Understanding the timing of the rapture, which directly coordinates with the reign of the Antichrist and the length of the time the Two Witnesses minister
God's timing is perfect and the rapture of the saints will only happen according to God's perfect plan. The Two Witnesses will minster for 1260 days (3 ½ years) in direct opposition to the Antichrist and his reign. Consider this article, as it shows the correlation of the Bible verses involved, based upon a clear 7 year prophetic time period that is divided into two segments, the first half with “Christians present” and second half with “God's wrath” for those left after the rapture.
First, let it be noted that there is one week of years left of the 70 prophetic weeks, as 69 weeks have passed. See the 70 Weeks Chart.
There are important numbers and terminology to be familiar with.
1 week in Daniel = 7 years (two - 3 1/2 year periods). A time, times and half a time breaks down as this: time (1 year), times (2 years) and 1/2 of time (½ a year)= 3 ½ years (found in Daniel 7:25,12:7, Revelation 12:14). 42 months = 1260 days = 3 ½ years = a time, times and half a time.
Please carefully read the following section of Scripture.
Revelation 11:1-3 Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, "Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. 2 But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. 3 And I will give power to My two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days (1260 days), clothed in sackcloth."
These Two Witnesses/Two Prophets will have the witness and the testimony of Jesus Christ. They will prophesy and share the Gospel for 1260 days. Many just want to talk about "who" the Two Witnesses are, but no matter "who" they are (Enoch, Moses, Elijah or two others) the point is, they will prophesy and be the Witnesses of Jesus Christ for the first 3 ½ years. We know they will be killed by the Antichrist (Revelation 11:7-11), therefore, we know their terms overlap beyond the shadow of a doubt, and as we will show, are almost concurrent except for 3 ½ days. While the Antichrist will represent the devil, the Two Witnesses will represent the Lord, being seen and heard to the distress of the kingdom of darkness and all on their side (Revelation 11:3-7,10).
Many people want to make the Two Witnesses "Judaic (without being Christian)" and not of the kingdom of Jesus Christ but “Jesus Christ is Judaic” and “the true fulfillment of all Old Testament Scripture.” These two “anointed ones” will stand for the real Jesus Christ, the true Messiah, against all falsehood - against the beastly kingdom and all its blasphemy. How do we know their ministry is the first 3½ years? One reason is because “only wrath is being poured out for the last 3½ years” and when the Two Witnesses are killed at the end of the first 3½ years; the Lord raises them from the dead and tells them "Come up here" - they will not be the only ones rising up - but it is the "gathering, catching up" of all believers! This will be discussed in greater detail later.
Let us consider what else takes place for 42 months, 3 ½ years.
Revelation 13:1-5 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. 2 Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. 3 And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. 4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" 5 And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.
Revelation 13:6-10 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. 7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, (those) whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 10 He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
Why would the saints need faith and patience, if they are not still on the earth, enduring this 42 month- time of evil global authority?
Satan and his beast (Antichrist) will be given a certain amount of authority for 42 months (1260 days/3½ years). Some want to say "the saints" spoken of here are Jews or people saved after the rapture, which they think happens at the beginning of the seven years. That same concept teaches that the Holy Spirit leaves at the rapture, and all Christians know what without the Holy Spirit, there is no salvation. They cannot have it both ways. In reality, the Bible never says the saints left. "It was granted to him to make war with the saints and overcome them." This is not something any of us want to hear. But it is... what will happen. Can your faith stand if you have to endure this time? If you know what to expect and that you only have to endure it for a season, it will help.
Next major Scriptures to consider; please notice how Daniel correlates with the book of Revelation.
Daniel 7:23-25 Thus he said: 'The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces. 24 The ten horns are ten kings, who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; he shall be different from the first ones, and shall subdue three kings. 25 He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time.
Daniel recorded: “Shall persecute the saints of the Most High... Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time." Remember, "a time, times and half a time" means a year, two years and a half a year which totals 3½ years (1260 days/42 months).
Some try to say the word “saints” here means "Jews" because Daniel wrote it. Well, why is it that John writes the same thing? Its because "saints" means what it has always meant, “the true people of God”... Moses, Ruth, Peter & Paul were all saints... Christians today are saints. The point is: God's people, His saints, will be persecuted by this evil one and be given into his hand fora time, times and half a time (3 ½ years).
This has to be the first 3 ½ years, otherwise the saints would be around to endure God's wrath along with the wicked as there are 7 trumpets of judgment and 7 bowls of wrath that will come down on the evil ones who worshiped the beast, his image and took his mark. And God's wrath is for the wicked, not His children.
Please consider this next section of verses and think about what John wrote in Revelation 13:1-10 (the second section of Scripture in this article).
Daniel 12:4-7 "But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase." 5 Then I, Daniel, looked; and there stood two others, one on this riverbank and the other on that riverbank. 6 And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, "How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?" 7 Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.
It shall be for3 ½ years until "the power of the holy people has been completely shattered."
These “holy people” are “the people of God/saints.” Once again, it must be stated, that many people think this is a reference to the Jews alone. But that is not what is said or meant. It correlates with “the people of God/saints (saved/born-again Jews and saved/born-again Gentiles)” being alive while the world has been given over to Satan for 3 ½ years (a time, times and ½ a time), the first half of the last week of years (7 years) of this age.
There will be persecution of the saints in a world of blasphemy and eventually, the power of the holy people, the saints, will be completely shattered. What did the man clothed in linen, mean when He said to Daniel, “all these things shall be finished”? He meant that once things come to that point, the Two Witnesses will have finished their testimony, been killed and raised from the dead, the rapture will happen, the 144,000 Jews (12,000 from each tribe) will be sealed for protection and the only thing left is “wrath.” Vengeance really does belong to the Lord and those who did evil to God's people and took sides with the devil against God, will bring the judgment and wrath of God down upon their own selves.
To refute the voices of erroneous theology: If the saints were “raptured up” at the beginning of the 7 years, then how could any of these things be? The Bible does not speak of more than one rapture/gathering of the Saints. The people that are left after the rapture, are the ones who followed and worshiped the beast and took his mark. The Bible is clear on their demise of wrath and eternal doom (Revelation 14:9-11). And the Bible is clear that God's wrath is for the wicked, not His children; and after the rapture, His wrath is poured out on man and earth by way of the 7 trumpets and 7 bowls of wrath. Jesus said "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world" (John 9:4-5). Christians continue the work of the Lord today, but once the Christians are gone after the rapture, the Light will also be gone and the day of salvation will be over. After the rapture, it shows the mankind that is left, only blaspheming the Lord and not repenting and shows the same happening in Revelation 9:20-21 and Revelation 16:8-9,11,21.
There will be 3½ years of tribulation in which the devil, his Antichrist and followers will be rebelling against God and directly opposed to the Two Witnesses and Christians. When the Two Witnesses are killed, the wicked will proclaim “peace and safety” (1 Thessalonians 5:3), but it will be short-lived, for the rapture will come! Afterward, there will follow 3½ years of judgment/wrath concluding with Armageddon and the grapes of wrath (Revelation 14:17,16:16,19:17-21). After the end of this age, it really will be the end of the ruler-ship of sin and the devil deceiving mankind. The devil will be bound for 1000 years and the 144,000 from each tribe of Israel that were sealed, will be the remnant-start of people in the Millennium, which will be directly under the rule of Jesus Christ Himself and those He will have helping Him (Revelation 20:4). After the Millennium, the evil old serpent will be loosed for a short season to “deceive the nations” and will conclude with the battle of Gog and Magog. And finally, the old earth and universe (physical heavens) will burn and melt as told by Peter (2 Peter 3:10), and there will be the Great White Throne of Judgment whereupon evil will be put away forever. The Lord will make a new heavens (physical) and a new earth with the holy city of heaven, the New Jerusalem, coming to rest on the new earth (Revelation 21:1-27).
End of Article.
Further thoughts for consideration.
Many people try to scare Christians about Judgment Day (Revelation 20:11-15). The Bible is clear that Judgment Day is for the wicked who rejected God; it never says Christians will be there to be judged. It says just the opposite. The Bible says that Jesus came to save us from it. God does not throw our sins away and wipe our record clean, to later fish them out of the Sea of Forgetfulness and punish us. Jesus saved us from that (1 Thessalonians 5:9). It is true that we are accountable for our actions, but what is forgiven is gone. And for we that are Christians, all works that are not fit for reward, will be worthless. Only the works that God deems fit, those done with a right heart, will get reward. The Lord says we are storing up treasures in heaven that cannot be stolen or corrupted. And those acts of love and obedience will be rewarded. This is the judgment of a Christian. "And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last." (Revelation 22:12-13)
Revelation 12:10-12 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time."
People are starting to quote these verses more often now-days. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony,” that is two parts of three. But the third is important too: “and they did not love their lives to the death.” Why does John write this, if people are just going to be raptured up and escape all the ugly? Answer: It is written because great persecution is coming for Christians; when the beast is in power for 42 months, 3 ½ years.
Who would the devil's wrath be for? Answer: Christians. He hates the Jews also, but first he has to have the pretense of being their Messiah/Savior. In the end he will turn on the Jews too, but not until the very end of his term. When he desecrates the temple by sitting in it and worship is demanded for both he and his image, the Jews eyes will be opened.
Read what Jesus says and consider some further thoughts [commentary added in brackets]:
Matthew 24:13-31 "But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. [Man has done his best but only God finishes it and He does it through the 2 Witnesses.]15 "Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand) [this is the image of the beast that comes to life and is told of both in Daniel and Revelation] 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. [When the son of perdition posing as their Messiah sits in the temple as God and when worship is demanded of both he and his image, they realize the violation of the Torah.] 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened. [This means exactly what it says! Bad tribulation will get even worse.] 23 Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. [The Lord wants us prepared. This is not written for the lost, it is written for true followers of Jesus Christ.] 26 Therefore if they say to you, 'Look, He is in the desert!' do not go out; or 'Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together. [This “carcass” is in reference to the Two Witnesses being killed and lying in the street for 3 ½ days] 29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. [The lost will know and see what is happening.] 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (And those who are saved are gathered up to the Lord, this is the rapture)
Matthew 24:32-44 "Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near--at the doors! 34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. [This means exactly what the Lord says too. Many say it was or is about the birth of Israel. He is saying when you see what He just foretold of, you can know it is near.] 36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. [Some will be surprised and others desperately looking for Him.] 40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. [It is amazing that people select different parts of Matthew 24 for what is rapture and what is not... Everything here is either before the rapture or at rapture; and the word “invisible” is not here!] 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
The rest of Matthew chapter 24 and the virgins told of in the next chapter, Matthew 25, are a warning. Not to the world, but to the church. Be ready. Don't be slothful. Don't give up. Be faithful.
The Lord continues with more warnings to be diligent and faithful and then says this:
Matthew 25:31-33 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.”
The rapture is not some kind of quick blink. He comes on with/on His throne. He only separates mankind one time. Not at Armageddon and not at the Great White Throne of Judgment. He calls His people out at the rapture.
Consider this last section of scripture:
Matthew 26:62-64 And the high priest arose and said to Him, "Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?" 63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, "I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!" 64 Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven."
The events of what happens at the rapture are so huge, that it involves every dimension. It will be seen even in hell.
Many try to say Jesus is coming on a white horse at the rapture. Clouds yes, but Jesus will only come on a white horse at Armageddon. Not only will He come on a white horse then, but other white horses are riding with Him. (Revelation 19:11-14).
Please consider other articles on this site, as there are many, many Bible verses shown and important information given that confirm the truth and debunk falsehood and erroneous doctrine.
But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6
While we do believe in a mid tribulation rapture, we are not saying we know the day or the hour. The Lord makes it very clear that no one but the Father knows that. While we do believe it is at or near the middle of the last 7 years of this age, the Lord says that He has to cut the time short for the elect's sake in Matthew 24:22 and who knows the amount of time that will be?