April 6, 1998
"I was just wondering what your views are on the Rapture. Do you think it
will be before the Tribulation or after? I was reading a book called the
Fourth Reich (its really good) and in one part they talked about the
bible specifically saying it will be after. I tend to agree with that
because I've never seen anywhere in the Bible where it says it will happen
before. If Im right Daniel 11:36-12:4 confirms this.
If you could give me your thoughts on this that would be great, thanks"
In order to determine the relationship of the Rapture to the Tribulation, we need to define precisely what the rapture is.
Is the rapture the moment of Christ's return when all Christians are drawn up to the sky to be with the Lord as described by Paul in 1-Thess.4:16-17 ?
That is what most rapture prophecy scholars propose.
Obviously, that event cannot occur until the moment Christ returns in the glory of God and all the angels.
The trumpet of God and the command of the archangel define the instant of the Second Coming of Christ. Therefore this event (described in 1 Thess.4:16-17) cannot happen until the very last moment of the tribulation. (See 'The Last Days of Babylon', Chapter 31, "Michael the Archangel")
If there is to be a mass exodus of God's chosen people from the planet BEFORE the Second Coming, there is little in the Bible to support it except in relation to the mass flight perpetuated by the beast during the tribulation. That persecution will result in enormous numbers of Christian martyrdoms.
Can that mass exodus be considered a part of the Rapture? I think so, even though it will not occur in precisely the same way as the event described by Paul in the Book of Thessalonians when the trumpets are sounded heralding Christ's Second Coming.
It is not before or after, but IN the carnage of the Tribulation that the greatest part of the exodus of Christians from the earth will almost certainly occur.
"Up to the time of John it was the Law and the Prophets; but since then, the kingdom of God has been preached, and by violence everyone is getting in." (Lk.16:16).
The Tribulation will be a most terrible time on earth. The violence of this period will bring to pass an event of rapturion magnitude; which, in its largest aspects will occur amidst unprecedented devastation and bitter warfare. This purge is defined in scripture as the second war of the Apocalypse-- the second war of the end-times.
Two thousand years ago the first war of the end-times began in the wake of Christ's crucifixion and involved all those Christians fed to lions during the days of the Caesar's.
The second war will lead to Armageddon.
And between the two has existed a 1700-year troubled millenium of Christian rule on the planet. Throughout all this period, Babylon has remained a threshing floor for God where the wheat is separated from the chaff through the violence of the world:"And so it is that the grain harvested by God will come to lie on the threshing floor of Babylon." (Jer.51:33).
Even the 'good that die young' often succumb in a violent way.
Jesus and the prophets assure us time and time again that God has no favorites -- that every person is the same to Him. So a pre-tribulation rapture seems out of context with the fundamental teaching of Christ's Gospel.
Thinking otherwise would imply that those who come under the devil's attack at the end are a lesser people whose inferiority has catapulted them into the hands of the beast. This just does not square with scripture.
There is a prophecy in the Bible that the Church of Philadelphia, one of the seven churches in the Book of Revelation, will escape the wrath because of its faith. (Rv.3:10). Obviously, this quotation is metaphoric, but it has a physical side too -- one that is associated with the last days.
That physical fulfillment has not yet occurred, It still lies in the future. Therefore it must involve a geographical element as well, because it could not occur within territory conquered by the beast and his ten-nations when they roll to power.
It is likely, therefore, that it will involve a combination of faith and geography. We can see elements of that in the prophecies of "the ships of kittim (the western islands of Babylon)" which block the beast and prevent his forces from conquering the entire earth (Dn.11:30).
Instead of favoritism, then, we see "purpose". God, in the physical fulfilllment of this metaphore, singles out the geographic source of the "Church of Philadelphia" for a purpose essential to the culmination of His purpose. Thus it will be purpose, not favor that will drive this portion of the prophecy.
The "favor" of escape, though related to faith, will fulfill a prophetic purpose.
In this respect the borders of Kittim's duality remain independent. That part of it which is Babylon remains Babylon and that part of it which is faith remains faith.
Thus, when all is finished, the part that is Babylon will end up in the flames with the rest of Babylon while that which is faith will be lifted up to eternal life.
We can see a significant reference to the faith that sustains the nation 'Kittim' in the "Apocalypse" prophecy of Isaiah. (Is.24: expecially verses 14-16 which state that faith on earth at the time of the end will be concentrated in one specific locale).
In that prophecy, Isaiah specifies a nation far to the west, naming the last bastion of faith on earth as a place known for its position among "the islands of the sea".
In terms of our current knowledge of geography we must look west of the European continent for these "islands"; i.e., across the Atlantic Ocean. Europeans, seeing themselves as "continental" have always labeled the America's as "islands in the sea".
If those days are close now to fulfillment, these "islands" have to include the United States simply because no other nation in our time can come close to mirroring the "ships of Kittim" prophecy in the Book of Daniel. The U.S. Seventh Fleet fits that prophecy like a glove.
A sudden disappearance of Christians in a grand and triumphant mass vanishing that leaves the earth populated only by those who have been rejected by God, argues that the tribulation and its attack on the Church comes only to those who are inferior as far as God is concerned. That cannot be true.
Just the reverse is taught by the New Testament. Jesus repeatedly said that those who suffer may very well be the most favored of God. (See Matt.5:1-12).
Indeed, His crucifixion on the cross proved it.
(for more on this, see footnote).
"One more thing, I was looking at the time line. What do you mean by saying that when the year 2000 A.D. arrives, the 3rd day of Christ begins?" MP
Bible prophecy tells us that a day to God is like 1000 years to man. The first "day" in this chronology encompass the years 1 to 999. The second "day" constitutes the years 1000 to 1999, and the third "day" 2000 to 2999.
In the interests of absolute accuracy, the numbers are a little different. Since there was no year "zero" at the beginning, the second "day" actually began in 1001 and the third "day" will truly begin in the year 2001.
God has chosen to speak to us through the Bible basically in metaphore.
Jesus confirmed this when He spoke to the people only in parables. (Mt.13:34). When the apostles had difficulty interpreting His stories, He asked them, "If you have difficulty interpreting this parable, how will you understand any of the (Bible's) metaphores?" (Mk.4:13-14).
Before Jesus came, scripture was a sealed book. Jesus opened the way for us to interpret its meaning and informed us that everything in it related to Himself; i.e., God had created the entire world specifically for the age of Christ. The quotations in the Old Testament can become visible only when we understand this fact. That is why Paul said that those who reject Him and cling to the Mosaic viewpoint have a veil over their eyes that is still there to this day. That veil is on the pagans even more so.
The Holy Spirit has instructed many Christian ministers that the Old Testament quotation (that a day to God is like 1000 years to man) is a deep-rooted prophetic metaphore. That is why you hear it quoted so often from pulpits with various interpretations and viewpoints offered.
The Holy Spirit has instructed these ministers that this is an important message. It is one of God's great metaphores in the understanding of Christ and the age He brought, i.e., the brief age where reconciliation between God and man can be accomplished.
"I was reading your articles about how a 'ten nation confederacy' comes to power and the world is at war. When will this happen and how many nations will fight against these ten?? The ten nation confederacy is on the side of evil...how many nations on the side of God??"
It is shown in the Bible that the wars of the end will cast the east against the west. The ten nations specified in the Book of Revelation will have an eastern alignment in fulfillment of the prophecies of Daniel. His mention that some of these troops will worship 'a foreign god' indicates that there will definitely be a religious component to the evil empire. God indicated in prophecy that it is He who will bring these troops, so there is a very strong likelihood that religion will play a key role in the warfare.
There is little indication, however, that the western nations will counter this attack with faith of its own. All the prophecies indicate a western collapse of faith in the last days that enables the assault to occur so successfully against them.
This collapse of faith will be so encompassing that scripture's prophecies indicate only "the islands of the sea" as the singular area resisting this apostasy.
Paul called this collapse a 'Great Revolt'. His reference is an obvious indication that an overthrow of faith will seriously dismantle the Christian victory that has reigned on the planet the past 17 centuries.
Israel, itself, will be divided, according to scripture. One group will stay faithful to the Torah, but the other will pursue militancy and aggression. The latter will be destroyed. Christ, however, will be revealed to the former and it is in that revelation that the world will end.
The final configuration of the evil empire will feature 8 nations led by an aggressor who will subjugate most of Europe as well as the Mediterranean and Asia (and probably much of Africa as well). He will be blocked from Jerusalem, although fighting will rage there so vicious that it will seem similar to hell for those who must live through it.
The only nation that has power against this beastly aggressor will be, according to Daniel, a nation across the western sea, called 'Kittim'. The 'ships of Kittim' in Daniel's prophecy seem to describe the U.S. Seventh Fleet, with all its aircraft carriers and guided missle vessels. These American ships have significantly altered politics around the globe for decades, and nothing like them exists in the rest of the western world.
How many nations will stand with the U.S. and Israel is not clear. Most of Europe will fall to the eastern forces. The north-south division made clear by Daniel cleaves at the Euphrates river. Such a division implies a muslim civil war that divides the Persian forces from the Arabs, making the latter allies to the west.
Scripture indicates that many nations will join the eastern confederacy. So many, in fact, that much more than ten nations will be involved. The ten-nation reference, therefore, seems not to describe how many nations will join the hostilities, but seems more a reference to a specific 'republic' formed in the east, probably similar to the now-dissolved U.S.S.R. This would feature an alliance of nations acquiescing to the rule of one man or party over all of them. There will not be a similar 'republic' on the western side, except in the case of the U.S.A.
Certainly the key elements of the End cannot occur until this eastern republic is born and the warfare it foments has been generated. The time is very close. Jerusalem has been rebuilt and the Bible tells us that that reborn city once dedicated to God is to be the world's gallows.
The fact of its erection tells us that the 'Circuit Judge' is on His way. For this reason, we can expect to see the events cataloged in scripture and recounted step-by-step on this website happen very quickly, so repentance and conversion cannot be put off without dire consequences.
The last days will occur under a global cloud of darkness -- a literal darkness and a metaphoric one as well. The indication is that very few on earth will believe in God or preach the truth of Jesus at the very end. This implies that the west will enter this terminal period of warfare on strictly secular and political terms, and will not be promoting the Lord or fighting for any of His principles.
"Are the Seven Churches 'types of Christians', or 'types of all humanity'?"
Certainly not humanity per se. Types of Christians, though, yes. The letters have been addressed to churches. So it is to their congregations that the messages are addressed. In other words, to 'found' Christians.
Paraphrased, the messages say to those who have fallen off the path and immersed themselves in worldly affairs, "Do you remember how strong a faith you had in the beginning when you first heard the message of Christ? Return to that. Very little of your zeal now remains, for your heart has grown cold, and this hardness is threatening now to destroy you."
To those who have remained faithful in their walk, "I know how hard you have toiled for the Lord, do not lose heart. Be patient, for in a very short time Jesus will return and take you with Him to the paradise that God has created for those who remain faithful to His word."
"Is there a relationship between the the airstrikes against Muslim extremists (following the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa) and Bible prophecy?"
Probably there is a strong relationship.
Militant Muslim groups with intense hatred for the United States have been growing, both in size and number in the muslim world. The current individual, Osama bin Muhammad bin Awad Bin Laden, defined as a leader in these hostilities by the American State Department, has extraordinary wealth and has been able to use that money to unify a great many of these fragmented groups in an effort to launch a unified 'Jihad' (holy war) against American and western presence on Muslim soil.
His forces have little respect for past Muslim practices or politics, especially with respect to peaceful coexistant relationships, and so represent a violent and schismatic entity which has spread its network of terror throughout the muslim world.
It (Bin Laden's network) is neither Shiite nor Sunni, drawing fanatical recruits from both for extensive training in terrorism. It is said to be quickly growing past the simple bombing of buildings. With its vast monetary resources and a keen understanding of modern technology, it has begun to develop weapons of mass destruction -- i.e. weapons capable of erasing life in whole cities.
The nerve agent targeted by U.S. missles in the Sudan, for instance, is reported to be a thousand times more deadly than Sarin (nerve gas). Properly released, it could extinguish almost the entire population of London, Paris or Rome in a matter of minutes. The American Secretary of State has declared this to be the kind of warfare the planet can expect in the next century -- terrorist attacks with weapons of mass destruction on the world's cities and civilians. Scripture predicts global violence on this scale in the militant dusk that precedes the world's end.
There is an uncanny relationship between Bin Laden's appearance and the scriptural writings of Daniel which promise a charismatic eastern figure rising up from a small beginning to renew the northern republic (the ten-nation republic whose power wanes, and which is revitalized by this figure) rising seemingly from nowhere to a point where he eventually commands the entire republic. He does not possess royal powers. He is not a king. He does not command a nation and never has. He appoints himself to power.
Today's figure is like that.
He belongs to no one -- he has political affiliation with no single country. He is the self-appointed president of a university of Holy War, attempting to unify all the muslim countries into a single force under his dominion.
Daniel has declared that the beast will appear under very similar circumstances.
However, this particular individual, if he is the beast, seems to have leapfrogged a great many prophecies which should have preceded him.
The conclusion must be that he is not the beast. But his actions echo the coming madman so closely that his presence sends a profound message from God that the time of the end is very close. Bin laden is not 'the big one', just a strong mirroring foreshock to tell us that our time is running out and the time for repentance is drawing to a close.
Since the days of Alexander the Great, the world has witnessed a powerful west exercising vast dominion over the earth. The muslim 'Jihad' soon to come will attempt to reverse this western influence and establish an eastern military imperialism in its place, the goal of which will be to 'cleanse' a defiled earth and take dominion over it.
The grave business recession now beginning to sweep the globe will change the power structure in many nations at its peak, and help in a large way to facilitate eastern efforts in this respect.
It still seems clear that the second 'Gulf' war, defined by Daniel, has not yet been fought. Actually, we could just as well call it a 'Euphrates' war. Because that river will form the line of demarcation defining the second war's end -- a war which will divide north from south & set up the initial battlelines of the final prophecies.
God has orchestrated all this to prepare the world for a fateful aggregation of nations in Megiddo in the land of Palestine in a time drawing nearer by the day.
Today's events point us to that gathering by showing with certainty the momentous impact that Jerusalem and the Middle East will have on future global politics. This long-sleepy area is becoming ominously larger on the world stage than almost anyone could have believed. And, with respect to everything that has occurred there in the last 100 years, the future will show us that we have seen nothing yet.
"What do you think of the impending Y2K (year 2000 computer disaster) and problems in relation to the end times?"
Powerful metaphores consistantly accompany the major events of scripture, so there is probably a strong correlation -- certainly with respect to the threat of impending chaos revolving around the coming millenium that these metaphores portend.
The advent of the 'third day' in scripture is such an important event it seems quite unlikely that God would allow it to slip in unattended by a concomitant metaphore of significant proportions.
To those who still don't know, 'y2k' is shorthand for the 'year 2000'. Because computer and chip manufacturers coded the years in 2 digits (98 instead of 1998) up until at least the middle of this decade, thousands of devices threaten to fail when the year 2000 arrives. Errant computers and software will recognize the new millenium as 1900 instead of 2000. This problem is further complicated by the fact that the year 2000 is an unusual leap year. The year 1900 was not. So on February 29, 2000, many computer calendars will completely fail. Since all government records (social security, income tax, retirement, etc), energy power grids, air taffic control networks, hospital and life support systems, nuclear ICBM and other guided missle systems and thousands of other date-coded devices all over the world, are at the mercy of this situation, extremely critical devices potentially could fail worldwide. Some could bring down with them vast networks of computers-- networks so extensive that many predict society will be crippled and brought to a standstill. Work to correct this problem has started too late, and though the doomsday scenario foreseen probably won't happen on a massive scale, enough problems remain to cause major concerns. The ultimate cost of repair is said to be so high across the planet that a global recession seems likely. When we couple that with a foreign recession now in progress, economic circumstances for the first decade of the new millenium look bleak. That is not good for political stability, for it is always in such globally lean economic times that the despots appear, bringing with them violence, warfare and historic change.
It is not surprising that a Cassandra-like foreboding surrounds the appearance of the coming millenium. God has regularly choreographed strategic circumstances with illuminating portents relating to the future in a way that highlights His ultimate plan. The central focus of that plan, of course, revolves around a brief period of Christian dominance in human affairs conducive to reconciliation between humanity and God through the intercession of Jesus Christ. The time involved in this period of world grace is referred to in the Old Testament as 'the Day of Atonement'.
A prophecy in the Book of Joshua reveals that the term of this atonement period will be 'almost' 2000 years. In other words, now almost at an end. Other prophecies dovetail this figure, showing that the 'washing and cleaning' associated with the period of reconciliation will last two 'days', i.e., two thousand years in relation to God-days (using the Apostle Peter's formula). Since the millenium of our calendar was meant to be based on the birth of Christ, the advent of the 'third day' (the day in which the period of reconciliation is supposed to end and God's judgment takes place) correlates almost identically with world chronology.
That fateful 'third day' will arrive some time between the year 2000 and 2033, depending upon which event is chosen to mark the 'Day of Atonement's inception.
Since John has written in the Book of Revelation that the period of reconciliation will be brought to a close in a crescendo of violence perpetrated by a 'beastly' terrorist, more horrific than any the world has ever known, the year 2000 brings with it great fear and trepidation for the world. Only one small ray of hope for escape from this tribulation exists -- those who believe God will rapture many Christians ahead of time.
Thus the impending chaos threatened by y2k metaphorically heralds the trepidation surrounding the appearance of that terrible 'third day' when the gates of heaven are closed and the offer of Atonement witdrawn. All around this closing date lies the spectre of judgment.
Everything man has built or worked for is about to come apart. All the works of man, Jeremiah predicted, all its cities, artwork and empires, will end in flames in the days ahead. Y2k would seem to be a much easier problem to deal with than the imminent worldly chaos it signals.
"Regarding "The Clock of God", I am perplexed that the millenium is said to precede the second coming of Christ. This is clearly not what is said in Revelation.
Christ will return, THEN Satan will be chained for a 1,000 years, then loosed again and destroyed. I would appreciate any response you may have."
What is clearly stated in the Book of Revelation is that the forces of Christ will conquer Babylon and reign there for 1000 years. At the end of that time the beast will be released from his prison in the Abyss and come out and deceive the nations one final time just before the end, bringing the man of perdition, massive forces from the east, religious tribulation, and world war.
It is the prophecy of this author that the culminating moment in the victory of Christ over Babylon occurred in 390 A.D. when the emperor Theodosus proclaimed Christianity the state religion of the world (Rome ruled the world at the time of the proclamation), and, in conjuction with that proclamation, ordered all pagan and foreign houses of worship sealed shut. He forbid the worship of any other god in the empire and cancelled even the Olympic Games (held in honor of the pagan gods of Greece). The world has lived in the light of that proclamation, fighting incursions from the east on several occasions ever since.
But all that changed dramatically in this century. Christianity is now under fierce attack worldwide. Not just by the forces of the east (made up of militant muslims, secularists & communism), but even by the western governments that once built their kingdoms and republics in His name. We can see that attack boldly taking place even in the U.S.A. in a series of decisions laid down by our own Supreme Court. These decisions are so antagonistic to Christ that even nativity plays in American grammar schools at Christmas are now forbidden by law.
The Olympic Games were ordered reopened by the world 100 years ago. A seventh beast appeared in 1933 in Berlin and massacred between 9 and 12 million members of the House of Israel. His specific motive in launching World War II was to wipe the Jewish remnant off the face of the earth. And he related in his writings that once he had eliminated Judaism, he wanted to destroy Christianity and set up a teutonic (pagan) kingdom to rule the world.
It is true that the world victory of Christ, if measured by the Christianization of the globe that occurred in the wake of His crucifixion has measured longer than 1000 years. But I believe that God stretched out the time of mercy, making one thousand years into almost two. Prophecy supports this. So does the nature of God. Jesus said that when a man asks you to go one mile, you should go two. That was behavior of God that He wanted us to imitate. I feel God did the same for us.
The attack against Christianity has just begun.
We can see the ferocious resolve vast numbers of muslims, the people of the east, now have toward leveling Jerusalem and killing all its Jewish citizens and completely eliminating a Jewish state. Many of these fanatics are so dedicated in their hatred of Jews that they would almost certainly follow Hitler's obsession in trying to completely eradicate this part of the House of Israel from the planet if they had that power.
That bitter resolve is also clearly aimed at Christians. We are among those called the 'Great Satan' by this vastly scattered empire, and more and more muslim nations no longer tolerate Christian services, Bibles or churches in their lands.
So today we find Christianity facing a grave religious threat by the people of a god foreign to us who are convinced that the only way to establish Mohammed's faith on earth is through warfare and terror.
Couple that with the capitulation by our own government, and most others of the western world, to forces antagonistic to Christianity and its moral base, we can see a major world revolt in progress against the treaty Theodosus long ago declared.
In other words, we see a millenium of Christian rule on earth ending and being replaced by a returning Satan with forces that are identical to those documented in the Book of Revelation 20:7-9, as well as in Daniel, and 2 Thessalonians 2.
The fact that in Revelation 20, the millenium (verses 5-6) and its end (verses 7-9) both PRECEDE the Second Coming of Christ (verses 11-12), is an indication that the reign of the millenium is both spiritual (heavenly) and earthly, and that both precede the Day of God when Christ returns.
It is not verse 4 in Revelation 20 that represents the Second Coming of Christ, but verses 11-12. This is well supported by Daniel 7:9-14.
The fact that you see all this in a different way is perfectly legitimate. It is, afterall, very complex prophecy.
Please tell me what is the U.S. interest in Israel and why do they want Israel to let the Palestinians to have more territory in Jerusalem. Is it just to keep peace in the world? Thanks for your response.
Israel was allowed to return to Palestine as a nation by a United Nations Mandate in 1947. This created the first Jewish nation to exist on the planet in almost 2000 years, providing a remedy to the incredible diaspora which followed the Roman destruction of Judea a few years after the crucifixion of Jesus.
The specifics of the U.N. mandate for return defined a set geographic boundary fixed by international accord.
Israel exceeded the boundaries of this accord by confiscating Palestinian territory in several major wars between itself and its Arab neighbors in the years following its inception as a nation. A significant part of the city of Jerusalem was included in Israel's wartime expansion of territory.
The United States, but even more so the United Nations, wants Israel to give back the land it confiscated and return it to the Palestinians along with land it took from its other neighbors. They want Israel and its neighbors to return to the original U.N. borders defined by international accord.
World peace is certainly a factor in this desire, but the specifics of the original U.N. mandate is the driving issue here. The United Nations legally recognizes Israel as a nation only within the boundaries it specified in 1947.
Israel does not want to give back key parts of this land. It considers Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv (the U.N. designate) as its capitol. And it is building homes and expanding its borders aggressively into Arab West Bank territory.
For an in-depth review of this issue and the prophecies with surround it, see Chapter 13, Jerusalem Under Seige. The prophet Jeremiah specifically addressed this development and indicated in much detail its grave consequences.
The interest of the United States is political. Israel gives the U.S. a powerful western ally in the key Middle East where intense anti-U.S. sentiment continues to build. Most important is oil. The Middle East holds the richest oil reserves on earth.
The United States does not want a unified Middle East to form a powerful military alliance in that region with the power and resolve to block U.S. and other western nations from access to this oil. The modern world cannot function in power without such access. The East would return to power overnight if that were to happen. The ruling sceptre of the world would be transferred immediately to non-western hands. That is why we see all the political maneuvering taking place in that part of the world in recent years.
The easiest way for such a unified alliance to form would be through religion. Almost all of the people in the area housing the oil are muslim. A powerful movement toward militant and fundamentalist Mohammedism has been taking place throughout all these territories in recent years, and the rallying point of this movement has been the presence of Israel and its control of Arab lands.
This war-like muslim movement (called Jihad) has pitted itself against Israel, and against the moderate muslims and the secular eastern rulers that have been holding power in many of these countries for centuries.
The process is continuing. The recent bombings of U.S. embassies and attacks on Americans are part of it. It is no small matter and it is not going to go away or get better. The Bible indicates that it will be the pivotal political issue that ends the world.
I need more information with regards to the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.
The moment He gave up his Spirit, where exactly did he go to up to the point
of His resurrection? S.M.
The Apostle Peter said that Jesus was put to death in the body, and then raised in the spirit to life. Jesus went in the spirit to preach to the spirits in prison. These captive spirits were the people who refused to believe in God at the time of Noah. (1 Peter 3:18-20).
When the Pharisees and scribes asked Jesus for a 'sign', He told them that only an evil and unfaithful generation would ask for a sign. The only sign the world would be given, he said, is the sign of the prophet Jonah. "For as Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights." (Mat.12:38-42).
Scripture teaches that Christ's journey to the underworld occurred during His entombment. His duration in the sepulchre is stated in the Bible as three days and three nights. And it was. It covered Friday, Saturday and Sunday. But not complete days and nights, because in hours it was less so.
He died on Friday afternoon at 3 PM, and was laid in the tomb about 2 hours later after his body had been wrapped. Matthew said it was evening when this happened (Mat.27:57), but it occurred before sunset because that was the start of the Passover and it was imperative by Jewish Law that all bodies be entombed before sunset leading into Passover (sunset starts the new day in the Hebrew calendar).
His body was raised before sunrise on Sunday -- a period of about 36 hours after His entombment. After that, He walked the earth for forty days (Acts 1:3), appearing to and instructing the Apostles and various other disciples before ascending to the Father.
Christ's journey to the underworld is an enigma. Why did this journey take Him to the people of the flood rather than to those who had died later, say, in the centuries before He preached? Consideration of such questions are the subject of prophecy. One thing scripture tells us that we can be sure of, the journey took the Lord into another dimension of space and probably time, to try to accomplish there the same purpose for which He appeared to us.
God has hidden clues to Christ's underworld mission (and its results) in various Israelite prophecies. For one thing, the prophecy seems to unite Christ with Enoch . In the apocryphal Book of Enoch (a book in the Greek Old Testament) it is Enoch who preaches to the demons of Hades.
Thus Enoch is shown (in writings that date before the birth of Jesus) to have prefigured Christ much in the same way that David did, but on an earlier level. It shows that the entire Hebrew religion was revolving around Jesus from the very beginning, even in the time of its prehistory.
Aside from Noah and his family, Enoch was the only person to have survived the civilization that flourished before the flood. According to scripture he was lifted bodily up to heaven by God after living 365 years (Gen.5:21-24). Enoch's 365 years of life correspond in days to one earth year, and, if one adds in a decimal point, it is numerically similar in hours to the time Jesus spent in the tomb.
Thirty-six hours does not seem a sufficient period for such a massive undertaking -- the conversion attempt of an entire civilization. Especially one buried in Hades. For this reason it seems likely that Sheol exists not just in another dimension (spirit), but in another time frame as well.
By preaching to the demons in Hades and to all the other spirits who occupied that arena, Jesus secured mastery over all three of the three great cosmic dimensions of creation, i.e., heaven, earth and the underworld.
Paul told the crowd in Jerusalem at Pentecost, "You killed him but God raised him to life, freeing him from the pangs of Hades" (Acts 2:23-24). The underworld is synonomous in scripture with the depths of the sea. It was thought to be filled with monsters.
This is where the whale comes in -- it symbolizes a sea monster that brings Jonah up from the depths, i.e., up from Hades. That is why Jesus used it in reference to His own entombment.
The whale fulfills the image of the Leviathan of Job, the serpent monster of the sea, which scripture shows, is Satan himself. (Job 3:8) "That day the Lord will punish, wth his hard sword, massive and strong, Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent: he will kill the sea-dragon." (Is. 27:1). "I will punish Bel in Babylon and take from his mouth what he has swallowed" (the House of Israel). (Jer.51:44).
Paul wrote to the Ephesians:
"When it says, 'he ascended', what can it mean if not that he descended right down to the lower regions of the earth?
The one who rose higher than all the heavens to fill all things is none other than the one who descended.
And to some his gift was that they should be apostles; to some, prophets; to some evangelists; to some, pastors and teachers; so that the saints together make a unity in the work of service, building up the body of Christ." (Eph.4:9-12).
Before Christ came, everyone who died went in spirit to the underworld. They went to Hades -- i.e, to hell. Jesus went there, too. But He conquered that place and returned out of it by the power of God who brought Jesus back from the dead. (Heb.13:20).
His descent to Hades and his preaching there insured that Paul's words in his letter to the Philippians would come true: "...so that all beings in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld, should bend the knee at the name of Jesus" (Ph.2:10).
"Who is he who brought out of the sea the shepherd of his flock?" (Is.63:11). "The Lord has promised, 'I will bring them back from Bashan, I will bring them back from the bottom of the sea." (Ps.68:22).
By conquering death itself, the very underworld that once held our future in its grasp, Jesus freed us to ascend with Him to God. Those who follow Him no longer have to die.
The Bible says that it is God's will that His existance here be known only to faith.
Perhaps the best proof of the existance of God is the creation itself. In order to understand this creation, however, we need to know Christ.
As far as rocks are concerned, the Bible says that God made not just rocks, but the entire universe by uttering a word from His mouth. It goes on to say that the universe will come to an end in the same way.
Rocks and planets are only small fragments of a far more massive universe, according to astronomers. Thus rocks, even the largest of them, are very small objects to God.
Perhaps a better question then might be, is it possible for God to create a universe so large that His word cannot end it? The Bible says that God is Master of creation. Therefore, whatever He makes, He has complete control over. Satan tried to wrest a small part of that control away from Him and we are living with the bitter consequences of that action today.
That is why we were all born under a sentence of death -- a sentence that only Jesus has power to repeal.
Concerning the directive in the Book of Revelation forbidding adding or subtracting words to the writing that ends the Bible: Most Christians assume that this ruling applies, not just to the Book of Revelation, but to the entire Bible.
Here is their argument: God made Jesus master of the Bible and Jesus said that "scripture cannot be rejected". (John 10:35). "All scripture is inspired by God and can profitably be used for teaching, for refuting error, for guiding people's lives and teaching them to be holy. This is how the man who is dedicated to God becomes fully equipped and ready for any good work." (2 Tim.3:16-17).
Thus Jesus seems to have shown in His own words that the "book" that cannot be altered is the Bible itself, i.e., 'scripture'. Scripture evolved and changed up to the point of Jesus Christ, for it was on Him that all scripture was based. Once Jesus came, however, scripture solidified into a set form. "What you bind on earth will be bound in heaven" That 'binding' was completed by about 150 A.D. Once set, neither the New nor the Old Testaments could be rejected or changed thereafter.
Despite God's ruling, throughout the ages many have come and tried to add to or subtract from the volumes the early Church approved. That is why the Holy Spirit chose to close scripture with John's warning -- to slow down Satan's attempts to destroy the Holy Writ. In light of these assaults, we can all be thankful that God has given us, according to Christ, "more than enough".
Had there been no divine directive saying scripture cannot be rejected, God could have simply eliminated the Old Testament entirely when Jesus came because it had so many flaws in it. (Heb. 8:7-8; Jer.8:8-9). Because of the directive, however, He chose not to do that. That is why we now have a New and Old Testament in the Bible today. That will change, however. The Gospel will last forever, but in the end, the Old Testament will pass away with this world. (Hebrews 8:13). It is good that the Old Testament is still with us for now, though, because the proof of Jesus is hidden in its prophecies and metaphores.
Will the world end on January 1, 2000?
The date of the end has been divinely sealed by God. No one knows when it will occur. The year 2000 is a year of transition, taking the world into the 3rd millenium after Christ. That is very important because biblical prophecy indicates that the world will experience two 'days' of washing and cleaning, and then on the third 'day', see God. Prophecy has shown us that days to God are a thousand years long. Thus two thousand years of washing and cleaning (baptism and atonement) are scheduled (and have taken place) and then in the 3rd millenium, the return of Christ.
Of course the 3rd millenium is 1000 years long. So just when during that period Christ returns is unknown. It will not be revealed until the moment it occurs. But something else is scheduled that perpetuates all the foreboding. Another biblical prophecy indicates that concomitant with the advent of the 3rd millenium, the world will pass from a window of reconciliation to a time of tribulation. The days of the tribulation have been cut short, according to scripture, but both the threat of it and the end of the world which follows immediately on its heels give adequate cause for apprehension. Especially to those that still remain unbaptised and unrepentant as the new age rolls in. (See Chapter 33 "Armageddon's Hour")
'1000 years as a day' prophecy
'Joshua's one day into two' prophecy
-In Christ Jesus,
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