Right now we are living in the times of the end. You may ask me how do you know that? Jesus always clearly pointed to the signs that he gave as the absolute evidence to the nearness of His coming to take away the saints of God to the place prepared for them by Him (John 14:2-3).
Apostle John said to the Church in the 1st century, “18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour [i.e. eleventh hour to the end].” (1 John 2:18). Many antichrists in the first century showed that it was the last hour before the end starts, now the arrival of Antichrist will give indication to the starting time of end in itself. Note the interrelationship between the last hour that John emphasized and the coming of Antichrist in the preceding verse. If Apostle John felt that the first century in itself was the last hour, we can safely say that the time that we now live are the last few minutes before the clock strikes the end. In other words, John the Apostle said that the time then was eleven o’ clock. We can now surely say that the time now is eleven fifty five. When the clock strikes twelve, the end will start with the tribulation sorrows.
Signs that we are in the end times can only be know by exactly evaluating the signs that Jesus gave for the end time generation to look toward,
The disciples asked Jesus two most important questions about the end time,
- When will these things be? – Timeline of Jesus’ Coming.
- What will be the sign of Your coming [i.e. to the earth to reign] and the end of the age [i.e. the world system of governance that is presently operating under the direct influence of Satan]? – Contents, evidences and signs of Jesus’ coming to the earth (Matthew 24:3).
The Great Deceivers
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars – [World War 1, World War 2, Terrorism, Mid-East Palestinian crisis, Rumors of World War 3 and the end of the world].
- Make sure you are not troubled by these things.
- These things must come to pass. In other words God has custom designed these things for us to understand that we are living before the end times.
NOTE: Here we see Jesus speaking, as though he is one who has designed the set time table of the end time in the eternity past. The fact is He is! (Colossians 1:15-18).
- Even when all these wars and rumors of wars are heard, Jesus had told clearly the end is not yet.
Beginning point of the sorrows of the End times (Matthew 24:7)
This will be a short period of time, say in a decade or two; there will be consistently a steep surge in all the things given below.
- Nation will rise against nation. [More local, regional, tribal wars between various dialects and sects even with in a particular religion and nation. Peace less unrest between nations due to suspicion of one’s motive].
- Kingdom against Kingdom [God’s vs. Satan’s in the spiritual realm. In the natural realm between major continental superpowers].
- There will be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places. In other words these things [i.e. famines, pestilences and earthquakes] will cause consistent devastation around the world over the whole period of time.
- Jesus is calling all these preceding events and signs only as “the beginning of sorrows”; just imagine the kind of sorrows that will come in greater intensity after these events upon the whole world.
I believe we are exactly in this time of the beginning of sorrow, as we see before our very eyes all these events consistently happening around the world in various places like never before.
- The Church will be persecuted (v9), tribulation and killing of professing believers will happen all over the world, the true believers and the Church will be hated by all nations.
- They [i.e. the national leaders] will deliver you up to a national and international head hunting organizations of all Christians (v9). For example because of constant famines, virulent diseases and earth quakes an international body like United Nations Organization which usually helps and supplies the local governments to ration food will suddenly start to head hunt and kill the Christians openly because of wrong influence and leadership at the top (Rev 6:5-6). All the people groups of the earth will hate Christians for Jesus name’s sake. The very spiritual atmosphere will become oppressive and hate infested around the world.
- As a result genuine Christians will be killed all over the world. All the people groups of the earth will hate Christians for Jesus’ name’s sake.
- When this happens, even brethrens will be offended because of persecution and will betray and hate one another (Matthew 24:10).
- Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
- Because of lawlessness and sin love of many will grow cold. For example the children who are growing in our generation are becoming so insensitive and immoral because of the constant bombardment of voilent, immoral images in to their mind through mediums such as internet, television, etc. This makes their childish mind to grow cold and insensitive to the needs of others.
- He who endures to the end shall be saved (v13).
- But the good news is, this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the entire world as a witness to all the nations in spite of all oppositions, persecutions and killings (v14). This will be done by the manifestations of the mighty power of God like as in the first century and even more powerfully.
[If signs and wonders followed the true apostles in the 1st century, how much more God will work powerfully to substantiate the truth of God’s word through the end time apostles and His Church when deception will be at its zenith during the end times].
The zenith of the sorrow of the end time will start at the time of tribulation [i.e. the end]
Once Antichrist seats himself as God in the Temple, the end time clock will proceed rapidly to the end point. This was what Jesus described exactly as “the end will come” in Matthew 24:14. We see from the verses 3-14, Jesus spoke about a particular time as ‘the end’ in three places in which He pointed toward a particular set end time which He said will start with a mysterious event.
The first verse is in Matt 24:6 – “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”
The second verse is in Matt 24:13 – “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” In other words Jesus was exhorting the believer’s that no matter how hard the persecution they may face while being a witness for His name’s sake, if they will somehow persevere till the specific point of ‘the end’ they will be saved or raptured from all the wrath of tribulation that will come upon their generation.
The third verse is in Matt 24:14 – “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
The whole context of these verses from Matt 24:3-14 was looking forward to that point of the time which Jesus described as ‘the end’. The whole context ends with two ‘Therefore…’ scriptures. The word ‘therefore’ points to the conclusion of ‘the end’ point which Jesus pointed toward in all the preceding verses. In other words this is the bottom line event of the whole section.
a) The first conclusive ‘therefore’ of ‘the end’ starts with Matt 24:15-25 – “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 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. 23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand."
The most important things we should understand from the preceding verses are,
1) The true Messianic believers should flee Jerusalem when the moment they see the initiation of the ‘abomination of desolation [i.e. when Antichrist will first stand in the Holy place and then after a period of time will seat himself as God in the temple, after this event he will through the instruction of his assistant the false prophet will place a statue and make everyone to worship it or face death]' (Matt 24:15-16). Those escaping people of God should not look back or even take a second thought to take with them any material things for them to use when in the mountains [i.e. from where they will be raptured by flight] (Matt 24:17-18). Luke wrote the same warning of Matthew with a material perspective referring to Lot’s wife saying, “31 In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” (Luke 17:31-33). In the preceding verse Luke mentions about a particular day saying “In that day…” If we ask the question which day he is speaking about, he is speaking about the day in which “…the Son of man is revealed.” (v30) and “For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day.” (v24). In the preceding verses we see the revelation of Jesus Christ to the Saints which we call usually as the rapture. We see this day of rapture portrayed as the lightning flash on the sky from one part under heaven to the other. It will be clearly felt only by those who will be watchful towards the sky (Matt 24:42-44, 50; 25:13; 1 Thess 5:6; Luke 12:35-48). In other words it will be felt only by those true Holy Ghost filled believers who will be living a God fearing radical lives by being a witness to the world [i.e. building the ark of the end time which is the Church (1 Peter 3:21)] in the mist of the wickedness of this end time generation just like Noah and his family members who were building the ark until the end. This above verse surely speaks about rapture because Apostle Paul described the resurrection of believers in the second coming using a similar phrase in 1 Cor 15:52, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” See the similarities of resurrection phraseology. Then Luke compared this rapture event as the starting point where God will begin to release His wrath on the wicked by describing the suddenness of the event of tribulation comparing it with days of Noah’s and Lot’s days saying, “…the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:27) and “…the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:29). This gives us a clear idea that the tribulation will start exactly the moment rapture takes place. This is the set time that God has already fixed. But if a individual believer is not watchful for this glorious day by getting involved in lustful activities, they will be left behind individually as Jesus previously warned. Prayer is the spiritual material that God will require to push forward his end-time purposes that He has already planned for individuals as well as the corporate Church (Rev 8:3-4; 4:8-9; 15:7). So only prayer of individuals will decide their participation in the glorious event of rapture. Jesus said in Luke 21:34-36, “34 But take heed to yourselves [i.e. the voice of God in your spirit man], lest your hearts be weighed down [i.e. do not let the soulish voice to diminish the Spirit’s voice inside you] with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day [i.e. the day of rapture] come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare [i.e. trap to get caught in the tribulation wrath of God] on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy [i.e. may have strength of revelation] to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
So only many lukewarm people of God will only realize after the rapture that they have been left behind in the same way the sons of God realized during Noah’s days (Gen 6:1-7; 7:16; 1 Peter 3:18-20; 4:6). The God fearing believers during Noah’s days because of mixing with the unbelievers, got so engrossed in their [i.e. unbeliever’s] evil lifestyle of self-fulfillment and materialism so that they did not seriously take the warning of Noah the man of God (Luke 17:27, 28). But once the flood came they must have realized their folly and must have cried out to God in repentance, so only as a result of it Jesus went to the prison [i.e. Hades] and preached the gospel to them after His death on the Cross so that even though they were judged in their flesh [i.e. through the flood that destroyed their life physically during Noah’s days] according to men [i.e. as like every man (Rom 6:23; Heb 9:27)], but they lived eternally in their spirit man according to God’s righteousness which was gifted to them by God through Jesus Christ (Rom 5:18-19,21). The same will happen to those lukewarm left behind believers too after the rapture takes place. They will be judged in the flesh with the tribulation of the wrath of God along with unbeliever’s but will be saved in their spirit man to get resurrected at Christ’s second coming if they die as a martyr during the tribulation of those days. From this we can easily conclude that the phrase “your flight” in Matt 24:20 with which Jesus exhorted the believers directly points to the rapture of the Church. In other words it means Jesus was speaking about the believer’s rapture in which Jesus is wishing every believer not to be left behind on the Sabbath [i.e. the time after the rapture, on 'the day of the Lord' which will start with rapture and will continue on] or in the winter [i.e. the time in which the wrath of God will start to be poured in to the earth]. Just before describing this rapture event Jesus felt compassionate toward those who are pregnant and nursing babies in those days [i.e. when abomination of desolation starts to unfold] and expressed His concern saying how hard it will be for them to escape from Jerusalem and its surrounding regions to the mountains for rapture so that they may avoid Antichrist capturing them and killing them even before the event of rapture happens (Matt 24:19).
2) During the time of winter or Sabbath, there will be great tribulation (Matt 24:20-21; 13:18-19; Dan 12:1; Rev 12:13-14). The winter is symbolic of the gloominess of the season of tribulation (Mark 13:18-19). The Sabbath is the 'day of rest' for the Holy Spirit of God from the restraining activities of lawlessness like in the days of Noah, since the beginning of the world the Holy Spirit has restrained man from lawlessness and selfdestruction as a agent of God's grace (Gen 6:3). 'The day of the Lord' is one in which the Church will be raptured out and the Lord God will not restrain lawlessness but will directly intervene from heaven and will punish the lawlessness of man through His wrath (1 Thess 5:2-3, 9; 2 Thess 2:7). Because of the harsh oppressive weather of tribulation wrath of God, the persecution of saints from Antichrist and the resting of the restrainer [i.e. the person of the Holy Spirit] which will start on the day of rapture [i.e. this time after rapture will be a time of God sent strong delusion in which many will be deceived in to believing Anti-christ as God because of lack of the restrainer's conviction (2 Thess 2:6-7, 11; John 16:8)], Jesus is exhorting each believer individually to pray so that their flight of rapture might happen before the tribulation wrath of God starts [i.e. during the apostasy time itself in which Antichrist will seat himself in the Holy of Holies as God]. This tribulation wrath of God and the persecution of the saints by Antichrist in response will increase day by day and until it will reach its zenith before God stops it or else no flesh on earth will be left on planet earth if the wrath of God continues. For the sake of the left behind saints [i.e. elect’s sake] surely tribulation days will be shortened. The autumn season of Apostasy will peak before this winter season of tribulation sets in. Even though Antichrist will reactively kill the saints because of the wrath of God during tribulation, even that reactive stance of the wrath of the Antichrist will praise God because he will only be fulfilling the events of God’s timetable exactly at God’s timing without him even realizing it. So only the psalmist wrote in Psalm 76:10, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise You…” In other words, human defiance only enhances God’s glory because He will always use it as a weapon to fulfill His exact purposes.
3) The great mistake that God’s people usually make is reading in to the verses of the Bible with what they already have stored in their mind regarding end-time eschatology. People say that the tribulation will start when Antichrist breaks the covenant, but there are no verses that support this view point. The Bible only says that “He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute [i.e. Persecution is not tribulation. Persecution against the saints by Antichrist is the only a counter effect to the wrath of God released from heaven during the set tribulation time] the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time [i.e. approximately three and half years].” (Dan 7:25). The Antichrist will break the covenant he has made, exactly after three and half years of making that covenant with the nation of Israel (Dan 9:27). What will be the content of the covenant? It will be the right for Jews to conduct temple worship [i.e. sacrifice and offering] independently once again as in the Old Testament days. Temple land will be legally authorized. Breaking of the covenant is the time from which this freedom to worship ‘Jehovah’ will be cut off by the intrusion of Antichrist in to the temple and controlling its independent event. This is the starting point of ‘abomination of desolation’ that Jesus exhorted the Messianic Jews to look for and flee immediately from Jerusalem and its surroundings to the mountains expecting the rapture to take place. When this happens, a zealous Messianic Jewish priest will suddenly get furious and thrust a sword in to Antichrist for his violation of the covenant, when he would try to take control of the temple by entering in to the Holy place. Antichrist will revive from this attack miraculously by Satan’s power through the false prophet his co-equal assistant (Rev 13:3, 14, 12). From this point of time Satan will completely take control and possess Antichrist’s body and will begin to boast that Antichrist is the incarnate son of God. After this the false prophet will do a miracle of Elijah’s magnitude which will be granted by God to do in the sight of Antichrist and will deceive the Jewish people and the world to accept the Antichrist as their Messiah and make a memorial statue to worship the image of the Antichrist which will be placed inside the Holy of Holies (Rev 13:13-14). After this event God will grant the false prophet the power to give breath to the image of Antichrist to make it speak, the image of the Antichrist will then say to the entire world to worship it or else they should be killed. In the image of the beast, Satan will literally sit and speak like a human through it as he spoke through the serpent in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:1, 4, 14-16; 2 Cor 11:3-4; Rev 12:9), thus making the whole world to worship him which has been his desire since the fall from heaven (Rev 13:15; Is 14:12-15, 16-17). Satan always craved for worship from man so only he set his heart as the heart of a god (Ezek 28:6). He knew that he could not be like God in heaven so he planned a similar government at least in the earth so that he could receive worship from every man on earth (Matt 6:10; 4:8-9; Rev 13:15).
4) From the abomination of desolation to the starting point of tribulation from God, there will be a time gap left for all the believer’s to escape getting caught by the evil clutches of Antichrist (Matt 24:15-16, 20-22).
5) At that time the false prophet who will become as Antichrist’s assistant because of a conspiracy between them, will make fire come down from heaven and many Jews will believe him to be the coming Elijah that God had promised Israel (Malachi 4:5-6; Rev 13:13). Here Jewish people will get deceived by the false prophet because of the fire that he will make to come down from heaven as Elijah did before the worshippers of Baal in the Old Testament (1 Kings 18:36-39), thus boasting himself to be the Elijah who has come from heaven. What the Jews will fail to realize will be the fruit and direction in which the false prophet’s miracle will direct them to (Duet 13:1-5; Matt 7:15-20). Actually in this miracle God will be testing all the true Jewish believer’s and the whole world with them whether they are seeking the real God or just amusing magicians. Accepting this false prophet will eventually lead them to worship idol which Jehovah hates (Exodus 20:1-6). These Jews will be deceived by the false prophet because they would have rejected the person of the truth who is Jesus. Because of this reason they will get condemned in the delusion that God will send at the end time (2 Thess 2:9-11). Once the Jews will believe the false prophet to be the Elijah that God has sent before the Messiah’s coming, he will tell all the Jews to accept the Antichrist as their Messiah sent by God and make a statue for him and worship it, which they will eventually (John 5:43; Rev 13:14-18). The moment this manifestation happens, Antichrist will declare himself as God and will seat himself over the ark of the covenant which he will consider as his throne (2 Thess 2:3-4). This will be the time from which severe persecution of saints will start from Jerusalem and will spread around the world. This false prophet will start from the desert of Judea and will end up with the Antichrist using his authority because of a conspiracy stuck between them (Matt 24:26; Rev 13:11). The false prophet will gain the attention of Antichrist because of his great charisma to work great signs and wonders as a religious sect leader of Israel, during which the temple worship will be restored by the charismatic political world leader Antichrist (Rev 13:12-13; Matt 24:24). The false prophet will start to influence the priests of the temple during this time and will gain entry in to the temple as the so called prophet of the Highest (Luke 1:76). Because of this gelling connection between the false prophet and the Antichrist, the conspiracy for world dominion from the temple of Israel will be pursued which at that time people will expect because of the world’s need for peace and safety and Israel’s Messianic prophetic expectations (1 Thess 5:3; Luke 3:15; Mal 3:1).
These Jewish priests in the temple will play an important role in the end time events and they will hate true Christians because of the power of God manifested through their life openly through the latter rain of the end time (Rev 3:7-10; Matt 24:14). Because of this scenario they will embrace the false prophet as their hero who works similar and equally powerful signs and wonders. These temple priests and the false prophet will be driven and used as the very instrument of Satan to fulfill his wicked agenda of one world government without God as in the days of Babylon under Nimrod (Gen 11:1-9; 10:8-12). Literally this temple will be used as a synagogue of Satan (Rev 3:9). Three unclean spirits which are spirits of demons will co-ordinate the events of end time and will perform signs by possessing these three people who will be the frontline performers in their rebellion against God. They are Satan the dragon, Antichrist the beast and the False prophet. Each unclean spirit will possess them and will reside in them until the time before the battle of Armageddon (Rev 16:13-14). Once the sign of the Son of Man appears in heaven it will come out of the mouth of these three persons to gather together the kings of the earth to battle against Christ and His saintly army from heaven (Matt 24:29-30; Rev 16:14-16).
6) Once tribulation from God starts, the Antichrist will get furious against God and will steadily react to the situation by beginning to seal people with the number 666 as identification to find out the true believers. Those who receive the 666 mark on their right hands or on their foreheads will be those who would have already agreed to worship the image of the beast kept inside the temple as a memorial to Satan and his power (Rev 16:2). See Satan knows that people cannot be pressurized to worship him and bid for his purpose unless he holds the key to their economic and physical survival. This is an open manifestation of what he has done in the past behind the scenes (Rev 13:14-18; Matt 4:8-9; Ezek 28:5, 18).
7) When Jesus referred to ‘winter or Sabbath’, He was referring to the time of tribulation wrath that God will pour upon the wicked (Matt 24:20-21). He does not speak about the persecution of the saints from the Antichrist because tribulation in itself is for the wicked and not for the righteous (2 Peter 2:9). So only Jesus exhorted the left behind believers not to stop praying through the tribulation for deliverance because God will intervene and will shorten the tribulation time for the Left-behind lukewarm believer’s, so that when He will come to the earth at His second coming He will be able to see faith on earth (Matt 24:22; Luke 18:1-8). Zephaniah 1:14-18 heaps together a cluster of terms that characterize the future Day of the Lord. Verse 14 labels this time as "the great day of the Lord" and "the day of the Lord." Then verse 15-18 describe this time with the following descriptions: "that day is a day of wrath," "a day of trouble and distress," "a day of wasteness and desolation," "a day of darkness and gloominess," "a day of clouds and thick darkness," "a day of the trumpet and alarm," "I will bring distress upon men," and "the day of the Lord's wrath." The context supports the notion that all these expressions apply to the Day of the Lord. Thus this text plainly says that the Day of the Lord is a time of both tribulation and God's wrath. This above verses shows clearly that the tribulation in itself is mainly God’s retribution of wrath to the wickedness of the world system of governance which runs under the direct influence of Satan and his evil cohorts.
Jesus said to the believer’s to concentrate on praying for the rapture so that they as a individual might be raptured at the appointed set time before tribulation starts. This is the reason Jesus exhorted, “…pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.” (Matt 24:20). In other words Jesus said to the believers to pray so that they as a individual may not be left behind after God starts the winter time of tribulation against Antichrist, during which Antichrist will begin to manhunt for every believer and will kill them if they will not worship his image on the face of the planet earth starting from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth (Rev 13:14-15). At what specific time the tribulation starts and ends, only God knows because Jesus said that the length of tribulation will be shortened for the left behind lukewarm believer’s sake or else nobody will be left alive on planet earth (Matt 24:21-22). In other words only God knows the set time of tribulation that he has planned in his timetable of the end time. The tribulation is a test from God to the whole humanity to find out who they will follow [i.e. whether God the creator or Satan the tyrant] (Rev 3:10).
Here we see the first sign of ‘the end’ that Jesus spoke about was the abomination of desolation referring to the book of Daniel 9:27 which says, “27 Then he [i.e. the Antichrist] shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week [i.e. one week is equal to seven years; middle of the week is three and half years] he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation [i.e. War of Armageddon where Christ will defeat Antichrist and will throw in to lake of fire (Rev 16:12-16; 19:17-21)], which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.” The “abominations” will start with ‘the abomination of desolation’ in which Antichrist will put “an end” to the sacrifice and offering inside the temple. In starting this one abomination Antichrist will start a series of successive abominable events, until finally he will make the temple desolate by seating himself as God in the temple. So only the Bible says, “…on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate”. The desolation [i.e. desertion, lifelessness and barreness] of the temple will happen bit by bit until at the end Antichrist will show his real face and motive towards the nation of Israel when he will come with a global army to destroy the nation of Israel and its temple to make it desolate forever. The same abomination was clearly described by Apostle Paul in 2 Thess 2:3-4, “3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” Here what Paul says as ‘that day’ is the ‘day of Christ’ (v2) or in other words rapture (v1) which he has previously taught the Thessalonians in his first letter which he wrote. This clearly points that rapture will happen only after an apostasy of autumn season will come upon the Church to make them spotless and pure and then the son of perdition who is Antichrist will be revealed who will seat himself in the temple as God (2 Thess 2: 3-4; Eph 5:27). Some people using the name of Paul brought some false letter which said that ‘the rapture has already happened and that they were now living in the day of the Lord under the tribulation of Antichrist’. These false teachers did deceive them using the influence of some deceptive spirit influence and tried to teach them false doctrines. Many of the Thessalonians were shaken in faith totally because of this false teaching. Paul corrected their misunderstanding about the rapture timing. And then he gave them two signs about the timing of rapture or the rapture season. He said to them that the “the falling away” [i.e. comes from the root Greek word ‘apostasia’ which means ‘apostasy, defection from faith, a falling away’. The origin of this apostasy will be false prophets and false christs who will do great signs and wonders to deceive even the elect (Matt 24:24).] will come first, then secondly Antichrist will seat Himself as God in the temple of God.
Some people of God reason out that looking and understanding the time of Antichrist’s desolation of temple raises the issue of what we are to be looking for. In other words the Church should be only looking for Christ and not the signs of Antichrist. The Bible commendably shows that during David’s time in Old Testament, “…the sons of Issachar…had understanding of the times, to know what Israel [i.e. people of God] ought to do…” (1 Chronicles 12:32). O what a commendation! How much more the end time Church should know and understand the signs of the end times exactly! They believe that nowhere believers are told to watch for the appearance of the Antichrist. But the truth is Jesus Himself exhorted his end time disciples to flee from Judea [i.e. Jerusalem in which the end time Jewish temple will be situated], those people who will see ‘the abomination of desolation’ take place in the temple (Matt 24:15; Mark 13:14). They say that we are told to watch for Jesus Christ, yet it is Jesus who expected his end time disciples to understand this issue of ‘abomination of desolation’ when it will manifest. They say in Titus 2:13 Paul says we are to live "looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.", yet it is the same Apostle Paul who gave a detailed description about the rapture to the Thessalonian Church making them understand about the Antichrist in 2 Thess 2:1-12. Likewise they say that Peter urges us to "fix our hope completely on the grace to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:13), to that I say that it is Peter who humbly confessed that “some things [which Paul wrote in his epistles were] hard to understand” (2 Peter 3:16). They say that John similarly urges us to "fix our hope on Him" at His appearing (1 John 3:2-3), yet it is the same Apostle John who taught about a single person who will come at the end time which will be the very sign of the ticking end time clock’s final moment (1 John 2:18).
Again many people of God reason out that Matthew speaks of watching for the Antichrist (Matt. 24:15), because he is speaking to the Jews living in Israel in the middle of the Tribulation when the Antichrist desecrates the rebuilt Temple. My question to them is ‘If Matthew has written to just the Jews, why is He writing out a universal great commission at the end of it in chapter 28:19-20. If it is just Matthew it is ok at least, what about Mark 13:14 in which he wrote the same Jesus’ exhortation word to word which also ends with the great commission “…Go in to all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15). This shows that this is not written to just the Jews but for all nations and the world!
I believe that this Apostasy was the main theme of warning that Jesus gave to the believing elect to be careful of when He said “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.” (Matt 24:24-25). In other words Jesus is telling the end time believer’s to remember what He has already said about the apostasy of the end time and reject it.
The people who will see this abomination from Judea, Jesus is exhorting prophetically to flee to the mountains. If we ask the question why should those in Judea flee to the mountains? Because it will be a strategic time in which they will have enough time left to escape the clutches of Antichrist who will make everybody to compulsorily worship the image which He will have kept in the temple or else face death (Rev 13:4, 15). Jesus is telling the Messianic Jews to flee because it will be the time for the rapture to take place, so that they will not be caught up by Antichrist and hence be going through the torture of being killed just moments before the rapture will be taking place. If they flee to the mountains and start praying and watching because God would have already revealed them in their spirit that the Antichrist is boasting as God in the flesh, then they will be a part of the flight that escapes tribulation.
The term, Rapture, comes from a Latin word that means to catch up, to snatch away, or to take out. It is a Biblical word that comes right out of the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible. The word is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. In the New American Standard Version, the English phrase, "caught up," is used. The same phrase is used in the King James and New International Versions. The Greek word used for the phrase “caught up” is ‘harpazo’ which means ‘1) to seize, carry off by force 2) to seize on, claim for one's self eagerly 3) to snatch out or away’. This shows that at the time of rapture Christ will carry out or snatch away the Church by force out of the tribulation because Apostle Paul assured all the believers in 1 Thess 5:9-11, “9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. 11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing”. This is the reason Paul having realized that power is needed to raise up dead bodies alive again and to snatch them away wrote, “And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.” (1 Cor 6:14).
At the same time to the unbelievers who persecute the Church Paul said in 2 Thess 1:6-10, “6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.” Tribulation is God’s repayment of wrath for the persecutors of the end time Church. When tribulation starts God promises rest for the persecuted end time Church which will be propagating the Gospel in all the world as a witness to all nations in spite of all persecutions from the unbeliever’s (Matt 24:14). Paul also wrote in Romans 5:9 that "we [i.e. the Church] shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him [becase Jesus will reveal Himself through His power of resurrection to the Church during the rapture]." Again Paul said in 1 Thess 1:10 that Jesus is coming to "deliver" us from God's wrath. The next thing that Paul speaks in the preceding verse is about the “flaming fire…vengeance” which will take place at the second coming of Jesus Christ. The conclusion is, first the tribulation will be imposed upon Antichrist and his followers when he will seat himself as God in the temple at Jerusalem and after that the total annihilation of Antichrist at the second coming of Christ to this planet earth (Ezekiel 38:22-23).
b) The other sure sign which substantiates that Jesus spoke about the rapture of the Church in Matt 24:20 when He said, “…pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.” is through the succeeding context of the second bottom-line conclusive ‘therefore’ statement of ‘the end’ theme that starts with Matt 24:26-28 – “26 Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together." There is a connecting scripture which has nearly the same word for word phrase in Luke 17:37 for the verse in Matt 24:28 which literally shows the rapture event described in the same context preceding it. Luke 17:34-37 says, “34 I tell you, in that night [i.e. in Jerusalem time zone it will be night time] there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. 35 Two women will be grinding together [i.e. evening time at a different time zone of the earth]: the one will be taken and the other left. 36 Two men will be in the field [i.e. morning time at the other time zone of the earth]: the one will be taken and the other left.” 37 And they answered and said to Him, “Where, Lord?” So He said to them, “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.” Comparing these above two different gospel verses which was spoken in the same end time context, we can conclude that it is pointing to the rapture of the Church of Jesus Christ. Also Jesus spoke that “the eagles will be gathered together”? If we ask the question who is He speaking about in the context of the rapture? Who are the eagles? Which body Jesus is referring to saying “Where ever the body is”? The answer is, Jesus is speaking about the resurrection of believers symbolically as eagles gathering together. The believers are identified as eagles in the Old Testament scriptures. So in other words, Where ever the bodies of the believers are, there those who waited for the day of resurrection will gather together as young eagles. Eagles are represented in the Bible for royalty, strength and flight (Matt 24:28; Luke 17:37; Ezekiel 1:10; Isaiah 40:31; Proverbs 23:5; Rev 12:14). The new resurrected body of all the believers will have royalty, strength and flight. Hence the preceding warning not to be deceived by believing the people who will tell the believers to go to the desert to see the False-Elijah the false prophet who would have just then declared the Antichrist to be as the messiah, just like John the Baptist declared Jesus in the Jordan river which was situated in the wilderness desert, at that time the believers should not believe the lie that Christ is seated in the inner room of Holy of Holies in the Temple. If the believer’s will once go to see and verify these things during that end time and believe the lie that Christ is seated in the temple, they will be deceived and will miss the rapture surely. They will be caught under the clutches of the Antichrist and will go through tribulation.