“In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity. And it will come about in that day,” declares the LORD of hosts, “that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they will no longer be remembered; and I will also remove the prophets and the unclean spirit from the land. And it will come about that if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who gave birth to him will say to him, ‘You shall not live, for you have spoken falsely in the name of the LORD’; and his father and mother who gave birth to him will pierce him through when he prophesies. Also it will come about in that day that the prophets will each be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies, and they will not put on a hairy robe in order to deceive; but he will say, ‘I am not a prophet; I am a tiller of the ground, for a man sold me as a slave in my youth.’ And one will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will say, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’ Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, And against the man, My Associate,” Declares the LORD of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; And I will turn My hand against the little ones. And it will come about in all the land,” Declares the LORD, “That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it. And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’
I’m am so excited that I don’t know where to begin or what to write because Zechariah recorded all these things about Jesus and the words were spoken by Jesus, before becoming a baby boy, what could I possibly add? Unfortunately I have to write something because the prophecy pundits proclaim a future slaughter in Israel based on erroneous eisegesis from a minuscule moment in Zechariah 13.
Let’s go back to Jesus as a baby boy in a manger. Yes, Jesus was with the father from eternity past and is one with the father and the Spirit, the Bible is clear on this. I only bring it up by way of reminder because the evangelical church loves Jesus in the manger–an event of which, only lasted a couple of hours in the middle of eternity, yet it was a historical event. Zechariah prophesied about future, now historical, events. Keep this in mind. The evangelical church also loves to have Jesus next to his dad, asking him, begging him, for permission to go and rescue his bride, the evangelical church, in a rapture rescue because things are very bad. Look around, we have protests, Covid19, a polluted planet allegedly suffocating on its own CO2–people on the planet doing the same with socks smothering their mouths and noses. And it gets worse; people have Bibles on their phones, Bibles in hotel rooms, Bibles lining the pews of their churches, spiritual gifts, Jesus as an ambassador and the Holy Spirit poured out in abundance. These certainly are troubling times. The prophecy pundits positions perturb people, claiming that the world gets worse and worse, more difficult and challenging before the rapture of the church. But ask yourself, would you rather live now, with Covid19 or during the 1918 pandemic? The 1918 pandemic or the bubonic plague? The bubonic plague or the assault on Israel by Rome in 70 AD? If you chose anything but Covid19, you clearly don’t know your history.
Forgive me–I had a bad day when I began writing this, over a week ago. (It’s ironic in my mind how slowly I can write about the passages which excite me the most.) Normally I would delete the previous paragraph and simply state that I had a bad day and then go on to explain how spoiled I am for considering my day as bad when I have friends with no money, no soap, no toilet paper and very little food. But there is a lesson for all of us in the United [divided] States who have a choice to make in a few short months. I am not a huge fan of western culture or the American dream but we are at risk of losing it all in one felled swoop. That is to say that there is much in our culture worth saving and much we need to win back. One thing we need back, or our country is not worth saving, is the right to life. I don’t want to get political but when we look at the political landscape, every believer has only one choice to try and stop the genocide of “unwanted” babies. I’m finished with stumping for Trump but it does loosely pertain to today’s text. That is, I believe that we can and eventually will, abolish abortion as the Republican party once abolished slavery– hopefully without all the needless bloodshed. How have we gotten to the point where we worship the petty criminal but abhor the only innocent beings on this earth? It is what we were expecting.
At least it’s what I was expecting, even though I was born three years after Roe V. Wade. I once believed that the world would become worse and worse until Jesus came to rapture his church and then all hell would break loose on earth. The Jewish people would go through 7 years of great tribulation where 2/3rds of them would be slaughtered and I based it upon someone else’s interpretation of today’s text. That is, it was a tradition which I was taught and I bought the bait, hook, line and sinker. But then something happened, I kept reading the Bible, seeing that God loves the world enough to slaughter his son, I then considered the context and saw the sublime string. I took Jesus out of the manger and placed him on his throne. I saw God for who he is, Satan for who he is and most painfully, I saw myself for whom I am and our ancestors for whom they were, absolutely flawed individuals. The Bible tells us a story and while it may not be written to us or about us, we all have a roll to play in the saga–every single person does. I have remarked that Revelation is a tale of two cities but it is not only Revelation but the entire Bible. I have to agree with C. S. Lewis, in the end, there are only two types of people in the world, those who say to the Lord, “Your will be done” and those to whom the Lord says, “your will be done.” Blessing or curse, heaven or hell, God or anything else. Therefore, we must know the will of God.
I truly believe that we, more likely our progeny, will abolish abortion and future generations will look on us as the self-centered savages being blatantly barbaric as we are, about abortion, as we ourselves look back on the slave traders, only more so. Let’s look with a long view at history and think pragmatically, logically and Biblically about the progression of people on this planet. Let’s ask some appropriate questions, considering the context of course.
Is it God’s will to slaughter 2/3rds of modern-day Israel? The prophecy pundits would have us believe that it is. After all, look at what Zechariah wrote; “two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it.” Do you see the problem with what I wrote and the preposterousness of the proclamation of the prophecy pundits’ presupposition? Not only did I jump in midsentence, I jumped in mid-quote–no context. I jumped in mid prophecy, mid Bible and mid history. I am not considering the continuing context or seeing the sublime string. Furthermore, I am not considering examples which enlighten–I am not looking forward to the New Testament fulfillment as described by Jesus, the one who spoke these words and brought forth the fulfillment.
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, “I WILL STRIKE DOWN THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP OF THE FLOCK SHALL BE SCATTERED.” But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.’ But Peter answered and said to Him, ‘Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you shall deny Me three times.’ Peter said to Him, ‘Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.’ All the disciples said the same thing too.”
Jesus continues speaking during his arrest; “At that time Jesus said to the multitudes, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as against a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me. But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.’ Then all the disciples left Him and fled.” This was anything but unplanned or parenthetical but prophesied by the prophets–the question is, where? Jesus said that the prophets, plural would be fulfilled. He didn’t say, prophet, singular or even one prophecy. Jesus points to a plethora of prophecies, it’s kind of what makes him the King of kings but literally he quotes prophecy all night long, but does this mean we exclude every prophecy not enumerated by Jesus? Let’s look at Isaiah.
“Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?”
That is an ironic introduction…
“For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should bbe attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living, For the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due? His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the plunder with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.”
This is one of the most obvious pictures of the Messiah found in the Old Testament, written hundreds of years before his birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension to the righthand of the father. Yet Jesus never ascribed this obvious allusion of himself, about himself–this grows in importance as we continue to see similarities and the sublime string in Zechariah and Isaiah. We see see wounds, people, purification, sheep and such. The reason is because the writers speak of the same scenario through similar scopes. Yet each reveals different aspects and angles in their respective, apocalyptic addresses.
Therefore as we zoom in on Zechariah we don’t bring our razor blades, glue and paper, cutting and pasting parts of prophecies together attempting to find which part of prophecy is about the first coming and which is part is of the second coming. In the same way we should not assume that Jesus is giving us license to do this by quoting specific sentences of Scripture but ignoring others, thinking that his intention is to show us what pieces of prophecy applied to his first coming. We often wrongly assume that only the enumerated prophecies were fulfilled but this is not how the Bible, an eastern book, was written. Rather than only understand the section of prophecy pointed to in a pinpoint of time, the reader is expected to see the sublime string and continuing context of prophecy. For instance the sheep being scattered in Zechariah precisely points to the disciples fleeing on the night of the betrayal and trial of Jesus but the surrounding context is also to be considered. We see the specifics by zooming in and then the overarching theme by zooming out. Jesus takes a microscope to Zechariah to show specifics but then takes a telescope to show the sublime string, saying, But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.” My proof is that Jesus never once quotes Isaiah 53, concerning himself that day, even though it is the most glaring prophecy about him. The point is that Jesus points to the entire context of the Old Testament to point to what was happening but he hits the highlights of the prophets, zooming in on specifics and zooming out on the plan unfolding.
This may sound confusing and perhaps even wrong but that’s because I am attempting to un-teach that which we have been taught. I remember my pastors over the years who were godly, gospel-loving men but they would all vehemently disagree with me on my approach. I think of my grandmothers and my parents, my aunts and uncles, of whom all would disagree with my understanding of the Scriptures. How could I go to them and tell them that they are wrong. They all were learning about prophecy before I was born and here I am telling them that they are wrong? Think of my pastor growing up who came to the church I grew up in when I was a toddler and didn’t leave until my own toddlers were in elementary school. Remember that I am a Bible-school dropout and that he graduated from seminary. He preached the gospel 3 times a week for 30 years. Based on credentials alone, I shouldn’t be able to assemble an audience and his church should have been much larger than it was. Based on character, I should be in a dark, dank dungeon and he should be a revered reverend and writer. But Zechariah has proven to us that it is not about credentials or character because Jesus had to clean up Joshua and the Spirit had to strengthen Zerubbabel. The point is that we can disagree but we shouldn’t because the continuing context is clear and the sublime string shows this. Therefore we will look at the dogmatic dispensational discourse and see how they came to this point but why they are mistaken.
We’ve already covered one aspect of dogmatic dispensationalism, that two thirds of future Israel will be slaughtered. This is actually true, but it is not our future in mind but the future generation of Zechariah’s generation was in God’s mind–the generation of Jesus. Also it is not a literal slaughter of the entire number, though many were slaughtered. Look closely at the composition. “‘Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; And I will turn My hand against the little ones. And it will come about in all the land,’ Declares the LORD, ‘That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it. And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, “They are My people,” And they will say, “The LORD is my God.”‘”
Rather than jump in midsentence or mid-quote like the prophecy pundits, at least we are considering some of the context. And in the context we see the correlation between the “cut off” and “perishing” of the people and the sheep being scattered, which we know refers to the disciples on the night of nights. We also notice that Jesus doesn’t say that two thirds of Israel will be slaughtered in a single day or event but that they will be cut off and perish. Don’t get me wrong, they are long dead and many of them by the sword but it doesn’t happen at the exact same time that the disciples fall away but the two events are explicitly linked together in the context. Even pragmatically, it makes no sense for the conjunction “and” to be used to describe a 2000 year hiatus of a church. That sentence seems disjointed and arbitrary but that is what the prophecy pundits proclaim. Let me sum up their beliefs based upon what we know, given what we’ve seen in Zechariah and what Jesus said in Matthew.
“They will arrest Jesus with clubs and swords so that his disciples will run away and then God will turn his hand against the little ones at some point and he will slaughter two thirds of them in 2000 years or so.” It doesn’t fit the context and it certainly doesn’t fit the fulfillment we see in the New Testament of which the prophecy pundits proclaim is “parenthetical.” Not that a parenthetical period cannot be proclaimed by the prophets but if it was, shouldn’t we see it here rather than the conjunction “and?” Pragmatically and logically, using any type of hermeneutical tool, if the prophecy pundits are correct, should we not see at least a hint of the parenthesis prophesied between the two prophecies, rather than linked together with an “and?” Should we not see some sort of other conjunction, such as, “after” or, “then, 2000 years hence?” Rather we see conjecture and not the conjunction in the proclamation of the prophecy pundits, Nevertheless, it is what we have been taught, therefore as easy as it is to see that Zechariah wrote about the Messiah as Isaiah did, we still believe that the world goes to hell even though Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.” Unless you are learning for yourself you only know what you have been taught.
No parenthetical plan and no extensions or hiatus of prophecy are seen in Zechariah nor are they indicated at all in the composition. Look at Zechariah and ask yourself, is the author’s aspiration for the reader to see a parenthetical period? Now look at Matthew’s account of that night and ask the same question. Look at what Jesus said to the high priest during his trial when asked if he was the Messiah; “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you shall see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.” To which the high priest tore his robes and cried “blasphemy” because he understood–we don’t. Jesus was not promising the high priest a rapture rescue, far from it, he was proclaiming God’s judgment against him and Jerusalem. This, once again, brings the reader back to Daniel’s prophecy, if one attempts to understand the aspirations of the author to his audience by examining examples. We look for what Jesus was saying to us, even though we weren’t there and Jesus was specifically speaking to the high priest. What was the aspiration of Jesus to the high priest and what was Matthew’s aspiration to his first-century, Jewish audience? How do we ascertain these aspirations of the authors without making assumptions? We consider the continuing context and see the sublime string.
Contextually, zooming in, we are seeing the time of Jesus and his false trial before Pilate and the high priest. We remember how specifically it was described by Isaiah 53 but that not one of the New Testament writers evokes Isaiah 53 concerning Jesus’ trial and death, specifically, even though similar words are used and it should be obvious to any reader. That is to say, while Isaiah is obvious, Zechariah is the one evoked by Jesus therefore we must see the sublime string in Zechariah as well as Daniel as this prophecy is evoked as well that night. Jesus said to the high priest that he, the high priest, would see Jesus at the right hand of the father, coming on the clouds. This is of vast importance because of the context, aspirations of the author, genre and examples, therefore we must divide rightly the word of truth because this begs for the CAGED method of Biblical hermeneutics, where; context is king, author’s aspirations to his audience are apex, genre is the general, expository exegesis of examples enlightens and dividing rightly the word of truth either confirms or cancels our preconceived notions and presuppositions. It is essential to take the long view of Scripture and history and see the sublime string.
Jesus was betrayed by one of his twelve disciples, brought up on false charges in a unlawful court in the middle of the night on the Passover, deemed guilty by the high priest and sentenced to death but Jesus repeatedly invoked and evoked the prophets to point to the fact that all of this was part of the plan and not parenthetical. To the high priest Jesus said, to beat the proverbial dead horse, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you shall see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.” Clearly and truly Jesus was specifically speaking to the high priest–count the times that the personal pronoun “you” is used. Without further ado, let’s look at what the high priest would have remembered and why he tore his robes. If you have not been able to follow along with me thus far, follow with me now and keep it simple with me. Take a deep breath and clear your mind of the dogma of taught traditions but remember the taught traditions so that you can see the ridiculousness of our taught traditions– that Jesus returns to earth to rapture his church on a cloud elevator.
Watch: Daniel recorded; “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations, and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.”
Jesus also quotes the most quoted verse of the Old Testament in the New, Psalm 110:1, in his dissertation to the high priest. “The LORD said to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.'” (Nevertheless, remember that verses were added later and that the entire Psalm should be considered. For time’s sake only, we will not)
Therefore the high priest tore his robes because he understood the claims of Jesus, that he was the long-awaited Messiah. Ironically enough, the high priest made a similar mistake as the prophecy pundits make, he misinterpreted the rest of Scripture. While the high priest understood the claims of Jesus, he didn’t see, in his mind’s eye, the prophecies fulfilled in Jesus. While the prophecy pundits see the suffering servant in Jesus and Jesus as the Messiah, they, like the high priest, don’t see the warrior king in Jesus. That is, like the high priest, they don’t see many aspects of Christ contained in the prophecies and therefore create a parenthetical period of a church despite the prophecy promises. This is why the high priest tore his robes, because he understood that Jesus was proclaiming to be the one that the prophets pointed to but he didn’t see it, therefore he and the people present proclaimed that Jesus was worthy of death for making himself out to be God. Again, this was based upon Jesus quoting Daniel 7 and Psalm 110 and applying it to himself and proclaiming that the high priest would witness his ascension and “coming on the clouds.” Do not miss this; coming on the clouds doesn’t mean coming to earth to reign or to rapture his church but that Jesus ascended to heaven, he went up, not down, to reign over the earth at the righthand of the father until he puts all his enemies under his feet. Paul clarifies what this looks like in regards to the resurrection of the dead.
“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He delivers up the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, ‘All things are put in subjection,’ it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. And when all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, that God may be all in all.”
Death is the last enemy not the first to be put in subjection. However according to the prophecy pundits, death is the first enemy to be put in subjection if the church is raptured to eternal life while Israel awaits a slaughter. Place all of these passages together with the sublime string and see that Jesus came on time, exactly as he planned and promised and accomplished everything that he promised to accomplish for and against Israel. That is, 1/3 became or better stated, remained as true Israel in Christ as 2/3 remained apostate and were cut off and set aside for destruction as promised by the flying scroll of Zechariah. Let me bring all of this seemingly disjointed discussion together, looking at what the prophecy pundits proclaim must happen for the Lord to return, even though we understand that coming on the clouds clearly doesn’t mean the second coming.
Rightly, based upon Scripture, but wrongly ascribing these Bible passages to the second coming or the “rapture,” the prophecy pundits proclaim that before Jesus can return, the Jewish people must be present in Israel, returning from the nations to which they were scattered. There must be a temple in Jerusalem. There must be animal sacrifice and a laundry list of sundry things. But were these things not in place during the generation of Jesus in the first century? Of whom Jesus said, “all these things shall fall upon this generation.”
Simply because we don’t see these things falling upon that generation doesn’t mean that they didn’t. We make the same mistake as the high priest and don’t see Jesus for who he is. Some of the most dogmatic dispensationalists even argue that the Ark of the Covenant must return to the temple before Jesus can return. But I am reminded of the words in Hebrews concerning the temple, sacrifice and the Ark of the Covenant juxtaposed to the dogmatic dispensationalists discourse which argues that the abomination of desolation is equal to the end of sacrifice in the third temple.
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things…But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. For finding fault with them, He says, ‘BEHOLD, DAYS ARE COMING, SAYS THE LORD, WHEN I WILL EFFECT A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH; NOT LIKE THE COVENANT WHICH I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS ON THE DAY WHEN I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND TO LEAD THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT; FOR THEY DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT, AND I DID NOT CARE FOR THEM, SAYS THE LORD’…When He said, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear…” Read the book of Hebrews, as it explains the eradication of the sacrifice and temple and the Ark and ask yourself which is an abomination, the end of sacrifice of animals or the return of the “worthless” sacrifice and then end to said sacrifice? It is not some future Antichrist that will put an end to sacrifice, but it was Jesus Christ who abolished the sacrifice, “once for all,” Hebrews states. Like a house of cards in a historical hurricane, the dubious dogma of far-future fulfillment folds under the weight of the context and sublime string.
Simply because we don’t see Jesus as a fountain “opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity,” doesn’t mean that he wasn’t. In the same way, because we don’t see a prophet turned into tiller of the earth doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. We will examine this next time, Lord willing. Zechariah points to Jesus and Jesus points back to Zechariah so that we will see that he is who he said he was, did what he said he would do and is doing what he promised to be doing, sitting at the righthand of the father, reigning from heaven with all authority until he has put his enemies under his feet–the last, not the first, being death.
Zechariah is not a hodgepodge of prophecy with a tiny piece of fulfillment here and a larger piece there but a progressive prophecy pertaining to Christ’s incarnation, life, death, rule and reign, coming with both a blessing for those of every nation, to the Jews first, who believe but a curse upon those who don’t, to the Jews first. Again, antisemitic attitudes are an abomination because they birthed the nations coming to Christ. In the same way, exalting Israel over the nations is equally offensive. We’ll close by looking at the end of today’s text.
“I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’” These are our fathers in faith, the early, Jewish church. These are the ones who fled Jerusalem in the first century to spread the gospel to the nations. If you are a Christian, you are only a Christian because of the Jewish people. Racism and antisemitism are absolutely excluded from the church and yet that hasn’t held true in history. Therefore I rest my case, for today, because whether or not you agree or see it, is irrelevant but things are progressing on earth. Yet much is left to be done. As western Christians, we’ve given up the fight to await a rapture rescue. However there is no rapture rescue but don’t take my word for it, search the Scripture for yourself, utilizing the CAGED method of Biblical hermeneutics, mining for gold, putting aside preconceived notions and presuppositions of a rapture rescue. Honestly, it is simply not there but a promise of Daniel, Zechariah, Isaiah and the like is promised to the people present at Christ’s crucifixion. A curse on those who disbelieve but a blessing to those who do believe that they will be a fruit-bearing, persecuted people, who plant for a kingdom that starts small but grows progressively into a large tree.