The Great Mystery Lesson One

The Great Mystery*

(Before and After the Rapture)

*1 Corinthians 15:51

Dr. Roger G. Ford, Ph.D., P.E. (


Three lessons on the End Times, the Rapture, and some prophecies that do not seem to fit into the generally accepted explanations of what God has in mind for the end of the Age of Grace.


Lesson One:


  1. What is the Rapture? Why is it important or why do we care?


  1. When will the Rapture happen? How do we know when? Why do we care?


Lesson Two:


  1. What has to happen before the Rapture? Why do we think it is very close? What about America?


  1. What happens after the Rapture? What becomes of those “Left Behind”?


Lesson Three:


  1. What is the Tribulation? Why is it necessary? Who is it for?


  1. When does the Tribulation start? What leads into the Tribulation?


  1. How does the Tribulation end? What happens after the Tribulation?





























Lesson One



In order to explain “The Great Mystery”, we must start at the beginning.


Second Timothy 3:16 & 17 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” The translation also can read “God-breathed” or, scripture is “God-breathed”. What this means to all of us is that every single word, phrase, paragraph, story, parable, event, and prophecy is truth, is trustworthy, is reliable, you can bet your life on it!


God has no beginning, a concept that all of us absolutely CANNOT comprehend. But, God appreciates this and our many limitations, so He explains our existence like this, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Clear enough, right? God, not evolution, or any other method from the mind of man, brought this world, this universe, into existence.


From Scripture, we learn an amazing thing! “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1-4).


John goes on to say in John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” So, Yeshua, his name in Hebrew, Jesus is the Word, the Creator.


About Jesus, the apostle Paul wrote: “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist (held together)” (Col. 1:16-17). This points to the amazing fact that Jesus is holding all things together, and if he let go, all things would disintegrate, cease to exist, burn, disappear!


Next, we return to Genesis Chapter 3 to find the first reference to God becoming a man. Genesis 3:15 says, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise and tread your head under foot, and you will lie in wait and bruise his heel.” Who is speaking? God. Who is God talking to? Satan, the serpent, the tempter. What is enmity? Hostility or hatred. Who is the woman? Eve. Who is Satan’s seed? Those opposed to God, and eventually the Antichrist. Who is Eve’s seed? Well, first of all, the seed comes from man, not woman. But, in the case of Jesus, Isaiah 7:14 says, “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign, behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel – God with us.” So, Jesus is the “one and only” seed of a woman. Who gets bruised? Jesus, because of the crucifixion, but he overcame death (Psalm 16:10 says, “For Thou wilt not abandon my soul to Sheol; neither wilt Thou allow Thy Holy One to undergo decay.”) Who gets crushed? Satan, by Jesus at His Second Coming.


Jesus has two appearances on the Earth. The First is His virgin birth in Bethlehem. His life leads to the cross where He died for all sin, yours and mine, because all are sinners because of the sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden. Jesus is the Second Adam who takes away the sin of the world by the shedding of His blood as the perfect, sinless sacrifice necessary to wash away our sins.


The Second Coming is the culmination of the End Times, the end of the Tribulation, the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom and the beginning of Jesus’ thousand year reign on the Earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.


Both the First Coming of Jesus and the Second Coming of Jesus are clearly explained in Scripture. Plus, we have the historical fulfillment of Jesus’ First Coming confirmed by the Scriptures and evidence of our indwelling of His Spirit. But, the Second Coming of Jesus is still future, prophetically described in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament, especially in the Book of Revelation. The Second Coming will be when Jesus returns WITH His Church (that would be us – Revelation 19:14) to stop what has come to be called the Battle of Armageddon, but is really not a battle at all since Jesus eliminates all of the rebellious millions with a single word (Revelation 19:21).


This brings us to the first question – What is the Rapture and why is it important or why do we care?


In Luke 12:36, the Word states that when Christ returns at His Second Coming, He will be returning from a wedding. In Revelation 19:7-8, we read about the marriage itself. The marriage supper takes place before the marriage. According to Jewish custom, the marriage contract, which often includes a dowry, is drawn up first. The contract parallels the act of faith we use when we trust Jesus to be our Savior. The dowry is His life, which was used to purchase us. When it’s time for the wedding, the groom goes to the bride’s house unannounced. She comes out to meet him, and then he takes her to his father’s house. This precisely correlates with the events that describe what is called the Rapture. Jesus, the Groom, comes down from heaven and calls up the Church, His Bride. After meeting in the air, He and His Bride return to His Father’s house, Heaven. The marriage supper itself will take place there, while down here on earth, there will be pre-Tribulation events and then the Tribulation itself going on with the Church in Heaven with Jesus. After the marriage supper of Jewish tradition, the bride and groom are presented to the world as man and wife. This corresponds to the time when Jesus returns to Earth at the end of the Tribulation accompanied by an army “clothed in fine linen, white and clean” (Rev 19:14).


The Rapture is an event that will take place sometime in the very near future. Jesus will come in the air, catch up the Church from the Earth, and then return to Heaven with the Church. The Apostle Paul gave a clear description of the Rapture event in his letters to the Thessalonians and Corinthians.

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thess, 4:16-18).

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:51-53).

John 14:1-3 are familiar verses, but they also specifically refer to the Rapture of the Church. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s House are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you, for I am going away to prepare a place for you. And when I go and make ready a place for you, I will come back again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also.” Notice the “take” in verse 3. Jesus’ Second Coming is when we come “with” Him. So, this reference is when Jesus takes us, catches us up to be with Him in the air – the Rapture!

Even Philippians 3:20 and 21 refers to this “Mystery”, “But we are citizens of the state which is in Heaven, and from it also we earnestly and patiently await the Lord Jesus Christ Who will transform and fashion anew the body of our humiliation to conform to and be like the body of His glory and majesty, by exerting that power which enables Him even to subject everything to Himself.”

Now, we come to the second question – When will the Rapture happen? How do we know when? Why do we care?

The timing of the Rapture is not known exactly, but there are many verses in Scripture that give very loud clues. The Rapture is an event that occurs near the end of the End Times and before the Second Coming. So, from the Word of God and from sound reasoning (something Jesus used quite frequently), and I hope to show you the reality of the pretribulation rapture and its nearness, “even at the door”.

The word “rapture” comes from Paul’s “caught up” remark in verse 17 of 1 Thessalonians 4. The words “caught up” are translated from the Greek word harpazo, which means “to carry off,” “snatch up,” or “grasp hastily.” The translation from harpazo to “rapture” involved two steps: first, harpazo became the Latin word raptus (for the Romans); second, raptus became the English word “rapture.”


The wedding story that Jesus gave in Matthew 25:1-13, I believe, is a parable of the Rapture of the Church. It explains how some will not be ready. They may know all the scriptures, be familiar with the details, but not be ready because they have not made the commitment to Jesus as Lord and Savior. Jesus clearly states that a group of people will miss out on the event, and will cry out to God to let them into the place where He resides, Heaven. But, Jesus says that He never knew them.


We know that the Rapture is sudden, imminent, without such signs that would announce its timing and occurrence. Do we have any idea when the Rapture will happen? Jesus said in Matthew 24:36, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of Heaven, but My Father only”. However, the feasts of Israel, enumerated in Leviticus Chapter 23, show the way in which Jesus fulfilled the Jewish feasts. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the Jewish prophet Amos records that God declared He would do nothing without first revealing it to His servants, the prophets (Amos 3:7). From the Old Covenant to the New, Genesis to Revelation, God provides picture after picture of His entire plan for mankind and one of the most startling prophetic pictures is outlined for us in the Jewish feasts of Leviticus 23.


The Hebrew word for “feasts” (moadim) literally means “appointed times.” God has carefully planned and orchestrated the timing and sequence of each of these seven feasts to reveal to us a special story. The seven annual feasts of Israel were spread over seven months of the Jewish calendar, at set times appointed by God. They are still celebrated by observant Jews today. But for both Jews and non-Jews who have placed their faith in Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, these special days demonstrate the work of redemption through God’s Son.


The first four of the seven feasts occur during the springtime (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Weeks), and they all have already been fulfilled by Christ in the New Testament. The final three holidays (Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles) occur during the fall, all within a short fifteen-day period.


Many Bible scholars and commentators believe that these fall feasts have not yet been fulfilled by Jesus. However, the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) for all believers in Jesus Christ is that they most assuredly will be fulfilled. As the four spring feasts were fulfilled literally and right on the actual feast day in connection with Christ’s first coming, these three fall feasts, it is believed by many, will likewise be fulfilled literally in connection to the Lord’s second coming.


Here is the prophetic significance of each of the seven Levitical feasts of Israel:


1) Passover (Leviticus 23:5) – Early Spring – Pointed to the Messiah as our Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) whose blood would be shed for our sins. Jesus was crucified on the day of preparation for the Passover at the same hour that the lambs were being slaughtered for the Passover meal that evening (John 19:14).


2) Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6) – Day after Passover – Pointed to the Messiah’s sinless life (as leaven or yeast in bread is a picture of sin in the Bible), making Him the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus’ body was in the grave during the first days of this feast, like a kernel of wheat planted and waiting to burst forth as the bread of life.


3) First Fruits (Leviticus 23:10) – Day after Unleavened Bread – Pointed to the Messiah’s resurrection as the first fruits of the righteous. Jesus was resurrected on this very day, which is one of the reasons that Paul refers to him in 1 Corinthians 15:20 as the “first fruits from the dead.”


4) Weeks or Pentecost (Leviticus 23:16) – Usually in June – Occurred fifty days after the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and pointed to the great harvest of souls and the gift of the Holy Spirit for both Jew and Gentile, who would be brought into the kingdom of God during the Church Age (see Acts 2). The Church was actually established on this day when God poured out His Holy Spirit and 3,000 Jews responded to Peter’s great sermon and his first proclamation of the gospel.


5) Trumpets (Leviticus 23:24) – Fall around the end of September or beginning of October – The first of the fall feasts. Many believe this day points to the Rapture of the Church when the Messiah Jesus will appear in the heavens as He comes for His bride, the Church. The Rapture is always associated in Scripture with the blowing of a loud trumpet (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:52). This feast is always a two day feast because the rabbis never know exactly when the full moon occurs. They don’t know the day or the hour! With this uncertainty, can that mean some future Trumpets the Rapture occurs?


6) Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:27) – Ten days after Trumpets – Many believe this prophetically points to the day of the Second Coming of Jesus when He will return to earth. That will be the Day of Atonement for the Jewish remnant when they “look upon Him whom they have pierced,” repent of their sins, and receive Him as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10 and Romans 11:1-6, 25-36).


7) Tabernacles or Booths (Leviticus 23:34) – Five days after Atonement – Many scholars believe that this feast day points to the Lord’s promise that He will once again “tabernacle” with His people when He returns to reign over all the world (Micah 4:1-7).


Should Christians celebrate these Levitical feast days of Israel today? Whether or not a Christian celebrates the Jewish feast days would be a matter of conscience for the individual Christian. Colossians 2:16-17 tells us, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” Christians are not bound to observe the Jewish feasts the way an Old Testament Jew was, but we should not criticize another believer who does or does not observe these special days and feasts (Romans 14:5).


When Jesus returns (Rev. 19:18), an army follows Him. The army’s members are riding on white horses, and they are clothed in fine linen that is white and clean. In Revelation 19:8, we are told that the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. If the saints of God are returning with Christ to wage war on the Antichrist, then what happened to the Jews who did not believe in Jesus before the Rapture? The Tribulation is the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble” meaning that God has reserved this seven year period especially for the return of the Chosen People to God because God NEVER forgets His promises. Psalms 94:14 says, “For the LORD will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance.” But, after the Rapture of the believing saints, many unbelieving Jews will be left behind to go through the Tribulation, a time of horrific wrath and death. But, many will come to a believing faith in Jesus as their Messiah during that trying, frightening time. But, Jesus’ Church will be kept “out of” the Wrath of God. (1) “I will keep you ‘out of’ [ek] the hour of trial” Revelation 3:10; (2) “We wait on the coming of His Son from Heaven, Jesus, Who keeps us ‘out of’ and ‘from’ the wrath to come” I Thessalonians 1:10l; (3) For God has not appointed us to wrath” I Thessalonians 5:9; and (4) “we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him (Jesus)” Romans 5:9.


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. The Rapture assures that we see no wrath. God does not want His people to experience His Wrath. The Word promises over and over that the Church will be delivered from God’s wrath.


The Tribulation period is compared to the times of Noah and Lot by Jesus in Luke 17:28. The two circumstances that the Noah and Lot situations have in common are the removal of the righteous from the wrath of God and the judgment of the unbelievers left behind. From these two accounts, we see that God prefers to remove His own when danger is involved. So, too, is God going to remove the Church before the Wrath of God begins in the Tribulation.


Revelation 4:1, which says, “come up hither,” is a prophetic reference to the Rapture of the Church, leaving Revelation chapters 1 through 3 as a description of the Church Age or the time between Pentecost (the Holy Spirit arriving in the hearts of believers marking the beginning of the Church) and the Rapture (where all saints, dead and alive, are caught up together to be with Jesus). After the shout to “come up hither,” the Church is not mentioned in the Book of Revelation again. The attention of Revelation switches from the Church to the Jews living in Israel.


In several passages, the Bible refers to the Tribulation as a time of trouble for the Jews. The phrase “Jacob’s trouble” pertains to the descendants of Jacob. Jeremiah 30:7 says that this time of trouble will come just before the Lord returns to save His people, the Jews. The final week of Daniel’s 70th week is yet to take place. An angel told Daniel that, “70 weeks are determined unto thy people” (Dan 9:24). Scripture never mentions that the Tribulation is meant to be a time of testing for Christians. The Tribulation, then, is a time of testing for the Jews and others left behind after the Rapture to experience God’s Wrath in response to those who rejected His Son for deliverance form sin and wrath.


In 1 Thessalonians 5:9, Paul assures us that God has not appointed His people to wrath. This wrath is plainly God’s anger that will be poured out during the Tribulation, so, this means that Christians will be removed from the Earth by the Rapture. Even in Proverbs 3:26, the Old Testament specifies that God does not want His people to suffer wrath, “For the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught”. The Time of Jacob’s Trouble, or the Tribulation, is ushered in by someone known to us as the Antichrist. This Antichrist is probably alive today, but many, many things have to happen before he gets his chance to rule the world. Before the Antichrist can be revealed, Paul said a certain “He” must be taken out of the way. According to 2 Thessalonians 2:7, the “He” that must be removed is the Holy Spirit. It has been promised that the Holy Spirit would never leave the Church, and without the working of the Holy Spirit remaining on Earth, no one could be saved during the Tribulation. The removal of the Church, which is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, would plunge the world into utter chaos because of the disappearance of millions, but also remove the influence of the Holy Spirit indwelt people. The Holy Spirit is God and therefore omnipresent. And the working of the Holy Spirit must go on during the Tribulation for Jews and other people to be saved during the Tribulation, but His influence would be diminished because of the missing Church. And, since Jesus’ Second Coming is at the end of the Tribulation which lasts seven years, then the Rapture of the Church, which must come before the start of the Tribulation, comes first, unannounced and imminent.


God is alerting believers today of the soon return of His Son through what are called “signs of the times.” These are prophecies concerning world events that we are told to watch for, prophecies that will identify the season of the Lord’s return. The Bible is full of these signs. There are about 500 prophecies in the Old Testament that relate to the Second Coming of the Messiah. In the New Testament, one out of every 25 verses is concerned with the return of Jesus. In fact, there are so many signs that it is difficult to grasp all of them. When we look around and pay attention to the astounding changes in our country and our world in the last few years, and then compare what we see with what the “signs of the times” tell us, then we know for  a certainty that Jesus’ Second Coming is very near. Jesus said in Matthew 24:34, “Truly, I tell you, this generation will not pass away till all these things take place.” What generation? The one seeing these signs. What is a generation? As short as 40 years and as long as 70 years biblically.


These “signs of the times” can be categorized easily. Most of us today are so busy with our personal lives that we pay little or no attention to what is going on around us either in our city, our state, our nation, or certainly not in other parts of the world. But, we must always remember that the Bible is centered on the Jews, their land, and the Messiah. All of these are located in the Middle East, eight time zones ahead of us, on the opposite side of the world some 6,000 miles away. Therefore, we must consider the “signs of the times” in relation to Israel and the Jews to be really up to date and accurate.


These are the categories and a brief summary of them that make up the “signs of the times”:


  • The Signs of Nature — We are told to watch for earthquakes, famine, pestilence, and signs in the heavens (see Matthew 24:7 and Luke 21:11). God has always spoken through signs of nature (Noah’s Flood, the plagues of Egypt, etc.), and He continues to do so today. We had better pay close attention to them. Earthquakes happen daily, and those above 6.0 on the Richter Scale have exploded the past ten years. Volcanoes are erupting daily all over the world, especially around the Pacific “Ring of Fire”. The Zika virus, Ebola, STDs that are antibiotic-resistant, and other pestilences seem to be in the news constantly. We rarely see how horribly famine affects many countries of the world, but some searching on the net will reveal how devastating famine is, much of it because of political tyrants unwilling to relinquish their graft and corruption. Plus, the sun is always a source of concern as well as asteroids, meteors, and space junk falling from the skies. The Earth’s magnetic field is increasingly deteriorating. The magnetic field is what God put in place to protect us from the Solar Wind, Solar flares, and falling objects. Since the magnetic field is weakening (it is less that a fourth of what it was at the time of Noah’s Flood decreasing by half every 1400 years) then our protection from heavenly falling objects or Solar flares is getting weaker and weaker. Solar flares can act even more strongly than an EMP completely taking out all electronics over an exposed half of the planet!


  • The Signs of Society —Paul paints a chilling picture of end time society in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. He says it will be characterized by three loves — the love of self (Humanism), the love of money (Materialism), and the love of pleasure (Hedonism). He then points out that the payoff of this carnal lifestyle will be what the philosophers call Nihilism — that is, a society wallowing in despair and meaninglessness plus the rejection of religious morality. Men’s minds will become depraved (Romans 1:28), and people will call evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20). We are seeing these prophecies fulfilled before our eyes today as we watch our society reject its Christian heritage and descend into a hellish pit of lawlessness, immorality, and despair. Even worse, we are exporting our nihilism around the world through our immoral and violent movies and television programs.


  • 3) The Spiritual Signs — There are both positive and negative spiritual signs that we are to watch for.

The negative ones include the appearance of false christs and their cults (Matthew 24:5,11,24), the apostasy of the professing church (2 Thessalonians 2:3), an outbreak of Satanism (1 Timothy 4:1), and the persecution of faithful Christians (Matthew 24:9). True Christianity has come under increasing attack. Judeo-Christian values, once the foundation of Western Civilization, are now openly mocked, and those who still adhere to them are castigated as “intolerant fundamentalists” by the media.

The positive spiritual signs include the proclamation of the Gospel to the whole world through modern technology (Matthew 24:14), a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-32), and spiritual illumination to understand prophecies that have been “sealed up” until the end times (Daniel 12:4,9). The great end time pouring out of the Holy Spirit that was prophesied by the prophet Joel has also begun. Joel called it “the latter rain” (Joel 2:23), and he said it would occur after the Jews had returned to their land. The state of Israel was re-established in 1948. The acceleration in the understanding of Bible prophecy began in 1970 with the publication of Hal Lindsey’s book, The Late Great Planet Earth. It seemed to open up to popular understanding many prophecies that had been “sealed up” until the end times (Daniel 12:4, 9). Remarkably, it became the number one best seller in the world — with the sole exception of the Bible — for the next ten years!


  • The Signs of Technology — The book of Daniel says that there will be an explosion of knowledge in the end times and that people will move about quickly (Daniel 12:4). There are many Bible prophecies that cannot be understood apart from modern technology. For example, how can the whole world look upon two bodies lying in the streets of Jerusalem (Revelation 11:8-9)? Modern television satellite technology makes it easy. How can the False Prophet build an image of the Anti-Christ that appears to be alive (Revelation 13:15)? The answer, of course, is the science of robotics. How can the False Prophet require all people on earth to take the mark of the Anti-Christ in order to buy and sell (Revelation 13:16-17)? It would not be possible apart from computers and lasers. Jesus said that the Tribulation will be so terrible that all life on earth would cease to exist if He did not cut the period short (Matthew 24:21-22). How could all life be threatened prior to the advent of nuclear weapons? Another reference to nuclear power is likely contained in Luke’s statement that men in the end times will “faint from fear” because “the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Luke 21:26). That certainly sounds like a reference to the splitting of the atom.


  • The Signs of World Politics — The Bible prophesies that there will be a certain pattern of world politics that will characterize the end time geopolitical map. The focus will be the re-established state of Israel (Zechariah 12:2-3). It will be besieged by a menacing nation from the “remote parts of the north,” the nation of “Rosh” — or modern day Russia (Ezekiel 38:2,6). There will also be a threatening nation to the East that will be capable of sending an army of 200 million — namely, China (Revelation 9:13-16 and Revelation 16:12-13). A third source of danger to Israel will be the Arab nations that immediately surround it. They will covet the land and will try to take it from the Jews (Ezekiel 35:10 and 36:2). Another key player on the world political scene in the end times will be a coalition of European nations that will form a confederation centered in the area of the old Roman empire (Daniel 2:41-44, Daniel 7:7,23-24, and Revelation 17:12-13). This confederation will serve as the political base for the rise of the Anti-Christ and the creation of his worldwide kingdom (Daniel 7:8). Other international political signs include wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6), civil wars (Matthew 24:7), and general international terrorism and lawlessness (Matthew 24:12).


6) The Signs of Israel — The signs related to the state of Israel are prolific and very important. The most frequently repeated prophecy in the Old Testament is the prediction that the Jewish people will be regathered from the “four corners of the earth” in the end times (Isaiah 11:10-12). The Bible states that a consequence of this regathering will be the re-establishment of the state of Israel (Isaiah 66:7-8). The Scriptures say that once the Jews are back in their land, the land itself will experience a miracle of reclamation (Isaiah 35). The desert will bloom and people will exclaim, “This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden” (Ezekiel 36:35).

Another end time miracle will be the revival of the Hebrew language (Zephaniah 3:9). Most people are not aware of the fact that when the Jews were dispersed from their land in 70 A.D., they ceased to speak the Hebrew language. The Jews who settled in Europe developed a new language called Yiddish — a combination of German and Hebrew. The Jews who migrated to the Mediterranean basin created a language called Ladino — a combination of Hebrew and Spanish. Other significant signs of Israel that we are told to watch for in the end times include the re-occupation of Jerusalem (Luke 21:24), the resurgence of Israeli military strength (Zechariah 12:6), and the re-focusing of world politics on Israel (Zechariah 12:3). All these signs have been fulfilled in the past 70 years. The nation has been re-established, the land has been reclaimed, the ancient language has been revived, the Jews are back in Jerusalem, and Israel is the focal point of world politics.


Jesus says in Luke 21:28 that when these signs begin to happen, we should “straighten up and lift up our heads” because “our redemption is drawing near.” From the headlines of today, the incredible immorality rampant all over the Earth and especially here in America, the increase in crime, the terrible specter of radical Islamist terrorism, the influx of crime associated with the open borders, abortion, homosexuality and same sex marriage, same-sex bathrooms, loss of respect for authority and the police, coddling of university students and their exclusion of opposite viewpoints, political correctness, rampant corruption in government and business, the intrusion of hackers into any and all records both private and public, amazing deterioration of our justice system, laws being either ignored or non-applicable to some, wasteful government spending without accountability, dumb worship of celebrity, overwhelming attention to self and pleasure, drug abuse, legalization of marijuana, and on and on, show us that the Rapture is indeed imminent, which means it could be any minute. God does have a limit (Galatians 6:7) to what He will put up with. Today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2) lest anyone not accept Christ and be left behind to go through the Tribulation.


This raises the issue of what we are to be looking for. Nowhere are believers told to watch for the appearance of the Antichrist. On the contrary, we are told to watch for Jesus Christ. In Titus 2:13 Paul says we are to live “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” Likewise, Peter urges us to “fix our hope completely on the grace to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). John completes the apostolic chorus by similarly urging us to “fix our hope on Him” at His appearing (1 John 3:2-3). John 14:3 says Jesus is coming to take us to be with Him.


So, do we care if we are in the Rapture?










































The Great Mystery*

(Before and After the Rapture)

*1 Corinthians 15:51

Dr. Roger G. Ford, Ph.D., P.E. (


Lesson One


  1. What is the Rapture? Why is it important or why do we care?


  • Jewish weddings according to tradition are composed of a marriage contract and a dowry.


  • The marriage contract is faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord


  • The dowry is Jesus’ life which saves us and gives us eternal life


  • The Groom comes for the Bride at an unknown hour and day to take the Bride to the Father’s house


  • Jesus calls to us to “Come up here” – the Rapture (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53;

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)


  • We go to the Father’s house – Heaven


  • The Marriage takes place there, then there is a Marriage Supper, then a Presentation of the Bride and Groom to the celebration of the Marriage


  • The Marriage of Groom and Bride (Jesus and the Church) takes place, then the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, then the Second Coming (Jesus and His Bride) returning to the Earth



  1. When will the Rapture happen? How do we know when? Why do we care?


  • Rapture – “caught up” 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Matthew 25:1-3


  • Signs of the times – Matthew 24:3-37 (note verse 34!)


  • Signs of Nature
  • Signs of Society
  • Spiritual Signs
  • Signs of Technology
  • Signs of World Politics
  • Signs of Israel


  • Luke 21:28 – Jesus said our redemption is drawing near when these things BEGIN to happen


  • We are to live “looking for the Blessed Hope and the appearing of the Glory of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:13




The Great Mystery*

(Before and After the Rapture)

*1 Corinthians 15:51

Dr. Roger G. Ford, Ph.D., P.E. (


Lesson One


  1. What is the Rapture? Why is it important or why do we care?


  • Jewish ___________ according to tradition are composed of a marriage ________ and a _______.


  • The marriage ________ is _______ in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord


  • The _______ is Jesus’ ______ which saves us and gives us eternal life


  • The ________ comes for the _______ at an unknown _______________ to take the _______ to the


Father’s __________.


  • Jesus calls to us to “__________________” – the __________ (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)


  • We go to the Father’s _________ – ___________.


  • The ______________ takes place there, then there is a _____________________, then a __________


of the ________________________ to the celebration of the Marriage


  • The Marriage of ____________________ (Jesus and the Church) takes place, then the


_________________________________, then the _____________________ (Jesus and His Bride) returning to the Earth



  1. When will the Rapture happen? How do we know when? Why do we care?


  • Rapture – “______________” 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Matthew 25:1-3


  • Signs of the_____________ – Matthew 24:3-37 (note verse 34!)


  • Signs of ____________


  • Signs of ____________


  • ______________ Signs


  • Signs of ______________


  • Signs of ___________________


  • Signs of _____________


  • Luke 21:28 – Jesus said our ________________ is drawing near when these things ____________ to happen


  • We are to live “looking for the _________________ and the _______________ of the Glory of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:13