And another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, ‘Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.’ So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia. ~ Revelation 14:18-20, ESV
The Spirit of prophecy (or the Light of Divine Revelation), which refers to the Holy Spirit’s illuminations about the evil conditions in the world that prompt God’s judgment and punishment (Daniel’s 70th Week; God’s Wrath) upon the Earth, declares that believers are living in the time when the end of the Lord’s ekklesia AGE soon will happen. What is the proof of this opening statement? Jesus the Christ’s famous teaching known as the Olivet Discourse provides the evidence, which confirms for this current century of believers that they NOW are living when the promised Raptures will take place.
That’s right! The Word of God does mention more than one Rapture. However, even though the Rapture of the Bride of Christ is not discussed in the Olivet Discourse, it is alluded to; more important, the Rapture of the Bride of Christ will be the initial last days and end times’ RAPTURE that will take place long before the remnant of Judah signs the Turkish Antichrist’s proposed “covenant of death,” after which Daniel’s 70th Week starts (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; Isaiah 28:15, 18; Daniel 9:27).
Be that as it may; the primary passage and the parallel passages of Jesus the Christ’s Olivet Discourse are found in Matthew 24 through Matthew 25, Mark 13:1-37, and Luke 21:5-36. In His Olivet Discourse, Jesus the Christ catalogs for His disciples the various signs that will indicate the prevailing evil conditions that will be in the world prior to His Second Coming (His bodily return, when His feet touch the Mount of Olives; see Zechariah 14:1-4). Jesus the Christ specifically makes it clear that although these signs of the times will begin before Daniel’s 70th Week starts, the ultimate fulfillment of every one of these signs will take place during the last 7 years of Daniel’s 70 Weeks of Years, or the missing 7 years of his 490 years! Moreover, Jesus the Christ makes it clear that these signs (“beginning of sorrows”) are primarily for alerting ALL of His genuine believers/disciples, but primarily His Jewish disciples, about being prepared to depart from this Earth so that they will not have to face God’s Wrath, which will not stop until all of God and Jesus the Christ’s enemies are defeated at the Battle of Armageddon.
Once again, in the Olivet Discourse, Jesus the Christ is describing the Rapture to His original Jewish disciples. That’s right. Despite the fact that many last days and end times biblical prophecy scholars argue that, since no Hebrew prior to this point in time was aware of God’s mystery concerning the Body of Christ, and since no Hebrew was aware of God’s mystery concerning Jesus the Christ living inside every Body of Christ member, these are the main reasons why He, thus, isn’t talking at all about any Rapture, especially NOT the completion of God’s saved by Grace program (the Rapture of the Bride of Christ). Indeed, many of these same last days and end times biblical prophecy scholars say that the only Scriptures that address any possible Rapture of the Bride of Christ are John 14:1-4, 1 Corinthians 15:51-53, and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17.
Then too, there are those last days and end times biblical prophecy scholars who believe and teach that Matthew 24:1-2 primarily describes the 70 A.D. events, which were the fulfillment of all the biblical prophecies concerning the destruction of the Jewish Temple, Jerusalem, and the scattering of Israel’s Jews. Now, while the Romans did destroy the Temple and Jerusalem in the year 70 A.D., as well as slaughtered and scattered the Jews in this same year, 70 A.D. was NOT the last time Jerusalem would be trampled under by Gentiles, nor the last time the Jews would be slaughtered and scattered. In the year 135 A.D., the Romans once again slaughtered and banned/scattered the Jerusalem Jews, ran a plow over Jerusalem, started rebuilding the city as a Roman colony, changed Jerusalem’s name to Aelia Capitolina, and changed Israel and Judea’s names to Palestine.
Additionally, there are those last days and end times biblical prophecy scholars who believe and teach that Matthew 24:40-41 and the parallel passage in Luke 17:34-36 are not about any Rapture, but rather these verses are just about the end of the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. In particular, said scholars believe and teach that these mentioned Scriptures are about the “Tribulation” survivors, who will be taken off the Earth, and those who will remain on the Earth near the Lord. The only problem with this belief and teaching is that these end times biblical prophecy scholars say the ones who are TAKEN off the Earth (or received near Jesus Christ, as another verse says) are those who will take the Mark of the Beast, and the ones who are LEFT on the Earth are those who will NOT take the Beast’s Mark. These abovementioned beliefs and teachings will be explained a little later.
It should be noted here that these believed and taught last days and end times biblical prophecies that deny any Raptures and deny that Israel’s scatterings continue after 70 A.D., and/or contradict the “Tribulation’s” taken and left individuals all fall apart, when they are examined in light of Jesus the Christ’s Olivet Discourse. How so? Well, because in His Olivet Discourse, Jesus the Christ positively shows the similarities between a watchful, prepared believer and the watchful, prepared homeowner. The Lord says that if the good homeowner knew when his house would be burglarized, he would have been prepared and would have stayed alert, while he waited for the intruder, so that the good homeowner could stop the thief from entering his house.
In essence, the Lord is saying that the thief in the night only catches the unprepared, unwatchful, and extremely careless stewards (servants) by surprise! Contextually speaking, for example, in the Scriptures that describe two in the field and two at the mill, with one of each pair being “taken” and the other of each pair being “left” (cf. Matthew 24:40-44), the Lord most definitely is saying that when His true believers are prepared and alert, watching for His return, they will not be caught off guard! That is to say, the Lord is making it clear that His true believers can be understood to be the Bride of Christ (the resurrected dead in Christ, which would include the Lord’s Olivet Discourse hearers—His first century Jewish disciples—who in the future would be lifted up to meet Christ Jesus in the air right before the alive in Christ would be raptured), as well as understood to be Daniel’s 70th Week’s 144,000 Jewish evangelists, the alive sifted like wheat left behind unprepared believers in Christ, and the “Tribulation’s” converted but martyred Jewish and Gentile believers.
Here is why the above statements about what Jesus the Christ is teaching in Matthew 24:40 and 41 are true. In these Scriptures, the English word “taken” is translated from the Greek word paralambano, and paralambano means to “receive close or near to”; moreover, this paralambano is the same word used for the English word “receive,” which is found in John 14:3. In this last mentioned Scripture, Jesus the Christ specifically uses the same paralambano word that He uses in His Olivet Discourse, when He tells His Last Supper disciples that He will “…come again and receive…” them unto Himself. Thus, if the ones in Matthew 24:40 and 41 are indeed the ones some last days and end times biblical prophecy scholars believe are never raptured, but were LEFT on Earth after never taking the Mark of the Beast, while the Mark of Beast recipients are the ones Jesus the Christ TOOK off the Earth, then that would mean that this paralambano word in John 14:3 would have a totally different meaning. Yet, it doesn’t, because the meaning of paralambano is the same in Matthew 24:40 and 41, and John 14:3.
Jesus the Christ, thus, is saying in both His Olivet Discourse and in His Upper Room’s Last Supper message that He will: paralambano the field and mill workers right along with His original disciples (those who, once again, by the last days, will have become the dead in Christ who will be resurrected and taken or snatched out of harm’s way right before the alive in Christ are raptured. The Lord will “take” off the Earth AND “receive” “close or near to” Himself the resurrected dead and raptured alive in Christ Bride of Christ, the raptured alive 144,000 Jewish evangelists, and the resurrected martyred converted and/or sifted like wheat Tribulation believers!
Now it should be obvious that the apostle Paul also is using a similar meaning of taken or paralambano, when he speaks of the Rapture (harpazo) of the Bride of Christ (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). She (His Bride) will be taken or snatched out of harm’s way, and without doubt the greatest harm’s way will be the unparalleled Wrath of God, which takes place during Daniel’s missing 70th Week (the last 7 years of Daniel’s prophesied 490 years).
For this reason, it is extremely important for people to understand that the English word “left” in Matthew 24:40 and 41 is translated from the Greek word aphiemi, and aphiemi means to forsake. This aphiemi word, then, is the reason why Jesus the Christ would NOT be keeping those near to Him (would not be receiving unto Himself) those whom He has “forsaken” or LEFT behind. In other words, Jesus the Christ isn’t saying that He is going to keep the ones near to Him on Earth He has forsaken, because the forsaken ones are the ones that He intentionally LEFT on Earth because they were not holy and righteous enough to be raptured (taken). If He, in the context of the above-stated Matthew verses, is NOT coming back to receive close to Himself those people He LEFT behind who didn’t take the Mark of the Beast, then that means that said Scriptures are not about the end-time survivors of the Tribulation (wheat/sheep and tares/goats), but rather about the Rapture and Resurrection that take place in end times AND, by extension, the Rapture and Resurrection that take place in the last days!
In other words, without doubt, those last days and end times biblical prophecy scholars, who are teaching that the ones “taken” in Matthew 24:40 and 41 (and the parallel Scriptures) are the unbelieving “Tribulation” tare and goat survivors who received the Mark of the Beast, are without doubt also saying that the ones who are “left” (forsaken) are be the ones the Lord will “receive” to Himself on Earth. Said scholars certainly have it twisted, to put it mildly!
There can be no doubt that these last days and end times biblical prophecy scholars’ understanding of the words “taken” and “left,” thus, is not biblically sound! For this reason, in the full context of Matthew 24:40-51, it is clear that Jesus the Christ, first and foremost, specifically is prophesying about God’s prepared and watchful Bride, the remnant of Israel (the pure and holy elect 144,000 evangelists), who will be the ones “taken” (or raptured) off of this Earth so that they can remain near to God in Heaven, while the Time of Jacob’s Trouble happens on Earth (see Jeremiah 30:3-11)! Moreover, there can be no doubt that Jesus the Christ also is alluding to the Bride of Christ (the resurrected dead in Christ who have been lifted up to meet Him in the air before the alive in Christ are raptured), because the Word of God describes this Rapture as the initial Rapture that takes place in the last days. These believers will depart from this Earth before Daniel’s 70th Week ever begins. The apostle Paul writes:
Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For the Day will not come until after the Apostasy has come and the man who separates himself from Torah has been revealed, the one destined for doom. ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:3, CJB
The word Apostasy, which is Apostasia in the Greek language, has been poorly translated in many English translations as rebellion and/or the falling away, when its primary meaning is “departure” which, in context, refers to the gathering of the Lord’s Bride, or the Rapture of the alive in Christ Body of believers. Indeed, prior to the “authorized” King James Version of the Bible, “departure” was the accepted translation for Apostasia. For this last reason, based on context, it should be clear that the apostle Paul definitely is saying that the “departure” (Apostasia, in Greek) of the Bride of Christ (or Rapture) will precede the revelation of the Antichrist! Since the revelation of the Antichrist happens within the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week, this alone proves that the Bride of Christ experiences the initial last days’ Rapture, especially since apostle Paul mentions four distinct times in the Word of God about how the Lord’s Bride is not supposed to suffer from the Wrath of God, which begins during the first half of the seven year “Tribulation” Period.
Perhaps this above-stated Divine Truth about the Rapture of the Bride of Christ is why, before Jesus the Christ gets to the Matthew Rapture verses, He says that believers who spiritually are able to discern the signs of the time will be the ones who will recognize His end-time signs and, therefore, will know that the end of the Age (NOT the end of the world) is near (see Matthew 24:32-34). There can be no doubt that the believers Jesus Christ says will be able to discern the signs of the times are both God’s Bride (the Jewish remnant who will be living in Israel when Daniel’s 70th Week begins) AND the genuine Bride of Christ. Once again, Daniel’s 70th Week includes the horrific Time of Jacob’s Trouble AND the Battle of Armageddon.
For the record, this end of the Age Jesus the Christ prophesies about refers to the end of the years that God has determined He would deal with mankind. Furthermore, the end-time signs that Jesus the Christ says will indicate that the end of this Age is drawing near are: increases in the number of wars and rumors of wars; increases in the number of ethnic groups rising up against other ethnic groups, and kingdoms against kingdoms; increases in the number of famines, epidemics, diseases, earthquakes in diverse places, abnormal weather patterns, and other pattern abnormalities in nature; increases in the number of false Christs, false prophets, and false teachers; and increases in the number of Jesus the Christ haters, Christian haters, and human race haters. Additionally, Jesus the Christ says that when the ones who are able to discern spiritual matters see these aforesaid INCREASES happening in the world SIMULTANEOUSLY, then they will know that the end of the Age is near!
Concerning the Bride of Christ’s departure, the Scriptures also are clear about what happens after Her departure (Rapture). There will be a brief interval, and during this time, the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple will take place, AFTER the signing of a bogus peace agreement between Israel and the Antichrist (see Daniel 9:27). Since the Jewish Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., then there has to be a new Temple that will be built before Daniel’s 70th Week begins, because halfway into the 70th Week the Antichrist takes his seat in the Jewish Temple and declares himself to be god, and he also puts a stop to Temple sacrifices and offerings (see Daniel 9:27; Daniel 11:36; 2 Thessalonians 2:4).
When the seven year Wrath of God begins, which is the final years of God’s dealings with mankind in this world, it will involve God’s poured-out Wrath that begins with His seven seal judgments. Next will be His seven trumpet judgments, and finally His seven vials (or bowls) judgments. All of these judgments magnify in intensity and frequency, just like Jesus the Christ prophesies in His Olivet Discourse. When the Time of Jacob’s Trouble or the last half of Daniel’s 70th Week, which is filled with unprecedented horrors, closes out with the Lord’s Second Coming on the Day of Judgment, there also will be a huge Feast for the Vultures (God’s banquet for the fowls of the air). These vultures will feast off of the carnage from the granddaddy of all wars (the Battle of Armageddon).
Apostle John’s second harvest vision, as depicted in Revelation 14:17-20, metaphorically describes the Battle of Armageddon as a grape harvest ripe for Divine or Righteous Judgment and Punishment. In the apostle’s vision of this second harvest, the destined to be destroyed unsaved individuals are the ones being crushed in God’s winepress. As a result, the carnage from the Battle of Armageddon (God’s winepress) will cause the spilt blood to rise up to the horses’ bridles, and flow two hundred miles from Jerusalem!
Furthermore, the Battle of Armageddon is the end result of the initial war that the Antichrist wages against Israel and the Jewish saints (primarily those converted during Daniel’s 70th Week or Tribulation Period), a war that swiftly snatches the peace from the world that the Antichrist first convinces the world to believe he wants the nations he leads to have. This initial war with Israel and the Jewish saints will escalate until all of the Antichrist-ruled nations of the world, and those nations that are against the Antichrist, will take part in the greatest battle that this world will ever know—the Battle of Armageddon.
Once again, there will be much bloodshed, much butchery, during this final war on Earth! Humans will kill one another without giving a person’s life a second thought. Men and women will live like there is no tomorrow, and, sad to say, for too many, there will be no tomorrow (not another chance to be convicted about accepting the Word of God’s Truth, which is that ONLY Jesus the Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of this world, and the people in it). Indeed, the left behinders (the ones “left” behind or “forsaken” at the time of the initial Rapture—the Rapture of the Bride of Christ—who choose to worship the Beast (the Antichrist and his wicked political, religious, and economic systems) never will know peace again, for they will be thrown in the Lake of Fire!
Before experiencing an eternal life in the Lake of Fire, these committed unbelievers, as well as the converted/sifted Tribulation believers, will experience God’s righteous punishments and judgments (His Wrath), which cause the unmatched famine, starvation, food and water rationing, and inflationary prices that will come upon the Earth during Daniel’s 70th Week’s horrors. In other words, once God’s seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments are pour out, and after all of the nations in the world start participating in the Battle of Armageddon, fighting on one side or the other, the end-time amounts of food, water, gasoline, and other day-to-day necessities will become very scarce.
During the Battle of Armageddon, which primarily is about the Arabic Middle Eastern countries’ war against Israel, the food shortages, for example, will cause the end-time prices for a day’s ration of wheat and barley to skyrocket. The Bible suggests that a working-class family who pays the requested day’s salary for wheat only will be able to feed one person, while the day’s salary cost of barley will feed three persons! Needless to say, these starvation, thirst, and lack of comfort circumstances will make many people eager to pull the trigger (eager to kill more and more people so that there will be more for food, water, and so forth, for them)!
Again, prepared and watchful believers will not be troubled or perplexed by these horrific times that Jesus the Christ prophesies would be happening in the end times, because the Lord has assured His Bride (Body of Believers) that His Bride will be rescued (saved) from the end-time Wrath of God. That’s why He instructs His true believers to look up and know that their Savior’s return is near. Still, all of the end-time signs Jesus the Christ speaks about in His Olivet Discourse will be fulfilled before Jesus the Christ returns to this Earth as its rightful King and Lord.
Though no person who is of “sound” mind would want to experience any of the Daniel’s 70th Week’s horrors, the truth is that too many vacillating believers and way too many committed unbelievers will be left behind to live or die during this prophesied seven-year Tribulation. That’s why those individuals who need to do so should get their own “house” in order, NOW, because Daniel’s 70th Week, which also includes the Time of Jacob’s Trouble and time when the Battle of Armageddon will happen, is just around the corner!