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Not Left Behind: Why a Pre-Tribulation Matters

Understanding The Times / Jan Markell
The Truth Network Radio
January 25, 2020 7:00 am

Not Left Behind: Why a Pre-Tribulation Matters

Understanding The Times / Jan Markell

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January 25, 2020 7:00 am

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We offer hope for our times this hour as we revisit our 2019 Understanding the Times Conference. There are seven years left on God's clock to finish up his work with Israel and the world until the second coming of Jesus Christ.

That is the church age that we are living in right now. We are pleased to play a message from Understanding the Times 2019 back on September 21st. Dr. Robert Jeffress has been a friend of this ministry for many years and we are sharing some of his words to our audience last fall.

We think they will encourage you and help you to become watchmen on the wall. And welcome to the program. I am speaking at the Proximity Conference in Southern California this weekend, so I'm playing one of my own conference messages from Understanding the Times 2019. I'm airing the message given by Dr. Robert Jeffress last fall, September 21st.

He is standing up for the importance of eschatology and even more for the importance of a pre-tribulation rapture. Let's get right to Dr. Robert Jeffress. I want to welcome you to our 23rd annual event, Understanding the Times. And my goodness, I think if I were to start naming all the states here, you would truly be astonished. I think it's 45 states, six Canadian provinces. Six Canadian provinces, and I know we've got some from the UK, I believe Austria.

I'm going to leave countries out, please forgive me, but I know we've got a lot of people from a lot of different places is my only point. And I'm here to give you a Minnesota welcome. And what I'd like to do is I'd like our first speaker to open this event in prayer and give an invocation just because I love when a pastor can do that. And Pastor Robert Jeffress, if you wouldn't mind coming up on the platform here, just because we need to start the morning outright by asking the Lord's blessing on all of this. I think he's coming up. Let me just say a word or two about him. And you know him from Pathway to Victory.

That's TV and radio. You know him from his books and he has some out in back. He'll be signing. He'll be signing Morning Break, my hunches. He'll be leaving about noon because catch a plane for Dallas. And by the way, we have people who couldn't make it. They're in Houston. And the airport was, I had an email, I don't know, I didn't even know there was a 4 a.m., but I was up for getting ready for this. Email from someone earlier from Houston.

And so anyway, the plane was canceled, everything was canceled. So I think we know what's going on down there. Dr. Robert Jeffress actually has the ear of the President, as you know. He'll say a little bit about that. And I worked with him in 2015, came to this event and had him on air. And I consider him a very dear friend. It's just that he's been raptured and we've all been left behind.

It wasn't supposed to work that way. Thank you. So good to see you back.

I will. Jan, I want you to stand right here for just a moment because I'm going to pray not just for the conference, but for you as well. Aren't you grateful for this woman, this great woman of faith loves the Lord. Father, we thank you for the vision of Jan Markell. Thank you for what she is doing to impact this country and this world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray your continued blessing upon her, her ministry, the broadcast and this conference today that it would uplift the name of Jesus in whose name we pray. Amen. Thank you, Jan. Well, it is an honor to be with you today.

So many of you have come up and said nice things before the service today. And I'm going to have to tell you that's not always the case. I found out a long time ago, being on television has an upside, but there's a downside to it.

And the downside is people feel free to make any comment they want to make. I was in Washington, D.C. speaking not long ago and afterwards a man came up and gave me the once over and he said, you know, he said, you look a lot better on TV than you do in person. True story.

But about the worst comment we've ever had, a lady called our 800 number on Pathway to Victory and she said, you know, we like Dr. Jefferson's message is OK, but somebody has got to tell him he has the worst toupee we have ever seen on television. And that I don't wear a toupee. So anyway. But I didn't hear any of that today. So thank you very much for that. You know, Jan, I would not normally do this, honestly, but Jan asked me to say a word about President Trump before I start today. And it really does kind of fit in with what I'm going to say.

So I'm just going to say a word to you about that. The last time I was here was in the fall of 2015, and it was just a few months after Donald Trump had announced his candidacy. Nobody thought he was going to win. And I had come out early just a couple of weeks after he announced and endorsed him. And people thought I was out of my mind.

My friends thought I was out of my mind. And I remember this conference well because Jan got a lot of heat for having me here that year, because frankly, there are not many evangelicals at that point on board with President Trump. And people say, well, how did you get behind him so early? Was it a supernatural revelation? And I said, no, it was a political calculation. I really believed he was the only one who could win on the conservative agenda, that he was the only one who had a possibility of winning. I remember being here at that time, and there was a lot different atmosphere. But I appreciate Jan not buckling under the pressure not to have me here that she felt.

She felt like I had the right to take that stand. And it was a few months after that, again, before any vote had been cast, before any caucus. I was one Saturday flying around with then Mr. Trump on his airplane, campaigning.

I would lead the prayer and say a few words, and he would speak. And it was such a ragtag operation. I mean, on his plane, literally, it was just me and Mr. Trump, his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and his communications director, Hope Hicks. And that was it.

That was the campaign staff. And we got on board, and Corey had gone through a drive-thru to pick up some Wendy's cheeseburgers for lunch on the airplane. So here we are on this airplane, eating Wendy's cheeseburgers, flying across Iowa. And after we had finished our cheeseburgers, I said, Mr. Trump, I believe you're going to be the next president of the United States. And if that happens, it's because God has a great purpose for you and for this nation. And he said, he looked at me and he said, Robert, do you really believe that? I said, yes, sir, I do. He said, well, then let me ask you a question. Do you think it was God's will for Obama to become the president?

I said, yes, sir, I do. I said, Daniel chapter two says, God is the one who establishes kings and he removes kings. And he has a purpose for you and for this country. Well, as you know, a year later, nine months later, he was elected president in the greatest political upset in American history. And God had the final word in that.

And let me just say this. The president does not claim to be perfect at all. He doesn't claim that at all. But I think when you honestly look at his presidency, he has, and I think this is going to be the great irony of history when history looks back. And that is that it took a secular real estate tycoon from New York City to be the most pro-life, pro-religious liberty, pro-Israel president we've had in history. That is the irony of God. And I'm going to ask you to be praying. I know so many of you pray for the president regularly and he says how much he appreciates that.

He says that to me and to others. But pray for him this coming Monday. I'm going to be with him at the United Nations.

And it's going to be very interesting. While some are there debating an imaginary problem called climate change, the president, the first leader in history is going to address the entire United Nations on the subject of religious persecution in the world and the need for religious liberty. First time in history any president has done that. So please pray for the president Monday when he does that.

I'll be on Fox Monday night giving a recap on Lou Dobbs and Shannon Bream about what he has to say. But anyway, thank you for praying for the president. I'm very, very encouraged about what's happening in our country.

But the encouragement I feel does not at all change what I believe is the downward trajectory long term of our nation. And I believe it is working together for the purpose and the event that we're going to talk about today. And that is the rapture of the church. You know, I found early on that a discussion of end time events produces various reactions from people. Some people are excited like you are about the end times. Other people are not quite so excited.

In fact, they're fearful about any discussion of the end times. My first experience with that was when I was a high school student. I attended a secular school in Richardson, Texas.

3,000 students there. My now wife was my girlfriend at that time. And we had an English class together and the teacher was Jewish. And she gave us an assignment that we were to take a popular book of the day and to give a creative book report to the class on that topic.

And so I decided to choose Hal Lindsey's Late Great Planet Earth. I thought this would be a good witness to my Jewish teacher and to my non-Christian class members. And of course, I told the class I went through the contents of the book and especially about the events before the rapture and how the Bible taught that Israel would be invaded from the north and how Lindsey believed that was going to be Russia. And that was of particular interest of the class because at that time President Nixon was in Moscow trying to ease tension with the Soviets.

So I was going through how all of this is a part of Bible prophecy. What the class did not know was I had arranged with our assistant principal at just the right time at just the right time to come over the loudspeaker with an emergency announcement. Now we had worked it out that he would just do this to our room. People would think it was going out to the school but it was going to come to our room.

So I'm going through this presentation and at just the right moment the little gong sounds doo doo doo and everybody looks up. The principal said this is assistant principal Ernest Kelly. We just received news from the United Press International that Russia has invaded Israel. President Nixon is on Air Force One headed back to Washington D.C. All students are dismissed from their classes or urged to go home and seek shelter. My Jewish teacher yelled out my God my God it's all true it's all true. The students stood up in unison and started heading toward the exits and I stopped them and I said no this is not real.

I was just illustrating to you the end time events. Unfortunately as I was trying to calm their fears I started hearing lockers slamming outside. I started hearing footsteps above me running on the floor above me. The principal had made a mistake. Instead of piping it just into our classroom it went to all 3,000 students.

They headed toward the exits. They had to shut down school in school that day and nearly 50 years later I have classmates who remind me of that day that the world almost ended at Richardson High School. So it is a reminder that the end times are going to be good news for some people and not so good news for others. But the reason it's good news for us is because of this event we're going to talk about today and that is the rapture of the church.

Back now to Dr. Robert Jeffress. Yes there are going to be wars and rumors of wars earthquakes famines but thank God you and I are not going to be here for that because of what the Bible teaches. So today if you have your Bibles I want you to turn first of all to Ephesians chapter 3 and in the few moments we have and is there a clock down here or maybe Jan's giving me unlimited time. Okay is that how much time I have left or how much time I've spent.

Okay you tell me how much I've got left. Okay great. We're going to look at the rapture of the church why it's necessary and why I'm convinced that the church is not going to endure the great tribulation. First of all the rapture in perspective. You know to understand the rapture you have to understand God's plan God's plan in total. The whole story of the Bible is found in Genesis 12 verses 1 to 3.

Everything before that Genesis 1 to 11 is just an introduction to the Bible. The real story begins in Genesis 12 when God called Abraham and said Abraham I'm going to do three things for you and your descendants. I'm going to give you a land.

I'm going to give you a seed. You're going to be the father of a great nation and I'm going to bless the entire world through you. And the rest of the Bible from Genesis 12 to Revelation 22 is the story of God's fulfillment of His promise to His people. Now you say well that sounds great if you're a Jew but what about those of us who aren't Jews. From the very beginning God hinted at the fact that Gentiles would be a part of that blessing.

They would be grafted in. Even in the promise itself in Genesis 12 3 God said through you Abraham all the nations of the world will be blessed. He went on throughout the Old Testament you saw the Ninevites, non-Jews, Gentiles being blessed. You saw it in the book of Ruth. Over and over again there were hints that people beyond the Jews would be a part of this blessing. You get to the gospels. Again Jesus hinted at it very strongly in some of the parables He told. Like for example the king who gave a banquet for his son and invited his friends but they neglected the invitation.

So the king told his servants to go out into the highways and byways and invite people from the north, south, and east, and west. And yet it was the apostle Paul who was explicitly given the mystery of the church. And we find it in Ephesians 3 verse 3 that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery which I wrote before in brief which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men. It's now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets in the spirit. And what is that mystery?

Verse 6 to be specific that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body and fellow partakers of the promise in Jesus Christ. Paul was given the job of revealing the mystery. The mystery was that God was not through with Israel but He was going to set Israel temporarily aside to give Gentiles an opportunity to become a part of the mystery. In Romans 11 25 Paul said, For I do not want you brethren to be uninformed of this mystery. Lest you be wise in your own estimation. And here it is the mystery that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. Now we don't have time to go into this.

Maybe some other speakers will. But you saw this in the Old Testament in the great prophecy of Daniel chapter 9. Remember the Israelites were in Babylon in exile. Daniel was discouraged thinking God has finished with His people. And God gave Daniel a vision of future things to assure him that God was not finished with His people. And remember in Daniel 9 He said to Daniel, Know this that 70 weeks, literally 70 weeks of years, 490 years have been decreed for me to finish my work with Israel.

And in verses 24-27 you see how that is broken down. It is very clear in that vision in Daniel 9 that there is the first 483 years that began when Artaxerxes gave the command to go back and rebuild Jerusalem until the time Messiah was presented would be 69 weeks of years or 483 years. But there is an obvious stop, a pause in that time clock until the final seven years, the final week, Daniel's 70th week that will represent God's final dealing with Israel. We are living in that depth period of time between the 69th week, the 483 years and the final week of years, the seven years. God started that time clock again when Artaxerxes made the command to go back and rebuild Jerusalem. The time clock stopped, the stopwatch stopped when Messiah was presented that final week of His life as Messiah. There are seven years left on God's clock to finish up His work with Israel and the world until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. That is the church age that we are living in right now, that gap, that stop, that pause. God is not finished with Israel. His promise to Israel is as certain as the sunrise tomorrow morning. God is going to finish His promise.

But Paul said we are living in that period of time known as the church age. Now, that is a lot of heavy theology in five minutes. So, we're going to break it up and I'm going to tell you a story, a sad story from my love life, okay? It's a real boo-hoo story too.

But it illustrates exactly what I'm talking about and it has a happy ending to it. My wife and I met when we were both 12 years old in junior high school, Ms. Denny's math class. And we became best friends and then in 9th grade we started dating and our parents would drive us around on dates. But in the 10th grade in our sophomore year Amy made the dumbest decision she has ever made in her life. She decided she wanted to date other people.

Now, can you imagine that? Why in the world would she do that? But I'm telling you her heart turns stone cold toward me.

As we say in that old song in Texas, she done stomped on my aorta. Anyway, she done stomped on my aorta and I just moped around for so long but suddenly I had all this extra time on my hands and so I started having Bible studies at school and discipling kids and so forth. Well, there was another girl in my English class who was not a Christian and I started having time to witness to her, invited her to some church activities and eventually she prayed to accept Christ as her savior. And Amy kind of noticed this attention I was giving Barbara and suddenly she warmed back up to me and we got back together again and we have been together ever since. But you know a few years ago that girl Barbara who came to faith in Christ she wrote me a letter. She said, you know Robert I've been thinking about the events that led me to Christ and if Amy had not broken up with you, you would have never noticed me or taken an interest in my salvation.

In other words, what she was saying was, Amy because of the hardness of her heart, through the hardness of her heart I had time for this other person to be witness to and to come to Christ. And that is exactly what God is saying about Israel. The Bible says Israel has hardened its heart toward God temporarily. So, God has set Israel aside temporarily and allowed Gentiles to come in. But Israel will actually be jealous over what has happened to the Gentiles and that jealousy will provoke an interest in Christ and many to be saved in the end times.

Now we are living in that time when God has shifted His attention to the Gentiles. Now the whole thing here is that it is Paul who announced the beginning of the Church Age. It would seem that Paul would be the one to announce the end of the Church Age. And ladies and gentlemen that answers the question of why is Paul the first one to talk about the Rapture? You don't find the Rapture anywhere in the Old Testament. You don't find it anywhere in the teaching of Jesus. It is Paul who talked about the Rapture.

Why is that? It is very simple. The Old Testament prophets, Jesus, were talking to Jewish people. And for them in Matthew 24 and 25 when they said, Lord what shall be the sign of your coming and the end of the age? Jesus starts with the Tribulation concluding with the return of Christ to earth, the Millennial Kingdom and the Judgments. But it was Paul who was revealed to the mystery of the Church Age and the end of the Church Age which is the Rapture of the Church. So where do we find the Rapture in Scripture? Well the most prevalent and predominant and descriptive aspect of the Rapture is found in 1 Thessalonians Chapter 4. So let's look at this, the details of the Rapture.

You remember the background in Thessalonians. Thessalonian Christians thought that they would live to see the return, the second coming of Jesus Christ. And then their loved ones who were believers began to perish and die. And so they wondered, Paul will they miss out on the resurrection if they're not alive when the Lord returns? And notice how he gives them this word of reassurance.

Verse 13, But we do not want you to be uninformed brethren about those who are asleep that you may not grieve as the rest who have no hope. You know people tell you, oh Bible prophecy, God doesn't want us to be worried about all that and involved in all of that. We'll just kind of let everything pan out. I'm a pan millennialist.

I believe it all will pan out in the end. Have you ever heard anything so stupid in your life? That is just stupid, just stupid. Paul said there's no premium on ignorance. I don't want you to be ignorant, uninformed about those who are asleep.

Now who's he talking about? Those who are asleep are Christians who have died. He's not saying that our souls go to sleep when we die. 2 Corinthians 5 says, To be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord. When a Christian dies he immediately awakens in the presence of Jesus Christ, wherever that is. But his body is said to go to sleep.

It is placed in the grave or it's cremated. The body is asleep. The spirit is alive. He said, We don't want you to be uninformed about those who are asleep that you may not grieve as those who have no hope.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. We had over 4,000 attendees at our annual event last September. Other speakers included Amir Sarfati, Pastor J.D. Farag, Pastor Jack Hibbs, Laurie Cardoso Moore, and myself.

And we've had almost a half million views electronically of the entire conference. More with Dr. Robert Jeffress in just a moment. We love friendly feedback. Write to us through our website, That's You can call us Central Time at 763-559-4444 at 763-559-4444 or contact us by mail by writing to Olive Tree Ministries in Jan Markell, Box 1452, Maple Grove, Minnesota, 55311. That's Box 1452, Maple Grove, Minnesota, 55311.

All gifts are tax deductible and save the date for understanding the times 2020. This fall we have a two-day event, Saturday and Sunday, September 26th and 27th. More with Jan and Dr. Robert Jeffress in a moment. Thank you for your faithful radio support over many years. Understanding the Times radio is now in its 20th year, reaching coast to coast on almost 900 radio stations and around the world electronically. We have tried to broadcast hope and encouragement in a world that has grown dark. We have tried to show you that headlines are a herald of His coming and that things are all falling into place. If we have made a difference in your life, remember us prayerfully and financially. We have a media team that works daily on your behalf. The King is coming, perhaps even today. If you miss a program, catch it electronically on our website,, on, on the mobile app, or on our YouTube channel, where we insert images and video.

Here is Jan Markell. Let me just say a word about our 2020 event this fall. It will be a two-day format. Tickets for Sunday, September 26th will go on sale next summer.

So for now, save the date. Saturday speakers will include Amir Sarfati, Pastor Jack Hibbs, Michelle Bachman, Joel Rosenberg, and Pastor Barry Stagner. There are no tickets needed for what we will present Sunday, September 27th, Sunday morning at a local church in Minneapolis with Pastor Jack Hibbs, and Sunday evening, September 27th, an evening with Joel Rosenberg. And again, that will be at Revived Church in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

Sunday activities, no cost, and seating is first come, first served. Let's wrap up today with Dr. Robert Jeffress. He shares with us the four aspects of the Rapture, four things that will happen at the Rapture. Now, I want you to write these down. First of all, it begins with the descent of Christ. Look at verse 15, For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout. The Lord will descend from heaven.

Now, this confuses some people. That phrase, the coming of the Lord. That phrase, coming, parousia in Greek, means the arrival, the presence of the Lord. The Rapture is about the coming, the arrival, the parousia of the Lord. Now, that same term is used for the Second Coming. In Matthew 24, 27, Jesus said, For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be. Now, a lot of people have said, well, because it's the same word that is used to describe both events, then the Rapture and the Second Coming are really the same thing. It's the same word, coming. Let me remind you of something. Just because two things are similar does not make them the same.

My old seminary professor who was a member of my church for many, many years, Dr. Charles Ryrie. Dr. Ryrie said, you know, our washing machine has a motor in it, our car has a motor in it, and our camera has a motor in it. But is anybody going to argue that means they're the same thing?

No. They may have similarities, but they have differences as well. The same thing is true about the word coming. Both the Rapture and then the Second Coming that happened seven years later, they have some similarities. Both involve the appearance of the Lord.

But that doesn't mean the same thing. Dr. Ryrie goes on to illustrate it this way. Suppose some grandparents were talking to their best friends, next door neighbors, and said, we are so excited that our grandchildren are coming to visit next week. And later in the conversation, they say, we are so excited that our grandchildren are coming for our 50th wedding anniversary. Now, you could surmise one of two things. You could assume that their coming next week was a coming for the 50th anniversary and they were talking about the same event.

Or you could surmise that these people's grandchildren were coming next week to visit, but they were also coming at a future date for the 50th anniversary celebration. That's the same thing here. Yes, the Rapture and the Second Coming involved an appearance of the Lord, but they are vastly different.

And here's the main difference. The Bible says that at the Rapture, we will meet Christ in the air. The Lord will descend from heaven in the air. Only believers will see the Lord at the Rapture, but at the Second Coming, everyone will see Him. Every knee will bow.

Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. At the Rapture, we go up to meet Him in the clouds. At the Second Coming, He comes to take His stand upon the earth. In fact, you know the prophecy well, Zechariah 14 4. And in that day, His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east.

And the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley so that a half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. Now, that's the first thing that happens at the Rapture, the descent of Christ in the air. The second event of the Rapture, the resurrection of the dead in Christ.

Look at verse 16. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, with the trumpet of God, and the dead in God. Dead in Christ. That is the bodies of the dead in Christ will rise first. Now, who are the dead in Christ? I haven't even checked this out with Jan to see what she thinks about it.

But if I'm wrong, she'll tell you about it. Some people believe the dead in Christ represent every believer who's died since the time of Adam. His body is in the ground. His spirit's already in heaven. So, it will be a resurrection of all the dead who have been saved.

My own opinion is it is going to be those Christians who were saved and died during the church age since the Rapture is a church event. I think the Old Testament sayings received their bodies prior to the millennium. But I believe that it is right here that the church receives their new bodies.

It really doesn't make any difference at all. The point is that at the Rapture, the bodies of those who have died will be raised first. And that leads to the third event, the removal of all living Christians. Verse 17 says, then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord.

We will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Now, have you ever heard people say that idea of a rapture? It's nowhere in the Bible. You can't find the term rapture in the Bible anywhere. How many of you have ever heard that before? Well, first, even if that were true, so what? I mean the word Trinity is not found in the Bible anywhere.

But does anybody doubt the truth of the Trinity that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? It's the same way with the rapture. Even if the term rapture were not found in the Bible, that doesn't mean anything. It's taught in the Scripture. But the fact is, the term rapture is found in the Bible.

And it's found right here in this word caught up. The Latin word is rapturo. We get rapture from it. But rapturo is a translation of the Greek word harpazo. The word harpazo is used 13 times in the Greek New Testament. And it means to be raptured, to be caught up, to be snatched away.

Two of those 13 times it's used to describe the physical removal of somebody on earth. For example, Acts 8 39. It was used to describe Philip's supernatural rapture from Gaza and planting him in Caesarea.

In 2 Corinthians 12 verses 2 to 4, Paul's talking about himself how he was harpazoed. He was raptured up into the third heaven. There are going to be millions of Christians at the rapture who, like Elijah and Enoch, never taste of death. They are caught up.

They are translated to meet the Lord in the air. How is that going to be explained? How in the world is the world going to explain the rapture of the church? Now this is just speculation. Maybe divine speculation.

I don't know. But it's speculation. But I think it has basis in Scripture. First of all, unbelievers will never acknowledge the rapture. They will just never acknowledge the rapture. But my own feeling is that the rapture will coincide with some worldwide cataclysmic tragedy.

And that the disappearance of millions of people will be explained by this catastrophe that has occurred. The reason I say that is because after the rapture, we don't know how long after the rapture, we find the rise of the world dictator called the Antichrist. And when he makes his peace treaty with Israel, that is when the final seven year countdown begins the Bible says. There is going to have to be some catalyst that causes a country like the United States to completely surrender its constitution and become a part of this ten-nation confederacy. I think whatever catastrophe motivates the world to come peacefully under the leadership of this Antichrist, remember he doesn't rule by force. At the beginning there is a voluntary subjection to his rule.

There has to be some catastrophe that motivates the nations of the world to follow his leadership. And I think that catastrophe very well may be what explains the rapture, the disappearance of Christians. Regardless, there will be millions of Christians who will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. And that leads to the fourth element of the rapture, the transformation of our bodies. Look at 1 Corinthians 15 verse 50. Now I say this brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. You know this body that we have is perfectly suited for this world, but it is totally unsuitable for the next world. And that's why the Bible says this body as it is cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

We've got to have a change of uniform. And we're going to have that change of body at the rapture. Both the dead in Christ and those of us who are alive at that time when we're caught up in the air shall be changed. Look at verse 51.

Behold I tell you a mystery, we shall not all sleep. That is not everybody's going to die, but every Christian has to be changed. We shall all be changed. The motto of every preschool and every church in America, we shall all be changed.

Okay. I have triplet grandchildren, I'm into changing right now. That's not the kind of changing he's talking about. We're going to all be changed in a moment in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable and we shall be changed. By the way, this is not the same trumpet as the trumpet judgments in the book of Revelation.

That's three and a half years later or so. This is the trumpet that summons all Christians to fold up their tents and begin their march to heaven. The dead will be raised imperishable and we shall be changed for this perishable must put on the imperishable and this mortal must put on immortality. In an instant, these bodies that are filled with sickness and sadness and suffering, they're going to be changed in an instant to that body that is forever free from the sin and suffering of this life. And how quickly does it happen? He says in the twinkling of an eye. Now I used to think years ago when I read that he was talking about the blinking of an eye. That's how quick.

No. It's much much quicker than that. The twinkling of an eye refers to the time it takes for light to travel in the eye from the iris to the retina. Do you know how quickly that is? It is one sixth of a nanosecond. Now I had to look up what a nanosecond is.

A microsecond is one one millionth of a second but a nanosecond is one one thousandth of a microsecond. You know how fast that is? Fast. That's how quickly our change is going to take place.

Aren't you looking forward to that? We shall be caught up and we shall be changed in a moment in the twinkling of an eye. If you join me late, I'm presenting the message by Dr. Robert Jeffress from Understanding the Times 2019 last September 21st and we still have CDs and DVDs available. You can check our website, call us or get on our newsletter lists and you can also find all presentations on our YouTube channel under Olive Tree Ministries and Jan Markell. Back now to Dr. Robert Jeffress.

You know we had a viewer. I'm getting these letters more and more because I guess it's because funerals are becoming so expensive. People want to know about cremation. You know is it okay for a Christian to be cremated and look you may have a personal conviction about that.

Follow your conviction. It's true that in the first century the Romans stacked their bodies up and burned them. They didn't believe in an afterlife. Christians carefully buried their dead in anticipation of the resurrection but the fact is these human bodies it doesn't matter what you do to them. They're going to become dust very quickly.

Cremation just accelerates the process. We're all going to be dust. We're going to become food for the fish if you're blown up in an airplane over the sea or if you're planted under an apple tree and the apple tree you know invades your casket and all kind of terrible things happen like that but you know what it doesn't matter because it's not these old bodies that we're dragging into heaven. It is a brand new body from God. Hallelujah. So don't worry about your old body.

It doesn't make any difference. God can sort all of that out. Now we've talked about why the rapture is important. It is the end of the church age.

It's a part of the church age. We've talked about the things that are going to happen at the rapture. Let me close for these final few moments about why I believe in a pre-tribulation rapture. As you know there are Christians who believe that the rapture occurs at the end of the tribulation.

It's almost synonymous with the second coming. There are others who believe that it happens midway in the tribulation. The wrath of God is reserved for the second half of the tribulation and Christians will escape that. I don't think you can put all of the judgments in the second half of the tribulation.

But I am convinced that the Bible teaches Christians will be raptured before these final seven years. Let me share with you four reasons I believe in a pre-tribulation rapture. First of all the purpose of the tribulation itself. When you look at Scripture there's a two-fold reason for the tribulation. First of all it is for the salvation of the Jews as well as a multitude of Gentiles.

God's pouring out His wrath. These judgments have a redemptive quality to them. This is the final opportunity for people on earth to be saved and that's why you have the ministry of the 144,000 witnesses. God is always in the business of redemption until the very end. So this is for the salvation of Israel and Gentiles. Revelation 7 you have a picture of all the tribes of the earth who are saved during the tribulation standing before the throne of God. And the second reason for the tribulation is the condemnation of the lost.

This is a time for God to pour out His wrath on the earth. Neither of those purposes the salvation of Gentiles and Jews are the condemnation of the lost. Neither of those fits the church. The church doesn't need to be saved.

The church doesn't need to feel the wrath of God. So it doesn't fit with the purpose of the tribulation. Secondly the lack of reference to the church in Revelation 6-18. I'm preaching through the book of Revelation verse by verse right now. If you've read the book you know that the church is prominent in Revelation chapters 1 to 3.

John is on the island of Patmos. He sees the resurrected Christ. He has a message Jesus does to the churches in Asia Minor chapters 2 and 3. Then the scene shifts from earth in Revelation 4 and 5 to heaven where you see the church, the 24 elders praising God. Then when you get to Revelation 6 the scene shifts back to earth.

And from chapter 6 through 18 is a description of the three series of judgments that comprise the great tribulation. What is interesting is not once in all of those chapters do you find one reference to the church. Not one mention of the church.

Why is that? Because the church isn't there. The church is in heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ. And in Revelation 19 that's when you see the church again appearing with Christ in heaven and returning in victory to the earth. That's a strong argument for the pre-tribulation rapture. And then thirdly the teaching of Revelation chapter 3 verse 10. Jesus had this message to the church at Philadelphia.

But it's clear that this message extended beyond Philadelphia into the world at large. He said because you have kept the word of my perseverance I will also keep you from the hour of testing. That hour which is about to come upon the whole earth to test those who dwell upon the earth. What he's looking to down the corridor of history is a time of testing in the whole world. The whole world is about to experience this testing. Not just an emperor wide testing.

This is testing for the entire world. And God said I'm going to keep you from that hour. That word from means out of. It's not the picture of he will walk with us through this hour of tribulation. We will be delivered out of the tribulation.

But I think perhaps the most definitive argument for a pre-tribulation rapture is found in Romans 8 verse 1. And that is the promise of God that believers will be spared his condemnation. There is therefore now no condemnation awaiting those who are in Christ Jesus. You know people who want to argue that the church is going to go through the tribulation will say things like why do you think you're going to escape persecution?

Christians have always experienced persecution. Why do you think you in this age would escape that kind of persecution? I don't believe we're going to escape persecution at all. I think we're getting ready as a country to go into an intense time of persecution.

I believe it is coming. It's already happening around the world right now. Did you know that a third of the world right now, a third of the world's population is living under religious persecution and 80 percent of those being persecuted are Christians?

Yes there are Muslims and Hindus but the worldwide persecution against Christians is predominantly against Christians themselves. And that's what Jesus predicted. In John 16 33 he said in this world you will have tribulation, ellipsis, pressure. Sometimes it's family pressure. Sometimes it's social pressure.

Sometimes it's monetary pressure and sometimes it's government pressure. We are going to experience tribulation. In Hebrews 11 verses 37 to 38 the writer says for they were stoned talking about these first century Christians. They were stoned. They were sawn in two. They were tempted. They were tempted. They were put to death with a sword. They went about in sheep skins and goat skins being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated, men of whom the world was not worthy, wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.

That was the first century and that's happening in the 21st century all around the world. We are not going to escape tribulation, pressure, not at all. You better get ready for it. Pastors you better prepare your churches for it. We're doing everything we can to encourage our people to be ready. But ladies and gentlemen the tribulation these final seven years is not a time of man's persecution of man.

It is a time when God pours out his wrath on the earth and the Bible says if you are a Christian you do not have to dread the coming wrath of God because the wrath of God meant for you and me was experienced by Jesus Christ on the cross and that's why Paul says there is no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus. A group of cowboys were out on the prairie when suddenly they noticed a raging wildfire advancing toward them. They had no direction.

There's a stone cliff behind them. It was coming in at them from all sides. One of the cowboys said quick let's light a fire and burn the grass around us.

Those other cowboys thought he had lost his mind. Why in the world would we set a fire when the fire is raging toward us? This cowboy said because the fire cannot come where it has already been. The fire cannot come where it has already been. Ladies and gentlemen the fire of God's wrath in some inexplicable way was poured out upon his son Jesus Christ on the cross.

Jesus Christ experienced hell so that we might experience heaven one day and the most important way we can prepare for the rapture and the coming judgment of God is to make sure we have placed our faith and trust in Jesus as our Savior. That's the most important preparation we can make for the coming of the Lord. Let's bow together. With every head bowed every eye closed if you have never put your faith and trust in Jesus to be your Savior I want to encourage you right now to pray this prayer with me as I prayed aloud knowing that God is listening to you. Dear God thank you for loving me. I know that I have failed you in many ways and I'm truly sorry for the sins in my life but I believe what I've heard today that you love me so much you sent Jesus to die on the cross for me to take the punishment I deserve to take for my sins and right now I'm trusting in what Jesus did for me not in my good works but in what Jesus did for me to save me from my sins. Thank you for forgiving me and help me to live the rest of my life for you in Jesus name.

Amen. that's or call us Central Time. Thank you for standing with us both prayerfully and financially here in the new year.

Remember everything is falling into place. Again save the dates of Saturday and Sunday September 26th and 27th 2020 for our annual conference. Tickets for the Saturday event will go on sale next summer. The Sunday event is free of charge and seating is first come first served. Contact us through our website that's Call us Central Time at 763-559-4444 that's 763-559-4444. You can always reach us by mail by writing to Olive Tree Ministries and Jan Markell Box 1452 Maple Grove Minnesota 55311 that's Box 1452 Maple Grove Minnesota 55311. If our times overwhelm you we consistently try to help you understand the times and to become watchmen on the wall things are all falling into place.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-08 00:28:21 / 2023-05-08 00:47:40 / 19

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