In this post on "The Biblical Theme of the Bride" we are going to be looking at the next phase in this process embedded in the surface text of the Bible. This topic is about Christ Jesus coming back for His Bride as a thief. I would recommend to the reader, Mark Biltz's DVD series on the "Feasts of the Lord". The DVD set is $29.95, but it has been posted on the Internet at various locations for free viewing. I have a couple sets I use to teach the Feasts of the Lord found in Leviticus 23. At the close of "The Biblical Theme of the Bride" I will do a post on the Feast of Trumpets, and I will try to locate and post a link to Mark Biltz's segment on the Feast of Trumpets, the first of the fall feasts. This is important because Jesus Christ fulfilled the spring feasts precisely to the day, the hour, and the minute of their physical fulfillment. That is so so significant!
I tried to post the complete study here as a collective work but am unable to do so in a single post date. I am exhausted from two weeks of meetings, and then trying to post the entire study on "The Biblical Theme of The Bride".
Judge 19-21 provides us a dramatic conclusion to the book of Judges, and the theft of women, two mass kidnappings, where the women are simply "taken", to become Brides for the Tribe of Benjamin. They provide us another aspect of the "Pre-Tribulation" Rapture of the Bride or the Church.
Judges 21:1 - "Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpeh, saying, There shall not any of us give his daughter unto Benjamin to wife."
Judges 21:2 - "And the people came to the house of God, and abode there till even before God, and lifted up their voices, and wept sore;"
Judges 21:3 - "And said, O LORD God of Israel, why is this come to pass in Israel, that there should be to day one tribe lacking in Israel?"
Judges 21:4 - "And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people rose early, and built there an altar, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings."
Judges 21:5 - "And the children of Israel said, Who is there among all the tribes of Israel that came not up with the congregation unto the LORD? For they had made a great oath concerning him that came not up to the congregation unto the LORD to Mizpeh, saying, He shall surely be put to death."
Judges 21:6 - "And the children of Israel repented them for Benjamin their brother, and said, There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day."
Judges 21:7 - "How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing we have sworn by the LORD that we will not give them of our daughters to wives?"
Judges 21:8 - "And they said, What one is there of the tribes of Israel that came not up to Mizpeh to the LORD? And, behold, there came none to the camp from Jabeshgilead to the assembly."
Judges 21:9 - "For the people were numbered, and, behold, there were none of the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead there."
Judges 21:10 - "And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children."
Judges 21:11 - "And this is the thing that ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that that lain by man."
Judges 21:12 - "And they found among the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male: and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan."
Judges 21:13 - "And the whole congregation sent some to speak to the children of Benjamin that were in the rock Rimmon, and to call peaceably unto them."
Judges 21:14 - "And Benjamin came again at that time, and they gave them wives which they had saved alive of the women of Jabeshgilead: and yet so they sufficed them not."
Judges 21:15 - "And the people repented them for Benjamin, because that the LORD had made a breach in the tribes of Israel."
Judges 21:16 - "Then the elders of the congregation said, How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?"
Judges 21:17 - "And they said, There must be an inheritance for them that he escaped of Benjamin, that a tribe be not destroyed out of Israel."
Judges 21:18 - "Howbeit we may not give them wives of our daughters: for the children of Israel have sworn, saying, Cursed be he that giveth a wife to Benjamin."
Judges 21:19 - "Then they said, Behold, there is a feast of the LORD in Shiloh yearly in a place which is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah."
Judges 21:20 - "Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, sayng, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards;"
Judges 21:21 - "And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin."
Judges 21:22 - "And it shall be, when their fathers or their brethren come unto us to complain, that we will say unto them, Be favorable unto them for our sakes: because we reserved not to each man his wife in the war: for ye did not give unto them at this time, that ye should be guilty."
Judges 21:23 - "And the children of Benjamin did so, and took ["nasa"] them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught ["gazal"]: and they went and returned unto their inheritance, and repaired the cities, and dwelt in them."
Judges 21:24 - "And the children of Israel departed thence at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family, and they went out from thence every man to his inheritance."
Judges 21:25 - "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes."
The definition of both words in verse 23, mean to take by force, thus, the men all stole their wives (verses 12, 21, 23), as thieves lying in wait, but so that their tribe might have life and not be "cut off" and not be "destroyed" as a people, in verses 6 and 17.
We know that the Lord Christ Jesus returns for His Bride as a thief, and for the same purpose, not to destroy, but to give life.
John 10:10 - "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
The parallel is very compelling. Consider the details of the story in Judges 21:
1. All the women taken were celebrating a Feast of the Lord at the tine.
2. It's a massive seizing of an entire people who were carried away.
3. The purpose is to bring life to a dying people.
4. Every man has his inheritance as a reward afterwards, as at the judgment.
5. "Every man did that which was right in his own eyes" ... as today, we are personally responsible for our actions, Romans 14:10 - "But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ."
The very next book after Judges is Ruth, which also contains a wedding story which is applicable to the topic at hand, Boaz representing Christ, as the "kinsman redeemer".
The next book of the Bible is 1 Samuel. This book starts out talking about an annual journey to Shiloh in chapter 1. Also, it is a birth story, which, traditionally is read during the Feast of Trumpets.
Another mention of an annual journey is the Feast of Tabernacles, which encompasses all the fall feasts, including the Feast of Trumpets. This is mentioned near the end of Zechariah 14.
The third circumstantial reason for believing that the Shiloh dance is at the Feast of Trumpets is that both are a feast of joy.
If this Bridal abduction in Judges takes place at the Feast of Trumpets, it would be most appropriate, for several reasons. First, the Feast of Trumpets is also known as "the Wedding of the Messiah". Second, the Feast of Trumpets paints the picture of the Rapture. However, it is uncertain that the Shiloh feast is the Feast of Trumpets.
Various Jewish sources confirm it is, but not all confirm that fact.
There is another Old Testament verse which is also very shocking, yet supports and does not condemn the mass "virgin abduction" of Judges 21. It is the law as set forth in Deuteronomy 22.
Deuteronomy 22:25 - "But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die."
Deuteronomy 22:26 - "But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbor, and slayeth him, even so is this matter:"
Deuteronomy 22:27 - "For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her."
Deuteronomy 22:28 - "If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;"
Deuteronomy 22:29 - "Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days."
Exodus 22:15 - "But if the owner thereof be with it, he shall not make it good: if it be an hired thing, it came for his hire."
Exodus 22:16 - "And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife."
Exodus 22:17 - "If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins."
So the penalty for taking (rape or seduction) a virgin in the Old Testament is not death, but a fine, and a marriage which can never end in divorce.
The fine, of course, represents the Bride price. Jesus' price was His life, which was sold also for shekels of silver, 30 not 50. The ratio of 3:5 is found in measurements of both Noah's ark and the Ark of the Covenant, both of which are pictures of heaven.
The "no divorce" provision "he may not put her away all his days", would represent the fact that at the Rapture, the change is to immortality and incorruption.
1st Corinthians 15:51 - "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,"
1st Corinthians 15:52 - "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
1st Corinthians 15:53 - "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."
1st Corinthians 15:54 - "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."
I am NOT saying that our Lord is a rapist, nor is He a thief. Not at all. These are merely parallels and parables of similarity to the Rapture to demonstrate or illustrate that at the Rapture Christians will be taken. Furthermore, the strength of the comparison can hardly be ignored, and it further elucidates that, indeed, Christ Jesus will come for His Bride as a thief to take here away at the Rapture. The definition given for the word "harpazo" literally means to be snatched out with force. I listed every verse where the word "harpazo" is found in the beginning of this series.
It sounds a lot like rape. As I noted, "harpazo" does have a violent or sudden connotation. Interestingly enough, the word rape and rapture are from the same Latin root word, "rapere", and means nearly identical things in "harpazo", the word from which we get the word "rapture". Remember, "harpazo" is Greek, "Rapere" is Latin, "Rape" and "Rapture" are English, and Deuteronomy was written in Hebrew.
In the beginning of this series, I noted all the different uses of the word "harpazo" so there is no need to retrace those details. There are several other words for Rapture, that carry this "rapture/taken" theme, and are also translated as "taken" and contain the same meaning as 1st Thessalonians 4:17.
1st Thessalonians 4:17 - "Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
"Paralambano" (Greek), from Matthew 24 (one taken, the other left). It is commonly used to mean "arrested", as is "harpazo".
"Laqach" (Hebrew), used of Enoch's Rapture and used in reference of taking wives.
Genesis 5:24 - "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not, for God took ["laqach"] him."
Genesis 6:2 - "That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took ["laqach"] them wives of all which they chose."
Genesis 11:29 - "And Abram and Nahor took ["laqach"] her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way."
Christ Jesus is coming back as at a wedding, and the phrase "I come as a thief" fits the wedding, and the story from Judges, and the Law in Deuteronomy.
The notion of this phrase "I come as a thief" is meant for the "sloppy agape" Christians. Those that are watching will not be taken by surprise. If we watch, we will not be surprised by Christ Jesus' coming as a thief, and if we watch, we will know in what hour/watch the thief/Jesus will come. That point is well noted in Mark Biltz DVD series on the "Feasts of the Bride".
Matthew 24:43 - "But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up."
Luke 12:39 - "And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through."
The "Day of the Lord" begins with Christ Jesus returning as a thief, to catch His Bride. Following this, sudden destruction falls on unbelievers, as in the Gog/Magog War which is the false Armageddon leading to the revealing of the Antichrist's coming with peace. Once again, we are not in darkness, so the day of our being stolen away by Christ Jesus (Raptured) should not surprise us.
1st Thessalonians 5:2 - "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thif in the night."
1st Thessalonians 5:3 - "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."
1st Thessalonians 5:4 - "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief."
Again, the "Day of the Lord" begins with Christ Jesus coming as a thief, with the Rapture. At the Rapture, we and our works are tried by fire at the Bema Judgment of works. See 1st Corinthians 3.
2nd Peter 3:10 - "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."
Again, if we watch, we will know what hour Christ Jesus will come. We know the season is the Feast of Trumpets based upon the evidence already known to us. We simply do not know the specific year, or the day, or the moment. We can only approximate these details along with the Jewish calendar and time zone. While the Torah Calendar web site tells us that the Feast of Trumpets in 2014 will occur on September 25/26th, we can only guesstimate beyond that fact. Since I live in the Eastern Time Zone, I always factor in Daylight Savings Time, which Israel is also on. When it is midnight in Jerusalem, it is precisely 5 PM in the Eastern Time Zone in the USA. Since God does not operate on Daylight Savings Time, we still do not know just as the Bible says. All of this precludes the possibility of making any prediction, other than to predict the season. In this case "season" does not refer to our understanding of seasons. In Leviticus 23, "season" is translated as "moed" and it means an appointed time. All the Feasts of the Lord are appointed times.
Revelation 3:3 - "Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee."
Finally, this last verse in Revelation 16:15 is spoken during a description of Armageddon. This is a beautiful reminder that Christ Jesus is coming prior to the time when He comes to kill and destroy. Remember John 10:10.
John 10:10 - "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
Revelation 16:15 - "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame."
Finally, this description and reiteration of this Rapture message, in conjunction with Armageddon in Revelation 16, is a reminder of the description of the false Armageddon of the Gog/Magog War in Ezekiel 38 and 39, which precedes Armageddon at the end of the "seven year" Tribulation.
There is another Old Testament example of where women were TAKEN as wives. This was for the Kings of Israel. It was prophesied beforehand, and fulfilled in practice. Jesus, of course is the King of Kings, who sits on the throne of David, and there were many wives for the king, few in number out of the whole kingdom.
1st Samuel 8:11 - "And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you. He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen, and some shall run before his chariots."
1st Samuel 8:12 - "And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear to the ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots."
1st Samuel 8:13 - "And he will take ["laqach"] your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers."
1st Samuel 8:14 - "And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your olive yards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants."
1st Samuel 8:15 - "And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants."
1st Samuel 8:16 - "And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work."
2nd Samuel 5:13 - "And David took ["laqach"] him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he was come from Hebron: and there were yet sons and daughters born to David."
1st Kings 1:1 - "Now David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he gat no heat."
1st Kings 1:2 - "Wherefore his servants said unto him, Let there be sought for my lord the king a young virgin: and let her stand before the king, and let her cherish him, and let her lie in thy bosom, that my lord the king may get heat."
1st Kings 1:3 - "So they sought for a fair damsel throughout all the coasts of Israel, and found Abishag a Shunammite, and brought her to the king."
1st Kings 1:4 - "And the damsel was very fair, and cherished the king, and ministered to him: but the king knew her not."
1st Kings 11:3 - "And he [Solomon] had seven hundred wives, princes, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart."
In the next installment of "The Biblical Theme of The Bride" we will be looking at the Bridegroom and Bride going through the door, crossing the threshold into their new home.
As a closing thought, only a Pre-Tribulation Rapture can reconcile [fit the scenario evidence] all the various Biblical events, facts, details, found collectively in the Bible. There are dozens of facts, events, and details that cannot fit neatly into the other rapture views. They either do not fit or are inconsistent with the time frame used by those wanting us to believe their viewpoint. Like a police detective, putting together a case in a crime scene scenario, many pieces of the larger puzzle are essential to building a rock-solid case. Unless all the pieces of evidence come together the case is open to judicial and reasonable doubt.