.' The LORD Himself will be known as the God of Israel.

- Torah Club, Volume 5: Rejoicing of the Torah - Va'era (page 275)

In the Book of Exodus, the nation of Israel was rescued from the clutches of the false gods of this world. She was "saved" from Egypt. She went through the waters of the Red Sea and came out the other side, having avoided a "tribulation" at the hands of the Egyptians. And then God took Moses to the top of Mt. Sinai and presented the marriage vows to His new bride.

When put like that, it is not hard to see some amazing parallels between the Book of Exodus, Yeshua's "Parable of the Ten Virgins" and the events written about in the Book of Revelation. What if that is not just a coincidence? What if we are looking at a literal repeat of Exodus? What if we are about to participate in a second or Final Exodus? If so, what will that look like and how will it happen?

CLUE #2: The Plurality of the Bride

Let's take a closer look at the "Parable of the Ten Virgins." Many scholars believe that these "virgins" are bridesmaids and not the Bride. These are usually Pre-Tribbers who believe the Church (the Bride) has gone up already and contend that these are those who will be able to join her later as Tribulation Saints - those who "get saved" during the Tribulation Period. While I understand that view, I have several points of contention:

  1. The general Pre-Trib. Rapture view usually interprets the "restrainer" that Paul wrote about in 2 Thessalonians 2:6,7 as the Holy Spirit. And thus, when the Church is gone, they reason the Holy Spirit left too. That in my opinion is bad theology and unsupported by Scripture. It implies that people can "get saved" during the Tribulation, but that they'll have the Holy Spirit on a "come and go" basis because they are not "sealed" in the "Church Age" sense and thus the Holy Spirit can be emptied from someone as apparently indicated by the five "foolish virgins" in the Parable of the Ten Virgins. I reject that notion because there is NO basis in Scripture for it! Not to mention the fact that Daniel 12:1 essentially tells you point blank that the restrainer is Michael - which totally nullifies the whole Holy Spirit is the restrainer argument anyway.
  2. We may be tempted to say that the "Parable of the Ten Virgins" is not even a parable about the Rapture in the first place. On one hand, I will agree. It is not about the Rapture - but I do believe it is about a sparing of God's people from the Tribulation. I will explain what I mean by that shortly. Suffice it to say, the virgins are considered pure and they are waiting for the Bridegroom. Thus, all ten must be representative of Believers. And therefore, the story seems to indicate that some will be able to "go in" with the Bridegroom and some will not. This does not appear to be talking about salvation, but rather the ability of some to enjoy the consummation of the marriage, while others miss out.
  3. The typical Pre-Tribber looks at this parable and assumes the "virgins" in this story are the "bridesmaids" in the wedding party. This assumes the Bride is a singular entitity who has apparently already been "caught up" and has therefore gone away before the story began. But it seems to me that it is highly unlikely Yeshua would start His story in the middle, not giving an explaination about this supposed event that happened beforehand. Plus, this would have the Groom returning twice: once for His Bride and then for the wedding party. That doesn't make much sense as in the Jewish wedding tradition, the groom comes for his bride and the wedding party follows with them all together.
  4. If we are to assume the "virgins" are the bridesmaides, then what we have here is an apparent Rapture of the Church/Bride (and thus the Holy Spirit) happening first and then a selection of followers who go with the Groom after her. How is that possible if they are not Believers? And if they are Believers, how did they become such without the Holy Spirit? The bridesmaid view actually causes more problems and creates more questions than solutions/answers. Therefore, since there is no mention of a bride in this parable, I believe we need to look at the story in a different way.

I believe this parable could just as easily be a representation of the plurality of the Church/Bride. In other words, all Believers are considered to be the Bride. The Church is not a building or a religion. She is a collective body of many. Paul confirms this idea in his first letter to the Corinthians:

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many...

...But now are they many members, yet but one body.

- 1 Corinthians 12:12-14 and vs 20 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

Paul testifies to the Plurality of the Bride:

For we are members {plural} of his body {singular}, of his flesh and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

- Ephesians 5:30-32 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

Therefore, I submit that based on the striking lack of evidence for any other mention of a bride* [1] in this parable, the allegory could be saying that these "virgins" who are pure, are all in fact Christians (making up the body of the Bride) awaiting the return of Yeshua, their Groom. This is certainly not meant to be taken as some endorsement of polygamy, but rather to consider the Bride as a collective entity of many represented as one in the sense that Paul described above.

This concept would be akin to an entire nation being represented by the name of one man, such as Israel. Israel was the changed name of Isaac's son, Jacob. But the name also represents the entire nation of people descended from him. Thus many are represented by one title. And just as the Hebrew nation was divided into two distinct entities being represented as the northern kingdom of Israel (that was foolish) and the southern kingdom of Judah (that was initially wise - though ended up being just as foolish), so too this parable could be saying something similar about the Church/Bride being represented as wise and foolish virgins. And if you let that comparison sink in for deeper consideration, you will find some very interesting parallels indeed!

Assuming this plural interpretation is true, and these "ten virgins" are all Believers, what's the deal with only five having oil in their lamps and being prepared to go with the Groom and five not being ready?

CLUE #3: The Torah Reveals Many Answers

This entire e-book sprung from a desire to understand the Master's statement in Matthew 24:37, "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man." Notice He made that statement after concluding His entire breakdown of Last Days events. In fact, He concluded His entire speech regarding the Last Days with verse 35, stating, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." That statement refers to what the Apostle John records in the second to the last chapter of the Book of Revelation:

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

- Revelation 21:1 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

The Prophet Isaiah also makes reference to this, as does the Apostle Peter:

For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

- Isaiah 65:17 (KJV)

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

- 2 Peter 3:10 (KJV)

That event happens after the final millennium, at the end of the 7th proverbial "day" of God's 7,000 year time table. So, Yeshua had given the entire description of End Times events by the time He wraps up with verse 35 of Matthew's Gospel. Therefore, the next verse leads me to believe that the "that day" that He was referring to is the day Heaven and Earth passes away! Look at it for yourself:

"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.

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

- Matthew 24:33-36 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

Taken in the context of His entire discussion, it seems to me that "the day and hour" no one knows any thing about, except the Father is the day that He (the Father) decides to start everything all over again! This quote is different from the similar statement Yeshua makes in the Parable of the Ten Virgins story. We'll get to that one in a minute. But what makes this quote different is that in this case ONLY the Father alone knows about THAT day. Could it be that we've misunderstood that verse? I hear everyone always quoting it whenever discussions of the Rapture are brought up and predictions are made. And yet, everything else about Matthew 24 seems to imply that we can and should know about the "Signs of the Times" and be prepared for them. Paul seems to have understood this as well:

Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

- 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 (NIV) [emphasis mine]

Folks, this is extremely important!! Yeshua told us what to expect and what to look for. And to further elaborate, notice what He said in Matthew 24:43 (KJV),

"But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up."

Yeshua told us in advance what was going to happen and who the Anti-Christ was, is and will be. Paul said that there was no need to write to the Thessalonians about times and dates, implying that they understood what was coming and how it would happen.

This brings us to another oft quoted but usually misunderstood statement, and that is that the Messiah will come "like a thief in the night." That phrase was a known Jewish idiom in Yeshua's day - and it always applied to the slothful, sleeping and unprepared individual, not to those who were watching, waiting, obedient and prepared.

Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

- Revelation 3:3 [emphasis mine]

The idiom, "like a thief in the night" refers to a practice associated with the Temple and the altar. Most Christians have no clue about this because we are programmed to be "New Testament, Bible Believers!" I have recently come to realize just how deceptive and damaging that ideology truly is.

To us, when we hear the term "Old Testament" we somehow consider it to be old, out of date and no longer needed. That is not the case. We have to realize that whenever the Apostles and early Christians were "searching the Scriptures" concerning the Messiah, they were not reading the New Testament! That did not exist! They were living the New Testament at that time and later wrote about it for our benefit. So, when they were "searching the Scriptures," they were studying the Torah and other scrolls that later became known as the Old Testament! Thus, it is actually the Old Testament that tells us who the Messiah is!!

By focusing only on the New Testament, we have lost so much in terms of our understanding of God, His Son and the ultimate plan for mankind. Realizing this, I can no longer consider myself to be a "New Testament, Bible Believing Christian" but rather a "FULL Testament, Bible Believing follower of Yeshua!"

By studying the Torah (as the First Century Believers did), we can learn a lot - including the meaning behind the oft quoted, "thief in the night" idiom. It comes from the Book of Leviticus:

The LORD said to Moses: “Give Aaron and his sons this command: ‘These are the regulations for the burnt offering: The burnt offering is to remain on the altar hearth throughout the night, till morning, and the fire must be kept burning on the altar. The priest shall then put on his linen clothes, with linen undergarments next to his body, and shall remove the ashes of the burnt offering that the fire has consumed on the altar and place them beside the altar. Then he is to take off these clothes and put on others, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a place that is ceremonially clean. The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it.

The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.

- Leviticus 6:8-13 (NIV) [emphasis mine]

Notice the repeated statements that the fire must not go out! This was a command of God. So, the priests had to take it very serious! A tradition was therefore developed involving the priest of the night watch and the High Priest. Early in the morning, before dawn, the High Priest would return to the Temple to prepare everything for the daily sacrifices. He did so in a stealthy manner in order to "check on" the night priest to ensure he had done his job right.

Consider what this on-line source has to say about this issue:

The high priest would begin to walk around the temple looking for the priest.  If the priest was found to be asleep, the high priest would go over to the altar and gather some of the orange hot coals from the altar in a fire pan and bring them over to the sleeping priest and gently place them under the sleeping priests’ garments.

FYI, these weren’t fire retardant garments the priests wore either.  It is said that the priestly garments after being soiled were actually taken off and tore into strips and were used as wicks in the menorah in the temple.  So they lit up pretty easily. So the garments of the sleeping priest would soon be ignited in flames and the only thing that the slothful priest could do is shed all the garments and go home burnt, wounded, shamed, and naked.  This was an important lesson to the priest.

[emphasis mine]

In the above passage of Leviticus, we learn that they are to put on linen (highly flammable) clothes, with linen garments that clung close to his body. This was serious business! And this is what Yeshua means to emphasize in the time of Great Tribulation when He said,

"Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame."

- Revelation 16:15 (KJV)

From reading the Torah, we can get a much greater understanding of lots of things concerning the Messiah, including some of the idioms used in reference to the Last Days, like coming "as a thief in the night." The obvious implication is that we are to be awake, sober and alert so that when our High Priest, King and Bridegroom returns, we are ready for Him - which brings us back to the Parable of the Ten Virgins.

This parable is directly related to the previous statement made in Matthew 24:37 concerning the days of Noah. After making the connection to Noah's time, the Master gives several analogies for us to consider. And I think we should pause and look at one of them for a moment, because it will expose another lie that many of us have believed.

"In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes."

“Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left."

“So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming."

- Matthew 24:38-42 (NLT) [emphasis mine]

Looking at this passage, how many of you were taught that this is an example of the Rapture; that all of a sudden, the person next to us may simply disappear, or that you will be that person and the other person next to you will be left wondering what happened to you when the Rapture mysteriously takes you away? If you thought this way, go back and re-read those verses again, because that's not what the Master is saying!

He says people didn't realize what was happening until it was too late and the Flood waters took them away. Who? The bad people were the ones who were taken! The good ones (Noah and family) were left! Yeshua is warning you not to be in the camp of those who will be unprepared for His coming - those who will be taken away, this time by fire! Again, we see Him telling the foolish to keep watch because they won't know what day the Lord is coming. Noah and his family knew. They were prepared and thus they went into the place of safety and were spared the judgment.

Let us now look at the beginning of Matthew 25. Here the Master tells us the Parable of the Ten Virgins:

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

- Matthew 25:1-13 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

Here again, it was to the foolish virgins that the Master made the statement to watch because you (who? the foolish) know not the day nor the hour! The others were ready!

Note also that this is the other "day and hour" quote I mentioned above. This one is different from the one we looked at ealier concerning the destruction and renewal of the Heavens and the Earth though. The first quote referred to no one but the Father knowing about "that day" - the day Heaven and Earth will pass away. This quote is in reference to the return of the Son of Man. But here again, we can look to the Torah to understand yet another Hebrew idiom.

There is a time wherein no man knows the day or the hour. It is called Rosh haShanah (AKA: Yom Teruah, "The Day of the Awakening Blast," the Feast of Trumpets - Yom HaDin, "Day of Judgement," Yom HaZikkaron, "Day of Remembrance" and Yom HaKeseh, "Day of the Hiding or Hidden Day") and it is found in the Torah's Book of Leviticus:

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.

- Leviticus 23:23-25 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

Notice that this is a day marked with the blowing of trumpets (shofars). That is what is supposed to mark the Master's return and it is also what heralds the return of a Jewish bridegroom who is coming for his bride.

But there is a reason why it is a day and hour that no one knows. The Hebrew day and year both are marked by the moon (as opposed to the sun). In order to know when the new year began, two witnesses were required to go out and see if the new moon has risen.

The Feast of Trumpets (Rosh haShanah) is celebrated over a two day period. In the Bible times, they didn't have computers to tell them in advance when the moon would come up, how it would look and where it would be on the horizon. They had to physically go out and look for themselves to see if they could find the first minute sliver of the waxing new moon. This is why it is the only day that "no man knows the day or the hour."

In this case, the two designated witnesses were the ones who verified the beginning of the new year by the observance of the new moon. Of course, they knew the "time and the season" they were in and they were able to make a determination down to the two day timeframe. I believe we are going to be able to do the same thing based on this particular holiday because as we will see shortly, all of God's plans for mankind have and will be centered around His Seven Feasts. And I have to believe this is part of the reason for the Two Witnesses of the Book of Revelation being here in the first place - to help us know the time of our Lord-Bridegroom's return.

Something else I find extremely interesting is that Jewish tradition says Adam was created on Rosh haShanah and Stellarium (a free software that enables you to view stellar alignments throughout history) seems to suggest that Yeshua (the Second Adam) was also born around this same time! The strange thing for Americans (especially) to take note of concerning this timeframe is that it usually occurs sometime in our month of September. And the stellar alignment that seems to perfectly fit the description of what the "Wise Men" may have seen happens on September 11th (imagine that!) in 2 BC.

This animated gif shows some amazing things in the early morning heavens. Here, I have the time set for 5AM. If the atmosphere and ground plain views were turned on, you would just barely see the sun about to come up over the eastern horizon. The planet Jupiter would still be visible, looking like a "star in the east" - visible even in early morning daylight.

Jupiter is known as the "king planet." Venus is known as the "queen planet." Beginning early in August of 2BC, Venus chases her king. As the waning moon crosses over the two planets around the 12th of August, the two overlap. This would have been a very bright alignment! Around the 15th of August, Venus leaves her king and is joined by Mercury (the messenger of the gods). These two head for the constellation Virgo (the virgin).

Meanwhile, Jupiter, the "king planet" literally parks and sits over Regulus, the "king star," which is in the paw of Leo, the "king constellation!" Again, this would have been a very bright alignment and a extremely significant sign to the ancient astronomers.

Finally, on September 11th, 2 BC, we see the waxing sliver of a new moon under the feet of Virgo, who is now "clothed with the sun" shining brightly in her belly, with Mercury and Venus at her head. And if we consider the nine bright stars of Leo plus the planets Jupiter, Venus and Mars at and above her head, we have an exact match to the description John gives in Revelation 12:1-2! Thus, I believe the heavens declare that the true birth date of Yeshua was September 11th, 2BC.

September is the seventh month (Tishri) of the Hebrew calendar and judging by the sliver of a new moon, September 11th, 2 BC very well could have been on Rosh haShanah. So, could it be that Yeshua will return on his birthday? If so and you are one of those Christians who celebrates His birthday on the day that the Anti-Christ was born (December 25th) you'll probably miss it! This is yet another reason (among many) that I believe proves Christians need to not have anything to do with "Christmas." It is a day of deception and it has nothing to do with our Savior or His real birthday! It is a day that will keep you in darkness and lead you astray concerning the days to come.

If God is indeed on a 7,000 year time clock and we are at the close of the 6th "God day" of human existence, then it makes sense that the clock will move to start the next millennium on Adam/Yeshua's birthday. So, for those who would like to be prepared, I will help you out here. Since Jewish holidays are based on lunar cycles, they don't always happen on the same day on our western calendar every year. Therefore, here are the dates (from chabad.org) for Rosh haShana this year and the next few years:

  • 2011: September 28 (at sundown) - 30
  • 2012: September 16 (at sundown) -18
  • 2013: September 4 (at sundown) - 6
  • 2014: September 24 (at sundown) - 26
  • 2015: September 13 (at sundown) - 15

Click the play button to the left for a fantastic audio teaching about the Feast of Trumpets/ Yom Teruah/ Rosh haShanah. I think it is good to know this stuff, because I believe beyond any shadow of a doubt, that Yeshua will return for His bride during this two day celebration.Whether that's going to be this year, next year, 2015 or beyond, I do not know and wouldn't presume to set a date. But it would behoove us to be prepared for each of the above dates until He does return. If He doesn't return by 2015, look up the dates for the following years and continue to watch and wait. This prevents us from being in the group who "know not the day or the hour" and thus will be found completely unprepared for His return. I don't know about you, but I want to be in the group of the "wise virgins" who were watching, waiting and prepared!

Now, concerning the "wise virgins" in the parable, notice Yeshua says that they took oil in their vessels with their lamps. What is that all about anyway?

Oil is often associated with the "anointing" or the Holy Spirit. We are known as "clay vessels" in the Potter's hands.[2] Believers have the Holy Spirit within their vessels, so what's going on with those who don't have enough in this parable? If we view this as a salvation issue, we have problems. As noted above, how can one be a Believer without the Holy Spirit? You can't! Notice that Yeshua said the foolish virgins took their lamps, but no oil with them. But of the wise, He said that they took oil in their vessels with their lamps. The focus in both cases seems to be not so much on the person but on the lamp.

Maybe there's another way to look at this. What if the parable is talking about oil in terms of an "anointing" - or in this case, a lack thereof? Meaning, they are carrying lamps without an anointing or the fuel necessary to illuminate (or understand) the lamp.

So what do the lamps represent? It has become my strong belief that the lamp represents two things: the complete Bible, which is meant to be a lamp unto our feet and a light onto our path and the Menorah, which was the seven-branched candelabrum used in the Temple that was another vessel that was full of oil.

In The Seven Feasts of God blog (coming soon), I mention how each of the Feasts are symbolized by each branch of the Menorah. If you'd like to learn more, here is another good source of information on them. They are also summed up in Leviticus 23. Essentially, from Creation to Eternity, God's entire plan is ingeniously woven into and revealed through the nature and timing of these seven annual Feasts. Each one is like a "dress rehearsal" to prepare us for the "Big Show," with each Feast represented as different "acts" in God's Divine Play. To know the Feasts is to know your "lines" and the parts we are to play in the Master's Script. The lead actor is Yeshua. He knows His lines well. And He plays His part exactly according to the Script.

On Mt. Sinai, God gave Moses the Script and commanded the people to learn it and practice it. If they did, they would know the timing and exact nature of each of God's Divine Acts, and most notably the works of Yeshua. The names and dates of each Feast are:

  1. Passover - Nisan 14-15
  2. Unleavened Bread - Nisan 15-22
  3. First Fruits - Nisan 16-17
  4. Pentecost - Sivan 6-7
  5. Trumpets - Tishri 1
  6. Atonement - Tishri 10
  7. Tabernacles - Tishri 15-22

Everything God did in the Bible, lined up with those Feasts! Thus, everything Yeshua did also had to line up! Therefore, if history and the Bible have anything to say to us, it is that the future "Acts" of our Messiah will also line up with God's Feasts. Yeshua fulfilled each of the Spring Feasts (the first 3) and His Spirit came and fulfilled Pentecost. We are still waiting for the fulfillment of the Fall Feasts (the last 3).

As noted above, the first one we are to be waiting for is the Feast of Trumpets. And what talk on the Last Days would be complete without repeated references to trumpets? One such event being the "harpazó" (or what some call the Rapture) that Paul wrote about in 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17! But which trumpet are we talking about there? Paul refers to it as "the trump of God." So, although the Feast of Trumpets has a lot of trumpet blasts going off, those are trumpets being blown here on Earth. They are not the "trump of God" in Heaven.

The Book of Revelation reveals at least seven notable trumpets (of judgment) going off in Heaven, plus one more at the time of the Final Harvest. One of these trumpets will herald our "Rapture" to meet the Lord in the air. But the first thing I want to point out here is that there is NO mention of a Heavenly trumpet blast going off at the beginning of, or before The Seven Year Tribulation Period! So, that would seem to be one automatic disqualification of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture view. But that doesn't mean there won't be an Exodus or a hiding away at the beginning of the Tribulation - possibly heralded by Earthly trumpets on the Feast of Trumpets, during Rosh haShanah! It is after all a "rehearsal" that is even known as "the day of hiding"!

If my theory is true, then the five "wise virgins" are Believers with "illuminated lamps" - celebrating the birth of the Messiah, possessing the understanding of the Seven Feasts of God as laid out in the Torah and knowledgeable in both the Old and New Testaments of their Bibles, thus having a lamp that has shown them the way.

I believe this represents those who worship God in "Spirit and in Truth." I think most Believers have the Spirit but they lack the full measure of Truth that comes only from God's COMPLETE revelation as given in both Testaments! Only by understanding both can we be sober, awake and knowledgeable about what is to come. In other words, we are to be watching and ready for when our High Priest sneaks up on us like a "thief in the night" to check and see if we've been obedient and kept the fire burning!

Here is another interesting parallel to ponder. If we think of the lamp as the Torah and the oil as the Holy Spirit, consider the similarities of God's work during the Exodus as compared to the work of Yeshua:

LAMP
OIL
  • Salvation from Egypt at Passover-Exodus through the Red Sea
  • Moses receives the Torah on the day of Pentecost (50 days later) and God descends and speaks with tongues of fire.
  • God's Law written in stone.
  • Salvation purchased by Yeshua through His sacrifice as the Passover Lamb pouring out His Red Blood
  • First Believers received the gift of the Holy Spirit as tongues of fire at Pentecost (50 days later).
  • God's Law written on our hearts.

Here we see that the oil of the Son's work illuminates the lamp of the Father's work! I could write a lot more about this, but I think just that simple comparison reveals much. Study the Torah and the Feasts to understand more and to clearly see what Yeshua did to fulfill so much of the work His Father began with the Israelites in their time of Exodus and wanderings in the wilderness. I promise, if you do, you will will become very excited by what you discover! And I believe you will be better prepared for the days ahead - as opposed to those who are asleep, unaware and not ready. They will be found unprepared in that day.

"And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut."

- Matthew 25:10 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

CLUE #4: We Are Talking About Marriage

As we saw above, in the Book of Exodus, God married Israel. In the Book of Revelation, His Son is about to marry His Bride, the Church. So, clue #4 in this riddle is that we are talking about marriage! But according to Yeshua's parable, not everyone will be "ready" for the Bridegroom. Only five of the "ten virgins" are ready to go "in" (to some place) and five remain outside. Therefore, the parable seems to indicate that only some of the Bride of Christ will be ready. But let's look a little closer at the order of events in a typical ancient Jewish wedding.

  1. It starts with the betrothal. This involved the prospective groom leaving his father's house and going to his prospective bride's house. There he would pay the price for his bride-to-be and establish the marriage covenant. Yeshua came down from Heaven and "paid the price" for His Bride, establishing the covenant with His own shed blood.
  2. The bridegroom returns to his father's house to prepare a place for them. Meanwhile the bride prepares herself for married life. Yeshua said that He was going to prepare a place for us. We are to be preparing ourselves for His return.
  3. The bridegroom usually returned at night (unexpectedly) after an extended period of being away. His return was preceded by a shout so that the bride had time to quickly prepare herself for his coming. The groom would then receive the entire wedding party and return with them to his father's house for the celebration.
  4. Once there, the wedding party would find the guests already assembled.
  5. The bride and groom would then be escorted into the bridal chamber (called the huppah) to consummate the marriage. The bride would be veiled at that time.
  6. Once the marriage had been consummated, the groom would then exit the huppah and announce it to the wedding party who have been waiting outside. The guests would then feast and make merry for seven days.
  7. During those seven days, the bride remained hidden in the bridal chamber.
  8. At the conclusion of the seven days, the groom went back into the huppah to fetch his bride and bring her out with her veil removed so that now all could see her.

It is easy to see how Yeshua has already done the first two in this list. We are waiting for number three. Isn't it interesting that the groom usually returned at night? Hence we have another anology that seems to hint toward the whole idea of two witnesses looking for the new moon at night, the trumpet heralding of the Jewish new year and the birthdays of Adam and Yeshua, with a Jewish day beginning at sundown. But how are we to interpret this in light of the Last Days? Herein lies an interesting dilemma and a difficult clue to figure out in this Rapture Riddle.

  • Pre-Tribulation Rapture Solution? On the surface, this view would seem to "trump" the others. It seems like the Jewish wedding ritual perfectly fits a Pre-Trib Rapture of the Bride to a place of hiding in the Father's house for seven days/years while the Tribulation takes place at the Bride's house. But there are problems with this view.
    • Problem # 1: Rosh haShanah trumpets are terrestrial. Paul's "harpazó" (Rapture) trumpet is Heavenly.
    • Problem # 2: There is nothing in Scripture that indicates the Messiah comes "in the clouds" at any time prior to the end, "after the tribulation of those days."
  • Mid-Tribulation Rapture Solution? The entire wedding analogy speaks of a seven day event. So, this can't be talking about the same thing as we have only 3.5 years represented in this view.
  • Post-Tribulation Rapture Solution? In this view, there is no room for the Groom to consummate the marriage and for the bride to "remain hidden" for seven years.

I'll address what I believe is a solution to these problems shortly.

For now, I want you to notice that both Yahweh and Yeshua began their work with a marriage. God announced that He was taking a people to be His own and married Israel. Thus, the work of pointing others to God began on this Earth. Yeshua's public ministry began at the Wedding of Cana. I don't have time to go into that here, but I suspect there is something significant in that story - especially since the narrative of John 2 picks up the story on day three of the wedding celebration - and in the days prior to that, Yeshua got baptized and was out gathering His newly recruited disciples! I'm telling you, it never stops. The more you look into this stuff, the more you find! Now I understand why John concluded His Gosepel by saying:

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

- John 21:25 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

At any rate, the Scriptures are clear in stating that the Messiah's ministry will end with the marriage of He and His Bride in the Last Days - a time that also appears to be designed to draw God's original bride (Israel) back to Him as well. When we look at the Scriptures in this light, it becomes very obvious that the entire Bible should be viewed as one long, romantic and very dramatic love letter!

Something I have become more and more fond of doing in recently months is looking into the Old Testament to find answers to issues in the New Testament and trying to find confirmations of things that were said by the writers of the New Testament in the writings of the Torah and those of the Prophets. When you do that - just as the Bereans did - you find the answers were there all along.

Here is something else that I think we must take into consideration: in John 14:15, our soon to return Bridegroom said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." Yeshua is described in John 1:14 as the Word that "was made flesh and dwelt among us." In John 14:9, He told His Apostle Philip that He and His Father were one and the same. Hebrews 1:3 tells us that the Son was the exact, expressed image of the Father. And in John 10:30, Yeshua declared to the Jews at the Temple, "I and my Father are one." Therefore, whatever the Father said in the Old Testament would have to apply when Yeshua said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." Yahweh's commands were also Yeshua's! So, how do we prove our love for our Groom? By keeping the Torah!

For the commandment {of the Torah} is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

- Proverbs 6:23 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

I'm not talking about legalism here. Legalism teaches that you must keep the Law in order to be saved. Actually, the Torah contradicts that notion. The Israelites (God's bride to be) were saved FIRST, then given the Law - which was really God's marriage covenant; the written contract that tells us about His character. Thus, it makes sense that the returning Groom would be looking to see who loves Him! He has kept His side of the covenant. It makes sense that He would want us to do the same. The "wise" who have "oil in their lamps" certainly fit that description!

Further, the Book of Hebrews gives us another clue that goes along with this one.

For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.

Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.

- Hebrews 10:10-14 (NLT) [emphasis mine]

This is a very interesting concept. Paul says in several places in his epistles that we are made righteous through Christ.

Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

- Romans 3:24 (NLT) [emphasis mine]

For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.

- Romans 5:17,18 (NLT) [emphasis mine]

Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.

- Philippians 3:8,9 (NLT) [emphasis mine]

Our righteousness comes from Christ and through Him alone. We can not add to that. However, the Book of Hebrews refers to us as "being made holy." Holiness is a process that we can add to or subtract from. That does not affect our righteousness, but it does show our obedience and our desire to be more Godly - in other words more like Him. For to become holy is to become sanctified or set apart. How do we do that? We do that by doing what God calls holy and set apart. He is the sanctifier, the one who sets things apart and makes them holy. Thus, we can become more holy by doing what He commanded us to do!

Our Torah study guide puts it like this:

We see the principle at work from the very beginning of Genesis where God sets the seventh day aside as holy. The seventh day itself possessed no intrinsic character of holiness. It was not more magnificent than the other six, nor was it possessed of an exalted spiritual essence prior to God designating it as holy. It was made holy on the sole authority of God, and because He designated it as holy (separate), it is forever after holy and separate.

In a similar way, we are told to keep the Sabbath holy. Again, we [by obeying the command of God] are the ones making the Sabbath holy. The Sabbath does not make itself holy.

********

To be made holy, a thing must be separated from its context, clearly defined and demarcated, by God. He is the sanctifier. Yet somehow, we are to contribute to that holiness. We are to 'be' holy.

********

Once God has declared us holy, 'being holy' is as simple as obeying the commandments. To the extent we keep the commandments, we keep ourselves seperate [from the things of the world].

- Torah Club, Volume 5: Rejoicing of the Torah - Kedoshim, pages 647 - 649
[additional emphasis mine]

Christ made us righteous. We make ourselves more holy by doing His commands, thus proving our love for Him for He is holy. The Groom is looking for a Bride without spot (righteous) or wrinkle (holy) and free of blemishes (pure).

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

- Ephesians 5:25-27 (KJV)

When He returns for such a Bride, what will happen next?

Clue #5: Shutting Doors and Places of Safety

The wise fit the description of being righteous, holy and pure. Thus they get to go with the Groom. I believe this brings us back to Rosh haShanah and one of the other names it is known by: Yom HaKeseh, "Day of the Hiding or Hidden Day." Let's look at Yeshua's parable again, this time focusing on the moment the "wise virgins" go with Him:

"And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut."

- Matthew 25:10 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

When thinking about the previous statement Yeshua made in Matthew 24:37, I believe this reveals something extraordinary. Notice it says "and the door was shut." Considering the fact that this story follows the Master's statement that the Last Days will be like the days of Noah, that phrase really jumped out at me!

A male and female of each kind entered, just as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord closed the door behind them.

- Genesis 7:16 (NLT) [emphasis mine]

In both cases, the Lord shuts the door. And here's the kicker! According to verse 10, they were in the Ark for seven days prior to the Flood beginning!

And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.

- Genesis 7:10 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

Here we are told that God's people went into a place of safety for seven days before His judgment fell on the wicked. The Seven Year Tribulation Period is known as the 70th Week of Daniel; a week consisting of seven days, symbolizing years! Seven days in both cases, followed by the destruction of the wicked. It's an exact repeat - against the exact same adversaries!

Many try to point to Old Testament Scriptures for proof of Rapture-like scenarios. But most of those examples actually better support this thesis of an "Exodus" to a Goshen-like place of safety for those who are obedient and ready, rather than support any view of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.

There really are only two examples of a true Rapture in the Old Testament, and those are Enoch and Elijah's supernatural removal from the planet. All other examples reference some form of an Exodus to a place of safety on the earth!

For instance, the story of Noah's Ark shows God's people in a place of safety, both before the Flood and during it. In both cases, they remained here on the Earth! Noah and his Ark were not Raptured!

Another example often given involves the story of Lot, his family and Sodom and Gomorrah. Even before the destruction of those cities, we see a foreshadow of the same principle at work. When the people of Sodom wanted to impose themselves onto Lot and his angelic visitors, the angels protected Lot. Notice what happened:

But the men [the angels] put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.

- Genesis 19:10-11 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

Here again we see the same terminology used. God's people were saved by being pulled inside of something. The door was then shut and a judgment fell on those left outside! As the story progresses we see that Lot and his family were not "Raptured out" before God rained down judgement on the entire cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. No. They were escorted to a place of safety!

At dawn the next morning the angels became insistent. “Hurry,” they said to Lot. “Take your wife and your two daughters who are here. Get out right now, or you will be swept away in the destruction of the city!”

When Lot still hesitated, the angels seized his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and rushed them to safety outside the city, for the Lord was merciful. When they were safely out of the city, one of the angels ordered, “Run for your lives! And don’t look back or stop anywhere in the valley! Escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away!”

“Oh no, my lord!” Lot begged. “You have been so gracious to me and saved my life, and you have shown such great kindness. But I cannot go to the mountains. Disaster would catch up to me there, and I would soon die. See, there is a small village nearby. Please let me go there instead; don’t you see how small it is? Then my life will be saved.”

“All right,” the angel said, “I will grant your request. I will not destroy the little village. But hurry! Escape to it, for I can do nothing until you arrive there.” (This explains why that village was known as Zoar, which means “little place.”)

Lot reached the village just as the sun was rising over the horizon. Then the Lord rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah. He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain, wiping out all the people and every bit of vegetation.

- Genesis 19:15-25 (NLT) [emphasis mine]

I believe there are many other Scriptures that support the idea of people going into a place of safety during a time of trial, tribulation, judgement and wrath. Here are some other examples that illustrate this principle:

And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.

- Exodus 12:13 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

- Psalm 27:5 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

The Lord rescues the godly; he is their fortress in times of trouble. The Lord helps them, rescuing them from the wicked. He saves them, and they find shelter in him.

- Psalm 37:39,40 (NLT) [emphasis mine]

They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.

- Psalm 83:3 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by.

- Isaiah 26:20 (NIV) [emphasis mine]

Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD's anger.

- Zephaniah 2:3

Prophetically speaking, the "Day of the Lord" is a reference to the Last Days all throughout the Bible. Therefore, the seeking the Lord and seeking righteousness part sounds like a reference to people who are "prepared" and who will be hid - just like Noah and his family were - in a place of safety during that time. Note also what the Psalmist wrote:

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.”  Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. 

A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked.  Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;

- Psalm 91:1-10 (NKJV) [emphasis mine]

Many like to attribute the rest of that Psalm to a prophecy concerning the Messiah. And while verses 11 and 12 did apply to Him, at no time during Yeshua's ministry did a thousand fall at His left and ten thousand at his right. At no time in the Gospels did we see all of the calamity mentioned in this chapter. So, while some of it did apply then, I believe a reasonable case can be made that the rest will apply to those hidden during the Day of the Lord.

We can not think of this in terms of a Rapture though because no one is going up to meet the Lord in the clouds as Yeshua is not even going to be in the clouds until after the tribulation of those days. Therefore, I submit that we should view this as an "Exodus" for the "wise" or a "hiding away" to a place of safety before it all begins.

But exactly where is that place of safety? If we are to continue with the wedding analogy, it would have to be in the Father's house. This is because in the Jewish wedding ritual, after the groom returns for his bride, he takes her back to his father's house where the huppah is located. It is there that the marriage is consummated in a place secluded from the rest of the environment. It is an intimate setting between the married couple. In a physical sense it is where the two become united as one through sexual intercourse. What that looks like with Christ I don't know and quite frankly don't care to speculate. But if we are to view this as a marriage as the Scriptures clearly state that we should, then it is at this time that the righteous, pure and holy "wise virgins" who represent one glorious Bride without spot or wrinkle will enter into a place of union with our Bridegroom.

Our natural assumption is that the Father's house is in Heaven. And that may be true. But consider this: there are more than 200 references in the Old Testament to the "house of the LORD (LORD=YHVH)" and all of them are terrestrial based references to the Temple. There are 87 references in the Bible to the "house of God." Again, most of these refer to the Temple in Jerusalem. However there are two of those 87 that stand out to me: one written by Moses dealing with Jacob's Ladder and his dream, the other written by the Apostle Peter.

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!

Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God. And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”

- Genesis 28:16-22 (NKJV) [emphasis mine]

Here Moses writes that Jacob (who became Israel) declared that the place called Bethel was the house of God and the stone that he set up as the pillar was too! Why? Because that's where God was! God is everywhere. He lives in every part of the Universe and beyond. Thus, everything is God's house. It is where He lives. This brings us to Peter's statement:

Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

- 1 Peter 4:16-17 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

We know that in a New Testament sense, God lives in our hearts. Thus, we now refer to our own bodies as the Temple - and the temple is a temple because it is a "house of God." The temple and God's house are one and the same.

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

1 Corinthians 3:15-17 [emphasis mine]

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

- 1 Corinthians 6:19 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

Therefore, I submit that this should perhaps give us pause to reconsider Yeshua's words when He said in John 14:1-3:

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."

Where is Christ? Well, He is seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven, but He is also in the heart of every Believer. And a Believer is here on earth, but we are also seated with Him in the Heavenly realm!

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

- Hebrews 12:2 (KJV)

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

- Ephesians 2:6,7 (NIV) [emphasis mine]

Notice how Paul says "in Christ." When reading the writings of Paul, you will see him use that term a lot, as well as "Christ in us." I think there is something to this. And if we go back to the wedding analogy, this certainly shows a sense of extreme unity - a merging of two becoming one. Thus, I am beginning to think that what many have called a Pre-Tribulation Rapture is really a hiding away in Christ. What will that look like? Perhaps it will be similar to what happened when the Jews tried to kill Yeshua before His time:

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!” At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.

- John 8:58,59 (NLT) [emphasis mine]

He was standing right in front of these people. There was a good sized crowd engaged in heavy discussion with Yeshua - all eyes focused on Him - and yet He disappeared and they were unable to stone Him. This same thing happened again in John 10:30-39. Looking at those verses I could not help but wonder if the same thing may happen to the "wise virgins" before the Tribulation?

A few years ago a movie came out based on a novel called, The Celestine Prophecy. I am fully aware of the "New Age" themes in the story and I don't agree with the concepts of Evolution that are put forth. But I do believe there are some elements in the story that are quite profound nonetheless. One of them being the concept that love can build on love and amplify to the point that we can essentially "vibrate out" of this realm and move into a Heavenly realm. In the movie, this idea is beautifully depicted in a scene showing a man and a young girl sitting across from eachother. Both are simply "projecting" love onto the other. As they do, their "energy" amplifies until they both "phase out." This revelation is referred to as the "Nineth Insight" in the story. At the end of the story, we see how this concept plays out in a time of potential tribulation:


Again, I do not agree with the Evolutionary concepts, but if we apply this visual to what we know from Scripture - that God is love and that Yeshua demonstrated His great love for us by dying for us - and if we demonstrate our love back to Him by keeping His commandments, I think the above scene may illustrate what happens when the "wise" go in with the Bridegroom and the door is shut. Inside, the Bride and Groom will exchange love, building upon love in an amazing unity. The marriage is thus consummated.

Then, the Groom will leave the Bride in her place of safety and bliss for seven days (the seven year, 70th Week of Daniel) as He goes to prepare the world for their honeymoon - cleansing it from all sin and unrighteousness once and for all!

Is that exactly what will happen? I don't know. But I think such a concept is well supported by Scripture. It can not be considered a Rapture because such an event would not fit all of the required points listed earlier concerning what has to happen for it to be considered as the "catching up" of the Saints at the end of the Tribulation. Therefore, in order for the Parable of the Ten Virgins to be true and to be reconciled by all Jewish marriage customs (that the Bible seems to agree with), something like this is required because in the parable, the wise go in not up!

If that's what happens to the wise virgins, what happens to the foolish? Where will they be and what will happen to them? That question brings us to the sixth clue.

CLUE #6: The Tribulation Saints

As clearly stated above, I can see a Pre-Tribulation Exodus or hiding away to an earthly place of safety for those who are wise and prepared like the five virgins who were ready when their Groom returned. I can see those faithful and obedient Saints who watched and waited, knowing the signs and the seasons, being the ones dwelling in a place of safety right from the start.

Meanwhile, the other Saints who were not prepared will have to take a stand for truth, having to go through a time of tribulation. Perhaps as they are obedient, they too may enter the place of safety as Zephaniah 2:3 says. But it seems to me that it is more likely that they may end up being those who will be greatly honored as the Tribulation Martyrs (Rev. 6:9-11, Rev. 14:12-13).

During the first 3.5 years of the Tribulation we see the ministry of the Two Witnesses and the 144,000 virgin male Jews who are doing stuff, both during that time and afterwards as well. I believe that all Seven Seals and at least six if not all of the Seven Trumpets take place in the first half of The Seven Year Tribulation Period. Looking at the first four Trumpets, it appears that the Two Witnesses actually have the power to make much of those things happen!

And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. They are the two olive trees and the two lamp stands, and they stand before the Lord of the earth. If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.

- Revelation 11:3-6 (NIV) [emphasis mine]

I would think it very wise for all Tribulation Saints to find a way to get close to those two! Hang close to them, and you won't be touched - at least up until the Fifth Trumpet sounds (which is when Apollyon rises out of the Abyss). But if these Saints are in Jerusalem, Yeshua still makes a way of escape for them. He says that they will be safe if they flee into the mountainous wilderness. We'll look at that more closely in a minute.

After the Fourth Trumpet blows an eagle flies and announces that the next three Trumpets are "Woes."

As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!”

- Revelation 8:13 (NIV)

An eagle takes flight screaming, "Woe! Woe! Woe!" - in other words, what's about to happen next is not good folks! Things are about to get really bad, really quick. Then, the Fifth Trumpet blows, and the spirit of Apollo ascends back into its former host body - Nimrod. Thus, empowered by the dragon himself, the Anti-Christ will rise. And his first order of business is to kill the Two Witnesses!

And when they [the Two Witnesses] 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.

- Revelation 11:7 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

For a season the Beast prevails against the saints, probably killing many. But then, God steps in. Daniel describes the Anti-Christ as a horn:

I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.

- Daniel 7:21-22 (KJV)

John seems to confirm this in Revelation:

She gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place to care for her for 1,260 days.

- Revelation 12:5,6 (NLT) [emphasis mine]

The same Greek word "harpazó" that Paul used is used here in reference to Yeshua when He ascended into Heaven:

After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

- Acts 2:9-11 (NLT)

The woman in Revelation 12 is Israel and by extension, the Saints who may be in Israel at that time. They are the ones who will be able to see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place.

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:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

- Matthew 24:15,16 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

Those who are in Judea seem to be the ones who find an escape. The rest of the Saints left on the planet may not be so fortunate.

Then he said to me, “This fourth beast is the fourth world power that will rule the earth. It will be different from all the others. It will devour the whole world, trampling and crushing everything in its path. Its ten horns are ten kings who will rule that empire. Then another king will arise, different from the other ten, who will subdue three of them. He will defy the Most High and oppress the holy people of the Most High. He will try to change their sacred festivals and laws, and they will be placed under his control for a time, times, and half a time.

- Daniel 7:23-25 (NLT) [emphasis mine]

Though the system of the Beast may be in operation for a time prior, the Beast man does not arise until the mid-point in the Tribulation period according to John in the Book of Revelation. Yeshua says they that shall see this man rise and stand in the holy place should flee to the mountains for a period of 1,260 days, which is 3.5 years or "a time, times and half a time." Thus, comparing all these Scriptures we can see that the Anti-Christ reigns as the Beast for 3.5 years. And when he rises (see Revelation 9:11), a war breaks out in Heaven. The dragon (Lucifer) is then cast out of Heaven to the Earth.

When the dragon realized that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But she was given two wings like those of a great eagle so she could fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness. There she would be cared for and protected from the dragon for a time, times, and half a time.

Then the dragon tried to drown the woman with a flood of water that flowed from his mouth. But the earth helped her by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that gushed out from the mouth of the dragon. And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her childrenall who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus.

- Revelation 12:13-17 (NLT)

Here we see that the dragon can't get to those who are hidden in the mountainous wilderness, so he turns his sight to war against the rest of the Saints. But notice, these Saints are now keeping God's commandments! So, apparently the Tribulation has served as a time of chastisement that turned their hearts back to doing what they should have been doing all along - obeying the commands (Torah) of God. They have oil in their lamps now! But both the dragon and his Beast are after them:

Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months. And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his dwelling—that is, those who dwell in heaven. And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation.

- Revelation 13:5-7 (NLT)

If that's not good enough reason to want to have oil in your lamps before all of this happens (as in now), I don't know what is! I don't know about you, but I'd very much like to be hidden in a "place of safety" at that point. But still, God gives great honor to those who endure to the end:

This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.

Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”

“Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”

- Revelation 14:12,13 (NIV) [emphasis mine]

Now, let's look at how this Beast is able to rise in the first place.

CLUE #7: The Restrainer Steps Away

At the mid-point, Michael, the Arch-Angel stands up and the Two Witnesses are killed. That is actually what enables Apollyon to rise and Lucifer to pull out all the stops. Prior to that, the horrors that will follow were restrained. Yes, I believe Michael the Arch-Angel is the one who is the "restrainer" spoken of by Paul (not the Holy Spirit as many believe to be the case). Compare Paul's words with those of Yeshua [3] in Daniel 12:

2 Thessalonians 2:6,7
Daniel 12:1

And you know what is holding him [Anti-Christ] back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way.

2 Thessalonians 2:6,7 (NLT) [emphasis mine]

And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

- Daniel 12:1 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

Please allow me a moment to pull out my soapbox.

One of the problems I had with the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view involved the whole idea that the Holy Spirit is the "restrainer" and thus the Church is what is actually holding back the End Times. The general consensus in that view is that the Devil and his Anti-Christ can not rise to power while we are here. Well, I agree that the Church is supposed to have the power described in verses like these:

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

- Mark 16:17,18 (KJV)

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

- John 14:12 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

I simply do not see it these days. And I'll bet if you are honest with yourself, neither do you. In fact, during the six years I was a missionary, I often found myself having debates with Believers who DON'T believe those verses and who claim such power passed away with the Apostles, thus promoting the false doctrine of Cessation. Apart from the Charismatic denominations, the vast majority of the Church today believes that non-sense! But even the Charismatics have their issues living in this [authentic] Divine power. So, what sort of "restrainer" is the Church really being?

Further, Yeshua asked if He would find faith on the earth when He returns. Apparently, not. Paul descibes a great falling away that will precede His coming.

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; 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 Thessalonians 2:3,4 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

The word translated here as "falling away" is "apostasia" [Strong's # 646] It means a defection from truth, a falling away, a forsaking of the former. Therefore, Paul is saying again that the Church is anything BUT a powerful force to be reckoned with. It is full of the elect that have likely been deceived. I will address this further in The Coming Great Deception blog (coming soon... in more ways than one).

Why are churches and hospitals FULL of the sick and dying, hopelessly oppressed and depressed? If anyone in your family or circle of friends is sick or dying, there is all the proof you need that the Church is woefully lacking in the use of the power and authority given to it. No one goes to the elders of the Church for healing as James 5:13-15 says we should. Everyone goes first to CVS and then to the hospital if the over the counter drugs don't work. That's just a fact!

How many people do you know that have medicine cabinets literally loaded with all the pills they need to take on a daily basis? If the Church was so "spirit filled" and powerful why the need for so much pharmacia? I submit that it is because, by in large, the 21st Century Church looks NOTHING like Yeshua. It is not practicing John 14:12. If it were, I might be inclined to buy the argument concerning the Holy Spirit filled Church being the restrainer. No, the Church today is very much in the "apostasia" Paul wrote about.

But even if that were true that the Church is the restrainer, what good is that power to resist evil if we are all taken out at the moment resistance is MOST NEEDED??? It does the world no good at all for us to be able to withstand the gates of Hades, but be taken out in a Rapture at a time when that power will be needed most!

Many Scriptures clearly state that the Anti-Christ prevails over the Saints! This is most strikingly obvious at the opening of the Fifth Seal. To refer to those martyred souls under the altar the way most Pre-Tribbers do (that these are those who are somehow saved during the Tribulation - without the Holy Spirit) is a gross mistake! That idea is based purely on assumption and is not backed by Scripture! No. To even be a Saint in the Biblical sense is to be a Believer in the Son of God. To be a Believer, requires the presence of the Holy Spirit! You can't be a Believer without Him! So the whole concept of the Church being Raptured out (taking the Holy Spirit - restrainer - with them), and there still being Tribulation Saints makes no sense at all! Therefore, I submit that the only Saints that Revelation 6:9-11 could be referring to are those who remained during the Tribulation as a result of being "left behind" in the Parable of the Ten Virgins scenario and/or those who got saved as a result of those who got left behind ministering the Gospel of the Kingdom to them.

Note also that the idea of persecuted and dying Saints during the Tribulation Period is not a reference to the wrath of God - of which we are not appointed. It is referring to the wrath of Anti-Christ - of which we are appointed. Yeshua clearly stated that we WILL suffer persecution and death, just as He did.

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

- Matthew 24:7-14 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

This "pie in the sky" ideology of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture - wherein the Saints just need to wait for some miraculous snatching away and thus they won't suffer persecution and death - is false and not supported by the words of Yeshua or any other Scripture! In fact, it is directly contrary to what has been spoken concerning the Saints... especially in the Last Days.

One of the primary dangers of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view is that it creates an environment of total apathy! I can't tell you how many Christians I know who have the general attitude of, "Good thing we won't be here to deal with any of that." while singing, "I'll fly away old glory, I'll fly away..." in every Church service. I believe the Pre-Trib view was created by Lucifer specifically for that reason - to eliminate all potential threats. No one that I know who holds the Pre-Trib view is even remotely prepared to deal with the days ahead.

By contrast, when I talk about a Pre-Tribulation Exodus or a hiding away into a place of safety, that's only for those who are laboring to enter God's rest. It's not for everyone.

Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

- Hebrews 4:11 (KJV)

I think the New Living Translation really helps us to understand this:

God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God. For only we who believe can enter his rest.

As for the others, God said, “In my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest,’” even though this rest has been ready since he made the world. We know it is ready because of the place in the Scriptures where it mentions the seventh day: “On the seventh day God rested from all his work.” But in the other passage God said, “They will never enter my place of rest.”

So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted: “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts.”

Now if Joshua had succeeded in giving them this rest, God would not have spoken about another day of rest still to come. So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

- Hebrews 4:1-12 (NLT) [emphasis mine]

All of God's words are important! Both Testaments should be studied and adhered to, for both reveal who Yeshua is and both reveal God's heart toward man and our responsibilities as His children. Those who are obedient, watching and waiting are rewarded. Those who are not will have to go through the Tribulation. But in the chastisement of that Tribulation, many will become obedient and thus shine as heroes, having endured to the end.

OK. I'll put the soapbox away now.

Suffice it to say, the restrainer is not the Holy Spirit but rather it is Michael the powerful protecting angel of Israel. It is only after he steps away that the Anti-Christ is able to enter the Holy Land and do what he does there.

CLUE #8: The Gathering in the Middle

In the following passage of Scripture, Paul clarifies some things that certainly appear to stand in direct opposition to the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view:

Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

- 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 (NKJV) [emphasis mine]

He says that the "gathering to meet Him" (commonly called the "Rapture" according to 1 Thes. 4:16,17) will not happen until after the man of sin is "revealed," opposes God and sits in the Temple. This does not happen until the mid-point of The Seven Year Tribulation Period after Michael, the restrainer steps out of the way. I don't know how much clearer the text could be.

Immediately after that, the Fifth Trumpet blows and Apollyon Rises. He then kills the Two Witnesses. At that point we have some more familiar wording to analyze and consider.

1 Thessalonians 4:14-16
Revelation 11:12 & 15

For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 (NIV) [emphasis mine]

Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.

 - Revelation 11:12 (NIV)

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:

   “The kingdom of the world has become
    the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,
    and he will reign for ever and ever.”

- Revelation 11:15 (NIV) [emphasis mine]

On the surface, this looks like clear evidence for a Mid-Tribulation Rapture - at least for the "dead in Christ." I might buy the argument that the "we who are alive and remain" could go up too, if it weren't for those other nagging Scriptures that talk about Saints seeing Him in the End, AFTER the Tribulation of those days when He comes in the clouds and all the Scriptures we've already covered concerning the Saints who fall prey to the dragon and his Beast during his 3.5 year reign of terror at the end of The Seven Year Tribulation Period. But is the case of the dead in Christ rising really a reference to a Rapture? No. It is not. Though similar, it is a different word altogether.

The word translated as "rise" is the Greek word anistémi [Strong's #450]. It means to raise up as in a resurrection: to rise from the dead. Do they rise and also get "caught up" (harpazó) at this time? Not necessarily. But it could be that they do indeed go up to Heaven at this point. If so, I believe it will only be the "dead in Christ" because the rest seem to be still on the Earth as noted in all of the previous clues. The harpazó of the living can only come when all points line up according to Scripture for them to do so.

Claiming other Scriptures like "we are not appointed unto wrath" is a strong argument against any Believers remaining beyond the first half of the Tribulation. Assuming this is true and the living Saints follow the dead ones in this Mid-Tribulation "rising," then the Saints that will go up in the Post-Tribulation scenario may be the wise virgins who are still here, hidden in a place of safety - just prior to the final Judgment of Fire that cleanses the earth. Even Daniel seems to be describing that same scenario, while also seeming to bear witness to the events associated with the Seventh Trumpet blast.

Daniel 12:1-3
Revelation 11:15 & 18

At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then.

But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.

- Daniel 12:1-3 (NIV) [emphasis mine]

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:

 “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of
our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.”

**********

The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small—and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

- Revelation 11:15 & 18 (NIV) [emphasis mine]

Daniel says everyone whose name is found written in the book will be delivered. That's pretty straight forward (though it doesn't necessarily mean a Rapture needs to take place in order for them to be "delivered"). But then, he makes the interesting statement concerning the wise who will shine like the brightness of the heavens. Are those the same as the "wise virgins" Yeshua spoke of during the Olivet Discourse? Remember, this is after all Yeshua who was the One also speaking in Daniel 12, so it very well could be. Does that "shining" happen here on earth? I don't know.

What I do know is the remaining 3.5 years on earth are going to be an absolute nightmare of horrors! All hell is loosed as is the wrath of God. But assuming my thesis is correct regarding the wise, due to the fact that they were "hidden" they too would have still escaped the wrath of God as stated in Isaiah 26:20 and Zephaniah 2:3 even though they would have still been here on the earth during that time. And thus, to be reconciled with Daniel 12:1-3, perhaps this "shining of the wise" will happen in the end as they are transformed in the twinking of an eye:

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. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

- 1 Corinthians 15:52-55 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

The major problem with the Mid-Tribulation Rapture view is that Christ is not in the clouds at this point. He doesn't descend from Heaven in the clouds until the end. Another issue is the fact that the Beast is able to make war with and kill the Saints who are not protected in the Judean wilderness. Both of these facts seem to stand in direct opposition to a Rapture of the living happening at this time.

Thus, it is my belief that the "dead in Christ" may rise and go up with the Two Witnesses similar to the first fruits offering of the Saints that arose when Yeshua died and went with Him to Heaven after He arose three days later and ascended (privately) back to the Father.

Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.

- Matthew 27:50-53 (NIV) [emphasis mine]

Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).

Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’

John 20:16-17 (NKJV) [emphasis mine]

This ascension is not the same as the one written about in the Book of Acts, which was a public affair that happened 40 days later. The ascension spoken of by Yeshua to Mary in the garden was a different and private event in which Christ ascended with His First Fruits Offering of the previously departed Saints and went to Heaven where He received His glorified body - the one in which He returned in and appeared to His disciples.

Thus, I believe that if anything happens at the mid-point to go along with the ascension of the Two Witnesses it will be similar to this First Fruits Offering. And the timing is right for just such a thing to occur as an exact repeat of the Gospel account, especially if the initial return of the Groom happens on Rosh haShanah, which is a Fall Feast. If we count 3.5 years from that point, we find ourselves in the Spring Feast Season! Thus, it very well could be that the Two Witnesses are killed on the same day Yeshua was! And their resurrection would also correspond with His, thus the raising of a First Fruits Offering would fit quite nicely into this scenario.

So, if the harpazó of the living does not happen at the mid-point, when does it happen? We only have one choice left and that leads us to the nineth clue.

CLUE #9: The Post-Tribulation Harvest Gathering

Now we find ourselves looking at the Post-Tribulation Rapture scenario. We must again remember that Yeshua likened His return to the days of Noah. Looking back at the Noah account of Genesis, I want you to notice something else. After the seven days, the Ark was lifted up and the bad guys were wiped away! Thus, some of God's people were in a place of safety for seven days (which could be compared to years in Daniel's 70th Week of Tribulation). Then, they got "lifted up" just before the bad guys got wiped away. This sounds an awful lot like a Post Tribulation Rapture concept to me!

Again, remember what Yeshua said in the Olivet Discourse:

"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: 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. 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."

- Matthew 24:29-31 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

This is an exact match! After the Tribulation, the Son of man appears in the clouds, there's a great trumpet blast and the angels go out to harvest! At this point, the 144,000 are still on the earth as are new Saints that may have become Believers as a result of their ministry and of course those Saints who have survived the wrath of Lucifer and his Beast. And we also may have still on this earth, those who have been in the "secret place" of safety, hidden away. All need to be removed before the final, fiery judgment cleanses the earth of all evil.

The earth suffers for the sins of its people, for they have twisted God’s instructions, violated his laws, and broken his everlasting covenant. Therefore, a curse consumes the earth. Its people must pay the price for their sin. They are destroyed by fire, and only a few are left alive.

- Isaiah 24:5-6 (NLT) [emphasis mine]

Who are these "few" who are left alive at the End of Days?

Throughout the earth the story is the same— only a remnant is left, like the stray olives left on the tree or the few grapes left on the vine after harvest. But all who are left shout and sing for joy. Those in the west praise the Lord’s majesty. In eastern lands, give glory to the Lord. In the lands beyond the sea, praise the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. We hear songs of praise from the ends of the earth, songs that give glory to the Righteous One!

- Isaiah 24:13-16 (NLT) [emphasis mine]

Who in the world could be singing praises at that point in the Great Tribulation? I believe it refers to those who were spared having to experience the horrors of it (the ones who were "hidden in the day of the Lord's anger") and those who emerged victorious in spite of those horrors.

Regarding the latter, it must be noted that no Saint is killed as a result of God's wrath. The ones who are killed are killed as a result of the dragon's wrath. And just like in the Exodus account, there were some plagues/judgments that the people of God had to endure, but there were others they were protected from. The same thing will happen during The Seven Year Tribulation Period.

In fact, to support the Pre-Wrath Rapture view, we see in Revelation 15, that it appears all of the Saints are in Heaven just before God pours out the Seven Bowl Judgements (which may indeed be at the very end of the second 3.5 years). These are the ones that Isaiah may be referring to:

Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete. And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying:


“ Great and marvelous are Your works,
Lord God Almighty!
Just and true are Your ways,
O King of the saints!
Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy.
For all nations shall come and worship before You,
For Your judgments have been manifested.”

-Revelation 15:1-4 (NKJV)

It is after this that those seven angels go forth and pour out the bowls of God's wrath. Then in Revelation 19, we hear more songs of victory in Heaven.

All said and done, when analyzing all Rapture views, I believe the only one that truly fits every single required point noted at the beginning of this blog is the Post-Tribulation scenario. But for the sake of clarity, I prefer to look at it the way Yeshua does: it is a harvesting of the wheat that has been separated from the tares.

In summary, I believe if we change the way we think and make an adjustment to the typical terminology concerning the different views of Rapture-like events, to a Pre-Tribulation Hiding, a Mid-Tribulation Rising and a Post-Tribulation Harvest, I think that we may have just solved "The Rapture Riddle."

Here is a simplified chart showing Scriptures that I believe support my reconciled take on all Rapture views:

Pre-Tribulation Hiding
Mid-Tribulation Rising
Post-Tribulation Harvest

CLUE #10: The Marriage of the Lamb

Finally, the following question must be answered, "When does the marriage of the Lamb take place?"

Contrary to what many teach, Revelation reveals that it is not at the beginning of or during The Seven Year Tribulation Period. Technically speaking the marriage began two thousand years ago when Christ "purchased" us with His blood and sealed the covenant of our union at the cross. He then left to go and prepare a place for us. So, in the strictest sense, we are already married. But the consummation of that marriage has yet to take place, as does the seven day celebration feast.

Revelation 19 picks up after two full chapters that describe the final judgment on Babylon, the Harlot, Beast and False Prophet. After that, there is great rejoicing in Heaven for the Lord's victory over all His enemies. Then it says:

And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

- Revelation 19:6-9 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

This "marriage supper of the Lamb" is generally taught by Pre-Tribbers as taking place during The Seven Year Tribulation Period. I would have to agree with that - at least in terms of the traditional Jewish wedding ceremony. There is a seven day feast that takes place after the Bride and Groom consummate the marriage in the huppah. What I find very interesting about this is that we see an honoring of the Saints in every direction:

  • The wise who are ready and prepared get to participate in the consummation at the beginning.
  • The Saints who have died and then are raised at the mid-point enter at a time that Yeshua very well may "turn water into wine" as He did at the Wedding of Cana. I'm not entirely sure what that means exactly, but I suspect it will be of great significance. And the raised dead are rewarded at this time.
  • The Saints who get harvested in the end will arrive just in time to be incorporated into the rest of the Bride (in a plural sense) for her revealing at the end of the wedding feast. And these Tribulation Saints will be greatly honored.

Once the marriage celebration finally concludes, the Bride is revealed without her veil and all of Heaven rejoices. Then it is as if our Groom says, "Hang on honey. I've got one more thing to do before our Honeymoon." He leaves, and then returns looking like a true "Knight in Shining Armor." Our Bridegroom "shows off" by dressing up in full Battle Dress Uniform, mounted on a beautiful white warhorse! And He goes forth to utterly destroy all who have ever harmed His Bride, so that she need never fear again!

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

Note: The "armies of God" are the Hosts of Heaven, which are the angels - not the Saints as many try to say!

And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

Note: I believe this vesture is worn to set the record straight. Yeshua is going up against an imposter who also goes by that same title, "King of kings, Lord of lords," Osiris-Nimrod!

And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

- Revelation 19:11-21 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

Satan is then bound and cast into the Abyss. The New Jerusalem descends to earth, the Millennial Reign of Christ begins and like any good story ends, "We live happily ever after!"

In Jerusalem, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat. There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people. The Lord has spoken!

- Isaiah 25:6-8 (NLT) [emphasis mine]

It may not happen exactly as I've described, but I believe that I am on the right track in understanding how all of these views can be reconciled in a scenario that (at least to me) seems to be supported by numerous texts of Scripture. Regardless, I think it would be "wise" for all of us "virgins" who are awaiting the return of our Bridegroom, to get prepared and to be sure our lamps are full of oil!

For me and my house, we believe the oil represents the Holy Spirit. And the lamp represents the Menorah. The Menorah represents the Feasts of God - all of which provide a "dress rehearsal" before the final performance. Messiah already played out the Spring Feasts, fulfilling each of them in all that they represented. He still has yet to do the Fall Feasts. By understanding, knowing and practicing what each represent, I believe we are using the Holy Spirit's oil to keep our lamps full and lit. In my opinion, this is living in Spirit and in Truth. This is being prepared and obedient. This is being ready for the Bridegroom, so that we can dwell in safety within the Ark of God's protection for seven days... as it was in the days of Noah, when God shut the door and the righteous were spared, while the wicked perished.

On final thought...

If I were to show you two images of the front of a hundred dollar bill, would you be able to quickly and easily identify the real one?

Without knowing every detail of that particular denomination of our currency, it would be easy for us to be fooled. These two images look very similar to each other. However, it is the bottom one that is legitimate. The top one has been altered. Thus, although the top one looks very similar and may even pass for currency to the untrained eye, it is still a counterfeit.

Likewise, I think it is important to note that if history and the Bible reveals any indication as to how the Devil works, we can clearly see that he is always counterfeiting the things that God says and does. That being the case, it would not at all surprise me if Lucifer has a "fake Rapture" up his sleeve as part of The Coming Great Deception. If you think that's far fetched, check out this video:

;

We must know the truth so that we can easily identify the lies. Therefore, I think it is important for us to study the Scriptures and to guard our hearts and minds and to pray that God will protect us from the lies that are out now and will be coming in increasing measure in the days ahead. This blog is just my attempt at showing what I believe to be the truth. Please do not take my word for it. Search these things out for yourself and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you do. My prayer is that what I have written in this blog has caused you to ask some of your own questions and that it at least makes you want to look deeper into the Scriptures in order to see whether these things be true or not.

If you believe you have revelation that either agrees with what I have written, contradicts it or may add to our understanding of this thing we call the "Rapture," by all means, please comment below. Your insights can help me as well as my readers. These blogs are rather fluid. As I gain understanding, I frequently update, change and modify these blogs to reflect it. Perhaps together we can discover the truth that exposes the lies and reveals what is counterfeit and what is not.



The next blog will discuss The Seven Year Tribulation Period >>


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Footnotes:

  1. There are some ancient texts that include the word "bride" in Matthew 25:1 These are typically Hebrew and/or Aramaic versions of Matthew's Gospel. While I do agree that Matthew's Gospel most likely was not written in Greek, I find the three dominant Hebrew texts (the Shem Tob, Munster and DuTillet manuscripts) questionable based on their late dates (all between 1300 and 1600 AD) and the fact that they don't even agree with each other - even on that one verse. Some have bride, some do not. Therefore, I have erred on the side of all current English versions of Matthew which have been translated from the Greek that does not include that word. [back]
  2. Compare the description of Daniel 10:4-7 with the description the Apostle John gave in Revelation 1:12-15. They are virtually identical. But many refuse to acknowledge this based on the fact that the individual of Daniel 10 was held back by the spiritual prince of Persia and needed Michael's help. They ask, "Why would the Son of God need help?" But those who hold to that view forget that Hebrews 2:5-9 states that "for a little while" Jesus was made lower than the angels. It wasn't until after His victory at the cross, His resurrection and glorification by the Father that the Son was magnified and made greater than the angels (see Hebrews 1:5-14). Thus, we can now understand why Yeshua needed help in Daniel 10. He had not yet been made "greater than the angels" at that time. [back]

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This work represents some of my research, thoughts and ideas regarding history and the End Times. Do not take anything I write as the "Gospel Truth." I encourage you to be a “good Berean” and study these things out for yourself to come to your own conclusions.

DISCLAIMER: While I do believe that the books contained in The Holy Bible were Divinely inspired and written by men, I do not necessarily hold to the idea that only the 66 books we now have in our (Protestant) Bibles are the sole Divinely inspired books of antiquity. For instance, the King James Version (on which I was raised) used to have 80 books in it. Today, we only have 66. Many editions of the Bible throughout the centuries contained or left out different books. God will not contradict Himself. Therefore, the fact that there have been so many different "canons" of Scripture over the centuries proves to me that the acquisition and accumulation of Scripture has not always been Divinely inspired.

I also do not believe that any one version of our English Bible is 100% correct and accurate in its TRANSLATION. Granted, some are better than others. But Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic are all very complex languages and it is often hard for English as a language to do the text justice. Thus, I find that comparing different English translations can help show us a variety of ways of looking at what was originally written. I am mentioning this because throughout this series of blogs I will be referencing different versions of English Bibles as well as taking a look at some of the books not currently considered "canon" in our (Protestant) Bibles. Having grown up in a "KJV only" environment, I felt the need to say this up front. I pray that does not hinder you in any way and that this series of blogs is interesting, enlightening and encouraging to you.

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