“Mystery” Babylon & The Rapture of the Church (re-posted)
The Rapture of the Church
by R.A. Coombes
Author of “America, The Babylon” Volumes 1 and 2
[Editor’s Note: This article was originally published here in 2006 and now re-posted in November of 2012]
It’s hard to gauge from this perspective just what events may be about to unfold in 2008 and the coming years. Will we see prophetic fulfillment take over and begin the countdown to the Second Coming? 2008 could see a very significant step, like a 9-11 or larger on the prophetic timeline. Yet maybe nothing of tremendous singular significance will develop any time soon. It is also entirely possible that we are seeing the setting up for the beginning of a Divine Judgment upon America, The Babylon. Is it likely? Perhaps? Perhaps not? Nothing of consequence may develop at all from this set of converging factors that we see setting up in the early days of 2008.
In re-evaluating the Babylon prophetic texts I have noticed some things that I have overlooked so many times before that I can barely believe that I didn’t notice some key textual points until now. These points relate to the issue of The Rapture of the Church which I want to share with you.
Before I begin explaining this information with you, it would help some readers to know a few pertinent elements in the Babylon prophecies. They all relate to textual indications of two distinctly different judgments upon the future Babylon. These two different judgments occur seemingly at two different points in time and are not a part of a singular event.
The first judgment is described as being a fiery judgment. We see this in Isaiah 13:19-21 with reference to Babylon’s destruction being like Sodom and Gomorrah and the result is desert-like conditions.
In Jeremiah 50:12 we see Babylon becoming a “parched land” and a desert. Verse 32 describes Babylon’s cities as being set on fire by God and the fire will spread all around the nation. Verse 39 describes desert creatures abounding and verse 40 again repeats the fiery Sodom and Gomorrah reference.
Jeremiah 51: 25 describes the results of the nation as being a burned-out mountain. Jeremiah 51:30 again indicates fire on both the homes and also the countryside marshes. The judgment will dry up her “broad river in her middle” in verse 36 and verse 43 describes her as a parched land and a desert. Revelation 17:16 describes a fire judgment and 18: 9-20 again describes the fiery judgment in great detail.
This first, fiery judgment could indeed happen this year but will it? It will only happen if God says it is time. It won’t happen a minute sooner or later. The second judgment is a watery judgment in which the ocean waves come up and over Babylon and she sinks forever. This seems to be indicated by Jeremiah 51: 42, 55, 64 and also Revelation 16:17-21 and Revelation 18:21.
Will Christians in America be spared from this judgment? Perhaps. If our timing theories are correct, the first judgment of fire comes about and leads to the introduction of the Antichrist onto the world stage. This does not however, necessarily start the Great Tribulation. Some time may elapse between the two events.
How can we say that the fiery destruction leads the rise of the Antichrist?
Revelation 17:12-14 –
V. 12 – “and the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings which have received power as kings one hour with the beast.”
V. 13 – “These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.”
These two verses describe a one-hour meeting in which 10 representatives who have the power from their nation’s leaders meet, apparently in a hastily called emergency meeting and authorize power to the beast. This meeting authorizes the beast to make war against Jesus Christ. Why? Why the meeting? Why the meeting followed by the declaration of war against Jesus Christ? We suspect the answer is in 18:4 and the call of the voice from heaven which says: “Come you out of her My people.” We take it that this verse refers to the rapture of the church and we’ll get into a deeper analysis of that verse shortly but for now we are noting the sequence of events.
We propose the theory that the meeting that transpires comes as a result of the Rapture of the church and the sudden disappearance of human beings who are Christians from around the world. To the uninformed public, the media “spin” may well be explained away as a mass kidnapping of human beings by “evil” “alien” beings or “evil extra-terrestrial forces.” In this, we are merely hypothesizing a possible “spin” solution. The mass disappearance of Christians, will likely trigger some sort of emergency conference by the G-10 group, perhaps in which ambassadors or representatives of the member G-10 nations convene in an emergency one-hour session to select a military leader to deal with what is “spun” as an invasion from outer space.
As that meeting is happening, a television news bulletin appears and live TV coverage begins to show the sudden fiery destruction of the United States. The 10 ambassadors (horns) and the beast watch this event unfold on TV as the fires rage across the TV screens.
Revelation 17:16 picks up this event and states:
“And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore.”
The term “hate” I have reason to believe is a mistranslation. It can also mean, to disregard, to ignore, to be indifferent to some thing or to some one.
The rest of the verse however, becomes very convoluted in the Greek sentence structure. What seems to be a statement that the beast and 10 horns “eats” her flesh and burn her with fire is grammatically incorrect. The fire “consumes” her and “eats” her fleshes. This is determined by the grammar of the texts that the fire is doing the consuming and the eating. The Beast and ten horns on the other hand can be translated as acting to “isolate her” or ‘make her off limits’ and do not inflict the fire upon her.
We know that the all of this occurs at the time the Antichrist rises to power. The fiery, first destruction brings the Beast into power. It is not necessarily the beginning of the Tribulation period, however. Our point is that the first destruction comes before the Tribulation period, not at the end of the Tribulation period. The second destruction however does occur at the end of the Tribulation period when the Second Coming of Jesus Christ occurs, as noted by Revelation 16:17-21 where “Babylon” again comes into remembrance before God. The second or “doubling” of the judgment (see Rev 18:6) results in the waters coming up over her. See Jeremiah 51: 42, 55, 64 and Revelation 16:19-21 and Rev 18:21.
So, the first judgment then must occur in concert with the rise of the Antichrist. Before the first judgment comes Revelation 18:4 – “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, ‘Come out of her My people that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues, (v. 5) For, her sins havereached unto heaven and God hath remembered her iniquities.”
We know that this comes first because we then read in verse six the Divine decree of guilt and the sentence being read by the Judge:
“Reward her even as she rewarded you, (meaning believers being rewarded with persecution) and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.” This indicates the “double judgment” or two twin judgments one of fire and the other of her sinking below the ocean waves.
Now let’s go back and take a closer look in some detail at verse 4.
First of all, the verse begins by telling us that another voice, a different voice from the angel mentioned earlier in verses 2-3. The text does not identify the voice in verse 4 at all. It could be another angel but every time an angel speaks that John knows is an angel, he indicates it is an angel. So we may logically conclude that, more likely than not, the voice is not an angel. Whose voice is it? We simply don’t know. It could be the voice of the Father, or some other heavenly being, but we propose that the voice is that of Jesus Christ, Himself. The voice is “coming from out of” heaven. What does He say?
The Greek words are:
…”Exelthahtay ho laos mou ex autays…”
The first word is in the Imperative mood in the Greek language. Imperative mood is a command, as in a military order with no option for rejection. It’s not something that is an option. As Jesus commanded Lazarus to come forth, it was not an option for Lazarus. It was a command that was to be obeyed. Imperative mood, when spoken by God is always, always, always obeyed. Imperative Mood, spoken directly by God always produces its intended result.
Therefore, what is the command given? The first word is a verb and it is Strong’s code number 2064 = “ex-el-thah-tay” and it is an active voice aorist tense verb. Now let’s not get you confused if you’re not familiar with Greek grammar. In Greek grammar you have “voice,” “tense” and “mood.” We’ve already established that this verb has an “imperative” mood or a “Command” mood. So the word is a command word.
The word is also in the “active” voice, which means that the subject of the sentence is conducting action and not being acted upon by someone else. So what is doing the acting? The voice from heaven is doing the acting and it is acting upon those who hear his/her/its voice. There is a recipient in this sentence. It is the “my people.” Now, what is really interesting here is not only is it a command word that will be carried out, because we assert that it is The Lord Jesus Christ’s voice, but that He, His command is doing the acting! That’s right the voice is acting. The word, the verb is actually doing something and what is interesting is the “tense” or “time” of the word. The aorist tense generally means at a point of time in the past continuing into the present except in the case of the active voice in which the voice is now in the present but with reference going back to a point of time in the past.
Now let’s repeat that … aorist tense normally means an action in the past point of time. However, when combined with an active voice, it confers to the present tense of English. So that the verb here that we are looking at means — that the action refers to an event now but with implications into the past. Whatever the action is here, it has implications upon the past. We believe it refers to the Dead in Christ, rising first.
The meaning of the word itself is:
“to come out of,” ” to rise up,” “to arise,” to take rise from some place, in other words in context it can mean to go up. Thayer’s Lexicon notes that it means to come from one place into another singular place.
Now the word for “to come out of” or “take rise from” or “to go up” is further supported by the small Greek word “ek.” The term “ek” means “out of” and can mean “up, out of.”
These two words sandwich three little Greek words: “ho laos mou” = which means “the people of me.”
So let’s put this all back together in the Greek sentence order as it appears in the Greek text:
“You come (up) out (of) — the — people of me — (up) out of her”
“Come ye (up) out (of) the people of me — (up) out of her.”
Now that is the order of the sentence, but we’re missing the force of the meaning and we’ll include that force of meaning shortly. For now, let’s get a more correct English sentence order…
“You, My people, you come (up) out, you come out of her.”
Note that little pronoun “My.” Here again another reason to believe that “My” is either a reference to the voice being that of either the Father or the Son and no one else. No angel uses the personal pronoun “My.” Therefore, the use of the term reaffirms our assertion that the voice is Divine, and most likely the voice of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Now let’s look at the Force of the words in that verse more carefully.
Remember, the verse is in the Imperative Mood. That means it is a command. It is given by the Lord, Himself so it will be obeyed. There is no option.
The Double Repetition Carries Immense Meaning:
The double repetition of “out of” carries three aspects.
#1. repetition in scripture always conveys the certainty of something. This will certainly happen.
#2. It provides clear cut direction to not only come “out” but also in the “up” direction, towards the speaker.
#3. The repetition speaks to two different groups of people. It speaks to those who are “dead in Christ.”
Remember our earlier notation that the verb for “You come out of” is an aorist tense but active voice in the Imperative mood of command.
This term normally in Greek will designate where to go out from and a destination. There is no explicit destination given in the command of “exelthate.” By use of the double repetition combined with the lack of explicit destination in the command, this sentence structure indicates that the destination is towards the one giving the command. Where is the speaker located? The speaker issuing the command is located “from – out of – Heaven.” [Note we have the original root word “ek” which in its own naked usage means “out of.” ]
In this case, the term in employed as the four word phrase should be translated as:
“To COME UP and Out Of – and by implication, move towards the speaker.
“You, Come Up and Out, My People, Come Up and OUT of her.”
Now there’s another aspect to this. It is the shout of command with an interesting time perception. I believe the double repetition is a detailed Rapture event which comes in two parts.
This means that the phrase is ordering an action that has a reference to a point of time in the past. Namely, the Crucifixion and Resurrection and to the past instances of the deaths of believers since His Resurrection.
So this first “Come out of” is for the “dead in Christ to arise.” Remember, Paul tells us that the Dead in Christ arise first, and then we who are alive follow next.
I Thessalonians 4:15-17
“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.”
And while we’re in that context, let us not forget …
I Thessalonians 5:9
“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ”
Our context here of course in Revelation 18 is the coming wrath of God upon Babylon and the world. Therefore, we have His promise that He has not appointed us to His wrath but to be saved out of His wrath.
Also please note that the word for “come out of”does not convey the idea of getting away from the voice or from the current location. The EMPHASIS is TOCOME TOWARDS THE VOICE.
A similar phrase in 2nd Corinthians 6:17 tells believers to come out from the middle of the world. Now that passage includes the term “mesou” which means “in the middle of.” Keep in mind however that the grammar of that verse is different than the one in Revelation. If this phrase in Revelation 18:4 were merely to get out of Babylon and go elsewhere in the world, the phrase should have followed through with similar indications. It does not.
Another key point: The use of ACTIVE voice along with the Aorist Tense. Why use the Aorist tense if the command is merely for the present moment????? Why not use the more normal “present” tense to simply command people to move somewhere? This is a command with reference to something from a previous point in time, not merely the present moment of time.
So if verse 4 is a reference to the Rapture then perhaps the church will be raptured away even before the destruction of Mystery Babylon. We’ll have more on this aspect in a special study on Mystery Babylon and the Rapture Theory. Click here.
I think the Shout of verse 4 should be interpreted as being the “Shout” at the time of the Rapture. (see 1st Thessalonians 4: 16 “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 arise first. (17) Then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Note that the above verse mentions that both the Lord and archangel. Here is a literal Greek rendering of the text of verse 16.
“because — Himself — the Lord — with — a word of command — with — the voice of an archangel, and with a trumpet of God –will descend from heaven – and the dead in Christ will arise again FIRSTLY.”
Verse 17: — “then — we — the [ones] — living — remaining — together with them — shall be seized — in — clouds — and — so — always — with (the) Lord — we shall be.”
Note two things:
#1. The Lord uses “a word of command.” Keleusmati = #2753 = to order, command, direct, a word of command. a mutual cheer, in N.T. usage also a loud shout, an arousing cry. To soldiers by a commander or a ship’s captain to rowers. A loud summons.
#2. The Greek text in verse 16 does NOT say that the Lord will be accompanied by an archangel. He may be, but the phrase here simply indicates that the Lord will with a word of command — is done with the voice like the powerful voice of an archangel. It could mean tha the Lord speaks through the archangel because the archangel has a stronger voice but I don’t think so. The phrase is trying to describe the Lord’s command as being like the voice of an archangel. I think if an archangel was doing the speaking on behalf of the Lord, the Archangel’s name would be used.
Now, before we wrap this up, there are a few loose ends to tie up regarding Rev. 18:4.
We need to finish the verse. There is the command given. It is repeated twice.
Part “A” of the verse: “You, My People come (up) out, come (up) out of her.”
Now we read that and we should ask ourselves “why?” “Why” the command for “My People” to come (up) out of her.
Part “B” gives us the answer. I’ll provide the literal Greek rendering in the Greek sequence of order:
“lest — ye share — in the — sins — of her, — and — from — the plagues — of her — lest — ye receive.”
Verse 5 continues with the reason “why”…
“because — joined together — of her — the sins — up to — heaven — and — remembered — God — the misdeeds — of her. ”
or put more into the English vernacular … Why come out of her?
“otherwise you share in her sins and otherwise receive her plagues, because the sins of her have reached up to heaven and God hath remembered her iniquities.”
In other words we’ll use a “Cotton-patch” type of translation here, or a paraphrase if you will: — “I have not called you wrath but unto salvation, so I am commanding (ordering) you to come up out of her, you who are dead in Christ and you who are yet living, both groups of you I have called out to come up to me, so that you do not receive the wrath that I am about to give, because her sins have reached up into heaven.”
We have the command to come up out of the way of the incoming wrath of God that is about to befall Babylon and the rest of the world thereafter. It comes just before the first fiery judgment. Either the calling away of the Church or the fiery judgment propels the Antichrist to a position of power given to him by the 10 horns. They abandon the super-naiton Babylon which is identified by the nation’s goddess, Ishtar of Babylon, the MOTHER OF THE HARLOTS, who is the symbol of the nation and is also the protecting or guardian “kosmokrator” class fallen angel of Babylon, the super-nation, that we know as America.
So back to our point.
IF, indeed the rapture takes place before the first judgment, and we think there is strong textual support for this claim, and IF, we are seeing elements converging for a fulfillment of the first fiery judgment then, we may well be close to the Rapture. [Especially, if this crisis with Iran leads to the verge of military action, sometime this spring, but who knows if any thing will really develop?]
Now, having said that, remember, we are assuming that the “double unto her double IS two, distinct and separate judgments. Which if it is not the case, and there is only one judgment, then that one judgment comes JUST BEFORE, the SECOND COMING OF CHRIST. Why?
[Keep in mind, that this is all predicated on our THEORY, that America is indeed the Babylon of Biblical Prophecy]
Why, if there is only one judgment must it be at the Second Coming? Because Revelation 16:17-21 indicates that what we assert is the second judgment, – [the water judgment, wherein the oceans encompass Babylon and she sinks,] – means that it comes after the final “vial” (or “bowl) judgment that comes just before or as the Lord Returns to conquer planet Earth and remove the Satanic forces. The passage tells us that at this moment, that the cities of the nations fall, and BABYLON also comes again into remembrance before God, (as if He’d forgotten, almost) to give unto her the doubled-cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.” (see verse 19)
Then in verse 20, we read that every island fled away and the mountains were not found. This all happens as Jesus Christ is returning with His armies to conquer the planet.
Then in Revelation 18:21 we read more details of the second judgment with the angel “missiling” a large object into the sea next to Babylon and Babylon will be “thrown down.”
This is further confirmed by the corroborating texts of Jeremiah 51:42 where the sea comes up upon Babylon, and she is covered with the mutlitude of the waves therof. Then verse 55 tells us the waves roar over her. Still further in verse 64, “Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall no more rise…”
So all of this tells us, that IF this second judgment is actually just one judgment combined with the fire judgment then it comes at the time of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Yet, other passages, such as Isaiah 13: 19-22; Jeremiah 50:12, 13 32, 38, 39, 40; 50: 25, 30, 36, 43; Revelation 17: 16; and Rev. 18: 8-10, 15-18 tell us that Babylon, the nation will become desert-like, and or burned with fire. Well you can’t have a desert under water, can you? There are volcanos underwater, so we can’t necessarily rule it out on that simple basis, but we can with regards to the desert conditions of the prophecies.
There is also another possibility that can equally cause confusion if we’re not careful.
Either the judgment is two distinct and different judgments in time OR a single judgment and the results are split up. How so? Part of the nation goes under water and part remains above sea level but is a desert. However, the context, and we have to go by the context when there are no other clearer indications, the context here in the prophecies strongly suggests that each description applies to the entire nation and there is no split up in the judgment descriptions.
We do have the text telling us that there is a “double judgment” indicating two separate instances. See Rev 18:6. Thus, the conclusion I have come to is that there are two different judgments separated by time, because you can’t have an underwater desert, with the wild beasts of the desert bobbing up and down for air while living on the underwater. Isaiah 13:21 tells us these beasts lie on the desert and the empty houses are full of doleful creatures and the owls shall dwell there. Note that it doesn’t say these creatures dwell there forever. No time frame is given. Just that no man will ever live there again.
Therefore if the two are separated by time (such as at least the 2,520 days of Tribulation and perhaps more) then the call in Revelation 18:4 suggests that the Rapture of the Church comes before the destruction of Babylon-America and the rise of the Antichrist. It is my assertion that the Rapture, triggers the meeting of the 10 “horns” or ambassadors, and the Beast is present with them or maybe he’s there as part of a video conference call.
In that case, again, IF we are at the point of the fulfillment of the first of two judgments upon “America, The Babylon” then we are indeed very close to the time of His secret and surprising Return for His Bride, the church.
Now, some of you may object to this saying that the if Babylon is America, and is about to be destroyed in the next few days or weeks, months or simply “soon” then this is not possible because Christ must Rapture the church during the Feast of Tabernacles then we’ve got a problem. The idea that the Rapture of the Church occurs during the Feast of Tabernacles is just a theoretical interpretation. There is no overt scripture that tells us flat out and in no uncertain, no ambiguous terms that HE will return for the Church at the Feast of Tabernacles.
I have always taken the text literally when Jesus says that no man, not even the Son knows the day or the hour of His Return. And yes, I know all of the various arguments on this both issue, pro and con, so please don’t email me to argue the point that He has to come back on a Feast day. NO HE DOESN’T.
My point is that everything is theoretical when it comes to the “timing” issues of the Rapture, just as the attempts to identify the future Babylon are all theories. So lets keep that in mind as we wait and see what develops in the next days, weeks and months ahead. Remember, we could still be 10, 20 or 30 years away from fulfillment of these prophecies. I doubt it, but we could ALL be wrong in our timing theories. Yes, you too could be wrong and so can I, but the difference is that I admit I could be wrong, but too many out there in Christendom just can’t quite admit that they could be wrong on the Rapture issue no matter which timing theory they subscribe to.
The bottom line here folks:
LOOK ALIVE — BE ALERT — BE READY!
THIS IS NO TIME TO GO TO SLEEP
THIS IS NO TIME TO NOT HAVE ENOUGH OIL FOR YOUR LAMP.
Do you know that IF He came back right now, you’d hear His voice and be one of the truly, upwardly mobile people who will avoid the torments to come on Earth during the final turbulent period of death and destruction? If you are not sure that you are going to hear that voice calling you up to Heaven, whether you are dead or alive, then please read how you can be sure that you will hear that voice and be miraculously transported up, up and away. It is so easy to know. There’s no red tape. No jumping through hoops. You can not earn your way. You cannot buy a ticket. You can do nothing to please God. None of us can. He has taken care of the problem. All you have to do is understand and accept His Gift of eternal life. There’s no joining a church. No ceremonialism and no “brownie point” system where you earn “brownie points” to get something from God.