The below was borrowed from Chapter One of Carmen Welker's books, "And there was War in Heaven! Surviving the End Times" which can be purchased through Amazon. For the Kindle version, go to Amazon (Sapphire Publications).
Most end times books and articles concentrate on the meanings and symbols contained in the Books of Daniel and Revelation and offer endless theories about how the end times will unfold according to their particular perspectives. Their remedies are usually to scare people into stockpiling food and water and arm themselves to the teeth while hiding in the hills so they can get away from "the government."
Many people follow and support these teachers, but hardly anyone ever stops to ask: "How will these stockpiles help us in the case of an earthquake, fire, flood, tornado, hurricane or some deadly epidemic that can kills us?" or "Why are we in the end times, in the first place?"
The plain and simple answer is: Mankind as a whole is not obeying God and the time has come for Him to put an end to our nonsense! Yahweh, our Creator, outlined in the first five Books of the Bible exactly who He was, how to properly worship Him so that we could live holy lives and obtain eternal life through His Messiah - and yet mankind has managed to ignore His Divine Instructions and concoct myriad religions and denominations, while arrogantly espousing "tolerance" and insisting that "all paths lead to God." Whether one "believes" in God or not, we will all find ourselves as victims as the end times events unfold....And the best thing we could possibly do is to get ourselves "RIGHT" with God because NONE of us are guaranteed that we will survive a disaster!
...And there was War in Heaven!
Surviving the End Times
The "end times" as outlined in the Books of Daniel and Revelation are upon us, and endless theories abound about what all this will entail. Among them is the "pre-trib Rapture" pushed by many Christian churches, which - according to Scripture - is an unsubstantiated and dangerous myth.
But there are millions of Christians who insist on believing variations of the lie that they will be supernaturally "zapped" out of here before the supposed "seven-year tribulation" begins, and that those who didn't "get it right the first time" will get a second chance when Jesus returns to Earth. The problem is, this theory is (1) false; and (2) dangerous because, if one believes in a false hope of being "raptured" before some true hard times arise, they will surely curse God when they discover they did NOT get "raptured" when they thought they would, and perhaps even stop believing in God altogether....
By Carmen Welker
The end times study on which you're about to embark was done from the Netzari/ Messianic viewpoint which uses the proper Names of YHWH (Yahweh = The Creator/God the Father) and Y'shua, His Son. All New Testament scriptures were taken from the Aramaic English New Testament (AENT); all Tanach ("Old Testament") references were borrowed from Stern's Complete Jewish Bible.
This study, as you will see, reveals the following, in a nutshell:
Everyone who died pre-Yeshua, excepting Enoch (Genesis 5:23-25) and Elijah (2 Kings 2) and "many of" the Set Apart believers mentioned in Matthew 27:51-53, is still in the grave awaiting judgment UNTIL his return as the Lion of Judah. This means, everyone who has died since the day Yeshua martyred himself, is still in the grave awaiting judgment.
Upon his arrival,all the BELIEVERS, dead and alive (remember, the "dead in Messiah" will rise first) will be "caught up" at that time to meet him in the air, after which there will be the "wedding feast" (1 Cor 6:14; 1 Thess 4:13-17).
All the UNBELIEVERS since the beginning of time won't be standing before YHWH until the end of the Millennium on Judgment Day. At judgment, "the day of YHWH" - a time of awe, judgment and gathering (see Isaiah 13:6,9; Jeremiah 46:10; Joel 1:15; 2:11; Amos 5:18; Obadiah 1:15) which happens after Yeshua's thousand year reign on Earth (Revelation 20:1-15), there is a resurrection of the righteous and of the wicked (Acts 24:15). The righteous go to eternal life; the wicked, to immediate destruction. Yeshua specifically says to fear his Father in heaven who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna (Luke 12:5).
Let's dig a little deeper:
- Judging from the many earth-shattering natural and economic disasters around the world, we are not only in the "end times" as outlined in the Books of Daniel and Revelation, but we're in the proverbial "Twelfth Hour." We are not only encountering plenty of "wars and rumors of wars" (i.e., terrorism and threats) but are personally witnessing the escalation of the war between Isaac (God's Chosen) and Ishmael (the Arab population) which has forced "the world" to take sides. And most of the world seems to be siding with the Arabs....
- Although the word "rapture" can be found nowhere in Scripture, we are told there will be a "catching up" of believers only upon Yeshua's Second Coming (1 Corinthians 6:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17); not the unbelievers who will only be called up before God on Judgment Day at the end of the Millenium. This "catching up" will be when Yeshua returns to Earth; not before. It will occur at the end of that seven year period which will begin when the "Antichrist" makes a seven year peace treaty with Israel. The day we hear of someone making a seven year peace treaty with Israel, we'll be able to count exactly seven years until Yeshua's return!
1 Thessaloanis 4: 13. And I wish you to know, my Brothers, that you should not mourn over them who have fallen asleep, like other people who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Y’shua died and rose again, even so them who sleep, will Elohim, by Y’shua, bring with him. 15. And this we say to you by the word of our Master (Y’shua), that we who may survive and be alive at the coming of our Master (Y’shua), will not precede them who have slept. 16. Because our Master (Y’shua) will himself descend from heaven with the mandate and with the voice of the chief Messenger and with the Qarna of Elohim; and the dead who are in the Mashiyach will first arise; 17. and then we who survive and are alive will be caught up together with them to the clouds to meet our Master (Y’shua) in the air; and so will we be ever with our Master. 18. And so, comfort you one another with these words. (AENT)
Daniel 9: 26 Then, after the sixty-two weeks, Mashiach will be cut off and have nothing. The people of a prince yet to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary, but his end will come with a flood, and desolations are decreed until the war is over. 27 He will make a strong covenant with leaders for one week [of years]. For half of the week he will put a stop to the sacrifice and the grain offering. On the wing of detestable things the desolator will come and continue until the already decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator."
- While Scripture DOES talk about that "man of perdition" or "prince yet to come" (Daniel 9:26-27), the "Antichrist" is not necessarily just one man, but a system or body of men animated by one spirit. There have been many "antichrists" (anyone who is against Messiah Yeshua) in the world over the last two millennia, and so that dubious honor cannot go to just one man.
- The so-called "seven year tribulation" is a myth, as Scripture never suggests the tribulation lasts seven years. Man has endured "tribulation" since He was put out of the Garden of Eden - including disease, wars, famine, pestilence, etc. (Yeshua, our Savior, personally endured a Tribulation that resulted in a horrendous death that included humiliation and torture at the hands of spiritually blinded people. What would one call that, if not "tribulation"?)
- The seven year period referred to in Scripture starts on the day the "prince yet to come" (referring to some well-known, well-loved world leader at the time) will make a seven-year covenant/peace treaty with Israel (Daniel 9:26-27). This is when the "end times scenario" actually begins to unfold, with the horrendous events that lead to Armageddon starting at the halfway mark (after 3 ½ years) when the "prince" begins to "back-pedal" on his promises to allow the Jews to worship according to Torah. Believers will be here through those events because, as Scripture reveals, Yeshua does NOT return until the end of those seven years.
Yes, we are in the "end times" and here's why (please read this very carefully!):
Matthew 24: 27. For as the sunshine comes out from the East and is seen even in the West, thus will be the coming of the Son of man. 28. Wherever the carcass is, there will the eagles gather. 29. And immediately after the suffering of those days, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not shine its light. And the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. 30. And then will be seen the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the land mourn, when they will see the Son of man who comes upon the clouds of heaven with great power and glory.
31. And he will send his Messengers with a large trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from the four winds from one end of heaven to the other. 32. Now from the fig tree learn a parable. As soon as its branches become tender and bring forth its leaves, you know that summer has arrived. 33. Thus also when you have seen all these things, know that it has arrived at the door. 34. Truly I say to you, that this tribe will not pass until all these things happen.
35. Heaven and earth may pass, but my word will not pass. 36. About the day and about the hour no man knows, not even the Messengers of heaven, but the Father alone.
Note: These words are very powerful because they show that Yeshua did NOT in any way negate, usurp or abolish His Father's Word or authority. Yeshua, during the time He walked the Earth, wasn't privy to the "day or the hour" yet many people view Him as someone who came to do away with everything the Father ever commanded and basically replace YHWH as God.
Matthew 24: 37. And as in the days of Nukh (Noah), thus will be the coming of the Son of man. 38. For as they were before the deluge, eating and drinking and taking women and giving them in marriage to men up to the day that Nukh entered into the ark. 39. And they did not know until the deluge came and took them all, thus will be the coming of the Son of man. 40. Then two men will be in the field, one will be taken and one will be left. 41. And two women will be grinding at the mill. One will be taken and one will be left.
42. Therefore be alert, because you do not know in what hour your Master will come. 43. And know this, that if the master of the house had known, he would not have allowed his house to be plundered. 44. Because of this also, you should be prepared, because in an hour that you do not expect, the Son of man will come. 45. Then who is the faithful and wise servant whom his master has appointed over his household to give them food in due time. 46. That servant is blessed when his master comes and finds him doing thus. 47. I say truly to you, that he will appoint him over all that he owns.
48. But if a servant being evil in his heart says that "My master will be delayed in coming." 49. And begins to beat his fellow-servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50. The master of that servant will come in a day that he does not expect, and in an hour that he does not know. 51. And he will cut him in two and give him his lot among the hypocrites, and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth
In the days of Noah, man was so evil, decadent and ungodly, that YHWH decided to wipe man off the face of the Earth. Thanks to one single righteous and obedient man and his family upon whom God showed mercy, mankind was spared complete annihilation and the Earth was eventually re-populated.
Genesis 6: 5 ADONAI saw that the people on earth were very wicked, that all the imaginings of their hearts were always of evil only. 6 ADONAI regretted that he had made humankind on the earth; it grieved his heart. 7 ADONAI said, "I will wipe out humankind, whom I have created, from the whole earth; and not only human beings, but animals, creeping things and birds in the air; for I regret that I ever made them."
8 But Noach found grace in the sight of ADONAI.
Genesis 6: 11 The earth was corrupt before God, the earth was filled with violence. 12 God saw the earth, and, yes, it was corrupt; for all living beings had corrupted their ways on the earth. 13 God said to Noach, "The end of all living beings has come before me, for because of them the earth is filled with violence. I will destroy them along with the earth.
The days of Lot, beginning in Genesis 19 (many years after the Flood when the Earth had been repopulated) weren't much different. YHWH had given man a brand new start, and what did man do? Same ol' thing! (See, for example, Genesis 19:4-6)....
Man has been killing, going to war with his fellow man, stealing, raping, lying, hating, cheating, making idols for himself (not only worshiping "other gods" but also money and possessions, status, and we have even deified some mere humans such as Elvis Presley, Princess Diana and Michael Jackson, etc. - who didn't dream that in their deaths they would be nothing more than pawns in the money game where everybody has their hands out) and generally exhibiting willful disobedience against YHWH since the day Adam and Eve ignored His Torah command to stay away from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:17). It is no secret that there has been a steady decline of morality and a rise in decadence, aggressive behavior and violence over the years, starting in the late Fifties/early Sixties (or, about the same time when man decided to remove the Ten Commandments from church and government buildings.)
In today's "modern" world, the things that God considers "bad" are considered "good" by society society-at-large. Case in point, homosexuality used to be taboo (YHWH and Yeshua's Apostles called it "an abomination" and something to be shunned - Leviticus 18: 22, Deuteronomy 22:5, Romans 1:22-32, 1 Timothy 1:9-11); whereas today, we are being forced by all manner of media, the film industry and the world's governments to be "tolerant" and accepting.
In our Torah-less world, most have decided there is no God and we can do whatever we please. It's all about "me" and never mind the consequences! Even many Christians have become so lethargic about God that they've chosen to turn a blind eye to all kinds of sin because they erroneously feel that cannot "judge" others because we are commanded to love and forgive. While that may be true, what they don't realize is that the scriptures about "judging" our neighbors are not suggesting we turn a blind eye to our neighbor's sins and keep mum about them; but rather, we are to weigh against the TORAH the things we see our neighbors doing, and then "rebuke them sharply" (Titus 1:13) if they have veered from God's Path.
James 4: 10. Humble yourselves before Master YHWH and He will exalt you. 11. Speak not against each other, my Brothers; for he that speaks against his brother, or judges his brother speaks against Torah and judges Torah. And if you judge Torah, you are not a doer of Torah, but its judge. (AENT)
This means, if you add your own judgments to those already established in the Torah of YHWH, then you have judged Torah as insufficient, and are not allowing it to be your judge.
There are many examples that could be cited about the present state of our world, but the bottom line is, today "Tolerance" has become the norm. "Political correctness" is in. So is stupidity. "Jesus abolished the Law at the cross! Heck, we're no longer bound by those ol' rules!" The question is, where did YHWH ever suggest that His Torah would be abolished the moment His Son died? How does it even make sense that Torah - which is our ONLY blueprint for moral, holy living - would be abolished. If we don't have Torah, how else are we going to determine what sin is? (See 1 John 3:4.)
1 Peter 3: 18. For the Mashiyach also once died for our sins, the righteous for sinners; that he might bring you to Elohim. And he died in body but lived in spirit. 19. And he preached to those souls which were detained in Sheol (Hades) 20. which were formerly disobedient in the days of Noah when the long suffering of Elohim commanded an ark to be made, in hope of their repentance; and eight souls only entered into it and were kept alive in the waters.
FOOTNOTE: "Alive in the waters" points to the waters of the Mikveh, the complete immersion (baptism) into living waters after a soul has repented of their sin and agreed to walk in the newness of life (the Kingdom) as offered through Mashiyach. It is also worth noting that the words "in hope of their repentance" do not appear in the Greek versions.
But the church will be raptured before all that happens - Won't it?
In a word: No.
First of all, as hard as it might be for most Christians to fathom this, there is no such thing as "church." "Church" is from German KIRCH and has pagan origins. The actual Aramaic word AIDATA, from Hebrew ADAT, means an "assembly of Israel." and then into English as "church" which references the all-Gentile congregations who "believe in Jesus." The other Hebrew word related to it is KAHAL, also meaning assembly or congregation. KAHAL has been translated as EKKLESIA in Greek, so "church" is not a good translation from Greek either. And nowhere in Scripture do we see that "the church" or even an entire "assembly" will be "raptured"....
Those who will be "caught up in the air" to meet Yeshua on the day He returns, are those believers whom YHWH will choose to rule and reign with Yeshua for a thousand years on the Earth. No clear Scriptural criteria is given (other than being righteous) as to who among the believers are taken up and who are left behind upon Yeshua's Second Coming. Plus, it seems that, just because you are left behind, doesn't mean you are not righteous. You may have simply been chosen to minister to others left in the wake of the "rapture".....
Revelation 20: 1. And I saw a Messenger that descended from heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2. And he seized the dragon, the old serpent, who is the Deceiver and Satan, who seduced the whole habitable world: and he bound him a thousand years. 3. And he cast him into the abyss and closed and sealed upon him; so that he might deceive the nations no more until these thousand years will be completed: but after that, he will be released for but a short time. 4. And I saw thrones, and (persons) sat on them, and judgment was given to them, and to the souls that were beheaded for the testimony of Y'shua and for the Word of Elohim: and these are they who had not worshipped the beast of prey nor its image; neither had they received the mark upon their forehead or on their hand; and they lived and reigned with their Mashiyach those thousand years. 5. This is the first resurrection. 6. Blessed and Set Apart is he that has part in this first resurrection: over them the second death has no dominion; but they will be, (and) are, priests of Elohim and of his Mashiyach; and they will reign with him the thousand years.
Secondly, those who are considered righteous are those who have the testimony of Yeshua AND keep YHWH's commandments.
Matthew 24: 21. For then will be great suffering such as has not been from the beginning of the world until the present, nor will ever be again. 22. And if those days were not shortened, not any flesh would live, but because of the chosen, those days will be shortened.
Who are the "chosen" (or "elect" in some versions)? Please read this very carefully:
1 Peter: 1. PETER, a Shaliach of Y'shua the Mashiyach, to the elect and sojourners who are dispersed in Pontus and in Galatia and in Cappadocia and in Asia and in Bithynia, 2. to them who have been chosen, by the foreknowledge of Elohim the Father through sanctification of the Spirit, to the obedience and the sprinkling of the blood of Y'shua the Mashiyach: May grace and peace abound towards you.
Please note that being "elect" is also dependent upon whether or not a soul chooses and maintains obedience to YHWH. The "elect" are NOT comprised of those who disobeyed YHWH's "forever" Torah commands (such as keeping the Biblical Feasts and the Seventh Day Sabbath, which is a sign between YHWH and His people, Ezekiel 20:11-12). This is reiterated twice - in Revelation 12 and 14:
Revelation 12: 17. And the dragon was enraged against the woman; and he went to make war upon the remnant of her seed who keep the Commandments of Elohim and have the testimony of Y'shua.
Revelation 14: 12. Here is the patience of the Set Apart believers who keep the commandments of Elohim, and the faith of Y'shua.
NOTE: Two very distinct groups; one willfully breaks the Commandments of Elohim and causes others to do the same, but the other group keeps the Commandments of Elohim and observes Torah. Please note, the above scriptures don't mention the "Ten Commandments". They simply refer to "the Commands" or "the Commandments", depending on which Bible version you use....God warns us in Proverbs 4:2 - "I give you good instruction: Do not forsake my Torah." With the advent of Catholicism and Christianity, the entire "Old Testament", along with God's original teaching and instruction, basically became null and void. Therefore, when "the rapture" finally happens, many will be very surprised to discover they were left behind....
Rav (Rabbi) Shaul says in several places, namely Romans 3:31, Romans 11, Ephesians 2:11-16 that believers are grafted into Israel, but they don't replace Israel. Rather they are subject to Israel's laws. That is why he is quoting Torah in the first place. In Numbers 15:13-16 YHWH reiterates four times that anyone who chooses to accept Him as their God is to do exactly as the Torah observant Houses of Israel and Judah do (with whom He made His New Covenant - Jeremiah 31:32):
Numbers 15: 13 "'Everyone who is native-born must do these things in this way when he brings an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to the LORD. 14 For the generations to come, whenever an alien or anyone else living among you presents an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to the LORD, he must do exactly as you do. 15 The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien living among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the alien shall be the same before the LORD: 16 The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the alien living among you.'"
Unfortunately, the word "church" denotes something that Christians have been holding over "the Jews" for two thousand years. Using verses such as Ephesians 5:25-27, they suggest that only "the church" will be "raptured" and that everyone who doesn't "believe in Jesus" will go to hell.
Ephesians 5: 25. Husbands, love your wives, even as the Mashiyach loved his assembly and delivered himself up for it; 26. That he might sanctify it and cleanse it by the washing of water and by the Word; 27. And might constitute it a glorious assembly for himself, in which is no stain and no wrinkle and nothing like them; but that it might be Set Apart and without blemish.
These verses are twisted by Christian theologians to dish out a "limited atonement" theology that only Christians "get saved." What they overlook is that Mashiyach's suffering established atonement for all YHWH's people, from the time of Adam, millennia before "Christians" even existed. And that the original Netzarim faith, which is spurned by the Church is being referenced; certainly not "modernized" Christianity. If the Torah observant Paul were to witness the rampant paganism in the modern Church, he would never endorse it or be part of it. Mashiyach Y'shua says to all who break Torah, "I never knew you, depart from me ye workers of iniquity." The "glorious assembly" Mashiyach suffered for are they who live for and in Mashiyach, are sanctified by the Word of YHWH and whose love for YHWH and each other is based in Torah rather than the doctrines of men.
Back to the "rapture"....
Historically, although the term "rapture" was coined by Margaret Mac Donald in Scotland in 1830 (in a vision she had "of the coming of the Lord," to show that people will be transported to heaven, some without having to pass through physical death), the theory was actually invented by Jesuits in the late 1500's when Protestants were pointing to the Vatican as "The Mystery Harlot of Babylon" system in the Book of Revelation. At that time, several Futurist movements had sprung up in Europe suggesting that the book of Revelation was entirely future and that Rome, therefore, could not be the harlot. The Jesuits consequently peddled the "rapture theory" that "the saints" would not be on Earth during the time of tribulation, thereby, taking pressure off of Rome.
Having said all the above, this study aims to bust the "pre-trib" myth because, as we will see later on, Rav Shaul (Apostle Paul) clearly teaches that the first resurrection and the "catching up" will occur at the return of Mashiyach, which will be around the same time that the Earth will be going up in smoke (2 Peter 3:10-12) at the end of Jacob's Trouble.
As mentioned above, the word "rapture" does not appear in Scriptures, and what's more, it is not a gentle "floating into the clouds" as some Christian scholars would have you believe but, rather, a quick "translation" from physical to spiritual flesh while alive - happening on a massive scale for the righteous at a specific moment in time when we suddenly cease to be here on Earth, and immediately find ourselves in the Presence of Yeshua in the "in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye" (1 Cor. 15:52). Evidence of this "translation" comes from several sources including 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 which tells us there will be a "catching up" of Believers, and 1 Corinthians 15:49-58 which tells us that all believers who have ever lived and died will "rise" and be "changed" instantaneously:
1 Corinthians 15: 35. But some one of you may say: How will the dead arise and with what body will they come forth? 36. Foolish man! The seed which you sow, is not resurrected unless it dies. 37. And that which you sow, you do not sow the body that is to be, but the naked kernel of wheat or barley, or of the other grains: 38. And Elohim gives it a body, according to His will; and to each of the grains its natural body. 39. And every body is not alike; for the body of a man is one thing, and that of a beast is another, and that of a bird is another, and that of a fish is another. 40. And there are bodies celestial, and bodies terrestrial; but the glory of the celestial (bodies) is one, and that of the terrestrial is another.
41. And the glory of the sun is one thing, and the glory of the moon is another, and the glory of the stars is another; and one star exceeds another star in glory. 42. So (it is) also with the resurrection of the dead. They are sown in corruption, they arise without corruption: 43. They are sown in dishonor, they arise in glory: they are sown in weakness, they arise in power: 44. is sown an animal body, it arises a spiritual body. For there is a body of the animal life, and there is a body of the spirit. 45. So also is it written: "Adam, the first man, became a living soul;" the second Adam (became) a resurrecting spirit. 46. And the spiritual was not first; but the animal, and then the spiritual. 47. The first man was of dust from the earth; the second man was Master YHWH from heaven.
48. As he was of the dust, so also those who are of the dust; and as was he who was from heaven, so also are the heavenly. 49. And as we have worn the likeness of him from the dust, so will we wear the likeness of him from heaven. 50. But this I say, my Brothers that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of Heaven: neither does corruption inherit incorruption. 51. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52. Suddenly, as in the twinkling of an eye, at the last shofar, when it will sound; and the dead will arise, without corruption; and we will be changed. 53. For this which is corruptible, is to put on incorruption; and that which dies, will put on immortality.
54. And when that which is corruptible, will put on incorruption, and that which dies, immortality; then will take place the Word that is written, "Death is absorbed in victory." 55. Where is thy sting, O death? And where is thy victory, O Sheol? 56. Now the sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is Torah. 57. But thanks be to Elohim that gives us the victory, through our Master Y'shua the Mashiyach. 58. Wherefore, my Brothers and my beloved, be steadfast, and not weak willed; but be at all times generous in the work of Master YHWH; seeing you know that your labor is not in vain in Master YHWH.
FOOTNOTE: When Torah is diminished, the knowledge of sin is diminished; when Torah is increased the knowledge of sin is increased. The strength of sin is Torah, because it is Torah which makes it clear or plain what sin is; Torah explains sin and clarifies it. The sting of death is brought on by sin; the strength of sin is elucidated in Torah.
1 Thessalonians 4: 16. Because our Master (Y'shua) will himself descend from heaven with the mandate and with the voice of the chief Messenger and with the Qarna (trumpet/shofar) of Elohim; and the dead who are in the Mashiyach will first arise; 17. and then we who survive and are alive will be caught up together with them to the clouds to meet our Master (Y'shua) in the air; and so will we be ever with our Master.
Please note, this refers to only believers, both dead and alive, who will meet Yeshua in the air; not the unbelievers! They don't rise until the end of the millenium when we will ALL stand before YHWH on Judgment Day (Revelation 20:11-15).
Ironically, the above shows beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the so-called "Pre-tribulation rapture" (which suggests "the church" will be zapped out of here before "the tribulation" comes, is a complete myth! Nobody is going to be "caught up" away from the Earth UNTIL Yeshua's Second Coming!
All kinds of theories abound about "the rapture" but, while no one really knows precisely how things will unfold or the exact timing of the "catching up," Scripture does provide many clues. Unfortunately, these clues have fallen victim to man's religiosity - the various ideas, thoughts and opinions of the myriad Bible teachers and pastors from a plethora of different Christian denominations who, with their limited human mindsets, have managed to twist much of God's Truth.
This is what we do know, however - and here you will gain some insights that differ from what you've heard before:
(1) Yeshua (Jesus) is crucified.
(2) His ruach (Holy Spirit) administers to some souls in Sheol (hell), presumably to the righteous like Samuel who were sleeping. (May be related to the small righteous resurrection at the end of Matthew.)
(3) He resurrects three days later with ruach (spirit) and nefesh (soul) in a restored physical body.
(4) Ascends to heaven (twice), last time just prior to Shavuot (Feast of Weeks/Pentecost, which is celebrated during the May/June timeframe on our Gregorian calendars), and becomes "the Word of YHWH" once more.
(5) Emerges at judgment as the Word of YHWH but in physical form (Revelation 19:13), but after this his bodily state is unclear: 13. And he was clothed with a vesture sprinkled with blood; and his name is called, The Word of Elohim.
For believers, we see the following process:
(1) Our nefesh (soul) dies (Ezekiel 18:20 and Romans 6:23) and our ruach (spirit) returns to YHWH who gave it (Ecclesiastes 9).
(2) Everyone who died pre-Yeshua, excepting Enoch (Genesis 5:23-25) and Elijah (2 Kings 2) and "many of" the Set Apart believers mentioned in Matthew 27:51-53, is still in the grave awaiting judgment. (Note: Being "Set Apart" unto YHWH, means to be led by the Ruach haKodesh to keep the Commandments of YHWH. Belief in itself does not make one Set Apart; even the demons "believe" in YHWH and His Mashiyach [Ya'akov/James 2:19]).
(3) Everyone who has died since the day Yeshua martyred himself is still in the grave awaiting judgment.
(4) At judgment, "the day of YHWH" - a time of awe, judgment and gathering (see Isaiah 13:6,9; Jeremiah 46:10; Joel 1:15; 2:11; Amos 5:18; Obadiah 1:15) which happens after Yeshua's thousand year reign on Earth (Revelation 20:1-15), there is a resurrection of the righteous and of the wicked (Acts 24:15). The righteous go to eternal life; the wicked, to eternal destruction. Yeshua specifically says to fear his Father in heaven who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna (Luke 12:5).
Jude 1: 11. Woe to them; for they have gone in the way of Cain; and after the error of Balaam, they have lusted for gain; and in the rebellion of Korah, they have perished. 12. These are they who, in their feastings, riot while polluting themselves, feeding themselves without fear; clouds without rain, moved about by the winds; trees whose fruit has failed, and they are without fruit, twice dead, and uplifted from their root; 13. raging waves of the sea which, by their foam, manifest their confusion; shooting stars for which is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
14. And of them also prophesied Enoch who was the seventh from Adam when he said: Behold, Master YHWH comes with myriads of his Set Apart believers; 15 to execute judgment upon all and to convict all the wicked because of all the deeds they have wickedly committed; and because of all the hard speeches which they, sinners without Elohim, have uttered. 16. These are they who argue and complain of everything while they walk according to their lusts; and their mouth speaks shocking things; and they flatter people for the sake of gain.
17. But do you, my beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the Shlichim of our Master Y'shua the Mashiyach; 18. because they told you that in the end of the times there would be scoffers going after wickedness according to their lusts. 19. These are they that separate (themselves), sensual persons, not having the Spirit. 20. But, my beloved, you be newly strengthened in your Set Apart faith through the Ruach haKodesh, while you pray. 21. And let us keep ourselves in the love of Elohim while we wait for the mercy of our Master Y'shua the Mashiyach to our eternal life.
FOOTNOTE: We have witnessed an early influence of this Epistle, and we know that Jude was fully accepted on the Roman lists by the year 170, but an alleged problem shows itself when this Epistle is discussed. Specifically that Jude references two apocryphal books: "But Michael, the chief messenger, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him but said, "YHWH rebuke you" (Jude 1:9). "And about these also Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold YHWH came with many thousands of His Set Apart ones" (Jude 1:14).
The books quoted from were in circulation during the First Century; therefore, Jude could have also written his letter during this time. The quotation lends credence to that time period as it would have preceded rabbinic rulings of the late First Century that fixed the Jewish canon. Also, the Dead Sea Scrolls reveal a wide variety of books not officially canonized by Jews that nevertheless found strong adherents. Therefore, Jude was merely referring to stories he knew his audience would be familiar with. However, the final nail in the coffin comes with the help of Shaliach Paul: For in him it is we live and move and exist: as one of your own wise men has said: From him is our descent. (Acts 17:28). Be not deceived; "Evil stories corrupt well-disposed minds" (1 Corinthians 15:33).
One of them, a prophet of their own, said, "The Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, idle bellies" (Titus 1:12). Each of these passages quotes a Pagan poet! 1 Corinthians is drawing straight out of a play by Menander; Titus is a verbatim phrase lifted out of the poems of Epimenides, and the quote from Acts was so frequently used by Greek poets as to make a listing of them cumbersome and unnecessary! Has anyone then said Acts, Titus or 1 Corinthians should be excluded because they draw from sources that were not themselves ultimately canonized?
Certainly not! Obviously both Jude and Paul knew something about the contemporary culture of those whom they were addressing, and they simply used this knowledge to make a point. Perhaps this indicates why the writings of Jude were rejected by some communities, while simultaneously enjoying widespread acceptance and influence by others from a very early date.
2 Peter 2: 9. Master YHWH knows how to rescue from afflictions those who fear him, and he will reserve the wicked for the day of judgment to be tormented, 10. and especially them who go after the flesh in the lusts of pollution, and despise government. Daring and boasting without cause they do not quake with awe while they blaspheme; 11. as opposed to the Messengers, greater than they in might and valor, do not bring against them a reproachful judgment.
12. But these, like nasty beasts that by nature are for slaughter and corruption, while engaging in evil speech regarding things they don't know, will perish in their own corruption; 13. they being persons with whom iniquity is the reward of iniquity, and by them rioting in the daytime is accounted delightful; defiled and full of blemishes (are they), indulging themselves at their ease while they give themselves up to pleasure; 14. having eyes that are full of adultery and sins that never end; seducing unstable souls; and having a heart exercised in greed; children of cursing: 15. And, having left the correct path, they have wandered and gone in the way of Balaam the son of Beor who loved the wages of iniquity, 16. and who had for the corrector of his transgression a mute mule which, speaking with the speech of men, rebuked the madness of the prophet.
17. These are wells without water, clouds driven by a storm, persons for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness. 18. For, while they utter astonishing vanity, they seduce with obscene lusts of the flesh, them who have almost abandoned these that walk in error. 19. And they promise them liberty while they themselves are the slaves of corruption: for, by whatever thing a man is vanquished, to that is he enslaved. 20. For if, when they have escaped the pollutions of the world by the knowledge of our Master and Redeemer Y'shua the Mashiyach, they become again involved in the same and are vanquished, their latter state is worse than the former. 21. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after having known (it), to turn back from the Set Apart Commandment that was delivered to them.
(5) In Matthew 24 we begin to see that some believers will be translated (cease to exist here on Earth to suddenly find themselves in the Presence of Yeshua). No clear Scriptural criteria is given (other than being righteous) as to who among the believers are taken up and who are left behind upon Yeshua's Second Coming. It seems that, just because you are left behind, doesn't mean you are not righteous. You may have simply been chosen to minister to others left in the wake of the "rapture".....
It is important to note that the "rapture" is not something linked only to the end times, because it happened to Enoch and Elijah who, we are told, were taken BODILY up to heaven without dying (Genesis 5:24, 2 Kings 2:11). Once there, we can only make guesses as to what happened to their physical bodies because, as 1 Corinthians 15 above has shown, YHWH gives us a new spiritual body.
But does this mean that our physical bodies, upon Yeshua's return, will float up into the air? Not necessarily, and we won't know for sure until it happens. We saw in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 that it will be "in the twinkling of an eye," and Matthew 24:40 reveals that this "translation" from physical to spiritual bodies will be sudden:
Matthew 24: 40. Then two men will be in the field, one will be taken and one will be left. 41. And two women will be grinding at the mill. One will be taken and one will be left. 42. Therefore be alert, because you do not know in what hour your Master will come.
In John 5 we learn that everyone will be "translated" - some to eternal life and some to judgment:
John 5: 28. Do not marvel at this for the hour is coming when all those who are in the grave will hear his voice! 29. And those who have done good things will go forth to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil things to the resurrection of judgment.
Those who know Scripture realize that the above lists two events that are actually separated by a thousand years, as we will show a little later on. The "resurrection of life" is the first resurrection, which happens just prior to Yeshua's Second Coming; and the "resurrection of judgment" does not occur until a thousand years later at the end of Messiah's millennial reign, when everyone who has ever lived will stand before YHWH on Judgment Day. These things are outlined in the following:
Daniel 12: 1 "When that time comes, Mikha'el, the great prince who champions your people, will stand up; and there will be a time of distress unparalleled between the time they became a nation and that moment. At that time, your people will be delivered, everyone whose name is found written in the book. 2 Many of those sleeping in the dust of the earth will awaken, some to everlasting life and some to everlasting shame and abhorrence. 3 But those who can discern will shine like the brightness of heaven's dome, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.
Acts 24: 15. And I have a hope in Elohim, which they also themselves expect, that there is to be a resurrection of the dead, both of the righteous and the wicked.
Luke 14: 14. And you will be blessed because they have nothing to repay you. For your repayment will be in the resurrection of the righteous.
Revelation 20: 11. And I saw a great white throne and Him who sits upon it; from whose presence the earth and heaven fled away, and this their place was not found. 12. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is (the book) of life. And the dead were judged from the things written in the books, according to their deeds. 13. And the sea gave up the dead in it; and death and Sheol gave up the dead in them. And they were judged, each one according to his deeds. 14. And death and Sheol were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death (namely,) this lake of fire. 15. And if any one was not found enrolled in the book of life, he was cast into this lake of fire.
There is NO immediate "resurrection"!
Luke 16:22-31 - Yeshua speaks in parables and you must go back to Luke 16:19 which says, "Now there was a certain rich man...", that is, this is a story you must listen to and be able to understand. The parable is NOT about "immediate resurrection."
Luke 23:43 - "Y'shua said to him, 'Truly I say to you today: You will be with me in paradise.'" From the footnote in the AENT: Compare the emphasis: "I say to you: *Today* you will be with me in Paradise" with, "I say to you today: *You* will be with me in Paradise." The first [emphasis 'Today'] promises the immediacy of ascension, as in "today." The second [emphasis 'You'] promises that as Y'shua is speaking in the moment, that "you" (the man) will be in paradise." It is the second emphasis this scripture intends.
2 Corinthians 5:8 - "Therefore we are confident, and desirous to be away from the body, and to be with our Master (Y'shua)." The context says nothing about an immediate resurrection.
1 Peter 3:18-20 - "For the Mashiyach also once died for our sins, the righteous for sinners; that he might bring you to Elohim. And he died in body but lived in spirit. And he preached to those souls which were detained in Sheol (Hades) which were formerly disobedient in the days of Noah when the long suffering of Elohim commanded an ark to be made, in hope of their repentance; and eight souls only entered into it and were kept alive in the waters."
Also says nothing about an immediate resurrection....
Revelation 6:9 - "And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them who were slain on account of the Word of Elohim, and on account of the testimony to the Lamb which was with them."
How, then, does one conclude this scripture means there is an "immediate resurrection"? It says: "And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them who were slain on account of the Word of Elohim, and on account of the testimony to the Lamb which was with them." These were those who were slain on account of the Word of Elohim, possibly only the one fourth of the earth, those slain from the rider of death in verse 8, but even if it means "all" who were slain for the Word, it certainly is a "leap" to conclude that it means there is an "immediate resurrection".
While we're on the subject, let's discuss the "eternal life" promise....
What's eternal life? It's not just "living forever"....John chapter 17:2-3 tells us exactly what it is! Here you find Yeshua talking to YHWH, saying: "Just as you have given him authority over all flesh that whomever You have given him, he will give to him life that is eternal. Now this is life eternal, that they might know You, that You are Elohim of Truth, and he alone whom You have sent, the Messiah Yeshua." In Yeshua's own words He is saying that eternal life is not just "believing" or "trusting" but, rather, it is KNOWING YHWH AND YESHUA.
Just how do we do this? We get a clear clue in 1 John 2:3-6: "The way we can be sure we know Him is if we are obeying His commands. Anyone who says, 'I know Him,' but isn't obeying His commands is a liar - the truth is not in him. But if someone keeps doing what he says, then truly love for God has been brought to its goal in him. This is how we are sure that we are united with Him. A person who claims to be continuing in union with Him ought to conduct his life the way He did."
Scripture is clear that man, whom YHWH created, is mortal, with life ending in eternal death for those who choose to ignore Him (Romans 6:23). Had YHWH not been full of grace and mercy all along, He would have killed Adam and Eve instead of simply removing them from the Garden of Eden after they chose to disobey Him. But He, through His grace and mercy, decided to allow man to continue to live because He had an ultimate plan - and that plan included rules for mankind to follow! Ignoring those rules can have dire consequences as we see below:
Genesis 3: 22 ADONAI, God, said, "See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now, to prevent his putting out his hand and taking also from the tree of life, eating, and living forever -" 23 therefore ADONAI, God, sent him out of the garden of 'Eden to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.
Genesis 6: 5 ADONAI saw that the people on earth were very wicked, that all the imaginings of their hearts were always of evil only.
Genesis 6: 17 "Then I myself will bring the flood of water over the earth to destroy from under heaven every living thing that breathes; everything on earth will be destroyed.
Genesis 7: 6 Noach was 600 years old when the water flooded the earth. 7 Noach went into the ark with his sons, his wife and his sons' wives, because of the floodwaters.
Genesis 7: 11 On the seventeenth day of the second month of the 600th year of Noach's life all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of the sky were opened. 12 It rained on the earth forty days and forty nights.
Genesis 7: The water held power over the earth for 150 days.
Daniel 9: 4 I prayed to ADONAI my God and made this confession: "Please, Adonai, great and fearsome God, who keeps his covenant and extends grace to those who love him and observe his mitzvot! 5 We have sinned, done wrong, acted wickedly, rebelled and turned away from your mitzvot and rulings. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our leaders, our ancestors and to all the people of the land. 7 "To you, Adonai, belongs righteousness; but to us today belongs shame - to us, the men of Y'hudah, the inhabitants of Yerushalayim and all Isra'el, including those nearby and those far away, throughout all the countries where you have driven them; because they broke faith with you.
8 Yes, ADONAI, shame falls on us, our kings, our leaders and our ancestors; because we sinned against you. 9 It is for Adonai our God to show compassion and forgiveness, because we rebelled against him. 10 We didn't listen to the voice of ADONAI our God, so that we could live by his laws, which he presented to us through his servants the prophets. 11 Yes, all Isra'el flouted your Torah and turned away, unwilling to listen to your voice. Therefore the curse and oath written in the Torah of Moshe the servant of God was poured out on us, because we sinned against him. 12 He carried out the threats he spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us disaster so great that under all of heaven, nothing has been done like what has been done to Yerushalayim.
13 As written in the Torah of Moshe, this whole disaster came upon us. Yet we did not appease ADONAI our God by renouncing our wrongdoing and discerning your truth. 14 So ADONAI watched for the right moment to bring this disaster upon us, for ADONAI our God was just in everything he did, yet we didn't listen when he spoke. 15 "Now, Adonai our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a strong hand, thereby winning renown for yourself, as is the case today - we sinned, we acted wickedly. 16 Adonai, in keeping with all your justice, please allow your anger and fury to be turned away from your city Yerushalayim, your holy mountain; because it is due to our sins and the wrongdoings of our ancestors that Yerushalayim and your people have become objects of scorn among everyone around us.
17 Therefore, our God, listen to the prayer and pleadings of your servant; and cause your face to shine on your desolated sanctuary, for your own sake. 18 My God, turn your ear, and hear; open your eyes and see how desolated we are, as well as the city which bears your name. For we plead with you not because of our own righteousness, but because of your compassion. 19 Adonai, hear! Adonai, forgive! Adonai, pay attention, and don't delay action - for your own sake, my God, because your city and your people bear your name!"
Revelation 19: 11. And I saw heaven opened: and lo, a white horse; and he that sat on it is called Faithful and True: and in righteousness he judges, and makes war. 12. His eyes (were) like a flame of fire, and on his head (were) many diadems; and he had names inscribed; and the name which was written on him, no one knew, except himself. 13. And he was clothed with a vesture sprinkled with blood; and his name is called, The Word of Elohim. 14. And the army of heaven followed him on white horses, clad in garments of fine linen, pure (and) white. 15. And from his mouth issued a sharp two-edged sword, that with it he could strike the nations; and he will rule the nations with a rod of iron; and he will tread the wine-press of the wrath of Elohim Almighty. 16. And he has upon his vesture and upon his thigh the words written: King of Kings, and Master of Masters.
As you can see, YHWH is not kidding around. He demands we obey His Torah. And yet, rather than to dive headfirst into "God's swimming pool," most people continue to sit at the side with their feet dangling in the water....