Tom: You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him.
We’re currently discussing Dave Hunt’s book When Will Jesus Come? Compelling Evidence for the Soon Return of Christ.
Dave, to start right off, you write (I’m quoting), “The final events described in Revelation require the Rapture both to set the stage and act as a catalyst to cause otherwise impossible alignments to take place. Moreover, without the Rapture, all the saints (Zechariah:14:5) would not be in heaven ready to accompany Christ back to the earth.”
So how will the Rapture set the stage that you’re talking about?
Dave: Well, you mentioned “impossible alignments.” When you look at what’s going on in Iraq right now, the Shiites and the Sunnis are killing one another by the thousands, literally. But how are you going to get the Buddhists—and now I hear that there are some Buddhists in favor of war! They’re supposed to be non-violent. You’re going to get the Catholics and the Baptists, the Muslims, and the Jews, you’re going to get everybody all aligned together? Which must be, for a one-world religion and a one-world government, and it is very clear that this is what the Bible teaches.
Revelation 13: “All the world will worship him.” It’s what it says. They’re going to love this guy, and everyone is subject to him. No one can rebel against him, but they want to follow him. And, Tom…
Tom: Sure, it’s to the point of worship—not just abiding or going along with the program.
Dave: Right. So what would bring this about? And we’ve talked about this a bit in the past. Some people say, “Well, out of the ashes of a nuclear holocaust would come this unity.” No. I mean, not a chance. You don’t get unity out of war, you just get more bitterness and hatred.
Tom: It’s never happened in history past. Look at any of the wars! Look at the vengeance that comes, the want to pay back their enemies.
Dave: Right. Well, the one event would be if suddenly a hundred million people vanished from this planet, and I don’t know how many people there would be. I’m trying to be conservative. They estimate about 80 million, I think, in China, Christians…
Tom: Who are true believers.
Dave: Right, and there must be that many in Africa, if not more. How many in the United States, I don’t know. But let’s just conservatively say if a hundred million people vanished from this planet, the terror that would result is unimaginable. We can’t even begin to think about it. “Where did they go? Who took them? Why didn’t they take me?” I mean, that’s a logical question! “Why was I left behind?” And no one will believe it was the Rapture, because the Bible says God will give them a strong delusion to believe the lie. You and I could think of many scenarios: “Well, they’ve been snatched as slaves aboard UFOs,” or even “transmuted and sent through space…”
Tom: Or these are the individuals that were a problem for our evolutionary developments, so they were removed by some power so that we could continue onto our godhood and so on.
Tom: I mean, there’s all kinds of…
Dave: We’ve talked to New Agers who said, “Well, those who are not spiritually prepared, this is a leap to a higher man, homo noeticus. And those who haven’t been doing their yoga, they’re not spiritually prepared, they are going to be removed to a non-physical dimension until their karma catches up with them and they’re allowed back on the physical plane.”
And then I’ve talked to UFO cultists who said, “Well, the space brothers…” And they are in communication with these entities! They really think they’re in touch with the beings that are running the UFOs and circling the earth and so forth. And they say, “Well, the space brothers have told us that when we take over….” I don’t know if you’ve read Childhood’s End. You probably have…
Dave: Yeah, that’s a very interesting book! And these beings take over, do take over the planet. But, “When we take over, all those who are rebels in their hearts,” you know, “they’re not willing to go along with this New World Order that we will establish, they will be…”
Tom: Dave, why do you say “we”?
Dave: Well, these are the space brothers…
Tom: Oh, okay.
Tom: Speaking for the space brothers.
Dave: [laughing] I’m not at all…
Tom: All right, all right.
Dave: Thank you! And all the rebels, they will know—the space brothers will know who they are, and they will beam them up! “Beam me up, Scotty!” They’ll take them on UFOs off to a slave planet where their minds will be reprogrammed before they’re allowed back on planet Earth. Anyway…
Tom: Well, we see hints of that with movies like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, only we find out where these—all these pilots and individuals who have disappeared, where they went. Now they’re sort of returned. So at least the idea has been planted.
Dave: Oh, the idea has been planted big time! Yes, over and over, and I think it…
Tom, I’ve often said it, but I’ll say it again: you know, when I was a boy—I’m older than you are, so I can’t vouch for when you were a boy growing up, but we had in the funny papers, comic strips, “Buck Rogers,” “Flash Gordon,” this kind of stuff…space travel and so forth. Tom, nobody believed it! It was pure fantasy! It would never happen—but it did! Now today, the kids today, they take it seriously, no matter what they see. They see Harry Potter? Well, maybe they could develop powers like that as well!
So all of this, the preparation has been made.
Tom: Dave, you talk about seeds being planted—you know, I think from a Christian perspective it’s a bit of a…something I can’t explain, except it’s consistent with the Scriptures. Back in the early ‘70s, as you well know, Hal Lindsey wrote a book called The Late Great Planet Earth, and I don’t know of any book that really promoted the Rapture of the church like that book. Many people got saved, you know, it was a very effective book. Sold in the millions, which, up until that point, probably that was the most—the best-selling Christian book (obviously outside the Bible). Yet after a while, the Rapture sort of fell on deaf ears. People were moved—many moved from a pre-Trib to a post-Trib.
And then, you know, of late, Tim LaHaye comes out with a series, Left Behind. Again the Rapture is placed before the general public, and they’re buying books by the millions! Yet it doesn’t stick! Still the idea of a Rapture doesn’t seem to impress people, although the books sold, you know, in the millions. I mean, how do you figure that? And Scripture does say that the Rapture is not going to be a popular idea in the last days.
Dave: Yeah, there will be scoffers, 2 Peter 3 says, who will say, “Where is the promise of His coming?”
Tom, I remember those days very well. The Late Great Planet Earth—Hal says he didn’t really say that, but many people took it to mean 40 years of generation from 1948 would be 1988, and that would wrap up the whole thing, the Second Coming and so forth. Subtract seven-year Great Tribulation from that—would be ’81. So the Rapture would occur in 1981, and I remember the bumper stickers: “Ride at your own risk: I’m leaving in the Rapture!”
Tom, I’m old enough to remember there was great excitement in the church at that time. “Wow! It’s about to happen!” In fact, as I may have mentioned on this program, we had more meetings—we lived in a large home at that time. I was in the business world. We had more meetings in that home than most churches have, and one of them we had special meetings for Jewish people. And I remember we had about 125 Jewish people in our living room, and I had invited Hal—he was a close friend in those days—to speak to them, and that’s when he first held up Late Great Planet Earth, and it was a mockup—inside pages were blank, but he had the cover. Held it up, very excited—I remember that very clearly. And I remember how excited the church was in those days, and I also remember people would ask my opinion: “What do you think? Is Christ coming right now, or is He coming in ’81?”
And I would say, “I hope He comes. I believe in imminency, so He could come at any moment. But somehow, I don’t think He’s coming just yet, because too many people think He’s coming!”
And in Matthew:24:44, Jesus said, “At such an hour as you think not, the Son of Man cometh.” So that would have to be, of course, the Rapture. We talked about that in the last few weeks. The Rapture’s a separate event from the Second Coming. The Second Coming, that’s at the end of the Great Tribulation. The world is practically destroyed, the Antichrist is about to destroy Israel, Jerusalem, and so forth, and to imagine that the church (if the church were here) would say, “Oh, I don’t think He’s coming now”? You’ve got to be kidding! Nothing else to imagine would happen. He would have to come!
So this must be talking about an earlier event, when there are no signs—I mean, there’s nothing to make you think that the Rapture could occur right at that moment. And Jesus said, “At such an hour as you think not, the Son of Man cometh.” And then earlier in the chapter—verse 33 or 34, somewhere around there—He also says, “When you see all these signs come to pass, you know My coming is right at the door.” So you couldn’t have something that you wouldn’t imagine it was going to happen and at the same time, all the signs and everybody knows it’s going to happen. We have to be talking about two events.
So we’re going to unite this world. It has to be united under Antichrist. What could cause it to be united? This incredible event where maybe a hundred million, maybe more vanish from this earth, and the terror that that would cause! And the world would unite behind the man, I think, Tom, within hours?
Tom: But, Dave, wait a minute—you’re talking about Christians being raptured!
Tom: There are a lot of places where there aren’t any Christians. There are a lot of religious villages here and there—if you’re going to unite the world under one religion and there’s a place in which, again, there are no Christians, no true believers in Christ to be raptured, how is that going to affect them?
Dave: Well, Tom, I’m not dogmatic about this, but I think the babies have gone.
Tom: That would certainly get everybody’s attention throughout the world.
Dave: Right. In my opinion, Jesus made some interesting statements about little infants. He said, “Suffer the children to come unto Me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” And He also said their angels—and, Tom, I can’t fathom this one, but I believe there’s a guardian angel watching over everybody!
Tom: Hebrews gives us that impression.
Dave: Right, and I still remember when I, about five years old, stepped off the curb and someone picked me up and brought me back—I can still remember that. There was no one there, but a car just went zipping around that corner that would have killed me.
But anyway, Jesus said, “Their angels do always behold the face of My Father who is in heaven.” So apparently there’s a period of innocence—well, David said of the baby that died, “He’s not going to come back to me [in other words, no reincarnation], but I will go to him.” And David certainly wasn’t going to hell, so this baby must have been in heaven. So I don’t think Christ is going to leave the innocent little babies to the tender mercies of the Antichrist. Now, what age bracket that means, I don’t know. But I think this entire world is so terrified, they don’t know what to do! And when this man arises with all the power of Satan, Scripture says, doing lying signs and wonders, and he knows where they went and he’s going to get them back, the world—I mean, he would have to make that kind of promise. The world will unite behind him.
Tom: Right. Let me read some of the scriptures that give some of the characteristics of this individual referred to as the Antichrist.
Second Thessalonians 2:3,4: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
Second Thessalonians 2:9-12: “Even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.” This is not a Benny Hinn, okay? This is not some fake out there trying to—or some guru in India trying to do some things that impress people. This will be like the world has never seen I believe. “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” And we’ll talk about this a little later, but continuing verse 11: “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie that they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
So you have not only his lying signs and wonders, a power that the world hasn’t seen, but God is sending strong delusion that they believe it.
Dave: Absolutely. So that will unite the world. Nothing else could. It would be impossible. Unite all religions in one religion and unite all societies and philosophies and political systems under one man.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Dave, you give again reasons why the church must be removed. Let me go over a few of them. You say it’s a catalyst—has to be the catalyst for the start of Daniel’s 70th week.
Dave: That’s the Rapture. Mm-hmm.
Tom: Right. That saints have to be in heaven, which you mentioned earlier, in order to come with Christ. The Second Coming.
Dave: Well, yeah, it says they will. Jude 14 says that He will bring—“ten thousands of the saints will come with Him.” Well, I mean, that means just a huge number. And of course Zechariah 14, around verse 6, when His feet touch the Mount of Olives, He brings all the saints from heaven with Him. Well, they have to have been up there. And of course Revelation 19, there’s a wedding in heaven! The bride is married to the Groom, and this is the church married to Christ for eternity! Well, you can’t have an absentee bride. You’re not going to have a marriage when the Groom is in heaven and the bride is still on earth.
It’s like the—we talked last week or maybe the week before about the Reconstructionists. These people, they talk about establishing the kingdom, God’s kingdom on this earth. Well, Christ is going to rule over that kingdom. Yeah, but they’ve got Him ruling from heaven, and when they get this kingdom established then He’ll come.
But the disciples in Acts 1 ask this question from the Lord: “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
Of course Jesus says, “I’m not going to restore it, I’ll be in heaven! You guys down here gotta do all that work!” No, that’s absurd. So it’s very clear that Christ will come back to this earth to destroy Antichrist, is what the Bible says, to establish this kingdom, and to rule it from the throne of His father David. Well, He’s going to bring His bride with him.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Well, another reason the church has to be removed that you point out: the Antichrist has to come on the scene immediately. There can’t be a—this guy shows up and he works his way up the system, and becomes now a really political item to convince people to do certain things.
Dave: No, it has to be a sudden cataclysmic event, and of course, I mean, there are many reasons, Tom. He will have power, authority and power, and he gets this from Satan, Revelation 13 says, to make war with the saints. Well, now who could those saints be if the church has been removed? These are the ones who believe in Christ. They didn’t know the gospel before. They will know the gospel now. You’ve got these two witnesses in Jerusalem preaching the gospel. You’ve got the 144,000 Jews all over this world preaching this gospel, and multitudes will believe. And those multitudes, we read in Revelation 6, is it, or 7—I think it’s in both 6 and 7—we read in the early chapters of Revelation, we see them in heaven, the souls of those who were beheaded for believing in Christ. You don’t bow down and worship the image of the Antichrist, you’re killed, okay? So those are the saints who will be martyred.
But the church—Christ isn’t going to leave His bride here for Antichrist to abuse her. And furthermore, the wrath of God is being poured out on this earth and the Scripture clearly says that we will be spared the wrath. He has not appointed us to wrath.
Tom: Well, he would be—the Antichrist would be overcoming the church, and Scripture says the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. That’s Matthew:16:18.
Dave: Right. So, Tom, any way you look at it, the Rapture must come before the Antichrist is revealed. It must come before the Great Tribulation, and this is the only catalyst that can pull this whole thing together.
Tom: Now, Dave, just one other point about his having to come on the scene right away—he sets up a treaty, a covenant with Israel, which he then breaks halfway through the seven-year period, in three and a half years.
Dave: Yeah. Tom, it’s becoming popular, and I never heard it. I’ve been around for a long time now, speaking at prophecy conferences for decades, I never heard it until recently, and some of my respected colleagues are saying, “Well, it could be years, you know, after the Rapture before Antichrist is revealed.” Well, that kind of delays things, doesn’t it? What do you mean it could be years? Well, how many years? And they don’t hazard a guess as to how many years. No, that just changes everything. The Rapture is the only event that could cause this to happen, and I believe within hours that man has been revealed. I don’t think he knows who he is. I believe Satan always has an Antichrist ready. I think Hitler was very close, and others. But he has to have someone in the wings ready to go, and that man probably doesn’t know it, but he is going to be indwelt by Satan and empowered by Satan, and this is the moment, the auspicious moment to unite the world. It’s not going to happen later. Who’s going to explain all of this? The world’s going to be united at that moment.