Friday, February 26, 2010

Jones Interview: The Hope in Bible Prophecy

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

In December 2009 I was interviewed by Bill Salus, author of the popular Psalm 83-themed book Isralestine, host of the radio program "Prophecy Update," and evangelist on the end times website Prophecy Depot. Bill and I spent much of the interview discussing the Rapture, Middle East politics and my "left behind" video "Jesus Came. What's Next?"


Bill Salus

Bill has been kind enough to allow The Christ in Prophecy Journal to reproduce the "Caught Up in the Pre-Trib Rapture" interview in transcript form, edited into an article series. To listen to the original radio program in mp3 format, I invite you to visit Prophecy Depot or KWBB.

In this segment, Bill and I will be discussing what an awesome witnessing tool Bible prophecy is and how it gives us so much hope for a better tomorrow.


An Awesome Witnessing Tool

Bill Salus: Let's assume that a prophetic fulfillment of a Psalm 83 war where Israel subjugates their hostile surrounding neighbors and becomes a Greater Israel occurs and the Church is still here. How could that be a witnessing tool for Christians who understand that prophecy, seeing it play out before our very eyes on FOX and CNN and other news networks. Wouldn't that be a great witnessing tool?

Nathan Jones: I know, Bill, that Isralestine would certainly become a number one best seller!

Bill Salus: I tell my wife that I am not praying for a Middle East war. I just think one is coming.

Nathan Jones: Yes, you are only the reporter, exactly.

We have so many signs of the times occurring right now showing that Jesus is coming back really soon. We have an arsenal of signs of the times that prove that. And yet, many Christian are like, "What will be, will be." They are not paying attention. But, when we see things heat up in the Middle East and then can point to Psalm 83 or your book which explains well a Psalm 83 war, we can say, "Look, this is prophetically going to happen and we are in it right now." A fulfillment of Psalm 83 in our lifetime would be a major prophetic resource in which to open people's eyes to the Bible and to God's promises.

Bible prophecy is so wonderful because it gives us an urgency to want to share the Gospel. I think if people see Bible prophecy being fulfilled right before their eyes they will get excited. As a matter-of-fact, we certainly have Bible prophecy being fulfilled this very day with Israel coming back into the land and being regathered from all the nations, which is the beginning process for the last days (Isa. 11:11-12; 66:7-8; Ezek. 37:21-22; Zech. 8:4-8). Bible prophecy makes us excited that we are living in a time where God's will and God's promises are coming together and culminating.

The Rapture is yet another exciting part of God's plan because as nice as this Earth is, I am anxious to get to Heaven in my glorified body and begin whatever work God will have for me there. Maybe God will let me garden in peace, I don't know. I want to just be with our Lord, be with my Savior.

Bible prophecy being fulfilled means Jesus' return is close. It gives us an opportunity to live holier lives. We live in a time when we need to get serious about our Christianity. As a parent, there are times when I see that look occasionally when I come home or I go into one of my kids' rooms and find they aren't doing something they should. They look up real quickly and their faces show, "Oops, you caught me doing something I shouldn't be doing." I don't want God coming back and seeing me making that same face.

Bible prophecy not only makes a great witnessing tool, but it also revitalizes the Church and makes us more focused on the Lord.

Bill Salus: Urgency, very good, well said!


The Vehicle of Hope

Bill Salus: Let's conclude with some comfort. You mentioned earlier John 14 as one of the Rapture passages. It says, "Let not your heart be troubled." Is that correct? Is that something you believe connects with, "Don't let your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me." Jesus is saying this, "In my Father's house are many mansions, if were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you to myself that where I am there you will may be also. And where I go you know and the way you know."

Nathan how does that connect? Is this what Jesus is doing now? Is He pounding some nails on mansions for Christians and then He is about to come get us and put us in our new homes?

Nathan Jones: God made the Creation in only six days and then He rested on the seventh. Since Jesus was resurrected, He has taken 2,000 years to build the New Jerusalem, so it must be beyond belief. I envy the Apostle John for being able to go see it early. When we talk about the magnitude and size of it - wow! I just read an article recently where the preacher goes into calculating the dimensions of how big this city actually is. And so, we know that we have a wondrous new place to live where Heaven and Earth will meet one day.

The best part about our future is that we get to be with our Savior — forever! This is the guy who died for us, the guy who loves us, the God who made us, and we get to spend an eternity with Him. We don't have to worry about crime and sin and death and sorrow anymore. We will have perfect relationships. I get to stop screwing up in my sin nature and be made whole and complete again. There is a lot to look forward to, and that gives us a lot of hope.

And, yes, there are some tough times coming on the world, like you said — wars in the Middle East, wars and rumors of wars. But, Jesus said in Matthew 24 that wars would proceed all of the wonderful things that will finally happen. But, at the end of it all, the glory that we will get to share in, and that we will be with God forever, well, that is well worth the suffering that we go through today.

Bill Salus: Speaking about the New Jerusalem, in Revelation 21 there is some description given. It says in Revelation 21:15, "It was measured with a reed and it was 12,000 furlongs in length, width and height and they are all equal." I had done some math on this once upon a time and those dimensions laid out would reach across American from San Diego in Southern California, all the way up to Seattle up the West Coast, stretched all the way from the South over toward the Houston area in Texas and equally and if you went square with it all the way up right up into Montana somewhere parallel to Seattle. We are talking about a pretty huge place!

We can also talk about how beautiful and spectacular the New Jerusalem will be. Of course, Jesus was a carpenter while on Earth. He was involved in the Creation.

Many folks in these tough economic times are losing your homes. You Christians, you need to keep you faith because Jesus is building you a new home and we will be there pretty soon. I know it is hard to not be victimized by the things you are going through in these tough times, but what Nathan and I are trying to tell you is to keep your faith in God. He is sticking to the blueprint, and the blueprint says He is coming to get us really soon.

And so, we need to be prepared. The hour of trial that is coming upon the Earth is coming soon. You can be fully equipped with your hope in Christ because at the end of 1 Thessalonians 4:18 concerning the Rapture the verse says, "Therefore comfort one another with these words."

Nathan Jones: Folks, Bible prophecy proves that the Bible is the truth. No prophecies by men are ever fulfilled, but in the Bible over 300 were fulfilled when Jesus came the first time and we have over 500 yet to be fulfilled by the Second Coming of Christ. We are in the middle of those two comings.

Not only did God create us and save us, but He wants us to live with Him forever, and He has done everything He could to accomplish that. So keep your eyes on the big picture. Keep your eyes on the end game when Jesus comes back and we live in a new world of peace, righteousness, and justice with the very God who made us, loves us and He gave up everything so that we can be with him. That means so much.

These times are indeed tough, and will continue to get tougher, so continue to pray, fellowship with other believers, and look for comfort among one another in the reading of the Bible. Just as Bill read, comfort and encourage each other with the knowledge that Jesus is coming back for us and He will deliver us to be with Him.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Jones Interview: Timing the Coming Middle East Wars

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

In December 2009 I was interviewed by Bill Salus, author of the popular Psalm 83-themed book Isralestine, host of the radio program "Prophecy Update," and evangelist on the end times website Prophecy Depot. Bill and I spent much of the interview discussing the Rapture, Middle East politics and my "left behind" video "Jesus Came. What's Next?"


Bill Salus

Bill has been kind enough to allow The Christ in Prophecy Journal to reproduce the "Caught Up in the Pre-Trib Rapture" interview in transcript form, edited into an article series. To listen to the original radio program in mp3 format, I invite you to visit Prophecy Depot or KWBB.

In this segment, Bill and I will be discussing the possible timings of the upcoming Middle East wars in relation to the Tribulation.


Timing the Coming Middle East Wars

Bill Salus: A lot of people put the Psalm 83 War before the Tribulation and the Rapture before the Tribulation. Some put the Ezekiel 38-39 Gog-Magog Battle before the Tribulation. Some don't know exactly where to put it. There are good reasons it could happen before and there are good reasons it could happen after.

Dr. Ron Rhodes wrote a book titled Northern Storm Rising. Didn't you interview Ron Rhodes on the "Christ in Prophecy" television show?

Nathan Jones: Yes, we did, and we talked about Northern Storm Rising (see show). He believes the Ezekiel 38-39 Gog-Magog Battle could either occur before the Tribulation or just into the Tribulation. Dr. Rhodes gives a lot of excellent details, going through every possible time period that this battle could possibly happen and shows how some time periods just couldn't work. For instance, the biggest prerequisite for the Gog-Magog Battle is that Israel has to be dwelling in safety. It's hard to argue that Israel is currently dwelling unwalled and in safety, so they have to do something between now and then before Ezekiel 38-39 can happen. Israel needs that peaceful precondition.

Another example, once those invading armies are defeated by God miraculously, Israel burns the weapons as fuel for seven years. We know 3 1/2 years into which is the middle of the Tribulation the Antichrist will drive the Jews out and they will flee to Jordan. How could they so easily enter Jordan unless they have some control over it as the result of a previous war? Anyway, that would only give Israel 3 1/2 years to burn the fuel, so we have to back the Gog-Magog battle seven years from that point — at least 3 1/2 years before the Tribulation.

Dr. David Reagan was the first I've heard bring this possible scenario up. I never had thought about it that way, in that more than likely Ezekiel 38-39 will happen at least 3 1/2 years before the Tribulation begins so they can have the full seven years to burn those weapons. Now, maybe they take the weapons with them down to Petra and burn them along the way. It is open to interpretation.

Bill Salus: Jordan is the nation where Israel flees to when they are being persecuted by the Antichrist; Petra being in modern-day Southern Jordan. And so, your argument is that the Jews are going to burn some weapons' fuel along the way, or take them with them for fuel conversion in Petra, though not likely.

Nathan Jones: Probably not. It'd be hard to flee carrying 3 1/2 years worth of fuel.

Bill Salus: So, therefore, what Dr. Reagan is saying and I've heard Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum say this and I concur with them, is that the conclusion and not the commencement of Ezekiel 38-39 will have to conclude three and a half years prior to the commencement of the Tribulation since Israel will be burning weapons for seven years and not likely burning weapons into the second half of the Tribulation.

Nathan Jones: A few extra years before the Tribulation would give the Antichrist time, too, to rise to power. If you think about it, if Israel subjugates their surrounding countries and eventually all the rest of the oil rich countries and Russia who is one of the biggest gas producers in the world is knocked out of the picture, Israel will become exceedingly rich. Once Israel owns most of the oil of the world, of course the nations of the world are going to try make peace with them. You would certainly want to, especially when God has made Himself know that He defends Israel. The Antichrist would be a smart man to make a treaty with Israel. That would give some time for the Antichrist to rise up enough in world prominence to make a treaty with Israel and move forward in that relationship just as Daniel foretold in chapter 9.

Bill Salus: Right. So, Israel is very possibly going to preempt a strike against Iran?

Nathan Jones: They have no choice. I mean, what can they do? Obviously the UN isn't doing anything about Iran's nuclear ambitions and desire to "wipe Israel off the map." They wag their fingers at Iran and say, "Stop it. Stop it. Stop it." And then the next month, "Stop it. Stop it. Stop it." But, they aren't doing anything about Iran. Israel is the world's only hope in stopping Iran.


Role of the United States

Nathan Jones: In reading Ezekiel 38-39 we see that Saudi Arabia (Sheba and Dedan) are one of the nations that dwell in safety, sitting out and watching the Gog-Magog invasion. I believe the United States is one of those nations that sit it out and see if Israel is going to rescue us or not. We are looking to Israel (although the whole world condemns Israel), we are looking for Israel to save us all in the Middle East.

Bill Salus: That's would make sense because we want to have international relationships and commerce, especially if Israel becomes the wealthy Israel that Russia will greatly desire to invade. Whether Israel become prominent because they find oil under their own turf or they conquer nations that already have it, Israel will become exceedingly wealthy. Israel has actually found natural gas off of Haifa via the Tamar-1 site. I heard you talk about that in a radio interview. Israel could also get gas and oil from Arab resources from the aftermath of Psalm 83.

Here the United States is possibly connected with the "young lions" of Tarsus. It also uses the word "merchants" in Ezekiel 38:13. We will be wanting to have an economic relationship with a prosperous Israel, the very Israel that Russia comes against.

We could be one of the ones like you say who ask Gog, "What are you guys doing? We are trying to establish some stability here and have a financial and economic relationship here with the nation of Israel." Now, it does pose a good point that you bring up. That verse could in part be the United States saying, "What are you guys about to do?"

Nathan Jones: Yes, it's always better to let someone else do your dirty work, and the Bible shows that the nations are lazy and are sitting back and letting Israel do their dirty work for them. And, if Israel is destroyed in the process, I don't think the world would bat an eye because they don't really want Israel to exist anyway. For example, UN after UN resolution and a day of morning when they regret ever granting Israel access to the land shows the world's dislike of Jewish existence. But, we know prophetically that Israel's total destruction will never happen. Israel will exist and God's promises will exist. We are talking about blessings that we can trust in. God will fulfill His promises to Israel and He will fulfill His promises to the Church. One of those promises is the Rapture.

Bill Salus: Absolutely! Should we be here as a Church and the Rapture does not occur prior to these prophetic Middle East battles of Psalm 83 and Isaiah 17 and Ezekiel 38-39 (should it be a Pre-Trib event), then we need to have courage.

The way we could see this play out is that Israel could make a preemptive strike on Iran. Iran's proxies Hezbollah, Syria, and Hamas could retaliate and come against Israel. Israel would then have to act decisively and do something devastating to Damascus. This could easily get the Arab League to convene and draw lines in the Mid-East sand and ask, "Jordan, Egypt, all you Arab League nations, what side of the sand are you on? Israel just did something devastating to Damascus." We could have Psalm 83 actually come right out of that.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Jones Interview: War With Iran

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

In December 2009 I was interviewed by Bill Salus, author of the popular Psalm 83-themed book Isralestine, host of the radio program "Prophecy Update," and evangelist on the end times website Prophecy Depot. Bill and I spent much of the interview discussing the Rapture, Middle East politics and my "left behind" video "Jesus Came. What's Next?"


Bill Salus

Bill has been kind enough to allow The Christ in Prophecy Journal to reproduce the "Caught Up in the Pre-Trib Rapture" interview in transcript form, edited into an article series. To listen to the original radio program in mp3 format, I invite you to visit Prophecy Depot or KWBB.

In this segment, Bill and I will be discussing why there's a better chance of a Psalm 83-type war happening before the Ezekiel 38-39 Gog-Magog Battle between Iran and Israel.


Case for Psalm 83 Happening Next

Bill Salus: A lot of people have sort of an "Ezekiel 38-39 fervor" going on right now, and rightfully so.

Nathan Jones: Like you've been saying in Isralestine, though, the nations that comprise Ezekiel 38-39 do not border Israel. If we look at the modern names of the nations listed in Ezekiel 38-39, we easily see this absence. The players are Rosh, which is Russia, the ancient Scythian people. Turkey is listed, as well as Armenia. Turkey just signed a pact with Armenia recently. Lybia is on the list, as well as the Sudan and all these lesser nation. Persia is now called Iran.

All of the Ezekiel 38-39 nations form an outer ring around Israel. One day they will plan on getting together to attack Israel, prompted by God Himself. Ezekiel 38-39 says God will put hooks in the leader of this coalition — a leader who will be designated "Gog" — and drag them down to their destruction.

But, we look around the nations surrounding Israel like Egypt, Lebanon and Syria and Jordan, and we've got to wonder why they are sitting the Gog-Magog invasion out? Hezbollah has 40,000 rockets now pointed south from Lebanon at Israel. So, these are definitely countries that hate Israel with a passion and who everyday are yelling they want to destroy Israel, and yet they are sitting out the Ezekiel 38-39 invasion.

So, yes, you are right. I think we definitely have going on a very great expectation in seeing Ezekiel 38-39 happen soon, but I really believe you came across something with your Psalm 83 theory, because those nations will certainly not want to sit out the destruction of Israel.

Bill Salus: And those surrounding nations are coincidentally all listed in Psalm 83. We are talking about the nations of Lebanon where Hezbollah is, Syria, Jordan, the Palestinians of course, Hamas in the old Philistine area of Gaza, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Those nations are the inner ring who closely border the nation of Israel today.

I agree that it is certainly worth exploring and thinking about why they aren't listed in the Ezekiel 38-39 Gog-Magog invasion. Is it because Israel deals with them prior in the Psalm 83 episode. Of course, that is the central theme of Israelistine.


Speculation on Explosive Events

Bill Salus: Dare we talk about how close some explosive events in the Middle East could be? Unlike my mentor Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum who likes to have a "wait and see attitude" and not speculate, occasionally I go out on the fringe and speculate just a little bit. So, I am going to do that a little bit.

What I am trying to do here is to give people encouragement. In other words, we need to be courageous if the events we are talking about happen while we are still around to talk about them. These wars will have an adverse effect on all of humanity because the Middle East is the primary oil wealthy region of the world.

Nathan Jones: Too true. Iran has already threatened to close down the Strait of Hormuz where 40 percent of our oil travels through. So, it's not like this is something far out in the Middle East that no one in the West has to worry about. A big Middle Eastern war will affect the entire world.

Going on to the Gog-Magog Battle of Ezekiel 38-39, there will be some tremendous fallout from that. The world finally acknowledges God. There won't be an atheist left after Ezekiel 38-39! God is going to destroy those invading armies miraculously. We are talking about hail and fire and the armies turning on each other. Along with the supernatural destruction of the invading armies in the "mountains of Israel, Ezekiel 39:6 says there will also be fire falling on the invading nations' homelands, those nations that feel they are in safety. Whatever Ezekiel 38-39 results in, it results will also be felt worldwide.

I don't believe Christians will witness the battle of Ezekiel 38-39. It is more related to the Tribulation because the nations of the Earth end up acknowledging God. That revelation is a very Tribulation type of event.

But, I think we could be here to witness a Psalm 83 War. Israel right now really has no friends. They are surrounded by hostile enemies. We have Iran which nobody is doing anything serious about, and certainly the United States isn't. The European Union is trying to divide up Jerusalem. Israel has to do something now about the Iranian nuclear threat. One of Israel's generals came out recently and said that the next war Israel has to face will be an all-country war because the enemy missiles now can finally hit any part of Israel. Fortunately, the Israeli Defense Forces are very smart and they know how to fight. I think they will have to do something about their surrounding neighbors. Maybe a Psalm 83 war will be enough to push Iran and these other outer ring nations to back up a little while and catch their breath before they make an Ezekiel 38-39 coalition and attack.

Bill Salus: Right. The Walls Street Journal came out I think it was in October or November of '09 and reported that should Israel plan a strike on Iran, Iran will follow through with their threat to shut down the Strait of Hormuz causing the price of oil to go up to possibly $300 a barrel. Presently oil is closing in around $70-$80 a barrel.

War with Iran will have a dramatic effect.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Jones Interview: Middle East Prepares For War

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

In December 2009 I was interviewed by Bill Salus, author of the popular Psalm 83-themed book Isralestine, host of the radio program "Prophecy Update," and evangelist on the end times website Prophecy Depot. Bill and I spent much of the interview discussing the Rapture, Middle East politics and my "left behind" video "Jesus Came. What's Next?"


Bill Salus

Bill has been kind enough to allow The Christ in Prophecy Journal to reproduce the "Caught Up in the Pre-Trib Rapture" interview in transcript form, edited into an article series. To listen to the original radio program in mp3 format, I invite you to visit Prophecy Depot or KWBB.

In this segment, Bill and I will be discussing how current events in the Middle East have set the stage for some major prophetic battles to happen soon.


Damascus to be Nuked

Bill Salus: We are living now in some very interesting times. I suspect there is well near 100 pages in your normal pew Bible filled with prophetic content that has not yet found its final fulfillment. Obviously the Rapture, but we are also talking about some Israeli war prophecies such as the destruction of Damascus in Isaiah 17.

The Israeli war prophecies of Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39 are two distinctly different war prophecies in my estimation. Is it in your estimation as well?

Nathan Jones: Yes.

Bill Salus: In talking about these Seal, Trumpet and Bowl judgments that come in Revelation, there could be a whole flurry of wars that occur during a gap between the Rapture of the Church and the commencement of the Tribulation period. Certain types of events could fit very well in there and will be very powerful.

Let's talk about the destruction of Damascus in particular. Presently, Damascus has 4 1/2 million Syrians either in Damascus or in connected metropolitan areas living there. It says in Isaiah 17:1, "Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins." It seems to be in verse 9 and 14 of Isaiah 17 that Israel may be responsible for that, if we understand that interpretation right.

Nathan Jones: When you read Jeremiah 49 as well, it makes it sound like not only will it become a ruinous heap, but that such destruction will happen in just one day. Now, how does Israel destroy the oldest city in the world in under one day? I think what we are talking about here is some sort of nuclear disaster.

Bill Salus: It might. Israel could utilize the scalar technology that came out that can create a nuclear blast with the whole mushroom effect but without the damaging radiation. So, the technologies that exist today make Hiroshima look like the days of Adam and Eve in comparison.


Iranian Nuclear Ambitions

Bill Salus: We are talking about events that could happen in the very near future.

Iran is developing a nuclear weapon and they say they want to wipe Israel off the map. On December 3rd, Iranian President Ahmadinejad said that, "There is nothing..." (I am going to say it nicely) "There isn't a darn thing..." (he didn't use that word) "That Israel can do to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon." Doesn't that sound like Iran wants a nuclear weapon rather than using nuclear energy for civil defense purposes?

Nathan Jones: For people who get their gas at like 14 cents a gallon, what do they need atomic energy for? Their claim that they are developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is a total transparent sham, especially when every other word that comes out of Ahmadinejad mouth is "death to Israel," or "wipe them off the map." Reports say Iran now has enough nuclear fissionable material to make two atomic — not nuclear — but atomic bombs, which are still enough to wipe out a city. Iran continually thumbs their nose at the International Atomic Commission saying, "We are not going to listen to you. We are going to pull out and do our own thing." They bent Russia's arm behind their back and said, "You will finish that nuclear reactor." Even though Russia voted against Iran's nuclear energy ambitions, they are the very ones building their nuclear reactors! Iran is hell bent (and I use the phrase literally) — hell bent in going nuclear with their intention.

We can see the beginnings of war even now as Iran is funneling resources into Gaza and into Syria and Hezbollah. Iran definitely has a death wish against Israel.

That Iran's nuclear energy is going to be used for peaceful purposes is pure nonsense. I don't think anyone in the world really believes that it will be used for peace.

Bill Salus: Next, on December 4th, the day after Ahmadinejad said that Israel cannot do anything to stop them, Iran successfully simulated a detonation. The detonation component is very hard to achieve. It is very challenging to simulate a nuclear detonation through a laboratory environment and computerize model. It means they don't have to do what North Korea did and blow something up underground. Iran did it successfully. The experts are saying it is very challenging to achieve this and it means that Iran could be within one year now of having a nuclear weapon. If they've got the ability to detonate then they are closer than many people think.

Nathan Jones: Iran has a missile that reaches 1,000 miles. They have no problem delivering a nuclear weapon all the way to Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. So, Israel has really got their backs up against the wall.


Turkey Switches Sides

Nathan Jones: Another interesting political event with prophetic significance happened last November when Turkey suddenly dropped diplomatic relationships with Israel. For 20 years Turkey has had strong diplomatic relations with Israel. Turkey first dropped out of an military exercise with Israel and the United States and switched to participating in a joint military exercise with Syria. Turkey then formed a pact with Syria and now they can have diplomatic immunity and open borders.

Turkey, which has basically been shunned by the EU, is looking East. What we're seeing today is in exact fulfillment that Turkey would become a part of the Ezekiel 38-39 coalition of nations that will some day soon attack Israel. Turkey has now prophetically moved into that scenario.

And so, we have seen a lot of prophetic pieces lately starting to come together in the Middle East.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Jones Interview: Not Suffering the Wrath of God

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

In December 2009 I was interviewed by Bill Salus, author of the popular Psalm 83-themed book Isralestine, host of the radio program "Prophecy Update," and evangelist on the end times website Prophecy Depot. Bill and I spent much of the interview discussing the Rapture, Middle East politics and my "left behind" video "Jesus Came. What's Next?"


Bill Salus

Bill has been kind enough to allow The Christ in Prophecy Journal to reproduce the "Caught Up in the Pre-Trib Rapture" interview in transcript form, edited into an article series. To listen to the original radio program in mp3 format, I invite you to visit Prophecy Depot or KWBB.

In this segment, Bill and I will be discussing why the Church — the Bride of Christ — is not destined to suffer the wrath of God.


The Bible on Not Suffering the Wrath of God

Bill Salus: 1 Thessalonians 5:9 says that "God did not appoint us to suffer wrath."

Nathan Jones: Oh, yes, there are many verses that tell us that Christians are not destined to suffer the wrath of God.

Bill Salus: I find it interesting, and I think people might want to take some time to study this, is the prophetic inferences of the Seven Letters to the Seven Churches. In the letter to Thyatira, that church is promised to go into the sick bed of the Great Tribulation, while the church at Philadelphia will be kept from the hour of trial.

Nathan Jones: Revelation 3:10.

Bill Salus: It is very interesting that one of the purposes of the Seven Letters to the Seven Churches (and there were several purposes; and of course they were literal churches at the time Revelation was written) is the prophetic interpretation that they would be outlining church history in advance. Therefore, a lot of people suggest that the church of Thyatira pretty much embodies Roman Catholicism, though not that all Catholics of course are going to be unsaved and cast into the Tribulation.

Next, we are shown the evangelical Philadelphian type of church that went out and missionized the world in the 1800's and 1900's, opening the door to a great spiritual revival. Philadelphia represents the church on Earth that is caught up to Heaven. I think there are some good arguments for that. Therefore, it looks like it is the true church on Earth that is raptured out and is in Heaven for Revelation chapters 4 and 5, and I tend to subscribe to that.

When we get to Revelation 6 the seals start to be opened. The first seal appears to be the emergence of the Antichrist and the beginning of the Tribulation. So, that to me is a strong point as to why the Rapture will be Pre-Tribulational.

Nathan Jones: Indeed, the entire Church Age can be encapsulated in Revelation 2 or 3. Each church represents a different time period within the Church Age, with the last church being Laodicea which is the apathetic church. Look at around today and see the churches just rolling in apathy with a lot of their strength gone.

You mentioned Revelation 3:10 which reads, "Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test those who live on the Earth." That is a wonderful promise to the church of Philadelphia — the believing, dedicated Church — that they would be kept from the trials that are going to come on the Earth.

Paul shows that promise again in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, "And to wait for a Son from Heaven whom He raised from the dead, Jesus who rescues us from the coming wrath." Also, 1 Thessalonians 5:9, "For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath, but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Bill Salus: That is the passage I was referring to. That's the one that a lot of people argue to show we are going to be kept from that wrath and that we are not appointed to it.

Nathan Jones: There are more verses — go to Romans 5:9, Ephesians 5:6, Colossians 3:4. Again and again and again in the New Testament Jesus and the Apostles say that the Church will be kept from God's wrath.


Persecution Versus Tribulation

Nathan Jones: We need to bear in mind Paul's audience when he was describing the Rapture. These were people who were enduring great persecution under such emperors as Nero and Diocletian. These were emperors who hated Christians. Those Christians were suffering immensely. They were being thrown to the lions. They knew persecution, but they knew there was a greater persecution coming and that they would be kept from that.

Bill Salus: So, the Post-Trib Rapture viewpoint basically puts the Church through the Tribulation — the wrath of God — the seven year Tribulation. The Bride of Christ gets all battered and bruised.

Nathan Jones: The "Protestant Purgatory," yes.

Bill Salus: Then, all of a sudden, according to their view Jesus says, "I'll take you now."

Not that we are kept from persecution as a Church, of course.

Nathan Jones: No, no, we definitely endure trials and tribulations as Christians. But, we have got to get our minds around the difference between present sufferings and the sufferings under God's wrath. We have to look back at the Flood. The Flood was a particular time period when God poured out His wrath on an unbelieving, rebellious, really vile civilization to cleanse it and to bring some righteous people out of it.

And so, even though believers suffer persecution, the Tribulation is just like the Flood. It is a special and separate time for God to pour out His wrath. He is going to use the Tribulation to bring a remnant of Israel back into believing in Yeshua as Messiah and to populate a Millennial Kingdom with peace, righteousness and justice with Jesus ruling from Jerusalem over a believing remnant. That is what makes the Tribulation just like the Flood, a separate period of time.

Bill Salus: Speaking of that, we will encounter trials as a Church even before the Rapture. The Church historically has endured suffering. The Church in Smyrna in particular in those Revelation letters to the Churches of Revelation 2 was the martyred Church Age.

Interestingly, I was watching this famous quarterback named Tim Tebow who is with a Florida college team. He did an interview. He had, as some of these football players do you'll often see, written John 3:16. Well, Tebow had John 16:33, and I thought I needed to read and find out what he was saying. Obviously, Tebow must be a Christian, so what is he saying there? And the verse says, "In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." This is Jesus saying this.

Nathan Jones: Great verse!

Bill Salus: So, that is perfect. You know we are not going to be kept from tribulation, but we will be kept from the "hour of trial" due to the Pre-Trib Rapture. The wrath of God in that hour of trial. In the meanwhile, Christians will suffer persecution for their faith.

Nathan Jones: Look at India and Pakistan right now. India is having terrible problems with Christians being burned alive. One of the ministries that Lamb and Lion supports, the gentlemen's translating organization gets kicked out of building after building after building because the owners are terrified that the Hindus will burn their building down for letting a Christian work in them. That is rather minor compared to the Christian orphanages being burned down in different sections of India. Pakistan has great persecution, then you've got the Sudan. You name it, other than the United States and maybe Australia, you see a physical persecution of Christians.

And yet, in first world countries like the United States, Australia and England definitely there is legal persecution, the very beginnings of physical persecution. There was a time when the Puritans came to the New World to escape religious persecution from the Church of England, and now, I don't think there is any place for Christians to escape to. Maybe Texas! They can escape to Texas, but even here we see a lot of religious persecution going on in the legal systems.

So, yes, I totally agree with you — Christians will suffer persecution. Again, though, the Tribulation is like the Flood. It is a separate time period, an earth-altering time period when God is going to change the world.

God says He has a cup of wrath and when it reaches a certain level that is it. That is when He will finally act on His wrath. God has to deal with sin. He has to deal in judgment. If someone sins against us, we want to see justice done for our sin, don't we? Well, God is the same way. He wants to see justice done for people's continued rebellion and the horrible actions that everyone commits against one another. The only thing that makes Christians different is that we are forgiven and saved, but that is a very, very important difference.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Jones Interview: Rapture Timing

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

In December 2009 I was interviewed by Bill Salus, author of the popular Psalm 83-themed book Isralestine, host of the radio program "Prophecy Update," and evangelist on the end times website Prophecy Depot. Bill and I spent much of the interview discussing the Rapture, Middle East politics and my "left behind" video "Jesus Came. What's Next?"


Bill Salus

Bill has been kind enough to allow The Christ in Prophecy Journal to reproduce the "Caught Up in the Pre-Trib Rapture" interview in transcript form, edited into an article series. To listen to the original radio program in mp3 format, I invite you to visit Prophecy Depot or KWBB.

In this segment, Bill and I will be discussing the various views concerning the timing of the Rapture.


Rapture Versus Second Coming

Bill Salus: Let's talk about why the Rapture is a Pre-Trib event, happening before the Tribulation.

Chuck Missler believes the Rapture will be a Pre-Tribulational event. He says to those that don't agree, thinking the Rapture will occur in the middle of the Tribulation (the Mid-Tribbers) or the end of the Tribulation (the Post-Tribbers), that when we are caught up Pre-Trib we will just explain it to them on the way up." What humor!

But, there are a lot of arguments developed around the Rapture taking place during the middle of the Tribulation, or at the end of the Tribulation. Why do you feel that the Rapture happens in the beginning of the Tribulation, or is it before the Tribulation like in the Pre-Trib view?

Nathan Jones: I had to get my mind around this topic early on. It's easy to listen to people and just say, "Yeah, he's right." But, I felt I had to go deeper and so sat down and went through the Rapture verses such as Isaiah 26:19-21; John 14:1-14; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. I also looked at the Second Coming verses such as Zechariah 14:1-21; Matthew 24:29-31 and Matthew's comparison in Mark and Luke; as well as Revelation 19. When one looks at the Second Coming verses of Jesus Christ, and then looks at the Rapture verses — they tell two different stories. And so, they must then be describing two very different events.

For instance, in the Rapture believers meet Christ up in the air. We are brought from the ground up to the air, but in the Second Coming Jesus comes down to the Earth and actually lands on the Earth at the Mount of Olives, which then happens to split. Why would the Rapture verses leave out such a major piece of the story like the splitting of the Mount of Olives? It is all covered with graves right now, which I saw having been there. The Mount is actually going to break into two! That is a major event to leave out of the Rapture story.

Bill Salus: So, the Rapture is not going to be a bungee cord drop where Jesus comes down, grabs us, goes up, and comes back down again?

Nathan Jones: Oh, no, not at all. We continue to read in the Rapture believers go up to Heaven, but in the Second Coming glorified believers come from Heaven to meet Earthly believers already here. Where did those believers on Earth come from? In the nanosecond the Rapture happened people will come to know the Lord as Savior and be ready to meet Jesus? There has to be a time period between those two groups of believers.

The Rapture is deliverance for the Church. We are delivered from the wrath to come. But, in the Second Coming there are believers enduring the wrath of the Tribulation, which Jesus rescues them from by His Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation.

With the Rapture there is no sign that precedes it, but with Jesus' Second Coming then there are tons of signs that precede it. We know from the Bible that the Antichrist sets up a one world government. It will be an intense time of persecution for Israel and Tribulation Saints. We read about world-wide judgments like oceans turning into blood. Everything apocalyptic like raining fire and brimstone happens before the Second Coming.


Post-Tribulation Rapture

Nathan Jones: After sitting down and reading through all these comparisons between the Rapture verses and the Second Coming verses, I could only conclude that it is impossible for there to be a Post-Trib Rapture — a Rapture that happens at the end of the Tribulation.

If believers are raptured at the very end of the Tribulation they would go up, get their glorified bodies which are like angels in that they can't reproduce, then immediately come back down with Jesus to reign in the Millennial Kingdom. So, who is creating children? Glorified bodies are not creating children. The Bible talks about all the believers coming through the Sheep-Goat Judgment who will live through the Tribulation and enter the Millennial Kingdom and have children. There has to be believers left to have children. So, I think the Post-Trib Rapture view doesn't make any sense whatsoever.


Mid-Tribulation Rapture

Nathan Jones: There's also the Mid-Tribulation Rapture view. It says the Rapture happens in the middle of the Tribulation. It's based on the 1 Corinthians 15:52 verse about the last trumpet blowing. This view then jumps to the conclusion that the "last trumpet" must be the Seventh Trumpet Judgment in the series of Seal, Trumpet and Bowl/Vial Judgments described in Revelation. It's an assumption that the Seventh Trumpet Judgment is the "last trumpet" of 1 Corinthians 15.

When we follow the feasts of Israel we see a lot of major events have happened in the Bible during some of those feasts. The Church began for instance on the Feast of Pentecost. And so, I think that trumpet verse is particularly talking about the last Feast of Trumpets during the Church Age.

Of the 114 references to trumpets, I don't know why the Mid-Trib Rapture position grabs onto the idea that the "last trumpet" is the Seventh Trumpet Judgment.


Pre-Wrath Rapture

Nathan Jones: Concerning the Pre-Wrath Rapture view, it claims the wrath of God happens only during the Bowl Judgments in the last quarter or so of the Tribulation, and that any judgments like the Seal and the Trumpet Judgments are merely the wrath of man or the wrath of Satan. But, God handed out those trumpets. They come from the throneroom of God. Jesus is the one who opens the Seal Judgments from the very first seal, and so the wrath that God is shown to be poured out throughout the entire Tribulation.

The Pre-Wrath view has it right when it states that the Church is supposed to be raptured before the wrath of God is poured out, but gets what the wrath of God is wrong. The wrath of God begins the Tribulation, so again, the Rapture happen before the Tribulation begins.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jones Interview: Vital Message for the Tribulation

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

In December 2009 I was interviewed by Bill Salus, author of the popular Psalm 83-themed book Isralestine, host of the radio program "Prophecy Update," and evangelist on the end times website Prophecy Depot. Bill and I spent much of the interview discussing the Rapture, Middle East politics and my "left behind" video "Jesus Came. What's Next?"


Bill Salus

Bill has been kind enough to allow The Christ in Prophecy Journal to reproduce the "Caught Up in the Pre-Trib Rapture" interview in transcript form, edited into an article series. To listen to the original radio program in mp3 format, I invite you to visit Prophecy Depot or KWBB.

In this segment, Bill and I will be discussing a vital message for those left behind after the Rapture.


Rapture Reference

Bill Salus: A great passage about the Rapture is 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 which begins with, "I tell you a mystery." Therefore, the Rapture is one of those mysteries of the New Testament that Paul introduces.

The passage goes on, "we will all be changed — in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye." As I understand it, in the original Greek language they didn't have nanoseconds, so blinking your eyes was the quickest measurement they had to describe a nanosecond in their vocabulary back then.

The passage continues, "For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality." It goes on to say, "When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory.'"


Rapture Rescue

Bill Salus: I put on my website at prophecydepot.com the video production that you recently produced about the Rapture (see below). In there is a very powerful message that you are trying to get across to people who are left behind. Talk a little about your production. What inspired you to do it? What is the intent of the message? And, in addition to finding it on my site, how they can find it on your site?



Nathan Jones: Certainly. Lamb and Lion Ministries exists to proclaim the soon return of Jesus Christ to as many people as we can as quickly as we can before the Rapture happens. One of the great things about the Internet and the Web and technology like that is that they help us accomplish that goal. We also know that these technologies will continue to exist throughout the terrors of the Tribulation. For example, when the two witnesses who preach in Jerusalem from Revelation 11:1-14 are killed 3 1/2 years into the Tribulation, the whole world will see them die. And so, we know satellite technology and television still be in use.

The wonderful thing about our website and any of the Bible resources that we leave online is that they will be there for people after the Rapture to answer their questions. They want to know what has happened. Where did these people go? Like you said, it will happen in a flash and twinkling of an eye. Two people will be walking and all of a sudden one is gone. The Rapture will create total havoc in the world. We wanted to be able to answer these people's questions.

Now, we understand during that time there is going to be a great delusion on many people. Maybe they'll believe aliens snatched up those raptured. Or, they will try to explain it away with Global Warming.

Bill Salus: Someone is going to have to give an explanation.

Nathan Jones: Oh, yeah! They will have panels of experts talking about how it happened. We instead wanted to leave the truth with people. And so, I sat down and wrote ten answers to common questions that people basically would have, starting with the basics like "Is there a God?" and "Does He have a Son?" I walk the viewer all the way through the salvation message so they know what to expect, and they will have the real truth out there.


Rapture Resource

Nathan Jones: The video's called "Jesus Came. What's Next?"

Because YouTube has a 10 minute time limit for posting videos. We tried to make it in under 10 minutes, but it is awfully hard to answer such big questions in under 10 minutes.

Bill Salus: You actually have the video in two parts, right, because I posted two parts?

Nathan Jones: I broke it into two for YouTube, but services like Yahoo Videos and others allow you to post longer ones. In Tangle we're given up to 20 minutes.

Bill Salus: If they want to get the video in one solid part they can go to Tangle?

Nathan Jones: The video can be found on Tangle or Yahoo Videos, or Daily Motion. And, I even have it on my Christ in Prophecy Facebook group. We have it posted just all over the place.

People can find it in a search by typing "Jesus Came" or "Rapture" or "people disappear." I tried to phrase it more like if they had a question. "Did many people disappear?" They can look that question up in Ask.com.

My hope is that others as well will disseminate this video all over the Internet and when the time comes people will find it. Of course, we have it on our main website, but you never know what will happen to our website and for how long during the Tribulation it will stay up.

We have extended written versions of this video all over the place in both English and Spanish (thanks to Donald Dolmus of En Defensa de la Fe).

We have also created a DVD version one can get online at
lamblionresources.com
for $5 to make it easy to leave around. People have written in to me and say, "We have left them in our food storage, we have put them in our safes, we have put it next to our Bible shelf. So, if anyone comes looking for food or clothing or what not during the terrible needs that will happen during the Tribulation they can find these and hopefully they will have a way to play them."

Of course, other methods electronically are to pass them through people's IPods and cell phones and devices like that. We just want to leave it out there and it is our prayer and hope that tens of thousands or even millions (I don't know how many) will watch it both before and after the Rapture. I pray that the Lord will really bless this message of hope and will get it out to those people who are receptive to it. Someday I would like to see many people come to know the Lord through this resource and meet them in Heaven one day.

Bill Salus: Well, $5 that is quite a deal!

Nathan Jones: It's $5 just because of the materials and the ink. I would give it away free if I could. A gentleman this week just bought 60 copies because he wanted to give them to all his Bible Study friends.

"Jesus Came. What's Next?" is free all over the Internet where one can link to it and download it, especially if they have RealPlayer. Just do a right click and choose "Save As."

For the written versions, people tell me they print them out and leave them around or give them to relatives.

The idea is to proliferate both the video and written versions out there, leaving them all over the place so they're easily accessible. Hopefully, the Lord will have a few people set up during the Tribulation that will come across the message, accept the Lord, and will continue to disseminate the message further during that time period.


Rapture Roadblock

Bill Salus: Sometimes the concern is that with the Internet who knows if the "god of this world" (Satan) in the aftermath of the Rapture won't shut down powerful websites and things along those lines to try to prevent the longevity of something like what you have done in staying on the Internet. Therefore, these hard copy DVD's that are being circulated could end up being very powerful witnessing tools in the aftermath of the Rapture.

Nathan Jones: I think that we can guarantee the world will become like China where they shut down key words and search terms like that, so that the world will not be able to look up certain topics.

Bill Salus: Yes, as it coughs up its dangerous explanation of what just happened, you are right, the best witnessing tools could be the books and the DVD's and the hard copy materials that will last.


Rapture Relief

Bill Salus: I saw your production on the Lamb and Lion television show "Christ in Prophecy." You and David Reagan did a special on it. After I watched that special I was immediately brought to tears, Nathan. I tell you it was a well done production.

I think the video is especially gripping to those who understand the stage is set. The world in the aftermath of the Rapture with the rise of the Antichrist will believe all sorts of signs and lying wonders, and it will be a harlot world religious system that will just be sweeping through the world and captivating souls.

You know, there are people whom we love presently who do not know the Lord. The Rapture could happen at a twinkling of an eye, right now, because it is imminent! All the signs are there pointing to the need to listen for the sound of the Archangel's shout and trumpet. It just gripped me because my concern is for the lost who are going to go through the subsequent traumatic times.

Nathan Jones: Well, praise the Lord, Bill! The idea is that the video is a message for those left behind, but I would be very happy to see people come to know the Lord through it now before the Rapture so they can be included in the Rapture.

It can educate Christians, too, about the end times. I have had a number of people write in, including a gentleman from England. He wrote that he didn't know that much about the Rapture. He thought it was something quiet or mysterious that no one would know about. Well, the Bible is very clear that it is going to be a very loud event. We've got a shout from an archangel and a trumpet. And, though it might happen in a blink of an eye so that only believers alone possibly are hearing it, the Rapture is still going to have great global impact. It is going to let the world know there is a God, just like the ending of Ezekiel 38 and 39. And so, I am hoping that this video is very educational for Christians in the Church Age.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Jones Interview: The Elusive Rapture Word

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

In December 2009 I was interviewed by Bill Salus, author of the popular Psalm 83-themed book Isralestine, host of the radio program "Prophecy Update," and evangelist on the end times website Prophecy Depot. Bill and I spent much of the interview discussing the Rapture, Middle East politics and my "left behind" video "Jesus Came. What's Next?"


Bill Salus

Bill has been kind enough to allow The Christ in Prophecy Journal to reproduce the "Caught Up in the Pre-Trib Rapture" interview in transcript form, edited into an article series. To listen to the original radio program in mp3 format, I invite you to visit Prophecy Depot or KWBB.

In this segment, Bill and I will be discussing the word "rapture" in the Bible.


The Elusive Rapture Word

Bill Salus: In 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 it says, "According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."

The conclusion to this passage doesn't seem to get a lot of emphasis, but I think it's critical. "Therefore with all that said" (now I am paraphrasing), "Therefore comfort one another with these words."

How do you interpret this passage, and where is the Rapture inside of that verse?

Nathan Jones: That is probably the strongest verse section in the Bible that teaches the Rapture. Now, when I heard you read I didn't hear you say the word "Rapture." And so, why do we say there's something called "the Rapture" in this verse?

Well, when we read "caught up" or "snatched up" or "take away," we have to go back to the original Greek. The original Greek for "caught up," or "snatched up" or "take away" is harpazo. But, for 1500 years the only Bible the Europeans had was the Latin Vulgate. The Latin Vulgate is where we have the word harpazo as rapio, and rapio means "to be caught up, snatched up, taken away."

It is kind of like if I go to get a pizza. I run to Papa John's and they've got that pizza ready, and I grab it, I snatch it up, and I take it with me back home. That concept of the Rapture is certainly there... if we are reading Latin, but of course we read English.

Instead of saying "The Great Caught Up," or "The Great Snatching Away," it is easier to just say "The Rapture." It is kind of like the word "Bible" isn't in the Bible or the word "Trinity" isn't in the Bible, but those words help us with these concepts.

Bill Salus: So, technically, it could have been translated rather than "caught up" as "rapture" because that is really what the word is.

Nathan Jones: Exactly! It is kind of a shame our English versions didn't keep the word "Rapture." They do have the wording "caught up" or "snatch away," but we lose the word "rapture." This omission I think confuses many people who declare, "The Rapture isn't in the Bible. I don't see the word 'rapture' at all." When I'm confronted by that statement I just turn around and reply, "Well, do you see the word 'trinity' in the Bible?" And, it is clear that the Trinity is a concept that is definitely in the Bible.

You can find more on the Rapture in 1 Corinthians 15:51-58 and John 14:1-14, so it is definitely a biblical concept and a biblical teaching that Jesus is promising the Church that He will take us away one day.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Jones Interview: The Rapture Gap

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

In December 2009 I was interviewed by Bill Salus, author of the popular Psalm 83-themed book Isralestine, host of the radio program "Prophecy Update," and evangelist on the end times website Prophecy Depot. Bill and I spent much of the interview discussing the Rapture, Middle East politics and my "left behind" video "Jesus Came. What's Next?"


Bill Salus

Bill has been kind enough to allow The Christ in Prophecy Journal to reproduce the "Caught Up in the Pre-Trib Rapture" interview in transcript form, edited into an article series. To listen to the original radio program in mp3 format, I invite you to visit Prophecy Depot or KWBB.

In this segment, Bill and I will be discussing the possibility of there being a time gap between the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation.


Introductions

Bill Salus: Welcome to another edition of the Prophecy Update Radio Program whereby we intend to authenticate the sovereignty of God through Bible prophecy by telling you what Bible prophecy has to say about these last days. I am your host Bill Salus, and I am delighted to have with me Nathan Jones of Lamb and Lion Ministries.

Nathan and I happen to be in Dallas at the Pre-Trib Conference sponsored by Thomas Ice and Tim LaHaye where there are all kinds of interesting topics being discussed today about the Rapture. Today, I thought we would pick up on the theme of the Rapture.


Four Major Prophetic Events

Bill Salus: In my estimation, and I think Nathan will concur and I will allow him to say his thoughts on this, that there are four major prophetic events that the Church should be watching for. One is the Rapture, two is Psalm 83 the Arab Israeli Conflict, three is the destruction of Damascus in Isaiah 17, and four is the Ezekiel 38-39 Russian-Iranian lead invasion of Israel. These four wars are not necessarily listed in order and, of course, we don't know exactly when the Rapture is going to occur.

Nathan, do you concur that those are the four big prophetic events we should be watching out for?

Nathan Jones: Yes, those cover everything that happens up to the Tribulation. If you want to talk about a fifth big prophetic event then that would be the Tribulation, but I don't think the Church is going to be here for that.

Bill Salus: Correct. We are talking about a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, meaning that Christ comes and takes out His Bride the Church before the beginning of the Tribulation.


Imminency of the Rapture

Bill Salus: Now, Nathan, let's start by talking about the Rapture. It is an imminent event. Is that correct? And, what does that mean?

Nathan Jones: Imminency means that the Rapture can happen at any time. It doesn't have to have any kind of prophetic event to happen before it does. For instance, when we talk about Jesus' Second Coming we know that all sorts of events occur during the Tribulation — the Antichrist's rise, the one world government, all the different battles, the destruction of the Earth — all have to happen before Jesus comes back. But, for the Rapture, none of that has to happen. It can happen at any time.


Rapture Gap

Bill Salus: A lot of people who've read my work on the Psalm 83 — Isralestine — have somehow confused the central theme with the thought that I am suggesting that the Rapture can't be an imminent event because the Arab Israeli War of Psalm 83 has to occur prior. Now, in previous discussions with Dr. David Reagan and others, we have discussed that is not of course what I am saying, nor is that what I believe. Basically, how do you feel about the timing of Psalm 83 in relation to the Rapture? Could the Rapture happen before or after a Psalm 83 war?

Nathan Jones: I think a lot of us, myself included, while growing up would look at the Rapture and think the Rapture happens and then — Boom! — the next day the Tribulation begins. And so, the idea that there could be anything that happens between the Rapture and the Tribulation is a fairly new concept, at least for me.

I talk to different people as Web Minister, interacting with people all over the world who send in their questions. I try to answer them to the best of my ability, or I ask Dr. Reagan for some answers. I get a sense from these communications that the idea that Psalm 83 or Ezekiel 38-39 could happen after the Rapture but before the Tribulation is something new. People are still getting their minds I think wrapped around that idea. I know I am a little, too, because like I said, I grew up thinking the Rapture kicks off the Tribulation. But, the Tribulation doesn't begin until the Antichrist makes a peace treaty with Israel, which we can read about in Daniel 9:26-27. That is the actual event that starts the Tribulation, and not the Rapture.

Bill Salus: Right. It is called the "Covenant with Death" and the "Agreement with Sheol" in Isaiah 28:15 and 18.

You make a good point, Nathan. I think that many Christians, whether they are prophetically inclined or not, have grown up with the old school thought that the Rapture occurs and then the Tribulation begins almost within the same 24 hour span. But, like you said, what commences the seven year Tribulation period is this false covenant with Israel.

We just don't know how long the time gap is going to be between the Rapture of the Church and the commencement of the Tribulation with the confirmation of the false government. And so, we are all starting to think through this time gap idea and see how it could fit in there in relation to these Israeli war prophecies of Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39 and Damascus in Isaiah 17:1 and whether the Rapture precedes these events or not.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Are You Standing for Righteousness?

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

In these end times, God is calling us to take a stand for righteousness in the midst of a society that has become so evil that it has forgotten how to blush (Jeremiah 6:15).

There are three things that each of us need to do in order to stand for righteousness.


A Call to Action

First, you need to pray for God to lay an issue on your heart. You cannot actively oppose all the evil, for it is too great. You must focus your time and energy. Think of it this way: If you pour water on the ground, it runs every which way; but if you pour it into a channel that runs it over a water wheel, you can generate electricity.

So, pray for God to burden your heart with one particular issue. You may wake up in the night weeping for those in bondage to homosexuality. Or, while praying, you may begin to feel a great sense of compassion for women who are contemplating an abortion.

Once God gives you the burden, then change your prayer and start asking what He wants you to do about it. Remember, God does not call everyone to do the same thing.

Take the issue of abortion, for example. He might call one person to be a front line soldier who sits in the doorway of a clinic and risks arrest. He may call another to stand across the street and pray or serve as a sidewalk counselor. He might motivate another to write letters to newspapers and politicians. Others He might call to serve as financial contributors. He might even call you to adopt a baby that someone wants to abort.

Finally, after the Lord has identified your issue and told you what to do, then follow that popular slogan that says, "Just do it!" He will give you the gifts you need to do the job, and He will give you the opportunities. Remember, He is actively searching the earth for people who have given their hearts to Him so that He might strongly support them (2 Chronicles 16:9). Donald K. Campbell, author of Judges: Leaders in Crisis Times, wrote, "The requirement for usefulness is not ability, but availability and trust in God's enabling power."

Here's how Paul put it: "I thank Jesus Christ our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service" (1 Timothy 1:12).


A Monk Who Challenged an Empire

In the Fourth Century there was a monk by the name of Telemachus. He lived alone as a hermit in the desert seeking God. One day he became convinced that he was selfish rather than selfless, and he decided that he would spend the rest of his life serving people, enabling God to touch them through him.

He headed for Rome. He arrived when the Romans were celebrating a military victory over the Goths. Prisoners of war were being marched through the streets. He heard there was going to be a great victory celebration at the Coliseum, and he decided to go.

He was astonished to find 50,000 people cheering as the prisoners of war fought each other to the death in gladiator games. (Keep in mind that Rome had become officially Christian by this time.) Telemachus could not endure what he was witnessing. He was morally outraged, and he decided to take action.

He rushed down the steps, vaulted the retaining wall, and stepped between two gladiators, signaling for them to stop their combat. The crowd was enraged. They began to chant for the life of the monk. Finally, the commander of the games gave in to the blood lust of the crowd and gave the signal for Telemachus to be slaughtered.


Telemachus

Suddenly, a hush fell over the crowd as people began to realize that they had encouraged the killing of a holy man — a minister of Christ. The games ended, and they were never resumed. Edward Gibbon, in his book, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, wrote, "His death was more useful to Mankind than his life."

Never underestimate what one person can accomplish when that person is called and empowered by God.


[Note: This essay is taken from Dr. Reagan's book, Living for Christ in the End Times, pages 174-175.]

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hitchcock and His Message to All Americans

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

What is the responsibility of every American in response to our nation's decline?

Dr. David Reagan and I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Mark Hitchcock on the show Christ in Prophecy. Mark is a leading Bible prophecy expert, prolific author who has penned over 20 books on the end times, senior pastor of Faith Bible Church located in Oklahoma, and adjunct faculty member of the Dallas Theological Seminary. He is also a much in demand speaker at Bible prophecy conferences all over the nation.

Dr. Hitchcock was invited to answer questions based on his book The Late Great United States. The subtitle of Mark's fascinating book — What Bible Prophecy Reveals About America's Last Days — states the purpose. The book digs deep into the Bible, mining for any textual nugget that might reveal some value as to the United States' future as an end time player.


Mark Hitchcock, Author


A Message to All Americans

Dr. Hitchcock: In Joel 3 God says that in the end times He is going to gather the nations down to the valley of judgment — the Valley of Jehoshaphat — and He is going to enter into judgment with them. God says the basis of that judgment is going to be whether or not they attempted to divide up His land. God says He is going to pour out his wrath on nations that divide up the land of Israel. The United States is one of those nations involved in dividing up the land of Israel right now.

This promise God made to Abraham. Think about how long ago He gave that promise to Abraham. He said that those who bless you I'll bless and then literally in the Hebrew it is the one that curses you God must curse.

We've seen that played out through history. In fact, someone brought up a great point that every time people have tried to wipe out the Jewish people, the Jewish people end up with a holiday! With Pharaoh they got the Passover. With Haman they got the Feast of Purim. With Antiochus Epiphanes they got Hanukkah. And with Hitler, they really got the rebirth of their modern nation in 1948. And so, this promise has been played out throughout history — those who bless God's people are blessed and those who curse them are cursed.

I think that the United States supporting Israel is one of the reasons that God's hand of blessing has been so evident upon our country. Unfortunately, though, what we see happening today in our nation is a slow but steady turning away from the nation of Israel and an abandonment of them. With all of the other problems that we have in our country that deserve the judgment of God and are already bringing judgment, the last thing that we need to do now is to be involved in anything that ceases to be a blessing to the Jewish people.

Most people are not aware of the degree to which the United States is involved in forcing Israel to give up their heartland right now. It started with the first President Bush who basically said if you want us to guarantee loans to you from the World Bank then you've got to begin negotiating land for peace. We forced them to the negotiation. We forced them into a suicidal policy of appeasement, and as you well know, appeasement always wets the appetite of the aggressor. It never satisfies. We have had Israel's arm up their back ever since then. With both of the Bushes as well as Clinton and now with President Obama, it is the same thing, we are forcing Israel to give up their heartland. We have great power to force Israel to give up their land because we are the only ones in the United Nations who stand between Israel and economic sanctions that could destroy that nation with our veto, and the Israelis know that. We can say, "You can either do what we say, or else."

I just call the policy "Land." It's not really land for peace, it is just land being given up for no peace. No matter how much Israel gives up, the Arabs want more. They don't even recognize Israel's right to exist. They're dealing with a people who don't even recognize their very right to exist! So, it is a futile policy, and a very difficult situation.

The only foreign policy statement in the Bible for nations is to bless the Jewish people. That is amazing to me. It is the only foreign policy statement in all the Bible that says to be sure in whatever you do that you bless the Jewish people.

Not only should the nations bless Israel and what God is doing there in rebuilding His ancient nation according to His promises in Bible prophecy, but God has a domestic policy for the Gentile nations. God says righteousness exalts a people, but sin is a reproach to any nation (Prov. 14:34). So, one of the two parts of a domestic policy for a country is to promote righteousness.

In my own life it is easy to decry all the immorality that is happening in our culture, but I need to follow the second part and look at my own life first, because if I am involved in pornography and the immorality and the things that are polluting our country then what right do I have to decry what is happening in our country?

We need to look towards ourselves and we also need to be praying. The Bible tells us to pray for our leaders. We need to be praying earnestly for our leaders and for our military that God will bring them to Himself and that He will surround them with people who have wisdom that they will listen to. We desperately need to be praying for our country.

We need to be looking at ourselves. I have often said that over 80% of the people in this country profess to be Christians, but if professing Christians would stop buying lottery tickets the lotteries would cease. If confessing Christians would stop getting abortions the abortion mills would have to close. We are part of the problem.

We have to look at ourselves, because it is like when Isaiah was renouncing his woes on the nations in Isaiah 5 and 6. When we get to the end of the text there, what does he say? He says, "Woe is me."

Let's not always be looking at the nation and its sin without first looking at ourselves.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hitchcock Discusses the US Under Judgment

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

Where is the United States right now in terms of the biblical view of judgment?

Dr. David Reagan and I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Mark Hitchcock on the show Christ in Prophecy. Mark is a leading Bible prophecy expert, prolific author who has penned over 20 books on the end times, senior pastor of Faith Bible Church located in Oklahoma, and adjunct faculty member of the Dallas Theological Seminary. He is also a much in demand speaker at Bible prophecy conferences all over the nation.

Dr. Hitchcock was invited to answer questions based on his book The Late Great United States. The subtitle of Mark's fascinating book — What Bible Prophecy Reveals About America's Last Days — states the purpose. The book digs deep into the Bible, mining for any textual nugget that might reveal some value as to the United States' future as an end time player.


Mark Hitchcock, Author


The US Under Judgment

Dr. Hitchcock: Romans 1 is a key passage that tells us what happens when God begins to pour out His wrath upon a nation or people.

I often hear people ask when God is going to judge America. My response is that He already is.

The first phase of God's judgment, I would call it the "Wrath of Abandonment," is when God begins to abandon people to their own devises. God just steps back and lowers the hedge of protection and says if that is the way you want to live, so be it. Three times in Romans 1 it says, "And God gave them over, and God gave them over, and God gave them over." So, what we see there is really a downward cycle of what takes place in this process.

The first step listed there in Romans 1:24-26 is what we might refer to as a sexual revolution, when sex just becomes unbridled in the passions of the culture. I was born in 1959 and I lived through and witnessed as a young man that sexual revolution in our culture.

The second "God gave them over" is a homosexual revolution. I have also witnessed that in my lifetime. It really began I would say in the early 1980's and it is still continuing to this day.

Thirdly, the passage talks about when people just openly encourage evil. God finally just delivers the whole society over to a depraved mind. There is an open encouragement of evil.

When we look at our country today and see those signs are a reality, we know as a nation that we are already under God's judgment.

Dr. Reagan: Throughout Biblical history and even ever since the end of biblical history, we can look and see that God deals with nations in a certain way. One of those ways is through remedial judgments, when He calls a nation to repentance. God does not wish that any should perish. He is very patient when He calls a nation to repentance. We know from the example of Jonah going to Nineveh that when a nation does repent as the King did and called the whole nation to repentance that God will forgive and relent.

Dr. Hitchcock: That's right. There are large sections in the Old Testament showing God's judgment on Gentile nations. A lot of people think that God does not care about nations, or that He only cared about Israel. Well, He cares about Israel, but Gentile nations are also judged. They are judged for violence, for immorality, for materialism, and for all those different things that are running rampant in our culture.

Dr. Reagan: You recall from the book of Judges where the cycle just goes over and over and over — they come back to God, God blesses them, they drift away from God, they begin getting involved in idolatry, God puts judgments upon them, and finally they turn back to God and say "please save us" — and then it starts all over again.

Nathan Jones: When I was a kid I used to wonder when reading through the history of Israel why by two generations the Israelites became evil. After they were brought back, within two generations they were rebellious yet again! I wondered how that was possible in just two generations, and now that I am older and I have experienced being in at least two generations, I can understand how that can really happen to a country within just 100 years.

Dr. Reagan: It certainly can. I think God is calling this nation to repentance right now, and we need to take that call very seriously.