Q358 : Understanding of Scripture Growing, but Unsure of the Rapture

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Q358 : Understanding of Scripture Growing, but Unsure of the Rapture

I wanted to send an email to thank you very much for your teaching! You have been such a blessing to me. I have learned so much growing in my faith and my understanding of the scriptures. I am so impressed by your careful handling of God’s word.

I am also blown away by your ability to point to many places in scripture to support your understanding of what the text is saying. I started by listening to your study on the Book of Revelationa as I always wanted to understand this book and read some commentaries in the past, but was never able to understand much. I really feel that God brought me to your site and after listening to the 70 hours I had such a strong desire to immerse myself in the Old Testament and understand the complete word of God, where as in the past I focused more on the New Testament.

Since then I have listened to you series on the Covenants of the Bibleb, The Times of the Gentilesc, and I am now listening to your series on the Book of Danield. I have also listened to your section on Romans 9-11e as we have been on this at church and I realised that my church believes in replacement theologyf.

Once I started listening to your lectures, so many things started to click that didn’t really make sense before, for example the parable of the virgins always bothered me and when I listened to Rev 18 you talked about the the wedding party this made so much more sense to me. I also have come to realise that there will be a coming physical kingdom based on the scripture and it always made me wonder why the disciples seemed to keep going on about this, after listening to you I can see why they thought so from the Old Testament.

I am so happy to grow in my understanding of what God’s word and what He is doing, so I cannot thank you enough. It is really difficult to find teaching like yours that covers the level of detail that you get in to. I really like how you put the scriptures down so I can look them up and having the notes makes it so much easier to review everything you have covered if I want to go back and look things up. Having it on audio is amazing as I can listen to you while I am driving, doing dishes or other time consuming tasks.

There are a few things I have been thinking of while listening to your teaching.

  1. I am still not convinced on the theory of the rapture although I had never heard such a good case for it before I heard you. I wonder however if it is just as likely that Christians are literally wiped out through persecution would also fit with what the scriptures say? It seems that if Jesus comes and takes us then there is 3 comings of Christ. If we meet him in the air wouldn’t that also happen when we die? I think the church can also be taken out of the way through persecution and death prior to God’s wrath being poured out.
  2. I have been listening to Daniel and only about half way through. I am originally American but moved to the UK in 2005. I am particularly interested in feet and toes made of iron and clay. You say there are 3 stages and you think we are in the 2nd stage. I was thinking about the 10 kingdoms. I was thinking it is difficult to just create a King. Usually they come down through history. Everyone online is talking about the EU having 10 rulers. Actually in Europe at the moment there are 10 monarchies still existing: UK, Sweden, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Lichtenstein, Monaco and Luxembourg. You mentioned that the iron and clay could be imperial and democracy combined and it is certainly true that these kings have no actual power as I’m aware. However if these 10 kings exist, perhaps we are actually in the 3rd stage with the toes? Was wondering what you thought about this.

A358 : by Tony Garland

It is always a blessing for me to hear how our ministry is blessing others and helping them with a deeper understanding of the Scriptures—especially how the "big picture" fits together. Your experience is pretty close to my own—I was saved in a church which only focused on the New Testament and taught that the Church was the “new Israel.” It was through continued study of the Scriptures that I came to realize the problems with this common teaching.

To take each of your follow-up questions in turn:

1. Concerning the Rapture

I don't think it is likely that Christians will be wiped completely out any any point in history (other than there being none for a very short period following the removal of the Churcha at the Rapture—but I don't consider that due to persecution). The reason has to do with the effectual work of the Holy Spirit and God's desire to continue to witness to the unsaved. We already have more than two "comings" of Christ—even without the Rapture. To be sure, there are only two physical comings (when born of a virgin and at the Second Coming), but Christ also "came" on the Day of Pentecostb, when the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Christ) came to indwell the Church in His absence (John 14:18-20). So, by my count, the Scripture describes 4 "comings" of Christ—two where the world sees His physical presence (the well-known "First" and "Second Coming") and two more where the word does not perceive his arrival (the formation of the Church on the Day of Pentecost and the removal of the same at the Rapture). If you undertake some of my teachings regarding the significance of the Day of Pentecost (e.g., The Promise of Pentecostc, the Book of Actsd), then it may help clarify things. A key to understanding the rapture is to gain a clear understanding of the nature of the Church—its technical definition as "the body of Christ" which ministers in His absence. With that comes an understanding of when the Church formed (on the Day of Pentecost, shortly after His ascension) and an related appreciation that the unique ministry of the Spirit through the Church will also come to an end at the Rapture.

I don't believe that 17 we . . . shall be caught up . . . to meet the Lord in the air (1Th. 4:17) could be referring to death: 1) Paul writes: “that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord . . . we who are alive and remain” — those who are alive at the time of this event are caught up without seeing death; 2) Paul states that it is a single group event involving not just living believers, but all “the dead in Christ will rise.” This is a single, massive, resurrection event involving all the dead (who have already died, some long, long before) in Christ.

We have numerous resources related to the Rapture on our website:

2. The Ten Kings / Ten Toes

My own view is that it is still too early for the 10 kings. The 10 kings correspond to the 10 horns on the head of the fourth (dreadful) beast of Daniel 7. The sequence in Daniel 7 implies: 1) 23 A fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from from all other kingdoms and shall devour the whole earth, and trample it and break it in pieces (Dan. 7:23); then 2) “the ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom.”

The horns are on the head of the fourth beast, but the implication is they don't arise until the beast itself exists and it has shown itself to be uniquely vicious and has achieved global domination. It is hard to be dogmatic on this point, but the implication is that the fourth beast must first be present—and it will be uniquely manifest (uniquely vicious in comparison with all other historical kingdoms)—out of which the ten horns arise "from this kingdom" (Dan. 7:24).

As long as I've been a believer, people have been suggesting that the ten horns are present in the Europe in various manifestations—none of which I've found convincing.

Of course none of us has the "inside scoop" on exactly how God will bring this all to pass. But it has been my experience that most students of prophecy try to "fast forward" what these passages teach in their tendency to try and find near fulfillment. Keep in mind that these predictions have stood without fulfillment for nearly 2,000 years so far. Including through two world wars when many believers thought they were on the brink of happening.

I do believe that the growing inability of democratic movements to hold together cohesively—and the lack of control over the electorate which is inherent in democratic institutions—may well bear upon the "weakness" suggested by the clay mixed among the iron. I write about this in my commentary on Daniel, in the topic Sequence of Kingdomsj.

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