In Conclusion

This author highly recommends that the reader obtain a copy of Jacob Prasch’s book, Harpazo—The Intra-Seal Rapture of the Church, so as to receive a very detailed and thorough explanation of exactly what the Rapture is doctrinally, and how it will actually transpire literally. Contrary to much of what is taught in so-called books self-identifying as “Christian Fiction” and the myriad of Hollywood productions on the subject, this book explains in depth from Scripture alone why this author does not, among other things associated with that topic, subscribe to the notion of a “secret” Rapture.

This is a very important aspect, I believe, supporting the greater reason why Elijah is coming again as a lone harbinger in the manner of John the Baptist to prepare Israel for the Return of Jesus. The Rapture will take place between the 6th and 7th Seals (Rev. 7:9-17) at a time of  ever-growing spiritual darkness in conjunction with a change in the role of the Holy Spirit no longer restraining evil nor empowering a unified Church as currently enjoyed. But in the Olivet Discourse, Jesus made very clear that what is plainly associated with the 6th Seal will be “the sign of the Son of Man” which will “appear in the sky”. The Rapture is an event which visually denotes the onset of “the day of the Lord”, a time devoted to God’s wrath on the Antichrist and his kingdom.

26“So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. 27For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. 29But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. 31And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. (Matthew 24:26–31)

12I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 14The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Revelation 6:12–17)

The effects of this event are further reinforced by both the Apostle John and the Prophet Zechariah, and there are quite a few parallel passages on “the day of the Lord” which identify these same activities with this ultimate closing period of time. The mourning of the Gentile nations is likened to men trying to hide themselves and is more of an expression of regret and fear, but the mourning of Israel is one more closely associated with someone who is sincerely repentant in every sense of the biblical definition.

7BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. (Revelation 1:7)

10“I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. (Zechariah 12:10)

There are those who propose on the one hand that the anticipated revival of Israel will take place immediately within the wake of the Rapture, not infrequently by inferring that the 144,000 are active before the 7th Seal, going all the way back to the first day of Daniel’s 70th Week. This assertion most often comes from Pre-Tribulationists, many of  whom then also contrarily state that the Rapture could come years, even decades before the final seven years of the final week of years (one well-known proponent having claimed to calculate that it could not be more than 38 years prior to the start of that period). It is never explained how something identified as categorically taking place after the seal judgments have begun (the sealing of the 144,000) is actually working years before the final week of the eschaton even starts. Others assert that Israel’s revival does not take place until just at the very end of Daniel’s 70th Week in the shadow of Christ’s final Return through Edom to the Mt. of Olives in close proximity to what is popularly called “The Battle of Armageddon”.

There are other Israel-centric events in the Last Days, not the least of which is a mass escape out of the land of Israel into the wilderness (Rev. 12:1-6) before their ultimate return to the land. If their flight takes place in a sequence closely associated with the revealing of the Antichrist at the Abomination of Desolation (the midway point of Daniel’s 70th Week), followed shortly thereafter by the Rapture of the Church, there is still time for Elijah to minister for “three years and six months” and employ that time to prepare the persecuted Jewish people for the Messiah’s Return. But like John’s ministry which greatly overlapped Jesus’, this could well be the case again. Consider this in association with the ministry timeline of Elisha, whose life will recapitulate the Second Coming:

There may be a reason why we so often fixate on the Two Witnesses and forgo the plainly stated fact by Christ Himself that Elijah will come again, and that may have to do with our own focus on what is going to happen to us, the Church, up until the Rapture actually takes place, versus what comes after once we are removed.

While there is great debate as to whether the Two Witnesses operate mainly during the first half or the second half of the final seven years, it appears that “Elijah to come” operates largely in the second half, but we cannot discount an overlap which does not precisely synchronize with just the first or second half. Just as Elisha does not become fully active until the rapture of Elijah, the “Elijah to come” may not initiate his ministry until the removal of the Church, or at least in very close proximity to it. The promise through Malachi is for Elijah to return “before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD“, but there is a window of opportunity for this to happen shortly after the midway point of the 70th Week. Daniel tells us that the last half is actually “1,335 days” in length, meaning there is still a 75 day window to accommodate a ministry of “three years and six months” which can still start after the midway point, should his ministry be concentrated in that second half of Daniel’s 70th Week.

If, like this author, we subscribe to the notion that the Two Witnesses are not precisely synchronized with either the first or second  halves of that week of years because their death and resurrection takes place between the 6th and 7th Trumpets (the “second woe” in Rev. 11:14), and furthermore understand that the primary prophetic role of these two men is to have “tormented those who dwell on the earth”, (Rev. 11:10) it may actually be the things the Two Witnesses say and do during their time in Jerusalem which are leveraged by “Elijah to come” and combine with the act of witnessing the Rapture take place which launches the final End Times revival among Israel. There may be a relationship between these activities while still maintaining a distinctively separate ministry and appearance of the Two Witnesses versus “Elijah to come”.

It is often pointed out that Matthew tends to emphasize things which were of greater interest to the original all-Jewish audience to which he was writing at the time, whereas Luke caters more to the interests of a mixed, but numerically larger Gentile readership. The difference in each Gospel’s presentation of the Sermon on the Mount and the Olivet Discourse are often offered as primary examples of these different emphases. If this is a valid hermeneutic, it is worth noting that in Luke’s account of the Mt. of Transfiguration there is no identification of Elijah with John the Baptist nor any mention of Elijah’s ministry in either the First or Second Coming; this is exclusively found in Matthew alone. In keeping with the other examples, this may be telling us something about the timing of the return of “Elijah to come” and that the timing of this ministry occurs more likely after the removal of the mainly Gentile Church than before.

The biggest benefit for us is in refining our understanding of the true roles of the 144,000 and the Two Witnesses, and not improperly assigning traits and activities which could lead to a misidentification of what does intrinsically affect us.

19This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?20And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”

21They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.”

“Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”

22Then they said to him, “Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” 23He said, “I am A VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE STRAIGHT THE WAY OF THE LORD,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” 24Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. (John 1:19–24)

1On one of the days while He was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders confronted Him, 2and they spoke, saying to Him, “Tell us by what authority You are doing these things, or who is the one who gave You this authority?

3Jesus answered and said to them, “I will also ask you a question, and you tell Me: 4Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men?”

5They reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ 6But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” 7So they answered that they did not know where it came from.

8And Jesus said to them, “Nor will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” (Luke 20:1–8)

There is a basic problem which is replaying itself in these Last Days exactly as it took place during the First Coming: presuppositions. We want to earnestly desire to avoid repeating the same mistakes of introducing into our study of God’s Word assumptions and presuppositions of our own making, otherwise we’re in danger of not recognizing the actual fulfillment of God’s prophetic Word when it comes about in much the same way as the religious authorities cited above, and related instances of people in general throughout the Gospel accounts. Just as they did not recognize the cosmological sign announcing the arrival of Christ at His birth, neither will such fully recognize similar events at His Second Coming until it is too late. Understanding the difference between “Elijah to come” and the Two Witnesses may be critical for accurately understanding what is taking place, and when, in these Last Hours, especially if what we experience of these things comes within a relatively small window of time within the overall sequence. The Two Witnesses may have “1,260 days” in which to operate, and Elijah “three years and six months”, but there is sufficient textual proof that the Church may only witness these fulfillments for a very brief, yet critical, part of that time.

Return to "The Ministry of John the Baptist" | Go to "Appendix A"