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The Seven Raptures of the First Resurrection

July 1 2011

“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 15-16)

“…Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come and his wife hath made herself ready.  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.  And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb…”(Revelation 19:7-9a) 

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called, Faithful and True…And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” (Revelation 19:9a)

“But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death that no power, but they shall be priests of God and of the Messiah (Christ), and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:5-6)

For the past three years, the Holy Spirit has had me in meditation in the book of Revelation.  As I have done with the sermon on the mount, the book of Proverbs, and all the Epistles of the New Testament, I read it prayerfully through fifty times while praying in other tongues.  I started this practice of meditation of books of the Bible about 15 years ago under the ministry of Pastor Dave Roberson.  The Lord has always blessed me and rewarded me by feeding each book into my spirit with tremendous revelation.  I highly recommend this way of “eating the Word of God.” 

The book of Revelation, however, was much more challenging for me and took the most time of all.  I just couldn’t go quickly.  Sometimes I waited several months on the Lord in between readings.  By God’s grace, He has always visited me in a supernatural way during these times of waiting upon Him in meditation.  After my 34th time through Revelation last summer in August, I was allowed to visit heaven, which I documented and wrote about in on my website.  But, since then, I have had to wait for the Holy Spirit to release me to write on this subject.  Two weeks ago, while ministering in Kansas, I finally finished my fiftieth reading.  Then “she dawned”!  The question that I had was finally made clear in my spirit.

What was the question?  It was this:  Why is there so much confusion and contrary teachings in the Body of Messiah concerning the rapture(s) (catching away of the Bride of Messiah and the Tribulation saints to come to heaven)?  Who is right?  What is “rapture” anyway?

Now, I refused to read any commentaries or teachings on this subject.  I wanted the Holy Spirit to show me.  After all, isn’t He the Teacher sent to lead us into all truth?

Of course, I do not claim any infallibility.  I am only sharing what I have gleaned.  You, dear brothers and sisters, must judge for yourself.

So, hear is what He revealed to me:

There are seven instances of people being “caught up” to heaven while still living (what is called being “raptured” by some) in the Bible.

The first is found in Genesis 5:24:

 “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”

 Now Enoch is an interesting figure.  He actually has an ancient book attributed to him.  In Jewish writings from the beginning of our history, as well as in the days of Yeshua and the early church, it was considered by many Jewish scholars and Rabbis to be a part of the canon of scripture.  The letter of Jude (quoted above) is actually from this book of Enoch.  I tried to read it, but found it to be difficult to understand and confusing.  It is basically about angels, demons, fallen angels, and other prophecies about pre-Adamite history and also the end of the world.  But, the important thing is this man Enoch was unique in all the men in ancient times before the flood.  God took him to heaven in his body.  This is the first man to be raptured to heaven in the scriptures.  He did not die.

The second is found in 2 Kings 2:11:

 “And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.”

 The third is found in Acts 1:9-11:

“And when he (Yeshua, Jesus) had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.  And while they looked toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;  Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”

So our Lord Yeshua the Messiah ascended in His resurrection body to heaven.  But notice the phrase, “and a cloud received him out of their sight.”  This is an idiom that is found several times in the prophetic scriptures concerning rapture.  I believe, in this instance, it refers to other Old Testament saints that go with Yeshua at the same time.  That is why those watching were told that He would come again “in like manner” as He ascended.  Who is in the cloud?  There were the Old Testament believers that were waiting for the coming of Messiah.  Yeshua said that they were in a place called Paradise or Abraham’s bosom.  They were waiting so they could be born again and go to heaven.  Paradise is found in a place called “Sheol” which was an upper level above the abyss of hell found in the spiritual realm located in the center of the earth.  When Yeshua rose from the dead, the scriptures say that he went and preached to “the spirits in prison”.  (1Peter 3:19) The price had been paid for their full salvation and they were able to be born again spiritually.  It is interesting to note that when Yeshua died on the cross – other Old Testament saints also came back from the dead, as it is written:

This is the fourth rapture: the Old Testament saints that ascend with Yeshua.

 “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” (Matthew 27:52-53)

Very likely, these actually rose with Jesus – not when He died, but three days later, when He rose from the dead.  These all gave witness with Yeshua to His resurrection in Jerusalem.  Yeshua also spent forty days after he arose appearing unto many and teaching them. (Acts 1:2-3) I believe that those resurrected saints arose with Yeshua when He ascended and perhaps all the other Old Testament saints with him.  That is “the cloud” that received Him and went with Him to heaven. 

The Apostle Paul calls the fifth rapture “a mystery” in 1Corinthians 15:51-54, as it is written:

 “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep (die), but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet:  for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”

A second witness in the letters of Paul is found in 1Thessalonians 4:13-18, as it is written:

 “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep (have died), that ye sorrow not, even as others, which have no hope.  For if we believe that Yeshua (Jesus) died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord himself shall descend for heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Messiah shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

(Note:  “The last trump” should not be confused with the seventh trumpet judgment in Revelation – these are two different shofar/trumpet blasts)

This is still awaiting us in the near future.  This refers to the time when the true church of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) will be instantly raptured to meet the Lord in the air.  Paul says that all those that have died in faith, as true believers will first rise and then those that remain and are alive will not die, but go to heaven to be with the Lord during the last seven years of tribulation. 

Now, Yeshua and warn us repeatedly that we must “watch and pray” so that we will be ready when He comes in the midnight hour for His Bride.  Not all professing Christians will be raptured at this time.  Only those that are ready spiritually and are a part of the overcoming bride will be taken.

The Book of Revelation. 

Here are some truths:

1. There are at least three raptures in the book of Revelation.  The first one occurs between Revelation chapter 3 and chapter 4.  That is the fifth rapture as written above. The second is the bodily ascension of the two witnesses along with their harvest of souls.  The third occurs when the “man-child” of chapter twelve is caught up to heaven. There may be others that are not specified, but these three are clear.  I will come back to this.

2.  There are three witnesses of God during the Tribulation period.  The first are the 144,000 Jewish men from the twelve tribes that are sealed and anointed after the fifth rapture.  The second are the two witnesses, most likely Enoch and Elijah.  The third is at the very end of the Tribulation when three angels fly across the earth in the atmosphere.  The first angel preaches the gospel to all those that still remain on earth.  The second warns of the fall and judgment of Babylon.  The third warns of eternal damnation to all that receive the mark of the beast.

3.  The book of Revelation has cycles of judgment and harvest of the souls on earth during the last seven years before Yeshua comes back and establishes his Kingdom.  It goes back and forth from heaven to earth, showing and contrasting the events from God’s view and man’s.  It is entirely possible that some or all of these could be other raptures.  This is not specified.  I am certain, however, that many millions will be killed/martyred and then come to heaven this way and are then given their resurrected bodies.

4.  It is actually showing how merciful God is with sinful man.  The Holy Spirit is NOT taken from the earth ever.  In fact, it is God’s glory that brings judgment on the sin of Man.  The fires of revival and glory will increase more and more until men will either fall on their faces and repent, or they will curse God and shake their fists at Him.  One thing for sure, God and His glory will be clearly seen, recognized and experienced.  He cannot be ignored. None shall be able to deny or escape.  There will be millions and millions that will be saved during the Tribulation.  Many will be martyred for their faith in Messiah.  God will defend and save Israel and the Jewish people, gather them to the land of Israel, purify them, protect them, and reveal Messiah unto them.  However, not every individual Jew will believe and be saved.  Israel as a whole (the nation) will be.

5. Babylon will be destroyed by God Himself by fire.  For an explanation of the six Babylons in the Bible, go to my teaching “The Wine of Babylon” and “Visions from the Dallas, Texas Revival 1985” on my web sight. 

Note:  I did receive additional revelation on the two “cities”:  called Mystery Babylon and Babylon the Great. (Revelation chapters 17-18)  I went to Italy last month to perform and minister for the first time.   The last place I ministered in Italy was Rome.   As we were being driven into the city, I had a vision.  I saw the principality over Rome.  It was like nothing I have ever seen before.  It looked exactly like the woman described in Revelation chapter 17.  I believe that there may be more than one city that God calls “Babylon” in the tribulation time.  There is financial Babylon, which may be New York City, which Satan uses as his throne over the end time global economic system.  The city of Rome might be the city/throne where Satan rules of the global religious system called “Mystery Babylon”.  Finally, there may be a city that will be built over the ruins of ancient Babylon where the anti-Messiah will rule from.  However, this is only conjecture, because the Bible, in my opinion, does not clearly show these cities.  Perhaps there will be three different cities from which Satan will control the world.  It does say that the antichrist will go to Jerusalem and enter the temple and proclaim he is God during the last half of the Tribulation.  A “living and speaking” image, perhaps holographic, will be put there and those that take his mark will be forced to worship him.

6.  In the immediate future, there will be a regional Middle-east war in which Israel will defeat radical Islam. This will happen directly surrounding the nation of Israel.  Israel will be victorious, though damaged and hurt.  Then after this, a Jewish temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem in its’ rightful place on the temple mount.  The Jewish people will once again establish animal sacrifice, the Levitical priesthood, and will have total control of the temple mount for a short time – perhaps the first three years and a half of the Tribulation.  However, I personally do not believe that God builds this temple.  The Temple that he builds is found at the end of Ezekiel.  It will be built at the start of the Messianic Kingdom and after the terrible tribulation period of seven years.  Yeshua will rule and reign from there for a thousand years on the throne of David.  All this must soon come to pass.

The sixth rapture is the most clear and open of all in the book of Revelation.  It is found in Revelation chapter 11 concerning the two witnesses, as it is written:

 “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth…and when they have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them…And after three days and a half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.

And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, come up hither.  And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.”  (Revelation 11:3,7,11-12)

These two witnesses are not named, but I believe that they are Enoch and Elijah.  I believe also that the phrase, “in a cloud” refers to all those who are alive that they have won to God through their ministry.  They ascend with them.  (Note:  I do not think that the book of Revelation is entirely chronological.  This may very well happen in the last 3 and half years.  But, because it appears in chapter 11, I have put it as number six.)

The seventh rapture is found in Revelation 12:5, as it is written:

 “And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.”

It took me a long time to see it, but on my 48th time through Revelation I finally saw it.  Chapter 12 was a difficult chapter until the Holy Spirit illuminated my mind.  Chapter 12 is the story of the woman who gives birth to a son who rules with a rod of iron over the nations.  This is a dual prophetic reference.  It is certainly referring to Yeshua as the Messiah, judging and ruling from His throne over all the nations with Torah during the thousand years, as it is written in Psalm 2.  There is no question that the woman is the nation of Israel/the Jewish people if you recognize the imagery of the sun clothing her, the moon under her feet, and the crown of twelve stars.  This is found in Genesis 37:9 in the dream of Joseph.

But, the problem is, that in the context of chapter 12, immediately following is two end time events of the Tribulation.  One is describing the fall of Satan with his angels to the earth and being cast out of heaven.  You see, Satan at the present time has access to the throne of God still and is accusing the saints before God in the court of heaven.  But at this time he is finally thrown out and never allowed back into heaven.  So he goes to try to destroy the Jews (what else is new?).  They flee into Petra where God protects them for the last half of the Tribulation.  This is also a dual prophetic reference.  It does refer to the fall of Lucifer before the Adam and Eve with the third of the angels who fell with him.  But, in the context it is most definitely speaking of this end time persecution of Israel.  So, the “man child” cannot refer exclusively to Yeshua.  It must also be during the tribulation.  I believe that the Man Child of Revelation chapter 12 refers to the 144,000 Jewish believers who win millions to the Lord during the first half of the Tribulation period. 

When they have finished their ministry they are also raptured into heaven. We see them there in Revelation 14:1-5, singing before the throne of God and playing harps.  In Revelation 15:2-4, as well as in Revelation 12:10-12, we see the harvest of souls from their ministry.  They are also in heaven.  Some will have died and been martyred, but I also believe that many that are still alive are also raptured to heaven with the 144,000 at the same time.  So, if this is true, there is a “mid Tribulation rapture” after all!  It is hidden though, and I would not preach it as doctrine, because it is only implied in the scriptures.

 Finally, a great event takes place in heaven, as it is written in Revelation 19:7-9:

 “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.  And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb…”

All of God’s people – the Old Testament believers, the believers of the church age, and the Tribulation saints are all gathered in heaven.  At that time there is a great wedding in heaven.  The heavenly Bridegroom now eternally marries his Bride.  He prepares us to return to earth with Him which immediately follows, as it is written in Revelation 19:11-16.  He returns on a white horse with all the saints following “as a cloud, or in a cloud” as it is perceived from earth.  Yeshua destroys the ungodly armies gathered against Jerusalem from all nations with the sword of His mouth.  He then sets up His eternal Kingdom upon earth, ruling forever and ever from Jerusalem.

There is an additional group of people that are alive and remain at His coming to the earth.  Not all will be killed and damned to hell and the lake of fire.  Some will see Him at His second coming and will cry out for mercy.  Even then, the Lord will hear and pardon them.  They will be rescued at the very last moment.  These will be those in their natural bodies that will populate the earth during the one thousand years’ paradise and perfection on the earth.  They will live and die at a very old age, have children, and live in a perfect world without evil.  We will see what it should have been like if Adam hadn’t fallen.  This is the final seventh Day: the Day of the Lord…the Sabbath of rest for the entire earth.  All of us that live in their resurrected bodies as His Bride will rule and reign with Messiah.  

 “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years be finished.  This is the first resurrection.  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Messiah and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:5-6)

The first resurrection are all those that have been saved from Adam until the marriage supper of the Lamb.  We shall be given our eternal bodies and we will rule and reign forever with our Messiah.  Blessed be He forevermore! 

May the Lord bless and keep you faithful in this midnight hour.

Shalom and love in our Messiah,

Maurice Sklar

 

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