A Voice in the
Lately as I've been observing world events, I've also been considering and meditating on what the -nature- of the next major prophetic event might be. Indeed, as I was 'nestling' myself into the computer just now to begin these observations, I read an e-mail from a subscriber who closed his note with, "waiting for LIFT OFF when the TRUMPET is SOUNDED!"
Many people have come to call this event the "Rapture." Back five years ago when VW began, we considered the subject with the term "Meeting in the Air" (Issues 003/004) since the word "rapture" doesn't actually appear in the Scriptures. But rapture describes the event which Paul spoke of as "[being] caught up together with them [resurrected ones] in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air." (1Th4:17)
When Paul speaks of the "twinkling of an eye" (1Cor15:52-nkjv/kjv) combined with "one shall be taken, and the other left" (Mt24) Christians for many years have assumed this would be a "quiet" event. That life would be going along, and suddenly without warning, the Believers would -just- "disappear". And there have been dramatic suppositions of buses crashing when the believing driver disappeared from behind the wheel, that airplanes would crash when a believing pilot disappears from the cockpit, etc. And those left would be rubbing their eyes, blinking, screaming ...wondering what just happened. And the mayhem that would ensue. It is quite possible that many of these things -will- happen.
Furthermore, those who scoff at the idea of the rapture; or those who don't believe it will happen before the coming seven-year period which culminates in God's wrath poured out to -judge- the world; taunt Believers with the notion of the "secret" rapture. As though it is an event where Believers are going to "sneak out" -quietly-. And they say this with a tone of disdain.
What is the nature of this event? This "lift off"? Is it going to be "quiet"? Is it "secret"? Is the Church "slithering" away, "afraid" of tribulation? You know, the Church has already had tribulation for 2000 years, as Jesus promised would be the case. (Jn16:33) However, the coming seven-year period culminating in His wrath is a unique time in history. It is a time when Satan unites the world in rebellion against God, and God crushes Satan and his Babylon system. But it will happen according to God's timetable.
And this brings us to the first observation of world current events. People with even the most limited understanding of end-time events understand that the world religions will all be united as "one". That the world governments will be united. That world commerce will be unified. We have observed the growth and progression of the World Council of Churches, and the various pushes towards "unity in diversity". Several viable technologies are essentially -now- ready, and with a final go-ahead it would not take long at all to implement the beast's "mark". It is all right at the threshold. But have you noticed how it doesn't seem to -quite- get put together yet? Where it looked like a world economy would become melded, there is now a reversion back to regionalization. In the US, where it appeared that the current administration would railroad this country into full cooperation with the UN, and other "world" alliances, there seems to be a very strong push to change the direction of this co untry at the next election in 2000, with different values.
What is witholding all these events from taking off? Paul writes, "..he is now holding back.." (2Th2:7) Who? The Holy Spirit. In the days of Noah it was "[God's] Spirit" that strove with man. (Gen6:3) And even today the Holy Spirit indwells the Believer (Rom8:9,16); but He also has a work throughout the world. (Jn16:8-11) And the events yet to come are on a "schedule" according to God's plan; down to the "hour, day, month, year." (Rev9:15) This period of time cannot begin until God says, "Now!"
How will creation know that "it's time"? God is going to announce it. With "fanfare". Paul speaks of Jesus' "Glorious Appearing". (Tit2:13) For you who are now scoffing as you read this, don't forget that Paul speaks of Christ -judging- "according to His appearance and His kingdom." (2Tm4:1) There are two events involving Christ's coming. In one case, His "SECOND COMING", He will appear as "lightning comes out of the east and shines even to the west". (Mt24:27) This is His "coming" to the Mt. of Olives (Acts1:11,Zech14:4) as He comes -WITH- "all the saints" (vs5b) to His "kingdom". (2Tm4:1)
In His "APPEARANCE" He will also come in clouds. But on this occasion He is coming -FOR- the saints. (Jn14:3) Those who are "dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord IN THE AIR." (1Th4:16-17) It should be obvious to even the most naive that these are two -different- events. And "logistically" it should be apparent that this event (His "appearing") occurs -prior- to His "coming".
There will be the "voice of the archangel." (Th4:16) What will be the nature of this "voice"? I highly doubt that he will be going "pssst" in the ears of Believers. "Pssst! It's time to go. Let's "sneak" you out!" How loud will this voice be? Who will hear it? I don't know...God knows. But we might get an idea from some things recorded for us. When the seraphs cried "Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts" (Is6:3) it says the "doorposts moved at the voice of the one who cried." (vs4) When God replied to Jesus audibly, the bystanders heard it as "thunder". (Jn12:29) And Jesus explained that it was for -their- benefit because "now is the judgment of this world. Now shall the prince of this world be cast out." (vs31)
There will be the "trumpet of God". (1Th4:16) What does the trumpet of God sound like? Is it the "shofar" that has become quite a fetish amongst some over the past few years? I really doubt it will be that "puny" a sound. "..and there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mountain. And the voice of the trumpet was exceedingly loud, so that all the people in the camp trembled." (Ex19:16)
Do you get the picture? Christ will come in a "cloud"; whatever -that- will look like! That cloud will be -somewhere- overhead "in the air". There will be some sort of -LOUD- trumpet blast. There will be a thunderous voice. Something, the likes of which, will make the observers and hearers be afraid and tremble. Will anybody understand -what- the 'voice' says? We are not told.
What will the voice say? One of the things said will be to the Believers. When Jesus called Lazarus out of the grave, He shouted out, "Lazarus, Here! Outside!" (Jn11:43) "And the first -VOICE- which I heard was as it were of a -TRUMPET- talking with me, saying, 'COME UP HERE'." (Rev4:1) The Lord is going to come in the cloud and -call- the Believers to Himself. His -sheep- "know his voice." (Jn10:4) Quite possibly the rest of the world will only hear "thunder"??
But notice some other dramatic receptions into heaven. When Stephen was martyred, as God was preparing to receive him, Stephen -saw- "into heaven" and Jesus -standing- at the right hand of God. And he told everybody around him what was happening. (Acts7:55-56) When Elijah was whisked away into heaven, Elisha "saw" him go, as Elijah's mantle fell behind. (2Kg2) Details of Enoch's translation are not given. But it would seem to correspond with Paul's description of the "twinkling of an eye", because he "was not". (Gen5:24) But his experience correlates in a direct fashion to the Church's coming rapture. God took him -SEVEN- hundred years prior to the flood. In some cases a hundred years was considered a "generation". In other cases, it would be looked upon as a "period" of time. But there were "seven" of them. Just as there are "seven" years to Daniel's "70th week", or the "one week". (Dan9:24-27) And just as Enoch [who "walked with God"] was taken out "seven" periods prior to judgme nt, so, too, the Church [who "walk..according to the Spirit"-Rom8:1] will "come out of the midst" (2Th2:7) "seven" years prior to God's final outpouring of wrath.
The Church coming out, with the fanfare of trumpet-voice, along with its Companion, the Holy Spirit (2Th2:7), will signal the beginning of the "time" for the final events to begin. All those observations we began this writing with, which are not yet -quite- getting going, will -then- take off. There have been comments by many/various world dignitaries that the world is in need of a "leader". A "champion" or "hero". It's as though they all realize the world is in a place of 'stagnation' right now, and all it needs is the right "personality" that people will rally around and follow. The unveiling of that person is also waiting for God's -announcement-. God's time.
Just a -personal- observation here. Notice that when it all breaks loose, "God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.." (2Th2:11) I believe the world is already being set up and prepared for at least -one- of the lies. How often have you heard the expression that "aliens live among us"? Well, that's not so far-fetched. Remember that Jesus said the last days would like like the "days of Noah." During Noah's time prior to the flood, there had been intermingling of spirit and human life. (Gen6:1-2,4) Notice what Daniel says of the "ten-toe" period... "they shall mix [mingle==mix,join together] themselves with the seed of men." (Dan2:43) Something [or someone] -other-than- humanity will be joined with the -seed- of men.
In other writings we have observed that the "alien" phenomenon is -demonic- in nature. While I don't remember the man's name, recently on one of the network programs a man gave his "testimony" regarding his involvement with aliens. A highly successful man with a multi-billion dollar company, sold his shares in the company, because his alien involvement was "more important." He had a vision, speaking with an entity. When the entity asked him "why" he should be allowed to delve into things of the alien world, the man replied, "because I'm willing to -die- for it." At which point, verbally described in 'Star Trek' fashion, a "glow" passed from the entity into this man.
What is one of -the- largest topics around which movies are created? Aliens. Usually these aliens are malevolent, seeking to destroy humanity. They also often 'invade' people, behaving as 'symbionts'. A pretty good picture of "demon possession." And how do these aliens usually make their presence known to humanity? They come in LARGE ships which usually "hover" in the air, or in orbit. They whisk people up into their ships. And humanity then scrambles to try to figure out how to protect themselves against the invaders, or to attempt to destroy them, or to send them back to where they came from. Sometimes these "ships" are like large plasma energy entities. You can be sure that Satan has a pretty good idea of what the Rapture will be like, and is already preparing his "disclaimer" for what happened, when it happens. Remember, Satan is the big imitator.
You see, the Rapture will not be a silent, sneaking-away of Believers. It will be a major -BIG- event that the world will see. And as God makes clear that judgment is coming, man will rebel. The "alien" lies will already be implanted and in place. When Jesus comes in His "cloud", all the 'science fiction' will have become 'reality' to the worldly mind. And the "hero" that rises up will persuade humanity that this is truly a global threat. And then, all those plans that are -now- ready, will be implemented...for man's "protection". Trouble is, most of humanity will be deceived by the lie, because the reality will be that it is Satan's last push to be "like the Most High." (Is14:14)
Well, the world will be persuaded that it is a threat, and most of them will be destroyed. But notice the wording, again, that Paul uses. Christ is going to judge "according to" His -appearance- and His -kingdom-. (2Tm4:1) One of the characteristics of a Believer, is that he is "looking for...the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ." (Tit2:13) When the Holy Spirit makes known to a Believer's heart the Truth of these things, there is only -ONE- Truth! Many people are hedging their bets... preparing as though they are to go through God's judgment, but -hoping- they might be raptured 'prior' to judgment. That's -not- the "blessed hope"! The Blessed Hope is that of being "redeemed" out of this world (Rom8:23) and receiving "incorruption" (1Cor15:53) as we "shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." (1Jn3:2) -That- is "this HOPE" (vs3) This "hope" occurs when Christ is "revealed" (vs2) at His "glorious appearance". (Tit2:13)
Those who were hedging their bets in unbelief will find that, after it happens, they will be amongst the number of those who believe the lie. They are those "who [did] not believe the truth" and they will "be condemned." (2Th2:12) Their judgement will have been "according to His appearance" (2Tm4:1) and all the details of what that may mean, as the Lord knows each individual's heart.
But the Believer is "not of the world" (Jn15:19) to be receiving the judgment that will come to it. (Rom1:18,Rev3:10) "For our citizenship is in Heaven, from which also we are looking for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our body of humiliation so that it may be fashioned like His glorious body.." (Phil3:20-21,1Jn3:2) "Now there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that Day; and not to me only, but also to all those who LOVE HIS APPEARING. (2Tm4:8)
"Therefore, beloved, looking for these things, be diligent, spotless, and without blemish, to be found by Him in peace. (2Pt3:14)