At the end of a previous message on the Second Coming, I promised to get to the subject of signs of the Rapture. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, the word Rapture comes from the early Latin translation of the Bible. It refers to the catching away or departure or the snatching away of the Church. This is the long awaited happening that the Apostle Paul foretold which would occur before the Second Coming. All eyes will see the Lord return at the second coming, but only the Church, or those who are watching and waiting for His coming, will see Christ on a cloud and be caught up to meet Him in the air.

 Jesus did not really teach on this subject, but Paul is the one who brought the message to the Church, as the Lord had given it to him. I have mentioned before that many teachers believe that Jesus was referring to the Rapture in Matthew 24. I believe the Lord was mainly referring to the seven years of tribulation prior to His Second coming to the earth, when He will set up his Kingdom, along with His Bride…the Church…to rule and reign for 1,000 years. I covered that in an earlier teaching, entitled “What’s Happening Now”.

 However, I do believe that Jesus made veiled references to the Rapture, in some of His teachings. In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus is definitely speaking of the Rapture, without pointing it out as such. He came as a Jew, to the Jews, and for the Jews. The Church was not even thought of yet, in the Jewish minds, so the Lord could not really teach on it. Paul was sent by our Lord as the primary Apostle to the Gentiles and he definitely taught on the Rapture.

 In preparation for a recent Wednesday night Bible study, I had to look up a reference in Luke chapter 21. I was reading the 6th verse, where Jesus had just told the disciples about the temple being destroyed.

 I had read it many times before, but this time I had noticed, in the Living Bible, that our Lord not only answered the disciples’ question of verse 7, but He foretold four different dispensations of time that was coming upon the earth.

 Matthew 24 is often referred to as the Sermon on the Mount. Luke also recounted the same dialog in the 21st chapter of his gospel. As they were leaving the temple, Jesus told the disciples, there was coming a time when not one stone would be left upon another of that beautiful temple they were admiring.

(The Lord was foretelling of the time 37 years in the future, when Titus in 70 AD, under orders from Rome, would lay siege on the city of Jerusalem, and destroy the temple as well as the city).

 The disciples were shocked that anything could happen to that magnificent building, not knowing what Jesus was prophesying, and asked Him would there be any warning ahead of time (vs. 7).

 Matthew’s version has the disciples asking two additional questions, (“What events will signal your return and the end of the world or age?”). Jesus answer is the same in both versions. In Luke 21:8, you can tell they asked the same question, by the answer that Luke records, 'the (end) time has come'. I believe that the first answer Jesus gave was in reference to our present day and age…the days just prior to the Rapture of the Church!

 What Christ spoke of in verses 8-11 is happening now…wars, insurrections, great earthquakes and famines in many lands, epidemics, and terrifying things happening in the heavens...all at the same time, which makes these occurrences unique to any other time in history. (Please read these verses).

 Jesus did not answer the disciples' questions in the order that they were asked. In fact, He used this opportunity to speak of events that would take place from his death until the Second coming, when He returns to earth to set up His Kingdom! It would not be until years later that they would have a clue as to what all He did tell them.

 Jesus didn’t answer their question about the temple being destroyed at this point. He had just told them about our present age in verses 8-11, then the Lord began verse 12 by saying “But before all this occurs, you will be dragged into synagogues and prisons and before kings and governors for My name’s sake” foretelling what would befall the disciples during their own lifetimes. (Prior to His ascension, Jesus appeared to 516 people on 10 different occasions during the 40 days after His resurrection. Within the next 40-50 years, all were martyred, as none would recant His resurrection. John did survive the vat of boiling oil, then sent to prison and eventually died of old age).

 In Luke 21:20 (Living Bible), the Lord answered the disciples first question…about the temple being destroyed. “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you will know that the time of it's destruction has arrived”. He continues in verse 24, “and Jerusalem shall be conquered and trampled down by the Gentiles until the period of the Gentile triumph ends in God’s good time”. This was the period, when Titus destroyed the temple and seized Jerusalem. It was under Gentile rule until the Six Day War in May of 1967, when Israel took control of the Holy City.

 Finally in verse 25, Christ spoke of the 4th future dispensation…that being the time after the Rapture. This is the period when the antichrist is in power, and Jesus appears with the Bride to fight the Battle of Armageddon. We know it is at this time because “all the peoples of the earth shall see Me, the Messiah, coming in a cloud with power and great glory”.  When the Rapture occurs, nobody will see Jesus but "those who are watching and waiting for His coming"...His Bride...not all the peoples of the earth.

In answering one, two, and three questions, Jesus foretold the New Testament happenings from His ascension, in the book of Acts, through the book of  The Revelation. He accurately predicted 4 dispensations of time...some is history, and some is yet to come.

I have never heard this particular teaching on Luke 21 before, but this is how I perceive it. I hope this sheds some light on the subject. Of course to fully understand, you will have to read these chapters in Matthew and Luke for yourself.

I am sure we will discuss signs in many future this day and age, it is difficult to avoid it, for the signs are everywhere!

Keep watching and day Christ will appear. Even so, come Lord Jesus! Amen.

Until His Blessed Appearing, God Keep You All!

Pastor Moser
March, 2006