Bruce Baber (12 Apr 2011)
"To Raul D"

 


I must say that I read your posts on the Five Dove website and find them well thought out and enlightening.  I am somewhat sporatic in my own posts as I always want to make sure I have something worthwhile to add. 

 

Like you, I am certainly expecting to hear the call to go home this spring!

 

Bruce Baber

 

P.S.  Raul, if you find that a midtrib rapture of left behind currently lukewarm Christians is a possibility worth considering, you might want to read the following study I wrote over fifteen years ago.  I updated a little bit of it at the end.  Your thoughts would be appreciated.

 

Introduction:

Parallels in the Bible

Judaic poetry was composed using parallels. Not the meter and rhyme that we are used to. Here's just one example out of the thousands that occur in our Bible. Psalm 119: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Lamp to my feet" and "light to my path" are parallel ways of saying the same thing. Now look at a familiar Bible story. In Genesis chapter 37 we are introduced to a boy named Joseph. Notice the parallels in this story with the life of Jesus.

Here’s some of the parallels between Joseph and Jesus:

Son of a wealthy, loving father/ shepherd/ each given a special coat/ taken to Egypt/ became a servant/ ministry began at thirty/ filled with the Spirit/ gave bread to the hungry/ resisted temptations/ prophesied/ falsely accused/ condemned between two prisoners/ one prisoner saved and one was not. /Joseph married just before the seven years of famine and Jesus will take His bride before the seven years of tribulation!

I could go on and on. There are over twenty parallels between them. The point is this. God speaks to us through His word in parallels. He uses parallels to teach us! There is a parallel in the scriptures that teaches us something about the end-time church!

The Two Feet of the Body of Christ

The Mystery of the End-Time Church

by Bruce Baber

The two feet of the statue in Daniel's vision symbolize the end-time empire.

The two feet of the body of Christ symbolize the end-time church!

I was in the delivery room with my wife when both of our children were born. I remember how anxious and excited I was as a proud, expectant father. Both Suzanne and I were so relieved and happy when the doctor announced, "I can see the head!" In the moments that followed, there was a body and last, those two tiny feet. Our joy was fulfilled when we saw each of our children born whole and complete into this world.

Of course, the joy we felt cannot equal God's joy with the birth of His church. After all, He had waited and planned for it for so long! Is the analogy accurate? Is the comparison of a baby's birth to the church's birth a fair comparison to make? Absolutely! The church is the Body of Christ and He is the head. The Bible states this in a number of passages quite clearly. See Ephesians 4:12 and 5:23.

Here also is what Paul wrote in I Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 12:12-26
12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its p arts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.

And further on in I Corinthians 12: 18-20 it reads:
18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

Knowing that we are part of the body of Christ, we may also find it interesting to go back and read Psalm 139. It certainly speaks about how God formed us in the womb and knew us before we were born as individuals into this world. However, when we view this Psalm in terms of the birth of the church as Christ's body, i t takes on both a very symbolic and prophetic meaning.

In fact, there are many places in the Bible that hint at what was to become the future birth of the church. But, once we begin to focus on the birth of the church and begin to think in those terms, we are left with a very obvious conclusion. If the church is born into this world like a baby, with first the head (Christ) appearing, followed in succession by the other parts of the body, then the end-time church would naturally have to be the feet.

We, the end-time church, are the feet of the Body of Christ! This fact is important. It allows us to see if God has foreshadowed any events which relate to this part of the church. Now that we know how to look for it, we find that the Bible has a great deal to tell us!

It seems staggering to me that so much has been written on the two feet of the image which appears in Nebuchadnezzar's dream which is found in the book of Daniel. Volumes and volumes! Daniel, him se lf, tells us that the feet of the statue represent the end-time empire. We know this is the revived Roman Empire. Much has been said in books, sermons, lectures and discussions about the feet of the statue. If the Bible gives us so much to go on regarding the feet of the image in the book of Daniel, isn't it possible that the Bible would give us at least as much detail about the end-time church? In fact, it gives us a great amount.

One Heel Will be Bruised

All the way back in Genesis 3:15, we find a veiled reference relating to a foot, or heel, which will be injured by Satan. Practically everyone agrees that this is a reference to the crucifixion of Christ. So do I. Jesus' feet were pierced when He was crucified. Genesis 3:15 certainly does symbolize the crucifixion event. However, it is also a veiled foreshadowing of an event which pertains to the end-time church. How do I know this? Because the Bible doesn't make mistakes. Genesis 3:15 clearly says heel (singular) . It does not say heels (plural). During the crucifixion, both of Jesus' feet were pierced. I am utterly convinced that when God was speaking in Genesis 3:15, He was at the same time making a veiled prophecy about the end-time church! Just as the statue in Daniel has two feet which represent the end-time world power, so the end-time church is represented by two feet, one of which will be bruised, or persecuted by the seed of Satan! God says that one heel will be bruised, not two. What happens to the other foot? The answer is simple. One part of the church (one foot) will have gone in the Rapture! It was the front foot.

(Note: If the seed / offspring of the serpent refers to the antichrist and the seed/ offspring of the woman refers to body of Christ which is the church, then the foot of Christ, or church left behind may be responsible for the head wound that the antichrist receives. Someone who is a member of the body of Christ that is left behind which I refer to as the second foot, may somehow deliver one or two blows to the antichrist thus wounding his head causing him to be blinded in one eye and another wound which would cause the antichrist‘s arm to wither. This attack on the antichrist would happen close to the midpoint of the tribulation and seem to kill the antichrist. However, the antichrist will rise up fully possessed by the devil).

I remember something that happened to me when I was a young boy. I was fishing with some older boys at a pond. Sunning itself beside the water's edge was a poisonous copperhead snake. I didn't see it. I stepped right on top of it. The moment it moved under my foot, I saw it and jumped. That snake was mad! It came after me. Thankfully, my friends were there to chase it away with their fishing poles. But, had that snake caught me, it would surely have bitten me on the back of my heel. I was running from it. My heel was the only place it could have struck me. When Satan chases and persecutes the end-time church, which is represented symbolically by the feet, he will surely bruise and afflict the heel of the foot which is fleeing from him. One foot of the church will be beyond his grasp. It will have departed.

Enoch and Elijah

Back to foreshadowing. If one foot of the church is taken in the Rapture, we should find it foreshadowed in the scriptures. It's there, of course. Enoch. We find him raptured way back in Genesis. He is the first one to have ever been taken away. But, he isn't the last one! There is further foreshadowing of a second Rapture. Elijah. He foreshadows the Rapture of the second foot of the persecuted end-time church. Elijah's life perfectly represents the church of the persecution during the Tribulation. At various times he had to go into hiding. He was persecuted by King Ahab and his wife Jezebel who participated in the vilest forms of idolatry. Of special interest is the fact that during a period of about three years, there was a severe drought and famine. He had to leave his country and live with a widow who miraculously supplied him with food. On another occasion, Elijah was supplied with food by ravens. Later, he was helped by an angel who provided food and water. At various times, Elijah would say he was the only believer left.

Taken together, all these instances make a dramatic parallel to the events which transpire for the Christians who have to go through the persecution. Not being able to buy or sell, they will be forced from their homes and depend on miraculous provision from God. They too may feel like they are the only true believers who are left. However, they are not alone. God will not abandon them just as he did not abandon Elijah. Moreover, the persecuted Christians will have the same source of strength that Elijah had. They will receive the Holy Spirit. Remember what the Amplified Bible calls the Holy Spirit? He is called the Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby.

The Departure and Return of the Holy Spirit

There are many who teach that when the Pre-Tribulation church goes in the (first) Rapture, the Holy Spirit departs with them. This is only partially true. The Holy Spirit does go with them. However, he does return. Just like our blessed Savior who departed, but will come again. Can this be proven? Yes! Beyond any doubt. In John 14:16, Jesus said, "I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another comforter, that He may abide with you forever." A little further on, Jesus said, "I will not leave you comfortless." I would call this teaching pretty direct. But, let's see if it fits with what we know about the end-time church being the symbolic feet of Christ. Earlier , I said that once we knew that the end-time church is symbolically represented by the feet of Christ, it would lead us to discover what God has in store. Let's find out.

On two separate occasions, Jesus' feet were anointed with a costly perfume. Luke 7:38 and John 12:3 describe two separate, but similar events. In each case, Jesus' feet were anointed with costly perfume. Read the passages and compare them for yourself. They are two separate events! One occurs in the house of a Pharisee and other event occurs in the home of Mary and Martha. Here is what John Wesley said in his commentary on Luke 7:37. "A woman - Not the same with Mary of Bethany, who anointed him six days before his last Passover. "

The perfume is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. What a perfectly harmonious analogy! The church which goes in the first Rapture has the Holy Spirit. Later, the remaining church is given the Holy Spirit! This brings me to an important point. The very reason that part of the church is left behind at the first Rapture is because they are living without the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives right now! They will be left out of the first event and have to live through a terrible persecution because they are not living for Jesus in the present. What a terrible tragedy!

I believe that for a period of time, the church of the persecution (symbolized by the second foot of Christ) will have to endure without the Holy Spirit. They will be like Jeremiah, who in Lamentations 1:16, said, "For these things I weep; my eyes flow with tears, because a comforter, one who could refresh and restore my soul, is far from me..." (Amplified Bible). But, please remember that God will not abandon this church. They will be sent the Holy Spirit. After all, it was ten days after Jesus departed this world before the Holy Spirit was sent.

The Foolish Virgins

Jesus taught a parable which is a warning about being caught without enough of the Holy Spirit at His coming to take the church into Heaven. It is known as the parable of the foolish virgins.

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there not be enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door (which opens in heaven at the Rapture) was shut (like the door of the Ark) Afterward came also the other virgins, saying Lord, Lord , open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

Christ is the bridegroom coming for His bride, the church. The oil represents the Holy Spirit. We should not be like foolish virgins and be left behind at the first trumpet call.

The Servants Who Missed the Wedding

The following scripture may be the clincher. Read Luke 12:36. The characters are not virgins waiting to be taken to a wedding. They are servants waiting for their master to return for them after he has been to the wedding!

35 "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night.

Does this mean that the first foot caught up in the rapture joins the others in Heaven to be the bride of Christ and join Him in the marriage supper? Does this mean that the second foot which is caught up later is not the bride, but is still considered His servants? These questions occur to me and I think the answer may be "yes." The book of Joel has a passage about the Holy Spirit being given to waiting servants…

Joel: 17 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. 21 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.'

Two Trumpet Calls

When the Jews were wandering in the wilderness, before entering the Promised Land, there were two trumpet calls in the morning to prepare the people to move out. The first one called the leaders of the tribes. The second one called the remainder of the people. Just as with the ancient Jews, there will be two trumpet calls for the church. Both trumpet calls are to the two coming rapture events. If you are reading this before the first Rapture, I urge you to pray for the fullness of the Holy Spirit in your life and the lives of all your loved ones. Do it now! Don't wait. Be ready when the first call is made. You do not have to endure the agony of persecution.

If you are reading this after the first call, take heart. The Holy Spirit will come. Pray for the Holy Spirit unceasingly and God will surely provide. And just like with Elijah, God will provide sustenance, food when you need it, water when you need it. It might not be a feast. It might only be as little as what a bird can bring (remember Elijah being fed by the ravens). God will never abandon you, no matter how you feel. Don't go with feelings. Go with faith! There is hope for you. He will give food, the Holy Spirit and a second call to join Him in Heaven at the second Rapture. Remember, just like feet, we mount up the stairs one foot at a time.

Jacob's Ladder

One foot at a time. That's how we climb the steps of a ladder, or go up the stairs. In Genesis 28:12, Jacob has a dream. It is one of the most familiar passages in the Bible and yet many of us have missed its significance.

"He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. " Yes. It is a ladder. In all my life, I never climbed a ladder using two feet at a time. The point is simple and well taken. The two symbolic feet of Christ's body will mount up to Heaven in two stages. There will be two Raptures.

Is this the only example we can look at? No. Look at the Song of Solomon. So many people ignore this book. I don't know why. It is one of the most beautiful books in the Bible. One of the reasons that I delight in reading it is because it gives us a wonderful insight into how God views the Bride of Christ. Please remember that the body, the church, is also the Bride of Christ and is described in those terms in a number of different

passages.

In the Song of Solomon (chapter 2, verse 10) the inspired word of God says, "My beloved speaks to me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away..." At the Rapture, God will call us to rise up! A few verses later (verse 14), the Amplified Bible says, "So I went with him, and when we were climbing the rocky steps..." There it is again! Steps. Steps which we can only climb up one foot at a time.

It would be easy at this point to digress. There is a great deal more that could be made out of the foreshadowing in the Song of Solomon. However, the point I would most like to bring out, regards the specific reference this book makes about the feet. Please notice the beautiful descriptions attributed to each part of the body. We see how God feels about each and every part. The feet are described as being beautiful (chapter 7, verse 1). God truly loves us! To Him, we are beautiful despite all our faults. Despite all we have ever done, God finds beauty in us.

Do I Have any Other Proof?

Up to this point, if you only believe there is one rapture and that it occurs before the tribulation, then how do you reconcile your belief with Genesis 18:22-33? Read this passage directly from the New International Version.

Genesis 18:23-33

23 Then Abraham approached him and said: "Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing--to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?" 26 The Lord said, "If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake." 27 Then Abraham spoke up again: "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city because of five people?" "If I find forty-five there," he said, "I will not destroy it." 29 Once again he spoke to him, "What if only forty are found there?" He said, "For the sake of forty, I w ill not do it." 30 Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?" He answered, "I will not do it if I find thirty there." 31 Abraham said, "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?" He answered, "I will not do it if I find thirty there."32 Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?" He answered, "For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it." 33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

If God won't even destroy a city such as wicked Sodom, how can you accept an unchangeable God destroying the world unless you accept that no one will get saved after the rapture of the Bride? I contend that people will get saved. They will endure persecution and death. They will be caught up to Heaven.

The story of Abraham leaving the area of Sodom would parallel the first rapture. Read the story about Lot. He is warned to leave Sodom too. But not until moments before God’s wrath is poured out on the city! This would be the parallel to a prewrath rapture which presumably occurs at the midpoint of the tribulation.

I know what you must be thinking. If there are two separate Raptures, then when will they occur? I truly don't know. I believe we are in the final days. As for the second Rapture, look at Revelation 2:10. Once again, I will quote from the Amplified Bible:

"Fear nothing that you are about to suffer. Dismiss your dread and your fears! Behold, the devil is indeed about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested and proven and critically appraised; and for ten days you will have affliction. Be loyally faithful unto death - (that is) even if you must die for it - and I will give you the crown of life."

My guess is that the second rapture occurs when the two witnesses are taken up in the book of Revelation. At the midway point of tribulation? I suppose. I can only conclude that it is far better to be a participant in the first rapture. God doesn't want us to endure the coming persecution. He gives us a way out! We just have to be ready. Remember those virgins who were waiting for the bridegroom to come? Some were ready and some foolishly were not. I urge you to pray. Pray that the Holy Spirit will come fully and completely to live in you. Be filled with His presence. Accept not only God's salvation and accept Him as Lord of your life. Do it now. Please do not wait.

Finally, let me address why I think that very few people have caught on to the Two Rapture Theory. I think it's the same reason that there was confusion in Jesus' day when people missed the fact that the Messiah would have to come twice. The prophecies would often show the first and second coming in the same context. Passages that relate to the two raptures are perceived by readers as being all about one and the same event.

Do I believe that there are two rapture events? Yes, until I am confronted with compelling evidence that would lead me to believe otherwise. In the end, what matters most is that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. May God be with you and may He give us all faith, hope, peace, humility, understanding and love.

Post Script: Draw two stick figures on a sheet of paper. The first one will represent the statue in Daniel's vision. Label the head Babylon. The arms and shoulders will be the Medes and Persians. The torso is Greece. The legs are the eastern and western Roman empire. Lastly the feet are the end-time empire. Now start labeling the second figure with Christ as the head. The arms and shoulders are Ephesus and Smyrna. The torso is Pergamos. The legs are Thyatira and Sardis. The end-time church is represented by Philadelphia and Laodicea. Many have wrongly labeled all of the end-time church as Laodicea because it is mentioned last in Revelations. However this best describes the state of the end-time church in Europe and parts of the US. The Philadelphia church is still very much alive and full of the Holy Spirit in some parts of the US, Africa and China. The end time churches are truly represented by the two feet of the body of Christ.

Post Script: I did not come up with the following, but surely believe that there is truth in it. Paul said to use the Jewish festivals as a way to view prophecy.

The first Spring harvest is the barley harvest which would represent the pretribulation rapture.

Barley is harvested by winnowing... tossing the grain up in the air to separate the grain from the husk.

The next harvest is the wheat harvest which could very well represent a prewrath rapture.

Wheat in ancient times was harvested using a tribulum (a word we get tribulation from)!

The tribulum was a board embedded with stones to bruise the kernels of wheat to separate it from the chaff.

Lastly comes the harvest of grapes. At the second coming, Christ will trod the grapes in the winepress of His wrath.

 

I found these parallels to be profoundly thought provoking. I look for the pretrib rapture in 2010, or 2011 and rejoice believing that at long last He is at the door.

 

Post Script (April 2, 2011): Since I wrote this paper, there have been a number of developments. I am almost certain that the pretribulation rapture will be in the spring of 2011. As I write this, it could be days, or weeks away.

If you are left behind: Number one…get right with Jesus and make Him the Lord of your life. Number two… get what important essentials you can and get to a farm without delay. Preferably a farm owned by a relative. Do not go anywhere near the coast. I expect bad things to happen in coastal areas. When you leave do not look back or second guess. Money will soon become worthless. Do NOT take the mark of the beast even though propaganda will tell you that it is the only way to make purchases. Most likely, it will be some sort of microchip, but I can’t know for sure. Hell awaits everyone who accepts the mark, even though their actions will seem logical. DO NOT DO IT! Food, water, batteries, gasoline…get what you can as quickly as you can. If I am right, you need to hold out for three and a half years. When your resources run out…PRAY! This is important. Depend on God to provide. This will be hard, but He wants you to trust Him.

The antichrist and his puppet (the false prophet) will seem to do miraculous things to convince people to follow them. The antichrist will even receive a mortal wound and seem to come back from the dead. The antichrist is demon possessed. DO NOT LISTEN TO HIM. Let God lead you, guide you, direct you, protect you, and provide for you. I am not saying you won’t experience suffering. Immense suffering is coming upon the whole earth. I have been praying for you. If you have faith, you will join me in paradise. I will not have died, but I will be changed. Read your Bible. Read Randy Alcorn’s book entitled “Heaven.”

For years, I have taught Sunday School and written articles on the internet. I have tried to teach the things I know. I hope it made a difference.

“All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” Roman 8:28.