Midnight Ministries, Inc.
"Rapture and Second Coming"
A Light For The Coming Night!
Looking Deeper At The Pre-trib Rapture & Second Coming Only Theology Teachings!
Initially the Lord comes as a thief in the night (Rev. 16:15), not pre-trib or pre-night (Matt. 24:8; 1 Thess. 5:1-3), or at the Second Coming dawn!
What the New Testament teaches is that there is a night period before the Day of the Lord dawns, just like every day that we live. Only this night segment isn't part of a 24 hour period; conversely it is seven years of spiritual darkness called the Tribulation. Surely at Midnight there was a cry made; meaning a new day had begun, namely the Day of the Lord—the seven-year Tribulation Night, which also is the Day of Redemption (Eph. 4:30). Now the Tribulation begins in somewhat normal times and slowly gets worse, just like the beginning labor of a woman having a child—then worse. In suit the pains get closer and closer until birth. So do the happenings of the Tribulation, or the prior night of the Lord's Day before it dawns into the millennium, the full Day of the Lord (Matt. 24:8; 1 Thess. 5:2-3; 2 Pet. 1:19). That's right, the seven-year Tribulation and the Day of the Lord BOTH begin with birth pangs, for these are one in the same!
Greetings. Of course, I'm not inferring that those who teach the pre-trib Rapture and Second Coming Only Theology aren't good Christians. However, the Pre-trib Rapture and Second Coming Only Teachings are both without validity, and are very misleading to say the least. Pre-trib is pre-night, so the way I see it the initial coming of Christ will happen early in the night segment of the Day of the Lord, long before it dawns (again, the seven-year Tribulation period). This is His first coming, or an Open Door Return (Matt. 25:10; Rev. 3:10). The second coming of Christ, not the traditional Second Coming, is His Closed Door Return in That Night sometime after the Great Tribulation begins, or the latter half of the Tribulation (Matt. 25:10; Luke 12:36; James 5:9; Rev. 3:20. Both returns are Jewish Bridegroom returns at the doors (Matt. 24:33). His third coming will be the glorious traditional Second Coming with all His saints (Duet. 33:2; Zech. 14:5; 1 Thess. 3:13, 4:14; Jude vs. 14; Rev. 19:8, 14). For the record, the traditional Second Coming is a return without doors—it will be the Second Coming dawn when Christ the Daystar is the first light after the night (2 Pet. 1:19)! Now the question is, Are there any Scriptures to back this up? You bet—tons!
If either the Pre-trib Rapture or Second Coming Only Teachings represented the whole truth of Bible prophecy, then there wouldn’t be a need to watch, or the many commands to prepare for That Night . Or even a need for the left behind foolish of the Body of Christ to open their door immediately upon Christ's return from the Wedding Feast (Luke 12:36). No Tribulation Night? No prophetic Midnight Cry? No four Roman Gentile summer-soldier night watches (Evening, Midnight, Cockcrowing, Morning)? No doors? No knocking? No Jewish wedding? No Wedding Feast? No surprise Bridegroom Return with two male witnesses in That Night? No sleeping? No First Fruits Harvest? No Like Manner Return? No partial Summer Harvest? No Early and Latter Rains? No thief-like coming? No place prepared for us? No, we are not bought with a price?
In perceiving Christ’s initial coming, these many Scriptural references all intricately link to a Jewish Wedding in Bible prophecy—a surprise return of the bridegroom in the night. No, these many references, which embody even more in the Scriptures, are not all allegoric and meaningless as some would have us believe. Indeed, given in the strict context of reaping eternal life, the Gospel writers all tell us that he who is first, by serving others last, shall be last. And he who is last, by serving others first, shall be the first redeemed (Matt. 19:30; Mark 10:31; Luke 13:30)! In this vein, the night-trib Partial Rapture represents exactly what the Bible teaches (Mark 13:34-37), and shouldn't be overlooked.
For the record, the seven year Tribulation and the Day of the Lord both begin with birth pangs, as found in 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 and Matthew 24:8. In support of this fact, Jesus also described the beginning of the Tribulation as "the beginning of sorrows," or literally birth pangs in the Greek (Matt. 24:8). Moreover, biblically, the Bride and Bridegroom only come forth within the Day of the Lord (Joel 2:16), not before the Day of the Lord in a pre-trib Rapture (or, before the Night)!
Despite the widespread Pre-trib Rapture and Second Coming Only Teachings, we as Christians are to "hasten" The Day (Greek: earnestly expect). For it is the only Day of God (2 Pet. 3:12), which will come as a thief in the night (1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10). No wonder, then, that the Day of the Lord will overtake many Christians as a snare (Luke 21: 34), but wise Christians will have the experience of expecting and seeing the Lord's Day (Philip. 1:6, 10; Heb. 10:24-25) in That Night (Rev. 3:3, 16:15).
Once more, the seven year night segment of the Day before it dawns is the same as the Day of Redemption (Eph. 4:30)—the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:8)—the Day of Jesus Christ (Philip. 1:6, 10)— the Day of Christ (Philip. 2:16; 2 Thess. 2:2-3)—the Day of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 5:5; 2 Cor. 1:14)—the Lord’s Day (Rev. 1:10)—the Day of the Lord which comes as a thief in the night (1 Thess. 5:2-3). Note: If we add 1260 days and forty–two months as we find in Revelation 11:2-3, the total is seven years. Thus, the possibility of Christ's initial coming is ongoing, beginning at early-trib.
Thus, the pre-trib Rapture isn't accurate by any means, and as we will shortly see, the Second Coming Only Teaching also negates the watches of the night, just looking forward to the dawn of That Day. Actually, both of these doctrines are a poor understanding of Christ's initial return at best; ". . . they all slumbered and slept" (Matt. 25:5). In plain terms, the Rapture will not be automatic for every Christian. Surely foolish Christians will be left behind when the Lord initially comes, which is not His much later coming as King of Kings at the Second Coming or the dawn of That Day (Rev. 19:16). Yet wise Christians whose faith is active in dying to the flesh ("accounted as sheep for the slaughter"), and by utilizing an inner Christ in allowing agape love (God's inner love found in John 5:42) to flow out to others, are "Rapture ready," even though they're not perfect. Indeed, these Christians are watching and alert by New Testament standards, and the Day of the Lord will not overtake them as a thief in That Night. Simply, charity, or the use of Christ's agape, covers a multitude of sins (1 Pet. 4:8).
After Christ's Open and Closed Door Returns (Matt. 25:10; Rev. 3:8--Luke 12:35-40; Rev. 3:20), the redeemed will return with Christ at the traditional Second Coming when the Lord comes with all His saints, including those who sleep in Jesus (Duet. 33:2; Zech. 14:5; 1 Thess. 3:13, 4:14; Jude vs. 14; Rev. 19:8, 14). Then, shall the Lord of Glory take His Throne in Israel and rule the nations with a rod of iron (Psa. 2:2:6-9; Luke 1:32; Rev. 2:26-27).
No, the nations will not all be destroyed at the traditional Second Coming, only the wicked of these nations shall, including the tares, or non-Christian cults. Then, under Christ’s millennial rule, all nations will be required to worship King Jesus of Israel; and of those unsaved who don’t, a drought will befall their land (Zech. 14:16-20; Psa. 2:9-12; Acts 15:16-17).
heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of man is as
a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his
servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye
therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at
midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find
you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. (Mark 13:33-37)
Opinion:Antiochus Epiphanes who came to power in 175 BC, desecrated the Jewish Temple and killed 80,000 Jews. However, Antiochus of old is not singularly the King of Fierce Countenance who destroys by peace in feigning flatteries (Dan. 8:25, 11:21), for the future Antichrist also destroys by peace (Dan. 9:27; 1 Thess. 5:3; Rev. 6:2). Knowing this, it is this author’s conviction that the 2300 Day Vision begins when the four notable ones (Lysimachus, Cassander, Seleucus & Ptolemy) stand up. And this is why the four notable ones are NOTABLE, as are the FOUR WINDS OF HEAVEN; together depicting the time of the end (Dan. 8:8; Matt. 24:31; Rev. 7:1). On this note, the four remaining generals of Alexander’s twelve gained complete control of the kingdom in 285 BC when Demetrius surrendered to Seleucus. Biblically, Daniel starkly highlights the time of the end a second and third time in this chapter (Dan. 8:17, 19). Fittingly, the Israeli Temple will be rebuilt (“cleansed,” Hebrew: made right). In sum, the Day of the Lord seven-year night segment will begin when a future King of Fierce Countenance stands (Dan. 8:23). This author personally believes the Antichrist possibly will stand or be revealed by 2015—the end of the 2300 years. Now due to the difference of the Julian and Gregorian calendars, the date might be as late as 2020. Whatever the correct date, we are rapidly getting closer to the beginning of the Lord’s Day, which is the time of the end—the Day of Christ—the Day of Redemption. Get Ready!
Get Ready is Robert’s new book and is available at Amazon.com. Also, just give the title of the book and name of the author at any book store.
May 2, 2011
The Midnight Cry found in the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt. 25:6) symbolizes the beginning of a new day—namely, the Day of the Lord, which is the Day of Jesus Christ (Philip. 1:6, 10; 2 Thess. 2:3), being again, the Day of our Redemption (Eph. 4:30). Thus, the book name: Midnight's Cry (a new day being the Day of the Lord), whichaddresses the issues of Christianity, while mixing the understanding of end-time events with sound doctrine and biblical preparedness. Simply put, if the entire Church were to go up in an automatic at-once pre-trib Rapture, why then the command of Jesus to pray always to escape all these things that are coming upon the world (Luke 21:34-36)?
Moreover, if the literal chapter division is removed between 1st Thessalonians 4 & 5, we don’t see a pre-trib Rapture, but a return of Christ in the night of the Day of the Lord, which in that passage, Paul describes as beginning with birth pangs (Also, see Matt. 24:8 where Jesus describes the start of the Tribulation with birth pangs.). Additionally, we immediately behold the "times and seasons," and Christians are then told to watch (1 Thess. 5:6). Yet the world will face "sudden destruction," which in the Greek means "inescapable destruction." Indeed, not to be repetitive, but the Day of Redemption or the Day of the Lord (the Tribulation) begins with birth pangs, not cosmic signs deep into the Tribulation! And this, as the night of That Day progresses until the Second Coming dawn (2nd Pet. 1:19). Once more, at the Second Coming, God who is Christ returns with all of those who sleep in Jesus, and "all His saints" (Duet. 33:2; Zach. 14:5; 1 Thess. 3:13, 4:14; Jude Vs. 14). Theseare the saints, who wear the righteousness of the saints (clean white fine linen). As a matter of record, the righteousness of the saints is not to be construed as the righteousness of the angels, but exegetically, the righteousness of the Bride who has made Herself ready (Rev. 19:8, 14). Watch therefore and keep your garments; that is, in the night of the Tribulation—just as we are commanded (Mark 13:33-37; Rev. 3:3, 16:15).
Also,Get Ready, a 276 page book (new), details the Lord's initial Bridegroom Return, and the how of recognizing the Day of our Redemption and how it starts (Retails $12.50). You may considerably save by ordering directly at amazon.com. Be sure to see the 60 Thought Questions at the bottom of this page!
If you go to amazon.com and highlight books, then typeGet Ready by Robert C. Harris (new), you may search the contents of this book. Also, just give the title and name of the author at any book store.
On a personal note, please ask your local bookstore owner or manager to stock these books.
No need to watch? No night? No doors? No Jewish Wedding? No Bridegroom Return? No first fruits? No Like Manner Return? No Summer Harvest? No Early and Latter Rains? No “Thief Like” Coming? No Open & Closed Door Returns? Is it all just to be cast aside? Is it all just allegoric and meaningless?
When the Scripture states, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day SHALL NOT COME, except there comes a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition (2 Thess. 2:1-3), is this verse in vain? Is the pre-trib Rapture true? Is Second Coming Only Theology true? Or must we as Christians prepare for the coming night segment of the Day of the Lord before it dawns, that is, in a wise fashion? Get Ready answers these questions thoroughly; order your copy today!
Back To The Topic Of Discussion
Now the Day of Redemption is the Day of Jesus Christ (Philip. 1:10). In corroboration of this Bible prophecy fact, the Scripture says to Christians, ". . . He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philip. 1:6). Then, after the inception of That Day in That Night, the Lord will come to redeem wise Christians as a Jewish Bridegroom. On this note, Christ's initial coming in That Night will be with two male witnesses, as a nighttime surprise. So although the Day culminates in God's Wrath and later its dawning, it actually begins with judgment and salvation for the Body of Christ, and this, as the Lord walks amongst the churches holding seven stars in His right hand on the Lord's Day (1 Pet. 4:17; 2 Pet. 3:12-14; Rev. 1:10, 1:20; 2:1). Note: If we are to visualize the stars in His right hand, then Christ is walking among the churches at nighttime, and this contextually, in the beginning of the Lord's Day (Rev. 1:10)!
Surely the Day will begin at nighttime long before the Day dawns (2 Pet. 1:19). In fact, this is one reason why Christ related the time of His initial coming to that of nighttime, and this, by quoting the four Roman guard watches of the summer night (Mark 13:34-35). Yes, prior to the Day's dawning, it will become eerily dark in this world. No wonder, Jesus said, "the night cometh that no man can work"! Surely Christ at the Second Coming, after the seven-year Tribulation (the Bright and Morning Star), will be the first light after the night! Thus, the watches of the night in the Tribulation also encompass the meaning of biblical watching.
Here is the whole Rapture Passage in question, without chapter divisions, in its original form:
"For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For 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. For 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: Then 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. But of the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken, are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess. 4:14–5:9 no chapter division IN THE ORIGINAL TEXT).
As anyone can see, the context includes the coming Night of the Day of the Lord, wherein Christians are to watch for Christ's Thief Like Coming (see also Luke 12:39; Rev. 3:3, 16:15), which is not a pre-night or pre-trib return. According to the Parable of the Wise & Foolish Virgins, multitudes of saved carnal Christians will know the results of the Lord's initial return as a thief-like coming in That Night. As already noted, the foolish will be left behind while experiencing a closed door (The exception being new born babes in Christ). If this parable was the only source for such a belief, we could easily discard the left behind scenario. Yet, this is not the case. Surprisingly, much Scripture in the New Testament also teaches this truth, that is, saved Christians who routinely live after the flesh will be left behind to enter the Great Tribulation. Of course, not to worry, for the most part these will eventually repent and be redeemed. No doubt, they will hunger and thirst no more, attending the Wedding Feast as the Great Multitude (Rev. 7:9-17).
Fittingly, Revelation 3:3 clearly states this fact to the end-time Church of Sardis: "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." Initially, only a few in Sardis will walk worthily in white (Rev. 3:4), meaning, only a few initially will go to Heaven for the Wedding Feast from this segment of the end time Church, not the entire Body of Christ. Blatantly, John wrote the following warning to all in the Body of Christ, not just to a segment of the end time Church: "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame" (Rev. 16:15). Keep his garments? Blessed is he that watches? Ashamed at His coming (1 John 2:28)? A pre-trib at-once automatic Rapture makes no allowance for understanding John's Scripture, because the at-once Pre-trib Rapture Teaching annihilates the need to watch, or the need to be alert in That Night for the Lord's coming, and clouds our understanding of the Day of the Lord.
True, many sincere Christians attend services every week, pay tithes, say prayers and read their Bibles and confess their sins, yet the Lord wants more than that. Specifically, Christians are to abide in Christ and bear fruit. Meaning, the Lord wants the use of His agape love inside the Christian flowing out to others (John 13:34, Rom. 5:5). Actually, faith grows and works by servitude of others, which is agape love in action (Luke 17:5:10, Gal. 5:6). In line with this truth, the light produced by the Holy Spirit ensures the way to the Bridegroom. In other words, this alone is the turned on light of Christ's agape love (1 John 2:9-10, 4:8)!
Centered on the important fact that not all Christians will watch and keep their garments, this work makes plain Christ’s initial return. Indeed, Sardis' letter is not descriptive of Second Coming Only Theology, nor is their letter descriptive of an at-once pre-Tribulation Rapture (pre-night). Once again, neither of these teachings fully incorporate the New Testament command to watch and keep our garments in That night.
The above facts, and not the overwhelming preponderance of the evidence herewith presented, should cause suspicious eyes to open for those who just believe in the at-once Rapture, or Second Coming Only Theology. Indeed, most Christians, including Bible scholars and pastors, don’t truly understand watching or keeping their garments as a necessity for proper preparedness. Nevertheless, how will Christ appear for them? Will they keep their garments and watch as the Scripture clearly instructs (Rev. 16:15)? Or will they walk naked in shame upon this Earth, and this, before the unsaved nations of the world (Matt. 24;43)? Note: To walk naked is to walk here on this Earth, remaining behind in That Night, by not having an acceptable Wedding Garment for the Wedding Feast in Heaven.
Again, the biblical definition of watching or being alert is to use Christ's agape love in our relationships with others: faith which works by agape love (1 Thess. 5:6-8). Sadly, many Christians don't have a faith that works by agape love relationship with the Lord, nor have they been taught their need for this paramount biblical principle. Moreover, many in the Body of Christ don'tt understand intellectually what it is to biblically watch, nor do they understand this most important facet of biblical truth, that is, faith ONLY works by Christ's agape love flowing out to others (Gal. 5:6-7, 14). Now all of this isn't to say that many Christians don't actively use the love of God in their relationships. However, if the entire Body of Christ is to grow to the stature of Christ, then those Christians who walk after the flesh must begin to use the principle of faith which works by agape love, that is, if they want to grow and overcome.
Watching? It's impossible to watch in the pre-night or pre-Tribulation, because watching is strictly a nighttime activity. Simply, this is why Christ quoted the four Roman guard summer-nighttime watches (9:00 PM thru 9:00 AM). Nevertheless, is it time to begin praying always that we might escape these things coming on the world? Jesus warned, "Take heed to yourselves, lest at anytime your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting (overindulgence), and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, so that day come upon you unawares. . . .Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 21:34-36). Here, in praying always, it is the Christian who is to be sober in doctrine, and not to be overtaken with overindulgence and the cares of this life—not the unbeliever (1 Thess. 5:6-8). First, note that unbelievers don't believe. Secondly, unbelievers don't pray, nor will they pray always, which is an explicit command directed to Christians. Thirdly, by biblical principle, only a Christian owns the ability to watch by putting on faith that works by agape love (1 Thess. 5:6-8). Fourthly, it is the Christian who is to stand worthily before the Son of man, not the unbelievers of this world in their unbelief. (Note: The context of the Olivet Discourse dramatically changes from the Jew to the Christian at the citing of "summer is near," which is the Summer Harvest for the Christian found in Luke 21:30!)
Amazingly, the need to look for the Day of Redemption (Eph. 4:30; Heb. 10:24-25), not to mention the need of preparedness for Christ’s Bridegroom Return, isn’t widely being taught in the Body of Christ. In fact, many biblical scholars reject the idea of preparation and sooner rewards for obedient Christians. It’s time to change that! Indeed, it's time to start praying always that we as saved Christians are accounted worthy to escape all these things that are coming upon the world. It's time to be obedient! Again, there will be multitudes of saved Christians left behind who didn't obey the simple instruction of Scripture. And, who didn't believe it was necessary to pray always to escape these things that are coming upon the world. The result is that they will walk in shame, because they have lived after the flesh, not realizing that a Summer Harvest is a partial harvest for those who keep their garments (Rev. 16:15). And, "He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame."
Of particular interest, left behind Christians will await Christ's Closed Door Return from the Wedding Feast when Christ collects His remainder Bride (Luke 12:36!) in the Great Tribulation (Rev. 7:9-17). Note: If you should read this cited passage in Revelation 7, keep in mind that only the Body of Christ can go to Heaven. By the way, because Luke 12:36 doesn't match what they know or think, Bible scholars have labeled this single literal Scripture as parabolic, regardless of the fact that its surrounding verses are literal as literal gets. Thus, in their view, Luke 12:36 is meaningless—which completely negates the actual return of Christ from the Wedding Feast for the foolish: a Closed Door Return. Indeed, immediately after the Bride has made herself ready: ". . . . Blessed are they who are called to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. . . ." (Rev. 19:7, 9), which calling is directed to the foolish.
Now the reason scholars refer to Luke 12:36 as parabolic, is because they've never seen or imagined another scriptural witness stating this return from the Wedding Feast. Contrary to that assumption, we find other parabolic and non-parabolic witnesses of Scripture to this very same effect. And this just happens to be the case of the closed door in question. Although the door isn't literal, Who can deny that it won't have literal effects (Matt. 24:33, 25:10; James 5:9; Rev. 3:8, 10, 11, 20)? Thus, in Luke 12:36, where the Scripture outright states that there is a return of Christ from the Wedding Feast, it means exactly that—because the language there, not to mention the surrounding language, again, is literal as literal gets—it is a dire warning. For the record, upon the Second Coming there will be no need for knocking, or for doors to open!
Upon Christ's Closed Door Return, the unknown foolish Christians of the parable will become fully known by God by knowing His love (1 John 4:8). Being repentant, the foolish will then come out of the Great Tribulation and wash their religious robes in the blood of the Lamb. More importantly, these will finally attend the Wedding Feast—they shall neither hunger or thirst anymore (Rev. 7:9-17). Note: Christ's Closed Door Return is a return in the Great Tribulation, which is also a return long before the traditional Second Coming. Count them—there are three future returns of Christ recorded in Scripture: Christ's Open Door Return; Christ's Closed Door Return; and the traditional Second Coming of the Lord with all of His saints (Thess. 3:13). Then, those who sleep in Jesus (1 Thess. 4:14), and the spirits of just men made perfect, will regain their bodies at the first resurrection of the last day (John 6:40), which is the Second Coming (The beginning of the supposed Rapture passage is really a Second Coming passage!).
Here at Midnight Ministries we don't think prophecy teaches an at-once redemption, whether it is the pre-trib Rapture, or the Second Coming. Of course, such a statement might sound silly to some, but not to those who are open to the preponderance of the evidence. For these will easily find that the Bridegroom Return of Christ is extremely self-evident in prophecy. Surely two Christians early in the seven-year Tribulation Night shall be in the same bed—one shall be taken and the other left (Judgment begins with the household of faith, not with the wicked of the world.). The left behind Christian, especially the unrepentant of Thyatira (Rev. 2:22), will enter the Great Tribulation period (the latter half of the seven-year Tribulation) and await our Lord's Closed Door Return (Luke 12:36; James 5:9; Rev. 3:3, 20, 7:13-14); while prepared Christians will have entered Heaven through Christ's earlier Open Door Bridegroom Return (Matt. 25:10; Rev. 3:8). By the way, the mention of these prophetic doors in the New Testament, in the connection of Christ's coming, always reflect the idea of a surprise, Jewish, nighttime, bridegroom return.
Here lies yet another at-once redemption prophecy problem: Jesus said, ". . . Nevertheless when the Son of man returns, shall he find faith on the earth?" Christian after Christian, educated and not so educated, teach the at-once automatic Rapture of the entire Church. Is this a correct prophecy teaching? A correct understanding? Will the entire Church really be ready long before the Second Coming? Are all Christians that committed to Christ in a faith that works by agape love relationship? No Christian left behind? Will the Son of man find THAT MUCH faith upon His initial return, especially since the Scripture teaches that He won't?
Once the Day of our Redemption arrives as a thief long before the Second Coming, it will begin with and engulf the seven-year Tribulation Night, which period will eventually reveal God's wrath and later dawning of That Day (2 Pet. 1:19). Upon the inception of the Day of Christ, the whole Church will trim their lamps in That Night, preparing to meet Jesus (when things are still somewhat normal). Meaning, once the prior night of That Day begins, the entire Body of Christ will anticipate the Lord's coming long before the later dawning of That Day, which is at the traditional Second Coming (Or, when the seven-year Tribulation Night ends when God returns with all His saints.).
Besides returning as the bright and Morning Star (or as the sign of the Son of man) of the Second Coming, again, Jesus initially returns in that prior Night as a Jewish Bridegroom; that is, for those Christians who are prepared by being active in their faith. This return is what the New Testament calls His Like Manner Return, or a return that was after the manner in which Christ ascended, being a return accompanied by two male witnesses (Acts 1:10). Note: this is not a return identified with a myriad of angels, nor the Trump of God with a the shout of an Archangel, but Christ's initial return marked by "TWO MEN" (not angels), who will be with Him as witnesses. For the record, prophecy details this as a like manner return, not a like place return.
Speaking of a Jewish Wedding, Jesus expressly said in very strict bridegroom language: "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you (Traditionally, preparations for the bride were made in the father of the bridegroom's house.). And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself (Jewish Bridegrooms always came to the door of the perspective bride in surprise fashion at night, with two male witnesses.); that where I am, there you may be also. And whither I go you know, and the way you know" (John 14:1-4). "The way you know" is not an at-once anytime noisy Trump of God at the Rapture of the entire Church. Quite oppositely, it is a quiet Jewish Bridegroom Return with two male witnesses for the prepared in the Body of Christ. As Christ ascended in the presence of committed believers only, with the two male witnesses present, so will He return in like manner (Acts 1:10)!
Much later, upon the consummation of this age at the traditional Second Coming, our Lord will first appear as a small light in the heavens as the sign of the Son of man, while gradually growing to an all consuming force, fully lighting up the dawn of That Day (2 Pet. 1:19). Indeed, at the Second Coming every eye shall see our Lord the King, in indescribable power and awe, as He gloriously returns with all His saints and angels (Matt. 24:31; 1Thess. 3:13, 4:14; Rev. 19:8, 14). With all of His saints? Surely the Lord will bring all of His saints from His earlier nighttime returns (watch therefore, that is, in That Night), just as the Scripture teaches!
Upon the Summer Harvest, or the earlier partial harvest, the entire Church will become very aware of the times and the seasons. In fact, they will quit denying them. Even so, when the nations cry for "peace and safety" (1 Thess. 5:1-3) at the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation (Matt. 24:6-8), the whole Church will be far from being prepared to meet the Lord Jesus early in That Night (Mark 13:34). Why? Because true spirituality actually comes from an inner seed of Christ (1 John 3:9) who has grown within the believer, and not by obedience to outside rules and/or membership status in denominations. This, the wise will know (1 John 4:8). Indeed, Christ, just like the Day of the Lord, will come as a thief to the unprepared.
At that future mystery hour the Bride has made herself ready (Rev. 19:7). Then the Scripture goes on to record, ". . . Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. . . " (Rev. 19:9). By the way, we only call someone who isn't presently by our side.
Despite the teaching of the at once catching-up of the entire Church, better known as the "pre-trib Rapture," biblically, Christians are individually commanded to watch. So then, Christians are to crucify the cares of the world through a growing and loving faith. Incidentally to refresh our memories, once again, biblical watching is to put on genuine faith that works by agape love (Gal. 5:6; 1 Thess. 5:6, 8). It is to put on the historical loving Christ of the Bible (Rom. 13:8-14). And this we must do, if we are to be prepared to meet the Bridegroom in That Night.
Military wise, we should know that to watch in That Night is to take one's post in the night, just as the Roman soldiers did, or biblical watching isn't watching. And this is one reason why Jesus quoted the four "Gentile Roman soldier" watches of the summer-night (Mark 13:34-35). Surely His initial Bridegroom Return, wherein we must be prepared by taking our post, is in the much sooner coming Night for the partial Summer Harvest, not at the dawn of That Day (2 Pet. 1:19).
Of meaningful note, again, far too many Christians haven't put on a loving faith, nor will they in time for our Lord's initial return; their lamps went out. Meaning, simply, they didn't abide in the light of God's agape love for others (1 John 2:10). Moreover, biblical watching, the command of our Lord, is an incompatible doctrine to many Christians who staunchly hold the at-once pre-trib Rapture view. Thus to our shame, and adverse to the popular trib-positions, the importance of biblical watching within the coming Tribulation Night isn't taught nor accepted the way that it should be in the Body of Christ.
Robert C. Harris, Founder of
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Thought Questions for the Night-trib View (Christ returning early in the seven year Tribulation Night)
1. Why does Laodicea have a closed door as do the foolish? Is this just a coincidence?
2. Why do the wise have an open door as does Philadelphia? Is this also just coincidence?
3. Why is salvation near or at the doors when the “fig tree” (Israel) shoots forth her GREEN FIGS (Matt. 24:32-33)? Could it be that there is a partial Summer Harvest for the Church? Or did Jesus mistakenly mention the early harvest of “summer”?
4. “Two shall be grinding at the mill, the one shall be taken, and the other left. . . .” If the good saints are the ones left behind (This is a Second Coming Only Teaching mistakenly based on the tares of Matthew 13:30.), are they working for a living right before the Second Advent at the end of the Tribulation? Will good saints receive the mark of the Beast (Rev. 13:17)?
5. Does the all at-once Rapture Teaching parallel the events of a Jewish Wedding? How about the traditional Second Coming; does that coming parallel the events of a Jewish Wedding?
6. Are the days of Noah and Lot wherein Christ initially returns (bought and sold; built and planted; drank; gave and took in marriage), symbolic of the days of worldwide impoverishment deep into the Great Tribulation? Or are they typical of today’s prosperity which will briefly remain the same when the Day overtakes the world unawares? Who will prosper deep into the Tribulation once the Day of the Lord begins? Who will abide in prosperity upon the manifested wrath of That Day (Joel 2:11)?
7. If she remains faithful, the Lord will keep Philadelphia “from” (Greek: out of) the hour of test that comes upon the whole world. Is Philadelphia the only group who will have a chance to escape through an open door? Can’t some in Ephesus repent? Pergamos? Sardis? Thyatira? Laodicea? Or, are these messages in vain?
8. “Alive and remain” (2 Thess. 4:14-17)? Do these words fit the normalcy of everyday life of a pre-trib Rapture?
9. In deciphering who the virgins are of the parable, isn’t Midnight’s Cry of the Second Watch long before the latter end of the fourth watch of the Second Coming?
10. Why is there a return of Jesus Christ from the Wedding Feast, if it isn’t so (Luke 12:36)?
11. Who are the great crowd of Gentiles in Revelation 7:9, of whom the Elder didn’t know; that is, if they’re not the foolish of the Church coming out of the Great Tribulation?
12. Why did Jesus warn the Church to watch if it’s not necessary? Could it be that there is a Great Tribulation to escape long before the dawning of That Day (Luke 21:36; 2 Pet. 1:19)?
13. Does the whole Church endure part of the Great Tribulation as punishment (Matt. 24:51, 25:1-13; 1 Thess. 5:6; Rev. 2:5, 2:16, 2:22, 3:3, 3:10, 3:20, 7:9-17)? Or just parts of Thyatira? Parts of Sardis? Parts of Ephesus? Parts of Laodicea? Parts of Pergamos?
14. No need to watch? No Tribulation Night? No Midnight Cry? No Four Watches? No Doors? No Knocking? No Jewish Wedding? No Bridegroom Return with two male witnesses? No Firstfruits? No “Like Manner” Return? No partial Summer Harvest? No Early and Latter Rains? No thief like coming? No place prepared for us? No, we are not bought with a price? Is it all just to be cast aside? Is it all just allegoric and meaningless?
15. If Christ is to return only upon the traditional Second Coming, why then does our Lord charge us to watch in the Tribulation Night long before the dawn of That Day (Mark 13:35)?
16. If the cry at midnight (the allegorical hour of the Lord’s Day beginning) doesn’t match pre-wrath, pre-trib, mid-trib or post-trib, isn’t it time to find out exactly what it does match?
17. Why is there a calling to the Wedding Feast AFTER the Bride has made herself ready (Rev. 19:7-9)? Could it be that the remaining of the Church (foolish) are also to attend, just as Luke 12:36 teaches?
18. The Thessalonians thought they were left behind (2 Thess. 2:1-3). In consoling them, Paul assured the Thessalonians that That Day had not come—until a falling away would occur, coupled with the Man of sin being revealed. So is it wise to believe that no Christian will suffer the consequences of being deceived by today’s pre-trib imminent Rapture? That Paul’s warning is in vain? “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day SHALL NOT COME” (2 Thess. 2:1-3)?
19. Will the Judge of the Church stand before James’ parabolic door in vain (James 5:9)? If He so desires, can the Lord close this parabolic Wedding Door at the so-called all at-once pre-trib Rapture?
20. Why are the words “and the bride” found in many good manuscripts (Matt. 25:1)?
21. Will Jesus initially return in “like manner”? With two male witnesses present, just like a Jewish Wedding (Acts 1:10)?
22. When Christ ascended, Did He shout? Was there an overpowering voice of the archangel, or the trumpet of God? Is the all at-once pre-trib Rapture, as it is now understood, a Like Manner Return?
23. Should “the goodman of the house” have watched (Matt. 24:43)? Should he have overtly emphasized faith that works by love? Should he have kept his house or his congregation from being broken up?
24. Doesn’t the Church go to Heavenly Jerusalem to meet the angels, rather than wait for them here at the Second Coming (Matt. 24:30-31)? In other words, doesn’t the Church come unto “the spirits of just men made perfect” (and to an “innumerable company of angels”), long before the Resurrection of the Just at the Second Coming?
25. Are the foolish lost upon the traditional Second Coming? Or on an imminent pre-night all at once Rapture? Or a mid-trib Rapture? Or a pre-wrath Rapture? “He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8)?
26. In the Great Tribulation why does an angel preach the “everlasting gospel” (Rev. 14:6)? What happened to the Church? Second Coming Only Theology?
27. In Luke 12:36 why must foolish Christians open their door “immediately”? Does Luke’s supposed parabolic passage suggest a literal time of despair? Or, is Luke’s passage meaningless?
28. “Behold I show you a mystery; we shall all not sleep . . .”? We shall not all die? Is this the mystery revealed? Is death the fate of today’s present pre-trib Church? Or do we now hold the Blessed Hope of Christ returning to redeem us?
29. Is it plain to see that the redemption of the Firstfruits and the judgment of the Church both occur long before the Second Advent?
30. “Behold, I come quickly.” Almost twenty centuries later, surely the Lord Jesus will. But how can Christ’s Quick Coming possibly fit Second Coming Only Theology? Or an imminent all at once pre-trib Rapture?
31. Can another than Christ command Gabriel (Dan. 8:16)? Can it be established that Daniel’s account of the Man dressed in linen isn’t an earlier return of Jesus Christ before the Second Coming (Dan. 10 & 12)?
32. Is there knocking upon the traditional Second Coming? Is there knocking upon the automatic all at-once Rapture of the entire Church?
33. “. . . And let him that heareth say, come . . .” (Rev. 22:16-17). Unbelievers don’t spiritually hear valid truths; only believers. Why, then, must the believer who “heareth say come”? Could it be that the believer, who knows these things, must call other believers to the sobriety of watching for the Bridegroom Return of Christ?
34. Since both the Second Coming and the Rapture aren’t mentioned as such in the New Testament, is it wise to assume that either of these teachings portrays the whole undivided truth of Christ’s initial coming?
35. Will there be no repercussions for those who don’t watch? Will Matthew’s “evil servant” escape his portion with the hypocrites upon the imminent all at-once pre-trib Rapture (Matt. 24:48-51)?
36. Did the Elder of Revelation 7:13 really have a memory lapse in identifying an enormous group of saints? What are the chances of such a lapse occurring by the Lord Jesus Himself? Moreover, isn’t it peculiar to Second Coming Only Theology that the Great Multitude is in Heaven long before the opening of the seventh seal (Rev. 8:1)?
37. Isn’t it also peculiar that the word “sir” in Revelation 7:14, is really the word “Lord”?
38. “Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things . . .” (Luke 21:36). Should each Christian really pray to escape all these things? Or should the unbelievers of the world; that is, in their unbelief?
39. Christians are the children of the day (1 Thess. 5:5). Why then are there so many in the Church who think that Christians are destined to be the children of a much larger share of the night (Pre-wrath & Second Coming Only Theology)?
40. Does the Bible exclusively teach the traditional Second Coming?
41. Will Christ prematurely descend with the voice of an archangel; the shout and the Trump of God? Years before the traditional Second Coming battle (Rev. 19:11)? Years before the Last Day (John 6:40)?
42. Can Christ’s Closed Door Return from the Wedding Feast, in which He knocks (Luke 12:36), properly be interpreted as the climatic end of the traditional Second Coming? When every eye shall see Him?
43. “The first shall be last, and the last first.” Given in the strict context of literally reaping eternal life (Matt. 19:30; Mark 10:31; Luke 13:30), how can this verse possibly fit the imminent pre-trib Rapture Teaching? Or Second Coming Only Theology?
44. “But go you rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves” (Matt. 25:9)? After the traditional Second Coming, who will be left behind to go to them that sell?
45. Only a few in Sardis will walk with Christ in white. Can only a few be descriptive of an all at-once imminent pre-trib Rapture? Can only a few be descriptive of Second Coming Only Theology?
46. When Christ told Sardis to strengthen the things that remain in preparation for Day of the Lord’s judgment (Rev. 1:10; 3:2), was His mood kidding? Chiding? Or was He serious? In other words, is Sardis really to strengthen the things that can withstand (“which remain”) the fire of judgment in That Day? “For other foundation can no man lay than is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1 Cor. 3:11-13).
47. Again, did the Elder of Revelation 7:13 really have a memory lapse in identifying a Great Multitude in Heaven? The same multitude who would also attend the Wedding Feast (Rev. 19:6)?
48. Is the Last Trump the first trump? Is the Last Trump an anytime imminent trump? Long before the other trumps (Rev. 8:7-10:7)?
49. Will the spirit of the fornicator be saved before the Day of the Lord Jesus in a pre-trib imminent Rapture? Or did Paul correctly state the “Day of the Lord Jesus,” being the Day of Redemption (1 Cor. 5:5; Eph. 4:30)? Note: Please see Phil. 2:16.
50. Is the First Resurrection upon the all at-once pre-night or pre-trib Rapture; that is, when God brings all those who sleep in Jesus (1 Thess. 4:14)? And not at the dawn of the Lord’s Day when Christ returns with all His saints (John 6:40; 1 Thess. 3:13)?
51. Why didn’t Paul, when the Thessalonians thought that they were left behind (2 Thess. 2:2), mention the voice of the archangel, or the shout and the Trump of God? Could it be that these are Second Coming signs, which have nothing to do with Christ’s initial coming as a Jewish Bridegroom?
52. If the foolish were lost, why would the wise intentionally lie to them, imparting hope? Is that a Christian thing to do?
53. When Christ descends with the voice an archangel, is Michael the Archangel with Him? Or is the Scripture mistaken? And, if Michael be with the Lord at this supposed pre-trib imminent Rapture for the wedding, where are the two human male witnesses? And why isn’t Michael, at this pre-trib hour, still guarding Israel?
54. Is it just a coincidence that the Day of the Lord begins with birth pangs (1 Thess. 5:2-3), as does the Tribulation (Matt. 24:8 NASB)? And this, in the direct context of the supposed Rapture passage in the preceding chapter? (Note: Chapter divisions aren’t in the original text.)
55. The phrase, “the beginning of sorrows,” strictly pertains to the beginning of a woman’s labor, being the beginning of her birth pangs (see Strong’s # 5604). Knowing this, can the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation pangs, and the Lord’s Day pangs, be understood as the consummation of the Second Coming? Or even cosmic signs deep into the seven-year Tribulation?
56. Knowing that the term “falling away” in both Vine’s and Strong’s denotes an apostasy (The same Greek word is used in Acts 21:21.), and not a departure of the Church, is the pre-trib Rapture Teaching nullifying the precursor signs of the Day of Christ (2 Thess. 2:3)? Are untold amounts of Christians not looking for the Day of Redemption?
57. As part of the Great Apostasy, some are teaching that “one shall be taken” applies to those who would go away with the Antichrist in the Tribulation. Conversely, why in each instance does the phrase pertain to Christians waiting for their Lord’s return, not fallen believers?
58. Is there a night coming wherein Christians are to watch? Will Christ walk amidst the Churches with seven stars in right His hand at nighttime? Will the Day of the Lord come as a thief in the Night long before it dawns (1Thess. 5:2; 2 Pet. 1:19)? Will the Bright and Morning Star of the Second Coming be the first light after the night?
59. Who has made themselves ready for the marriage? And wears the fine white and clean linen—the righteousness of the saints (Rev. 19:8)? Obviously, the Bride will be ready and marry the Lord (Rev. 19:7), not the angels. Knowing this, will the Lord Jesus, despite the teachings of Second Coming Only Theology, return with all His saints as stated in Scripture (Duet. 33:2; Zech. 14:5; 1Thess. 3:13, 4:14; Jude v. 14; Rev. 19:14)?
60. Are not the Early and Latter Rains symbolic of a partial Summer Harvest? Don’t these rains contextually symbolize a Jewish Wedding Door connected to the Summer Harvest (Matt: 24:32-33; James 5:7-9)?
Excerpt from Get Ready, available at www.amazon.com
 If Preterism were true, then the Church wouldn’t have preached the Gospel for the last nineteen centuries—an angel would have! Moreover, if Preterism were true, there would be no need to watch in the coming Tribulation Night.
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