The Imminency of Christ's Return for Church-Age Saints Teaches that the Rapture Precedes Daniel's 70th Week
The Bible states that the coming of the Lord is “at hand” (Ro. 13:12; Php. 4:5; 1 Pe. 4:7). This is from eggizo, meaning “near, approaching.” The English phrase is a metaphor to indicate something that is close by, at the ready, like your hand. It is used to describe the location of Jesus’ tomb, which was “nigh at hand” to the place of His crucifixion (Joh. 19:42). Paul used it to describe his imminent death (2 Ti. 4:6). The coming of Christ for church-age saints is always at hand; it is imminent, impending. It can happen at any time. This teaches us that the Rapture described in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15 precedes Daniel’s 70th Week (Da. 9:27). If it occurred at any time during that seven-year period, it could not be imminent, because the events are laid out clearly in Scripture. It begins with the Antichrist’s seven-year covenant with apostate Israel -- “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week.” During the first three and a half years, the third temple will be built (Re. 11:1-2), the preliminary judgments will occur as described in Revelation 6 (war and famine that will destroy one-fourth of the earth’s population, a great earthquake, signs in the heavens), the 144,000 Jewish evangelists will preach and produce a great harvest of souls in the midst of terrible persecution (Re. 7), and the two witnesses will prophesy in Jerusalem (Re. 11:3-6). After three and a half years, the Antichrist will break his covenant and set up the abomination of desolation in the temple as described by Daniel, by Jesus, and by Paul. “... and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” (Da. 9:27). See also Matthew 24:15 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4. After the first three and a half years, the two witnesses will be killed and a great earthquake will destroy one-tenth of the city of Jerusalem (Re. 11:7-13). The events of the last half of Daniel’s 70th Week are described in other places in Revelation. These include the hail and fire that destroy one-third of the trees and grass (Re. 8:7), the third part of the sea turning to blood (Re. 8:8-9), the third part of the waters becoming Wormwood (Re. 8:10-11), the terrible locusts from the bottomless pit (Re. 9:1-11), the 200 million-man army from the east whereby one-third of mankind will be destroyed (Re. 9:13-21), the worldwide worship of the Antichrist and his dictatorial rule (Re. 13), the rivers and fountains turning to blood (Re. 16:4-6), the scorching of men with great heat (Re. 16:8-9), the darkness (Re. 16:10-11), the destruction of the Mystery Babylon religion (Re. 14:8; 17:16-18), the destruction of commercial Babylon (Re. 18:5-24), Armageddon (Re. 16:12-16). If the Rapture does not precede Daniel’s 70th Week, it could not be at hand, because it would be preceded by these events and its time would be known exactly as those events unfolded. Church-age saints are looking for Christ, not the Antichrist; we are looking for the Blessed Hope, not the horrible Tribulation. “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Th. 1:9-10, 4-5, 9).
(Friday Church News Notes, January 17, 2020, www.wayoflife.org email@example.com, 866-295-4143)