THE RAPTURE AND THE FLOOD IN NOAH'S DAYS
When we are taught about the Rapture it is usually taught along with the rise of the antichrist, rebuilding of the temple and a lot of the book of Revelation.
When we start studying in the book of Revelation we learn a lot about the last 7 years prior to the physical return of Jesus for His reign for one thousand years. I don't want to get into Revelation because the Bride will not be here for that and this book is more about getting the Bride prepared for going into the wedding feast of the Lamb than what happens on earth while the bride is at the wedding feast.
Very simply, what I am trying to show is that Jesus through parables is telling us what the ages are and how to tell when they begin and end.
I have tried to write this article so that the Jewish person would be interested and the non-Believer would see it explain a lot of things that they hear about but are not getting details because they don't study the Bible.
So to make the picture clear we are going to look at what Jesus has told us from His own words about the ending of the age, what the Rapture is and how not to be left behind.
We are going to look at some of the tough verses that Jesus gives in Mt 24 and Luke 21 to show the rapture clearly in the stream of world events.
For me, understanding this is the realization of what Jesus was saying when He said that He would tell us about - "things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world".
We have seen pretty clearly what Jesus revealed about the end of the age of the Covenant.
Now we are going to start seeing about the end of the age of the Church.
As we start to look at the heavily laden end times prophecy in the books of Matthew and Luke, I find it interesting that although Mark has some on the end times prophecy in it, the book of John does not talk at all about signs of the end of the world!
You see, even when the gospels were being written, the Holy Spirit knew that John would have a much greater book to write later that WOULD contain a lot of prophecy - the book of Revelation.
The Bible is so specifically written that at certain times, the revealing of parts of the prophecy that Jesus mentions will come into focus as hindsight and are going to be obvious like in Luke 21:24 where Jesus predicts that Jerusalem would be owned by the Jews again.
This of course became a much-heralded event in June of 1967 as Israel gained control of Jerusalem in a 6-day war.
That event was "THE SIGN" of the beginning of the transitional end of the Church age.
You ask, "How can you say that this is the real SIGN?"
Because it's the ONLY TIME that Jesus says anything specific about the age (the Gentile age, the "times of the Gentiles") ending.
And if the answer to understanding the timeframe about what Jesus is saying lies in determining the specific start and stop times of the Ages in the Bible, then it's important to note that when Jesus says specifically what event ends the Gentile "times" He ties it in with Jerusalem again being owned by Israel.
We will get more into this later but just as Jesus specifies about the Gentile time ending He refers to the next age belonging to the Jews when He talks about the 144,00 Jewish witnesses being sealed in Revelation chapter 7.
To God, the people of the earth are basically broken down into two groups, the "nations" which are Gentiles and Israel which are the Jews.
And all of this ties in with the parable of the Fig tree that we will look at later which is the sign of the final generation.
And because it's in the flow of events that we will go through we will also look at the really tough prophecy of Jesus in Mt 24, Luke 17 and Luke 21.
Let us get the time frame so we can see in context where Jesus was in His ministry: (this can be seen in the string of verses from Mt 3:16 - 4:23).
Jesus was baptized by John.
Jesus fasted and Prayed 40 days and nights.
In preparation for a transition that happens when Jesus is tempted by Satan.
Jesus was tempted by Satan.
I believe Satan knew that by the presence and actions of Jesus during those temptations that a transition was taking place - God was on the earth now.
Jesus hears that John was cast into prison and Jesus moves to Galilee.
Fulfilling the prophecy in Isaiah 9: 1-2 .
Isaiah 9:2 "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light" they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined."
Then "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:17)
Jesus started picking His Disciples.
"And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom...." (Matthew 4:23)
Jesus gives the Beatitudes.
What was the first Beatitude? (Matthew 5:3)
"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Paul refers to what Jesus did after His resurrection :
Acts 1:3 "To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God".
The pattern here is the new age of the Kingdom.
The Kingdom, here, now, a different Age, a new Age.
In the Lord's Prayer just after giving God the opening praise, what does
Jesus refer to right away - "thy kingdom come thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10).
What Jesus is saying is...Thy Kingdom IS come,
Thy will IS being done, even now, on earth (by Jesus, then thru believers by the Holy Spirit) as it is always being done in heaven!
Otherwise why would Jesus spend 40 (notice that number - the number of transition) of His very precious days talking about the kingdom of God?
Why would He be talking about a kingdom thousands of years in the future when He knew that the next thing to come was to be strength and power of the Holy Spirit that would come upon them at Pentecost!
Did not Pentecost enable a new kingdom? Unlike most kingdoms that are located in one geographical location, God's kingdom is in the heart of believers who support other believers, making chains of contact and covering the globe.
That's the understanding that we need to have, that the Holy Spirit in us, in the Church Age is the ruling kingdom on the earth, and we should be seeking to know the How's, What's, When's, Where's and Why's behind it!
And since we now know when the kingdom of God started we might want to look to see about the time of the Church and under what conditions it will end.
Lets look at some other things in this prophetical text in Matthew to get a deeper understanding of the time frame of what many believe is the next prophetically predicted event to come.
Which is, what Jesus says about:
The miraculous removal of millions of people from the earth !
Look at what Jesus says:
Matthew 24:37 "But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come."
This disappearance spoken of by Jesus of one in the field and one at the mill is called the "Rapture" by those who know about it.
It is simply a "taking out" or "taking away" of Believers in Jesus Christ from the earth.
These words in verses 40 and 41 are the best justification of the supernatural event of the removing of believers from the earth (the
Rapture) in the whole Bible. They are super clear in that we see in the
Lord's own words that there will be a sudden, unknown time of snatching away of people right in the midst of daily events.
Later we will get into who will be taken and why, a question that has been discussed for quite a while in Christian circles.
The whole concept of some people being taken and others left behind and all the predicted things like the darkening sun and the 4 horsemen in
Revelation... really have people confused.
There are verses in Thessalonians and Revelation and verses in Matthew and Luke and series of books and TV shows.... If we don't see them in the order they occur and the ages they are in they can be very confusing.
There is so much data - we need to break it down to what we can clearly understand so we can stop being confused.
Even the breaking down of these passages will have to be simplified for the purposes of understanding them (that's my caveat).
Quite simply, look at the words of Jesus in those Matthew 24 verses above.
"And knew not until the flood came".
"one shall be taken, and the other left"
"And "Ye know not what hour".
Jesus is talking about one specific incident in those 3 verses.
As you see in those verses, some people are being taken and some people are left.
The special feature about this "taking out" or rapture, is that it will come suddenly in an hour that no one knows, and suddenly millions and millions of friends, relatives, co-workers and acquaintances will be gone!
Remember all those New Testament warnings are about a thief coming or a master unexpectedly coming back to his servants, this is the fulfilling of all those verses.
These verses should teach us that since it will be a surprise we need to maintain the right Spiritual condition so that when the time comes that the
Spirit of God leaves we will leave with Him.
We can tie these verses about the sudden coming in Noah's day that ‘took them all away' with the verses that follow about ‘one taken and one left' in more than one way.
I have heard it taught many times that carefree, sinful living in verse 38 (note the word drinking) is the point that we should be watching for as a "sign" preceding the Rapture.
What verse 38 is really doing is declaring that life on earth will be going on as normal when all of a sudden there will be a total age ending catastrophe!
In other words, the story of Noah as used here is to show us it happened suddenly once as it will happen suddenly again and how it will happen with destruction ("and took them all away"). We will study that destruction later.
Notice the phrase in both verses 37 & 39 "the coming of the Son of Man". This is the focus and what ties this together, not the conditions of the age, but that Noah went into the ark, the door was closed (days before the rain came) and a generation was judged!
Now, the coming of the Son of Man will take the believers and leave the non-believers. Just as Noah and his family were lifted up off the ground, so will one group be lifted up into the heavens and one group be left below.
Which group will you be in?
Where was the sign that destruction was going to happen to Noah's society in general?
There wasn't any!?
Of course there was, and if you had had Spiritual eyes, you might have questioned Noah and found him to be working under the direction of God; you might have believed and gotten on board the ark with him. But that did not happen, no - few were listening.
Just as I believe it will be in 2007.
Don't be concerned right now about what Jesus said in there about the days of Noah, that has a different meaning and later we will look at how the story of the flood exactly matches the scenario of the last 7 years on the earth.
After Jesus talks about the suddenness of the end of Noah's age, He begins talking in Matthew 24:40 about people who are together and some of them start disappearing.
We know the incident with Noah and the flood has already happened.
Has this part about one being taken and one left, happened yet?
So we have to be careful not to be like Noah's generation and ignore the boat being built right at our front door.
What might be the sign to our generation like the boat to Noah's and the destruction of Jerusalem to Israel?
The restoration of Jerusalem! Jesus made a very specific prophecy about that, but people and the church seem to just keep on ignoring it.
Here is the verse Jesus gives that talks about the beginning of the ending of the Church Age:
Luke 21:24 "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be
led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
Who will be led away captive? - Israel.
Until when? - until the time of Gentile rule over them is over.
What will happen at that time? - Jerusalem will again come into the possession of Israel.
Then what? - Gentile dominance over Israel will transition over 40 years.
And? - Those Born Again will be taken suddenly off the earth.
So that? - twelve thousand from each tribe of Israel can be sealed (Rev ch 7).
And? - "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week" this would be the revealing of the antichrist. ( Daniel 9:27)
We have already seen that the transition period from one Age to another is 40 years, If 1967 fulfilled the ending of the age based on Jerusalem being owned by Israel what would the year 2007 be - the fulfillment of another Age!
In Matthew 24:36 Jesus says that no one would know the day and hour but since He had just given us the season it is apparent that He wants us to know something about those times.
Let's talk about the story of Noah for a while. It seems like if you are going to use part of a story for an example it might be a good idea to carry it on a little further to see if it makes sense in context. I mean, Jesus used the normalcy of life in the time of Noah as an example. Then He used the suddenness of the flood and destruction of the people as an example.
Where can we go from there?
Lets look at the story of Noah (KJV of course!)
6 And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:
7 And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.
8 Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;
9 But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.
10 And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark;
11 And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.
Let's remember what Jesus was talking about in using the story of Noah in comparison with the story of the people in the field and the people grinding at the mill. (Matthew 24:38 - 42)
He is talking about a taking away.
In the example of Noah He is talking about the destruction or cleansing, if you will, of the earth by taking away the evil.
In the example of the ones that were taken and the ones left He is also talking about a taking away, this time a taking away of the good.
Both, He said would be sudden happenings.
Let's see if what happened on the ark after the flood could parallel what would be happening on the earth after the Holy Spirit is taken out.
I SUBMIT TO YOU THAT THE STORY OF NOAH CONTAINS A DIRECT PARALLEL COMMENTARY ON THE RAPTURE.
Follow the verses above as to the sequence of events.
After 40 days Noah opens the window of the ark. Remember the 40 years transition between the Covenant/Church Age and the Church/Chosen Ages.
Noah does two things:
1. Releases a raven.
2. Releases a Dove.
Noah released two birds at the same time. Did we not just talk about the taking away of the church at the same time as the revealing of the antichrist?
Both birds apparently have a purpose.
We will look at what the raven does later on, but let's look at what the Dove does first.
What does a Dove represent in the bible?
Mt 3:16 "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of
God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:"
The Dove represents the Holy Spirit. Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit of
GOD just as every person who puts their eternal trust in Jesus and tries to keep his commandments is filled with his Spirit.
Noah sent the Dove out, with the expectation that it would return.
Do you see that the Dove (the Holy Spirit) leaving the Ark (Earth) would compare to the rapture (taking off) of the people in the world that have the Holy Spirit in them?
Right now the Spirit of GOD in his people, loving and doing good works through them, prevents Satan from fully utilizing the debased carnality of men and women. The taking out of the Spirit also starts the period of the 7 years when the 144,000 sealed Jews become God's witnesses to the world of Jesus the Messiah.
SO THE DOVE LEAVING REPRESENTS THE CHURCH/BRIDE BEING TAKEN OFF OF PLANET EARTH.
But look... the Dove (Holy Spirit) returns quickly in verse 9, with no indication that the earth is drying up. (now I've lost some of you, focus)
The Holy Spirit returns (after dropping Believers off for the wedding feast) - to seal the 144,000 in Revelation chapter 7 for the last 7 years!
Genesis 8:9 "But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark."
See the tenderness of Noah in bringing in the Dove back to the ark, it could have simply said "the Dove returned" but it reflects so much more sensitivity than that.
Noah is not disappointed or angry that the Dove has returned - it appears that he is rather glad to see her.
Remember, that after the spirit filled believers in the church are taken out because they contain the Holy Spirit (just like Jesus in the Matt 3:16 verse above) the book of revelation says that:
2 "And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel."
The Holy Spirit (the Dove) returns to seal Jewish believers for the last 7 years - before the angel begins to "hurt the earth"(verse 2). And just as Noah tenderly welcomes back the Dove, the Jewish believers will accept the seal of GOD and the Holy Spirit with tenderness and welcoming.
Look... this is very important, and the clincher in my mind as to why this story compares to the last days scenario.
Noah has the dove, he knows to send it out with the mission to verify that the earth is drying. Why not send it out every day until it either does not return or returns by GOD's will with evidence that the earth is drying?
I know that I would be anxious to get the earliest possible notification that the world is coming back to life.
But Noah waits 7 days.
In light of the Dove going out, comparing to the rapture of the church, then the dove coming back representing the filling of the 144 thousand Jewish Believers, it should be obvious that the 7 day period that Noah keeps the Dove represents the 7 years that the Church is away from the earth!
Dan 9:27 "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." Of course the "he" above is the antichrist.
This is the 7-year tribulation period, where the antichrist begins running the world comparing to the seven days the Dove is safe inside the ark - what will be happening to the "taken out church" at that time?
The church is having a wedding feast with Jesus in heaven. (Luke 14:23/24)
We see that the church is taken out of the world for the same reason Enoch was "translated" - because we are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 11:5 \ Col 1:13)). That's a requirement for the rapture... Are you pleasing to God?
Then what happens when the Dove is let out again after 7 days? - (7years if comparing it to the time frame of the tribulation).
The Dove (the Holy Spirit) comes right back with a great symbol of Peace which compares to the Holy Spirit returning with the King of Kings!
The Dove returns with an olive leaf!
Pure olive oil was commanded to be used in the lamps in the tabernacle of God - Exodus 27:19 & 20. An this would represent "light" finally coming to the earth.
Also what do kings show up carrying around and extending to those they have conquered? An olive branch!
What we are seeing in the story of the flood is that after the Church is taken out and after the 144 thousand Jewish believers go through the 7 year tribulation period that the "light" again comes to the world!
The Kingdom of GOD, on earth again.
In the Noah story, what happens to the waters? We know that the waters represent the nations and peoples of the world.
They are dried up.
The nations of the earth have diminished in scope and population, by the pouring out of the wrath of God, preparing the world for the thousand-year reign of the Messiah.
He will reign from Israel we know, and here is the mention of a newly shaped city of Jerusalem:
Zechariah 14:4 "And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south."
Of course the significance of the Olive leaf in the Dove's beak and the fact that the Messiah actually comes back after the tribulation to set foot on (Reclaim his Kingdom) the Mount of Olives need not be commented on.
NOW ABOUT THAT RAVEN......
The PURPOSE of the raven was to go "to and fro" UNTIL the waters were dried up.
What kind of purpose is that? Ravens are strong birds, but can a raven fly forever? Because we know the water did not dry up for 7 days.
Why did Noah release the Raven anyway? Why 2 birds if they did not represent something?
I really think that the raven represents Satan's earth bound work in the last days in the body of the antichrist world leader - remember in Job what it says Satan was doing....
"And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it."
What is the reason that Noah releases the raven... it is not mentioned! Just that it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth... waters have always represented the peoples and nations of the world, so this would mean that the that the raven represents Satan walking on the earth to do his deceitfulness until the end of the 7 year period known as "the tribulation".
This could also give us a better timing as to when Jesus said (Luke 10:18)
"And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven".
Another direct verse that could apply here is Daniel 12:4
"But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."
Seeing the amount of knowledge increase in the last 100 years, is there any doubt that we are at least in the 'Time of the END" mentioned above? And what are the people doing at the time of the end - they are running to and fro and ignoring God just as the raven that Noah released. I think some spin offs of the word raven fit peculiarly well to this time of the end. The word ravenous and ravening seems to be very descriptive of his intent. Ezek 22:27 speaks of wolves ravening the prey to shed blood and Matthew 7:15 speaks of false prophets who are inwardly ravening wolves. Is it strange that the Raven would be set forth with no clear goal, no explanation except to go forth until the waters subside unless this were put in just to complete the picture of another scenario far ahead in the future?
Many have written on the "types" and "shadows" of the Old Testament reflecting on the events, people and places of the New Testament.
Melchisedec in the same order of Jesus (Heb 7:11), Moses striking the Rock (Jesus)... I think God preplanned the sequence of events in this story to fit not only what Noah did but to make them applicable to the Last Days.
What do you think?
Some short notes on some of the behavior of Ravens
They are big mouthed
They are scavengers
They thrive on dead meat
They collect shiny objects
They are cunning
They don't mind getting dirty
They steal from others
They are throwing their weight around smaller birds etc....