Let us briefly examine both components, book-ends, of the conclusion of time, each at the beginning and the ending, respectively, of the 70th week of Daniel. The first is the catching away of the Gentile Church, the second the Revelation of Jesus Christ, or, the Glorious Appearing.
Pastor James, at the first apostolic Council of ministry (Acts 15:14), reminded the assembly that Simeon had declared “how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.” This is a clear and concise pronouncement of the ultimate mission of Jesus Christ during the parenthetical gap that separates Daniel’s 69th and 70th week. More than 2000 years have elapsed since the beginning of this “gap” yet it remains the current position of God’s relationship with the world. The Jews are soon to be recaptured as God’s focus of relationship with humanity. Prior to that, “all flesh” but particularly those who are non-Jews, have the opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ that brings humanity into the ultimate relationship with Almighty God as ordained from the foundation of the world.
At the conclusion of this parenthetical gap, any day now, there will be a clear signal that God has returned his focus back upon the non-Gentiles. I believe this as well. This singular event is known as the catching away of the church, the parousia, or the rapture.
One of the greatest mysteries revealed in the New Testament which was hidden to Old Testament saints, is the mystery Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 15:51-53, where he affirms, “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed…for this corruptible must put on incorruption.” He is speaking of the event of the resurrection of dead believers which is quickly to be followed by the ascension of living believers.
It is of great interest to study the order of events that encompass this catching away. The way the author sees these events is as follows:
1. The Lord himself will descend from his father’s house where he is preparing a place for us.
2. He will come again to receive us to himself.
3. He resurrects those were falling asleep in him.
4. The Lord shouts as he descends.
5. We will hear the voice of the Archangel.
6. We will also hear the last trumpet for the church as the trumpet call of God.
7. The dead in Christ will rise first.
8. We which are alive and remain shall be changed.
9. Then we shall be caught up (raptured) together.
10. There will be a monumental reunion between the dead and living believers in the clouds.
11. We will meet the Lord in the air.
12. Jesus takes us to receive us to himself.
13. So shall we always be with the Lord.
14. It is this author’s conviction that the judgment seat of Christ will now take place which will be the preparation for…
15. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
During this unprecedented union between Christ and His Bride, there will be an equally disastrous and unprecedented time of wrath in which the world will suffer the prophesied Great Tribulation. (Rev 7:14).
In an entirely separate event, Jesus Christ will come in power and great glory to set up His earthly kingdom. At the rapture, Christ does not come to the earth with power and with the holy angels as He promised. Instead, He comes in the air, which is defined as “in the clouds.” In the rapture, Christ does not come to the earth, but calls the “dead in Christ” and the living Church to “come up hither,” where they join with each other in the clouds and then proceed to meet Him in the air. At this first event, He does not deal with the antichrist nor bind Satan, nor does he destroy the kings of the earth who are gathered at Jerusalem to oppose Him. It is all of those separate events that are encompassed in the “glorious appearing,” also known as the “revelation of Jesus Christ.”
It is this latter event that marks the conclusion of Daniel’s 70th week. That is the time known of as “Jacob’s trouble,” or, the period of time in which God will turn His attention back to the Jewish race upon the face of the earth. This will come at great expense to humanity as most of the population will be destroyed as well as much of the natural earth and its resources.
As for the Glorious Appearing, all Christians agree that this world has not seen the last of Jesus Christ! He will return to the earth, but not in the humble fashion of His first coming. He will come “with power and great glory!”
At the revelation of Jesus Christ, He will complete the current era of God’s grace to man and usher in an entirely new approach to relating to his creation called the Millennium.
I personally enjoy calling the rapture, “the blessed hope” of the believer. Indeed it is a comfort to know that Christians will not have to face the coming devastation of God’s judgment. Indeed, the purpose of the seven tortuous years of the wrath of God will be to provide humanity, specifically focusing upon the Jews, a seven-year period in which to make their decision to accept and believe Jesus Christ-or to accept the Antichrist, the very embodiment of evil.
What does all of this mean to you, to me? It boils down to this: Are we ready? The only hope for escaping God’s wrath is the same hope as that which saved Noah’s family from the Great Flood. We must believe, obey, and enflesh the living experience presented in the Book of Acts. Go ahead, challenge yourself, read, (or, reread), the first four chapters in the book of the Acts of the Apostles. Are you ready to put meat on those bones? 🙂
Pastor D. E. Haymon II