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I have written many times concerning the timing of the return of Jesus Christ. Sadly, many who profess to be Christians have been deceived to think the Church has been given, by God, the authority to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth without the physical presence and return of Jesus. There are other Christians, including some very great and special friends of mine, who are exposing this serious error, and with love and compassion calling these misguided brethren to repentance.
However, a few of these dear friends have a serious disagreement with me over the timing of the Lord’s rapture and removal of the born again remnant from this planet to Heaven. They think the Lord will not come until the end of what is known as Daniel’s 70th week, a seven year period of time in which God’s judgment and wrath will be poured out upon the nations.
I have always believed the Lord will come for his hated and persecuted followers before the 70th week, leaving the world-wide Great Harlot of Christiandom void of true believers. This letter is meant to help explain why I believe as I do. Please read Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians to better help you understand what I am saying. For as I see it, the Apostle Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians lays out the chronology of end time events concerning the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and the rise of the infamous Antichrist, also known as the Wicked One and the Man of Sin.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-14
(1)Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, (2)That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. (3)Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; (4)Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
(5)Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? (6)And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. (7)For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth (hinders or restrains) will let, until he be taken out of the way. (8)And then shall that Wicked One be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
(9)Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, (10)And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. (11)And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: (12)That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
(13)But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: (14)Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In verse one please note that he refers to the “coming” and the “gathering together” as distinct events, and begs or beseeches them to understand the meaning and timing of the two events. For in verse two he encourages them to not be shaken or trouble by false rumors that the day of Christ is at hand. Paul is obviously not referring to the rapture here, but the days of Christ’s vengeance on this war-torn planet, which rightly should shake up all who hear this proclamation.
Think about it for a moment. True lovers of Jesus long for his return, so rumors of his coming would not trouble us, but encourage us to call more lost souls into the Kingdom of Heaven before God’s wrath is unleashed.
In verse seven Paul says the satanic deceptions that will produce the wicked Antichrist have not come to a final fruition yet because of the hindering power of “he” who is the Holy Spirit working through both the true Church and the archangel Michael to restrain the coming of the Antichrist, who is first revealed by his peace covenant of Daniel 9:27.
Paul, knowing these Old Testament prophecies of Daniel, is clearly teaching there are also two revelations of the Man of Sin, first as he dazzles deceived nations with all power, signs, and lying wonders, producing a Temple building “peace covenant” for Israel. And second, three and a half years later, as the Man of Sin who rises from the dead and declares himself to be the Messiah, Revelation 13.
When the rapture or the gathering together of the hated and persecuted remnant takes place by the Lord’s removal of them from the Earth, the first revealing of the Antichrist is then allowed by God to begin. The Holy Spirit’s hindering or restraining power is silenced as the Lord commands Michael to no longer restrain the fallen angels who will then prepare and present their Antichrist peacemaker to the nations. This is the “silence in Heaven” of Revelation 8:1 which lasts for about half and hour (seven year hour of temptation) or three and one half years.
For further evidence of the pre-70th Week rapture please refer to my article, “The Judgment Chronicles”, where among many other things I attempted to show that the seventh trumpet sounding in Revelation 11 heralds and opens the final seven vials of God’s wrath which last 387 days. This is when God pours out the fullness of his wrath, due in part to the antichrist President and false prophet Pope having the two Jewish prophets murdered, and allowing their bodies to lay out in the streets of Jerusalem; when to the utter shock of the world they are resurrected and ascend into the heavens.
The seventh trumpet is not the last day of Daniel’s 70th Week as some teach. It has no bearing with the “last trump” Paul alluded to in 1st Corinthians 15:52. Only the two prophets rise from the dead in Revelation 11:3-15, and then “before” the seventh trumpet even sounds, thereby ending the sixth trumpet which lasted three and one-half days. I believe the rapture trumpet Paul referred to is found in Revelation 4:1 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
I have read Revelation 20:4-7 many times over the years. Some have said this proves the post-70th week return of Jesus Christ to rapture his followers. I will try to make my understanding of this portion of scripture clear and simple. Revelation 19:7-8,14 shows me that the “armies that were in heaven” are the glorified resurrected church that were “given” their white garments of Revelation 3:4-5, 4:4, before the 70th week begins, for they were in Heaven before Jesus descends to Earth to take down the Antichrist and False Prophet.
Furthermore, in Revelation 20:4 John sees in his vision thrones and “they” sat on them to judge. The “they” are the resurrected armies who were in Heaven. But John also says…”and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded”. The word “and” is the key to understanding that John saw two groups of saints…those already resurrected and clothed in white “and” the souls of them who are “about to be” resurrected to rule and reign on the Earth with the others in the millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
It is imperative that we understand these executed by beheading are followers of Christ who entered the 70th Week as unbelievers, both Jew and Gentile, many of whom had a form of godliness, were members of Christendom, but had never truly departed from their sin nature through repentance and faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. These people have now become the fruits produced by the two prophets and 144,000 “first fruits” Jewish missionaries. John says later that…”blessed is he that hath “part” in the first resurrection. There are two parts or phases to the first resurrection. Also, we must know that believers who physically survive the 70th Week will be the ones who will replenish or repopulate the Earth for one thousand years.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is returning to first deliver his own to Heaven, thereby leaving the apostates of Christiandom on the Earth, and then in wrath begin his judgment upon Satan’s world system. This judgment ironically begins with him permitting the “final” President and Pope to channel all of their demonic power and influence to establishing peace in the Middle East, including the rebuilding of the Temple. Israel will fall under the spell of these men because their leaders reject the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah. Please read on my web site the two articles, “The Wise Man” and “Moved with Compassion”, for more details.
Until the day the Lord Jesus Christ comes for his own, we are to speak the truth in love and compassion to all the lost souls in this world, always remembering that before Jesus created a new pure heart within us by the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit and his shed blood, we also walked daily in the powerful delusions of this demonic world system, Ephesians 2:1-7. We should also remember that as followers of the Lord Jesus our new hearts are still engaged in a major battle in our minds with the remnants of our sin nature that yet reside in our unsaved bodies.
As I have said before many times, our sin nature thrives on pride, love of self, and love of money, and it is the sin nature which dominates over most of Christiandom today. The wood, hay, and stubble represented in the seducing pride of patriotism, the love of money taught by the prosperity prophets, and the new age psycho-babble of the purpose driven life and emergent church movements prove this to be true, 1 John 2:16. Let us all burn away these false doctrines from our lives and replace them with the eternal doctrines of Christ which are like gold, silver, and precious jewels.
Knowing this evil about our body’s sin nature, we long for Jesus to come when he then will change our sinful bodies into the likeness of his glorified immortal body, Philippians 3:17-21. Those people who do not have this hope and longing for his return deeply imbedded in their hearts or spirits, are still blinded by the deceitfulness of sin.
These are the reasons I believe as I do about the second coming of our Lord Jesus and the rise of the Antichrist. There are many other teachings that point to an “any day any hour” rapture of the “hated and persecuted” remnant. And, as I have said countless times before, the scriptures teach us that the combined power of the bloody cross and second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, is the only “permanent” solution for stopping the death and destruction that men inflict upon one another to the sick delight of their fallen angel masters. Remember the words of the Lord….”I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”, John 14:6.
Please visit our website and sign the “guestbook” or send an email. Thank you for reading this and I hope to hear from you soon. I hope you will consider reading the articles “Then Comes the Fire”, “The Judgment Chronicles” and “The Fundamentalist” posted on our web site. For details concerning my military background during the Vietnam era, please read the articles “Vietnam: The Manchus of Charlie Company”, “Pacifist, Patriot, or Pilgrim” and “Moved with Compassion”. Just click on the website link below and click on “Articles”. The radio interviews I have been part of can be listened to by clicking on this link: http://www.thebyteshow.com/JackHook.html
Jack D. Hook
Babylon the Great is Falling