FOR the eyes of Jehovah run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him (II Chron. 16:9). Throughout the centuries of human history, God has continued to hunt for men, men whom He can trust, and who will lay all on the altar of service and sacrifice in the Lord's cause.

The call of God is to separation. Often it involves leaving one's native country, relatives, and friends—as in the case of Abraham.

12 Now Jehovah said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee: 2 and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing: 3 and I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed (Gen. 12:1-3).

In answering the call of God, Abraham became a pilgrim and a stranger, even in the land of promise. Concerning Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews declares that,

13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things make it manifest that they are seeking after a country of their own. 15 And if indeed they had been mindful of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city (Heb. 11:13-16).

This life will soon be over—with all of us. With the Psalmist we should pray:

    4 Jehovah, make me to know mine end,
    And the measure of my days, what it is;
    Let me know how frail I am.
    5 Behold, thou hast made my days as handbreadths;
    And my lifetime is as nothing before thee:
    Surely every man at his best estate is altogether vanity [Selah]
    6 Surely every man walketh in a vain show;
    Surely they are disquieted in vain:
    He heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them (Ps. 39:4-6).

This life is but the vestibule leading into the halls of all eternity—as far as the righteous are concerned. But over its threshold the lost will never cross; on the contrary, they will go away into outer darkness, never to see the light of the glory of God.

There are two ways of passing out of this life into the great beyond: by physical death or by translation. All who have ever departed from this life have gone through the portal of physical death—with the exception of two men, Enoch and Elijah.


21 And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: 22 and Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: 23 and all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: 24 and Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him (Gen. 5:21-24).

Enoch walked with God by faith. We are justified in believing that he was snatched away from earthly scenes suddenly, and that neighbors and friends, upon missing him, hunted for him. Of course, they could not find him. Concerning his translation, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews states, "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God translated him: for he hath had witness borne to him that before his translation he had been well-pleasing unto God" (Heb. 11:5).

Almost every sane person would prefer passing out of this life into the next one by being translated, as was Enoch, rather than by lying on a sick bed, wrecked with pain from head to foot, or by dying in some disaster.


Elijah, the bold, courageous prophet, was likewise translated so that he did not pass out of life through the portal of death. To the "sons of the prophets," the Lord in some way had revealed that He was going to take Elijah in a miraculous manner. Elisha would not allow Elijah to get out of his sight, fearing that the Lord would snatch Elijah away during his absence. Realizing the gravity of the situation and earnestly desiring to be filled with the Spirit of God for service, Elisha implored Elijah, "I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me" (II Kings 2:9b). To this request Elijah replied 10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. 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, which parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof!

And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces (II Kings 2:10-12).

Evidently Elijah had finished his lifework when he was translated; otherwise the Lord would not have taken him until he had finished his ministry. But God has still a work for Elijah to do on this earth, for Malachi foretells God's sending Elijah to engage in a ministry to Israel yet in the future: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Jehovah come" (Mal. 4:5).


In Psalm 7:6,7 David makes a wonderful revelation:

    6 Arise, O Jehovah, in thine anger;
    Lift up thyself against the rage of mine adversaries,
    And awake for me; thou hast commanded judgment.
    7 And let the congregation of the peoples compass thee about;
    And over them return thou on high.

The proper approach to the investigation of this passage is to examine carefully the principal words and the general drift of thought. The entreaty "Arise, O Jehovah, in thine anger" assumes that Jehovah is either reclining or sitting.¹ Light on this Scripture shines forth from Psalm 110:1: "Jehovah saith unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, Until I make thine enemies thy footstool." When this passage is studied in the light of related ones, one can immediately see the significance of the word arise in Psalm 7:6. In these related passages appear predictions that one of the Persons of the Holy Trinity leaves heaven and enters the world by miraculous conception and virgin birth: "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isa. 7:14). "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6). Thus the Second Person of the Holy Trinity enters the world and becomes the God-man.

Not knowing Him or the Scriptures, some of the leaders of Israel demanded that He be executed. He was, therefore, crucified and buried. According to the unimpeachable and inspired records, He arose on the third day, bringing life and immortality to light through the gospel. During the following forty days, He appeared to certain ones chosen of God to be witnesses of His triumph over death and the grave.

At the end of the forty-day period, Jesus and the apostles went out to the Mount of Olives from which He ascended to heaven (Acts, chapter 1). Upon reaching "the heavens of the heavens," He sat down at the right hand of God the Father in fulfillment of Psalm 110:1: "Jehovah saith unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, Until I make thine enemies thy footstool." Throughout the centuries, since His Ascension, He has remained there in glory. Eventually the faithful remnant of Israel will learn about Him and His whereabouts and will pray to Him:

    80 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
    Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock;
    Thou that sittest above the cherubim, shine forth.
    2 Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up thy might,
    And come to save us.
    3 Turn us again, O God;
    And cause thy face to shine, and we shall be saved (Ps. 80:1-3).

But to God the Father this penitent remnant will pray: "Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand. Upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself" (Ps. 80:17). Seated at the right hand of God, therefore, is the God-man, to whom the penitent remnant of Israel will turn and implore His coming for their deliverance.

The word
arise of Psalm 7:6 is undoubtedly addressed to this God-man, who is seated at the right hand of God the Father. When the word arise is addressed to the Lord, the student should examine the facts of the context to ascertain who is praying.

Since the inspired writer implores Jehovah the Son to arise in His anger in order to execute vengeance upon the evil doers and in order to bring deliverance, it is clear that the situation, as seen by the Prophet, stirs the indignation of the Son. The Psalmist also prays, "Arise, O Jehovah, in thine anger; Lift up thyself against the rage of mine adversaries, And awake for me; thou hast commanded judgment" (Ps. 7:6).

In this quotation the writer speaks of himself individually, but when verses 6 and 7 are studied together, it is clear that he identifies himself with "the congregation of the peoples" and prays for his persecuted brethren. When all the facts are taken into consideration, one sees that a campaign of hatred and of persecution will be launched against the congregation.

What is the significance of "the congregation of the peoples"? This expression occurs in the Scripture this one time only. Does the Psalmist conceive of all the people of the world as members of this congregation? The term could have that meaning if it is torn completely from its context. Since the congregation of the peoples is persecuted by its adversaries, there are, therefore, two groups of people in the world: the congregation and its adversaries. The first meaning, therefore, must be discarded.

According to the New Testament, God is now calling out from among all nations a people for His Name. In speaking to the Jerusalem Conference, James, the inspired speaker, said, "Brethren, hearken unto me: Symeon hath rehearsed how first God visited² the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name" (Acts 15:13b,14). He is calling this body of people out from the world by the preaching of the gospel. Those who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour by faith are regenerated by the Spirit of God and are brought into a spiritual communion known as the body of Christ. In this fellowship, no racial or social distinction is recognized. The expression "the congregation of the peoples" probably refers to the group of believers who are called out from all nations into a spiritual fellowship.

The Psalmist continues his prayer, saying, "And awake for me; thou hast commanded judgment." Obviously, by this petition the Psalmist implores Jehovah to champion the cause of the congregation of the peoples. The reason which he assigns for this urgency of his petition is that Jehovah "hath commanded judgment." In what sense does the Lord command judgment? The world at the time here foreseen will be ripe for punishment and purging. The Lord, therefore, commands His hosts to prepare for this period of judgment. What hosts? The angelic hosts, concerning whom the writer of Hebrews declares: "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation?" (Heb. 1:14).

The Psalmist concludes his petition saying,

"And let the congregation of the peoples compass thee about;
And over them return thou on high" (Ps. 7:7).

In view of the punitive judgments and plagues which will rain down, figuratively speaking, on the world during the Tribulation, the Psalmist pleads that the congregation of the peoples may compass the Lord about. In other words, he pleads that the Lord will gather His congregation from all over the world and will return on high over them. The drift of the thought suggests very strongly that the taking out of the congregation of the peoples by the Lord will occur before the judgments begin to fall. In other words, the Psalmist prays the Lord to take His people out of the world before the Tribulation.

When analyzed and studied in the light of the New Testament teaching, Psalm 7:6,7 probably is an Old Testament prophecy concerning the Rapture of all believers before the Tribulation.


And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit. 30 And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of Jehovah cometh. 32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those that escape, as Jehovah hath said, and among the remnant those whom Jehovah doth call. (Joel 2:28-32)

The first installment of the conversion of Israel is foretold in verses 28 and 29. This turning to God of certain ones in Israel will be accompanied by wonders in the heavens and in the earth. At that time the sun will be darkened and the moon will become as blood (vv. 30,31). This back-to-God movement in Israel and the wonders and signs in the physical realm will occur "before the great and terrible day of Jehovah cometh." The great and terrible day of Jehovah, mentioned also in Zephaniah 1:14-16 and in Malachi 4:1-6, is generally spoken of by the prophets as "the day of Jehovah." This period of judgment is known in modern theological terminology as the Great Tribulation. Since the beginning of the revival in Israel and the wonders and signs in the physical realm occur together, and since they take place before the great and terrible day of Jehovah, these unusual phenomena will take place before the Tribulation begins.

At that time "whosoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be delivered." Delivered from what? Obviously, from the judgments of the great and terrible day of Jehovah. They will, of course, be saved spiritually, because they call upon the name of Jehovah. That those who are delivered by the Lord will escape the horrors of the Tribulation is also confirmed by the concluding statement of verse 32: "for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those that escape, as Jehovah hath said, and among the remnant those whom Jehovah doth call."

How will those in Israel who call upon the name of the Lord be delivered from the judgments of the Tribulation? This passage does not tell. When, however, one turns to the New Testament teaching, he may find a clue: "For they themselves report concerning us what manner of entering in we had unto you; and how ye turned unto God from idols, to serve a living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, who delivereth us from the wrath to come" (I Thess. 1:9,10). Beyond question, the wrath to come is the tribulation judgments. The Lord Jesus is going to deliver His people out of the world, so that they will not have to pass through that period of judgments. In the Joel passage, Jewish believers are delivered from the Tribulation—the wrath to come. Since there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile in the body of Christ, it is logical to believe that both Jewish and Gentile believers will be delivered.


2 Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation that hath no shame; 2 before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of Jehovah come upon you, before the day of Jehovah's anger come upon you. 3 Seek ye Jehovah, all ye meek of the earth, that have kept his ordinances; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye will be hid in the day of Jehovah's anger (Zeph. 2:1-3).

In Zephaniah 1:14-18 appears one of the most vivid and terse statements concerning the Great Day of Jehovah to be found in the prophetic Word. As has been seen, the Great Day of Jehovah is known in theological terminology as the Great Tribulation, a period of seven years in which God will pour His wrath upon a defiant and sinful world. Before that day comes, Israel returns to the land of their fathers. In making this prediction, Zephaniah dramatically speaks as if he were commanding the Jews to return: "Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation that hath no shame ..." As a matter of fact, they are at the present time returning of their own free will and accord. Speaking for God in this passage, Zephaniah commands the Jews to gather together in their homeland. Allowing each person to make his own choice, God overrules and providentially takes them back to the land of their fathers.

This regathering occurs before the Tribulation. "Gather yourselves together ... before the decree bring forth, ... before the fierce anger of Jehovah come upon you ..." As stated above, this regathering before the Tribulation involves only a representative number of the nation and must be clearly distinguished from the final restoration of Israel which takes place at the end of the Tribulation, and which is foretold in such passages as Isaiah 66:18-21 and Ezekiel, chapter 37.

Zephaniah, furthermore, urges the nation of Israel, saying, "Seek ye Jehovah, all ye meek of the earth, that have kept his ordinances; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye will be hid in the day of Jehovah's anger" (Zeph. 2:3). It is clear that the Prophet is speaking primarily and directly to the Jews who are now in the land of their fathers and to those who are now going.

While he is speaking to all Israel in the present regathering, he appeals especially to those who have a meek spirit and who have kept God's ordinances, and urges them to seek righteousness and meekness. In other words, the Prophet is appealing to the devout, sincere Israelites who are seeking for the truth.

By the statement "It may be ye will be hid in the day of Jehovah's anger," the Prophet holds out a possible hope of protection and preservation during the day of Jehovah's wrath to those who sincerely seek God—His righteousness and meekness. Why did Zephaniah say, "It may be ye will be hid"? Did he have any doubts? No, not concerning God. But he did have misgivings concerning human beings. Man constantly flickers. Listen to Jeremiah:

5 Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that doeth justly, that seeketh truth; and I will pardon her. 2 And though they say, As Jehovah liveth; surely they swear falsely. 3 O Jehovah, do not thine eyes look upon truth? thou hast stricken them, but they were not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return. (Jeremiah 5:1-3)

Though Jeremiah could not find a man—a human being who is every inch a man—I personally am persuaded that there are many in the state of Israel now "thy hidden ones" (Ps. 83:3) who are really seeking God in order that they may do His will and glorify Him—though I do not say they come up to God's standard as expressed by Jeremiah.

"It may be ye will be hid in the day of Jehovah's anger." In what way or ways will those who seek God and His righteousness be hid? A possible clue to the correct answer may be found in the New Testament. In I Thessalonians 1:10 the inspired apostle asserts that Jesus is the one who "delivereth us from the wrath to come." We know from various passages in the New Testament that believers will be delivered from the wrath to come by the Rapture. Since these of whom Zephaniah speaks seek God and His righteousness they are believers and probably will be hidden by being taken up in the Rapture.


During the passover supper which Jesus and His disciples observed, Jesus told Judas, "What thou doest, do quickly" (John 13:27b). Immediately Judas left the room. After they had finished observing the paschal meal, Jesus instituted what is now known as the Lord's Supper. At this time Jesus foretold His departure, saying, "Yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say unto you" (John 13:33). As usual, Peter spoke up, asking Jesus where He was going. Jesus' reply was that Peter could not follow Him then, but that later he could follow. Then Peter, in his impetuous manner, wanted to know why he could not follow Him then; for, declared he, "I will lay down my life for thee" (v. 37). Jesus then revealed to Peter his weakness, in foretelling that he would deny Him three times that night.

Evidently Christ's announcement of His departure caused a feeling of sadness and deep depression to settle down on the apostolic company. Seeing the expressions of despair and gloom on their faces, Jesus poured out His very heart to them in the following words of promise:

14 Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4 And whither I go, ye know the way. 5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; how know we the way? 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7 If ye had known me, ye would have known my Father also: from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. (John 14:1-7)

Jesus declares that in His Father's house are many mansions, or abiding places. What is meant by His Father's house? There is some place in the universe which Jesus calls His Father's house, and in which, He declares, are many mansions. Probably the inspired writer refers to the place of the Father's house in Psalm 115:16: "The heavens are the heavens of Jehovah."

Jesus informs the apostles that He is leaving them for the time being, going to His Father's house and making full preparation for their coming. He promises them that He will come again for them. Nineteen hundred years ago He came to this earth to purchase our redemption, entering by miraculous conception and virgin birth. As the risen and glorified Lord, He is coming again for His saints in order that He might take them to these many mansions in His Father's house where He will be associated with them. In view of all the facts in this passage, it seems evident that Jesus is speaking of His coming for His saints, which we know will occur before the Tribulation.

Thomas stated that the apostles did not know where Jesus was going, nor did they know the way. Jesus' reply was, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me." For salvation one must, therefore, receive Jesus as Lord, Saviour, and Messiah, since He is the way to God.


The Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian Church that they had turned from idols to God for two purposes: "to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, who delivereth us from the wrath to come" (I Thess. 1:9b,10). The common saying "People are saved for service" is indeed true. People are saved by the grace of God through faith and are to be rewarded according to their works: "For by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not of works, that no man should glory. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:8-10).

In regenerating people, God gives them a new nature. They are, therefore, "created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them." The Lord blesses with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus in order that His people may be a blessing to others.

The saved are to keep in mind that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming back for them, "who delivereth us from the wrath to come."

The Old Testament prophets at times spoke of God's wrath which He will pour out upon the world in order to purge it from sin, preparatory to the establishment of a reign of righteousness. Isaiah speaks of "the year of Jehovah's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God" (Isa. 61:2). The year of Jehovah's favor is the present Christian Dispensation, during which God is extending mercy and grace in a special manner to all nations—Jews and Gentiles alike. This period is to be followed by "the day of vengeance of our God," which is the Great Tribulation.

Zephaniah speaks of "the great day of Jehovah," which "is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, 16 a day of the trumpet and alarm, against the fortified cities, and against the high battlements" (Zeph. 1:15,16).

Concerning this time of wrath, Malachi says, "For, behold, the day cometh, it burneth as a furnace; and all the proud, and all that work wickedness, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith Jehovah of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch" (Mal. 4:1).

The King James Version renders I Thessalonians 1:10 "... and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivered us from the wrath to come." According to this rendering, the deliverance which Jesus brings is in the past, something that has already been accomplished. The American Standard Version (1901 edition) renders this verse "... and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, who delivereth us from the wrath to come." The translators of this version render the Greek correctly—He will deliver us when He returns. "The wrath to come" comes upon the earth in the form of devastating judgments and plagues. For Jesus to deliver His people from these judgments, He will have to remove them from the world. Since He will deliver them from this wrath, it is evident that He delivers them before the Tribulation. In other words, the Rapture of the saints occurs before the Tribulation begins.

The second passage dealing with the Rapture of the Church in this Epistle is I Thessalonians 4:13-5:11:

13 But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them that fall asleep; that ye sorrow not, even as the rest, who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also that are fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, that are left unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep. 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 rise first; 17 then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

5:1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that aught be written unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 When they are saying, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall in no wise escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief: 5 for ye are all sons of light, and sons of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness; 6 so then let us not sleep, as do the rest, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For they that sleep sleep in the night: and they that are drunken are drunken in the night. 8 But let us, since we are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God appointed us not into wrath, but unto the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 11 Wherefore exhort one another, and build each other up, even as also ye do.

In this passage the Apostle Paul asserts that Jesus will descend from heaven to the air; will raise the dead in Christ; and will catch up, in the clouds, those saints who are living at that time (I Thess. 4:13-18). About this position there can be no reasonable question.


¹ The Psalmist is, of course, using human phraseology in addressing the Lord. But his speaking in this manner is not the only explanation of the passage.

² The word in the original Greek rendered
visited is in the aorist tense which indicates point action—that is, a single act; or, if a series is spoken of, and the aorist tense is used, still the entire series is thought of as a single act.

The aorist tense never indicates the time. The time element is gathered from the context. In the translation being used, Acts 15:14 reads: "Symeon hath rehearsed how first God visited the Gentiles ..." A more accurate rendering is Symeon hath rehearsed how first God visits the Gentiles."

 This initial returning to the land of Israel, which is going on at the present time, does not necessarily imply that every Jew will return. As one scholar of the prophetic Word states, Zephaniah's prediction does not necessarily imply that all the Jews will return, but only a representative number.

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