I wish to comment on another of your scriptures:
"The premise that the Sixth Seal and the "gathering together of the elect" occur at the beginning of the 70th week violates Matt 24:29-31, Mark 13:24-27, and 2 Thess 2:1-4."
Let's take a very close look at 2 Thes. 2
Now, most people just read over this and think Paul is saying that "that day," that is the day of the gathering, will not come until AFTER the man of sin is revealed. But is that really Paul's intent? I don't think so! First, it would totally disagree with what Paul wrote in his first letter. There, as we saw, he showed us that HIS rapture would come an instant before the sudden destruction of the start of the day of the lord. Those in darkness would get the sudden destruction, while believers would get caught up in the rapture and MISS the sudden destruction - because God has set no appointment for us. So where in Revelation is the start of the day of the Lord? We can read it at the end of Rev. 6.
Now, WHERE is the revealing of the Beast in Revelation? In fact, where is he first mentioned? Not until chapter 13!!!! So what Paul is speaking about in 1 Thes. 4 & 5, is 7 chapters (13-6) before the Beast is mentioned! Does this SOUND like the rapture would be AFTER the beast is revealed? No, it most certainly does not!
What has to happen BEFORE the Beast can be revealed? Paul tells us:
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: (verses 7 & 8)
Again, this could not be any clearer: there is SOMETHING or SOMEONE restraining this revealing, or holding it back. And this restrainer must be removed so the man of sin can be revealed "in his time."
WHEN is his time? Rev 13 tells us he will have authority for 42 months. Therefore, his time will being VERY CLOSE to the exact midpoint of the week, and go to the end of the week.
Now, read this part of this verse very closely:
So readers, you tell me: has the revealing happened here or has it not? I say he HAS been revealed here. Here is that part of the verse in the Amplified:
So according to verse 6 and verses 7 & 8, what MUST have happened before this last half of verse takes place? Of course, the one doing the restraining MUST HAVE BEEN taken out of the way! It can be no other way, for at this moment in time, the man of sin IS REVEALED. So the restrainer must have been REMOVED. Now look at verse 6 again:
Notice the first three words: "an NOW YE KNOW..." Why would Paul have written these three words? WHY would they now know? Paul is telling them that NOW they know WHO THE RESTRAINER is!!! Now, why would Paul write these words? ONLY because he had just TOLD THEM who the restrainer was, but told them in some hidden manner so that he had to give a CLUE for them to back up and search! The clue is, "and now you know..."
So if we back up, what shall we look for? Or course, for something or someone "taken out of the way."
Anything taken out of the way or removed or departed or gone here?
Anything taken out of the way or removed or departed or gone hereAnything taken out of the way or removed or departed or gone here?
Now this makes perfect agreement with verse 6 and with verse 7 & 8 that tell us that whoever or whatever is restraining must be "taken out of the way," BEFORE the man of sin is revealed. And since he IS REVEALED in verse 3 part B, then what was restaining MUST HAVE BEEN removed, departed, or taken out of the way in verse 3 part A. Sadly, when some of the first translators translated this as a falling away, all the rest have followed. It is a poor translation, that does not FIT the context. Apostasia CAN mean a departure, and that is why the Geneva bible translated it that way.
So in reality, Paul in 2 thes. 2 is in TOTAL agreement with Paul in 1 thes. 4 & 5. And both of these are in total agreement with Revelation. The rapture is the FIRST event of the 6th seal, and John saw the church in heaven shortly thereafter.
This is why Luke wrote that we can escape all these things. It is why Paul wrote that " That is exactly what Paul shows us in 1 Thes. 5. We get "salvation" (saved) and get to live together with Him!" This is why Paul wrote, "