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The Last Days of the Church Age

Eric Summers

Lately I've been asking myself the question: What will be the events of the last days of the Church age?  I have been searching the scripture for verses that describe  those events as well as asking our Heavenly Father for the correct interpretation of scripture that will give us insight as to those events and the sequence of those events.  I'll first explain to you in order the events  that I believe will happen, then  I will give links to the articles and the scripture  that discuss these events  later in this article.

If you have read many of the articles on this website, you probably have figured out that we believe that the end of the Church age is near and that the last event of the Church Age will be the First Fruits Rapture of the most faithful of Christ's saints--the Church of Philadelphia (Rev 3:7-13). 

The first event signaling the end of the Church age will be the destruction of the city of Damascus by nuclear weapons.  This destruction is described in detail in the article:  The Burden of Damascus.  Briefly, either the United States or the Nation of Israel will destroy Damascus, the center of terrorism because of a terrorist attack on either the USA or Israel.  Damascus will then be leveled by nuclear missiles and the only remains of this city will be piles of radioactive debris.  The nuclear fallout will spread south and east and cause many residents of Jordan to flee from the radiation.  They will leave so quickly that they will leave their flocks and their belongings behind.  Within minutes of this destruction, the news will be announced over the TV and on the Internet. 

Here are the verses:

(Isa 17:1-3 KJV)  The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.   The cities of Aroer are forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid.  The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria: they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the LORD of hosts. 

The fortress are faithful Christians that support and pray for the nation of Israel--here mentioned as Ephraim, one of the sons of Joseph.  The "ceasing" means that they will no longer be on the earth and hence not be able to directly support Israel.  After Damascus is destroyed, the First Fruits Rapture will take place on the following Pentecost, the Day of First Fruits, which is one of the seven Jewish Feasts. Thus, after Damascus is destroyed we will know with certainty when the First Fruits Rapture will take place. After Damascus is destroyed, Philadelphia Christians should encourage each other to be faithful to Jesus:

(Hebrews 10:23-25 KJV) Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) {24} And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: {25} Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

The Day Approaching is the First Fruits Rapture.

Next, the Midnight Cry will sound:  (Mat 25:6 KJV)  And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him.  This cry will possibly happen just before Resurrection Sunday (Easter), and the only persons that can hear this cry are Christians across the world.  This is a message that will announce the immediate return of Jesus Christ for His betrothed wife, the Bride of Christ, the most faithful of His disciples; they are members of he Church of Philadelphia--small Bible churches or home churches and they are those disciples that are studying and obeying the Holy Bible and are watching and praying for Christ's return for the First Fruits Rapture.  Jesus will also return to include the court of the Bride.  These are the second most faithful of His saints.  They are few in number and are the most faithful members of the churches of Sardis (Protestant), Thyatira (Catholic) and Laodicea (mega-church, TV church).  They will not be watching for Christ's return, but they will be living a righteous life for Him and performing good works that glorify God.  The Philadelphia Christians are the most faithful Christians of today as well as the most faithful Christians of the 2,000 year church age. 

We believe that in the Book of Revelation, the Four Living creatures are the Bride of Christ and are sharing Christ's throne in Revelation, chapter four.  The twenty four elders sitting on their own thrones around Christ's grand throne are the court of the Bride of Christ.  These two groups of Christ's most faithful will miss all of the Tribulation because they are faithful to Him in this age.  When the Midnight cry is complete, all of the Church of Philadelphia will receive their resurrection bodies and be completely holy, sinless and righteous.  They will walk around in robes of white and will be glorious in appearance.  They will then be judged by Jesus at the Judgment Seat of Christ and He will be very pleased with them and give them many rewards for their faithfulness.

Percentage wise, we think that the First Fruits Rapture will include about 10% of the Christians in the world.  If there are one billion Christians in the world, then 100,000,000 will be taken to Heaven in the First Fruits Rapture.  This is still a sizable number of people, and because most will be very trustworthy business owners and workers and many will be from the United States, this will cause a severe disruption in the American economy.  This is how we work:

Colossians 3:22-24 ASV 1901) Servants, obey in all things them that are your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord: 3:23 whatsoever ye do, work heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men; 3:24 knowing that from the Lord ye shall receive the  recompense of the inheritance: ye serve the Lord Christ.

The economy of the rest of the world including the European Union will also be severely effected and the leadership of the USA and Europe will not know what to do to handle the ensuing chaos.  This will allow the Antichrist to step in and be given control over the USA and then over the European Union.  Read FAQs about the Antichrist for information about the Antichrist.  An overview of the Book of Revelation is given: FAQs about the Book of Revelation.

Those Christians that are not currently watching for Christ's return and are performing few good works are those believers that will not be included in the First Fruits Rapture.  They are so caught up in the cares of the world: buying and selling, advancing their careers, seeking fame and fortune and even participating in some of the same sinful activities as the unsaved that Jesus cannot distinguish them from the unsaved of the world.  Because of their current weak faith, Jesus determines that they will  be given a second chance to be faithful so they will be left behind to be persecuted during the first half of the Tribulation so they can demonstrate their faith in Him. 

Jesus Prepares the Churches of Thyatira, Sardis and Laodicea for the Tribulation

Before they are cast into the Tribulation, Jesus has graciously decided that He will prepare them for His service.  The Midnight Cry will be a notification by Christ to His faithful saints that He will shortly take them to Heaven in the First Fruits Rapture.  It is also a warning to all unfaithful Christians that He is displeased with they way they live their lives and for their lack of good works.  The Midnight cry will most likely occur sometime during the week just before Resurrection Sunday (Easter).  He will somehow direct the less faithful Christians to go to their churches and there they will receive instruction on what He expects them to accomplish during their 3 1/2 years in the Tribulation.  There is a possibility that some of the one talent  Main Harvest Christians  may not answer the Midnight Cry: "The Bridegroom cometh" and hence will not go to their church, so Christ can prepare them for faithful service during the Tribulation.

Main Harvest Christians know that He is not pleased with them and after He leaves, they will admit in prayer to God that they have indeed not lived their lives for Him, but have instead lived unfruitful, sinful lives for themselves.  They will start trimming the sin out of their lives even before they set foot in their churches.  When they all arrive at their church, Jesus will describe their failures just as He describes their weaknesses to the Churches of Sardis, Thyatira and Laodicea in the Book of Revelation.  He will then tell them that He will allow them a brief period of time to prepare themselves spiritually for their testing during the Tribulation.  Since Jesus is God and therefore has omnipresence, He will have no problem at all appearing at the same time to the thousands of Christian churches across the world.

Because they rarely read the Bible and have no interest in the deeper truths of the holy scripture, including prophecy, the unfaithful Christians will not have even a clue to what is coming up, of what kinds of testing that they should expect during the Tribulation.  Christ will let them know that they will lose their homes, their wealth, their positions, any companies or stock they may own and then later will be rounded up and placed in detention camps and some will even lose their lives.  At mid-Tribulation all will be taken to Heaven in the Main Harvest Rapture. 

Jesus then tells the Main Harvest Christians,  that He will be departing to Heaven and that He is leaving His faithful disciples, the Church of Philadelphia to instruct them in the Holy Bible and in the path that He expects them to follow.  This instruction will happen over the next 50 days.  After they have completed their mission, the Philadelphia Church will then be taken to Heaven in the First Fruits Rapture at Pentecost.  The Main Harvest Christians will be very fearful of what will happen to them and they plead with Jesus to also take them to Heaven and He responds with "I don't know you.  You have not been faithful  in your service to me during your time so far on the earth."  He then ascends directly into Heaven. 

Jesus will then use the church of Philadelphia disciples to instruct the unfaithful believers.  The issue that Jesus has with the unfaithful Christian is not Spirit Salvation, but their works ("I know your works").  Jesus observes that they have few good works and have many evil works, so they will be given serious instruction on avoiding evil and accomplishing good works for God.  It should be noted that there are equal numbers of wise and foolish virgins.  Thus, there is a strong possibility that Main Harvest Christians could be tutored one-on-one by Philadelphia Christians.  Those Christians that are sick and cannot travel will be given personal instruction by Philadelphia Christians.

An Agenda for the Discipleship Training
They already know, but will be told again that Jesus has  found their good works lacking during their time so far on the earth but He has graciously decided that they will be given a second opportunity to show their faithfulness to Him by being tested during the first half of the Tribulation.  Their testing will begin after Pentecost.

God will give them abilities and resources to complete righteous works during the 3 1/2 years they will be left behind on the earth.  Some will be given more resources and abilities than others.  These will be the current pastors, deacons and teachers in the churches of today.  Others in the churches will be given fewer abilities and resources.  If they perform all the righteous works that God gives them to do, they will show their faithfulness to Him and He will thus be pleased with them and then count them as good and faithful servants of His.  Those that are given more resources and abilities will be expected to accomplish more than those that have fewer abilities and resources.  Those that are faithful will receive glory and honor in the Millineum Kingdom and be rulers over many cities. 

They will also be told that some of them will not be faithful to God during the Tribulation.  At the Main Harvest Rapture at mid-Tribulation all Main Harvest Christians will be taken to Heaven whether they are faithful or not.  When they arrive in Heaven, their works will be evaluated at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  If faithful, they will be given rewards and if not faithful, they will receive the condemnation of Jesus. During the Tribulation, 2/3 of the Main Harvest Christians will become faithful and 1/3 will not.

Biblical Doctrine

Shown below are several topics that the Philadelphia Christians could teach the Main Harvest Christians during the grand feeding just before the First Fruits Rapture.  Jesus will undoubtedly have more topics that He wants covered, but I believe these are the main categories that will be discussed.  Because they will also be empowered by the Holy Spirit, all of the following lessons will be understood by Main Harvest Christians:

Overview.  A summary of the discipleship of the next fifty days will be covered by Jesus before He departs to Heaven.  He then strongly encourages each to listen carefully and then to apply what they hear to the way they live their lives during the first half of the Tribulation.  His final encouragement will be to instill in them the desire to be watching for His return at mid-Tribulation for the Main Harvest Rapture.

Grace.  Our spirits are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  There is no work we can perform that will save us.  This is Spirit Salvation:

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NET): For by grace you are saved through faith; and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.

Election of the Saints.  God saves who He wants to save.  I believe that there are many more people that God saves than we may realize.  Unfortunately, those Christians that are living a self-centered, sinful life are some times identified as "unsaved" by some Christians in the church.  However, God knows all He has called and we as believers should not judge anyone as unsaved or not.  If God wants to save someone, He will simply call them out from the world to be His own.  For more details read: Doctrine of Election.

Baptism.  Baptism is a public expression of dying to self and the world and being raised to a new life in-Christ Jesus: a life that is dedicated to God.   Believers after Baptism are expected to begin a life of discipleship and sanctification. 

Each book of the Holy Bible will be explained verse by verse.  Every Christian will be expected to ask questions and members of the Five Wise Virgins, the Church of Philadelphia will answer these questions.  Difficult chapters will be given extra attention, especially those that are always ignored in Sunday School material and in sermons.  This would include The Judgment Seat of Christ, Soul Salvation,  the Book of Revelation, watching for Jesus' return and performing good works for rewards.  Many chapters of the Bible will be explained prophetically in addition to being explained literally.

Agape Love.  God expects us to love Him, fellow believers, the Jews and others as He loves us.   A close fellowship with God will provide the hope to endure the Tribulation so the reward of the Main Harvest Rapture at mid-Tribulation will be a day they will be joyously looking forward to.   They should also love the unloveable--to love those that may even hate them or want to hurt them. 

Crucify Self.  Each Christian will need to put Christ first in their lives and to not yield to selfish temptations.  During the Tribulation, sin will reign and extra care will need to be taken to avoid evil and to live for Jesus.  Most Main Harvest Christians will  follow Jesus:  "And he said unto all, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."  (Luke 9:23 ASV 1901)

Soul Salvation.  The spirit is saved by grace through faith.  The soul is saved by being faithful to God.  For more details read: Soul vs Spirit Salvation.

The Four Gospels.  Each verse will be explained.  Many verses of the Gospels are commands from Jesus for how we should live our lives in service to God, how we should treat each other, end-times prophecy and to be watching for His return.

The Meat of the Word.  These are the more difficult passages in the Bible which include the prophecy books such as Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation.  Many passages in the Bible also have a prophetic interpretation, such as the Book of Ruth and the Book of Genesis.

The Seven Feasts.  The Book of Leviticus describes seven feasts that God has commanded Israel to observe.  For each feast there is also a prophetic interpretation  that is applicable for Christians. For more details read: The Seven Feasts.

Prayer.  How we should approach God through the Holy of Holies (Prayer: a hands-on Workbook).  The Lord's Prayer and the prayers of David in the Psalms will be explained in detail. We should be praising God and giving thanks to Him for His blessings and the testing of our faith, making us stronger in the faith.  There will be ample opportunity for prayer time during the discipleship training.

Watching.  How they should be watching for Jesus' return for the Main Harvest Rapture and be beckoning for Christ's return for this blessed event.

Service.  How they should expect the 144,000  virgins (Revelation, chapter 7) members of the 12 Tribes of Israel to be influenced by the Main Harvest believers and how they should also influence the Gentiles that are saved during the first half of the Tribulation.  During the Tribulation, good works will be difficult to achieve and Main Harvest Christians will need to say yes when God prepares a righteous deed for them to accomplish.

False prophets.  Even during the time of the apostles taking the gospel to the Gentiles, false prophets would appear and attempt to lead Christians from the truth and wisdom found in the Holy Scripture.  This deception has happened during the whole 2,000 year church age.  In the Tribulation, false prophets will also appear.  By diligently studying and applying scripture to the way Main Harvest Christians live their lives, false prophets can be identified and not followed and asked to leave their congregation.

Persecution.  How they should deal with persecution.  Examples will be drawn from both Old and New Testaments.  The persecution that Main Harvest Christians will experience is discussed  in Revelation, chapter 6, and in the article The Book of Habakkuk.

Book of Revelation.  This book of prophecy will first be read aloud by Main Harvest Christians and then explained by Philadelphia Christians.  The admonition is to listen and obey the verses in this book.  The spiritual weaknesses of the Thayatira, Sardis and Laodicea churches will be discussed and members of these churches will be encouraged to remove these weaknesses and thus become faithful followers of Jesus.  Finally, the events of the Tribulation will be explained in detail.

Book of James.  This is an easy to understand description of becoming a disciple of Christ.  Several passages describe how we  should avoid sin and how to crucify self and live for Jesus.  (Book of James)

Book of Romans.  This is a difficult book of the Bible to understand and if we persevere in its study gives us the verses to overcome our sinful nature and to use the power of the Holy Spirit to live our lives sanctified to Christ. (Book of Romans Part One)

Rewards.  Rewards for faithful service is very important in the mind of God and should  be to us.  He will reward us for good works done in the power of the Holy Spirit.  In the very last chapter in Revelation Jesus tells us: And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (Rev 22:12 KJV)The Main Harvest Christians will have opportunities to work for rewards during the first half of the Tribulation: The Prudent Steward.

When Instruction is Complete

After the last discipleship session is given to Main Harvest Christians by Philadelphia Christians, both Main Harvest and Philadelphia Christians will somehow see an open door to Heaven.   At this point the Main Harvest Christians will know that the Philadelphia Church will very shortly enter  this door to Heaven.  They then make a desperate request to Philadelphia belivers: "Give us some of your oil." (being filled with the Holy Spirit).  However, the Philadelphia Christians reply "Go buy  your own oil." (Go accomplish good works through the power of the Holy Spirit.)  The  Philadelphia Christians then ascend immediately to Heaven through this open door.  It will then close and Main Harvest Christians will then return to their homes to start their testing.  Jesus may give them a few days  before the beginning of the Tribulation to form Bible study and Prayer groups and to discuss what have they have been instructed on by Jesus and the Church of Philadelphia. 

Shortly after this, the Antichrist will then come to power and begin his persecution of Main Harvest Christians.  The next 3 1/2 years will be a time of severe testing for the Main Harvest believer.  However, if they accomplish the righteous works God prepares for  them and remain faithful, they will grow in faith and then see that the Tribulation is actually a blessing because they will then be able to grow in their faith in Jesus.  The article Christians Left Behind explains what will happen to the Main Harvest Christians during the Tribulation.  The persecution of Main Harvest Christians is described in the article: Book of Habakkuk.

Christ's evaluation of the faith of the end time churches is described in detail in Revelation Chapter Two and Three and the separation of faithful from unfaithful Christians is discussed in detail in The Separation and The First Fruits Rapture articles. 

The Scripture

The Five Wise and the Five Foolish Virgins

In Matthew chapter 25, Jesus commands the ten virgins to go to their own church and to be ready there to hear His message.  This is a prophetic interpretation of the verse: (Mat 25:6 KJV)  And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him.  The five wise virgins, the Church of Philadelphia know that they will go to the churches that Jesus directs them to so they can instruct the five foolish virgins to perform good works for Jesus; a major good work will be to read, study and apply Bible knowledge to the way they live their lives.  The five foolish virgins are convicted by the Holy Spirit and then go to their churches.  They immediately ask God for forgiveness of their sins (I John 1:9).  This is the cutting away of the dead wick, which allows the Holy Spirit to work in their lives: (Mat 25:7 KJV)  Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.  

During their time on the earth, the five wise virgins have also had sin in their lives.  A major difference between the two groups of Christians is that the wise virgins have been daily confessing their sins (If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9 KJV) to God, and thus sin does not control their lives.   With a daily cleansing from their sins, the Holy Spirit can effectively work in their lives to produce good works for God.  There is a lot of dead wick (sin) in the lives of the five foolish virgins because they have  neglected the daily confession of their sins to God and have also neglected the  cleansing power of the Word of God. (Eph 5:26-27 KJV  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.)  The parable of the five wise and five foolish virgins is interpreted  in detail in the article The Parable of the Ten Virgins.

The Feeding of the 5,000

The miracle that is described in Matthew chapter 14 is very important and is easily understood by most.  The prophetic interpretation of the verses is difficult, but has great significance for the Main Harvest Christian, the less faithful Christian that will be left behind at the First Fruits Rapture.

The miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 is also included in Mark's gospel (Mark 6:34-44):

34 And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things.
35 When the day was now far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, “This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late.
36 Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat.”
37 But He answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat.”  And they said to Him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?”
38 But He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”  And when they found out they said, “Five, and two fish.”
39 Then He commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green grass.
40 So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties.
41 And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all.
42 So they all ate and were filled.
43 And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish.
44 Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men.

A detailed prophetic interpretation of this parable is given in the article The Feeding of the 5,000, so I'll not explain every verse here.  What I'll do is to explain why I think that Jesus will prepare the less faithful Christians for being left behind  to be tested for 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation right in their own churches.

The green grass is the comfortable environment that most church goers have across the world ("He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake." KJV Ps 23:2-3).  Their church sanctuary is a place that the Main Harvest Christians will feel comfortable in.  Jesus commands them to go there at the appropriate time and most will obey Him. Groups of fifty are the small and medium-sized churches and groups of a hundred are the larger churches.  The numbers would be much larger than 50 and 100, because these numbers are of men only.  The count of people would increase several times when you include spouses and children and senior citizens.  The sitting down in ranks would be the orderly sitting in rows of seats which would occur in the chapels of the churches.

The five loaves of barley bread are the basics of Bible doctrine that Jesus gives to His disciples who pass out the bread to those that are seated in the churches.  The basics include repentance, living a sanctified life, doing good works, confessing sin, reading and obeying the Holy Scripture and prayer.  The two fish are the meat of the word which are the deeper truths of the scripture and include prophecy and prophetic interpretation of scripture and warnings about false prophets and warnings about not falling away.  There is a possibility that Jesus will have the Philadelphia Christians actually feed the Main Harvest Christians at their churches with barley bread and fish during the teaching sessions.  A Lord's Supper will also be held at each church.

Being filled with the scripture happens each day in the church from Resurrection Sunday until Pentecost.  Jesus also blesses the bread and the fish, hence all will have a full  understanding of the scripture, their knowledge deeply enhanced by the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Thus, the Main Harvest Christians will be filled with the word of God and be prepared to serve Jesus during the first half of the Tribulation.  Because they  will have seen the glorified Savior, Jesus, they will be very open and teachable. 

The twelve baskets of fragments of bread and fish will be the gospel message that Main Harvest Christians will somehow give to the 144,000 faithful Israelite virgins that Jesus will call at mid-Tribulation (Revelation,  chapter 7).   Those gentiles that God saves during the first half of the Tribulation will also receive some kind of instruction from Main Harvest Christians.  The Israelites and the gentiles will also observe the faith of Main Harvest Christians and they will see that most will be very faithful to God, even when persecuted by Antichrist.

The First will be Last and the Last will be First

(Mat 20:16 KJV)  So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.  

This verse is included in the parable The Parable of the Laborers and it teaches two important truths. The first is that those who are least important in the Church on the earth will be raptured in the Firstfruits, and those who are most important will be raptured in the Main Harvest Rapture, at the middle of the Tribulation.  These will include  most of the pastors, deacons, teachers and other church leaders.

This verse also teaches that many of those who held the most important positions of leadership and honor in the Church on the earth will hold the least positions in the kingdom of heaven, and vice versa. Many Christians who are virtually unknown in the Church on the earth will hold the most important positions in the heavenly kingdom.

The Parable of the Talents

Jesus will have the Philadelphia Christians explain the Parable of the Talents.  Briefly, all Christians left behind will be given resources, talents and abilities to accomplish righteous works for God during the Tribulation.  The pastors, deacons and teachers will be given five talents each and will be expected to lead the church members during the Tribulation.  They will be continuing the messages all will hear between Resurrection Sunday and Pentecost. The Christian that currently attends church regularly will be given two talents and be expected to obey the church leadership during the Tribulation.  The Christian given one talent rarely attends church and will be afraid of persecution and will not obey the church leadership during the Tribulation.  Bible Study and prayer times will be avoided by this unfaithful Christian.

Most (2/3) will be very faithful and be praised at the judgment of their works and 1/3 will not.  Again, this latter group of Christians will be fearful when they see the persecution that Christians will receive at the hands of Antichrist and will accomplish no good works for Christ.  Since they will have been warned during their training that some would not be faithful, their evaluation at the Judgment Seat of Christ will be most severe.  They will have no excuse for their failure to be faithful during the first half of the Tribulation.  Because of their lack of Bible knowledge, the one talent Christians will be taken by surprise when Jesus returns at mid Tribulation for the Main Harvest Rapture.  The  faithful 2/3 will be watching and praying for Jesus to return.

Dating the First Fruits Rapture: the Birth Pangs just before the Tribulation

We cannot predict an exact date for the First Fruits Rapture, but we can determine a general time when it will transpire.   Jesus tells us the events to expect before the First Fruits Rapture:

Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man lead you astray.
Matthew 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ; and shall lead many astray.
Matthew 24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled: for [these things] must needs come to pass; but the end is not yet.
Matthew 24:7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and earthquakes in divers places.
Matthew 24:8 But all these things are the beginning of travail. (ASV 1901)

The 20th and 21st Centuries have fulfilled all of these signs with World War One and World War Two, the Korean war, the Vietnam war, the two Gulf wars and many other smaller conflicts.  There have been false messiahs appear and seem to be from God at first, but they later turn out to have evil agendas, such as Jim Jones in the Guyana tragedy of 1978.  There have been many earthquakes across the planet.  The huge 9 plus earthquakes in Alaska and Chile in the 1960's, several earthquakes in southern California and San Francisco; the Mt St Helens eruption in 1980 and several other volcanic eruptions across the world.  There have been many droughts and famines in Africa and China.  Countries such as Haiti have been devistated by both earthquakes and famine.  The great Tsunami of 2004 killed many people in southeast Asia and India and the 9.0 earthquake and Tsunami of 2011 killed many people and destroyed a great deal of infrastructure of eastern Japan.

The great series of tornadoes across Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama that happened in April 2011 and the hundreds of people that were killed and the enormous destruction of property shows that the First Fruits Rapture cannot be very far away into the future.  We can most probably expect that more terrible events will soon occur across North and South America, Africa, Europe, India, China, Australia and even in the polar regions.  I expect that we may soon see amazing events happen in the heavens including comets, meteor showers and even supernovas (exploding stars).  Finally, the Japanese earthquake and Tsunami that happened in 2011 may reoccur and if  another large earthquake and Tsunami strikes further south in  the Tokyo area it may take down the economy of Japan and later the economies of the rest of the world.  Suppose also that many monster hurricanes slam into the USA, China, and other parts of the world.  If large hurricanes would hit Miami, Washington, Philadelphia, New York and Boston at the same time and if a series of large hurricanes would hit the west coast, the economy of the USA would crash and anarchy would probably reign.

If droughts and floods continue to strike the USA, the wheat, soy and corn production may suffer drastically.  The could cause severe food shortages across the world and potentially cause wars to be fought over dwindling food supplies.  The same can be said for those regions that have dwindling fresh water supplies.  This will also cause much suffering in those parts of the world.  Following these terrible events will be disease pandemics and many people will die.

Jesus gives us another insight to the general time that the First Fruits Rapture will happen:

Mat, 24:32-34 (KJV) Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

Matthew 24:32-34 above simply says that the generation that sees Israel reestablished as a nation will still be in existence when all the prophecies about the return of Jesus have been fulfilled. Since Israel was established May 14, 1948 and man's years upon the earth are three score and ten (i.e., 70), then the beginning of the seven year tribulation must be very close. The "all these things" are the  events that lead up to and include the seven year Tribulation.  The "summer" is the time of the seven year Tribulation and the "heat" of the summer is the uncomfortable and even painful events that will happen during the Tribulation.   A generation should be understood as about seventy years.  Thus we have a general time period for the events leading up to and including the seven year Tribulation to complete.  A possibility for the end of the Tribulation could be in the 2018-2019-2020 era.   God is never late on the events that He plans, but seldom is He early either.  The end-times events He has determined will happen on exactly the day, hour and second He has planned for them to occur.

Verse 35-36 as follows is a special emphasis on the certainty of these prophecies coming to pass.  

(Mat 24:35-36 KJV)  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. {36} But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

We must be cautious when trying to specify a specific date for the First Fruits Rapture.  But we must be watching for that day and Jesus warns us:

(Luke 21:34 KJV)  And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.  


(Mark 13:33 KJV) Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. 

As the day approaches and if we understand the prophetic events that Jesus gives us in the Holy Scripture, we will not be surprised when Jesus initiates the First Fruits Rapture, just before the start of the Tribulation.  Jesus knows His most faithful believers, because they will be watching and beckoning for His return: He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. (Rev 22:20 KJV)

The 10% taken in the First Fruits Rapture

Leviticus 27:30, "A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD."  For the Feast of the Day of First Fruits, an offering of two loaves of bread baked with leaven is offered to The Lord.  There are two loaves baked with fine flour that came from the sheaves of grain that mature early; the grain is most likely barley. 

The two loaves of bread represent four types of faithful Christians: the Jew and the Gentile, male and female, the Bride of Christ and her Court and the most faithful believers of today and of the 2,000 year Church age.  Being holy is the criteria; it means to be separate from the world and to be living a faithful life for Christ.  Yes, these two loaves initially have leaven in them, but  when baked in the fire, they have been made into something that is presentable to The Lord.  So the lives of faithful Christians are changed from being sinful (this is the leaven) to being acceptable to God.  The fire used to bake the loaves is the testing of their character and their response is to avoid evil and to accomplish good works for God.

The Day of First Fruits is celebrated fifty days after the Feast of First Fruits.  For Christians, this is Pentecost, the day of the First Fruits Rapture.  A detailed prophetic interpretation of the Seven Feasts is given in the article The Seven Feasts.

Questions and Answers

Q.  What happens to the children of the Philadelphia Christians at the First Fruits Rapture?

Any Philadelphia Christians that have children will be teaching them the truth  found in the Holy Bible and leading them to follow Jesus in their daily walk.  This is my opinion, but I believe that their children that are under the age of accountability will also be taken to Heaven.  The grown children of Philadelphia Christians will also be taken to Heaven in the First Fruits Rapture if they are found faithful by Jesus.  If they are not faithful, they will be left behind to be tested during the first half of the Tribulation.

Q.  What will  Philadelphia Christians be doing during the last days of the Church Age?

They will be studying the Holy Bible in-depth and obeying the commandments from Jesus.  They will be meeting regularly to encourage each other to be faithful because these are the very last days of the Church Age:

Hebrews 10:23-25 ASV 1901.  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope that it waver not; for he is faithful that promised: 10:24 and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works; 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting [one another]; and so much the more, as ye see the day drawing nigh.

The "day drawing nigh" is the First Fruits Rapture that we are so looking forward to.  This is the "watching" that Jesus commands us to observe in Matthew 24:42 where Jesus warns us: Watch therefore: for ye know not on what day your Lord cometh.  Because they will be reading the prophetic scripture, Philadelphia Christians will know the events of the last days and will be observing these events as they happen and are broadcast in the news media and over the Internet.

Because there will be so many temptations to fall away in the last days of the Church Age, even by Philadelphia Christians, Jesus warns us in:

Revelation 3:11 (ASV 1901) I come quickly: hold fast that which thou hast, that no one take thy crown.

It is my prayer that if you are a Philadelphia Christian, that you will not waver in your faith and continue to be serving Jesus and watching for His return for the First Fruits Rapture.  There may be some Philadelphia Christians that will fall away in these last days of the Church Age, otherwise, Jesus would not be warning us of this possibility.  If this happens, they will be left behind to endure the trials of the first half of The Tribulation.  This is  one of the reasons that God inspired Paul to write the Book of Hebrews and especially verses 10:23-25.  One of the major reasons that  will prevent a Philadelphia Christian from falling  away is to now be obeying these verses.

Q.  What is the difference between an unfaithful Christian and a member of the Church of Philadelphia?

For the churches of Sardis (Protestant), Thyatira (Catholic) and Laodicea (mega church, TV church) Jesus observes that their good works are lacking as well as their doctrine (Rev. chapters 2 and 3).  For the Church of Philadelphia Jesus observes: I know thy works (behold, I have set before thee a door opened, which none can shut), that thou hast a little power, and didst keep my word, and didst not deny my name. (Rev 3:8 ASV 1901).  The Philadelphia Christians read and obey the Holy Bible and do not deny the power of Jesus' name.  Jesus' name is representative of His power and authority.  So Philadelphia Christians are constantly working in the power of the Holy Spirit and not in their own power.  The "little power" Jesus is talking about is the influence that Philadelphia has on the less faithful Christians in the world.  Only a few  Main Harvest Christians are listening to the warnings that Philadelphia Christians are giving.  Only a small percentage of Christians across the world are even interested in prophecy and the return of Jesus Christ and few are reading the warnings given in the holy scripture.

Q.  Since half of the virgins are wise,  does this mean that half of today's Christians will be taken to Heaven in the First Fruits Rapture?

No, the five wise virgins are the most faithful of God's saints for the entire 2,000 year Church Age.  I believe that there are relatively few Philadelphia Christians of today.  Most of the Philadelphia Christians at the First Fruits Rapture will be from the Philadelphia Church Age which lasted from 1750-1900. 

Q.  Works are not important are they?  Didn't Isaiah in verse 64:6 say that our works were as filthy rags to God?

The verse is: (Isaiah 64:6 KJV) But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.  If our good works are done for our own personal glory, then yes, our works are as filthy rags in the sight of God. 

However, note the following verse: (Eph 2:10 NIV) For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Paul says that good works accomplished through us by the power of the Holy Spirit are expected.  These works are done for the glory of God and not for our glory.

Q.  Even Jesus doesn't know the time of His second coming, so I don't need to even think about it do I?

The verse is: (Matt 24:36) But of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only.  No one but God  the Father knows when Jesus will return, but later in Matthew 24:42 Jesus warns us: Watch therefore: for ye know not on what day your Lord cometh.  We don't know the day or hour, but we should be watching the headlines for events that match the prophecy that we study in the Holy Bible.  Then when Jesus appears for the First Fruits Rapture, we will not be surprised if we are watching.  If Jesus commands us to watch for His return, shouldn't we obey Him? 

Q.  Isn't the main mission of a Christian to get the lost saved?

This is a very important work that a Christian should accomplish if called by God to this mission.  If God decides to save a person (Doctrine of Election), He will empower one or more of His saints to reach this person with the words needed to instill faith. (Rom 10:17 KJV So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

If you read the gospels, the epistles of Paul and others, you should understand that a major work that we can accomplish is to disciple the saints that God has elected for salvation.  In our opinion the main mission that we all have is to first discipline ourselves by in-depth study of the holy scripture and obeying it through the power of the Holy Spirit.  We should  then help disciple other Christians which includes supporting them when they fail in God's service, prayer for each other and in-depth Bible study and discussion.  Jesus gives us the following command in The Great Commission

(Mat 28:18-20 KJV)  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. {19} Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: {20} Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 

Will You Watch?

The Midnight cry "The Bridegroom cometh" has not yet sounded and there is still a small amount of time for you to be watching for and beckoning for Christ's return and to begin a serious study of the Holy Bible and then to live a righteous life for Jesus.  If you do, you will become a member of the Church of Philadelphia and be invited through the Open Door into Heaven at the First Fruits Rapture.  Here are some suggestions for becoming a faithful disciple of Jesus: How to Crucify Self.