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Will Jesus Return in 2016?
by Bob Glaze
For the past 2,000 years or so, scholars and would-be prophets have forecast the date of the Rapture, only to lose their credibility with Bible students and mainline conservative Christians. Although we believe that Jesus’ return can take place at any moment, this ministry has never dated His return. But, there are many others that believe that this will be the year. In date-setting, they too could lose their credibility. If they are right this will become a moot point.
First, what can we glean from Scripture that may help in determining the time. We may not know the exact day, but we can know the season of His return. In Matthew 24:3, Jesus’ disciples asked Him the question of the ages: “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Jesus did not give them an exact date, but rather signs of the season in which He would return. He also knew that there would be many false teachers that would attempt to deceive them with false information. However, many things would take place prior to the Tribulation. The signs given in verses 1 through 14 are meant for the first half of the Tribulation, and verses 15 through 28 are signs of the last half of the Tribulation.
Living in Oklahoma, we are sometimes plagued with violent thunderstorms, many of which produce tornadoes. There are signs of these soon-approaching storms such as lightning and strong winds. These are not the storm, but rather signs of the storm. However, when we hear the thunder we know that the storms are upon us. The signs given in chapter 24 are the lightning and thunder. We have been seeing the lightning for many years, but now we are hearing the thunder get louder and louder as the storm approaches. Every sign (not the actual event) noted in verses 5 through 7 are already here and the Tribulation is soon coming upon the world.
There is only one event that must preclude the seven-year Tribulation period, and that is the Rapture of the saints. So, if the Tribulation is near, then the Rapture must be that much nearer. Many confuse the Rapture with the Second Coming. When the Rapture occurs Christ will not descend and touch the earth but will meet the saints in the air. First Thessalonians 4:17 says, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
The term “Rapture” in actually not in the KJV per se. However, the term “caught up” in the Koine Greek is harpadzo; translated into Latin it become raptus, and then transliterated into the English “rapture.” After the Tribulation, Christ will then descend to the earth to make war with the ungodly (Rev. 19:11–16).
There are three main passages that refer to the Rapture: 1 Corinthians 15:51–54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18; and 2 Thessalonians 2:1–12. The Christians in these city house churches, as well as others, were worried about the timing of the Rapture and were concerned that they had been left behind. Paul in these passages is reassuring them that they had not indeed missed the Rapture and wrote letters to reinforce his teaching. The apostles had not only the Old Testament prophecies but also those from the very mouth of God, Jesus Christ. This is why Peter stated that “We have a more sure word of prophecy.” (1 Peter 1:19)
There are five points concerning the Rapture that should be mentioned at this time.
- It Is Sure. “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord.” First Thessalonians 4:15 is a statement by the Apostle Paul who has been given the authority by Christ to receive revelation, “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord.” The text here of verses 13–18 concerns the resurrection of the dead at the Rapture. The sovereignty of Christ makes this event sure by His promise in John 14:1-3. The angels also proclaim the surety of this event in Acts 1:11. The Rapture will indeed take place at some point in the near future. Since we do not know exactly when it will happen, we need only to be ready.
- It Is Selective. The phrases “we which are alive and remain” in verse 15 and “and the dead in Christ shall rise first” selects those saved individuals who will join Christ in the clouds at the Rapture. Only those who are saved will hear “the trump of God.” The power of the voice of Christ would resurrect every person on earth if it weren’t selective. The resurrection of Lazarus was caused by the selective call by Jesus of his name only. If not selective all would have come out of their graves.
- It Is Sudden. The Rapture passage of 1 Corinthians 15:51–52 says, “Behold I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.” The Greek terms here indicate the resurrection will take only as long as the time light takes to reflect off the eye—instantaneously. Again, the term “caught up” is where we get the word Rapture. It means to snatch away by force; to snatch away suddenly; to snatch away for danger; and to claim to oneself eagerly.
- It Is Silent. “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 with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air” (vs. 16). The shout is a military command, not a general shout. Only those in Christ will hear and respond. The world will only see the results of those in Christ being suddenly gone. Please note that the Apostle Paul included himself in those “which are alive and remain.” Paul believed that he would be alive when the Lord returned showing the Rapture is imminent.
- It Is Satisfying. First Thessalonians 4:17–18 says: “…and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” Our consolation is that whether we are alive or have passed into the arms of Jesus, our future is secure in Him.
We have the word of God that we will never be left alone in this life or the next. He is always thinking of us and interceding in our behalf. The promise of John 14:1–3 is a promise from the Son of God, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 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. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
The Rapture is the next great prophetic event that must take place. But, when will this event take place? Many of the past and present expositors believed they had discovered the key to this date. Some even changed the date when their prediction passed without incidence.
There are many notable people that predicted the Rapture or end of the world. We will acknowledge only a few.
- The Essenes believed that the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 66 would be the final battle and that the end would come between a.d. 66 and 70.
- Hippolytus of Rome and Irenaeus both predicted Jesus would return in the year 500. They based this prediction on the measurements of the Ark.
- Pope Innocent III predicted that the world would end 666 years after the rise of Islam.
- Martin Luther predicted the end of the world would happen during 1600.
- Christopher Columbus predicted the end of the world during 1656.
- Cotton Mather, the Puritan preacher, predicted the end on three different dates of 1697, 1716, and 1736.
- John Wesley believed that the Millennium began in 1836.
- Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses cult, predicted the return of Jesus in 1874.
- Hebert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God, predicted the Rapture would take place in 1943, but had to change the date three successive times.
- Benjamin Crème, believed by some to be Lord Maitreya, took out an ad in the Los Angeles Times that the Second Coming would take place in June 1982.
- Edgar Whisenant, author of the book 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988, predicted the return of the Lord that year.
- Harold Camping’s last prediction concerning the Rapture was that it would take place on March 31, 1996.
- Nostradamus predicted the end would come in 1999.
- Isaac Newton believed that the Millennium would begin in the year 2000.
These are just a sampling of the myriad of self-proclaimed prophets that have destroyed their credibility by dating the Rapture or end of the world. There are many contemporaries who have predicted which I will not mention. The point is that no man knows when the Rapture will take place. Our Heavenly Father has an appointed time for His Son to return for His bride and not one minute before.
We often ask ourselves why the Lord tarries His coming, while in fact the Lord does not tarry His coming. When the Apostle Peter was writing to the Christians in the first century, he had this to say to the sceptics who said, “Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:4). Peter’s answer: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise as some men count slackness; but is longsufferng to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (verse 9).
My good friend for over 60 years, Bro. J. R. Church, during his final years of cancer, asked me more than once, “Why hasn’t the Lord come back yet?” The only answer that I could give him was that the Lord was waiting for that last one to be saved before judgment fell. The disciples asked Jesus the same question, and here is His answer, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matthew 24:36)
Although we may not know the day and the hour, we can know the season … and it is now upon us. Whether the Lord comes back this year or next we must be found faithful.
by Larry Spargimino
America is marked by confusion, increasing racial tension, a devastating foreign policy that has made America the laughingstock of the planet, plus a growing anti-Christian bias along with increasing overreach on the part of the federal government. Is there a common source for all these poisonous developments that are polluting the pristine stream of our Republic?
The trail leads to Saul Alinsky. His Rules For Radicals was published in the early 1970s. It was dedicated to Lucifer, andis the handbook for community organizers and left-wing agitators who want to tear down America.
Alinsky taught community organizers to be resentment-organizers. Here’s what he wrote: “The community organizers must first rub raw the resentments of the people; fan the latent hostilities to the point of overt expression. In other words, the first step in community organizing is community DIS-organizing” (Byron York, nationalreview.com).
Breitbart (3/12) published a powerful and eye-opening report titled, “How Saul Alinsky Taught Barack Obama Everything He Knows About Civic Upheaval.” In it we read: “Throughout Barack Obama’s campaign for the presidency and his subsequent time in that office, two things have been said again and again: 1. He has a grudge against America. 2. He takes his marching orders from Saul Alinsky (1909–1972), particularly encapsulated in the book Rules For Radicals.”
America is more fragmented than ever before. Racial tensions are far worse. Let’s look at Ferguson, Missouri, or dozens of other American cities that are divided over racial issues. Does this have something to do with community organizing. Alinsky is quite clear: “The community organizer must first rub raw the resentments of the people, fan the latent hostilities to the point of over expression.” In the above-cited nationalreview.com article Byron York explains how this aspect of the Alinsky doctrine was honed to a razor-sharp edge by Obama.
How do you rub raw the resentments of the people? Here’s a good example. A 14-year-old Muslim boy, Ahmed Mohamed, brings a clock device to MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas. It’s got wires and sure looks suspicious. It wasn’t even a class project. School officials are alarmed. What if it is really a bomb and school officials ignore it? So, the school calls the police and the police arrest the boy.
Our commander-in-chief sees a perfect set up. “Ah, the gods have been most merciful.” He makes Mohamed the poster boy for freedom. The family gets legal advice, and their attorneys threaten the school with a $15 million lawsuit. The family’s lawyer claims that this “smear effort” made Ahmed the target of anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists and caused his family to flee the country for their own safety. Now everyone’s angry. Muslim advocacy groups love it. The citizens of Irving are angry. Their tax money is going to be burned up in a ridiculous lawsuit.
It’s all pretty neat, eh? Community organizing has now become organizing community resentment. How will it all end? Psalm 37:9 says, “For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.” Of course Alinskyites do not believe such words. Too bad for them!
Telling Whopper Lies With a Straight Face
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and their ideological compatriots keep straight faces while articulating the biggest of whoppers. At a Council on Foreign Relations meeting in New York City Clinton said: “Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing, whatsoever, to do with terrorism.” Obama chirps away the same song—and multitudes believe them. Just a few hours after Obama tells George Stephanopoulos that ISIS is “contained,” a terrorist attack in Paris leads to 130 deaths and more than 300 wounded.
While all Muslims are not terrorists, virtually all terrorists are Muslim. Here’s just a short list of terror attacks that establishes a connection between Islam and terrorism: the shoe bomber, the Beltway snipers, the Fort Hood shooter, the underwear bomber, the USS Cole bombers, the Madrid train bombers who killed 194, the Bali nightclub bombers, the Moscow theater attackers, the Beslan Russian school bombers, the Boston marathon bombers, the Pan Am Flight 93 bombers, the Beirut US Embassy bombers, the Israeli Olympic team attackers, the Saudi Khobar Towers attackers, the Bombay and Mumbai, India, attackers—all of them were Muslims. Shouldn’t this tell us something—unless we “willingly are ignorant”? (2 Peter 3:5).
Those who want more proof of the connection between terrorism and radical Islam simply need to go to the Middle East Media Research Institute website—MEMRI.org—for translated video footage of Islamic leaders in some of the major mosques calling for war against America and Israel.
When some human rights groups felt that the GITMO detainees were not being treated with dignity, and that they needed religious articles, they didn’t send them Bibles. They sent them Korans, Islamic prayer shawls, and halal foods. Now what religious group uses Korans, Islamic prayer shawls, and halal foods?
Still don’t believe that there’s a connection between radical Islam and terrorism? What’s the religious affiliation of ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, Hamas, and Hezbollah? They all trace their existence and mission to one book: the Koran.
Political Correctness on the Rampage
In order to make the lies, half-truths, and deliberate distortions more compelling, political correctness must be implemented. Despite the barbaric cruelty of ISIS, “MSNBC host Chris Matthew does not like Republican presidential candidate and New Jersey governor Chris Christie referring to ISIS as ‘animals’ as it is dehumanizing” (isreview.com). Amazing. Destroying national treasures, beheading men, and raping little girls is just what animals would do. Why is Matthews afraid of correct language? Might it be because proper language communicates truth (that’s what it’s supposed to do—not confuse and obfuscate).
By the way, has anyone noticed that after 130 French partygoers were mowed down in Paris, national media said they were “killed”—hardly the right word. People get killed in a thunderstorm or tornado. These people were “murdered”—the unlawful taking of a life.
Not everyone is afraid to communicate. Jesse Lee Peterson, plain-speaking African-American and founder of BOND, quotes Cicero: “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within.”
Peterson correctly finds a multitude of treasonous individuals in America. He writes about “Muslim savages” who follow “a seventh century madman who grew up without his father.” Yet many Americans are not alarmed because of our leaders. “Almost all of our leaders—instead of standing against the atrocities committed by members of the ‘religion of peace’—are actually supporting their reign of terror by doing nothing to stop it. Worse, they are actively working against the few … who are standing up for the American people. They are cowards, and they are traitors” (WND).
The same Obama administration that scrutinizes Tea Party groups and listens to Americans’ phone calls refused to check Facebook to catch a Muslim terrorist and prevent mass murder in San Bernardino. Long-time conservative activist Gary Bauer was flabbergasted at a December 12 New York Times story that the Department of Homeland Security was barred from reviewing an immigration applicant’s social media posts as part of the screening process. DHS officials debated the issue of reviewing social media and the idea was opposed by the Office of Civil Liberties and the Office of Privacy. Tashfeen Malik, wife of Syed Farook, Pakistani immigrants, openly talked about jihad on social media. When Americans learn facts like this, says Bauer, they either fear something “nefarious” is going on or that the U.S. government is paralyzed by political correctness. In a National Review commentary, Andrew C. McCarthy pointed out that a visa applicant from Pakistan is an alien and has no legitimate expectation of privacy under U.S. civil rights laws (OneNewsNow.com).
President Obama is a master at creating a false sense of security. CNN reports that Obama insisted that Americans should feel safe inside their own country, declaring that the U.S. is free from “specific and credible” threats to the homeland.
How can we feel safe when on multiple occasions the president has been wrong and has minimized the danger we all face? And despite his assurance that there are no “specific and credible” threats, the FBI is simply unable to keep up with the volume of work that our open borders have created. Their important work has been crippled by the massive budget cuts to the FBI in the last three years.
The Washington Post reports that when the new FBI director, James Comey, travelled the country to meet the agents under his command, he was stunned to find that new intelligence investigations were not being opened. Active criminal cases were being closed. Informants couldn’t be paid. And there was not enough funding for agents to put gas in their cars. Why? Because of dangerous budget cuts.
However, the real problem lies deeper than Alinsky’s rules for radicals. No one man, party, or group of men is the real source of confusion. So, what is the real problem?
Scriptures like Ephesians 6:12, John 8:43–45 and 1 Peter 5:8 helps us to realize why the evil in the world is an orchestrated, systematic attack on godly values coming from the same source: same-sex marriage, political correctness that restricts Christian testimony and prayer, transgenderism, radical social engineering, anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, all suggest that this is warfare—spiritual warfare—aimed at unseating God from His rightful place.
Ephesians 4:27 says: “Neither give place to the devil.” The word “place” is a translation of topos, meaning a beachhead, a place of entry into a secure place, typified by the proverbial camel getting its nose in the tent, soon to be followed by the whole camel. Gregory Boyd, in his God at War: The Bible and Spiritual Conflict gives the overview: “God’s good creation has in fact been seized by hostile, evil cosmic forces that are seeking to destroy God’s beneficent plan for the cosmos. … The general assumption of both the Old and new Testaments is that the earth is virtually engulfed by cosmic forces of destruction, and that evil and suffering are ultimately due to this diabolical siege.”
America has been covered by spiritual darkness, and the darkness is especially thick over our nation’s capital. Unless America returns to God and makes an unequivocal statement against evil in the election year of 2016, our demise is certain.