Pastor Suzanne L. Taylor
From the research I have been doing, it appears there is nothing blocking God from initiating the rapture. It could happen at any second. All the prophecies written by Daniel, David, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Amos and others about the Christ, His life, crucifixion, death, burial and the formation of the church has happened even to the infilling of the Holy Spirit. At the rapture, Jesus will come; shout out so loud to the dead in Christ and the church that His voice will sound like a trumpet blowing. We will all rise to meet Him in the air, and then…
That’s when a series of prophecies remaining to be fulfilled will begin to take place. I found the following list that’s succinct and shows us what will happen.
The Sequence of Major Events is this:
The Rapture of the Church,
The Battle of Ezekiel 38,
Daniel's 70th week begins,
The Great Tribulation,
The 2nd Coming,
I would add to this list the exposure of the antichrist, the Seven Seal, Seven Trumpet and Seven Bowl Judgments, and the Great White Throne Judgment and the final, eternal completion of Christ’s work on earth when He wins the battle against satan and throws him into the Lake of Fire. There is much that must happen in the seven years of Tribulation. A simple read through Revelation will uncover so much more then I have room to list here.
“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (I Thessalonians 1:9, 10). I believe the church will be raptured before the Tribulation begins because I believe that the work of Jesus on the cross was all-sufficient for regeneration. I believe that when Jesus breathed His last breath as a human, and the heavy ornate curtain that divided the holy of holies from man was ripped from top to bottom, it destroyed the barrier that separated God from man. (Mark 15:37-39) That event opened the access door to the throne of God and eliminated the necessity of a substitutionary figure, a priest, from having to approach the Lord for us. We can now “come boldly to the throne of God through the Blood of Jesus. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
I also believe that at the resurrection of Jesus when the stone was rolled away from the entrance of the tomb, it was a representation of the door of heaven opening to us. Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection freed us from the wrath of God that is coming upon the world. He has “delivered us from the wrath to come”; therefore, we cannot enter into His wrath.
If you believe in the mid-Tribulation or post-Tribulation philosophies, you miss the point of what Jesus did. You don’t believe His cross, His Blood, His resurrection were sufficient to wash your sins away and redeem you from the works of the devil so that, even after All that Jesus did, you require the purification of the Tribulation to finish His work.
“And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only 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” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8). The “lawless one” is the antichrist. He cannot take his place until after the church has been raptured.
Many people think that the “He” who restrains and will be removed before the antichrist is revealed is the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit is removed from the earth at the Rapture, none who will be left behind to endure the Tribulation could be saved, for it is the Holy Spirit who draws man to Christ by convicting them of sin and helping them understand about Jesus. (John 16:12-14) And we know from Revelation that many will be saved and most of them martyred for Christ during the seven years of tribulation. It is the Holy Spirit working for and through the church that restrains the antichrist. When the church is removed to Heaven out of the way of God’s wrath, that’s when the antichrist will come to office. Remember, the Holy Spirit is God and is everywhere present (omnipresent) so can be removed and still remain.
Because of Mr. Obama’s animosity toward Israel and all things Christian, people have tried to label him the antichrist. This is not possible for many reasons. 1. As seen above, the Holy Spirit is restraining the antichrist right now from coming on the scene. He will not be revealed until after the rapture. 2. The antichrist will make history for his affected care of Israel when he makes the seven year treaty with her. 3. The antichrist will be handsome, suave, intelligent and a smooth talker. Yes, Obama is one of the precursors to the antichrist, but is not him. He is an antichrist in that he rejects all things relating to Jesus like the National Day of Prayer, Christian prayer at military funerals, prayer anywhere that isn’t called by a minaret, and especially prayer ending in Jesus’ name, but he will never be the real antichrist. He doesn’t have what it takes. He’s also not a messiah as he once intimated.
Can you imagine the ruckus that would be raised if the antichrist tried to come out now while discerning Spirit-filled Christians are still here? We who are in Christ and know the truth of the Bible know the signs to watch for of the antichrist taking his place in power. With all the Christian websites, preaching television and radio programs, magazines, blogs, and so on, he would not stand a chance of sneaking into position. We would shout him out so loudly it would shake this old world! I firmly believe this is why so many ministries are becoming apostate. They are the ones that will still be here after the rapture, they will be part of the one world religion that will wipe out all faith based ministries; so be careful of whose ministry you sit under for preaching and teaching.
Signs of the antichrist are:
1-He is different from the other kings (Daniel 7:24). 2-He will rise from obscurity… a “little horn” (Daniel 7:8). 3-He will blaspheme God, (Daniel 7:25; 11:36; Revelation 13:5) slandering His Name, dwelling place, and departed Christians and Old Testament saints (Revelation 13:6). 4-He will confirm a 7-year covenant with “many”, that is the Jews (Daniel 9:27). This covenant will very likely involve the establishment of a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15). 5-He will not believe in the God of the earth, but only in himself (Daniel 11:37). 6-He will have “no regard for the desire of women.” This means he will either be asexual or homosexual (Dan 11:37). (This leaves Obama out.) 7-He will claim to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:4) and, He will claim to be greater than any god (Daniel 11:37; 2 Thessalonians 2:4)
Call me an optimist wearing happy glasses, if you like, but I believe the rapture will occur within this generation. To me this generation is those born since 1948 when Israel once again became a nation. Some say it is from 1967 when Jerusalem was declared a state. Yes, the 1967 events are important to the prophetic timeline, but I believe 1948 is when this prophecy became possible to realize.
Look at Isaiah 66:6-8, “[Hark!] An uproar from the city! A voice from the temple! The voice of the Lord, rendering recompense to His enemies! Before [Zion] travailed, she gave birth; before her pain came upon her, she was delivered of a male child. Who has heard of such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Or shall a nation be brought forth in a moment? For, as soon as Zion was in labor, she brought forth her children.”
On May 14, 1948, for the first time in 2,900 years, Israel became a sovereign nation declaring her independence from all to all. On that day, the United Nations mandate expired and England had to release its hold on Israel. In that same 24-hour period the United States and other countries recognized Israel’s sovereignty as a nation. She was now independent and able to govern herself. This fulfilled the prophecy in Isaiah that said she would bring forth the child before the labor pains came, because, it wasn’t until after Israel was accepted as a free, self-ruling country that the labor pains of war began. Within hours of her becoming independent, Israel was attacked by neighboring countries of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. This sufficiently fulfilled the above prophecy of a land being born in one day without labor.
Pastor Suzanne L. Taylor
The Rapture will happen. Of this there is no doubt. God did not leave us in the dark about our future. The Holy Spirit gave Paul information that allows us to know the truth. Look at the following two portions of Scripture.
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thessalonians 4:15-18).
“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him” (I Thessalonians 5:1-10). “Whether we wake or sleep…” means whether we are alive or dead, as long as we are in Christ we will go to live with Him in Heaven.
Paul said, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thessalonians 4:16, 17). Zechariah said, “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south” (Zechariah 14:4). Can you see it? Do you see the difference here between the rapture and the second coming of the Christ? At the rapture, Jesus will come on a cloud to fetch those Old Testament saints who died believing for a Messiah and those of us who are alive and have a deep faith in God for our eternal future through our Messiah, Jesus. At the second coming, Jesus will come all the way down to earth, set His feet down on Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, and that mountain will break in half!
Do you want more proof? Do you still not understand the two different events? Look at these verses. “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 9:28), and “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen” (Revelation 1:7). At the rapture, Jesus will be visible only to those who are “looking” for him, or the true born again Christians. At the second coming, Christ the Lord will be seen by “every eye.” When He comes in the rapture, He will come as “a thief in the night.” When He comes for His final time in the second coming when He will establish His kingdom on earth, He will come boldly, loudly, and very visibly.
Are you crying out for more? I’ll give it to you! Look at the teaching in these verses. “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thessalonians 4:17), “And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean” (Revelation 19:4). So, at the rapture, Jesus snatches us out of the earth and at the second coming, He brings us back with Him.
There are many antichrist, false teachers, and false prophets in this world today. The New Age movement is the epitome of all three. They don’t deny God, per se, but tell us that WE are God. That the many lives we live on earth are to purify us and pay back all karma accumulated against us because of our sin against others. Wait! Karma is redemption against sin GOD has committed? If we are God, how could we sin? II Corinthians 5:21 says, “For he (God) hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” That we might be made, or might become the rightness of God through Christ Jesus? The antonym of righteous is sinful. So God was sin-free, yet we have to pay back “karma” for our sins? Does that make sense? It doesn’t make sense to me. The only One who can forgive sin is the Father, and He does it through salvation in Jesus the Christ, and then, only after we have repented of our sin.
Another example of what might look innocuous being detrimental to your spiritual growth is found in one of the newsletters from Olive Tree Ministries in which Jan Markell tells of the downward spiral of the magazine “Christianity Today” that was started by Billy Graham in 1956. At one time Christianity Today was a well-respected magazine that encouraged pastors and leaders of the church. In the 80s it began to move to the left slightly. Today it’s so far left, it’s promoting Harry Potter. One author was brazen enough to compare Potter to Jesus. Talk about blasphemy! Talk about apostasy! Those who write such things for that magazine are the false teachers and false prophets the Bible speaks of. Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing. (http://www.raptureready.com/featured/markell/21.html).
Is Jesus coming back for us? Absolutely. Is Jesus coming back for us soon? Undoubtedly. The question I have for you is, are you ready? If Jesus came for the church today, would you be among those whose names He calls?
Let’s look at how we can be prepared to go in the rapture by letting Scripture to do the talking.
The reason we need salvation is, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The reason we want to be right with God is, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Without the salvation we find in Jesus we would remain eternally separated from God, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12) “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (I John 5:11-13). We can accomplish this because, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9) “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9, 10). “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16, 17). This is because, “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (Romans 5:8; II Corinthians 5:17). “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Ephesians 2:8; Titus 3:5). And now, “We love him, because he first loved us” (I John 4:19).
Please don’t assume that because you said a prayer for salvation, that you are saved. If you are not growing in Christ, if your life and actions are not changing, and if you continue in your sinful ways thinking that all you have to do is ask God to forgive you over and over, you missed the mark. Look at what Paul said about this, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1, 2) The Bible teaches us how to walk in rightness before God. Living a right lifestyle before the Lord draws us closer to Him, and we become more like Christ. Sin separates.
Jesus can come back any time. He will come “as a thief in the night.” Watch and wait!
"Henceforth 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 unto all them also that love his appearing"(II Timothy 4:8).
Copyright © 2016 [Rev. Suzanne L. Taylor]. All Rights Reserved.