Why do you believe that the Rapture will take place a year before the end of the 70th Week?

Email Received:

You seem to indicate, in a couple of your commentaries, that the Rapture will take place about a year before the end of the 70th Week. This would indicate that believers would have to endure six of the final seven years prior to Jesus' return back to earth. How have you come to this conclusion? Are there any Bible passages indicating this?

Ted's Response:

Biblically, God has set a pattern of working for six "days" or time periods, then ceasing work on the Sabbath: the seventh "day" or time period. This pertains to Creation (Exo. 20:11a), as well as to people (Exo. 20:9,10, 21:2), and even to land (Leviticus 25:2-4). From Daniel 9:27a, we know that there is to transpire a "week" of seven years: the 70th Week. In the 70th Week, during the time period encompassed by the first six seals (Revelation 6:1-17), the Lamb (Jesus) is seen to be opening each of the seals. Then, in sequence, He will open the Seventh Seal, with a subsequent short period of silence in heaven (8:1).

Because of God's principle of doing something for six units of time and then discontinuing that task during the seventh unit of time, it seems reasonable to suppose that the seven years of the 70th Week will be no different. That is, He actively will be in the process of opening the seals for six years and then will cease doing so for one year. Interestingly, this final period will begin with a brief period of "silence in heaven" (Revelation 8:1), perhaps to signify, to all of creation, that God has concluded a six-year-long process.

This is not to say that God will be pouring out His wrath during the first six years of the 70th Week (as this period of trials, birth pains, and great tribulation will not be a direct result of God's wrath). It does indicate that the "work" of Jesus, the Lamb, as far as opening the seven seals of the heavenly scroll (Revelation 5:1-5), will be over when He opens the Seventh Seal. After this, He will "rest" from this task and will direct the seven angels to be the instruments who will pour out the trumpet judgments (constituting the initial phase of God's direct wrath)—very possibly for a period of one year.

The wrath of God will be imminent only after the Sixth Seal has been opened (Revelation 6:16,17). This is when the Rapture will take place. Then, after the Seventh Seal is opened, "the seven angels who stand before God" will be given the seven trumpets, the instruments by which the first phase of God's wrath will be blown out upon the earth (8:2,6,7a,8a,10a,12a, 9:1a,13a, 11:15a).

The Seventh Seal: Day of the Lord portion of the 70th Week is the period of time during which God's wrathful vengeance will be unleashed upon the earth, followed directly by the glorious Millennium. Isaiah made three different references to the wrathful period, each time calling it the "day of vengeance" and, in each case, seeming to imply that it would last for a year:

For the LORD has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion's cause. (Isaiah 34:8)

...to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn.... (Isaiah 61:2.

For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redemption has come. (Isaiah 63:4)
How do we know that the "year of retribution," the "year of the LORD's favor," and the "year of [God's] redemption" all are referring to the same year?
  1. The word "retribution" means "vengeance." This will be the year that the ultimate outpouring of God's wrathful retribution or vengeance, upon an unrepentant, rebellious world, will take place.
  2. The word “favor” implies that God will look favorably upon those who are saved. They will be caught up at the Rapture and will spend the next year in heaven, while God's wrath is being discharged upon the earth, via the trumpet judgments (Revelation 8:6–9:21).
  3. The word "redemption" implies that those who have believed in the saving power of the Lord Jesus will be redeemed or saved, via the Rapture, which will take place at the beginning of that year. They will be rescued from God's coming wrath (1 Thessalonians 1:10, 5:9,10).
Perhaps all of this is summarized in this verse:
...say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you" (Isaiah 35:4).
Primarily, God's vengeance during the Day of the Lord will be in response to slain believers, having cried out to God during the Fifth Seal persecution. They will be pleading with God to judge mankind and to avenge their blood:
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" (Revelation 6:9,10)
Soon thereafter, following the opening of the Sixth Seal, dead believers will be resurrected, and living believers will be caught up and away at the Pre-wrath Rapture, being hidden away in heaven, and then God will punish the people of the earth for their sins and for the blood of His saints that has been shed upon the earth:
But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead. Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer. (Isaiah 26:19-21)
Incidentally, I do not believe that the events corresponding to the opening of each of the seven seals necessarily will take exactly one year, apiece, to transpire. During a given week, some job-related activities, for humans, will take more than a day, while some will take less. However, the final Sabbath period, during which no regular daily tasks are undertaken, is the last day (one-seventh) of that week (see the seventh year).

By the way, although I do believe that the Pre-wrath Rapture will be the main event to catch up believers, I also see the possibility of a partial Mid-tribulation Rapture, of “firstfruits believers” or “wise virgins,” in fulfillment of Matthew 25:2,4,10, to occur at the beginning of the final half of the 70th Week.

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