The Pretribulation Rapture In 30 Seconds From Now!
In spite of today’s popular belief, Jesus taught His disciples about His second return, the End Times and the pretribulation rapture. His disciples did not fully understand His teachings at that time in either the Upper Room where the Last Supper was conducted or two days later on the Mount of Olives. But Jesus’ teachings are pretty clear, especially today, to Christians. The Olivetti Discourse is the single most important prophesy of the end times because it comes directly from Jesus Himself.
I do not believe that brothers and sisters are divided over what the Rapture is or represents, rather just it’s sequence within the doctrine of Jesus’s Second Coming. I certainly will not make the Rapture’s timing a point of division. I will simply state my understanding of the Bible’s teaching and the reader may draw their own conclusions. Even though, as stated previously, that the timing of the Rapture should not be a subject of division, neither should we treat the rapture timing as “just so much doctrine.” I believe, in the interest of furthering our studies on any doctrine, we should debate most vigorously for what we do believe.
If we took this approach of complacent interpretation of Scripture to the entire study of all doctrine, how could we ever explain baptism, communion or any doctrine of Christianity? We need discussion. We need passionate, Godly, Spirit-filled believers to thoroughly comb the scriptures to state and defend their insight. The wealth of knowledge we gain in meaningful exchanges from other theologians is immeasurable. There is nothing more rewarding to me than to take what I’ve studied and learned from the Bible and compare these findings with the thoughts of both great theologians and the everyday Christian.
Jesus told us over and over within the OlIvette Discourse to “be on the watch” for His return. This type of watchfulness carries a sense of immediacy, a sense that affects our entire outlook, plans, and conduct. I therefore live each day with the anticipation that this could well be the day Jesus returns. Are you ready for Jesus’ return within the next thirty seconds? How would you change your life, the way you live, the things you say, if within the next 30 seconds you will be facing Jesus Christ in heaven? This is the type of watchfulness Jesus is requiring from all believers.
Jesus considered the subject of His return to be of paramount importance. If we have no other reason to consider this subject important, than Jesus command to watch for His coming should be more than compelling. Jesus’ Imminent return should be the expectation, comfort, and energizing hope of all Christians.
Let’s now lay the foundation for our study of the timing of the rapture.
Foundation #1. Jesus did teach His disciples about both the rapture and the second coming.
The official pretribulation position denies this principle. Their reasoning is as follows …
Argument #1 is that the disciples didn’t know about the church, so Jesus couldn’t or wouldn’t have taught them about the rapture of the church. They would not have understood. So what else is new? Lots of what Jesus taught, the disciples didn’t know.. Look at John 14. Jesus is going away, to prepare a place for us, and will return for us fully exhibits Jesus teachings of the church and the rapture of the church without mentioning “the church.” In the same manner, the disciples did not have to fully understand the prophesy of the Olivetti Discourse in order to hear it, or for Jesus to give it.
Understanding prophesy, like understanding Calculus, requires prerequisites, but hearing prophecy does not. The precise meaning of a prophesy is often understood only after its fulfillment, like the rebirth of Israel.
Argument #2. Matthew 24’s only Jewish as Israel is the only real audience for the discourse. We know from history that Jesus came to Israel and that Israel rejected Him. As a result, Jesus turned to the Gentiles and built His Church. So the Olivetti discourse audience did quickly expand beyond Israel to include the Gentiles.
Argument #3. The disciples did not represent Israel or the church, but the believers of the Tribulation. The Disciples represent both Israel and the church since they were both. The context of Jesus’ individual statements determines the audience. The key to remember here is that Jesus is responding to the Disciple’s questions not Israel’s question. That’s crucial. Just because His return includes Jewish events doesn’t make the Discourse exclusively Jewish. Just because Jesus didn’t use the symbols Paul uses to refer to the church, that in itself doesn’t prove that Jesus wasn’t talking about both comings. The lack of a mention of the church has nothing to do with whether Jesus was prophetically speaking about both comings or not. The disciples didn’t ask about the rapture of the church because at that time they were unaware of it. They asked, “What is the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the age?” Tell us what sign should we look for so that we may know you are coming back for us and are ready to bring in the kingdom. Jesus comes back at the Rapture for his church and brings in the Kingdom at His second coming.
The Rapture was not understood until Paul explained it in his epistles. Even Paul referred to the Rapture as a mystery.
Argument #4. What does it matter? Whatever will be will be. First Jesus commanded us, concerning His return, to be knowledgeable and watchful. Jesus also told us to learn a parable concerning His return. Jesus wanted the church to live in anticipation of His return, as He wanted Israel to anticipate His first coming. How can the church be watchful if the church isn’t educated on the subject concerning Jesus’ return? This is why we need to live as though Jesus will be here within the next 30 seconds.
Let me provide an example … The Devil wants you afraid of Jesus and fearful of any future with Jesus. This will compromise your witness and render your participation ineffective in the great Spiritual war of good versus evil. Therefore if a believer thinks they will have to go through the Tribulation before the Lord comes, that believer will become anxious about or even afraid of Jesus’ Second return. How effective is a witness of the good news of the Gospel with fear as the center of their belief system? Let’s be honest about this. Who wants to go through seven years of the worst apocalyptic tribulation man has ever seen or shall never see again before their hope is realized. If Christians are taught the particulars about prophecy and knows what the Bible teaches on the subject, they won’t live in fear.
The teaching of prophecy has brought many to Christ. If for that one reason alone, we need to study and understand end time prophecy. Jesus’ imminent return gets people’s attention. We also come away from the study of prophecy realizing that God is in control of World events. When we understand what Jesus taught, we are energized to evangelize and do missionary work. We are equipped to witness and live like our Lord may come at any moment now.
Beginning of The Dispensation of Grace
The New Testament opens majestically with Jesus. The Messiah had come in fulfillment of the Old Testament promises and covenants, to a people under the law, to take them from a relationship with God via the law to relating to Him as Father. From law to grace, from rules to spirit, and from bondage to their promised kingdom. But the nation, Israel, rejected Jesus as the Christ.
Because Israel, as a whole, did not accept Jesus as their Messiah, Jesus spoke of instituting His church. Those of Israel who accepted Jesus as their Messiah became His disciples and later, the first members of His church. The old covenant of law would be superseded by the new and better covenant of grace. The old covenant of the law was nailed to the cross upon which Christ was crucified. This marks the ultimate end of the Dispensation of the Law era.
Now remember that John the Baptist announced Jesus as the Messiah and ushered in the new “era” or, if you will the Dispensation of Grace. Therefore we have an overlap whereby both dispensations are active throughout Jesus’ entire ministry. Therefore all of Jesus’ teachings were intended for, and profitable to those under law AND/OR grace.
Let’s see how this works
John The Baptist’s Announcement
Introduced Jesus as Savior thereby ending the Dispensation of Law:
The Dispensation of Grace is now in force.
Crucifixion of Jesus Christ
The Old Covenant is nailed to the cross, buried and ends forevermore. While Israel’s dispensation of law was no longer in effect because the Messiah was at hand, Israel’s covenant of law could not be replaced until Jesus was crucified.
Beginnings of The Dispensation of Grace in full force.
There is a time gap between the ending of the Dispensation of the Law and the Dispensation of Grace. This time gap is comprised mainly of Jesus ministry, crucifixion, resurrection and up to Pentecost. As shown, this time period was not bound by a specific dispensation. Jesus is returning again, a second time for His church. We are commanded to live and be watchful of His imminent return. In 30 seconds or less, Are you ready?