末期日子之光

The Interval, Rapture and Tribulation

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Let’s move on. Is there any event in the end time scenario which shows that the full number of gentiles has come in? This is an interesting question.

Nobody knows how many gentiles or indeed how many Jews there are who believe in Jesus.

If you take it from the beginning of the church age, it’s impossible for us to know. Nobody knows apart from God, and it seems that God considers a certain time when He sees enough gentiles have come in, when He’s going to change the situation and bring about something which will be ‘a new thing’. God will do something new to show this has happened, and then, He will turn to the Jewish people.

Now, here’s where it gets a bit controversial, because I know some people don’t believe that there is a pre-Tribulation Rapture. But I believe there is. And I believe that what actually happens to change this situation is the pre-Tribulation Rapture of the church.

So that, when God moves and says there are enough gentiles, when there are enough Jews who believe in Jesus, He says: ‘I’m going to take these people supernaturally out of the world‘. Then, the time of the great Tribulation will come in which ‘I’ll begin to deal in a specific way with the Jewish people‘. A famous scripture in 1 Thessalonians says:

16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

帖撒羅尼迦前書4.16-17

That scripture is what’s called the Rapture of the church. It says that, at some point in time, God is going to supernaturally take all those who have repented and believe the Gospel, who have the Holy Spirit in them, to be taken out of this world to meet the Lord as He comes in the air.

What the Bible Really Says About the Rapture | The Bible and the End Times – Beliefnet

It’s an entirely supernatural event. We can’t make it happen but God can make it happen because God’s able to do everything. And, at this point, all those who believe in Jesus will be taken supernaturally to be with the Lord.

It says that we don’t know the day or the hour, so we can’t tell when this is going to happen.

Therefore, one of the implications is that we should be ready for it to happen at any time:

Be ready for the coming of the Lord.

Now, the controversial bit is that if believers are taken out of the world before the Tribulation, then there is a time of 7 years which is the Tribulation during which time God is dealing with those who remain and which will bring God to move in a new way amongst Israel, His Jewish people.

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

Matthew 23-37-39

They will be saved in large numbers, and they will also bring numbers of gentiles to believe who will be saved during the Tribulation period. God will deal with the remaining Jewish population on the earth, reveal to a significant number of them that Yeshua is the Messiah, all of which will climax in the national salvation of Israel.

Tribulation events (endtimes.org)

Now, what’s interesting (I’m going to skip the daily one and go to Hosea first), if you look in the Old Testament, you’ll find there are a number of scriptures in the prophets which speak about what we call the Interval, a time between when God has moved away from dealing with Israel and when He returns to dealing with Israel. One of these is the Book of Hosea chapter 3 verse 4 where it says:

For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.

Hosea 3.4-5

So, it says that there’s going to be a time when Israel is going to be without a king, without a prince, without a sacrifice, without a sacred pillar, without an Ephod, without a teraphim.

People who have expounded on this verse say that the first of each of those couplets is something which is legitimate, which God gives to Israel, but the second part of the couplets represents something which is illegitimate, which they’ve created by themselves.

  • The king is the God-appointed king, the prince is the prince they’ve chosen for themselves.
  • The sacrifice is the God-appointed sacrifice, the sacred pillar is the  illegitimate object of worship.
  • The Ephod is the communication of God legitimately, by the holy Spirit through the High Priest’s garments.
  • The teraphim is the communication through some kind of false spiritist worship.

It says that all of those things are going to be missing during this period, this interval.

Of Particular interest to us is the fact that they won’t have a sacrifice. There will no longer carry out the yom kippur sacrifice, the sacrifice to atone for sin, it’s going to be missing during this period.

And Hosea says it’s going to be for many days, in Hebrew, yamim rabin, which means ‘a long period of time’. There’ll be a long period of time in which Israel is going to be without these things but it won’t be permanent. And it says, afterward, so there’s going to be a time after this has happened when they’re going to return and seek the Lord their God and David their King, and they shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.

So, the scripture is saying there’s going to be some event which is going to take place in the ‘latter days’, and phrase in the latter days, in Hebrew acharit hayamim, is a phrase which applies to the what we also would call the ‘last days’ before the day of the Lord or before the Second Coming of Jesus the Messiah.

Acharit Hayamim – Perilous Times (hebrew4christians.com)

So, we have this idea of an Interval in which God lays aside Israel if you like, and then turns back to them, and they repent and turn to Him.

This comes out also in the famous prophecy of Daniel chapter 9 where Daniel receives a word from Gabriel at a time when he’s praying about the rebuilding of Jerusalem, and he’s told that there’s going to be a restoration of Jerusalem and there’s going to be a certain sequence of events which is contained in what we call the ’70 weeks of years prophecy’.

What is the correct calculation of the 70 weeks of Daniel?

70 weeks is 70 times 7 which is 490 years. And Daniel says that, during this time, God is going to actually wrap up all of the prophecies and bring to conclusion the prophetic plan with Jerusalem restored and the people restored to the Lord.

Now, the interesting thing about this prophecy is that it has the 70 weeks of years which you can see here divided into three sections:

7 weeks plus (+) 62 weeks which means (=) 69 weeks, which is equal to 483 years.

And it says that

25 “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. 26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.

Daniel 9.25-26

Interesting prophecy that. It’s saying that from the command to rebuild Jerusalem and to an event which is called Messiah being cut off not for himself, there’s going to be a period of time that works out as 483 years.

Can anybody think about any event which could correspond to Messiah being cut off but not for Himself?

Well, the only one it can be referring to is Jesus. And this is one of the clearest prophecies in the Old Testament of Jesus the Messiah coming at a certain time, being cut off, dying a violent death not for his own sins but for the sins of others, at a time which fits in exactly with this prophecy.

The prophecy has its fulfilment in Jesus the Messiah.

For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.

Isaiah 53.8
Daniel 9:26 Commentaries (biblehub.com)

Following that, it says that the people of the prince to come are going to destroy the city and the sanctuary. The people who came and destroyed the city and the sanctuary are the Romans who destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the Temple in Jerusalem 40 years after Jesus died and rose again from the dead.

This prophecy goes up to the time of Jesus.

theologycurator.com

After that, there is another 7-year period. Therefore, this has already happened. Everything spoken of there has already happened.

The subsequent 7-year period is a little bit mysterious. It speaks about someone who’s going to come and make a one week covenant (that’s 7 years), and that he’ll break that covenant halfway through, bringing in an abomination of desolation halfway through it (3 and 1/2 years) and then, that there’s going to be a judgment which would come upon him at the end of that time.

Most commentators, including myself, say that that has not happened yet. It’s speaking about the last 7-year period before Jesus returns, which corresponds to the time of the Antichrist and the Tribulation period.

So, what happens in between? Why have we got this gap here, between the end of that period and the beginning of this period? What fits into that gap?

If you take the view that I take, which is that this is the ‘church age’, it makes sense. God changes from dealing with Israel to dealing with the church and you have this long period of time when God is revealing Himself and communicating through the body of the Messiah. It doesn’t mean that every church is right, but it means that such would be the means which God has chosen to speak to the world through the church.

The church came into being on the day of Pentecost, and if we take the view which I’m taking, then, the believing church will be taken out of the world at the Rapture of the church.

Therefore, you have the in-between period from the death of Christ, His resurrection, the death of the Messiah through to the Rapture of the church which takes place here and explains the gap in this period.

It means that now, Israel, national Israel, is set aside during this time. Individual Jewish people are saved but now God works for a predominantly gentile church.

God still has a plan for Israel and, as we approach the end of this age, we see this plan coming more and more into view.

Israel has been set aside for many days as we read in Hosea, a long period of time. But that time is going to come to a conclusion and, afterward, they will seek the Lord.

If you go through to the following scriptures, you’ll find that (I won’t go through all of these but just give you some references), in the Great Tribulation period, you’re going to have a time of Jewish deliverance.

Go to Daniel chapter 12Jeremiah chapter 30 which speaks about the time of Jacob’s trouble but he shall be saved out of it.

Go to Zechariah chapter 12 through to 14, and it speaks about a time of trouble over Jerusalem but it speaks also about the Lord revealing himself as the Messiah the One who’s been pierced and they look upon him whom they pierced and then the Messiah comes and stands on the Mount of Olives and saves Israel from their distress.

In Joel chapter 2 verse 23 it also speaks about this time of trouble and Israel’s just deliverance.

15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 因為那時必有大災難,從世界的起頭直到如今沒有這樣的災難,後來也必沒有。 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.

Matthew 24.15-22

Go to Revelation and you find in Revelation 6 through to 19 that it speaks about the time of the Great Tribulation (chapter 7) and says that God’s going to take out of this time 144,000 Jewish people and use them as witnesses for Himself in the Great Tribulation period. That happens right at the very beginning of the Tribulation period. So, God is now going to deal specifically with Israel and with the Jewish people.

We also have the two witnesses in Jerusalem who have an impact upon the population of Jerusalem.

In Revelation chapter 11, Zechariah chapter 12, as the armies are gathering at the end of the Tribulation, God pours out His Spirit and they look upon me whom they have pierced and mourn for Him as for an only son in recognition of Jesus the Messiah.

So, you can see that, during this time, God is dealing with Israel and bringing them to recognize that Yeshua/Jesus is the Messiah, and that, when Jesus returns, He comes back to Jerusalem and He sets up His Messianic Kingdom in Jerusalem.

I do believe there will be a literal 1,000 year time when Jesus reigns over the earth from Jerusalem and a restored Israel in that time, a restored Temple in which the rule of the Lord Messiah will take place with believing Jewish people.

And you have a number of scriptures which speak about this. The one we’ve looked at already in Romans 11, then Zechariah 14, Isaiah 2 1-4以及 Ezekiel 42-48. All of those scriptures speak about the time when Messiah is going to reign on the earth from Jerusalem, from a restored Temple, through a restored Israel.

Tony Pearce