Isaiah 17 And The Rapture
Ask a Bible Teacher
by Jack Kelley
Question: What is your opinion concerning the timing of the Rapture and Isaiah 17? Specifically, the Bible tells us that the rapture will occur as in the days of Noah and Lot. People will be going about their "normal" lives.
If Damascus is destroyed prior to the rapture, as some believe it will be, how will the world be anything but "normal" knowing that a nuclear detonation has taken place in the world? People will be in a panic mode. It will not be "normal?"
Answer: I've held the view that Isaiah 17 will be fulfilled before the rapture for a number of years. One of the reasons is that Syria, a primary enemy of Israel's, is not mentioned among the nations aligned against them for the Battle of Ezekiel 38, and I believe the Rapture will occur before or perhaps concurrently with that Battle.
I assume you're referring to Luke 17:22-37 in your reference to the days of Noah and Lot. It's one of my favorites, although much overshadowed by Matt. 24 and Luke 21. The context is End of the Age events. The reference to Noah and Lot are fascinating because the two events, though both involving judgments, are actually quite different. In Noah's day a small group was preserved through the judgment while in Lot's case a small group was removed from the time and place of judgment prior to its occurrence. I believe the reference to Noah is for the Jews who will be preserved through the end times judgments, while Lot symbolized the church, being removed before hand.
But you're right. In both cases the point is that many will be caught unawares. How can this be? You're a military man and a believer with access to all the latest information. You know what's currently going on and what it might lead to. But you'd be surprised at how many people in the world are not that way.
I'm currently serving as a missionary in Mexico and here even believers don't have a clue. Unless a family has satellite TV they don't even know there are wars going on around them. Even if there is a nuclear exchange in the Middle East, they won't know about it. I suspect this is the case in many parts of the world. Especially as it concerns the Rapture, the first indication they'll get is when they find themselves suddenly in a strange new location.
And as for even the informed non-believers, unless it impacts them directly, they may take notice and shake their heads, but then it'll be over and they'll be back to "normal." They laugh when believers say that the increasing intensity and frequency of "natural" disasters, wars, and disease is a sign of the end, because as Paul wrote, "to the man with out the Spirit, these things are foolishness." (1 Cor. 2:14) They expect things to go on as usual forever. And once the church is gone, who will inform them otherwise?
I think the Lord was right. Until they actually see the missiles heading their way, most people will be blissfully unaware of the precarious circumstances in which we live.