The Rapture Sequence by Paula Yingst

(NOTE: All Scripture verses are taken from the New International Version, unless otherwise stated.)

FOCUS: Jesus’ timeline for the end of the age

KEY SCRIPTURES: Matthew 24:1-31; Mark 13:1-27; Luke 21:5-28; Revelation 6:1-17, 7:9-14

PROPHECY PARALLELS IN THE GOSPELS:

An amazing similarity exists within the accounts by Matthew, Mark and Luke of Jesus’ “end of the age” scenario. In response to Jesus’ prediction that the temple complex, primarily rebuilt by Herod, would be destroyed, His disciples asked, “When will these things happen?” And Jesus gave them a basic timeline:

1. The second temple, rebuilt on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, would be completely destroyed: “… not one stone will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” THIS PROPHECY WAS LITERALLY FULFILLED IN 70 A.D., when the Roman armies of Titus assaulted Jerusalem and burned down all the temple buildings. They pried apart every stone — just as Jesus foretold — to collect the gold leaf that melted from the roof. In 1968, excavations of the site uncovered large stones that had been literally “thrown down” by the invaders!

2. Jesus called the second block of time “the beginning of birth pains,” and He predicted that the following would occur:

— false teachers and false Christs would appear and deceive many
— wars and rumors of wars
— nations and kingdoms would rise up against each other
— famines, earthquakes, and pestilences in various places
— fearful events and great signs from heaven

HISTORICALLY VERIFIABLE EVENTS THAT PARALLEL THESE PREDICTIONS have been documented throughout recorded history, following the 70 A.D. destruction of the second temple and continuing through TODAY’S INTERNATIONAL NEWS REPORTS!

3. Jesus said, “AT THAT TIME” there would be increased persecution “to the point of death” for His faithful followers. And as “birthpains” increased, the following would happen:

— people would abandon their faith
— false prophets would deceive many people
— wickedness would increase
— parents, brothers, relatives and friends would betray each other
— THOSE WHO STAND FIRM WOULD BE SAVED
— the gospel would be preached in the whole world to ALL nations

4. Jesus refers to a specific event spoken of through the prophet Daniel (Daniel 9:27) approximately 500 years before Jesus’ birth:

“So when you see standing in the holy place [“on a wing of the temple”] THE ABOMINATION THAT CAUSES DESOLATION … then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains … for then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now — and never to be equaled again.” The good news for believers is that this season of suffering will be “cut short.”

No specific historical time period is given by either Daniel or Jesus concerning WHEN this will happen. BUT Daniel gives us a clue: A coming ruler will confirm a seven-year covenant “with many.” And somewhere in the middle of those seven years, THE ABOMINATION THAT CAUSES DESOLATION WILL BE SET UP ON A WING OF THE TEMPLE.

For this prophecy to be fulfilled, the temple MUST BE REBUILT on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem!

5. Jesus ends His timeline with TWO INCREDIBLE SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS:

“IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE DISTRESS OF THOSE DAYS ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; all the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’

“AT THAT TIME the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. AND HE WILL SEND HIS ANGELS WITH A LOUD TRUMPET CALL, AND THEY WILL GATHER HIS ELECT FROM THE FOUR WINDS, from one end of the heavens to the other” (Matthew 24:29-31).

So according to Jesus — as documented by Matthew, Mark and Luke — this is the time sequence leading up to THE GATHERING OF HIS ELECT:

— The destruction of the second temple (fulfilled in 70 A.D.)

— Tribulation throughout the world (“birth pains”)

— Increased tribulation for the followers of Christ

The confirmation of a seven-year covenant “with many”

— The rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem (at some point)

Approximately 3 1/2 years after the covenant has been signed, a ruler will desecrate the temple by setting up an “abomination that causes desolation.” And unprecedented “distress” will begin.

IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE DISTRESS OF THOSE DAYS:

~ A “sign” signaling the coming of the Son of Man (Jesus) will appear in the sky.

~ ALL THE NATIONS of the earth will mourn as they witness Jesus’ coming.

~ There will be A LOUD TRUMPET CALL.

~ ANGELS WILL GATHER “HIS ELECT” FROM EVERY CORNER OF THE EARTH AND HEAVENS!

PROPHECY PARALLELS IN REVELATION:

Although the first three gospel writers recorded Jesus’ end of the age timeline, John is conspicuously silent. But when we compare Revelation 6 through 7 with the details documented in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, an amazing pattern appears as the Lamb (Jesus) opens six “seals” — unleashing “birthpains” and “the wrath of the Lamb” upon the earth:

Seal #1: The rider of the white horse represents DECEIT and CONQUEST (according to prophecy scholars).

Jesus foretold that deceivers would come, claiming the power and glory of Christ.

Seal #2: The rider of the red horse symbolizes WAR and BLOODSHED.

Jesus foretold “wars and rumors of wars” and conflict between nations and kingdoms.

Seal #3: The rider of the black horse releases ECONOMIC INSTABILITY and FAMINE.

Jesus foretold famines, pestilence, and earthquakes in various places.

Seal #4: The rider of the pale horse is named DEATH, and he is “given power over a fourth of the earth to kill” with the sword, famine, plague, and the wild beasts of the earth.

Jesus foretold that events would take place on earth which would result in death.

Seal #5: The Lamb reveals a place of honor for the souls of His martyred servants — under the altar of God!

Jesus foretold that His faithful witnesses would be hated by all the nations, persecuted and put to death.

ALL of these prophecies have been fulfilled in historically verifiable ways during the years following Jesus’ death and resurrection! And they continue to be fulfilled TODAY.

THE SIXTH SEAL releases a sign in the sky, strikingly similar to the one Jesus described to His disciples, which will signal the Son of Man’s appearance “with power and great glory.” AT THAT TIME, “He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and THEY WILL GATHER HIS ELECT from the four winds” (Matthew 24:30-31).

Notice the similarities in the following scriptures:

Isaiah 13:9-10 — “See, THE DAY OF THE LORD is coming — a cruel day, with WRATH AND FIERCE ANGER — to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light.”

Isaiah 34:2-4 — “THE LORD IS ANGRY with all the nations; HIS WRATH IS UPON ALL THEIR ARMIES. He will totally destroy them, He will give them over to slaughter…. All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree.”

Joel 2:29-32 — “Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I WILL SHOW WONDERS IN THE HEAVENS and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of THE GREAT AND DREADFUL DAY OF THE LORD. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mount Zion [the Temple Mount] and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the survivors whom the Lord calls.”

Matthew 24:29 — [Jesus speaking] “IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE DISTRESS OF THOSE DAYS ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ “

Revelation 6:12-17 — [John speaking] “I watched as He [the Lamb, Jesus] opened THE SIXTH SEAL. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then THE KINGS OF THE EARTH, THE PRINCES, THE GENERALS, THE RICH, THE MIGHTY, and every slave and every free man HID IN CAVES and among the rocks of the mountains. THEY CALLED TO THE MOUNTAINS AND THE ROCKS, ‘Fall on us and HIDE US from the face of Him who sits on the thrown and from the wrath of the Lamb. FOR THE GREAT DAY OF THEIR WRATH HAS COME and who can stand?’ ”

Matthew 24:30 — “AT THAT TIME the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH WILL MOURN. THEY WILL SEE THE SON OF MAN [Jesus] coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.”

PROPHECY CONNECTIONS REVEAL THE SIGNS THAT WILL SIGNAL THE RAPTURE OF THE ELECT:

IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE DISTRESS OF THOSE DAYS … They will see the sign of the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. AND HE WILL SEND HIS ANGELS WITH ALOUD TRUMPET CALL, AND THEY WILL GATHER HIS ELECT FROM THE FOUR WINDS, from one end of the heavens to the other. Now learn this LESSON FROM THE FIG TREE: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. EVEN SO, WHEN YOU SEE ALL THESE THINGS, you know know that it [or, He] is near, right at the door.” — Jesus (Matthew 24:29-33)

[John speaking] “After this I SAW FOUR ANGELS STANDING AT THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE EARTH, HOLDING BACK THE FOUR WINDS OF THE EARTH … After this I looked and THERE BEFORE ME WAS A GREAT MULTITUDE THAT NO ONE COULD COUNT from every nation, tribe, people and language, STANDING BEFORE THE THRONE AND IN FRONT OF THE LAMB. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands…. ‘These are they who have come out of THE GREAT TRIBULATION; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb’… And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes’ ” (Revelation 7:1-17).

After THE ELECT are safely transported to the throne of God, the Lamb (Jesus Christ) will open THE SEVENTH SEAL:

[John speaking] “When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour…. Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it upon the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake” (Rev. 7:1).

There is one more Prophecy Connection that, I believe, seals the deal on whether this rapture sequence truly reveals the timing — apart from “the day or the hour” — of when “the sign of Jesus’ coming” will be revealed. Notice THE SOUNDING OF THE TRUMPET in the following prophecies:

Joel 2:1-6a –“BLOW THE TRUMPET in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, FOR THE DAY OF THE LORD IS COMING…. a large and mighty army comes, such as never was of old nor will ever be in ages to come…. At the sight of them, nations are in anguish; every face turns pale.”

Zephaniah 1:14-18a — THE GREAT DAY OF THE LORD is near … That day will be a day of wrath … A DAY OF TRUMPET and battle cry … I will bring distress on the people…because they have sinned against the Lord…. Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them ON THE DAY OF THE LORD’S WRATH.”

Zechariah 9:14-16 — “Then THE LORD WILL APPEAR OVER THEM; His arrow will flash like lightning. THE SOVEREIGN LORD WILL SOUND THE TRUMPET; He will march in the storms of the south and the Lord Almighty will shield them…. The Lord their God will save them on that day as the flock of His people.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 — [Paul speaking] “We do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men who have no hope. We believe that Jesus dies and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him…. 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 [THE ELECT, gathered from “one end of the heavens to the other”]. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together [THE ELECT, gathered “from the four winds” … “at the four corners of the earth”] with Him in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air [THE RAPTURE]. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words!”

Revelation 7:1, 9-10 — [John speaking] “After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth holding back the four winds of the earth … and there before me was A GREAT MULTITUDE THAT NO ONE COULD COUNT, FROM EVERY NATION, TRIBE, PEOPLE AND LANGUAGE, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb … And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne and to the Lamb.'”

THE BOTTOM LINE: In my humble opinion, THE TRUMPET IS THE KEY that ties together all the prophecies which foretell the second coming of Jesus to “gather His elect.” And the words of the elder whom John spoke with — recorded in Revelation 7:13-15 — confirm that THE ELECT WILL BE GATHERED FROM OUT OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION.

So how can YOU be ready for that event?

1. With a sincere heart, ask Jesus to forgive all the things that you’ve done in your life that He does not approve of — a.k.a “sin.”

2. Accept His forgiveness and prepare to move on with your life. Because Jesus WILL BEGIN WORKING to cleanse you and change you from the inside out. Realize that other people may or may not sense the change, BUT YOU WILL RECEIVE ASSURANCE that Jesus is working in you!

3. Begin reading your Bible, so that God can start communicating with you through His written Word. I suggest you start with John’s version of what happened leading up to Jesus’ death on a cross, beginning in John 8:12. Continue to read and underline verses that seem to stand out to you. Read Jesus’ testimony about WHO HE CLAIMS TO BE. Read about the man whom Jesus healed of physical and spiritual blindness, and pray that your eyes would be opened to TRUTH. Continue reading about the death and resurrection of one of Jesus’ closest friends. Read about the plot to kill the Son of God, who also called Himself “the Son of Man” because He could identify with the struggle with being human. As you read about Jesus’ arrest, crucifixion, burial and resurrection, remember that John documented his eye-witness account of what happened!

4. Make time to pray. Set aside some quiet time each day to praise your Lord Jesus and to thank Him for shedding His blood to make YOU right with your holy Father God. Pray for courage and wisdom to discern truth in the midst of troubling events in our world. Ask God for physical and spiritual protection for yourself and your loved ones. Thank Him for promising eternal life to those who stand firm in their faith!

5. Understand that you are not alone! Believers all over the world are struggling with the powers of darkness in spiritual realms during these last days before Jesus’ appearing. If you need encouragement, please write to me in the comment section provided below.

Standing with you in Christ Jesus,

Paula

“What will be the sign?”

(NOTE: All Scripture verses are taken from the New International Version, unless otherwise stated.)

FOCUS: What will be the sign of Jesus’ coming and of the end of the age?

KEY SCRIPTURE: Matthew 24:3-31

“As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately. ‘Tell us,’ they said, ‘when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’

“Jesus answered, ‘Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, “I am the Christ,” and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

“‘Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all the nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase in wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. But he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world, and then the end will come.

“‘So when you see standing in the holy place “the abomination that causes desolation,” spoken of through the prophet Daniel — let the reader understand [cf. Daniel 9:27]– then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now — and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened….

“‘IMMEDIATELY AFTER the distress of those days
“‘”the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.” [cf. Isaiah 13:10, 34:4 and Revelation 6:12-14]

AT THAT TIME the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.‘”

PROPHECY CONNECTIONS IN DANIEL:

Daniel 9:27 — “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven’ [seven years]. In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the templehe will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”

Daniel 12:11-12 gives a specific time frame for “set up” of the abomination in the temple — “From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination is set up, there will be 1,290 days [3 years, 7 months using the 30-day month used by Jews]. Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of 1,335 days.”

LINKS IN GOD’S WORD: When we connect the information found in Jesus’ statements and Daniel’s prophecies, we discover that a future ruler will set up an “abomination” on a wing of the (rebuilt) temple. This will happen 1,290 days after this ruler abolishes the ritual of daily sacrifice, which will apparently be reinstated by devout Jews. The rituals of sacrifice and offering performed in the temple will be “put to an end” about 3 1/2 years after the future ruler confirms “a [seven-year] covenant with many.”

PROPHECY CONNECTIONS IN ISAIAH AND JOEL:

Isaiah 13:10is one of several similar prophecies foretelling an unprecedented sign in the heavens — “See, the day of the Lord is coming — a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger — to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light.

Isaiah 34:4 — “All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky will roll up like a scroll [cf: Revelation 6:14]; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree.”

Joel 2:31 gives a similar description concerning “the day of the Lord” — “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”

MORE LINKS IN GOD’S WORD: Now notice the similarities between the descriptions in Isaiah and Joel compared with what happens when the Lamb — Jesus — opens the sixth seal . . .

PROPHECY CONNECTIONS IN REVELATION: 

Revelation 6:12-14 — [John speaking] “I watched as the Lamb opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black as sackcloth made of goathair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree. The sky receeded like a scroll rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.”

Revelation 6:15-17 sounds like it may be describing what will be happening on earth when mankind witnesses this unprecedented sign from heaven and suddenly comprehends that the great day of His wrath has come — “Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?'”

THINK ABOUT IT . . .

This time period in future history — beginning with the appearance of the abomination that causes desolation — was described by Jesus as a time of “great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world” (Mt. 24:21). But He promised that “FOR THE SAKE OF THE ELECT THOSE DAYS WILL BE SHORTENED” (Mt. 24:22), and “he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Mt. 24:13).

Notice that Jesus used the term “THE ELECT” concerning three separate events. First, He promised to shorten the days of unprecedented distress “for the sake of THE ELECT” (Mt. 24:22). Second, He warned that after the temple has been defiled, false Christs and false prophets will try even harder to deceive everyone, “even THE ELECT” (Mt. 24:24). Then, He promised to send His angels “to gather THE ELECT” (Mt. 24:31).

Jesus said to His disciples — those closest to Him — that He would return for them AFTER the “abomination” appears on a wing of the temple; and AFTER the unprecedented “great distress” that will rock the world; and AFTER the heavenly sign foretold by the prophets appears in the skies over Jerusalem?

Why does it matter? Because Christians who are convinced that Jesus will rapture them BEFORE the “seven-year tribulation” begins (a term coined by pre-trib. theologists), may not be fully prepared mentally or emotionally for the great distress that Jesus foretold.

“We want to see a sign!”

FOCUS: “We want to see a sign!”

KEY SCRIPTURE: Matthew 12:38-40

(NOTE: All verses are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.)

“Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.’ 

“He answered, ‘A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except for the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.‘”

PROPHECY CONNECTION IN JONAH:

Jonah 1:15-17 — “Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him.

“But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.”

PROPHECY CONNECTIONS IN MATTHEW testify that Jesus foretold his own death and resurrection:

Matthew 20:17-19 — “Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed by the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death and will turn Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day He will be raised to life!‘”

Matthew 27:26 – 28:7 documents the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy — “Then [Pilate] released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. . . .

“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. . . .

“As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. . . .

“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

“The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: “He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him.”‘”

PROPHECY CONNECTIONS IN MARK testify that Jesus predicted His death and resurrection:

Mark 10:32-34 — “They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way … Again He took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to Him. ‘We are going up to Jerusalem,’ He said, ‘and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him, insult Him, spit on Him, flog Him and kill Him. Three days later He will rise.'”

Mark 15:16 – 16:7 documents the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy — “The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on Him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on Him. And they began to call out to Him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” Again and again they struck Him on the head with a staff and spit on Him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to Him. And when they had mocked Him, they took off the purple robe and put His own clothes on Him. Then they led Him out to crucify Him.. . .

“It was the third hour when the crucified Him … With a loud cry, Jesus breathed His last.

The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard His cry and saw how He died, he said, ‘Surely this man was the Son of God!’ . . .

“Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate was surprised to hear that He was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where He was laid. . . .

“Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, ‘Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?’

“But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.’ ”

PROPHECY CONNECTIONS IN LUKE testify that Jesus predicted His death and resurrection:

Luke 18:31-34 — “Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him, insult Him, spit on Him, flog Him and kill hHm. On the third day He will rise again.’ 

“The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what He was talking about.”

Luke 22:63 – 24:8 documents the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy — “The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating Him. They blindfolded Him and demanded, ‘Prophesy! Who hit you?’ And they said many other insulting things to Him. . . .

“With loud shouts they [the crowd] insistently demanded that He be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. . . .

When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified Him, along with the criminals—one on His right, the other on His left. Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ . . .

“It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When He had said this, He breathed his last. . . .

“Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

“The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how His body was laid in it. . . .

“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.”‘

“Then they remembered His words.”

PROPHECY CONNECTIONS IN JOHN document the fulfillment of Jesus’ words and those of ancient prophets:

John 19:1-3 — “Then Pilate took Jesus and had Him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head. They clothed Him in a purple robe and went up to Him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they struck Him in the face.

John 19:16-18 — “Finally Pilate handed Him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying His own cross, He went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified Him, and with Him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.”

John 19:23-24 — “When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took His clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. ‘Let’s not tear it,”‘they said to one another. ‘Let’s decide by lot who will get it.’

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, ‘They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.’ * So this is what the soldiers did.”

* Prophecy connection from Psalm 22:18!

John 19:31-36 — “Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that He was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 

“These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: ‘Not one of his bones will be broken,”‘* and, as another scripture says, ‘They will look on the one they have pierced.’ ** “

* Prophecy connections in Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12, and Psalm 34:20

** Prophecy connection from Zechariah 12:10 — “They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”

John 19:38 – 20:9 — “Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!’

“So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple [John] outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first [John], also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)

John 20:10-18 — “Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

“They asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying?’

“‘They have taken my Lord away,’ she said, ‘and I don’t know where they have put Him.’ At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

“‘Woman,’ He said, ‘why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?’

“Thinking He was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have put Him, and I will get Him.’

“Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’

“She turned toward Him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher). ” . . .

“Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Lord!’

DIGGING DEEPER . . .

John was an eyewitness to what happened to Jesus. And his TESTIMONY was recorded SO THAT “YOU ALSO MAY BELIEVE.”

Matthew, Mark and Luke recorded in their gospels that, at the moment of Jesus’ death, the 15-foot tall curtain in the temple was supernaturally torn in two from top to bottom. This curtain had acted as a separation between God and man from the time of worship in the tabernacle — instituted after the Israelites’ miraculous escape from Egypt — until the moment that Jesus gave up His spirit! Only the high priest had been allowed to pass beyond the curtain — while following strict rules given by the Lord God — to make atonement for the sins of God’s people, the descendants of Issac and Israel, using the blood of sacrificed animals.

Prophecy connection in Hebrews: The writer of Hebrews explained that when that curtain was ripped apart, Jesus Christ “entered the Most Holy place once and for all by His own blood” and “offered Himself unblemished to God” (Hebrews 9:12-14). Jesus did away with sin by sacrificing Himself, “and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him” (Hebrews 9:26-28).

A PROPHECY CONNECTIONS CHALLENGE: Check out Acts 1:9-11 to see what two angels, disguised as men, foretold about Jesus’ second coming!

“This will be a sign to you!”

(NOTE: All Scripture verses are taken from the New International Version, unless otherwise stated.)

FOCUS: “This will be a sign to you!”

KEY SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:8-18

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shown around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today, in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: He is Christ the Lord. This shall be a sign to youYou will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’

“Suddenly a great company of heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.’

“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby, who was lying in a manger. When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.”

Prophecy connections concerning the Messiah’s birth:

Genesis 3:14-15 — He would be born of the seed of a woman and eventually “crush the head” of Satan.

Fulfilled by Jesus: “… an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins’ (Matthew 1:20-21).

Isaiah 7:4 — He would be born of a virgin.

Fulfilled by Jesus: “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18).

Psalm 2:7 — He would be the Son of God.

Fulfilled by Jesus: “As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased’ ” (Matthew 3:16-17).

Numbers 24:17 — He would be a descendant of Abraham’s grandson, Jacob (renamed ISRAEL by the Lord God).

Genesis 49:10 and Jeremiah 23:5 — He would be a descendant of Judah (one of ISRAEL’s twelve sons) and of King David, also a descendant of ISRAEL.

Fulfilled by Jesus: “Now Jesus was about thirty years old when He began His ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph … [a descendant of] David, the son of Jesse … [a descendant of] Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham … [a descendant of] Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God” (Luke 3:23-37).

Micah 5:2 — He would be born in Bethlehem.

Fulfilled by Jesus: “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him’ ” (Matthew 2:1-2).

Prophecy connections concerning the Messiah’s ministry:

Isaiah 40:3 — He would be preceded by a messenger.

Fulfilled by Jesus: “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.’ This is He who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah: ‘A voice of one calling in the desert, “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him” ‘ ” (Matthew 3:1-3).

Isaiah 9:1-2 — His ministry would begin in Galilee.

Fulfilled by Jesus: “When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He returned to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, He went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali — to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: ‘Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles — the people living in darkness have seen a great light …’ “

Isaiah 35:5-6a — He would perform miraculous healings.

Fulfilled by Jesus: “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every kind of sickness and disease” (Matthew 9:35).

Psalm 78:2 — He would teach using parables.

Fulfilled by Jesus: “Jesus spoke all these things to the crowds in parables; He did not say anything to them without using a parable. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world” (Matthew 13:34-35).

Zechariah 9:9 — He would enter Jerusalem riding on the foal of a donkey.

Fulfilled by Jesus: “… He sent two of His disciples, saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, “Why are you untying it?” tell him, “The Lord needs it” ‘ ” (Luke 19:29-31).

Prophecy connections concerning the Messiah’s death, burial and resurrection:

Zechariah 11:12-13 — He would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver that would be thrown into the house of the Lord.

Fulfilled by Jesus: “Then one of the Twelve — one called Judas Iscariot — went to the chief priests and asked, ‘What are you willing to give me if I hand Him over to you?’ So they counted out thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand Him over” (Matthew 26:14-16). . . . “When Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse … threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:3-5).

Isaiah 53:7 — He would not defend Himself before His accusers.

Fulfilled by Jesus: “When He was accused by the chief priests and the elders, He gave no answer. Then Pilate asked Him, ‘Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?’ But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge — to the great amazement of the governor” (Matthew 27:12-14).

Zechariah 12:10 and Psalm 34:20 — His side would be pierced, but no bones would be broken.

Fulfilled by Jesus: “But when they came to Jesus and found that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear bringing a sudden flow of blood and water [evidence of a broken heart]” (John 19:33-34).

Isaiah 53:9 — He would be buried in a rich man’s tomb.

Fulfilled by Jesus: “As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph … asked for Jesus’ body and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb …” (Matthew 27:57-60).

Psalm 16:10 — He would not be held captive by death.

Fulfilled by Jesus: ” ‘Brothers, I [Peter] can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here today. But he was a prophet who knew that God had promised him on oath that He would place one of his descendants on His throne. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that He was not abandoned to the grave, nor did His body see decay. God has raised Jesus to life, and we al all witnesses to that fact” (Acts 2:29-32).

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Science Speaks: Peter Stoner, author of the book Science Speaks has determined that the probability of one man fulfilling eight of the Messianic prophecies recorded in the Old Testament would be 1 in 10 to the 17th power. In other words, the chances of that happening would be like a blindfolded person picking up a specifically marked coin on his first try, in an area the size of Texas, covered two feet deep with silver dollars! Peter Stoner claims the odds of any one person fulfilling 48 of the prophecies by chance would be 1 in 10 to the 157th power…. Jesus fulfilled every Messianic prophecy!

What will be the odds of ONE MAN fulfilling all of the prophecies in scripture concerning “the ruler who will come,” foretold in Daniel 9:27, and called “the beast” in Revelation 13?

Gathering the Elect!

(NOTE: All Scripture verses are taken from the New International Version, unless otherwise stated.)

FOCUS: When will the elect be gathered (raptured)?

KEY SCRIPTURES: Daniel 12:1-4; Matthew 24:15-22

“ ‘At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge’ ” (Daniel 12:1-4).

“So when you see standing in the holy place the abomination that causes desolation . . . then there will be great distress unequaled from the beginning of the world until now — and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, BUT FOR THE SAKE OF THE ELECT those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:15-22).

PROPHECY CONNECTION IN MATTHEW:

Jesus described a specific event in the heavens that will take place “immediately after the distress of those days” and will signal the gathering of His elect!

Matthew 24:29-31 — “IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE DISTRESS OF THOSE DAYS

” ‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken
‘ [Isaiah 13:10, 34:4].

“AT THAT TIME the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, AND THEY WILL GATHER HIS ELECT from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

(According to Mark 13:27 — “He will send His angels and gather His elect from the four winds, FROM THE ENDS OF THE EARTH to the ends of the heavens.”)

PROPHECY CONNECTION IN REVELATION:

The prophet John described a similar spectacular event in the heavens which would signal unprecedented distress and the gathering of a great multitude of people “who have come out of the great tribulation” . . .

Revelation 6:12 – 7:17 — “I watched as [the Lamb] opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

“Then the kings of the earh, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. FOR THE GREAT DAY OF THEIR WRATH HAS COME, and who can stand?’

“After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent the wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree . . .

“After this I looked and there before me was a multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’ . . .

“Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes — who are they, and where do they come from?’

“I answered, ‘Sir, you know.’

“And he said, These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Therefore,
they are before the throne of God
and serve Him day and night in His temple;
and He who sits on the throne will spread His tent over them.
Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat upon them,
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
He will lead them to springs of living water.
AND GOD WILL WIPE AWAY EVERY TEAR FROM THEIR EYES.’

PROPHECY CONNECTION IN 1 THESSALONIANS:

The apostle Paul told followers of Christ that they would rise from death — just like Jesus did!

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 — “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him.

“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 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 Him forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.”

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A SOLEMN WARNING: Jesus cautioned: “No one knows about THE DAY OR THE HOUR, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so in will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.

That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in a field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding a hand mill; one will be taken, and the other left.

“THEREFORE KEEP WATCH, because you do not know ON WHAT DAY your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known what time of night the thief was coming, HE WOULD HAVE KEPT WATCH and would not have let his house be broken into. SO YOU ALSO MUST BE READY, because the Son of Man will come AT AN HOUR when you do not expect Him” (Matthew 24:36-44).