Eschatology

The Signs of the Times: Part 3 – No Signs of the Rapture

Read Part 1 and Part 2

In our culture, it’s become the proverbial fifth wheel of holidays.

Really, we don’t even celebrate it anymore. It used to be that we would pause for much of the day—to feast, spend time with our families and, yes, to watch football … but, most importantly, to worship and give thanks.

But sadly, those days are gone. Football is on TV the whole day now, but there’s no reason to stay at home. The stores are open in full swing! Black Friday now begins on, well … Thursday! And this day—once very meaningful—is now all but invisible.

I’m referring, of course, to Thanksgiving Day.1 It happens to be my favorite holiday! Oh, I know I’m in the minority. Try to find a church that has a service on Thanksgiving morning these days—or even on Thanksgiving Eve! That’s rarer than a drumstick an hour after the turkey dinner.

You don’t have to go to church to give thanks. Thanksgiving is also a day for families, and that’s a good thing, too. In fact, I rejoice that anyone is just taking time—even by themselves—to pause, give God thanks and ponder the significance of this special day.

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The Signs of the Times: Part 2 – Signs of the Second Coming

Read Part 1

It will be here before we know it! December 25th, that is….

But long before that big day, we’ll sense the sights, the sounds and smells.

Christmas, in fact, permeates our culture so thoroughly that it almost mingles together with all things related to fall—the cooler weather, a warm sweater, the desire to stay inside, football on television, a hot cup of cocoa, and the crackling of the fireplace.

We do take a big break from it all, though, for about two weeks. Those Christmas lights we’ll soon be seeing will first give way to our favorite fall colors—orange and black. That space in the front yard where Santa will shortly be enthroned on his sleigh, along with Rudolph, a few more reindeer, and—how could I forget!—the baby Jesus … well, right now, it’s filled with ghosts and goblins. When those trick-or-treaters come around on October 31st, you want to be ready to scare the stuffing out of them!

But, after that, it’s all about Christmas. Why, with just one more light, placed slightly higher up on the roof, you might even win the Christmas decorating contest this year!

Now, you’re really seeing the signs of Christmas1 for sure!

* * * * *

Are there signs of Christ’s second coming? This is unquestionably the case.

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The Signs of the Times: Part 1 – Assessing the Signs

If you work in a retail environment, you’ve already seen them—maybe as early as July, but certainly in August. Yes, you’ve seen the signs!

I am referring, of course, to the signs of Christmas.1 They’re all around you by now.

It started with the arrival of lots of new merchandise—more than you knew what to do with. And soon that gave way to … even more! By now, it feels like there’s nowhere left in the warehouse to put even one more box. Maybe you’ve even started building Santa’s house. The ol’ gent is sure to be arriving soon. How else could we expect him to have time to travel to every store in the United States?

No—at this point in the year, when it’s just beginning to feel like fall, you’ve already seen so much of Christmas that, truth be told, you’re secretly getting kind of tired of it. But, hang in there, a respite is coming—and those signs are here too. Before the final, overwhelming push toward Christmas, our culture pauses to celebrate another favorite religious holiday: Halloween.

After that, it’s a straight line through the snow—led by reindeer—directly toward Christmas! And you’re watching the signs unfolding now—right before your eyes.

* * * * *

In Matthew 16:1-3, Jesus chided first-century religious leaders who displayed great interest in their physical environment—while at the same time failing to observe the obvious in terms of spiritual conditions, which entailed prophetic implications for the world:

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Albert Wolters’s Creation Regained, and the Vast Redemptive Scope of the Gospel

"...the Bible shows that in His unfolding drama of redemption, God is at work to reclaim not just our souls, but also our bodies, and not just our bodies, but also the earth from which that first human body was made, and over which God purposed us to reign." - Randy Alcorn

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How Is the Great Tribulation Shortened?

How is the Great Tribulation Shortened? The GT is said to last 42 months, 1260 days or time, times and half a time. The perspective below is premillennial and futuristic.

Encountering a New Rapture View

When I first encountered the prewrath rapture view (PW), what struck me was its claim that the “Great Tribulation” would last less than 3.5 years. This was the initial reason why I didn’t buy into the system. The phrase “after the tribulation has been cut short” is pivotal. Other tenets hinge on this unique interpretation of Matt 24:22.

Neither Rosenthal nor Van Kampen really defended this concept. Coverts simply took it on board. But is this interpretation of Matt 24:22 valid? Proponents affirm it must be so because everything else allegedly ties in, “comparing Scripture with Scripture.”

Church gone: Israel in “protective custody”

At some point I came across Charles Cooper’s “The Meaning and Significance of Koloboo in Matthew 24:22” in a 1997 Parousia Magazine article. I cannot currently find it online, although I have a copy. Cooper threw out a number of suggestions in defense, perhaps the oddest being that God can change His mind. In another article he wrote,

The Word of God teaches that Satan/Antichrist’s persecution will be cut short in Matthew 24:22. How? By removing the object of the evil one’s persecution—the Church—to heaven and putting the remnant of Israel in protective custody.

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