Friday, April 19, 2024

Are Protestants Wrong About a Pre-Tribulation "Secret Rapture"?

by Leonard V. Johnson


God’s living word – the Holy Bible – does not teach of a pre-tribulation “secret rapture.” Anyone who continues to teach this fallacy cannot be a ‘credible person.’ Any argument in favor of it is biblically disprovable. 

Sadly, some teach that certain verses teach a pre-tribulation “secret rapture.” They teach and propagate this theory and idea, but certainly cannot be referring to the same return – because they teach that our Lord Jesus comes back twice, years apart. And, they believe and teach that their understanding is the only biblically defensible position. And that the living truth from the LORD God is false.

We are very much aware that there are far right-wing extremists in the United States, in the evangelical so-called Christian community, who place great stock in a whole series of books that came out in 1995 entitled Left Behind by authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. The theory or idea behind these books is thus –
“The bestselling premillennial novels are Christian eschatological narratives inspired by the New Testament's Book of Revelation. The storyline focuses on a seven-year conflict, the post-rapture Great Tribulation, between an underground network of Christian converts and an oppressive new world order led by the Antichrist. The series expounds a Christian dispensationalist view of the End Times, specifically LaHaye's pretribulation and premillennial eschatology.” 1
Notice this from LaHaye’s book Are We Living in the End Times?
“When the more than three hundred Bible references to the Second Coming are carefully examined, it becomes clear that there are two phases to His return. There are far too many conflicting activities connected with His return to be merged into a single coming. …

Since we know there are no contradictions in the Word of God, our Lord must be telling us something here. …” 2
Well, Mr. LaHaye, you can’t have it both ways. It’s either “there are too many conflicting activities” or “there are no contradictions.”

Contradicting and conflicting are two words that are often used interchangeably, but they do actually have distinct meanings. However, sandwiched between these two pages is a listing of 24 biblical passages that the author indicates proves a pre-tribulation “secret rapture.” Now, the passages are not quoted, only listed.

To show that those supposed pre-tribulation “secret rapture” passages are NOT in conflict with the LORD God’s teaching of a ONE-TIME RETURN, we are willing to go over each passage.

John 14:1-3 –

’ Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God [speaking of God the Father], believe also in Me. 2) In My Father’s house are many mansions [dwelling places], if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3) And if I go and prepare a place for you [and indeed He did; let us always be thankful to Him for this!], I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am [which is upon the earth, cf. Zechariah 14:4], there you may be also.’

Now, if verse 2 was the only verse, then the concept of fleeting off to the third heaven might be suspected of being the place “prepared.” However, what so many cannot grasp is the awesome true meaning behind verse 3!

He was speaking of the Earth (‘that where I am’). Even if a so-called Christian could go to the upper heavenly realm, would he/she want to be there!? On the way up to the third heaven, he/she would theoretically pass God the Father and Jesus Christ coming here!

Besides, what most Protestants also cannot fully grasp is our Lord Jesus Christ’s words – ’ No one has ascended to heaven but He who came from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.’ – John 3:13.

Romans 8:19 –

“For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the [children] of God.”

This is NOT at all a teaching of a pre-tribulation “secret rapture”! And how one would see that in this verse is beyond me! This passage speaks about the fact that the whole creation – which includes the whole of the universe – “groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23) Not only that, but we [true begotten children of God] also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting [remember, we have the Spirit of “longsuffering”] for the [birth as children of God the Father and brothers and sisters to our Lord Jesus Christ!], the redemption of our body.” – Romans 8:19-23.

1 Corinthians 1:7-8 –

“so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8) who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Apostle Paul is NOT at all speaking of any “two-phase” return. Verse 7 is simply speaking about the glorious and powerful revelation (the revealing) of our Lord Jesus Christ. And, verse 8 speaks concerning the Day of the Lord – “the end” – see Matthew 24:14b.

1 Corinthians 15:51-53 –

“Behold, I tell you a mystery [because the majority of the people of this world do not know this knowledge; concerning the resurrection unto eternal life]: We [again, true begotten children of God] shall not all sleep [meaning, we shall not all die], but we shall all be changed ──52) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet [the SEVENTH TRUMPET]. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead [the dead in Christ] will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53) For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality [which certainly means that we do not now have immortality].”

Again, this passage is NOT teaching any such concept of a “two-phase” return.

Wow! 1 Corinthians chapter 15 ─ truly the whole of the chapter is AWESOME! Sadly, Mr. LaHaye didn’t even list verse 50 – “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood CANNOT inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.” Are you aware that the Mormons, the principal branch of the Latter Day Saint movement created by Joseph Smith, believe and teach that you enter into the kingdom of God as a physical human being!? In a physical state. What do they do with verse 50!? Do they delete it from their bible, or do they mark it out?

Throughout God’s living word, death is portrayed as “sleep” – notice Daniel 12:2. And brethren, this is the glorious hope of all of us! The hope of eternal life! That is why you are reading this right now! Because we are hoping and praying that God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ (who is our ultimate Judge) will grant us the mercy of gifting us (Romans 6:23) eternal life! And, we want it for ourselves, but also, just as much, we want it for our loved ones. And all of you reading this know people who are now asleep. And you wait, and you wait, and you wait. But someday – if you believe that God Exists, and you know truthfully what God’s living word says, and that it is true and faithful – you know that someday you are going to see them again! On the Earth!

The Apostle Paul rounds this off with verse 54 – “So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’

1 Corinthians 16:22 –

“If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!”

Again, this passage is NOT teaching any such concept of a “two-phase” return, or even of the false concept of a “secret rapture.”

This is just simply the ending of the Apostle Paul’s salutation to the church at Corinth. And, how does one know that they truly love the Lord Jesus Christ? Our Lord Jesus says – ’ If you love Me [as well as, ‘If you are loyal to Me’] keep My commandments.’ – John 14:15. “’ He who DOES NOT love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.’ – vs. 24.

“The GRACE of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” – 1 Corinthians 16:23.

Sadly, some Protestant groups misinterpret, misapply, they misrepresent the term ‘God’s grace,’ and they make it into the incorrect concept of ‘once saved always saved.’ You know, “Give your heart to the Lard, and it’s all said and done!” And there were some church leaders in the past that completely detoured around the subject almost altogether. And yet, the term ‘God’s grace’ – my friends, we have no chance unless God is gracious to us!

Philippians 3:20-21 –

“For our citizenship is in heaven [the atmosphere], from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body [SPIRIT- COMPOSED BODY], according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” – Philippians 3:20-21.

Apparently what the majority of Protestants are ignorant of is the fact that God’s living word – written originally in Hebrew and Greek – there are THREE distinct “heavens.” The FIRST heaven is what we call the atmosphere which surrounds Earth. The SECOND heaven is the known universe – or starry space. And, there is a THIRD heaven. The Apostle Paul refers to it in 2 Corinthians 12:2. The third heaven is the present residence of God the Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, and all the holy angels. The third heaven is referenced as where Lucifer (now called Satan the Devil) attempted a coup of the very government of God – “For you [a reference to Lucifer, the archangel] have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend above the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’” – Isaiah 14:13-14. Even King Solomon knew of a third heaven – “ … For God is in heaven, and you on earth; …” – Ecclesiastes 5:2.

Again, this passage is NOT teaching any such concept of a “two-phase” return. Or even of a “secret rapture.”

Philippians 4:5 –

“Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.”

Where and why this Mr. LaHaye contrived this list is, again, beyond me. Our Lord Jesus Christ says the same thing – ’ The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in [and obey] the gospel.’ – Mark 1:15.

Gentleness is one of the fruits of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23. The phrase, ‘the Lord is at hand,’ truly means just what it says – THE LORD IS AT HAND!

Colossians 3:4 –

“When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

An idiom often attributed to Mark Twain says, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” No piece of science fiction can compare to this glorious, marvelous, and awesome TRUTH about our potential as revealed in your Bible!

The Apostle Paul – under divine inspiration – was speaking of our baptism unto death and our baptism unto a new man in Christ – “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2) Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” – reminiscent of what he spoke about to the church in Philippi – cf. Philippians 3:8-17.

He goes on to say – “For you died [in baptism], and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” And a crux of his thought here is: “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9) Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10) and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11) where there is neither Greek [Gentile] nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian [an ancient Eastern Iranian equestrian nomadic people], slave nor free, BUT CHRIST IS ALL AND IN ALL.” – Colossians 3:1-11.

And, 1 John 3:2 speaks of this “you also will appear with Him in glory.”

“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be [what our profession will be in the kingdom of God], but we know that when He is revealed [when He returns], we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” – cf. Revelation 1:12-16.

1 Thessalonians 1:10 –

“and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ speaks of this ONE-TIME RETURN –

’ THEN the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes [the nations, countries, and provinces] of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.’ – Matthew 24:30.

Now, if the Protestants would only read and study verse 29, they would see that His coming is AFTER the tribulation – not before. ’ Immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days …’

Now, no one knows when the end of the age will actually come. And if anyone tells you they know – WARNING! They are attempting to manipulate you. Our Lord Jesus Christ emphatically says, ’ But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.’ And at that time when He said it, He didn’t even know. Now I have to surmise that at this point in time, God the Father has shared that with Jesus Christ. But again, we don’t know. Is the Kingdom of God three years away!? Probably not. Is it ten years away!? Possibly. That being said, there is a possibility that 2026 could be the beginning year of the Day of the LORD – but NOT the return of Jesus Christ. Recall what Jesus said happens during and even after the gospel of Christ – the gospel of the kingdom of God – is preached in all the world as a witness to all nations by these end-time prophets, culminating with the Two Witnesses spoke of in Revelation 11: ’ Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place’ (whoever reads, let him understand), 16) then let those who are in Judea [in Judea (modern-day Israel) not in the US, not in the UK, not even in Europe] flee to the mountains. 17) Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18) And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19) But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20) And pray that your flight may not be in the winter or on the Sabbath. 21) For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22) And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake [the physical people descended from Jacob/Israel] those days will be shortened. – Matthew 24:15-22.

’ Immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light [possibly because the atmosphere will be thick with volcanic ash]; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.’ [meaning, Satan and his demons will be expunged from the atmosphere of the earth] 30) Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, …’

There’s a term that has developed basically within the last century among some fundamentalist type churches of the Christian ilk talking about the rapture. And this is simply not a correct theological teaching. And many times when people use the words, they say, “the secret rapture.” Well, there won’t be any secrets when Jesus is returning! Because, as Jesus says in verse 27 – ’ For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man.’ - When the throne of God, when New Jerusalem, begins to return to this earth, at some point it will be a little small light in the night sky. And the next night it will be a little brighter – like the star Sirius. And then, it becomes more and more obvious – and people will look up and go, “What is that!?” Now, most of the people of the world will think it’s – and they really will – an invading alien force! There is nothing secret about it!

Keep in mind, the resurrection occurs on the SEVENTH TRUMP. The seven last plagues follow that. So, we will (God willing) already be in “low earth orbit” in the clouds, being with Jesus Christ, in preparation for the time He, Jesus Christ, directly engages humankind.

’ And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet [the seventh trump], and they will gather together His elect [here speaking of His saints] from the four winds, from one end of heaven [the atmosphere] to the other.’ – vs. 31.

1 Thessalonians 2:19 –

“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?”

The Apostle Paul says it best in the following verse, as we think of you – “For you are our glory and joy.” We, brethren, find it all joy to hope and pray that you will be in the glorious presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming! For we, like the LORD God are not willing “that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9b.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 –

“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep [again, here the concept that sleep is death], lest you sorrow as others who have no hope [the hope of the resurrection of the glorious gift of eternal life]. 14) For if we believe that Jesus died …”

Believe it or not – there is a vast multitude of peoples that believe that our Lord Jesus Christ did not die! Notice the word “if.” If we believe that our Lord Jesus Christ lived, that He was real, that He was (and is) the Son of God, the Messiah, and that He died and “rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.” Again, ‘IF WE BELIEVE THAT JESUS DIED!’ The last sermon that Minister Michael C. Garrett gave to some of the ‘lost sheep’ down in Tyler, Texas was a sermon entitled, “Look to Jesus, Not Moses.” He was chastised by their leaders for the fact that he proclaimed that Jesus had died. They were offended and upset. So much so, that it aided in their decision to fire him! Of course, our Lord Jesus Christ died! This is a glorious Message of the Book – that He qualified to become our Savior, and that He died, and that He was resurrected unto life! His own living words speak of this – ’ I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. …’ – Revelation 1:18a.

The Apostle Jude also speaks of the fact that God (the Elohim, the family of God, which at this time consists of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ) “will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.” – cf. Jude 1:14-15.

Also, what many may not know is that God the Father is coming with our Lord Jesus Christ! – cf. Revelation 21:3, here in which the word God is translated in Greek as “ho Theos.” In most instances it indicates God in a general sense, but often the Father particularly.

Verse 15 – “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16) For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven [the atmosphere] with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God [the SEVENTH TRUMPET]. And the dead in Christ will rise first.”

Notice, the ‘dead in Christ will rise’! Where are they rising from!? They are rising from the Earth! They are NOT in heaven – the third heaven. Our Lord Jesus Christ does not do a “fly by” – skipping off the atmosphere, picking up the dead in Christ, and shooting off to the third heaven. Besides, why would He need to do that if (what the Protestants claim) the dead in Christ are already in heaven? So, truly, here is some definite contradicting and conflicting on their part! Again, the living words of our Lord Jesus – John 3:13.

Verse 17 – “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them IN THE CLOUDS [again, low earth orbit] to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18) Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

Again, where will Jesus be AFTER He returns!? – Zechariah 14:4.

1 Thessalonians 5:9, 23 –

“For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Verse 23 – “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul [your life], and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Again, this passage is NOT teaching any such concept of a “two-phase” return. Or even of a “secret rapture.”

2 Thessalonians 2:1 –

“Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him [recall Matthew 24:31], we ask you.”

And the Apostle Paul goes on to ask us, brethren, “not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the Day of Christ [speaking of the Day of the LORD!] had come. 3) Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless …”

Our Lord Jesus asks us not to be deceived also – cf. Matthew 24:23-25.

1 Timothy 6:14 –

Like with most one-line verses, it’s IMPORTANT to read the whole text to properly understand the meaning! – Isaiah 28:10.

Verse 11 – “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 12) Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

Verse 13 – “I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14) that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless UNTIL OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST’s APPEARING.”

The Apostle Paul is urging us here to “fight the good fight of faith, and lay hold on eternal life, and to keep this commandment” until His Return.

It too doesn’t have anything to do with a rapture, a “secret rapture,” or even a “two-phase” return. Did Mr. LaHaye simply look up in a Bible concordance “Christ’s appearing” and just list those as “rapture”!? Because it appears as if he did.

2 Timothy 4:1, 8 –

“I charge you therefore before God [God the Father] and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead [those that are resurrected] at His appearing and His kingdom.”

Verse 8 – “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that Day [at His appearing], and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

Sadly, if the majority of Protestants are only focusing on their understanding that these verses are only teaching our Lord Jesus Christ’s return – which is glorious enough – these verses mean so much more! We must take in the Spirit of light! Our Lord Jesus Christ says, ’ Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man’ – Luke 21:36. And we believe this and we stand upon this promise of the LORD our God! That is our hope! That even amid a world gone completely insane to where it will completely annihilate itself – we have hope that we will survive and that our families will be protected. And, I want you to understand – to not necessarily survive staying alive – but more akin to what the Apostle Paul writes here, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Titus 2:13 –

“looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God [again, ho Theos, God the Father] and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Over and over and over again, nothing happens until God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ and the holy angels ARRIVE! This is what God’s living word says! And this be the truth – then what is all this nonsense about the immortality of the soul and going off to the third heaven? None of that agrees with the living word of God! Here’s another glorious concept── the resurrected saints of the LORD God are not going off to the third heaven, but rather the third heaven is coming to the Earth! And this is part of the glorious gospel – the announcement of the soon-coming kingdom of God! Recall earlier I spoke of John 3:13. Our Lord Jesus says it just as plain as day! And Protestants most cherished Scripture. A most beautiful Scripture!

’ For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes [on] Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’ – John 3:16.

And, did you catch that word, perish? According to Strong’s Concordance
ἀπόλλυμι - completely perish. Implies permanent (absolute) destruction. 3
So, if a person is completely destroyed and perishes – what is all this nonsense about a Hell?

Now, the additional Scriptures that Mr. LaHaye jotted down in his book Are We Living in the End Times? under “Rapture” are Hebrews 9:28; James 5:7-9; 1 Peter 1:7, 13; 5:4; Jude 1:21; Revelation 2:25; 3:10.

Brethren, if you’ve got the time to read and go over these Scriptures with me – I’ve got the time to write.

Hebrews 9:28 –

“So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

The Apostle Paul, speaking to the Hebrew converts then, and to all of us now, is speaking of the glorious SECOND COMING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST! And sadly, to this very day, the majority of our Jewish brethren are still awaiting the Messiah’s first coming!

The Apostle Paul explains – throughout the Book of Hebrews that we now have this great High Priest who sits on the right hand of God the Father in the upper heavenly realms. And that He is our Advocate, and our Intercessor – no human being.

Verse 24 - “For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.”

Brethren, there are times in our life when we sin, and maybe Satan and his minions are there just laughing and carrying on. And then our glorious High Priest and Advocate walks up and says to our Father after our heartfelt repentance, “Father, I have forgiven him/her. And, this person belongs to Me. End this.” I wonder how many times our Lord Jesus has had to come to our defense to say, “I shed My blood, that they might be forgiven, and that someday they might live for all eternity”!?

He goes on to say, in verse 25 – “not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another ── .” – a concept that the Jewish people he was writing to would readily understand.

Verse 26 – “He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, ONCE at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of HIMSELF.”

Clearly and plainly teaching his Jewish audience the fact that the Messiah had come!

Verse 28 again – “so Christ was offered ONCE to bear the sins of many. TO THOSE WHO EAGERLY WAIT FOR HIM …”

You recall our Lord Jesus in the Book of Luke, ‘LOOK UP AND BEHOLD YOUR SALVATION!’ ‘THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN!’ We are to look for the returning KINGDOM OF GOD! And that’s what this Work, ostensively, is all about! WARNING people and INSTRUCTING people about that coming event! That if we look for Him, “He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” And that means your salvation, and my salvation, and the salvation of everyone who has lived and died in Christ!

James 5:7-9 –

“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8) You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9) Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!”

We covered in 2 Timothy the phrase, ‘at His appearing.’ Not this immediately ‘off to Heaven.’ We notice in Titus 2 – “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:7 – “…praise, honor, and glory at the [appearing] of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 5:4 – “and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.” 1 John 2:28 – “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.”

Again, none speak of a pre-tribulation “secret rapture.”

So, why even bother speaking about this subject?

Because there are a great many false and heretical teachers that lead people astray on biblical prophecy. And, it’s not just the Protestant rapturists, it’s also those who believe and teach (and I was asked this very thing the other day) that Allah is the same God that we worship. It’s also those who go on and on about Catholic prophesies, trying desperately to link them somehow to God’s biblical prophecies.

So, God’s living word does not teach a pre-tribulation “secret rapture” of the Church, nor even a mid-tribulation. Let us notice what our Lord Jesus Christ says once again – that He will return AFTER the end-time trauma ‘the tribulation’ and not before –

’ IMMEDIATELY after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; …’

Because there will be darkened skies from erupting volcanoes, and even, possibly, nuclear bombs.

“ … ‘the stars 4 will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.’

Truly meaning that Satan the Devil and his minions will be thrown out of the atmosphere. And then notice this – Revelation chapter 6 – Verse 14 – “THEN the sky receded as a scroll when its rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.” The atmosphere will be thick with volcanic ash towers from a great number of volcanoes erupting around the globe, possibly caused by the massive ‘great earthquake.’ This damaging smoke and pollution must be cleared from the atmosphere before the arrival of our King of kings and LORD of lords!

Verse 30 – ’ Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven [in outer space], and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.’

Verse 31 – ’ And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet [the SEVENTH TRUMPET], and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven [the atmosphere] to the other.’

Yet, the most hardened pre and mid-tribulation rapturists will completely ignore or try to reason away these Scriptures – and this passage alone!

Another article we have on this most vital subject is “A ‘Secret Rapture’?” □


Bibliography

1) Wikipedia contributors. (2024, March 28). Left Behind. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 08:57, April 18, 2024.
2) LaHaye, T.F., Are We Living in the End Times?, Wheaton III: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999, pgs. 98, 100.
3) The Strongest Concordance of the Bible, 21st-century ed. 2001. ISBN 978-0-310-23343-5 (hardcover), #622, pg. 582.
4) ASTĒR, is used metaphorically. Example. (a) of Christ, as “the morning star.” - Vine, W.E., Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, CAGE, Fleming H. Revell Company, Old Tappan, New Jersey, published by United Kingdom Marshall, Morgan & Scott, Publications, Ltd., 1981, pg. 72.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Letter to our Friends - April 15, 2024


CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST ONLINE MINISTRIES

We are based on the Word of God, Truth of God, and Plan of God!
P.O. BOX 6458
SPRING HILL, FLORIDA 34606

Leonard V. Johnson
Pastor and Co-Founder


Dearest Brethren and Friends in Christ:

Greetings from Spring Hill, Florida.

Baptismal Counseling



Since there are potential members of our Lord Jesus Christ’s Church who are scattered in the United States of America and Canada, the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries and our affiliated churches has the ability to assist with baptismal counseling. If you are in the US or Canada and need baptismal counseling, etc., we have Minister Leonard Johnson, who lives in Florida, who can travel if need be. His email address is: mcbrian1966@gmail.com.

Information on baptism, itself, can be found in our free online Bible Study PDF: Water Baptism?

Spring Holy Days

The LORD God’s Spring Holy Days will soon be here!

The LORD’s Passover in 2024 will be after sunset on April 21st. The period from sunset April 22nd through sunset April 23rd is the Holy Day known as the First Day of Unleavened Bread. The period from sunset April 28th through sunset April 29th is also a Holy Day and is known as the Seventh (or Last) Day of Unleavened Bread.




And, speaking of Unleavened Bread, we just completed an audio article video entitled “Christ In You! – Unleavened Bread – Day 1.” A transcription of Minister Michael C. Garrett’s 2017 sermon of the same title. The original article, along with the original sermon can be found at: https://www.owensborocojc.com/2019/04/christ-in-you-unleavened-bread-day-1.html.


Feast of Tabernacles for 2024

As a reminder, I have plans to travel to Owensboro, Kentucky to be with the brethren there for the Feast this year ─ I want to remind all our brethren and friends that we are affiliated with the Owensboro Church of Jesus Christ. We must never downplay this IMPORTANCE! “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls [lives], as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you” – Hebrews 13:17. I would also like to remind you of how I, personally, met my spiritual mentor Michael C. Garrett in Owensboro, Kentucky –
July 18th, 2018 – For several years I had been speaking with Father God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and asking Them, “Where are Your people!?” I had contacted several splinter groups of the now defunct Church of God, and every single one that I had contacted I quickly discovered they were not bearing the fruits of God’s Spirit. I also, with God’s instruction and permission in relation to a spiritual teaching lesson – visited a Protestant Sunday keeping church. Until the LORD God had told me, “Enough! Run!”

Well, I was busy posting another article onto our website, when a thought came to my mind – “Get rid of everything you’ve done. Get rid of the website, Facebook, YouTube, and everything else and follow Me!” The thought that came to my mind gave me no indication that there was anything else, just to “follow Me.” Now, I was very aware that a sycophant leader of a church organization was looking over the website with a fine-toothed comb in the hopes of finding something to prosecute me with. So, thinking at first this is why the thought in my mind was having me delete everything. But I contributed this thought to God – yes, I contributed this thought to the LORD God; these types of thoughts and my actions have kept me safe all my life. I didn’t question this thought. I deleted everything – 7 years’ worth of work. All those years I had been proclaiming His Good News unto as many nations as financially possible – several thousands of dollars – and to all of a sudden rid myself of all of that took a lot. After speaking with Father God and our Lord Jesus at length, asking, “If that was not what I was supposed to be doing – what am I supposed to do!?” Again, “My LORD, where are Your people!?”

After much supplication and prayer, I went back to the computer. In its search engine I typed “Mark Armstrong.” And the phrase “Bubble Boy” popped up. I was intrigued, why was this leader of this church organization being called this!? So, I clicked onto the site and came across Minister Michael C. Garrett’s video sermon entitled “Disingenuous Propaganda”. I had never heard of this man of God before. I ended up watching the whole sermon! He had mentioned another sermon, “Look to Jesus, Not Moses”. I went and searched for that sermon, watched the entirety of it, and instantly knew THIS IS WHAT GOD WAS TELLING ME!”
It is also vitally IMPORTANT to remember that God loves loyalty. The very word loyal brings to mind a powerful sense of belonging. It also brings to mind wholehearted fidelity and unswerving devotion and duty. And I can’t help but think of God’s living word – “we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15) but, speaking the truth IN LOVE, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – CHRIST” – Ephesians 4:14-15. Which also brings to mind – “Look to Jesus, Not Moses.” In our September 2022 Personal, we speak of the Spirit of the Law. Our Lord Jesus had admonished the scribes and the Pharisees, calling them hypocrites for neglecting the weightier matters of the Law – Justice, Mercy, and Faith. Notice: It’s good judgment, mercy, and faith. All spiritual things!

There are many examples of loyalty in God’s living word. In our relationship with our brethren, we are called to steadfast loyalty. The Apostle Paul speaks of his “loyal yoke-fellow” (NIV) in Philippians chapter 4. It was one who faithfully labored with the Apostle Paul. There is also Ruth. From the first words of the Book of Ruth it truly constitutes a declaration of breathtaking love and loyalty – “’Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God’” – Ruth 1:16.

For true Christians, loyalty is shown in our commitment to JESUS CHRIST and to His Message – “When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, ‘Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35) For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life FOR MY SAKE and the gospel’s will save it’ – Mark 8:34-35.

─ possibly at the Fairfield Inn at 800 Salem Dr. Owensboro, Kentucky 42303 (unless unforeseen circumstances warrant changes). We graciously invite all who have a good spirit to attend. You can contact Minister Michael C. Garrett at garrett158@roadrunner.com for additional information.

There are optional activities in Owensboro, Kentucky to enjoy! There is the International Bluegrass Music Museum – website http://www.bluegrasshall.org/. There is also the Yellow Creek Park, which features hiking trails, and multi-purpose sports areas, as well as a Pioneer Village – website https://www.visitowensboro.com/listing/yellow-creek-park/. Also, there’s the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art – website http://www.omfa.us/.

Certainly, ALL TRUE CHRISTIANS, AND THOSE THAT ARE CALLED BY FATHER GOD (John 6:44-45), ARE COMMANDED TO KEEP THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES AND THE LAST GREAT DAY, unless their health or dire circumstances warrant preventing them.

According to Tripadvisor.com, Owensboro has hundreds of restaurants and dozens of hotels. Owensboro also has an airport – the Owensboro - Daviess County Regional Airport. Located near I-165 and adjacent to the US-60 bypass, the facility is easily accessible for almost 1,000,000 people in Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, and Tennessee. It covers an area of 880 acres.

Again, if you are planning on coming this year, please send Minister Michael C. Garrett an email and let him know – garrett158@roadrunner.com.

Facebook Group


If you have a Facebook account and page, we would like to invite you to join our Christian Family Group.

Suggested Sabbath Day Service

Here is our suggested Sabbath day service for our scattered brethren and friends around the world:

• TWO songs of praise. (our songbook, The Bible Hymnal, is suggested, there are some Instrumental Accompaniment to the Bible Hymnal available on our website).
• Opening prayer.
• Announcements – from the deacon or pastor.
• Sermon – from the pastor or guest speaker. The one suggested for this week is “Do You Have God’s Spirit?” by Minister Leonard Johnson.
• Closing song.
• Closing prayer.

Some World News in Relation to Biblical Prophecy

The number one terrorist nation Iran attacked Israel with 200 missiles and drones! And Iran is warning of “Stronger Response” if Israel retaliates.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi warned Sunday against any “reckless” Israeli retaliation to Tehran’s unprecedented missile and drone attack, as world leaders urged restraint.

Iran launched its first-ever direct attack on Israeli territory, marking a major escalation of the long-running covert war between the regional foes and sparking fears of a broader conflict, as fighting between Israel and Hamas militants rages on in the Gaza Strip. …

The response came late Saturday when Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles towards Israel, injuring 12 people, the Israeli army said.

But almost all of the drones and missiles were intercepted before they reached Israel, with help from the United States, Jordan, and other allies.

Israeli military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said 99% of the launches had been intercepted, declaring “the Iranian attack was foiled.”

While 170 drones and 30 cruise missiles were shot down before they reached Israel, a few of the 110 ballistic missiles did get through, the Israeli army said. …

Iran’s proxies and allies also carried out coordinated attacks on Israeli positions.
AFP correspondents heard blasts in the skies above Jerusalem early Sunday, and overnight people sought cover in the city while some residents stockpiled water.

People were beginning to tentatively return to the streets of Jerusalem on Sunday morning.
Ayala Salant, 48, told AFP “The situation is really frightening.”

“We are afraid of what is happening and all of the bombing and aircraft that are coming.”
Israel, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon all said they had reopened their airspace after suspending air traffic during the attack.

The Iranian army declared that its attack was “completed successfully,” which it said was in “self-defense” after the Damascus strike that killed seven of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards including two generals earlier this month.

“Operation Honest Promise … achieved all its objectives”, said Mohammad Bagheri, the Iranian armed forces’ chief of staff.

Iranians were celebrating in the streets of Tehan, believing that the attack was successful – because 1) it showed JUDAH (the modern-day nation of Israel) that Iran could attack. 2) that Iran was able to attack Israel with only a few of its ballistic missiles, 3) Iran learned just what did not get passed the US, Jordanian, UK, and Israeli defenses, and 4) Iran put its “big-boy” pants on and actually attacked also, instead of just its many terrorist proxies it has in the region.

Indeed, Israel does want to counter-attack (as well as it should, my personal belief), but the Obiden Administration appears that it doesn’t want Israel to defend herself!?
Biden: US won’t support Israeli response to Iran attack.

US. President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a phone call on Saturday that Washington will not support an Israeli retaliatory attack for Iran’s drone and missile assault on the Jewish state, Axios reported, citing a senior White House official.

Iran fired more than 300 missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles from its territory toward Israel on Saturday night, in what Tehran says was retaliation for the April 1 killing of several IRGC officers in Syria by Israel.

The United States and other countries helped Israel shoot down the projectiles, which amounted to a 99% success rate, according to the IDF. American military forces intercepted over 100 airborne threats.

“You got a win. Take the win,” Biden told Netanyahu, according to the official, amid fears of a regional war should Jerusalem respond. …

Iran is threatening a larger attack if Israel responds militarily, while also warning the United States against further involvement.

“We used an attack with ballistic and cruise missiles. The operation was designed to attack the air base from which the Israeli planes that attacked the consulate [in Damascus] were launched. There were direct hits in the attack. We only targeted military bases,” said Mohammad Bakri, chief of staff of the Iranian Army.

“We sent a message to the U.S. that if it cooperates with Israel in the next steps, its bases will not be safe,” he added.

Brethren and friends, regarding Israel being viciously attacked. We have been posting for years that this would indeed occur. Notice this from March 10, 2021
The grave situation between Iran and Judah (modern-day Israel) is continuing to heat up – with Israel accusing Iran of attacking a freighter this past week (See: ‘Netanyahu Blames Iran for Cargo Ship Blast’ along with ‘Netanyahu accuses Iran of attacking Israeli-owned cargo ship’).

These actions between Israel and Iran will continue towards a full destructive conflict – See: “’Blow the Trumpet!’”

Just last year, Iran allegedly targeted six water infrastructure facilities in Israel attempting to release dangerous chemicals in order to cause mass poisoning! An alleged cyber-attack by Israel against Iran last year caused Iran to shut down many of their ports. Israel has also took additional steps to annihilate parts of an Iranian nuclear facility.

Will this situation between Israel and Iran become ever more militaristic!?

Yes.


Isaiah 22:4 – “Therefore I said [Isaiah speaking when he sees these things in vision], ‘Look away from me, I will weep bitterly; Do not labor to comfort me Because of the plundering of the daughter of my people.’ 5) For it is A DAY OF TROUBLE ...” – now, you’ve heard the expression Jesus Christ talking about ‘a day of tribulation,’ well, that word just means troubles. And here is what Isaiah says, it’s a day of just tremendous troubles!

The vast majority of the Bible is talking about the DAY OF THE LORD!

In Isaiah 22:8, “Judah” is in reference to modern-day Israel. “He [Almighty God] removed the protection of Judah.” He will allow Israel to be attacked! V. 9 – “… the damage to the city of David” is indeed a reference to at least part of the city of Jerusalem – “That it was great.” This, surely, would result in a massive Israeli – with possible U.S. involvement – attack against Iran and its terrorist allies, like Syria!

Indeed friends, as our Lord Jesus Christ WARNS:

’ For nation will rise against nation, …’” – literally, ethnos – meaning, ‘a people will rise against people.’ “‘… and kingdom against kingdom.’” – Matthew 24:7.

There will be an intifada of ethnic groups against ethnic group. Europe will temporarily align with a power from the Middle East and North Africa (Psalm 83:3-8; Daniel 11:27). And an intifada in the Middle East could ultimately involve Syria (Isaiah 17:1) and Iran (Isaiah 22). There will come great damage to Jerusalem and Palestine, and Israeli leaders will look seriously for peace deals.
Yes, there was an attack on Judah this past Saturday night in 2024. Do I believe that it was the attack on Isaiah 22:6-9?

No.

A much more extensive and damaging military attack by Iran and its allies will happen that will fulfill the dual prophecy of Isaiah 22:6-9. And, as I mentioned to Minister Guy LaMar via the phone just yesterday, it could happen just before the next US presidential election. As our Lord Jesus Christ instructs us to do – ’ And what I say to you, I say to all, ‘Watch!’ – Mark 13:37.

Because – Question – why would Iran, again, viciously attack Israel with a STRONG US President and Administration now sitting in the White House!? Surely, they would attack when the US has a weak and fickle US Administration!

We are in the time that our Lord Jesus calls ‘the beginning of sorrows’ – Matthew 24:4-8.

Concluding Comments

It gravely bothers and concerns me that I am hearing antisemitic rhetoric and sentiment coming from some of our own brethren. Sadly, there are brethren that are listening to the anti-Israel protestors in America and abroad that are chanting ‘Death to America,’ ‘Death to Israel,’ and ‘From the River to the Sea.’ Then there are others that blindly or ignorantly (because they don’t know all the facts) are against JUDAH (the modern-day nation called Israel) because they “attacked USS Liberty” in 1967. Both the Israeli and U.S. governments conducted inquiries and issued reports that concluded the attack was a mistake due to Israeli confusion about the ship's identity. Now, whether a person wants to believe that or not – that is their prerogative. Again, I say – People Are Entitled To Their Own Opinions But Not To Their Own Facts!

We understand that the people of Judah are not obeying the LORD God, they are not following and obeying our Lord Jesus Christ – and that, sadly, most in Judah continues to hate on and disparage the very Creator of all things (John 1:3). But neither does the U.S., U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and Canada obey our LORD God! We must remember brethren, that the Jewish people are also very special to the LORD God. We read in Deuteronomy 7:6-8 – and this includes the Jewish people – “’ For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples of the face of the earth. 7) The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; 8) but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, …’”

Brethren, the declaration that “salvation is from the Jews” should indicate to us the invaluable debt we have to the Jewish people. So, in a sense, all that we have that is more valuable than any gold, silver, or precious pearls we have because and through the Jewish people – and, of course, through our Jewish Savior, our Lord Jesus the Christ! Let us never forget to pray for all of God’s chosen people. As I said, it is true that currently Judah is in great rebellion against the LORD God – mostly because of their outright rejection of our Lord Jesus. At the present time, “… there is a remnant according to the election of grace” – Romans 11:5. A small “remnant” will be part of the harvest in this age. And yes, there are some that are Jews in the nation of Judah! Some Jews are being saved and are becoming members of the glorious body of Christ through faith in our Messiah.

One of the U.S.’s most blessed accomplishments was to regard the Jewish nation as a legal nation. No other nation in this world has a better record of treating the nation of Judah with respect than the United States. Of course, the U.S. didn’t do everything honorably – I think of The U.S. Government Turned Away Thousands of Jewish Refugees in the summer of 1942. But again, no other nation has a better record of treating the Jewish people with great respect and dignity than the U.S. The same cannot be said of any other nation. The United States has committed a great many sins against the LORD God, but by far the greatest is TURNING OUR BACK ON JUDAH! And we – as a nation – rightly deserve the judgment that is to come.

Brethren, true Christian's support all of the chosen people of the LORD our God – which does include the Jewish people. Now, this is not to say that we necessarily support the methods they use in their relationship with their Arab neighbors. God’s living word warns that conflict would always be there between the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael – until the glorious and powerful return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

While we certainly do not (nor should we) support everything that Judah does as a nation, we should most definitely support Judah’s right to exist as a nation and as a people! The LORD our God will fulfill Their promise! “He will set up a banner [an ensign] for the nations, And will assemble the outcasts of Israel, And gather together the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth.” – Isaiah 11:12. Woe to anyone that curses the chosen people of God! “’ I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; …’” – Genesis 12:3. Remember, even our Lord Jesus Christ rightly admitted that the Jewish people are also from Abraham’s seed – cf. John 8:37.

In deep gratitude and love, in Jesus' name,








Thursday, April 11, 2024

A Morning Bible Study - Passover - The Beginning of God's Master Plan!


Leonard V. Johnson   About


This present evil age doesn’t understand that the LORD God (Elohim, the family of God, which at this time consists of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ) created mankind for a MARVELOUS and AWE-INSPIRING purpose! This very purpose was revealed to our first parents – Adam and Eve – in the garden of Eden.

“Then God [Elohim] said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.’” – Genesis 1:26.

And though God’s living word doesn’t directly say – a question can certainly be asked, “What was the inspiration behind creating a lion to look like a lion?” Have you ever wondered about the inspiration behind creating a lion that looks exactly like a lion? It's fascinating to think about how such a magnificent creature came to be, and what motivated its Creator to bring it to life. Let's ponder over this intriguing question together!

I find it interesting that we have this Scripture – “As for the likeness of their faces, each [of the four cherubim that surrounded the LORD God’s thrones] had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle.” – Ezekiel 1:10. Many claim that it is only symbolism. But, is it really? Is the LORD God, by creating a lion to look like a lion, giving homage to Their great and powerful archangels that are with Them in the upper heavenly realms?

The LORD God’s eternal word reveals that They are reproducing Themselves in man. The LORD God created man for the very purpose of growing in godly character - the meaning of “image” – and to ultimately be BORN AGAIN as a member of the family of God!

A passage that is often overlooked by this world’s Christianity – “And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, That I may plant the heavens, Lay the foundations of the earth, And say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’” – Isaiah 51:16.

The LORD God has mapped this MASTER PLAN by which They will fulfill the AWESOME purpose for all mankind. It is outlined in the form of SEVEN ANNUAL FESTIVALS that the begotten children of God are to observe every year to help keep themselves in the glorious grace and knowledge of JESUS CHRIST.

After the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt the LORD God revealed the annual festivals. And through Prophet Moses (the etymology of his name likely derived from combining the words “water,” “seed,” and “pond” thus yielding the sense of “child of the Nile” (mw- š) 1 the eternal Creator formally introduced these festivals to Their nation – ISRAEL. “The congregation in the wilderness” – Acts 7:38.

Within the New Covenant, we can understand from the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles that He intends the spring festivals to illustrate to His Church every year that all those God the Father has called out of this world - before, during, and after His Son’s torture, murder, and glorious resurrection unto life – are only the “firstfruits” –

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18) Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” – James 1:17-18.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4) to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” – 1 Peter 1:3-4.

The Apostle Paul mentions a few of them that are a part of the “firstfruits” – Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Sarah – “These all died IN FAITH, not having received [yet] the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them.” – Hebrews 11:13.

Even from the very beginning, relatively few people have been called out of this world for the spiritual “firstfruits” of Their spring harvest into the glorious family of God! Later, as pictured by Their autumn harvest, the LORD God will call nearly everyone who has ever lived or will ever live. The multiple billions of fellow human beings that have ever lived are called unto salvation and sonship into the glorious family of God AFTER our Lord Jesus Christ’s return and after His Millennial Reign.

A synopsis of these annual festivals is found in Leviticus 23. Let’s begin this God-revealed seven-part study of the LORD God’s annual festivals and learn exactly what God says and teaches!

What the Feast of Tabernacles Pictures.
1) Just Who instituted these annual festivals?
“And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2) ‘Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, THESE ARE MY FEASTS. … 4) These are THE FEASTS OF THE LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim in their appointed times.’” – Leviticus 23:1-2, 4.

I want you to notice that the LORD says these are HIS FEASTS! Not the “feasts of the Jews,” or the “feasts of Moses” as a great many people falsely assume and teach. They are the LORD’s own feasts – which the LORD God brought about and gave to the children of Israel to keep and celebrate from year to year.

What is the first festival to be observed every year?

“’ On the fourteenth day of the FIRST MONTH at twilight is the LORD’S Passover.’” – Leviticus 23:5.

When was the very first Passover?

Minister Michael C. Garrett –
“Well we think of Exodus 11, 12, as being the first Passover, but you know there are some events that are very Passover-like – that was way before the time of Moses. If you would, turn to Genesis 14. … And verse 18, this personality, we read about every so often, “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; …” – does that remind you of something!? We might find out someday that this event actually happened on what was eventually to become, what we now call the Passover, the Lord’s Supper. Melchizedek. Well, let us quickly turn to Hebrews 7 to get a description of who this Being was. Hebrews 7:1 – “For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2) to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated ‘king of righteousness,’ and then also king of Salem, …” – the city of Salem – JeruSALEM. “… meaning ‘king of peace,’” – and who is He!? Verse 3 – “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, …” – this is the One we now call Jesus Christ! Who, at times took up residence on the earth, and Abraham knew exactly who He was! And, Melchizedek brought out the bread and the wine. Verse 19 – “And He blessed him and said: ‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20) And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.’ And he gave Him a tithe of all.” – almost a pre-Moses Passover ceremony.”

(Garrett, M.C., Passover Message – 2013, posted 4.19.19).
Exodus chapter 12 - gives us the account of the very first official Passover and the first official Feast of Unleavened Bread. (Exodus 12:1-14, 21-27).

The LORD’S Passover, or The Passover, Lord’s Supper, or Communion – whatever you wish to call it – is to be observed after sunset on the fourteenth day of the first month – the month of Nisan. It coincides with March-April on the civil calendar.

The first official Passover was to be a yearly memorial to remind the children of Israel of the LORD God’s intervention in delivering them from slavery in Egypt – within the New Covenant it pictures the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, “our Passover, was sacrificed for us” – 1 Corinthians 5:7. He was wrongfully convicted, tortured, and murdered for the sins of all mankind!

After our Lord and great High Priest – the living Jesus Christ’s – death and resurrection, the New Covenant Passover, celebrated each year with new symbols of foot washing, unleavened bread, and fermented wine, is a yearly memorial of our Master and Elder Brother’s – our Savior’s – ultimate sacrifice for all mankind. Our Lord Jesus became the reality that the Passover lamb sacrificed foreshadowed.
2) Did the LORD command, even before Mount Sinai, that the Passover be kept as a feast FOREVER!?
“’ So this day shall be to you A MEMORIAL; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD THROUGHOUT YOUR GENERATIONS. You shall keep it as a feast by an EVERLASTING ORDINANCE. … 24) And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your [children] FOREVER.’” – Exodus 12:14, 24.

The LORD’S Passover. Indeed, the children of Israel were specifically told to observe the Old Covenant Passover in the Book of Exodus. Families were to take a lamb (or a goat), a male of the first year without blemish (Exodus 12:5), for a blood sacrifice (Exodus 12:3-4). The lamb (or goat) was to be sacrificed on the fourteenth at twilight (Exodus 12:6) and some of its blood was to be placed upon the doorpost of the family’s dwelling (Exodus 12:7). So, those who took these steps instructed by God were ‘passed over’ from the death angel, whereas the Egyptians who did not do this were not (Exodus 12:28-30).

Did our Lord Jesus Christ keep and celebrate the Passover?

“Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 23) Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, …” – John 2:13, 23, NET.

Our Lord Jesus Christ kept the LORD’S Passover annually (Exodus 13:10) – from the time of His youth (Luke 2:41-42), and throughout His entire physical life (Luke 22:15). The LORD’s Passover was (and is) observed on the fourteenth day of the month of the FIRST MONTH (Leviticus 23:5 – called Abib in Deuteronomy 16:1 or called Nisan in Esther 3:7). It occurs in the spring season of the year.
3) Did our Lord Jesus Christ keep and celebrate the Passover with His disciples the night before He was to be falsely arrested, tortured, and crucified?
“Now on the first of the unleaveneds, * the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, ‘Where do You desire that we prepare for You to eat the Passover?’ 18) And He said, ‘Go into the city to such a man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, ‘My time is near; I will keep the Passover with My disciples at your house.’ 19) Then the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and prepared the Passover. 20) And AFTER EVENING had come, He sat down with the twelve.” – Matthew 26:17-20, NET.

Minister Fred R. Coulter comments on this –
“This phrase has caused some confusion. It is certain that this phrase does not refer to the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins after, not before, the Passover. … ‘In the first century, it was commonly known that ‘the day of the unleaveneds’ in Luke 22:7 was the 14th Passover day.” G. Amadon, in an article entitled, ‘The Crucifixion Calendar,’ pointed out the error of those translators who translated this verse to read ‘the first day of the festival.” 2
And in keeping and celebrating the Passover, He established new rules, new guidelines, and new symbols. And so HE CHANGED the old and made it something new.

John 13:1 – “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.” – especially His disciples and His followers. Verse 2 – “And supper being ended, …” – so, keep in mind, they had an Old Testament-type meal. And it probably had roasted lamb, and it probably had some bitter herbs, and it had some unleavened bread. They kept that.

“…the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, 3) Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4) rose from supper …” – so, they are just sitting around. But, they didn’t eat at tables – you know that very famous painting The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, I think they’re all sitting at a table, aren’t they!? Well, back in that day they didn’t use tables like we use tables and chairs, but they often used a lot of pillows and rugs and they sort-of half sat, and ate their food from these low-lying tables. So, He “…rose from supper and laid aside His garments, …” – probably his outer garment, His more formal robe, “…took a towel and girded Himself.” Verse 5 – “After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.”

Foot washing in the time of our Lord Jesus was a menial task that only servants would perform when visitors would enter a house – especially a house of wealthy establishments. In the first century, Jerusalem was governed by Rome, and several sandals were fashionable. Such as the soleae, crepidae, and the carbatina. They would cause your feet to become very dusty.

Our Lord Jesus Christ was showing His disciples that He had come to Earth to be a servant to mankind. Foot washing depicts the attitude of humility and service to others that our Lord Jesus Christ wants all true Christians to have.

Our Lord Jesus Christ changed the practices associated with it (Luke 22:19-22; John 13:1-17), and He also told His disciples to observe it (Luke 22:7-13). It is crystal clear in God’s living word that because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, the killing of animals and placing their blood on an altar or doorpost is not required anymore (cf. Hebrews 7:12-13, 26-27; 9:11-28). The Apostle Paul – under the divine inspiration of God’s Spirit – teaches that true Christians are to keep the LORD’S Passover per Jesus Christ’s New Covenant instructions (1 Corinthians 5:7-8; 11:23-26).

Our Lord Jesus commands us to wash each other’s feet on the evening of the 14th of Nisan. “’ Therefore, if I, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also are duty-bound to wash one another’s feet; 15) For I have given you an example, to show that you also should do exactly as I have done to you.’” – John 13:14-15, NET.
4) Are true Christians to teach those that God the Father has called out of this world to do likewise?
’ Go therefore and make disciples [teach] of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20) TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS that I have commanded you; …’ – Matthew 28:19, 20, NKJV Red Letter Edition.

Our Lord Jesus Christ says to us ’ If you know these things, blessed are you IF YOU DO THEM.’ – John 13:17; see also John 14:23.

Now, contrary to popular belief – our Lord Jesus Christ did not “abolish” the keeping and celebrating of the Passover. He merely changed the symbols that were used. Instead of shedding the blood of a male unblemished lamb and then eating its roasted meat, we now are commanded to ‘eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood.’

“And as they were eating [the Passover meal], Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat: this is My body.’ 27) Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. 28) For this is My blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.’ – Matthew 26:26-28.

Our Lord Jesus  –

’ Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day [the first resurrection day]. 55) For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56) He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.’ – John 6:54-56.

The LORD’s Passover, the Passover, The Last Supper, or Communion – whatever name you call it – is to be kept as an annual memorial of our Lord Jesus Christ’s death. We are now to use unleavened bread and fermented wine – preferably Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.

The eating of the unleavened bread symbolizes the imbibing of CHRIST IN US! – Colossians 1:27. John 14:23 – “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our [abode] with him.’ – again, CHRIST IN US! The true meaning of the eating of the unleavened bread (as well as a true meaning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread) is that we are symbolically showing that we are eating the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, the unleavened bread which represents Jesus Christ as the sacrificed Lamb. And we are acknowledging – we need that Bread to come into our being. And, when you eat something, like a piece of bread, that bread gets broken down in your intestinal tract and the elements that are in that bread go throughout your whole body – from your toes up to your forehead to your fingertips, and everywhere in between. And so that bread literally becomes a part of you. And that’s the symbolism – that Jesus Christ is to enter into you through His Spirit and become a part of you! As you eat the bread it becomes a part of you, and as you ask for God’s Spirit it enters into you and becomes a part of you! That’s how you get CHANGED!
5) Did the Apostle Paul – through the inspiration of God’s Spirit – teach us to keep and celebrate the New Covenant Passover by partaking in the new symbols of foot washing, unleavened bread, and fermented wine?
“Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8) Therefore LET US KEEP THE FEAST, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” – 1 Corinthians 5:7-8.

True Christians have eaten UNLEAVENED BREAD for Passover, and they have kept the Days of Unleavened Bread. So, in every age, the true Church of God is not called to be leaven. Brethren, we are to strive to be spiritually unleavened, and our Lord Jesus is the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth!

Our Lord Jesus Christ’s Church has kept (and continues to keep) the annual Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread – not Easter.

“For I [the Apostle Paul] received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24) and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ 25) In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the New Covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it [which is annual], in remembrance of Me.’ 26) For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death TILL HE COMES.” – 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.

We are to remember this occasion until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. I’m not sure why there are people who won’t even read that very statement saying – to PROCLAIM THE LORD’S DEATH UNTIL HE COMES. And He absolutely shows us in His living word that He is soon coming again. Jesus Christ also said on that very occasion – “’ This do in remembrance of Me.’” A command directly from our Lord Jesus Christ. Because He wanted us to never forget what He did for all mankind. And so we are reminded every year through this very ceremony – through this annual holy day, a holy convocation. To remember what Jesus did for all of us.
6) Will the LORD’s Passover be kept by our Lord Jesus Christ and His resurrected saints after His return to Earth?
’ But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day [the Great Wedding Supper] when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.’ – Matthew 26:29.

“Then He said to them, ‘With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16) for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’ – Luke 22:15-16.

So, our Lord Jesus Christ indeed kept and fulfilled the Old Covenant Passover on the evening of the 14th of Nisan. Now, many of those who profess Christ do keep some version of the Passover – though they have changed the name, the date, the time, the meaning, the symbols – calling it EASTER – after an East Semitic, Akkadian, Assyrian, and Babylonian goddess of fertility, love, war, and sex. Hence, Easter eggs and bunny rabbits.

Our Lord Jesus Christ commands us to keep and celebrate the LORD’s Passover in remembrance of Him until He returns and keeps again the Passover with us. The apostles did keep and celebrate it, and today, our Lord Jesus’ faithful in His living Church continue keeping and celebrating annually the LORD’s Passover! □

1).  Ulmer, Rivka. 2009. Egyptian Cultural Icons in Midrash. de Gruyter. p. 269.
2) Coulter R. F., The Holy Bible In Its Original Order A New English Translation, York Publishing Co., © 2009, pg. 990.


Scriptural Index:

Old Testament - Genesis 1:26; Exodus 11; 12:1-14, 21-27, 28-30; 13:10; Leviticus 23:1-2, 4, 5; Esther 3:7; Isaiah 51:16; Ezekiel 1:10.
New Testament - Matthew 26:17-20, 26, 28, 29; 28:16, 19, 20; Luke 2:41-42; 22:7-13, 15, 19-22; John 2:13, 23; 6:54-56; 13:1-17; 14:23; Acts 7:38; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8; 11:23-26; Colossians 1:27; Hebrews 7:1-2, 3, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27; 9:11-28; 11:13; James 1:17-18; 1 Peter 1:3-4.