SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO THE NEW TESTAMENT THAT HAS NO EXCEPTIONS: CHRIST’S PRECEDENT
For years, I was aware of the three popular theories of Christ’s appearance for His church: Pre-tribulation (“signless Rapture”), mid-tribulation, and post-tribulation. Like most in Christ’s kingdom, I subscribed to one of the three. That was until the year 2000, when I experienced six weeks of divine intervention.
To summarize: Peter, Paul, and John are in complete agreement and all three apostles disagree with the three popular theories (as given). The apostles’ harmonious voice is founded upon a profound—yet grossly neglected—biblical truth established by the Son of God in the Gospels. That was a revelation to me.
From this biblical truth, this truth is evident: the Rapture, accompanied by dramatic heavenly and earthly signs, prior to the wrath, is sound doctrine. And, the Apocalypse (Christ’s second coming to the Holy Land) will come to pass at the end of Daniel’s final prophecy to Israel. Additionally, these prophecies are in alignment with the Hebrew calendar.
The principle established by Christ in the Gospels reveals a systematic approach to the New Testament that has no exceptions. Every week I will update the homepage. When we are done, you will see the New Testament through the eyes of Christ and His precedent.
Christ’s precedent is found in the answer to this question:
Why did Christ quote Old Testament prophets?
Christ quoted Old Testament prophets to reveal the present tense fulfillment of prophecy or the future tense fulfillment of prophecy. And, He quoted the Old Testament prophets in the light of New Testament revelation.
In the revelation Christ gave from the right hand of God, He continued to combine the Old and New Testaments, revealing what He fulfilled and what He shall fulfill. He revealed the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy in light of New Testament revelation—which is the mystery that was hidden in God. By doing so, Christ revealed the mystery of the church/Christ’s kingdom hidden in the Old Testament. In essence, He showed us the harmony between the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles. And, by handing us multiple witnesses on identical subjects, Christ’s revelation yields unmistakable conclusions.
When Christ’s precedent is applied to the revelation given by the apostles, the interpretation of their revelation is provided by Christ. For, it is His precedent that is being applied.
CHRIST’S PRECEDENT: PRESENT TENSE FULFILLMENT: Luke 4
Christ said, “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms” (Luke 24:44).
In Luke 4, Christ quoted Isaiah (61:1, 2a).
And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. (Luke 4:17-21)
Christ quoted Isaiah to reveal the present tense fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy when He said: “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”
CHRIST’S PRECEDENT: FUTURE TENSE FULFILLMENT: Matt. 24
In Matthew 24, Christ quoted Daniel (9:27).
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? (Matt. 24:3)
These questions pertain to future tense fulfillment. And in Christ’s response, He quoted an Old Testament prophet:
[T]his gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains. (Matt. 24:14-16)
Christ quoted Daniel and, in doing so, He revealed the future fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy in the light of New Testament revelation.
This precedent established by Christ is His standard—as to why an Old Testament prophet is quoted. Thus, when an apostle quotes an Old Testament prophet, it is either to reveal the present tense or future tense fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy in the context of New Testament revelation. This is the systematic approach to the New Testament that has no exceptions.
Prior to addressing the Old Testament prophets quoted by Peter, Paul, and John, I thought it would benefit this thread to establish common ground by referring to Paul quoting an Old Testament prophet in Romans 1. That is my next post, next week.
God bless you.
Dr. William Ayles
In Romans, Paul quoted the Old Testament prophet, Habakkuk (2:4): “The just shall live by faith.”
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (Rom. 1:16, 17)
Habakkuk prophesied, “The just shall live by faith,” and Paul quoted it in the context of New Testament revelation, which is this: “salvation to every one that believeth.” Why did Paul quote Habakkuk?
By the authority of Jesus Christ we know why: it is either the present tense or future tense fulfillment of prophecy, placed in the context of New Testament revelation.
Paul quoted Habakkuk in the context of “salvation to every one that believeth.” This applies to the present tense. Thus, Paul quoted Habakkuk to show the present tense fulfillment of Habakkuk’s prophecy, which applies to our present salvation. Paul expounded upon “The just shall live by faith” later in Romans when he presented, “the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved” (Rom. 10:8-10).
Habakkuk prophesied of faith, and Paul quoted Habakkuk in the context of New Testament revelation. This New Testament revelation is the “mystery,” which is the hidden wisdom of God, fully revealed through Christ’s revelation to His apostles.
The mystery is composed of brand new revelation that Christ gave His apostles and, in addition, prophecies in the Old Testament. This is exactly what Paul presented in Romans:
Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith. (Rom. 16:25, 26)
The revelation of the mystery is composed of:
1. What is “now is made manifest” which is revelation never before revealed.
2. And, “by the scriptures of the prophets” which is the mystery hidden in plain sight in the Old Testament, and quoted by the apostles to demonstrate what pertained to the mystery, the church. (Note: These Old Testament prophecies were not understood at time given because God kept the true meaning a “mystery”—which would not be fully revealed until after the Ascension of Christ.)
Together, the Old Testament prophecies and New Testament revelation combine to reveal to us the mystery. This is exactly what Christ revealed to Peter, Paul, and John about our current salvation (“the just shall live by faith”), and our future salvation (the Rapture).
Subsequent posts will focus on our future tense salvation, quoting Peter, Paul, and John and the Old Testament prophets they quoted. Christ’s precedent will be applied to each.
I will start with Peter.
Dr. William Ayles
On Pentecost, Peter quoted Joel (2:28-32a).
And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:12–21)
On Pentecost, Peter quoted Joel. Why?
By the authority of Jesus Christ we know why: it is either the present tense or future tense fulfillment of prophecy. Or, in this case, it is both.
First: Present Tense
The crowd asked Peter, “What meaneth this?” And Peter quoted Joel.
Peter quoted Joel for the same reason Paul quoted Habakkuk: it is the present tense fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.
Peter quoted Joel because it was the present tense fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy (Joel 2:28, 29). The Spirit was poured out, and continues to be poured out on those who believe the message of faith. In essence, on Pentecost, Peter revealed the mystery—which pertains to the church—hidden in Joel. Joel’s prophecy of the Spirit being poured out was directly connected to New Testament revelation, for, when Peter heralded to the crowd that Jesus is the Messiah, Peter then said: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
Peter quoted Joel to demonstrate the present tense fulfillment of prophecy, just as Paul did when he quoted Habakkuk—just as Christ did when He quoted Isaiah in Luke 4. This is Christ’s precedent.
Second: Future Tense
Additionally, Peter didn’t end his quote with Joel 2:29. He continued until Joel 2:32a, prophesying about the day of the Lord: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:20, 21).
Peter prophesied about the day of the Lord for the same reason Christ quoted Daniel in Matthew 24: to reveal the future tense fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy—which is when the day of the Lord comes to pass. And according to Peter’s prophecy, our future tense salvation is accompanied by heavenly signs: the sun turning black and the moon turning blood red.
By quoting Joel 2:28–32a, Peter revealed the future tense and present tense fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. In doing so, Peter connected our present tense salvation (filled with the Spirit), with our future tense salvation (the Rapture, which will come to pass on the day of the Lord).
In his quote of Joel, Peter is referring to all those who call on the name of Lord—which, in the context of Peter’s prophecy, are those filled with the Holy Spirit. That’s us: Christ’s church/kingdom. The mystery of this kingdom was hidden in Joel, 2:28–32a.
Note: The rest of Joel’s prophecy (Joel 2:32b & Chapter 3) applies to Israel’s future salvation.
Next: Paul’s quote of Old Testament prophets as it pertains to our future salvation.
Paul, Isaiah, and Hosea: 1 Corinthians, 15:51-55
In Corinthians 15:51-55, when Paul quoted Isaiah and Hosea, he did so in the light of New Testament revelation. What is the New Testament revelation? Paul began his prophecy by saying this: “Behold, I shew you a mystery” (1 Cor. 15:51). Christ gave Paul revelation about a mystery, which included Paul quoting Old Testament prophets to reveal the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.
Here is “a mystery” and the Old Testament prophets, together:
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: 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. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (1 Cor. 15:51-55)
Paul revealed a mystery, and part of that mystery was already hidden in the Old Testament. Paul revealed the mystery hidden in the Old Testament when he quoted two Old Testament prophets. Isaiah: “He will swallow up death in victory” (Isa. 25:8). Hosea: “O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction” (13:14). In essence, Paul revealed the mystery hidden in the Old Testament, which pertained to the future fulfillment of prophecy for Christ’s kingdom: the Rapture.
At the time of the Rapture, “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.” At this time, the prophecies given by Isaiah and Hosea will be fulfilled. This conclusion is based on Christ’s precedent: Old Testament prophets are quoted to show the fulfillment of prophecy in light of New Testament revelation.
Like Paul and Peter, John also quoted Old Testament prophets in the context of our future salvation (the Rapture).
In Revelation 7, John quoted Isaiah:
“They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.” (Isa. 49:10)
“[T]he Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces.” (Isa. 25:8)
John quoted Isaiah for the same reason Paul quoted Isaiah and Hosea, and for the same reason Peter quoted Joel: to reveal the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy in light of New Testament revelation, the mystery. Paul and John both quoted from the prophecy found in Isaiah 25:8. This is not a coincidence; it is Christ’s precedent.
Here is John’s Revelation 7 prophecy of Christ’s kingdom:
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. (Rev. 7:9-17)
“Salvation to our God” is future tense salvation. John is describing those who “have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” These are those in Christ’s kingdom, which, in this prophecy, are raptured to His throne. John’s vision of the church raptured to Heaven concludes with John’s quote of Isaiah (Rev. 7:16, 17). John quoted Isaiah to show the future fulfillment of prophecy, in the context of New Testament revelation.
John’s prophecy follows the sixth seal, and comes before the seventh seal. Thus, John’s quote of Isaiah is part of the sixth seal revelation:
And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood. And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. (Rev. 6:12-14)
This seal presents the same signs as prophesied by Peter: the sun turning black and the moon turning blood red. Through John, Christ expounded upon Peter's prophecy on Pentecost: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:20, 21).
Gentiles, Jews, and Church of God
Following the sixth seal, there are three separate prophecies for three separate groups of people: Gentiles (Rev. 6:15–17), Jews (Rev. 7:1–8), and the church of God (Rev. 7:9–17). This is exactly how God sees His creation: “the Jews, … the Gentiles, … the church of God” (1 Cor. 10:32).
The plagues of the wrath begin after the seventh seal opens in Revelation 8. And with the church already raptured to Heaven, it is saved from the wrath—just as Paul prophesied.
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (Rom. 5:9)
And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. (1 Thess. 1:10)
For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thess. 5:9)
The “salvation” prophesied by Paul is the same salvation prophesied by John: “Salvation to our God.” These prophecies are founded upon Peter’s prophecy: “whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” It is the future salvation of Christ’s kingdom.
All three apostles revealed our future salvation and quoted Old Testament prophets in their prophecies. When applying Christ’s precedent, Peter, Paul, and John quoted these prophets to reveal what will come to pass—in light of New Testament revelation. Thus, the following conclusion is unmistakable: The Rapture, which is accompanied by dramatic heavenly and earthly signs, will occur before the wrath (God’s judgment upon the world). Christ’s kingdom does not go through this judgment for the very reason Paul stated: those in the kingdom are “justified by his blood.” The kingdom isalready judged righteous.
Next: Paul’s prophecy of the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4 & 5, and what Paul says about the day of the Lord coming as a thief, and what Christ has to say about coming as a thief.
Paul: The Day of the Lord: 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 5:1-11
Paul began his prophecy of the Rapture in 1 Thess. 4:13 and ended his prophecy by declaring Christ’s kingdom is saved from wrath (1 Thess. 5:9). Thus, the “effect” of being saved from the wrath has an unmistakable “cause,” the Rapture.
The Rapture: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that 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 from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thess. 4:13-18)
Paul’s prophecy revealed exactly what will come to pass when the Lord Jesus Christ appears in the clouds: The dead in Christ will be resurrected and those alive in Christ will be transformed immortal to ever be with Him.
As Paul continued with his prophecy, He prophesied about the day of the Lord—just as Peter did on Pentecost. Paul prophesied:
Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. (1 Thess. 5:1, 2)
When Paul prophesied about the “day of the Lord” coming like a “thief in the night,” he prophesied about “times and dates,” not the lack of signs.
When Christ prophesied of His return to the Holy Land, He said: “Behold, I come like a thief!” (Rev. 16:15). This prophecy is in the context of Armageddon, which is “the battle on the great day of God Almighty” (Rev. 16:14). As prophesied, God will save Israel in this battle.
Who among us would say Armageddon is a “signless” event?
If Christ doesn’t use “thief” to mean a “signless” event, then what right does anyone in His church have to claim that Paul’s use of “thief” means the Rapture is a “signless” event?
This prophecy of a “thief” issued by Christ has a precedent in the Old Testament. Isaiah prophesied of Israel’s salvation and how that salvation would be instantaneous and dramatic.
But the multitude of your enemies [that assault you] will become like fine dust, And the multitude of the tyrants like the chaff whichblows away; And it will happen in an instant, suddenly [that your enemy is destroyed]. You will be punished by the Lord of hosts with thunder and earthquake and great noise, With whirlwind and tempest and the flame of a consuming fire. (Isa. 29:5, 6)
Isaiah, Christ, and Paul are all referring to the same subject, “timing,” not the lack of the signs. Christ’s reference to a thief speaks not of a quiet return, but of the sudden surprise of His return—just as Paul prophesied of the sudden nature of events pertaining to Christ’s descent during the Rapture: “While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape (1 Thess. 5:3).
Paul completed his prophecy by giving Christ’s kingdom instruction, wisdom, and comfort:
But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. (1 Thess. 5:4-11)
If Paul prophesied that Christ’s kingdom is not appointed to wrath, then how can the kingdom be appointed to wrath? It can’t. Those in the kingdom—“the children of lightand children of the day”—will be raptured suddenly, but it will not come as a surprise. The kingdom is expecting their King.
Christ’s precedent has been applied to the prophecies of Peter, Paul, and John. Each apostle quoted the Old Testament for the same reason Christ did: to show the present tense or future tense fulfillment of prophecy in light of New Testament revelation. Christ’s precedent gives His kingdom a systematic approach to the New Testament that has no exceptions. From this biblical truth, this truth is evident: Our future salvation, the Rapture, will be accompanied by dramatic heavenly and earthly signs, and we will be raptured out of great tribulation (not wrath), and the Rapture will come to pass with the opening of the sixth seal, which precedes the wrath of the seventh seal.
To ignore Christ’s precedent is to apply man’s opinion to our future salvation, which yields three popular theories—all of which are unsound doctrine.
Pre-tribulation (“signless Rapture”): The belief the Rapture occurs without any signs, prior to Daniel’s 7-year prophecy.
Mid-tribulation Rapture: The belief the Rapture occurs 3.5 years after the start of the wrath (at the midpoint of Daniel’s 7-year prophecy).
Post-tribulation Rapture/Salvation: The belief that there is only one descent of Christ from the right hand of God, which is at the end of the 7-year prophecy, saving both the church and Israel simultaneously.
Peter, Paul, and John all quoted Old Testament prophets, and each provided different pieces of the prophetic puzzle—revealing the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy in light of New Testament revelation. If we choose to embrace Christ’s precedent, then we have His interpretation of our salvation.
Next: Christ’s Second Coming to the Holy Land
At the time of this next post, this article will move to the right bar of the homepage. Look for the article under, “Christ’s Precedent.”
Dr. William Ayles