A rare event in the heavens came just ahead of our last Christmas when there was produced a featured alignment of planets, which a famous astronomer believed was the phenomenon that is mentioned in the Bible when Jesus Christ was born.
Another famous astronomer, Johannes Kepler, posited in 1614 that the alignment of the two planets might have been what was reported in the Nativity Story of Christ in the Bible. These planets also aligned in 7 B.C., around the time that one theory states that Christ was born.
Jesus told us of coming signs both in the heavens and on the earth before He would return.
One sign is told to us in Joel, which as the signs go, will have no equal. This sign’s timing is told us by Joel, and is also confirmed in Isaiah, as well as by Jesus Himself; and it is a sign, which He says will occur in the Sun, Moon and Stars. What we are told, by both Joel and Isaiah, is that this is to occur before the Great and awful day of the Lord, and that it is before His coming to gather His elect from the heavens and the earth, making it a sign of that coming.
Jesus had stated it this way:
Mark 13:24 “But in those days, after [the suffering and distress of] that tribulation, THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, 25 AND THE STARS WILL BE FALLING from the sky, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. 26 “Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN CLOUDS with great power and glory [in royal majesty and splendor]. 27 “And then He will send out the angels, and will gather together His elect [those He has chosen for Himself] from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven. (AMP)
This is a clear picture of His coming. It will be dark on the earth before that event known as the day of the Lord. This will make His coming so unique that it will not be possible for anyone but God Himself to perform such an event as a sign in conjunction with this day of the Lord. A day, which in actuality has then been introduced by that very sign of darkness all around the globe. Something that has not occurred since the very creation itself.
Paul, we are often told did not support this same appearing of Christ as one that we are to be looking for, but instead he told of another day, which they refer to as the pre-Trib Rapture. This day then is said to be on just any ordinary day. One with no signs. One which would require no discernment. One that comes as a surprise. But a close examination of Paul’s description of this day shows that he had a complete understanding of what Jesus and the prophets taught. Remember, Paul was a scholar of the Old Testament.
Paul says that Jesus is to come as a thief in the night to gather His people. But at the same time he says that this day will not surprise us. So why might that be?
Jesus says that it is dark all over the earth, when He comes; thus this period before He comes will be giving the appearance of night all over the earth. Paul’s night, then compares to what Jesus described.
Paul says that this thief (Jesus), will resurrect all of those who have died in Christ. Jesus says: that when He comes that he will gather all of His elect. Those in Heaven would represent the physically dead, who would be resurrected.
Paul says that He will then gather those who are alive and remain. Jesus says that He will gather those of the earth – the alive physically. Both again agree.
Actually the Rapture, which is made the primary event by pre-Trib teachers is only a part of what takes place at the time of His coming on the Day of the Lord. His coming will outshine the darkness. It will outshine the resurrection, it will outshine the Rapture. Whereas men attempt to make the Rapture the main event, God tells us to look for Him the blessed hope of all mankind. He is the main event. This blessed hope is not just to those alive in Him when He comes, but it is to all who have ever placed their hope in Him. Yes it for even those living spiritually in Heaven, awaiting their resurrected body.
Paul in his second letter to the Thessalonians reaffirms this coming after the Tribulation to be when the Rapture occurs, listen:
2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now in regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to [meet] Him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to be quickly unsettled or alarmed either by a [so-called prophetic revelation of a] spirit or a message or a letter [alleged to be] from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has [already] come. 3 Let no one in any way deceive [or] entrap you, for [that day will not come] unless the apostasy comes first [that is, the great rebellion, the abandonment of the faith by professed Christians], and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction [the Antichrist, the one who is destined to be destroyed], (AMP)
Men can and do twist this scripture, but twisting cannot change the fact that it confirms in plain English or even Greek what Jesus had told us about His coming. Paul says that this is written so that you won’t be deceived. This day is to occur after the falling away, and after the revealing of the man of perdition. Jesus further clarified this as being after the Tribulation of those days. What Paul describes here is the same event that Jesus has described to us.
Dispensationalist tell us that yes, there is no passage of scripture which states that the Rapture is pre-Tribulational, but then they add that — “and there is none to tell us that it is not” (meaning that it is not pre-Tribulational). I ask do they not read and believe the literal scripture? How do you come to their conclusion, without thinking that both Jesus and Paul must be deceiving us in these passages?
Ask yourself if God does not want us deceived, why would He state something so convoluted in His word, something that is not revealed in His word, and yet we are told that it could not help but be a different coming than what is described?
The real reason that they give is that there is a division of Abrahams children. Israel and the Jews; Vs the Church and its born again Jews. But, Paul also plainly refutes that understanding, stating that we are one new man, no longer Jew and Gentile. We are one with the saints. No longer outside looking in, but part of this commonwealth of Israel. We are One in the olive tree, as grafted in branches. And we are Future sons of God.
Now consider a word from the deceiver:
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty (subtle, skilled in deceit) than any living creature of the field which the LORD God had made. And the serpent (Satan) said to the woman, “Can it really be that God has said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees of the garden, 3 except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God said, ‘You shall not eat from it nor touch it, otherwise you will die.'” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You certainly will not die! (AMP)
The deceiver, has no choice but to try to cause you and I to question what God has said.
Where in Scripture has God said: “the Rapture will occur before the Tribulation? Was it in:
Revelation 4:1 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice which I had heard, like [the sound] of a [war] trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.” (AMP)
Was it in:
Revelation 3:10 ‘Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that [hour] which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. (NASB1995)
Before you jump to a conclusion taught you about this verse consider here what Jesus meant when using the same Greek wording:
John 17:15 “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil [one.] (NASB1995)
I will further take up this subject in my next post.