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Today, we are witnessing the unfolding of phenomenal events around the world:
One: a nuclear proliferation treaty with Iran, which greatly jeopardizes Israel.
Two: an American president who is perceived as weak and unwilling to take any serious military action to stop Russia or Iran.
Three: Russian president, Putin, who is using this weakness of president Obama, to move into the middle east.
Four: Increased violence in Israel by Palestinians that may lead to a new war in the Middle East.
These events will only spell certain danger for Israel. The prime minister of Israel; Benjamin Netanyahu, understands this threat. It is certain that he is near the time when he will order a pre emptive strike against Iran. This will draw Russian into the conflict, and likely begin the events of God and Magog, which are destined to be fulfilled just prior to, or just after, the beginning of the seven year Tribulation period. This event may, in fact, be the reason that a seven year peace treaty is signed between Israel and the surrounding nations. This seven year treaty will be the beginning of the seven year Tribulation. Before this event takes place, Jesus will return to remove His church from the world.
We are living during some of the most exciting days of human history. Although the world is not looking for the return of Jesus, we who know Him and love Him, are ever-watching for His soon return. When we see events that are taking place around the world and compare these things with what the Bible states about the last days, we are struck by the similarities.
“Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive
when he returns, we can live with him forever.”
—1 Thessalonians 5:10
Concerning the return of Jesus to the earth, here is what we know for certain: He came before, He promised to come again.
History is replete with many myths. There is no shortage of colorful people who have made grandiose claims over the years of recorded history. There are many critics of the Bible today who claim that Jesus is a fictitious person who never existed. When we examine the actual facts of antiquity, we find that Jesus not only existed and is a genuine person, history has left us a tremendous amount of proof for His existence. The detailed records of the Roman Senate, as well as the Jewish Talmud, both contain specific references to Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate. These records are not complimentary nor sympathetic parties, but adversarial and hostile witnesses who describe Jesus as a false prophet, a disrupter of the peace, and the cause of great uprising in Israel during that period of history. The Romans and the Jews had no desire to preserve any record of Jesus life or death, yet this is precisely what they accomplished by their antagonistic comments in their preserved documents.
The records of the Romans and the Jews, both reveal that Jesus was in Jerusalem during the same period of time that the New Testament narrative places Him there.
Near the end of His ministry, Jesus promised His followers that He would come again when everything was ready. There were many events of world history that needed to take place first, before He could return. When theses things were completed, He said that He would come again.
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 may be also. —John 14:2-3
When we speak of the “Last Days,” we should understand that this period of time began with the arrival of Jesus on the earth the first time. The last days will be concluded by “The Day of the Lord,” during the Tribulation period. The day of the Lord is specifically detailed in the book of Revelation chapters 6-19.
Some of the confusion over the timing of the Rapture has resulted from a lack of knowledge regarding the term: “The Day of the Lord.” This term is always used to describe the return of the Messiah to the earth, at the end of Daniel’s seventieth week; the seven year tribulation period. In 1 Thessalonians, chapter 4, Paul describes a very specific event in which He states that this information he is giving us, came directly from Jesus (by the word of the Lord).
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. —1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
The Greek word for “caught up” is Harpazo.
Harpazo means “to be snatched away or taken away by force.” It is a word in the Greek language that is used to describe a general who takes hostages by force. Harpazo is also used in the New Testament as translated—by force.
When this verse was translated from Greek into Latin, the word that the translators used here for “caught up” was the Latin word “Rapturo,” which is where the English word “Rapture” originated from. This is why we use the word “Rapture” to describe the event of Jesus’ return for His church, as described by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
“We’ll be ‘caught up’ (Rapturo) with them (together with our loved ones) in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Once again, this event is not the Second Coming of Jesus that is commonly spoken of. At the Rapture, we meet Jesus in the air, the atmosphere above the earth; not “tera firma,” earth itself.
Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. —1 Thessalonians 4:17
Jesus is coming for His church prior to His return at His second coming, when He will be returning with His church.
 New Testament Greek Lexicon, Strong’s Number: 726