Sherry Vance (9 Nov 2011)
"Reply to Randy (8 Nov 2011) - This much we KNOW for SURE....."

I agree, Randy, that "no signs of the times specifically relate to the time of the rapture...", and that's because the truth is, if the rapture never happened, it would make NO DIFFERENCE to God's Plan to bring about the fulfillment of Daniel 9:25 > " finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to annoint the most Holy.
In other words, to quote a 'modern' version for those that embrace the "multicultural, world-citizen community" that eschews and shuns the old-fashioned traditional translation, the cosmopolitan comprehension of Daniel 9:25 reads:  " throttle rebellion, stop sin, wipe out crime, set things right forever, confirm what the prophet saw, and annoint The Holy of Holies." point being > God is going to fulfill this even if there was no rapture !  So then, what is the rapture FOR (besides the "escape" we long for?)
1)  The Rapture is for the fulfillment of God's promise to keep us from wrath.  We are all familiar with I Thessalonians 1:10 > " wait for His Son from Heaven, whom He raised from the dead, (even) Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come."...which we understand to mean as the wrath in the tribulation that will come upon the world.  But further in I Thessalonians (5:9) we see another application to keep us from wrath: "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ."  This isn't just the wrath of the coming tribulation.  The definition of God's wrath is eternal separation from Him.  This "wrath" (eternal separation from God) will never fall upon the Believer because God sent His Son by Whom we may obtain salvation through Him.
So this is a two-fold blessing > As believers, we are not appointed to ever suffer 'God's wrath', aka separation from God; AND, it has already been determined that "we who wait for His Son from Heaven" (risen and coming again) will be delivered from the wrath that is to come upon the world (via the Rapture!)    
2) The Resurrection and Rapture is for the fulfillment, the ESTABLISHMENT, of Salvation and Eternal Life through our Redeemer/Savior Jesus Christ.  The moment we believe, we HAVE salvation of our spirits. "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." (2 Corinth. 5:8) 
But the ESTABLISHMENT (reality) of that salvation and eternal life will be found in the restoration of dead bodies and the changing of living bodies......from corruption to incorruption, from mortal to's the re-generation by permanent enactment of God's promised provision for us.....both the Old Testament Righteous and the Church, (dead-in-Christ and living believers.)
3)  The Rapture is also a "reward" in the sense of something given or received in recompense for worthy behavior.  Regardless of whatever sin we may be found in at the time of the rapture, regardless of how carnal or worldly a believer has become, regardless of past sins, active sins, sins of commission AND omission, at the Bema Judgment we will face a review of the deeds we've done in our bodies, as well as the intentions of our hearts: And the consequences of the review of our lives will result in >  "If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." (I Corinth.3:15) 
4)  The Rapture is also the reason that it will no longer be necessary for Jesus to remain in His Office of Advocacy.....where right now He represents us as High Priest/Advocate before the Father, defending our position IN HIM, BELONGING to Him, covered by His Blood.  An Advocate/defender is needed only when there is an Accuser and since Satan is still before the throne, accusing us day and night, Jesus is the only One worthy to represent us for HE paid the price as our Redeemer.  He will remain in that Office of Advocacy UNTIL there is no longer an Accuser!  We know that the Accuser/Satan will soon be battling Michael and his angels in an effort to remain in Heaven, but will ultimately be cast out (permanently) to the Earth.  When this happens, and there is no longer an Accuser, the Office of Advocacy is no longer necessary!  And then: "....the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 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." (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
Numbers 1 through 4 are for "us."  But ultimately number 5 is for the world.  It will be a SIGN unto the world of the causal relation to the disappearance of those known to be Christians! 
5)  The Rapture itself will be a SIGN for those who will be left behind on Earth during the great tribulation.  Just as you said, Randy, "..there are SIGNS relating to God's overall prophetic plan, specifically to His preparation of the world for the time of the tribulation which will start after the rapture." will the rapture itself be a sign unto those who will come to believe after the rapture! 
The foolish virgins (of Matthew 25) whose 'vessels' (souls) were not filled with 'oil' (the Holy Spirit) were not prepared for the coming of the Bridegroom but were told to go "buy" oil for themselves.....this is a picture of those left behind whom Jesus called on (in Revelation 3:18) "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed,..."  Even now, He's already warned the unbelievers......who are playing Church, who think they are saved because of church or family affiliations, who do not really know Jesus, who have a head knowledge of Him but not a heart knowledge/faith & trust relationship with Him, who are not filled/indwelt with the Holy Spirit Who is given at the moment of salvation.......that when they realize they have been 'left behind' they should COME TO "buy of HIM" that precious "oil" which is richer than gold (The Holy Spirit)!  
But why use the word "buy?"  It is used because of the understanding that those who come to faith in Him after the Rapture will PAY FOR IT WITH THEIR LIVES.....THEY WILL LOSE THEIR (mortal) LIFE IN ORDER TO GAIN (eternal) LIFE.....through Him.  The Rapture, as a SIGN unto those left behind, will be a beacon of light to:
    1)  those who fooled around or procrastinated too long to make a decision for Christ.....(John 3:16)
    2)  to those who resisted loved ones who tried for years to witness to them....(Jude 1:23)
    3)  to those who were doubters.....(John, 20:25)
    4)  to those who were sincere, but sincerely wrong, in understanding their works alone would not save them.....(Ephesians 2:8)
    5)  to those who thought their family status or church affiliation was enough.....(Acts 2:40-41)
    6)  to those who thought their "good" would "outweigh" the bad.....(Romans 3:10) 
    7)  to those who were "sanctified by their spouse"....(which does not mean that the unbelieving spouse is automatically saved, but does mean that they are treated by God as belonging to the believing spouse, falling under that spouse's "umbrella" of blessing and protection, and thus having the benefit to more easily believe.).....(1 Corinthians 7:14) 
    8)  to those who realize their child or children are "missing", even ones too young or unaccountable to profess Jesus as Savior are "gone"....(I Corinth. 7:14)
THESE people who suddenly wake up to the blessed sign of the Rapture and to the reality of what just happened when the Rapture occurred, will then have the choice to go buy of Him finally believe......but they will pay to become rich in eternal life, they will pay to be clothed in white raiment by becoming tribulation martyrs in their testimony for Christ....."He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."
(Matthew 10:39...Matthew 16:25....Mark 8:35....Luke 9:24....Luke 17:33...John 12:25)
But for those who have no love of the truth, and no desire to be saved, and who take pleasure in unrighteousness, God will withdraw all restraint, and allow men to believe what is false, to follow their own nature, and to manifest their own deceit.  God will permit a strong delusion to occupy their minds; so that they believe a lie rather than the truth.  They will be ready to receive the false Messiah, the Antichrist, while they virulently reject the True One. That is what is meant by "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:" (2 Thess. 2:11) 
Yes, Randy, the birth pangs/beginning of sorrows we are witnessing even now as signs approaching the great tribulation, mark even closer the "sign-less event" of the rapture.  And the Rapture itself will be a great SIGN unto those left behind!   But there is much more information given to us than just realizing the great tribulation is close so the Rapture is even closer.   In the timeline seen in The Three Weeks of Jacob's Trouble and it's relation to the final 70th Week, we can gain even more confidence in  WHEN to expect the "sign-less rapture" for it is not really sign-less when we follow the timeline in the analogy of Jacob's Trouble and his deliverance at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, as well as understanding that the KEY of when the Resurrection/Rapture takes place is found in the Advocacy of Christ and when and why that Office is to be terminated.
Yes, I agree with you that the clock is ticking....TICK TOCK.  There is approximately 5 months to go!  The Rapture won't be any sooner than very early spring because the appointed time for Satan to be cast out of Heaven is in the midst of the 70th Week...which is when there will no longer be an Accuser and Jesus can come for us.
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Until.....Sherry Vance~