Terry James from Prophecy Line on WordPress, who by the way, refuses to post most of my comments, says that the time of the Tribulation is nearing, and our redemption in the verse I paraphrased in the title means the Pre-Trib Rapture is at hand. Is He correct?
We are going to undertake a study of redemption in order to find out. First you need to understand that some pre-Trib scholars disagree with Terry on this being the call for the church in the pre-Trib Rapture, and with good reason I might add; because the Jews and Israel are included along with us in this redemption as we will see. The reason that Terry and others in the past have seen this statement as a Rapture statement I believe is because there are no pre-Trib Rapture statements in scripture, therefore many have attempted to make a appeal that there is such a statement wherever they can. This particular statement I and some others have found to be one such attempt, just like they have done with the word Apostasy In 2 Thess. 2. I’ve written on this in the past.
So, let’s view this verse and then determine what the Lord is saying and who He is directing to be aware of (lifting up of heads because this redemption will draw neigh for some).
Luke 21:28 But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.
The signs that preceded this are, according to Terry, False christs; wars; earthquakes and pestilence with famine. In order for this to have the desired meaning Jesus must have been speaking of these conditions taking place for the restored Nation of Israel — why? These conditions have existed in the world since Jesus made these particular signs a condition worth watching. Some pre-Trib scholars have made this a reason for a belief in the imminent return theory. So are they correct?
First let me say that these are not all of the signs recorded by our Lord, because Matthew 24, and Mark 13 also speak of Jesus’ discourse, and included there is the falling away, and the rise of the Antichrist. So when these signs are added many of us take it that the time spoken of here is end-time related. But there is a concern with this thinking by others in the church. Why? — it is because these things did all happen in the years following Jesus first coming when He did actually purchase for us our redemption. And in the Spirit our redemption has already come if we are in Christ. So, is there another future time when these conditions will again manifest, and if so what is the need for them to do so?
Old Testament prophecy is often stated to us with its meaning to be both present and future. The virgin birth is a good example. So, why is there still a redemption needed, if we already have ours in Christ? Our physical redemption is still needed. It will not occur until the resurrection, and of course the Rapture is a part of that physical redemption for those who have not died.
So ask yourself if all this is to occur again— have there been recent wars in Israel? What about earthquakes in diverse places? Is there pestilence and famine in Israel? Is there a Jewish Temple in which Antichrist can establish himself as God? So is there reason to see this admonition as being for our future. I think the likely answer is yes but not yet; for we can not yet know if these things have begun to take place. So why is there confusion over this — is this call by our Lord to watch for Israel or is it for the church? Or is it for both?
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
Romans 8:22-23 KJV
So here we see Paul speaking of this future redemption of our bodies, but not ours alone but all who are redeemed from all creation. This would have included past, present and future.
The Jews of Old Testament times were part of this creation that has been redeemed in Christ, you may want to revisit my last post especially if you haven’t read it. But listen to what the writer of Hebrews said concerning redemption.
And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
Hebrews 9:15,28 KJV
It’s important to note that the old covenant was not sufficient for Israel’s redemption. It took Christ to accomplish this. We all must come under the New Covenant. It’s also important to note that those who are looking for Him to come a second time are not designated as a divided people of God (church vs Israel). Both are promised this N.T.redemption of soul and body because of this New Covenant. Both were promised salvation and resurrection in Him. Israel was the promised recipient of this New Covenant established through their Messiah, Jesus. We, Gentiles are grafted in. So, both Jews and Gentiles will be looking for this promised redemption of the body which Jesus spoke of in Luke 21:28 above. And they will expect it at his second coming.
“and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Heb. 9:28.
So, let’s return to Jesus admonishing us to lift up our heads for our redemption draweth neigh. When these things begin to take place is the appointed time; so when is that.
I believe that the only war which can qualify as bringing these conditions to present day Israel will be the battle of Armageddon. For once this battle begins at the end of their appointed time of peace; then a future 2/3 of Israel will eventually die as at least 1/3 flee toward Edom. This war is brought on by the Antichrist system and cannot occur without his presence. The beginning of these signs listed by Jesus would then be the Antichrist’s revelation in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Until he is revealed there can be no assurance that any of these other conditions are the actual beginning of these things (“when these things begin to take place, then…” Take for instance the wars between Israel and her neighbors; we have been seeing them now for more than 70 years, but still no Temple. And he (the Antichrist) does manifest near the beginning of the particular signs that Jesus mentioned. His manifestation is during Tribulation, which is when the rest of these signs will also manifest. And this is a short period of time involving 3&1/2 years or less. The future redemption of both Jew and Gentile will be made clear at this time. The return of the Lord will now be imminent. Our redemption is now near. Unless these days are cut short no flesh will be saved. How are they cut short? Jesus will intervene (see the post Messiah Stains His Garment (Sept 28:17) Isa 63:1-8). This our bodily redemption will come with His Second Coming. It will come for all who are in Christ.