14"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know meó 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Fatheróand I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my lifeóonly to take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."
WOW! There is a whole lot of teaching in these verses above. In the Lords great wisdom he describes himself as the good Shepard (knowing his audience realizes what sacrifice it takes to be a Shepard who cares for his lambs in the fields). A Shepard would protect, even until death, his flock from predators in the days Jesus lived in. Also, it is true that sheep do know the Shepard's voice and will follow only his voice, and not that of a stranger. A true believer in Jesus is his lamb and the believer will follow only his voice. Also, Jesus, our good Shepard, will never abandon us. Jesus, our good Shepard, did lay down his life for his sheep (the followers of Jesus). Look at verse 16 above. What is Jesus talking about here? Who are the other sheep? Jesus, in verse 14-16, is describing the only two races of people God recognizes- the Jews and the Gentiles (all other races man has divided humankind into). He is saying He is the good Shepard for the Jews and the Gentiles alike and that He willingly (verse 18) laid down His life for all persons. First for the Jews (verse 14 - the first group of sheep in the pen) and then for the Gentiles ( verse 16 - the other sheep who listen to His voice). Jesus is the one true Shepard for all persons. Look at verse 17-18. What is Jesus saying? He is speaking and prophesying of His own resurrection.
See how Jesus painted a picture to describe Himself? Would we who are trained in the Western Culture describe ourselves in this way? I know I would not.
Now that I have set the stage, I want to present the evidence I see in the Bible for the rapture of the church before the "Great Tribulation" found in the book of Revelation. This is directly taken from chapter 30 of my book, "I See Him! I See Him! God's WORD to Witness By". This is taken from a section in my book from a study I led titled "The Seven Feasts of Israel". God commanded the Israelites to keep these Feasts (Leviticus Chapter 23). When the Lord comes again to earth, we will be celebrating these seven feasts forever with our God.
May this chapter be a blessing to you and may it create a desire for you to want to study God's WORD with me on this site, by purchasing my book, and most importantly- by opening your Bible and getting to know the God of the Bible... reading and studying about Him from Genesis to the book of Revelation.
This chapter will be on my web-site for a limited time. If you enjoy this chapter, please share my web-site with a friend or loved one, especially if they do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Help me spread the good news of He that died and then arose from the grave alive.
Chapter 30 (from the book, I See Him! I See Him! God's WORD to Witness By)
God loves trumpets.
Rosh Hashanah is the start of Jewish New Year. This year, it will begin at night on October
3, 2005. This festival is as
important to the Jewish people as Easter (Firstfruits) is to the Christian
God loves trumpets.
Rosh Hashanah is the start of Jewish New Year. This year, it will begin at night on October
3, 2005. This festival is as
important to the Jewish people as Easter (Firstfruits) is to the Christian
In our study so far we have found:
1) Passover and
2) Unleavened Bread foreshadowed the death and burial of Jesus.
3) Firstfruits was the foreshadowing of Jesusí Resurrection.
4) Pentecost brought us the Holy Spirit.
The above four festivals of Israel given by God to his chosen people are all spring early summer festivals. Jesus has fulfilled all of the first three festivals and the Holy Spirit has come on the fourth. Just as God has fulfilled the first four festivals on his exact timetable, we wait for the next three festivals to be fulfilled- starting with the Feast of Trumpets, the first fall feast.
Important information from video:
2) The Feast of Trumpets is prophetic in that we are presently in the
church age and we are working at this time for the harvest of souls. We
wait for the harvest to be completed and the trumpet sounded.
3) In the fields are believers and unbelievers together. When the trumpet sounds, the believers
will go and worship the Lord and the unbelievers will remain here on earth. This is exactly what happened during the
history of this Festival of Trumpets. As
it was when Jesus lived on earth, when the Rams Horn (trumpet) sounded from
the temple, the Jews would stop what they were doing and go to the temple
to worship the Lord and celebrate Rosh Hashanah and the Gentiles
(unbelievers) would remain in the field and continue working.
Jesus was using the same kind of example to explain his Second Coming to his disciples, so they could understand what to expect at his return in the final days. His story paralleled the customs and practices of the Jews during the Feast of Trumpets! Because of this, the apostles being Jews themselves could relate to his story:
Matthew 24: 39-41 That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
5) The story of Jericho found in the Book of Joshua is another parallel story that symbolizes Godís people (believers) entering the Promised Land (Heaven)!
Joshua 6: 3: 5 3And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.
4And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.
5And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.
Wow! I see something very prophetic here. Remember in my earlier chapters I explained that time to God is like a day being a thousand years and a thousand years as a day and that God uses this formula for prophecy. By understanding and believing that the history of the world began with Adam and Eve and that was approximately 6,000 years ago- see what God is showing us prophetically:
1) Jericho as Zola points out in the video symbolizes heaven! We all long to enter this Promised Land.
2) It took six days of preparation for the chosen people to enter Jericho. What happens on the seventh day for the Iraelites? The chosen people heard the trumpet blast and they gave a great shout and ascended into Jericho. This fits well with Godís timetable. We have had nearly 6 full days (6,000 years) in the history of man. Here is the math: From Adam and Eve to Abraham is 2,000 years or 2 days. From Abraham to Jesus is another 2,000 years or 2 days. From The Death of Jesus to present is almost another 2,000 years or 2 days. This is nearly 6,000 years of history or six days. What is going to happen for the believer on the seventh day? When the trumpet sounds, Jesus will give a great shout and we that are in Christ will ascend and meet Jesus in the air so to be with him in the kingdom of God- heaven forever! I believe the time is near when we will hear Godís trumpet blast because of all of the prophetic signs are being fulfilled in our lifetime.
3) Notice that the Ark of the Covenant where God dwelt with his people is with them at Jericho. God is with us right now where he dwells- in our Spirit, the holy of holies of our being.
Again, God is using true history of the chosen people to gives us prophetic insight. When we trust the word of God, you can see the layers upon layers God builds his words on so we can know he is the one true God. So many times there is a story within a story and it shows man does not have the wisdom and understanding to write as God does. I believe it shows that everything in the Bible is there for Godís purpose.
Is the Rapture Real?
Believers in Jesus will not agree on this subject. That is OK! It should not be something that will cause division and strife among believers. It is not critical to your salvation, which way you believe. As for me, it is my hope. I do look forward to a Pre-Tribulation rapture.
Let us look at some key scripture where my hope in the Pre-Tribulation rapture is found.
1) Two men of the Bible never experienced death Ė Enoch (Genesis 5: 24) (Hebrews 11: 5 confirms this is true) and Elijah (2 Kings 2: 11). My God is powerful enough to do this for all believers and all at once.
2) Noahí s ark (Genesis, chapters 6- 9). When the whole world was utterly destroyed, God protected Noah and his family from the destruction. God provided a way out of the destruction.
3) Daniels three friends are saved from the blazing furnace (Daniel 3: 16-28).
4) Daniel is thrown into the lionsí den and God protected him (Daniel 6: 16-23)
5) God provided a great fish for Jonah or he would have drowned. (Jonah 1:17)
6) God provided Lot a way out before he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 19)
7) God parted the Red Sea for Moses and the Israelites to escape their destruction by Pharaoh and his army. (Exodus 14)
8) God provided a way out for his chosen people when the Tenth plague struck Egypt by the blood of the sacrificial lamb. (Exodus 11 and 12)
I believe the next two scripture readings point to a prophetic time when believers will vanish and all that remain are the unbelievers. When I read them I saw a terrible time in history where evil reigns. They describe a time it will cost you your life to be righteous. Because of the way scripture is written with many layers of truth, this will not be the only interpretation that can be seen. As I meditated on Godís word, I saw these visions of truth.
1) Please read fully Psalm 12 in your own Bible. I am only going to pull excerpts that God showed me.
the faithful have vanished from among men. (NIV) (Faithful Godly people have vanished! - could this be speaking of the rapture?)
2 Everyone lies to his
their flattering lips speak with deception. (NIV) (It appears there is no one left who speaks the truth.)
3The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things:
4Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us? (Do you have a Lord or are you setting your own rules?)
5For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him. (The Lord is the protector of the needy (I am needy) and will set them in safety!)
Look at verse 5. It says the Lord will set the poor and the needy (believers) in safety from the one who puffeth at him. The one who puffeth wants to destroy the believers.
6The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. (Remember Jesus shed his blood seven different ways or times- see beginning of chapter 29.)
O LORD, you will keep us safe
and protect us from such people forever. (NIV) (I am counting on this!)
Looking at verse 7, I see the believer safely in heaven. Protected forever from those who would want to harm them. In verse 8 below, only the wicked on earth remain and the vilest of men are exalted. It will be a scary time.
8The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.
1Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grapegleanings of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the firstripe fruit.
Jesus is our Firstfruits. I cannot help but think back to Isaiah 53: 5 ďwith his stripes we are healed.Ē
2The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net.
During the tribulation, there will be people who are saved and it will cost them their heads. Revelation 20: 4 I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image
3That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up.
Corruption in government will be everywhere, wanting their bribe money.
4The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity.
Sounds very evil to me, no righteous persons left!
5Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom.
You will not be able to even trust a friend or your wife.
6For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house.
Cannot even trust your sons and daughters!
7Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.
8Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me.
This man is a believer who is all alone with no one to trust, but he rejoices in God for his salvation- He knows he will rise again!
9I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned (All have sinned!) against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.
He knows Jesus is his intercessor and will plead his case and he will see the Lord and know he is righteous.
13Notwithstanding the land shall be desolate because of them that dwell therein, for the fruit of their doings.
Desolation of the land is a good description of the tribulation.
Skipping to verse 18, we see the God of the Bible who pardons sin. God will always have a remnant of his chosen people (the Jews) remaining and he will turn again towards them in the later days and he will pardon and not remember their sins any longer. He will cast their sins in the depths of the sea:
18Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.
19He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
20Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.
Godís chosen people will finally see the truth and be saved! God will have compassion for his chosen people in the last days and like all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord, their sins will be forgiven.
There is so much in Micah 7. So much prophesy. God is going to show his great wonders as he did when the Israelites came out of Egypt. This time, all nations will be ashamed, not just Egypt. Micah asks in verse 18, who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the sins of the remnant? (The remnant is his chosen people). Israelís remnant will be saved in the last days.
At the second coming of the Lord, it is important that you see that he stands on earth when he comes. He comes to make atonement with his chosen people. He will not stop in the air to meet them, but he comes in the same way he ascended into heaven. People on earth will witness his return and his feet will touch the ground. Old and New Testaments bear this out:
Acts 1: 9-11 9And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
10And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
11Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
In the Old Testament, In Chapter 14 of Zechariah, written between 520 and 518 B.C., the prophet foresees the Lord being King over all the earth and that he will fight one final battle against all the nations at Jerusalem. When this occurs Jesus will be standing on the Mount of Olives and he will bring with him his holy ones- his saints.
Excerpts from Zechariah 14: 3Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
4And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the eastÖ
Verse 5: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
Saints will be coming with Jesus! The apostle John in Chapter 19 of Revelation confirms this:
Excerpts form Revelation 19: 11And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
13And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. (No doubt about it, this is Jesus! (See John 1: 1-2)
14And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
Zechariah 14 and Revelation 19 are describing the same event. In both instances, it is the saints who are with Jesus. Clothing of fine linen, white and clean are what saints are adorned in- it is the clothing of the saints and saints are believers. These armies of saints are already with him in heaven (verse 14) when he comes down.
Then who are the saints with Christ at his Second Coming?
Some important New Testament verses that point to the pre-tribulation rapture:
Just as I see Old Testament verses pointing to the rapture of the church before the tribulation, I see New Testament verses giving us hope for the rapture of the church to occur first before the wrath of God comes during the seven-year tribulation.
14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
I must pause and reflect on what I just read. Most important is verse 16. If you can see that God is using the Seven Feasts as his timetable for fulfilling all the prophecies of Jesus. I want you to see this could be the prophetic rapture of the church and is fulfilled in the same way as the Feast of Trumpets. It is done in the same way the Israelites enter their Promised Land at Jericho- with a blast of the trumpet and a shout. It is the same as when Jesus in Matthew 24: 40 told of his coming would be as two men are working in the fields and one would be taken and the other one left using an example his apostles would understand. As Zola taught us in video, in Jesusí day, the custom was to start the Feast of Trumpets with the blast of the trumpet. Immediately, the Jews would stop their work and rush to the temple to worship God. The ones that remained and continued working in the fields were the Gentiles or non-believers.
Verse 16 says this time it will be Jesus descending with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God. This time, it is the believers who will go to be with the Lord to worship in heaven and the non-believers will remain for the tribulation. We know this must be the rapture and not the Lordís Second Coming because of what the apostle Paul continues to say in verse 17 below:
17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Verse 17 is the Rapture! Jesus has not touched the ground on earth, as he will at his Second Coming when his feet will land on the Mount of Olives as foretold in Zechariah 14 when he comes for his remnant and sets up his kingdom. But instead we have gone up in the air to meet him! This reminds me of Enoch and Elijah who never died. Verse 17 definitely is speaking of people who are still alive, going to be with Jesus in the air, and it will last forever!
18Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
The scripture above does comfort me. It gives me hope I will not be here for the tribulation. Let us look at other scripture that may point to the rapture.
1 Corinthians 15: 51-52 51Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep (die!), but we shall all be changed,
Look at the scripture above. God is showing us a mystery. We will not all die, but we all will be changed. I again see the rapture. What will be the change? I believe we will be changed in a split second and receive our heavenly bodies that will never know sickness or death again.
52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Again, the trumpet will sound! Just as the Festival of Trumpets is pointing to- the rapture of the church where those in Christ will be gone to worship the Lord at his temple and celebrate in heaven. Those who are not of Christ will remain here on earth (the fields) for the tribulation.
It is well known that those who believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the church do so by the scripture below.
Revelation 4: 1 1After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
The first three chapters of Revelation deal with the church. The start of chapter 4 starts with, ďcome up hereĒ and you never hear about the church again. This event takes place with the trumpet again, but this time the apostle John describes it as being able to speak. From this point the ďGreat TribulationĒ begins. This very well could point to the rapture of the church before the tribulation begins.
1 Thessalonians 5: 4- 6 4But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
Even though the Bible commands we do not predict the day of his return, he does tell us to watch for the signs and season of his return
Revelations 3:3 3Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
Summary: The most important reason I believe in the rapture before the Tribulation is- God is a God that always provides a way out for persons of faith when he was going to bring destruction and judgment.
1) He provided a way for the
Jewish people at Passover through the blood of the lamb.
2) God provided a way out for Noah, Daniel, Jonah, and Lot.
3) In the tribulation period, some of the judgments are a lot like the plagues given against Egypt during the Israelites captivity, only much worse. The Jewish people were spared the torments that Egypt was afflicted with by God. I have hope we will be spared in the same way by what Jesus did on the cross and his shed blood.
4) God provided a sacrificial Lamb that was given to all believers as a way out from eternal damnation for our sins. Jesus took our quilt and our punishment as his own.
John 3: 16-18 16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Another reason I believe that there is a pre-tribulation rapture is because of this study on the Seven Feasts of Israel. Prophetically, the Seven Feasts of Israel is Godís timetable when all the feasts must and will be fulfilled. The first four feasts have been prophetically fulfilled, all in their proper order. With the Feast of Trumpets and two more festivals after it approaching and none yet prophetically fulfilled, we know it is not the time of Jesusí establishing his kingdom on earth yet. The Feast of Trumpets must be fulfilled first before the next two Feasts are celebrated by their fulfillment. The next feast we will study, The Day of Atonement, will be the fulfillment when Israel will recognize their Messiah- the Suffering Messiah, the one they had pierced. I have faith the last three festivals will be prophetically fulfilled before, during, and after the Great Tribulation and all in their proper sequence.
In Godís prophetic timetable, I believe it is late summer and we are approaching fall and the end of the summer harvest. It is day six and we are approaching day seven when Christ returns. We could be nearing the end of the Church Age or the time of the harvesting of the Gentiles. We are to harvest souls- Jews and Gentiles alike, for the Lordís Kingdom. Share the good news with someone that God is love and he has provided a way out. Through his Son Jesus Christ so we all can have eternal life!
God loves you and so do I!
Copyright © 2008 Ken Kreh, Author