Our Escape Clause?
Did Yeshua, in His Olivet Discourse, teach us that we’ll be raptured/resurrected BEFORE the Tribulation begins? Let’s take a look and you can make up your own mind.
Luke 21:25-28, “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. [JESUS 2.0 ADVENT] 28Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
Luke 21:34-36, “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that [Judgment] Day come on you unexpectedly. 35For it will come as a snare on all [all includes YOU] those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man [at the Matthew 25:31-46 BEMA seat judgment].”
Pre-tribulation rapture folks want you to believe that this Scripture teaches us that we will be caught up, or raptured BEFORE all these things begin to happen. If so, why didn’t Jesus just say harpadzo, caught up? What does this word escape mean in the Greek? Here’s Dr. Thayer’s definition of the word escape: G1628 ἐκφεύγω ekpheugō
1) to flee out of, flee away
1a) to seek safety in flight
1b) to escape
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G1537 and G5343
Does that sound like Yeshua is going to snatch you up into the air? It actually is a verb wherein YOU, the disciple of Yeshua, do the action. You flee out of the way of harm, you seek safety in flight, you escape, you run for the hills!! During the tribulation, Yeshua is going to tell you when, where, and how to escape to safety, unless He chooses for you to be martyred. And many millions will be martyred during the Tribulation, as Revelation teaches. Yeshua explicitly tells us in verses 34-35 that Judgment Day is coming upon all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. He in no way implies that we’ll be raptured BEFORE the Tribulation begins. In fact, those counted worthy, He expects to still be standing when He returns, worthy to stand as sheep before Him at the Matthew 25:31-46 judgment seat. Those counted worthy, the sheep, will be the ones on Yeshua’s right hand who get to inherit the Kingdom of Yahweh! The Rapture/Resurrection does not happen until just before the final seven bowls of Yahweh’s wrath are poured out. That’s exactly what Revelation 14:14ff teaches. Look at verse 27 above, the whole world will see Yeshua appear in the clouds of the breathable air in the lower atmosphere. Revelation 14 displays this same scene. The Rapture/Resurrection occurs just prior to the lost being reaped into the winepress of Yahweh’s wrath. The Scriptures are consistent, if you take them in context. So what is Yeshua teaching us here? When the Holy Spirit tells you to run, RUN! He will tell you when to go, where to go, and how to get there.
Think back to our examples in the Old Covenant. Noah built an ark for his family. Lot and his family had to take a hike out of Sodom. When the whole nation of Israel escaped Egypt, they had to do a six-day forced march to the Red Sea. The Feast of Unleavened Bread commemorates that march! Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego escaped death through the fiery furnace! Enoch and Elijah were the only men to be raptured under the Old Covenant. They were both types of Messiah, not types of you, dear saint!! And what about an example from the New Covenant Church? The first century church took Yeshua’s words literally about fleeing when they saw Jerusalem surrounded by armies in 70 CE, and not one Christian lost their life when the Jewish nation was crushed and Jerusalem was destroyed by the Assyrian filled Roman army! Yahweh will make a way for you, oh ye of little faith, but you do have to obey His voice.
In Yeshua’s letter to the Philadelphian Church, did Yeshua tell them they would be raptured/resurreced BEFORE the Tribulation begins? Revelation 3:10-13, “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11Behold, I am coming quickly! [JESUS 2.0 ADVENT, which by the way, occurs at the END of the Great Tribulation!!] Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My Mighty One, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My Mighty One and the name of the city of My Mighty One, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My Mighty One. And I will write on him My new name.
13“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’”
The word “keep” means to “attend to carefully, take care of
1a) to guard
1d) to reserve: to undergo something” per Dr. Thayer. Yeshua keeps us every day, not just on Rapture/Resurrection day.
The word “from” means “out of, from, by, away from” per Dr. Thayer. This word could imply a rapture/resurrection.
The word “hour” means a definite time or season, which could imply the Tribulation season.
The word “trial” [Greek word peirasmos] means “1) an experiment, attempt, trial, proving
1a) trial, proving: . . .
1b) the trial of man’s fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy
1b1) an enticement to sin, temptation, whether arising from the desires or from the outward circumstances” per Dr. Thayer.
This word implies a testing of man’s moral character. It is the word most often translated as temptation to sin in the New Covenant. This is the normal everyday life of the believer. What’s going to test us during the Tribulation? Many Christians will be tempted to take the Mark of the Beast, which if taken, condemns one’s soul to the Lake of Fire. But if you don’t take it, you’ll be shut out of the marketplace. You won’t be able to buy or sell, which means you will starve to death, unless Yeshua takes care of you; it’s all about trusting Him. This verse is saying that Yeshua will guard you by the hour of this temptation, if you let Him. Will you be strong and resist the temptation to take the mark, or will you crumble and submit to the Antichrist and the Beast system? That’s the test of your character that is coming upon all men on earth. How can you pass the test if you’re not even there to take the test? PRE-trib Rapturists want to skip class on test day! Does that not sound like human nature? Everyone wants to skip the test, but we’re called to tests, trials, and sufferings with Messiah!
The word “to test” [Greek word peirazo] means: “2c) to try or test one’s faith, virtue, character, by enticement to sin
2c1) to solicit to sin, to tempt
2c1a) of the temptations of the devil
Part of Speech: verb” per Dr. Thayer
Are you getting the message yet?
Notice that in the letters to the churches, Yeshua is looking for overcomers, not escape artists. He’s looking for those who can endure to the end to be saved. That word trial is NOT the word Yeshua used in Matthew 24 in His end-time briefing with His disciples. Yeshua used the word TRIBULATION. We are morally tested from the moment we’re born to the moment we’re dead. True believers will never take the Mark of the Beast, that’s why we’ll get beheaded and our souls will be seen in heaven before the throne of Yahweh in Revelation 20:4b, “Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” Nowhere does it ever say that these believers JUST GOT SAVED DURING THE TRIBULATION. This is not a display of moral courage by a baby Christian. This is a picture of the results of moral courage developed by mature Christians through many fiery trials and persecutions!
And notice Revelation 3:11, Yeshua just happens to mention His Second Coming right in the middle of this hour of trial teaching. Is that a coincidence? I don’t think so. Why would you need to hold fast to what you have if you’re going to be raptured before all the testing starts? How can you overcome or endure to the end if you’re raptured before the trial even begins? A pre-tribulation rapture just does not make any sense to a thinking Christian. Do you realize that the PRE-tribulation Rapture theory can only be sold to self-centered, self-seeking, self-aggrandizing American Christians? No other Christians in the world believe such rubbish. They are persecuted daily and their faith is tried with every breath! Praise Yahweh, some of that persecution is beginning in America. Maybe now the American Church can grow up and get back to serving Yahweh and not themselves.
Peter had this to say about trials in 1 Peter 4:12-13, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial [Greek word purosis] which is to try [Greek word peirasmos] you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Messiahs’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, [JESUS 2.0 ADVENT] you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” That sounds an awful lot like Revelation 3:10-11. Neither John nor Peter tells us that we’re going to get raptured/resurrected BEFORE the Tribulation. Our Bridegroom is only coming back to earth ONE MORE TIME to rapture/resurrect the saints and establish His Kingdom on this planet. I hope you’re lamp is full of Holy Spirit oil and you’re ready to meet Him!
Holy Spirit just prompted me to add this. His clarion call to get out of the cities has been blasting for over 100 years!! In a daily devotional compilation of Ellen G. White’s writings, titled: 1MARANATHA The Lord is Coming, the article for May 13 is titled TURMOIL IN THE CITIES. I will quote just portions of her admonition from page 141. “It was not God’s purpose that His people should be crowded into cities, huddled together in terraces and tenements. In the beginning He placed our first parents in a garden amidst the beautiful sights and attractive sounds of nature, and these sights and sounds He desires men to rejoice in today. Light has been given me that the cities will be filled with confusion, violence, and crime, and that these things will increase till the end of this earth’s history. It is time for our people to take their families from the cities into more retired localities, else many of the youth, and many also of those older in years, will be ensnared and taken by the enemy. “Out of the cities; out of the cities!” – this is the message the Lord has been giving me. . . The ungodly cities of our world are to be swept away by the besom [broom] of destruction. In the calamities that are now befalling immense buildings [Does 9/11 come to mind?] and large portions of cities God is showing us what will come upon the whole earth.” Ellen White wrote these words over 100 years ago! Emphasis mine throughout.
A timely word to the wise should be sufficient,
Gene Benjamin II
October 23, 2012 CE
1White, Ellen G. MARANATHA The Lord is Coming. Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1976: 141. Copyright owned by ELLEN G. WHITE ESTATE, INC.