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Revelation 101 – Just What Is This Rapture I Keep Hearing About? Comments Off

Posted on October 20, 2007 by Sharon
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By SHARON K. GILBERT
Originally Published June 11, 2005

FROM MY earliest memories, I’ve watched for the return of Jesus Christ. After officially becoming a believer at age 9, I cut my doctrinal teeth on the books of Revelation and Daniel, always looking up and anticipating Christ’s return for His church in what we call “The Rapture”. So, what is this event anyway?

The word rapture doesn’t appear in the English Bible, but it does appear in other translations, including the Latin Vulgate. The latin verb rapere means “to snatch up” and is used to translate the original Greek word harpazo.

Jack Shelton has this to say:. The Greek New Testament clearly contains both the terminology and the concept of the rapture by the use of the word harpazo, a verb meaning “to snatch or catch away.” Harpazo denotes the idea of force suddenly exercised, and is often used in the context of an emergency where life or death consequences are the result of a quick snatching away. In two of its thirteen occurrences in the New Testament, harpazo clearly signifies “rapture,” that is, an instantaneous bodily translation of saints from earth to heaven:

1 Th. 4:17, “…we which are alive shall be caught up (harpazo).”
Rev. 12:5, “…her child was caught up (harpazo) unto God.”

Three other Scriptures use harpazo in a context significant to the doctrine of the rapture, although not in direct reference to it.

Acts 8:39, “…the spirit of the Lord caught away (harpazo) Philip.”
2 Cor. 12:2, “…such as one caught up (harpazo) to the third heaven.”
2 Cor.12:4, “…that he was caught up (harpazo) into paradise.”

Therefore, the allegation that the concept of the rapture is foreign to the Bible has no basis in fact. Furthermore, the use of the Greek term harpazo in rapture contexts unquestionably establishes even the terminology of the rapture as Biblically-based.

Now that we’ve established the validity of the term “Rapture” just what is it, and why should we even care?

In the book of Daniel, the old testament prophet takes to his knees to beseech God for wisdom regarding what Jeremiah the prophet meant when he quoted God as declaring “seventy years of the desolations of Jerusalem”. This selfless and eloquent prayer results in the appearance of a mighty angel, Gabriel, dispatched by God to reveal one of the most important propecies of all time – the prophecy of Seventy Weeks. Simply put, God reveals – through Gabriel – that He has decreed a definite period of time during which He intends to refine the nation of Israel. Each “week” is equivalent to seven years, making the complete time period 70 times 7 weeks or 490 years (an interesting number in view of Jesus’ answer to Peter regarding the number of times one must forgive a brother). Daniel is even told when this 490 year count would commence – with the decree to rebuild the temple. What Daniel isn’t specifically told is that the count would temporarily be suspended at the end of the 69th week or year 483. This break in the timeline would only be revealed when it occurred – at the Cross of Calvary – the commencement of the Church Age.

Despite what some teachers proclaim, Christianity does not replace Israel in this timeline, but we are an important parenthesis between years 483 and 484. When does year 484 begin? It begins with the end of this parenthesis – with the removal or Rapture of the Church.

So, where do believers go at that time? First of all, the Apostle Paul teaches that those who had died in Christ are asleep – awaiting the return of their Lord and Savior and that first these “dead in Christ” shall rise, followed by the immediate “snatching away” of the living believers. All of this will take place so quickly that non-believers will not see the event. They will only perceive the amazing results – the disappearance of millions of people from all parts of the earth.

Thanks to the unprecedented success of the Left Behind series of books, Christians and non-Christians alike now understand the fundamentals of what this event will mean to the world. Many debate theories on the Rapture and Armageddon around office water coolers and over lunch. At the center of the ongoing debate is one question – when will this great event occur? Stay tuned for the next chapter of Revelation 101 – when I’ll share my own beliefs on the signs that point to Christ’s return and why I believe He now stands ready to take us home.

September Song 1

Posted on September 06, 2011 by Sharon
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Is your lamp lit and filled with oil? Be ready, for the Groom is coming soon!

Over the many years of writing for this website and others, I’ve often contemplated Christ’s return during the Jewish festival of Rosh Hashanah. This morning, I did a quick search of this site’s archives for articles I’ve written on the Rapture of the Church, and I discovered that my first online publication on the topic was in 2004–seven years ago.

What I ask of you at this moment in time is to consider the very real possibility that Christ will return for His Bride at any moment…and that this month could be His scheduled return. Now, if you’re saying to yourself right now that ‘no man can know the day or the hour’, then you’re right. I’m not predicting the exact day or hour–I’m merely saying that we can know the season.

This month is when Jews around the world celebrate the beginning of the world and the creation of Adam. Rosh Hashanah means the ‘head of the year’, and it is said that on this day, the Lord God Almighty fashioned a new creation called Adam and instilled that new man with His own breath, granting him life and the unique property of being ‘in God’s own image’.

Six thousand or so years have passed since that amazing moment in time. During those millennia, mankind has proven again and again just how depraved we can be–but God still loved us so much that He sent His Son, Yeshua ha Meshiach (Jesus the Christ in Greek), to provide the living sacrifice for you and for me–for all who accept Him–so that we will live with our Father for eternity rather than suffer eternal DEATH in Hell.

Perhaps, you know Christ as your Savior already, but if you do not, I implore you to consider Christ today. Tomorrow may be too late for you. We all have an expiration date–is yours coming soon? Christ IS returning for His Bride, perhaps this month on Rosh Hashanah–are you ready to go with Him?

 

 

Happy Rosh Hashanah! Let us remember to keep watch! 2

Posted on September 19, 2009 by Sharon
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The following, excellent essay can be found along with many other articles at the Watch Unto Prayer website.

holiday_rosh_hashanahTHE RAPTURE ON ROSH HASHANA

There are important parallels between Jewish feasts and the fulfillment of Christ. For example the Passover is now celebrated as the Lord’s Supper. The Sabbath is now celebrated by the Resurrection.Some other parallels are:

Pesach / Passover
Hag HaMatzah / Feast of Unleavened Bread
Bikkurim / First Fruits
Shavout / Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)

Jewish tradition holds that Rosh Hashanah celebrates the anniversary of the creation of the world, a day when “God takes stock of all of His Creation,” which of course includes all of humanity. Translated from the Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means “head of the year” – rosh means head, while hashanah means year. Jews believe that God’s judgment on this day determines the course of the coming year.

Rosh Hashanah is a Jewish festival in which most work ceases, just as on the weekly Sabbath. It’s celebrated both in joy and solemnity. During the daily prayer service a ram’s horn, or in the Hebrew, shofar, is sounded:

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.” (Leviticus 23:23-25)

God does not do things in vain, or without purpose. The Old Testament Holy Days were not just some sort of Divine make-work project to keep the Israelites busy while they were out wandering in the desert. All of the Old Testament Holy Days (Passover, Days of Unleavened Bread, The Feast of Weeks, The Feast of Trumpets, The Day of Atonement, The Festival of Tabernacles and the Last Day) were, and continue to be, living symbols of the stages of God’s Plan of Salvation for all humanity. Those events are now in progress, and true Christians are the manifestation of it.

In the Christian world, Rosh Hashanah is known as The Feast of Trumpets. Many Christians observe this festival for its Christian prophetic application – the Rapture of the Church. Read the rest of this entry →

Coming Soon: TEOTWAWKI 42

Posted on September 22, 2008 by Sharon
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By SHARON K. GILBERT
September 22, 2008

WHAT IF you received a letter this morning telling you that the world would completely transform in just one week — that September 30th marks ‘The End of The World As We Know It” (TEOTWAWKI)? No, I’m not setting a date. I’m proposing a possibility.

September 30/October 1st represents the Jewish New Year, celebrated as Rosh Hashanah (‘head of the year’). This remarkable ‘Feast of Trumpets’ covers a span of two days because the actual beginning of the feast coincides with the first sighting of the new moon, confirmed by ‘two witnesses’. In other words, no man knows the ‘day or the hour’ when Rosh Hashanah will begin, save God Almighty. This is one reason that some prophecy scholars (myself included) believe the Rapture could fall during this two-day feast.

Ok, I can already imagine the comments this post will likely get, but let me ask you to set aside any arguments just for a moment, for the point of this article is not whether or not Jesus will translate His Bride on Rosh Hashanah. No, the reason I am writing this is to challenge each of you (and myself) to prayerfully, honestly consider the implications of meeting Christ face-to-face one week from now. Read the rest of this entry →

‘Life after People’ — TV’s Divisionist History Comments Off

Posted on January 22, 2008 by Sharon
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Life without People
Screen grab from HC’s “Life after People”.

By SHARON K. GILBERT
January 22, 2008

LAST NIGHT, the History Channel ventured into the world of the prophetic, an odd destination for a channel dedicated to that which has already happened, but then the HC has taken some distinctly non-historic, off-road trips lately. Shoe-horned into last night’s offerings, we found werewolves, Bigfoot, and UFOs (on the series, Monster Quest).

Following up these curious conundrums, we discovered ourselves immersed in a world without us — without humans anywhere. Read the rest of this entry →

Final Freedoms — An Old Dream Revisited 1

Posted on October 20, 2007 by Sharon
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By SHARON K. GILBERT
Originally Published: March 28, 2005

GOD IS speaking to many of us – some through specific words of knowledge, some through visions, and to some of us through dreams. A recurrent dream that comes to me first started back in 1979. Although I believe in a pre-tribulation rapture, over and over I’ve dreamt of imprisonment, terror among Christians, and even beheadings. In 1979, I dreamt of running through war-ravaged, burnt out buildings. Bodies lay in charred heaps upon the ground. Sirens blared, and police cars and footed officers pursued all believers. The final image of this dream was of a group of believers, including myself, being rounded up by the police and forced into the back of a panel van, bound for a prison camp in Poland, where we were tried and then beheaded. Read the rest of this entry →

Revelation 101 – Part III – Signs, Signs, and Yet More Signs Comments Off

Posted on October 20, 2007 by Sharon
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By SHARON K. GILBERT
Originally published August 6, 2005

DO YOU ever get the feeling that time is running out? If you’ve read the news articles at PID News, then you may be noticing a pattern emerging – the world is growing smaller, so much so that soon one government could assume control. With all the terrorism and wars, some might even point to the concept of a one-world government and call it the best solution possible. In fact, even today, if a strong man arose who could end all war and terrorism, is there one of us who wouldn’t consider that man miraculous?

As we studied the first three signs of Matthew 24 and compared them to the first three horsemen, one indisputable fact emerges: The last days will be very hard. Notice in verse 8 of Matthew 24 that Jesus takes a moment to comment on the first three signs. Instead of saying, “Oh, don’t worry about these – it will get better,” he tells his disciples (and us) that “These are only the beginnings of sorrows.” Great! So, it’s going to get worse? Sheesh! Next train, please!

Beginnings of sorrows? What does that really mean? Think childbirth here – labor pains start out slowly, spaced far apart and more like twinges. As the time for the baby’s birth nears, the pain increases and the spacing shortens until they come one after another, almost without ceasing. That’s what Jesus means here. Pack your bags and call the doctor – it’s time to get to the hospital. The time is near – almost upon you – prepare.

Ok. So, what then is the next “sorrow”? Well, do you recall the last horse in Revelation 6? That should give us a big hint.

Death. (I told you it wasn’t going to be much fun). “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. Compare this to Matthew 24, verses 9 and 10: “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.”

Imagine the looks on the disciples’ faces! These guys thought Jesus was on earth to set up his kingdom – right then and there! Now, the Lord is telling them to prepare to die! Or at least, He’s telling them that death would be a major SIGN for the end of days. Now, let me take a moment to comment on this. If you’ll recall in Revelation 101 – Part I, we looked at the Rapture. It’s wise to remember that event right about now. And, it’s especially wise to remember Jesus’ audience in Matthew 24. He is speaking to members of the body called Israel – yes, believers in Christ, but still these men represent the believing remnant of Israel.

Ok, while there are many differing positions concerning the timing of the rapture, I believe the Church (Christ’s Bride) will be taken BEFORE the big birth pangs begin. Why? Several reasons. First of all, Daniel’s prophecy of Seventy Weeks makes it clear that the final week belongs to Israel. The timeline indicates a BIG GAP between weeks 69 (when Messiah is “cut off – killed”) and the final restoration of the believing remnant. Guess what, folks? The Church – Christ’s Bride – is that gap. We are the big Mystery that Daniel didn’t see. Also, it’s clear that the Church will not go through tribulation – we are to be “kept from [it]”. Revelation 3, verse 10 says, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” (For more information on the pre-trib view, see: 50 Evidences for a Pre-Trib Rapture).

So what’s my point? If the Church is raptured first, then why is Jesus mentioning “Death” and torture to his followers. Here’s what I believe. As I’ve mentioned before, the disciples represent a unique bridge in history – part Israel, part Church. I believe Christ is speaking to them as a representative of the believing remnant of Israel here. He’s giving a two-part prophecy. One part – the immediate future fulfillment – the disciples were delivered up, tortured, and killed for the sake of their faith in Christ. Part Two – the end times fulfillment – the believing remnant will be delivered up, tortured, and killed.

Has anyone ever told you that being a Christian is all sunshine and lollipops? While having Christ in one’s heart does lead to unspeakable joy, the enemy has us in his sights, so we should not be surprised when trials come our way. As the Rapture nears – and I believe it will happen in my lifetime – we can expect the birth pangs to increase, so as Bette Davis said in “All about Eve” – “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”

Stay tuned for Part IV – Lamps and Lampstands and Who’s Got the Oil?



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