There is a lot of talk lately about the ‘Rapture’. Everywhere I turn people are talking about the signs of the end times. The signs are literally screaming at us, and yet I regularly encounter Christians who have zero interest in discussing the possibility that Christ’s Second Coming may be in our lifetime. I’m talking about Christians who will not even consider the signs pointed out in scripture.
Two examples come to mind. I’ll call one the ‘pan-millennialist’ and the other the ‘scoffer’. The first will, if the subject is broached, say, “I’m a pan-millennialist,” (ha, ha, ha; slap on the back) “I figure it will all pan out in the end; know what I mean?” The other, the Bible calls a ‘scoffer’ because 2 Peter 3:3,4 tell us that in the last days scoffers will come, saying “where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” (v.4) Although scripture promises blessings for those who study and read Revelation, neither of these has any desire to study prophetic scripture.

Dr. David Jeremiah says in his book, Agents of The Apocalypse; “The Second Coming is second only to salvation as the most dominant subject in the New Testament. The fact that Christ’s second coming features so prominently in Scriptures is an indication that this event is important to God – and as a result, it should be important to us.”
Let me point out regarding ‘The Rapture/Second Coming’ that it is obviously God’s will that we live in expectation of His imminent return. We are to be preparing for His return. Luke 21:36 says, “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” I take that to mean that some, not all, will escape the coming judgment upon the Earth. He, Jesus, in Luke 21 is speaking to His followers about the end times.
These described above believe that there is ‘no gain’ in watching and getting ready for His return. They assume and have been taught in church that whenever the rapture occurs, they will go, because, after all, they’re saved! The Rapture is for the whole Church, Right?
What if they are wrong? What if there is the possibility of those not watching, of those not ready, being left behind? I believe there is scriptural evidence for this. I have even changed my terminology and now speak of ‘The Rapture of the Bride’ not ‘the rapture of the church’. True enough, the Bride is a part of the Church but not the whole church. Scripture tells us that Jesus is coming to get His Bride who is purifying herself, making herself ready, and eagerly awaiting the coming of the Groom. Does that describe you? What Bride does not eagerly anticipate her wedding day? Nominal Christians, ‘pan-millennialists’, scoffers do not fit that picture. Pan-millennialist just want ‘a cabin in the corner of gloryland’. No need to get all consumed with this spiritual journey, after all, I’ve got my pass stamped. They’re certainly not eagerly awaiting His return; why given the choice, they may even choose to stay behind; opting to catch up with the Lord on His next pass in seven years.
I ventured my ‘partial rapture’ theory in a Bible study group several years ago and one Bible teacher grew angry. He declared forcefully that “Salvation was by grace through faith alone; works doesn’t enter the picture!” I agreed and told him that I’m not suggesting that those left behind are lost; only left behind to endure the judgment of Great Tribulation. Later after studying the relevant scriptures he returned suggesting that those left behind would be those so wrapped up in this world that they would choose to remain. I replied, “Exactly!”

I’ve already quoted Luke 21:36 that suggests that by ‘watching and praying’ some will escape the coming judgment upon the Earth. Let’s look at Matthew 25:1-13. Matthew 24 and 25 are the teachings of Jesus on the “Last Days”. Matt 25:1 says, “…at that time, the kingdom of heaven will be like…” Then in verse 13 is the admonition, “therefore, keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
Many say this parable is not about the rapture but it certainly is about the groom coming for His bride to take her to the Fathers’ house for the wedding. Sounds like the rapture to me! The phraseology, “no one knows the day or the hour” certainly speaks of the rapture because at His Second Coming to Earth, the exact day will be known. It will be, according to scripture, 1260 days or 3 ½ years after the abomination of desolation in the temple in Jerusalem. This is precisely why the Anti-Christ gathers the armies of the world to stop Jesus from returning to reign as King of King and Lord of Lords. They know the day according to prophetic scripture.
In between Matt. 25:1 and verse 13 is the parable of ‘the Ten Virgins’; five wise and five foolish. All ten were a part of the wedding party (the Church). All ten were saved! Five were wise and five were foolish. Foolish doesn’t mean lost, it means double minded. They weren’t singularly focused on the coming of the Groom. (Sounds like a ‘pan-millennialist’ to me)
The parable parallels a Jewish wedding feast of that day. This also parallels what we call the rapture! In the Jewish tradition, once the proposal of marriage is accepted, the groom goes to prepare a place for the couple to live. (John 14:1-4) When the Father of the groom is satisfied with the arrangements and preparations, he tells the groom, ‘go and get your bride’. It’s a celebratory atmosphere but the groom keeps the exact time a secret from the bride and wedding party. As the groom gets close to the brides’ house the best man shouts, “Behold, The bridegroom cometh!” The groom snatches his bride; the wedding party is assembled and they go to the Fathers’ house for the ceremony and celebration which lasts seven days. In NT prophecy, when the Bride is taken, that marks the end of ‘the church age’.
Daniel 9 tells us that the history of Israel is divided into 70 weeks of years. We find that 69 weeks of Jewish history have past, (concluded when Messiah was cut off). Then the age of Grace, like a parenthesis is inserted. Israel awaits her final week of history. According to scripture that 70th week will begin when Israel makes a seven year peace treaty with the anti-Christ. 2 Thess. 2:7 states that the Anti-Christ cannot be revealed until ‘HE who restrains’ is taken out of the way. It is generally agreed that ‘He who restrains’ is the Holy Spirit. It is also agreed that ‘He who will never leave us nor forsake us’ leaves when the Bride leaves, ie. ‘the rapture’.
So, while a week of years, Daniels’ 70th week, Great Tribulation, occurs on Earth; the week long wedding celebration is taking place in Heaven, the Fathers’ house.
Notice in Matthew 25:1-13 they all slept; they all were invited to be a part of the wedding feast. Five went and five were shut out because they were not ready.
Some suggest that when the Groom tells those shut out, “I don’t know you” this indicates they were lost. Not so. Please note: In Matt 7:23, where Jesus tells those who were false believers, “I never knew you.” He used the word “ginosko” which means “I have no knowledge of you”. Here, in Matthew 25:12 where the Groom says, “I don’t Know you”, the word used is “oida” meaning intimacy. It’s like a husband ‘knows’ his wife and she conceives. He is not saying, “I don’t know who you are”, rather he is saying, “You and I are not intimate, You’re not my bride.”
Let me return to Luke 21:36. “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” Note: this is a two-fold admonition. One: that you may be able to escape judgment that is described in Luke 21 by Jesus himself; and Two: that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. The phrase “to stand before” has two meanings in scripture. One, is to ‘stand in Judgment’ and Two, is for a Bride to ‘stand before her groom’. Since we are specifically speaking here of escaping judgment, then in my opinion, this is the picture of the Bride standing before the groom in marriage as is Jewish tradition (and ours). This is a picture of the Bride being ushered down the aisle to the groom and stands before him.
I believe that according to scripture those of the church who are double minded, not making ready, not watching and praying are not a part of the bride. They are saved in the end, but as here are left behind to endure judgment that falls during Great Tribulation.
What if I am right? What if the Parable of the Ten Virgins is a separation of those who are longing for His appearing from those who are saved but caught up in the cares of this world?


What is Great Tribulation?

Q: What is Great Tribulation?

A: Great Tribulation is the correct Biblical term for the last seven (7) years before Christ returns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Great Tribulation is the last week of Jewish prophecy. Daniel divides Jewish history into ’70 weeks of years’. (Daniel 9:20-27) When Christ was crucified sixty nine weeks were completed, leaving one more week of years or seven years till the end. There, enters a parenthesis in time. God’s plan for his people Israel is put on hold as the Jews are dispersed into all nations having no homeland of their own from AD70 until the Balfour Declaration in 1917 allowed them to begin returning to their homeland. They became the nation of Israel in May 1948. By the way, this was the first time the nation of Israel had existed since before they went into exile in 587-86 BC. During the time of Christ, this country was Judea. Another note of interest overlooked today, at the same time the Jews were given Palestine for their homeland, Jordan was established for the Arab/Palestinian people to have their own homeland. This seems to be forgotten or overlooked in our current political climate.

During this parenthesis, salvation is extended to ‘the nations’ or the gentiles. Other names for this period of time are: The times of the Gentiles, The Age of Grace, and The Church Age. Prophecy indicates as we’ve discussed previously that the age of the Gentiles has officially ended. According to Luke 21:24, “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” So, Biblically, the age of the Gentiles ended in 1967 with the six day war.

The Age of Grace ends with the withdrawal of the Holy Spirit from the Earth. The Age of Grace began with Christ and His death, burial and resurrection, and the subsequent pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. (Birthday of the Church, beginning of the Church Age). 2 Thessalonians 2:7,8 says, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; ony He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming…”

The ‘lawless one’ is commonly accepted as referring to the Anti-Christ. The ‘one who restrains’, “He” (capitalized) is the Holy Spirit. Accepting these identities, we see that the exit of “He who now restrains” is an event preceeding the revelation of the Anti-Christ. The chronological order is thus:

  • The Holy Spirit leaves, thus ending the Age of Grace, The Church Age, and the Parenthesis;
  • The Anti-Christ is revealed, and sets into place a seven year peace treaty with Israel; thus beginning the 70th or last week of Jewish prophetic history.
  • Christ returns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords and destroys the Anti-Christ in the ensuing battle at Armageddon. This is the Anti-Christ who the Lord “will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.”

A minimum of seven years lapses between the exit of ‘He who restrains’ and Christ’s Second Coming. As indicated above, this seven years relates to Jewish prophetic history. It is during this time that the Jewish people turn ‘en masse’ to Messiah. This is a time of Judgment upon the Earth. It is in this seven year period that “The bowls of wrath” are poured out upon the Earth representing God’s Judgement ‘poured’ out against ungodliness

We will next discuss:

1. The pre-great tribulation rapture of the Bride of Christ, and

2. Not all believers/Christians are a part of the Bride of Christ, thus there will be a partial rapture of the church.

Will Christians Endure Tribulation?

Q: Doesn’t Revelation teach that Christians will endure persectuion and tribulation? Aren’t Christians deluding themselves to expect deliverance from Great Tribulation via a rapture?

A: This is a misunderstanding of God’s timetable. The Church has been in tribulation and has been persecuted for centuries. Revelation was written by the Apostle John in about AD96. At the time of his writing, Christians were already enduring their 3rd great persecution. John says, in Revelation 1:9; “I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation…” (KJV) Persecution and Tribulation for Christians had already began prior to the end of the first century, and has continued. More Christians were martyred for the cause of Christ in the 20th Century than all 19 previous centuries combined (see Fox’s Book of Martyrs). To teach that persecutions has not occurred or is yet to occur is just plain wrong. We have been so blessed in the USA that it’s just now becoming fashionable in America to persecute Jews and Christians.

Great Tribulation, that future event lasting 7 years in the Book of Revelation, has nothing to do with the Bride of Christ. The Bride will escape this period! This is the 70th week of Jewish history spoken of by the prophet Daniel. (Daniel 9:20-27)

    Luke 21:36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass,

    In my opinion, this speaks of the rapture and the possibility of escaping Great Tribulation.

    Some will escape; who?
    Will you?

  • We’ve demonstrated scripturally that we are in the last days.
  • We’ve demonstrated scripturally that we are living on borrowed time in that the ‘age of the gentiles’ has ended.
  • We’ve demonstrated scripturally that Christians were in tribulation prior to the end of the first century.