(Photo: Reuters/Rula Halawani)
World Bible Society President Dr. F. Kenton Beshore has said that based on a lifetime of study, he believes that the "Rapture" is likely to occur before the year 2021, while the Second Coming of Jesus Christ will happen between 2018 and 2028.
"There are 144,000 Jews during the Tribulation who are going to turn to the Lord," 86-year-old Beshore said in a statement. "Now, we are all going to be gone (following the Rapture).
"But if we can get our Jewish Scriptures into their hands now, the Holy Spirit will lead them to them at the right time. They may have set them aside, but they will read them, turn to the Lord and lead billions and billions to Jesus."
He adds that by releasing this statement, he hopes that at this time of global economic, political and spiritual crisis, to inspire believers to get prepared for the greatest opportunity for worldwide evangelism in the last 2,000 years.
Beshore, who began his ministry at 19 years of age and has earned five doctoral degrees in theology, today leads the World Bible Society, a Christian organization that has distributed nearly 60 million copies of the Bible to over 65 nations around the world. The organization says that its mission is focused on meeting the spiritual needs of people by "Producing and Distributing Bibles, Bibles on MP3's, Bibles on Software, CD's and DVD's, Jewish Scriptures, Bible Book Studies, a Worldwide Radio Program (also heard on short wave and the Internet), Family Values material, and Helping Single Moms."
The organization offers a chance for people wishing to help Jewish families receive Bibles to contribute to its program to educate and enlighten.
Dr. Beshore has also released a book addressing the question – When will the Rapture Take Place, where he urges for the spiritual awakening of the masses so that they can watch for the fulfillment of those prophecies. He also teaches people how they should prepare for the upcoming Biblical events.
He says accounts of these events are found in the Book of Revelation, and says the rapture is a future event in which true believers of Christ will be taken up from Earth to dwell with Christ – although there are various interpretations as to when or how this event might actually take place. The Second Coming refers to a time when Jesus Christ will return to Earth to fulfill the prophecies laid out in the Bible. The Tribulation, on the other hand, is described by the theologian as a seven-year period when God will punish those on Earth, before finally judging everyone.
Dr. Beshore's efforts are focused on this seven-year period where he hopes 144,000 Jews are going to turn to Christ, which he believes is described in Revelation. The theologian insists that no one can know the exact date of when Jesus will return, but there can be arguments made for the "times and seasons", or the approximate timeframe.
As some examples that show that people can watch for signs that predict Christ's return, he points to Jesus' remarks in Matthew 24:33 that"'when you see all these things, you know that he is near" and his command in Matthew 24:42-44 to "watch" and be "ready" for his return.
He also claims that people living during the time of Noah were given more than 100 years of warning before the Great Flood, and that Lot and his family were warned before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
"The parable of the fig tree is a prophecy of the rebirth of the nation of Israel," Beshore writes in his book."The Greek phrase 'panta tauta' that is translated 'all these things' refers to the beginning of birth pains (Matthew 24:8). Jesus was saying, in effect, that when you see the birth pains – World War I and II and famines, pestilences and earthquakes – you will know that His return is drawing near. The Greek word genea is translated 'generation.' It literally means 'born one.' Jesus said this 'born one' (nation of Israel) will be in existence when He returns."
The theologian goes on to list several other examples of what he sees as evidence that we are living close to the End Times.
"Bible teachers have grown old and died preaching about the Rapture and a word that doesn't exist in the Bible – imminence," Beshore says. "The word imminence means the Rapture can take place any day. The Bible does not teach that. The Bible teaches that certain events must take place before the Rapture – that 'the day cannot come except the falling away takes place' and 'the man of sin is revealed.'"