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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?

The Day of the Awakening Blast Comments Off

Posted on October 18, 2007 by Sharon
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By SHARON K. GILBERT
Originally Published: September 15, 2004

I OFFICIALLY became a believer in the autumn of my ninth year. Growing up in a wonderful, Southern Baptist Church in Indiana, I cut my spiritual teeth on Revelation and Daniel. Rather than study cartoon cutouts of Noah and the animals, our pastor taught any who would come on Wednesday night (no matter the age) all about the end times. I knew then, just as I know now, that we are living in those end times.

The Rapture is a teaching that is misunderstood by many. The Last Trump mentioned by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians has become a stumbling block to many post-trib believers who equate the Last Trump with the final trumpet of Revelation. However, if you were to ask a Jewish believer, you would find the Last Trump is something far different. The First Trump, it is said and believed, was blown by God at the beginning of time. Some say it was blown on Adam’s birthday. The “trump” is a shofar horn, and it is also the left horn of the ram caught in a thicket – the offering provided by God as a substitute for Isaac. The right horn is the Last Trump, which will be blown at the time of the resurrection, for it is said that the gates of heaven are opened on that day. The Last Trump is also part of Rosh HaShana. Tradition says that on this day, the shofar would blow and call all to the temple, where a special door (opened only at this time) would be opened. Two might be standing in the field, and only one would go, since one might not be a Jew. No man knew the day or hour when the blast of the shofar would sound, for it occurred on the sighting of the new moon. Hence this celebration falls upon two days, for two witnesses would watch until both sighted the new moon sliver – then and only then would the shofar be blown. The Awakening Blast.

Will Jesus come back for His Bride at Rosh HaShana? I believe so, but we cannot know which Rosh HaShana, although certain signs can tell us that it is very near. Do you have oil in your lamp? Do you know Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior? If not, please pray the following prayer – time is short, and once the tribulation begins, it will be very hard to become a Christian. Romans 10:9 says “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

“Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and that as it now stands God will rightfully judge me and sentence me to eternal darkness. But I now know that you, Lord Jesus, paid my penalty by taking my sin upon yourself and willingly dying on a cross. I know that you rose again from the dead – leaving an empty tomb – three days later, and that you now reign in Heaven. I ask that you forgive me for my sins and that you cleanse me of all unrighteousness. I ask that you come into my heart and become King of my life. I ask that you would send your Holy Spirit to teach me and comfort me and dwell in me that I might learn to choose rightly. Make me a new creation, Lord Jesus. Thank you for loving me just as I am, so much that you died for me. Thank you for changing my life! In Your name I pray – Amen.”

If you have prayed this – or even if you haven’t, I would encourage you to read the book of John (in the New Testament). Then read the book called I John (First John). It’s near the end of the New Testament. God loves you so much – so much that he sent his only son to die for you – and for me. Don’t let The Rapture leave you behind. Jesus is coming back soon – maybe this year. Maybe today. I’d love to hear from you and pray with you. May God richly bless you and keep you in His loving hands.


To learn more about Rosh HaShana, go to http://philologos.org/bpr/files/Jewish_Feasts/js002.htm

This weekend: A Rare Nexus of Neo-Pagan, Jewish, Hindu, and Muslim Feasts Comments Off

Posted on September 18, 2006 by Sharon
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NEARLY everyone in North America is aware that September 22-23 is the official beginning of the autumn season. Since childhood, I’ve loved fall — the earthy colors, crunchy leaves, crisp evening air, and clear skies provide textural thrills for any writer, and cooler temperatures offer a much-needed respite following a long summer of triple digit afternoons. Of course, the fact that I have a fall birthday doesn’t hurt!

This year, however, brings us far more than a change of seasons. This weekend, as the first faint gleam of a new moon is sighted over the Middle East and elsewhere, a very rare convergence of celebrations begins.
— In Israel, the fall feast of Rosh Hashana starts a ten day clock culminating in the holiest of days, Yom Kippur.
— For Muslims, the new moon sighting kicks off a one-month fast called Ramadan.
— In India, Hindus spy out the new moon to commence a semi-annual celebration called Navaratri.
— In the Northern Hemisphere, Neo-Pagans practice a new moon feast called ‘Harvest Home’ (aka ‘Mabon”).
— In the Southern Hemisphere, Neo-Pagans and Wiccans greet ‘Ostara’ (since they enter the spring season).

Now, to make this very rare convergence all the more spectacular, add an annular solar eclipse, taking place on September 22nd.

As a Christian, Rosh Hashana strikes a very personal chord in me, but we have to remember that there must be a reason why so many religions set aside this time of year for special celebration. As we approach this weekend, please be in prayer. According to Wiccan tradition, the veil between the worlds of substance and spirit thins during such times. Some Christians believe Christ’s rapture of the Church will occur during Rosh Hashana of some year.

We live in a physical realm, but you and I are also spiritual beings. Which feast will you be celebrating? Do you know Christ as your Savior? With all that’s happening this week, this might just be the perfect time for you to seek Him out.



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