Friday, July 17, 2009


As a result of communicating the information you can read in the posts "PARAGRAPH 67" and "THE DREAM OF A SINGLE, GLOBAL CURRENCY", I have been asked, "Are these events 'signs' that the rapture is soon?"

The question requires a careful answer.

There are no Scripture texts that teach that there are or will be any "signs" leading up to the rapture of the Church. The rapture of the Church is a "signless" event. Since the birth of the Church the expectation has been that Christ could return for His Church at any moment (for example, James 5:9, Second Timothy 4:8). No "signs" or intermediate events are required to happen before the rapture of the Church.

There are, however, "signs" that occur pointing to the coming time of Tribulation on the earth and beyond to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. For example, Jesus Himself discusses "signs" of His Second Coming and the importance of knowing how to recognize them (Matthew 24:32-35). Some events that will take place during the coming time of Tribulation are already beginning to "line up" (the one-world political authority and currency for example, or the nations who will come against Israel at the "Gog from Magog Battle" of Ezekiel 38 for another, and more). These are "signs" that the Tribulation period is soon.

While there are no "signs" pertaining to the rapture of the Church (I use the phrase "rapture of the Church" to distinguish it from other "raptures" throughout the Bible), there is prophetic value to the Church of the "signs" pertaining to the Tribulation and Second Coming. Why? Allow me to illustrate.

Suppose you are driving on an interstate highway. Your know your destination, but there are no "signs" telling you that your destination will be reached in a certain number of miles/kilometers. But there are "signs" for a major city that is beyond your destination. As you observe the distance to that major city diminishing according to the "signs", you know that your destination is even closer than the "signs" indicate.

If there are "signs" for events (the Tribulation and Second Coming) that are beyond the rapture of the Church, that only increases our expectation that the rapture of the Church must be even sooner.

The focus of the Church is not to be on "signs", rather on the destination. Consider Colossians 3:1-2, "Therefore, since you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth."

"Signs" are on earth. Christ is coming from heaven for His Church. We must keep our focus upon Him. His appearing is our Blessed Hope (Titus 2:13). Or consider First Corinthians 1:22-23a, "For indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified". We are not looking for "signs", we are looking for Christ. Along the way, if we do happen to observe "signs", we rejoice because Christ's appearing for us is that much closer.

When some of you hear about the "signs", a sense of fear comes over you. Maybe this is because you are not prepared for the unfolding of end-time events. You have never personally and specifically trusted in The God-Man, Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and eternal life. Observe First Peter 3:18, "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit." Trust in Christ as your Sinbearer, your Eternal Savior, your Life. When you do, this means that God by His grace has put you in the category of those who have "turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God" (First Thessalonians 1:9). You will experience a new joy and freedom that empowers you "to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, Who rescues us from the wrath to come (First Thessalonians 1:10).

It is possible that some of you do not look forward to seeing Christ because you are more attached to your sin and the present world than you are to Christ. If you are in reality a believer who has trusted Christ for salvation, this is not to be so. And, if you are not even concerned about your sin and attachment to the world-system, you may not have ever become a genuine believer at all. As a believer, you have the privilege of this promise and instruction - "See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure (First John 3:1-3)."

Genuine believers are being transformed into a greater reflection of Christ's glory every day as we focus upon Him in His Word (Second Corinthians 3:18). We will instantaneously be completely changed into the likeness of His glory at the rapture of the Church (First Corinthians 15:51-52), when we will "see Him just as He is" (First John 3:2).

Do not let a focus on "signs" rob you of hope today. The destination is what is vital, not the "signs". May nothing stand between you and seeing Christ today. He is the joy and hope of life.


  1. Keith,

    Paul states that Antichrist will be here at the Appearing of Christ in 2 Thess 2:8. The only way to get around this is to equivocate on the terms of "appearing" and "parousia." But Paul makes no distinctions of two different "appearings" and two different "parousias."

    I do have a challenge for you here:


  2. Well, Alan's comment is fascinating to me.

    First, my guess is that most readers don't even see the connection between my article on "signs" and his comment.

    Second, it is fascinating that he would make his "challenge" in relation to this article on "signs". This is likely because his eschatological position holds that there are signs for the rapture of the Church, one of those signs being the AntiChrist coming on the scene before the rapture. The reason I find this so fascinating is that it proves an observation that I have been making for years, specifically, that positions like Alan's are more focused on signs than they are on Christ, and sadly in this case, more focused on AntiChrist than on Jesus Christ. Alan's position has many things standing between him and Jesus, and between him and his glorification (to which I believe he is headed, as our brother in Christ).

    Third, I have no reason for wanting to "get around" 2 Thessalonians 2:8, as he has accused. The AntiChrist will be brought to his end by the appearance (epiphania) of Christ's coming (parousias) at the end of the Tribulation period. This is the Second Coming phase of Christ's appearing, not the Rapture of the Church phase. The Rapture of the Church occurs at verse 3 of the referred to chapter, not at verse 8 ("apostasia" cannot mean "falling away" as its English transliteration implies; its root means "stand" not "fall" and is used in the context of resurrection; "apo" plus "stasis" is the standing away from the earth, not the falling away from the truth, contrary even to the understanding of most "dispensationalists" - see the outstanding article by H. Wayne House, "Apostasia in 2 Thessalonians 2:3: Apostasy or Rapture?" in "When The Trumpet Sounds" (pp.261 ff.).

    Fourth, I have no need to "equivocate" (a polite way of saying "lie" or "misrepresent") on the terms for "appearing" and "parousia". These are all one prophetic thing that include Christ's first coming all the way through to His Second Coming and beyond, but in phases. The events of AD 70 and beyond are an example of a phase within this whole. Another word for "appear" (optheisetai) in Hebrews 9:28 illustrates this as well - a first "appearing", Christ's first coming; a second "appearing" that is without reference to sin (the Rapture of the Church); which implies another "appearing", the Second Coming of Jesus which clearly is with reference to sin according to Revelation 19:11-21; and, yes, I believe Hebrews was written by Paul with an amanuensis).

    Fifth, Alan's challenge cannot resist using the word "imminent", a word which I choose to not use. This challenge would be effective if one were using the concept of the "imminent" rapture as the hingepin for an eschatological system (dispensationalism). Pull out the hingepin and the whole system falls. However, I do not use the word or the concept that way, nor do I have a "system" that I am trying to defend. This seems to be a common method for those of the "pre-wrath" position (a slick marketing title since I'm very pre-wrath also, probably used because "the-somewhat-after-the-middle-of-the-70th Week of Daniel-and-the-same-thing-as-the-Second Coming-Rapture-Position" is a little hard to remember and takes up too much space on a book jacket), who seem to use it to bait others into unedifying discussions and then try to belittle other faithful saints of God for being "inconsistent".

    Again, I repeat, do not let such approaches rob you of your Blessed Hope in Jesus Christ.