Saturday, August 26, 2017



15 “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:15-22)

As the hour approaches for the start of the Tribulation and the end of this present age, I have many Christians that email me and wonder “Are we in the Tribulation now, or can it get any worse that what we see already at the present?”....Some come to the erroneous conclusion that we are in the first part of the Tribulation, as the world is going stark raving mad. Environmental disasters of earthquakes, volcano eruptions, drought leading to famine in third world countries, ISIS beheading Christians in the Middle East, and nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea leave many wondering if we are indeed, in the first years of the coming Tribulation. Are we?
The Lord God gave us definte signs of when the beginning of the Tribulation would start, and although I would agree that we are bumping right up to the time the Bible calls Jacob's trouble, we have not crossed that red line that says we in the Tribulation. Why do I say that?


The Tribulation has a primary, secondary purpose and even a third reason for the time. From the perspective of Israel the Tribulation has a primary purpose. From the prophet Daniel, that primary purpose is six fold:

"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people [Daniel and the Jews] and upon thy holy city, [Jerusalem] to (1) finish the transgression, and to (2) make an end of sins, and to (3) make reconciliation for iniquity, and to (4) bring in everlasting righteousness, and to (5) seal up the vision and prophecy, and to (6) anoint the most Holy." (Daniel 9:24)
That primary purpose had been going on from the rebuilding of the Temple after the Babylonian exile and ancient Israel's return to her own land for 483 years, when Jesus rode into the city of Jerusalem riding on the back of a donkey.

 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” (Zechariah 9:9)

Thus Jesus fulfilled the prophecy in the 483rd year of the Prophecy and if Israel would have accepted their Messiah, then the Kingdom of God would have come upon the earth at that time, but that was not God's plan. Several days later, Jesus would be tried, convicted in a Sanhedrin court, sentenced by a Roman governor and crucified on a cross for the sole reason of being the Messiah they did not want to accept. Their image of their “political Savior” was a King David type, not this lowly carpenter who wanted to save them from their sins. They didn't need a Savior, (in their deceived thinking) as they had the law of Moses, which they didn't realize could not save them from being separated from God the Father for all eternity. They knew of the timing of the coming Messiah, and here He was standing right in front of them, but they didn't like His spiritual message of repentance.

When Jesus died on that cross, the time period of 490 years that Gabriel told Daniel would be required to fulfill that prophecy, stopped and has been on hold now for nearly 2000 years. That leaves a final 7 years of the prophecy to the nation of Israel on hold. God will complete His promise to the Jewish people in the near future.

But for the Church that was born at Pentecost because of the blood sacrifice Jesus paid, points 1-4 of the above verse was accomplished at the cross. The last two points of 5-6 are yet to be fulfilled, but neither of them apply to the Church anyway. The prophecy is for the Jewish people and of Jerusalem with a rebuilt Temple standing on the Temple Mount and the anointing of the Messiah taking place at the 2nd Coming of Jesus to reign and rule for a Millennium.

The primary purpose of the Tribulation, therefore, is to effect the national redemption of the Jews.

2 “But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:
And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto theLord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.” (Malachi 3:2-4)
Israel will be refined through much persecution, until they recognize their Messiah that their forefathers rejected in 33 AD and they still do today.

There is a secondary purpose as outlined in Revelation chp. 9:

"Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts." (Revelation 9:21)
In reading the whole of chapters 6- 9 of this apocalyptic book, gives you the reason for the coming Tribulation. God is putting down all rebellion upon the earth, known as the “nations” who will not repent of their sinful lives, or give God any glory. But those who love their unrighteousness and sinful practices will not repent even in the face of this horrific judgment that is being poured out on them, and it only gets worse, much worse.

This secondary purpose is to purge this earth of unrepentant, rebellious mankind that rejects Christ as Lord of their lives. God will nearly wipe this planet clean of all human life. By definition, to be a Christian, one must repent of one's sins. So the Church has no purpose in God's judgment against these “unrepentant, lawless” sinners.

There is also a third reason for the Tribulation. It is to allow Satan full and free reign over the earth and its inhabitants. Among the many purposes of Heaven outlined in God's Word is the trial of Satan. At the conclusion of the Tribulation, there will no doubt remaining among the angels and the inhabitants of God's realm, (the saints of God) to the depth of Satan's guilt or the severity of the forthcoming punishment. This was prophesied in Isaiah what would become of Lucifer, now known as Satan (the adversary) when he was cast out of heaven when he proclaimed his infamous “I wills” to be like the Most High God....

"Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?" (Isaiah 14:15-17)


The doctrine of immanency teaches that Jesus could come at any moment and “snatch by force” His redeemed bride which is HARPAZO in the Greek that Paul spoke of in 1st Corinthians and 1st Thessalonians

15 “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.
16 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:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up (HARPAZO) together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:15-18)
What is the dictionary defintion of what Paul wrote above of the HARPAZO, or being “caught up” in English..
1) to seize, carry off by force
2) to seize on, claim for one' s self eagerly
3) to snatch out or away

The fulfillment of this passage could come at any moment, from the day of Paul until the starting point of the Tribulation. How do I know that it is confined to that period of time? Glad you asked. Because the Bible expressly promises us that the Tribulation will not start until Satan has total control over this earth.

In order for Satan to have total control (and therefore no excuse) the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and His ministry of identifying and restraining evil must be removed

Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit would indwell within me until He returns, as I am neither of the “house of Israel” or part of the Christ rejecting Gentile nations and have no part in the coming Tribulation, but the scripture says that the coming Anti-Christ will overcome the “saints” during the tribulation.
And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:7-8)

If the Holy Spirit must be 'taken out of the way' BEFORE the Antichrist can be revealed, which is the only logical way to interpret what Paul wrote in 2nd Thessalonians 2:7-9,

7 “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,”

So if God is withdrawing the work of the Holy spirit, that would leave me comfortless, if as a Christian I am found to be still present during the time known as Jacob's Trouble, the Tribulation. If God has left me alone just when I need Him the most, then Jesus broke His Word, and we know Jesus cannot lie.

16 “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18)
No matter how I try to read the above verses otherwise, I cannot be present during this time. Until the Holy Spirit is “taken out of the way” then that Wicked cannot be revealed, which is the Anti-Christ.

This may be confusing to some, but let us identify the players in the preceding verses listed above in 2nd Thessalonians 2:7-9. The “mystery of inquity” or the spirit of the Anti-Christ (1st John 4:3) "He who letteth". First, "he" is a personal pronoun, so this isn't a 'thing' to be taken out of the way, but a 'Him'. 'To let' is an old English phrase that signifies indwelling, as in the phrase, "Room to Let."
When the verse speaks of “that Wicked” it is also a personal pronoun and in context, refers to the one whom Jesus will destroy at His Second Coming.

So in modern everyday English, the meaning of the passage says “the Anti-Christ won't be revealed until the Holy Spirit's presence is taken out of the way”...So the point of the passage that should not be any bone of contention, is that if the Holy Spirit is removed, and we have God's Holy Spirit within us, and Jesus will NOT leave us alone without comfort, then if the
Holy Spirit is leaving, then so shall God's Church. Every born again believer on this planet will be removed at the very same instant as God's Holy Spirit. Since Satan cannot overcome God, and God is dwelling in me, then the Anti-Christ can't overcome me if I were still on the earth.

I cannot picture a situation in which I would lose the Holy Spirit's indwelling presence while I am still alive on this earth. It is unthinkable.

So now that I hope you can see that the Church will be removed prior to the Anti-Christ being revealed and we will not be subject to God's Wrath. Now some say that the first part of the Tribulation is promoted by Satan and evil men. Many try to say that God's wrath is not revealed until the 6th seal is opened, as the righteousness indignation of God's judgment is finally that true? I ask you. Who is opening the seals of the “title deed to this earth” by removing all rebellion on the planet? From the first seal until the last, the author of this judgment is Jesus Christ the Lord. He is causing events to happen. He is using men to enact judgment on other lawless men, just as He used Babylon and Assyria as the iron rod of judgment on Israel for their lawless behavior and rejecting the laws of God. So here God is doing the same thing by using men to bring about the beginning of His wrath indirectly, but will show His indignation directly in subsequent seals of judgment. In chp. 6, the men of earth know who is causing the problems and the evil that befalls them, and they cry out:
15 “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17)


Where do we get seven years of tribulation? Some ask me that question and assert that there is no basis for it...

Daniel says that Antichrist rules for one 'week' -- or seven years.

27 “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Daniel 9:27)
I've even had some deceived notions that this above verse is speaking of Jesus causing a covenant to be broken in mid-week, but clearly it is speaking of an abomination of desolation that only happened one other time with Antiochus Epiphanes when he desecrated the Holy Temple and spawned the Macabbean revolt.

The first three and one half years are a period of false peace for Israel. Because of confirming a covenant with Israel, the coming Anti-Christ will reveal himself by enforcing a pre-existence covenant that is possibly the Oslo Accord from the earth 1990s. The last three and one half years are a period of intense persecution and Great Tribulation for the Jewish people. It is the remaining 7 years left to fulfill the prophecy given by Gabriel to Daniel, that has been on hold for the Age of Grace that we have been living in for almost 2000 years now.

No matter how novel an interpretation one may develop to argue against the seven year period, Daniel also identifies it as a period of 2520 days, divided into two periods of 1260 days each. The first part is the Tribulation that causes a false peace for Israel, but is surrounded by unrest and war around the globe. The last 1260 days are known as the Great Tribulation, when the AC is revealed as the abomination that causeth desolation, and Israel will know they have made a pact deal with the devil. They will run for their very lives, but many will not believe the prophecy and will not escape into the wilderness, just as it was in 70 AD when those who believed fled to the mountain fortress in Petra, in the Jordanian wilderness. (see chp. 12 of Revelation v. 14-17)

Now to those who make a wishful thinking by asking the specific question “why cannot Christ's coming for His elect occur during the first half of the tribulation?” Scripture outlines a season (of tribulation) for the purpose of judgment that is to last seven years.

As mentioned, the tribulation is the not the time for the Church's redemption, it is Israel's time. The purpose in general is the refinement of Israel as silver is refined in the fiery furnace for purification, and the removal of rebellion and the judgment of the lost. The Church is being judged now in this Age of Grace. Those who have God's earnest deposit of His Holy Spirit residing within their own spirit have a guarantee of redemption and glorification when Jesus comes for His bride, His Church. The Church of the Living God is neither under judgment or in need of redemption. She has already been redeemed, and judged righteous by the blood of the Lamb, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

To not believe the above redemption of our bodies at the rapture of the Church is to believe that Jesus' sacrifice in His own blood on a roman cross was not good enough to save us to the uttermose. It is to believe in a type of Catholic purgatory that Jesus did NOT pay it all once for all tim

Some hypothesize, and it's pure speculation, that if there is not a removable of the Bride of Christ before the Tribulation starts, could it not cause some to turn away from their faith, as was talked about in the gospels. They say, “won't there be some suffering on the part of Christians?”...”and if so, we are causing those to become discouraged and fall away”.
I agree that we shall not escape all suffering, as that has been part of the human condition since man was created. There is persecution and modern day martyrdom in such places as the Middle East, Communist China, and Central Africa. This is not an ancient concept, but continues to this day by evil men.
There is a major difference between the sufferings of men at the hand of other evil men, by one phrase ...”The Wrath of God”. Tribulation saints differ from the Bride of Christ saved during the Age of Grace, or the Church Age. Those saved during this horrific seven years will have their metal tested as like no other period of time memorial. Evil is rampant. Satan seeks to destroy all mankind, but in the process gain worship for himself, and attempts to destroy all of the nation of Israel to make God out a liar. And I must point out again a major distinction between the saints of the Church age, and the Tribulation saints by God's Holy Word:
Of the Church Age saints, John writes:

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world." (1st John 4:4)
During the Tribulation, it is the saints that are overcome:
"And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." (Revelation 13:7)
The same Apostle John wrote both verses. Is it not 'pure speculation' to assume that the differences in status are irrelevant? Two set of saints are not the same. The church Age is the Bride, the Tribulation saints wil be the guest at the ceremony as they are in martyrdom.

A final question that has been kicked around on Christian forums I host, that is “if the pre-tribulation rapture of the church is true, how does that give God any glory. Wouldn't it be more glory to Him, if Christ appears amidst the persecution of His saints and rescues them from the Anti-Christ and Satan?” I am reminded of a verse that Jesus spoke to the Apostle Thomas, you now, doubting Thomas?

"Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." (John 20:29)
Paul speaks of this very thing in Romans 8, which if we are saved by grace through faith, when Christ actually appears, how much faith will be necessary when you see Him in all His glory?

24 “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” (Romans 8:24-25)
As bad as it seems, and my friend, it will get exponentially worse, from chp. 6 of Revelation till chp. 19 when the Saints of God come back on white horse clothed in linen, white and clean following the Lord of Lord, and King of Kings..Jesus our God and Savior..

11 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” (Revelation 19:11-15)

Jesus has come, rebellion has been put down. The saints rule the earth along with our Lord Jesus, and the Millennium starts and returns the earth to what it came from, perfection.

But of this writing, the antichrist has not yet been revealed. The peace treaty has not yet been confirmed. Temple worship has not yet been restored. All these are events that take place BEFORE the Great Tribulation begins. It is that termination of sacrifice that begins the Great Tribulation.

The antichrist can't cause the sacrifice to cease until AFTER it has begun. That can't happen until the Jews possess the Temple Mount. The antichrist cannot take his seat in the Temple of God, causing Israel to reject him, which kicks off the Great Tribulation, until AFTER there is a Temple to sit in.

None of this has happened, but make no mistake, it could happen almost overnight. These events noted just in the preceding two paragraphs are totally INDEPENDENT of the rapture of the Church. None of them exist because we are not in the Tribulation just yet, but it's right over the near horizon and is looming larger and larger with each passing day. We are indeed close, but we are not quite there yet...Reader take warning. I urge you to believe on the only begotten Son of God, slain from the foundation of the earth, and miss this coming Tribulation, by grace through faith.

16 “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.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)

8 “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
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.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 10:8-11)

This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying to see you standing in front of our Lord Jesus, when we all receive the rewards done in our body for service...If you should need prayer, counseling, or just a friendly listening ear, contact me at, or vist me online at, for more biblical messages straight from your Bible...God bless you all..




Tuesday, August 22, 2017


by Jack Kelley

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" (Matt. 24:3)

One of the mistakes Christians make in reading the Bible is caused by our tendency to look at everything through "Church colored glasses."  By that I mean we read it as if it all applies directly to us without regard for the context or historical background.  I know Paul said everything that was written in the past was written to teach us (Romans 15:4) but that doesn't mean it was all written to us or about us.  It means we're supposed to learn from the experiences of those who came before us.  A prime example of this kind of mistake can be found in our interpretation of the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24-25).  I'll show you what I mean.

Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. "Do you see all these things?" he asked. "I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." (Matt. 24:1-2)

These two verses set the tone for the entire discussion, yet in our rush to get to the meat of the passage they are often ignored.  From Mark's account we know that after Jesus said this, four of the disciples came to Him for clarification.  They were Peter, James, John and Andrew (Mark 13:3), and they asked Him 3 questions;  When will this happen? (When will these buildings be torn down? ) What will be the sign of your coming?  What will be the sign of the End of the Age?

So let's  look at them individually to gain more of the background that prompted these questions. We'll find that the first two are pretty simple, but the third one is a different matter altogether.

When Will This Happen?

The view of Jerusalem at sunset from the Mount of Olives is breathtaking, even today.  In the Lord's time it was even more so because the Temple was still standing. To them it was the most beautiful building imaginable.  There's a saying based on the Talmud that goes, "One who has not seen the Temple from the time of Herod has never seen a magnificent building." It had been 46 years in the construction and was not finished yet.  At sunset its white limestone exterior took on a bright golden hue, as if it was made of pure gold.

Repeating His Palm Sunday prophecy from Luke 19:41-44 Jesus said the temple and surrounding buildings would be so completely  destroyed that not one stone would be left standing on another.  Luke's account of the Olivet Discourse is found in Luke 21.  He's the only one who recorded a detailed answer to their first question, "When will this happen?". Luke 21:12-24, a description of the Roman conquest of 68-70 AD, was the Lord's answer.

What Will Be The Sign Of Your Coming?

Obviously they meant His 2nd Coming and He actually gave them 2 clear signs. After describing several things that would not be specific signs, but merely "birth pangs", He gave them the first clear sign in Matt. 24:15.  It's the Abomination of Desolation standing in the Holy Place and it will mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21).  The second unmistakable sign of His coming is described as the Sign of the Son of Man.  It will signal the Great Tribulation's end (Matt. 24:29-30). After that the Lord will return on the clouds with power and great glory.

What Will Be The Sign Of The End Of The Age?

This question is more complex than they ever imagined when they asked it, even though the answer is simple.  Ultimately, the sign of the End of the Age will be the Lord's return to become King of the Whole Earth (Zech. 14:9).  After that the Kingdom Age will begin.  This question is the one where so many believers are way off the mark. It's those "church colored glasses" I mentioned.  But when you understand the disciples' perspective you'll see that it was not possible for them to be thinking of the Church Age when they used the phrase "end of the age" like so many Christians assume.  Here's why.

Over 500 years previously the Angel Gabriel had told Daniel how and when the end of the age would come (Daniel 9:24-27).  He said that from the time they received permission to restore and rebuild Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity there would be 70 periods of 7 years each (These 7 year periods are often called "weeks" because the Hebrew word Gabriel used means "a week of years".)  This gives us a total of 490 years (70 weeks).

When the disciples posed their questions to Jesus, 483 of those years (69 weeks)  had come and there were only 7 years (1 week) left. You can imagine their astonishment when He told them that having come so close, just when the end was in sight, the temple and surrounding buildings would all be destroyed.  How could this be?  The temple was essential to their worship. It had been under construction for 46 years and as I said above was not finished yet.  How could it be torn down so completely and then rebuilt again in just 7 years?

It was this astonishment that had led to their questions. They didn't know anything about a Church Age that would cause a 2000 year pause in Daniel's 70 weeks prophecy.  Even today, most of us don't understand that the Church Age didn't end the Age of Law, it has just interrupted it seven years short of its scheduled completion.  How could they have understood it?  (The fact that the Age of Law hasn't ended explains why there will be a Temple erected in Israel soon.  They will need one to complete the final 7 years.)

40 days after the Resurrection, even after receiving the Holy Spirit (John 20:22) the disciples were still thinking that the End of the Age was at hand. When Jesus led them up to the Mount of Olives where He would soon ascend to the Father, they asked Him, "Lord are you at this time going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?" Once again He didn't explain anything about the future, but said, "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority" (Acts 1:7-8).

I've Got A Secret

James revealed the answer to the Apostles for the first time 20 years after the cross.

The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. When they finished, James spoke up: "Brothers, listen to me. Simon (Peter) has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself.  The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:

" 'After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things that have been known for ages.' " (Acts 15:12-17)

In effect, James told them Israel was being set aside while the Lord took a people from among the Gentiles for Himself.  He was referring to the Church.  After He had taken us (literally carried us away) He would turn His attention once again to Israel.  If the Lord had taught them these things, James would not have had to explain them. It wasn't that they had heard this and forgotten it.  It was that the Lord had never told them.

There's a very simple reason why the Lord never explained the Church Age in any detail. It's because He came to offer the Kingdom to Israel.  The theme of His ministry to Israel was, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near" (Matt. 4:17).  And  when He sent the original 12 disciples out on their first missionary trip He told them,  "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: 'The kingdom of heaven has come near' (Matt. 10:5-7).  Then there's the strange incident where Jesus refused to even acknowledge the Canaanite woman who begged Him to heal her daughter.  When the disciples urged Him to respond to her, He replied, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel" (Matt. 15:24).

When the officials asked Him for a definitive sign that He was their Messiah He gave them the sign of Jonah, which He knew would not be clear to them until after the resurrection (Matt. 12:38-40).

My point is that He couldn't very well go around describing what a wonderful blessing was coming to Jews and Gentiles who became a part of the Church when He had already offered Israel the Kingdom.  A few days before the crucifixion He warned them that the kingdom would be taken away and given to others (Matt. 21:43) but I'm convinced His offer to Israel was on the table right up to the day He ascended to Heaven, and that's why He was still preaching about the Kingdom of God for 40 days after the resurrection  (Acts 1:3).  40 is the number of testing. The sign of Jonah  had been fulfilled and Israel was being given 40 days to finally accept Him.

Of course the Lord had always known they would fail the test.  That's why Paul could claim he was revealing an age old secret when he told the Church in Ephesus that through the Gospel gentiles were being made heirs together with Israel (Ephes. 3:4-6).  Israel's rejection didn't surprise Him.

Seen from this perspective it's clear that the Olivet Discourse is not about the Church.  It's the account of the Jewish Messiah speaking on the Mt. of Olives to His Jewish followers about the future of Israel.  To underscore this point, in Matt. 24:15-21 He made reference to a Jewish Temple and warned them to flee when they saw the Abomination of Desolation standing there, because it would signal the beginning of the Great Tribulation.  He told them to pray their flight wouldn't take place on a Sabbath. That means there will be Old Covenant believers in Judea, the Biblical name for Israel, worshiping in a temple at the End of the Age.  They are the only people for whom it would be unlawful to flee on a Sabbath.

These are the only specific references to a people group in the entire passage.  They both point to Israel and they're both written in the 2nd person (v. 15, when you see ... v.20, pray that your flight ... ), indicating that the Lord considered the disciples to be representative of Israel.  To place the Church in the Olivet Discourse is to make a fundamental error in interpretation.  Only the pre-Trib Rapture position avoids this error.

What's That There For?

So why is the Olivet Discourse even in the New Testament if it's not for the Church? There are several good reasons.  First, it gives the Church some early warning signals we can use to know how close we're getting to our departure.  The birth pangs of Matt. 24:4-8  serve as "nearness indicators" in that the more frequently they occur the closer we are . Also, throughout the entire Church Age the signs the Lord gave to Israel have not been in evidence, primarily because until 1948 there was no Israel.  This is what makes the re-birth of the nation the primary sign that the End Times are upon us.

Second, the absence of any reference to the Church shows us that we won't be here during the time He was talking about.

And third, it shows Tribulation believers both inside and outside of Israel what to look for to help maintain their faith that He's coming to end their ordeal.

Neither the Angel Gabriel nor the Lord misled Israel by not mentioning this indeterminate pause between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel's prophecy.  At least up to the cross and maybe all the way to His Ascension the Lord's offer of a Kingdom to Israel was on the table. Had Israel accepted Jesus as their Messiah, the pause would never have occurred.  This could also explain why the Gospel received limited exposure  among the Gentiles during and immediately after the Lord's ministry and why it was 20 years after the cross before things like direct Gentile participation in the Church, the doctrines of salvation by grace and eternal security, the pre-tribulation rapture, and the Church's ultimate destiny were introduced.

Clearly the Olivet Discourse was given to and for Israel.  No matter what view you hold of the sequence of End Times events, if you've based it on an assumption that the disciples represent the Church in the Olivet Discourse, it's time to re-think your assumption.

Monday, August 21, 2017


by Pete Garcia

"The non-intervention of God bears very heavy interest, and He is greatly to be feared when He does nothing. He moves in long orbits, out of sight and sound. But He always arrives. Nothing can arrest the judgment of the Cross; nothing shake the judgment-seat of Christ" (PT Forsyth in The Justification of God)
Convergence has been a popular buzz-word within prophecy circles over the past few years and rightly so. With so many prophetically-charged events now running simultaneously, it has become increasingly difficult to keep track of them all. You'd think with so many signs ongoing, Christendom would be pulsing with the anticipation at the soon coming of our Lord. But it's not. In fact, the chorus of legitimate watchmen on the wall is diminishing by the day. It is becoming exactly as Jesus contemplated regarding this moment in time when He asked...nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?
But I wonder if commenting on convergence is more akin to looking at the symptoms rather than the cause of the issue, which is the compounding nature of sin. We note that in the 70th Week of Daniel (what many commonly refer to as the seven-year Tribulation), the 21 judgments that are doled out by God onto the earth and the earth-dwellers, are exacting punishments for sin built up over millennia. The Seal judgments (Rev. 6) usher in a government without God. The Trumpet judgments usher in increasingly painful punishments for things like idolatry and blasphemy. The Bowl judgments are even more increasingly severe than the Trumpet judgments. Each of these judgments has a very Old Testament, Exodus-era feel to them if we look back to the plagues exacted upon Egypt during the Israelites liberation from Egyptian bondage.
Man's path toward self-enlightenment has become a steadily darkening journey into the abyss. If the entire race of mankind were a single body, consider sin's initial at the Garden of Eden as that of a mosquito bite. Yet, that painless mosquito bite delivered a pathogen which has been steadily working its way throughout the body infecting limb and torso alike. Over time, that body starts to breakdown as the tale-tell symptoms of malaria or yellow fever causes one to begin to suffer from fever, vomiting, and headaches. And if left untreated, seizures, coma, or death will follow.
Yet, it all started from a single, painless, bite.
God's remedy for man's fatal illness was Jesus Christ. Because God's perfect justice demands innocent blood to be shed to atone for man's failures, a system was set in place to temporarily sustain the nation of Israel until their Messiah could come and permanently provide the cure to man's mortality and corruption. God knew they (Israel) would reject their Messiah and so Jesus was betrayed and crucified in keeping with the prophecies already outlined in the Old Testament scripture.
There was also a four-hundred-year buffer (the silent years) in which the nation of Israel could contemplate and await their coming Redeemer. In fact, there was an approximate timeline as given to the prophet Daniel, but this too was ignored. Instead of contemplation and anticipation, what came to be was disillusionment and apathy. This was because the religious leadership of their day (first century Pharisees and Sadducees) became grossly engaged in promoting the religion over the One in whom that religion pointed towards...Jesus of Nazareth. The sad truth is that they knew better, but they promoted a lie to keep themselves in power. Hence the reason for the severity and fierceness of Jesus's rebukes whom He reserved exclusively for the Jewish clergy.
Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said to them, "When it is evening you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red'; and in the morning, 'It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah." And He left them and departed. Matthew 16:1-4
Imagine all the lies ever told and believed. Even a small lie will grow over time and spread like a cancer through a person's body. Before long, that cancer spreads to the brain and begins impacting critical thought and motor-skills alike. We know that the first lie ever told was by Satan, and it had to do with man becoming like God (Genesis 3:1-5). Since then, this lie has been repackaged over and over so many times that it has infected almost every facet of our world. Just think of every single philosophy, institution, or concept ever put forth that either remove Jesus Christ from the solution or substitutes someone (or something) else in His place. The world has become grossly anti-Christ, and in keeping with this, the Bible states that in the last days, men and women would lose their ability to reason primarily because of the compounding nature of sin.
...And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (See Romans 1:18-32)
So we have now arrived at this generation who has been so thoroughly corrupted on a global scale, that this antichrist spirit has so saturated every facet of our generation. Education, religion, philosophy, science, government, politics, military, and economics have all become corrupted. Mankind is again reaching that point where they are so mentally, morally, and spiritually bankrupt that they are unable to reason any longer. This breakdown can be clearly evidenced just by turning on the news or reading the day's headlines. But there is still a remnant of society who are the blood-bought redeemed and cannot be tainted, this being the Church.
Abraham once pleaded with God on Lot's behalf that He should spare Sodom from destruction on account of the righteous that still lived there (Gen. 18:16-33). In Gen. 18:23, Abraham puts forth a biblically foundational question by asking God...Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
After much bargaining, God finally settles on a number with Abraham in which if they found ten righteous persons residing in those cities, God would withhold judgment. They parted ways and a period of time passed in which God's judgment was withheld. But when judgment did come, God honored His commitment to Abraham by removing Lot and his family before enacting His wrath upon Sodom and Gomorrah.
...then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment... 2 Peter 2:4-11
There is an interesting correlation between man's progressive sin nature and God's progressive judgment in dealing with that nature. It is almost like the law of diminishing returns, in which there is less and less good that comes from man's extended stay on this planet. Within 1,650 years of Adam and Eve's fall, man had become so sinful, wicked, and genetically corrupt that God had to destroy the world with a flood sparing only eight persons. In Lot's day (around 2,000 years from Adam's fall), the cities of the plains surrounding Sodom and Gomorrah were consumed with fire sparing only Lot and his two daughters (not counting the salted wife). From then until Christ (2,000 years later), numerous nations and empires rose and fell allowing for the conditions to be exactly perfect (fullness of time) for the arrival of the first coming of the Messiah (Gal. 4:4-5).
As previously mentioned, the number of those who are still waiting for the Lord to return is diminishing number. Out of the seven and a half billion people alive on the planet today, only two billion claims some form of the Christian faith (about half Protestant, half Catholic). Out of the two billion 'Christians,' only around one billion believe that Jesus will ever physically return to the earth. Out of the one billion, perhaps only 10% of that believe Christ will come back in their lifetime. Of that number (100,000,000), perhaps 15% (15,000,000) believe that Christ's return is imminent. So 15M out of 7.5B is about .2% of the total global population believe Christ's return is imminent. Not a lot of people when you look at it from that perspective.
According to a 2010 Pew Research poll, only 41% of Americans believe that Jesus will return within the next forty years. Another 41% say He will not return until after 2050. Of US Christians, only 47% believe Christ will come back at all. Not encouraging numbers at all and probably less so today. But remember the Bible only mentions a couple of people actively anticipating Christ's first coming (Simeon, Anna, and Gentile wise men) as well as the shepherds who were in the fields that night who were prompted to witness the arrival of their Messiah by the angelic host. There was no great anticipation or expectation then that the Messiah would ever come. Were it so; we would know the exact date of Christ's birth because that day would be celebrated as a holiday, rather than the day we've historically settled on (Christmas).
The same will be true about Christ's return for His Church at the harpazo (the Rapture) in which the world will be going about its day to day activities desensitized to the prophetic markers heralding Christ's soon return.
And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all...Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. Luke 17:26-30
Just as the Jews awaited the arrival of their Messiah in the 400 silent years, we (the Church) have been waiting for 2,000 silent years awaiting His return. Not that it means anything concretely, but 400 goes into 2,000 five times. The number five in scripture symbolizes God's grace and goodness towards man. 400 years was also the number of years that God prophesied over Abraham in His covenant (Genesis 15:16-21) in which Abrahams descendants would be in bondage and wait until the iniquity of the Amorites was complete. Then God would use the Israelites as the mechanism of His judgment against the Amorites for their compounded sinfulness.
Since God is longsuffering (2 Peter 3:9), He has allowed this extended period of time for the Gentiles to receive this grace upon grace (John 1:16) which has now come to be 2,000 years. But this grace period will NOT continue indefinitely. There will come again a fullness of time in which the conditions are perfect for the Son to return to receive back His bride the Church (John 14:1-3). But after the Rapture, God's common grace towards mankind will come to an end as they are given over to a strong delusion (2 Thessalonians 2: 9-12). God's eternal gaze returns solely to disciplining His covenant nation of Israel and making a full end to all the nations she had been scattered to (Jer. 30:7-11).
While we do not see instant justice exacted for all the wrong doings in this world, our hope and trust lies in God who has and will not let one single error slip through the cracks. All of the blood ever spilled on the earth will be judged. All the evil things done in the thick of darkness will be brought to light. All of the injustices ever wrought by man upon man will be accounted for. The grapes of God's wrath will be pressed and the winepress found overflowing. So while we see a world today that is currently upside down and reeling to and fro like a drunkard drunk on sin, Jesus Himself will put an end to man and Satan's wickedness once and for all as He establishes His never ending kingdom on the earth and throughout eternity. But first, in keeping with Abraham's question, God will remove His own before He unleashes His wrath upon a world ripe for judgment.
For thus says the Lord God of Israel to me:
"Take this wine cup of fury from My hand,
and cause all the nations, to whom I send you,
to drink it. And they will drink and stagger
and go mad because of the sword that I will send among them..."
...The Lord will roar from on high,
And utter His voice from His holy habitation;
He will roar mightily against His fold.
He will give a shout, as those who tread the grapes,
Against all the inhabitants of the earth.
A noise will come to the ends of the earth-
For the Lord has a controversy with the nations;
He will plead His case with all flesh.
He will give those who are wicked to the sword,' says the Lord." Jeremiah 25:15-16, 30-31