Introduction

In Romans, Paul spends a lot of time talking about his return. Right in chapter 1 he speaks of wanting to come, and then goes into reasons he has not yet done so. In chapter 15 he returns to the topic, speaking of his journey into Spain, but first he has to go to Jerusalem. He mentions that the people of Macedonia and Achaia have made a contribution to the poor saints at Jerusalem; that this is his reason for going there first.

[It is commonly taught that Paul was speaking of finances here, that he was bringing a sum of money collected in Greece to give to the Church at Jerusalem.]

I believe that there is an end time lesson here. Paul's proposed journey is an allegory for the Second Coming Of Christ. The reasons for his delay have to do with things that must happen before he returns. His first stop on the trip is Jerusalem, where Jesus will also again set foot on the mount of olives. Of course we are talking about natural or physical Second Coming, not the spiritual second coming.

The people of Macedonia and Achaia represent the gentile church, and the poor saints at Jerusalem are the Jews who get saved at the very end. The gentiles contribution to those at Jerusalem is the sacrifice of their lives under end time persecution. These are the overcomers who 'avenge not themselves' but 'give place to wrath' because 'they loved not their lives even unto death'.

Revelation speaks of a certain number of martyrs that must be killed, during the end times, before God will avenge their blood. Once this remaining number comes in, things start to happen very rapidly. This remaining number of martyrs is what is spoken of in Romans 11 as the fullness of the Gentiles. And when they come in means they are harvested into heaven, by martyrdom. After this the blindness over Israel will be removed, so they can see clearly their need to call upon the Lord for their salvation.

How does this happen? We know that when the Lord returns, he first carries out judgment on the heavenly powers, before he actually returns to earth. This is important because it is these heavenly powers that form the veil of spiritual blindness over Israel, so that removing them removes the veil. Why then does he wait for a certain number of martyred saints before taking action?

A clue is found in Isaiah [34:4], where he speaks of stars falling from heaven as a leaf falling off the vine, or a fig off a fig tree. The stars falling from heaven are ruling demonic powers coming down. The leaves falling off the vine are saints which are martyred. If there is a correlation between the two, then the number of saints has to equal or better the number of 'stars' for the judgement to be complete. Which means that there is a set number that must be reached. This only happens by a great end time harvest with multitudes getting saved and then martyred so the fullness of the gentiles comes in.

Once the wicked rulers in high places are disposed of, the veil is removed from Israel and they are grafted back into the body of Christ, the olive tree {Romans 11]. This is referred to as life from the dead, and has a double meaning. You see, this also speaks of the resurrection of the saints at this time. Which is followed right away by the translation or rapture of the remnant of the saints who are still left alive after all the persecution.

That sums up what I believe the Lord has shown me about this topic. Before we get into the details of how scripture supports this viewpoint, a word about method.

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