The Prophetic Gap Between the Rapture and the Tribulation
We have nearly always been told or assumed that the Rapture literally kicks-off the Tribulation and the Antichrist. But, Scripture tells us in Daniel 9:27 that the Tribulation will start when the Antichrist signs a mysterious peace treaty with Israel. This peace treaty is a seven year covenant which defines the timeframe of the Tribulation which must coincide with Daniel’s 70th week prophecy which is the Tribulation (Daniel 9:24-26).
The Rapture is an unexpected event, an imminent event, meaning it will happen without a precursor, without a signaling event; in other words, a surprise that “no man knows the day or the hour” (Matthew 24:36). Jesus said we would not know the exact day or hour of the Rapture, but he admonished us all to be watchers and to discern the times. So, does that mean we may know the general timing of the Rapture? Of course it does!
Once God’s key to the End Times, Israel, is back in the land, Bible prophecy for the End Times becomes extremely, supernaturally, and excitingly relevant, and not before! That event occurred, Israel back in the land, almost 70 years ago, so we should expect the Rapture ANY DAY!
Just why is Israel the “key” to Bible prophecy? Israel is the focus of the end times because the Tribulation is the “time of Jacob’s Trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7) and Daniel’s 70th week (Daniel 9:26,27). Jesus said that Israel (the fig tree) was to be watched in Matthew 24: 32-34, “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its young shoots become soft and tender and it puts out its leaves, you know of a surety that summer is near. So also when you see these signs all taken together coming to pass, you may know of a surety that He is near, at the very doors. Truly, I tell you, this generation [that sees these things coming to pass] will not pass away till all these things taken together take place.” The Old Testament prophets referred to Israel as a fig tree. Hosea 9:10 says, “…I saw your fathers as the first ripe fruit on the fig tree in its first season…’. Jeremiah said in 24:5, “Like these good figs, so will I regard the captives of Judah whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.”
Satan has always had an antichrist ready and waiting in the wings (or center stage) because he does not know when the Rapture will happen just like we do not know exactly when. But, he is ready now with a candidate since he can read the signs of the times probably better than we can. The past gave us all kinds of dictators, tyrants, and despots any one of which could rise to the level of antichrist. But, Israel had to be back in their land for the real Antichrist to appear. And Israel has been back in their land since May 14, 1948. However, many Bible prophecies must take place before this Antichrist, whom I believe is alive and well today, can assume world domination. How could such a man overcome Islam and its caliphate or Roman Catholicism and its Pope, or the U.S. still being a world power?
There are many prophecies that seem to be “out of place” in the scheme of the End Times. They seem not to belong within the Tribulation as the book of Revelation describes the Tribulation. Revelation begins with the appearance of the rider on the white horse, one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, the Antichrist himself (Revelation 6:2). If the Rapture triggers the Tribulation immediately, wouldn’t we see the Antichrist’s rise to power before we depart? But, how does he rise to power with Islam establishing a world caliphate? How does he overcome the EU and the U.S.? What does he do to convince China to want him to lead them? It doesn’t seem possible for his rise to power without a lot of changes. Those changes are the subjects of the “out of place” prophecies.
These “out of place” prophecies fit clearly after the Rapture and before the Tribulation begins. Why do I say that these prophecies must come after the Rapture and before the tribulation begins? Because these prophecies would be perceived as obvious lead-ins, precursors, or signs of the Rapture, and we know that the Rapture is sudden, imminent, without such signs that would announce its timing and occurrence. And we know that the Tribulation starts with a mysterious peace treaty that an established Antichrist makes with Israel. Therefore, there must be a gap between the Rapture and the actual start of the Tribulation for these prophecies to happen.
First, the Rapture is unmistakably before the Tribulation, a pre-Tribulation event. The Bible is clear that we, the redeemed, will be kept, not away from, not protected from, but “OUT OF” the Wrath of God, not appointed to suffer wrath (Revelation 3:10; I Thessalonians 1:10; I Thessalonians 5:9). The Rapture assures that we see no wrath.
Second, the Antichrist must rise to power somehow before he could ever sign a treaty with Israel. Won’t that rise to power take a little time? Is the world today ready for a world dictator with Islam in competition, with the U.S. still a world power, with the EU still prominent, with the Catholic Church led by the Pope, with China still a Communist power, etc.??? So, there must be some passage of time for the world situation to morph into an atmosphere when the Antichrist will be accepted, even welcomed into world domination. And, this is a time gap between the Rapture and the start of the Tribulation.
And, third, the Antichrist, in a world that is free from neighbor nations lobbing rockets at Israel and threatening invasion because of God’s Psalm 83 war, a world that is free from Islam and ISIS because of God’s Ezekiel 38 & 39 war, and a world that is free from dominating countries like Russia, China, and the U.S., the Antichrist will offer the world a peace treaty signed by Israel that will NOT protect Israel from the world but protect what is left of the world FROM Israel and Israel’s God. Of course, this is a treaty that Israel signs with the Antichrist promising not to destroy any surviving nation and to keep God from coming after them.
What are the “out of place” prophecies that fit into this time gap? There are several. They also seem to be sequenced, falling into place to produce the needed and necessary atmosphere in the world for Antichrist to rise to power globally. Among the several prophecies immediately following the Rapture that will occur is the close-in to Israel Psalm 83 war, the far away from Israel Ezekiel 38 and 39 war, Iran’s nuclear capability destruction in Jeremiah 49, the destruction of Damascus in Isaiah 17, and the “mysterious” peace treaty with Israel in Daniel 9:27.
So, just how long is this gap between the Rapture and the start of the Tribulation? Three of the most repeated and significant numbers in the Bible are the numbers three, seven, and ten. The number three is the most significant number simply because of the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) and God’s design in creation where so many things were designed with three parts like an apple (skin, meat, seeds) or water (liquid, solid, steam and H2O) or humans (body, mind, spirit). The number seven represents completion, perfection, and fullness. And, the number ten is found in the Ten Commandments, the ten plagues of Egypt, the ten kings of Revelation, ten generations from Adam to Noah, and refers in many locations to law, judgment, and testing. In summary, the Tribulation is seven years, adding three years after the Rapture and before the Tribulation totals up to ten years from the Rapture to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
Refer to the “End Times Biblical Chronology” to see the sequence of these “between” prophecies. Remember, my intent is to fit together the Lord’s events foretold in prophecy in light of the world situation as it is today to show just how close we really are to the Rapture and the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Messiah. So, here is the sequence as I see it:
- The Syrian civil war has been on-going now for over five years. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed by their own “leader”, Bashar al-Assad, through chemical weapons and conventional weapons, some supplied by the Obama Administration. Really? Yes, recall Benghazi? Do you know why our ambassador was in Benghazi instead of in his official embassy in Tripoli? Guns were being supplied to Syria to oppose Assad and Obama and Hillary Clinton were totally behind it all. Judicial Watch has proven this. So, what will be the outcome of all of this? Sometime during the interim time between the Rapture and the start of the Tribulation, some country (Russia? Israel? Iran?) will set off a tactical nuclear weapon and level Damascus, the oldest continuously surviving major city in the world. Isaiah 17:1.
- The Psalm 83 war begins the neutralization of the Arabs/Islamists that must occur to remove the most militant roadblock to the rise of the Antichrist. The Psalm 83 opponents to Israel are the “close-in” enemies of Israel – those in direct or very near contact with the State of Israel:
- The tents of Edom: “Palestinians” of the “West Bank”
and southern Jordan
- The Ishmaelites: Saudi Arabia, Syria
- Moab: central Jordan
- The Hagarites: Egypt
- Gebal: northern Lebanon
- Ammon: northern Jordan and part of Syria
- Amalek’s descendants are in Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia
- Philistia: “Palestinians” from Gaza, south into Egypt
- Tyre: southern Lebanon (which Hezbollah controls now)
- Assyria: Syria and northern Iraq
- Lot’s descendants: Jordan
- The tents of Edom: “Palestinians” of the “West Bank”
These enemies have a goal: Psalm 83:4, “…let us wipe them (Israel) out as a nation; and let the name of Israel be in remembrance no more.”
Asaph, the author of this Psalm, lives up to the category of this psalm as imprecatory (to invoke calamity, judgment, or curses) by saying that God will, “…make them like whirling dust, as stubble or chaff before the wind.” (Psalm 83:13)
The Jews will be so elated that all opposition, certainly all opposition in a radius of 300 miles around Jerusalem, has gone, they will begin rebuilding the Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem with every intent of beginning sacrifices and orthodox Judaism as it was in the days of Jesus and His disciples. (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
- The Ezekiel 38 and 39 war is composed of those enemies of Israel that are located far away from Israel’s borders:
- Gog of the uttermost parts of the north, is Russia.
If you take a ruler and start at Jerusalem going north,
the line goes right through Moscow
- The land of Magog: Southern Russia near the Black Sea
- Meshech: the area where the borders of Russia, Iran, and Turkey merge
- Tubal: central Turkey
- Persia: Iran
- Ethiopia of that day is now called Sudan
- Libya: present-day Libya
- Gomer and Togarmah: parts of Turkey perhaps extending into Eastern Europe
- The north Africa nations:
Cush: Sudan and Ethiopia
Put: part of Libya, Algeria, Tunisia
- “Many peoples with you:” most likely the other Islamic nations
These countries are motivated by God to invade Israel (Ezekiel 38:4), but they will think they are invading to take spoil and to plunder (38:11, 12). Israel has found the largest natural gas reservoir in the world just off their Mediterranean coast. Israel is about to discover oil (Genesis 33:24, “And of Asher he said, Blessed above sons be Asher; let him be acceptable to his brothers, and let him dip his foot in oil”). Could these be motivation for Russia and her allies to invade? Today, Russia is allied with Iran (Persia), an alliance once thought never to occur.
God will by His Hand and Israel wipe out about 85% of all Islamic people thus destroying any opposition to the Antichrists rise. Ezekiel 39:2, “And I will turn you about and will leave but the sixth part of thee…”. Ezekiel 39:4, “You shall fall dead upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your hosts and the peoples who are with you.” God will demonstrate to the world that He loves Israel and that He is responsible for this amazing victory!
Why do I think this war must be in the interim time before the peace treaty? Ezekiel 38:11 says that this Russian coalition will say, ‘I will go up against an open country – the land of unwalled villages; I will fall upon those who are at rest, who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls and having neither bars nor gates.” How can these conditions exist in Israel? Because of the previous close-in Psalm 83 war that wiped out all of Israel’s neighboring enemies!
With most Muslims gone, with great fear that Israel’s God (our God, God Almighty, Jehovah) might continue to remove Israel’s enemies in like manner, the world including China and, perhaps, America, IF we are still a world power then (we may not be depending on the election of 2016 and on what devastation that the Rapture has on our nation) will be very interested in a peace treaty with Israel. But not a peace treaty like all Bible prophecy teachers expect. It will NOT be a treaty to keep Israel safe from her enemies because most of the bad ones will no longer exist. It will be a peace treaty to keep the world safe FROM Israel and Israel’s God!
Israel will be motivated to sign this peace treaty because of the Antichrist’s charisma and his salesmanship for bringing a chaotic world under control once again. Nuclear weapons, unimaginable loss of life, devastating destruction, and polluted atmosphere the world over will be the motivating factors for Israel to sign the peace treaty which specifically gives the Antichrist world influence and power plus starts the Tribulation, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. Exactly seven years from the signing of that treaty, Christ returns to stop Armageddon and begin his Millennial Reign on the Earth!