I wrote in a previous article about the signs of Jesus’ coming and I wish to further comment on this. When commenting on His coming, I said –
“Jesus said immediately after the tribulation of those days, we would see His sign in the heavens. He earlier described this tribulation as being the greatest the world had ever seen.”
Now the question on everyone’s mind is when is the Rapture, is it “pre-trib” or “mid-trib” or “post-trib”? In the previous article alluded to above, I question the “pre-trib” theory because it is after the great tribulation that the coming of the Son of Man on the clouds and His angels being sent to gather the elect occurs. But, there are other Scriptures to consider as well. For example who is with the Lord when He comes?
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” – Rev. 19:11-16
Jude writes –
“Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints,” – Jude 14
And Paul writes –
“so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” – 1 Thes. 3:13
The word translated ‘saints’ is hagios, which means most holy thing, or a saint. But Jesus said –
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.” – Matt. 25:31
Taking all these Scriptures together it seems that when Jesus comes, He comes with both His angels and His saints. But, doesn’t this mean the saints must have been raptured prior to His coming? Or it could mean the saints are raptured at His coming. There is another Scripture which explains this dilemma. When Paul was being transported as a prisoner to Rome, certain disciples heard of it and they came out meet Paul and escort him into Rome.
“And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet (apantesis) us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.” – Acts 28:15
This same word apantesis is only used in one other verse, the rapture verse –
“Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet (apantesis) the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” – 1 Thes. 4:17
So, when the rapture happens, we will rise to meet the Lord in the air and return with Him to judge the nations.
Also, in the Revelation verses above I began with, Jesus’ robes were dipped in blood when He rode forth, why? I believe there is an aspect of Jesus’ second coming that few think about, it is called the Sheepfold of Bozrah deliverance. In Revelation 12 the woman, Israel, is driven into the wilderness by the Antichrist where she is given a place of refuge for 3½ years. Here we will have the prophetic fulfillment of Micah 2:12 and Isaiah 63:1-6.
“I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob, I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together like sheep of the fold, Like a flock in the midst of their pasture; They shall make a loud noise because of so many people. The one who breaks open will come up before them; They will break out, Pass through the gate, And go out by it; Their king will pass before them, With the LORD at their head.” – Micah 2:12,13
“Who is this who comes from Edom, With dyed garments from Bozrah, This One who is glorious in His apparel, Traveling in the greatness of His strength?—“I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” Why is Your apparel red, And Your garments like one who treads in the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone, And from the peoples no one was with Me. For I have trodden them in My anger, And trampled them in My fury; Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, And I have stained all My robes. For the day of vengeance is in My heart, And the year of My redeemed has come. I looked, but there was no one to help, And I wondered That there was no one to uphold; Therefore My own arm brought salvation for Me; And My own fury, it sustained Me. I have trodden down the peoples in My anger, Made them drunk in My fury, And brought down their strength to the earth.” – Isa. 63:1-6
This prophesy is also foretold in the heavens by the Little Dipper, which is called in Hebrew the lessor sheepfold and the North Star (Pole Star) is the shepherd who breaks the wall and leads the sheep out. Israel goes into the wilderness as Jacob but comes out as the remnant of Israel.
Traditionally Bozrah is a hilly place in Edom, which is south of the Dead Sea, and it was known for its sheepfolds. Is this the place in the wilderness that Israel escapes to from the presence of the Antichrist? It seems so. The sheep were placed in walled in enclosures made of stones for the night time. In the morning the shepherd would come and break down the rock walls to lead them out. In this case the night will last 3½ years, the time of the tribulation. At the end of that time One who “speaks in righteousness and is mighty to save” will come to break them out of their sheepfold. He will be alone, no saints and no angels and He will get blood on His garments. After this He will proceed to Armageddon where He will judge the Antichrist.
It appears that the rapture will take place somewhere between His coming to Bozrah and His meeting the armies of Antichrist at Armageddon. While I am not dogmatic on this, I do want to take into account all the Scriptures have to say about the Lord’s second coming. It would match the Scripture that says “to the Jew first and then to the Gentile” (Rom. 1:16)
I pray this will encourage you to study the Scriptures on the Lord’s coming and to be ready for no one knows exactly when He will come, just that He is coming.