LOOK TO JESUS-(Is Church Attendance Important?)

Now that we have covered a good portion of end times information, maybe it’s about time to start taking a look into different subjects; learning to live and grow in our relationship with our heavenly Father. Let’s start by looking to Jesus. There is nothing more important than focusing on the Messiah for the answers to all life situations and problems.

A conversation has recently been started on Facebook by a friend of mine who served in churches for many years. He has now completely turned against the organized church, not attending anywhere.  His reasons are that he has been disillusioned by deceit, being lied to, and hurt feelings; not only him, but he has seen his wife come home from church crying due to mean things said about her or things that have been said about him. I am not here to criticize this friend personally at all. I know this man and he is deeply devoted to Christ.  This is between him and the Lord, but there are a few things that this has brought to mind.

First of all, posting things on Facebook, or any public forum, that is negative about the church or Christianity can never be pleasing to God. This is not the first time I’ve seen this happen. I’m always prompted to think of all the unsaved people using the excuse not to attend church due to all the “hypocrites” there. Negative comments from Christians concerning our faith could possibly fuel their fire even more. Christians are a group of sinners who are like every other sinner in the world except for one difference, we are saved by His grace alone. Our sins are forgiven! Once we are saved, it doesn’t mean that we let go of all our sinful ways because our flesh is still a strong force in our lives; it just means that when we do mess up, we are convicted and have available to us forgiveness by repenting and asking our Lord for exoneration. He is faithful to forgive! (1 John 1:9)

When negative comments are posted concerning the organized church, it may cause someone to never want to go to a house of God to hear the word, potentially preventing them from accepting Christ. Jesus started the church. He started it with Peter (Matthew 16:18). The early church of the new covenant did begin in homes but eventually buildings were built, as evidenced by the seven churches of Revelation. These structures became known as the representation of the organized church.  God approves of having premises where large groups of people can gather together to pray and sing praises to Him. He provided a tent for the Israelites in the desert for this purpose and then had the temple built under Solomon’s guidance.

Conflict is bound to happen within churches and some are handled properly and some are not.  And yes, there are things that go on among the congregation of the church that shouldn’t, just as in any setting that involves more than one person (ie: office, clubs, and even amidst families).  One thing to keep in mind when disputes are present, not everyone that attends church regularly has a personal relationship with Christ.  Never forget that how we react to dissension within our place of worship may be an example to a lost person even if it does stay within the walls of the building. There is a Biblical way to deal with difficult situations between people clearly spelled out in Matthew 18:15-17 with the steps for achieving resolution being internal; but what about when issues arise that the solutions are not clearly spelled out in the scriptures such as using the church grounds as a marketplace, women being leaders in the church or something similar? A good way to figure out the answer is to look to Jesus.  If the life of  Jesus is closely scrutinized in these matters, the answer can always be found by His example.

My friend was discouraged with church due to some conflicts he was having with others and was disillusioned by some hurtful comments. Let’s consider if Jesus’s feelings were ever hurt or if anyone ever was mean to Him in church. You don’t have to look far.  After preaching His first recorded sermon in His own hometown, He was thrown out of the city and then those churchgoers even led Him out to a cliff to throw Him off! Those lovely church members wanted Him dead. (Luke 4:28-10).  The scriptures tell us that He just went to another city and taught there (Luke 4:31).  Jesus continued to attend synagogues, “as was His custom”( Luke 4:16), in spite of being despised and rejected by most of the leadership.  In every church He ever attended there was conflict with Him being in attendance. The Pharisees were never void of complaining about Him and trying to trick Him.  A lot of backbiting was probably the norm even though they usually acted nice to Jesus while in public.  The religious leaders were too afraid of the crowds to be unkind to Him to His face (Matthew 21:46); but yet, we are never told that He ever forsook His “custom” of attending a place of worship.

In summary, before we do anything in this life, whether it’s posting something on Facebook or reacting to something in the church, we should examine the life of Jesus and ask ourselves, “What did Jesus do in a similar situation?” and ultimately, “Will this glorify God?”.  That is our purpose. He created us to praise and glorify Him.  And as far as the young man who inspired this article, it’s between him and the heavenly Father; but I will say as far as this author is concerned, unless my health fails or I die my car will be leaving my driveway every Sunday morning to go to His house to worship, “as is my custom”.

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THE LAST TRUMPET

(For better understanding, first read the post titled, “THE TWO RETURNS OF JESUS AND THE TWO HARVESTS OF THE EARTH”)

1 Corinthian 15:51-52

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

The above verse is directly related to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17:

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 which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

These passages are referring to what some people reference as the rapture. When will this take place? Let’s examine the notion of the “last trump” mentioned in 1 Corinthians.  There are a set of trumpets in Revelation that are blown during the process of the last days. In this post, we will examine whether or not the “last trump” mentioned in the passage above is one-in-the-same as the 7th trumpet of Revelation. If they are, then Christians will need to be prepared to experience a sizeable portion of the days of distress.

Some people believe that the last trump in the Corinthians verses is a different set of trumpets than the seven trumpets of Revelation; that the set Corinthians is referring to happens before the first seal is opened. Their belief is that Christians will be taken away, not having to experience any of the havoc revealed in the last book of the Bible and that they will face judgment and then will be ushered into the marriage supper of the Lamb to be held during the time of great trouble. (https://www.gotquestions.org/marriage-supper-Lamb.html) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAHjUV5ky5g).  There are several things they base this on but one of the main ones is 1 Thessalonians 5:9. We are appointed not to suffer God’s wrath so it is assumed by this segment of society that God’s wrath begins with the beginning of the days of tribulation but let’s look at what the scriptures say happens at the time the 7th trumpet in Revelation is blown:

Revelation 11: 15,18 (KJV)

15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were
great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this
world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his
Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever.

18 And the nations were angry, and
THY WRATH IS COME, and the
TIME OF THE DEAD, that
THEY SHOULD BE JUDGED, and that thou shouldest
GIVE REWARDS UNTO THY SERVANTS AND THE
PROPHETS, AND TO THE SAINTS, and them that fear
thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them.

Revelation 11:18 tells us of 4 things that will happen at the last trumpet.

1.  HIS WRATH HAS COME

Who’s wrath is this verse talking about? It’s God’s wrath. The vials (or bowls) are fixing to be poured out.  There are two verses that clearly state that the seven last plagues are filled with God’s wrath.

Revelation 15:1 (KJV)

15 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.

Revelation 16:1 (KJV)

16 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.

The 7th trumpet of Revelation begins the pouring out of God’s wrath being spilled out on all mankind. We definitely will NOT have to suffer His wrath as promised!

2. It is the time of the dead

Compare this with 1 Corinthians 15:52.

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

See the similarity? This is the one thing that convinces me that these trump in Corinthians is the same as the seventh trumpet of Revelation.  The “dead being raised incorruptible” certainly is the “time of the dead”.

3. It’s a time of judgment

At this time the dead shall be judged.  As you heard if you watched the referenced video above, that some people who believe that Christians will be taken off this earth before the first seal in Revelation is opened also believe that the judgment seat of Christ will happen at that time too.  If the rapture happens before the tribulation, and there is a judgment, then there is one at the seventh trumpet as is plainly stated in the printed scriptures, and lastly the great white throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-15); that would mean there would be three times of judgment. Can anyone else find a third judgment in the Book itself?

4. Rewards will be given

Also, as covered in a previous post, we find in this same time period that Jesus does return to the earth and that there is a harvest of the earth (see my previous post, THE TWO RETURNS OF JESUS AND THE TWO HARVESTS OF THE EARTH ). When comparing the two trumpets of the two Biblical books, it appears that there is a strong argument for them being the same event. If so, then the seventh trumpet is when we will be raptured up to be with our Lord.

At what point will the seventh trumpet happen in the tribulation? How soon after it is blown will Jesus make His triumphal entry on the white horse? That is not clearly spelled out but it will probably be very near the end because the last seven plagues are catastrophic. When the second and third bowls (or vials in some versions) are poured out, all the water in the world is turned to blood and the fourth bowl contains intense heat. Without water to drink, it will not take long for humans to perish. (see more about this in my post “What exactly happens during the tribulation period?”)

Are you ready?

John 14:6 (KJV)

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

 

 

                                                                          

THE TWO RETURNS OF JESUS AND THE TWO HARVESTS OF THE EARTH (and neither one is before the tribulation begins)

The Bible clearly teaches of two times that Jesus will return to the earth and two times the earth will be harvested with neither time being before the tribulation begins.

THE TWO RETURNS OF JESUS

Return #1-Revelation 14:1

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.

In this scripture, John sees Jesus (the Lamb) standing on Mt. Zion. He has the 144,000 with Him.  This appearance will be in the midst of the tribulation because the 144,000 are Jews who are given the mark of God in chapter seven, verse three, of Revelation after the sixth seal is opened.  The tribulation begins when the first seal is opened so, therefore, the 144,000  have already received the seal and have been redeemed from the earth (Revelation 14:3) and are now returning with Jesus to Mt. Zion.

Return #2-Zechariah 14:3-4

Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

Jesus will return on the Mt. of Olives in this scripture to do battle.  This is the battle of Armageddon which can be found in Revelation 19.

THE TWO HARVESTS OF THE EARTH

Harvest #1-Revelation 13:14-20

14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped17And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

At this harvest of the earth, the saved are reaped first in verse sixteen.  We know this because the ones that are reaped last in verse nineteen are thrown into the “winepress of the wrath of God”.  It occurs in the same time span as when Jesus returns to the earth on Mt. Zion and the seventh trumpet, right before the bowls are fixing to be poured out which contains God’s wrath.  The Bible tells us plainly in Revelation 11:18 (at the time of the seventh trumpet which begins the pouring out of the bowls), Revelation 15:1(KJV) and Revelation 16:1(KJV) that God’s wrath is in the bowls (or vials, according to which version of the Bible you have).

Harvest #2-Matthew 13:24-19

24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.26 But when the blade was sprung up and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Jesus gives an explanation of this parable  in verses 36-43 of that same chapter:

36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Jesus tells us that this harvest is at the end of the world (vs. 39 and 40).  The unsaved are harvested first in this harvest and are cast into a furnace of fire (vs. 42).  Then the saved will be in the kingdom of the Father!

In conclusion, there are definitely going to be two returns of Jesus to the earth and two harvests. The harvest in Revelation is in the same time span as the return of Jesus on to Mt. Zion.  Joel 2:32 also ties these two events together:

32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.”

Joel tells us that at one point the Lord will provide deliverance from Mt. Zion for those that He calls. And when the Lord does return to gather us unto Him, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 tells us that He will return with a shout to call the dead and the living to Him:

 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 which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord

In both the Joel and the 1 Thessalonians scriptures, Jesus is calling out to the remnant that He will deliver.

To summarize, during the Revelation harvest, the saved are harvested first and the unsaved are thrown to where the wrath of God is but at the harvest Jesus teaches us about, the unsaved are harvested first and thrown directly into the fiery furnace and the saved will be in the Kingdom of the Father.

I pray everyone reading this will be in the kingdom of the Father.  Please ask Jesus to become your Lord and Savior if you have not, confessing that you are a sinner, repenting of those sins, and asking forgiveness. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Light, and NOONE gets to the Father but by Him!

 

 

What exactly happens during the tribulation period?

What is the tribulation and what happens during it? I think the best way to describe it is to look and expound on the scriptures in Revelation. There are three stages of the tribulation, with each stage having seven different occurrences or plagues. As each progresses, the intensity increases. First, are the seven seals, second the seven trumpets, and finally seven bowls (or vials) of judgment. Why so many seven’s?  The number seven means completeness in the Bible.

The progression of the tribulation begins in the fifth chapter of Revelation. Here there are seven seals that need to be opened. It is my belief that the seals being opened, the trumpets being blown, and the bowls being poured will be in the spiritual realm, not something we will be aware of as they are happening.  John, the writer of Revelation, wept in the fourth verse because there was no one who was worthy to open the seals.   But then it was told to him that there was somebody that was worthy, and that was Jesus. Chapter six begins with the Lamb opening the first of the seven seals.  This is how things progress:

1st Seal: The antichrist appears.  He comes riding a white horse just like Jesus will when He comes back for the final battle (Revelation 19:11).  The man of sin imitates our Lord in other ways also.  He is given a crown, which makes him able to rule over others.  He also has a bow without an arrow mentioned and is set on conquering. Having no arrows signifies that he will be conquering by peaceful methods.

2nd Seal: Wars will happen between nations.  Peace will be taken from the earth.

3rd Seal:  There will be worldwide famine and starvation.  Food will be scarce making prices of provisions very high.

4th Seal: ¼ of the earth will die either by the sword, famine, plague or by a wild beast.

5th Seal:  There will be people being martyred for proclaiming the word of God.

6th Seal:  There will be a great earthquake.  The sun will turn black and there will be a blood moon.  The sky is going to “recede like a scroll” (Revelation 6:14).  Mountains and islands will be found in different locations than where they originally inhabited.  People, from the richest to the poorest, will cry out in terror while hiding in caves and praying to die. The day of the wrath of the Lamb has come!

After the sixth seal, four angels will be given the power to harm the land and sea (Revelation 7:2), but they are told to wait until 144,000 Jews have received the seal of the living God on their foreheads.  These are twelve tribes of Israel, dating back to Jacob’s sons.  Each tribe will have 12,000 people sealed but there is one tribe missing, the tribe of Dan. It is speculated by some that this was because of their sin, but no one knows for sure.  To replace Dan, Joseph’s son Manasseh is listed. Also, at this time there will already be saints in heaven that have come out of the tribulation (Revelation 7:14).

7th Seal:  After the seal is opened in chapter eight of Revelation, there is a silence in heaven for about half an hour.  Then seven trumpets are given to seven angels.  There will be a storm and earthquake during this period.

Then comes the trumpets, all blown by angels.  Trumpets one through six are in chapters eight and nine.

1st trumpet: It brings hail and fire mixed with blood. 1/3 of the earth will be burned up which includes the trees and grass.

2nd trumpet: Something like a large mountain is thrown into the sea. This turns the 1/3 of the sea into blood, 1/3 of all sea life dies, and 1/3 of the ships are destroyed.  Can you imagine the stench with so much sea life death?

3rd trumpet:  A star named Wormwood falls from the sky and turns 1/3 of the river and springs bitter.  When John was inspired to write this text, there was no conception among humanity that anything could fall from heaven and produce bitter waters.  But today, according to the following website, Nasa has acknowledged that there are many nearby asteroids and comets that could do this. To read about this go to:

http://www.cogwriter.com/news/prophecy/nasa-indirectly-confirms-wormwood-prophecy/

4th trumpet: 1/3 of the sun, moon, and stars are darkened.  1/3 of the day will be without light and 1/3 of the night also.  Then a warning is sounded to the inhabitants of the earth about the next three trumpet blasts to be sounded.  These will be three  “woes”.

5th trumpet: This is the 1st “woe” (Revelation 9:12) A demonic invasion of locusts will be on the earth after they are released from the abyss, which is another word for hell (Revelation 9:2-3). They are given power like scorpions, including a horrible sting coming from the tail but are not allowed to harm the grass, plants, or trees. having power to only attack the ones that do not have the seal of God on their forehead.  They won’t be able to kill anyone but will have the power to torture people for five months.  During this time, people will want to die, but there will be no death.  The locusts are going to look like horses, but the faces are going to resemble human and they will be able to fly.

6th trumpet: 2nd woe- 1/3 of mankind will be killed by three plagues of fire, smoke, and sulfur.  But even after all this, mankind does not repent.  They continue to worship demons, money, and idols that cannot see or walk.  They continue in their sexual immorality and the magic arts.

Between the sixth and seventh trumpet, two witnesses are mentioned (Revelation 11:1-14). Also, the “mystery” that I discussed under the pre-wrath theory in a previous post happens here. Refer to that post if you would like more information.

7th trumpet:  After this trumpet, there will be a celebration in heaven.  The angels and all other heavenly beings will be aware that the end is very near and that justice is near.

Then comes the seven bowls that are filled with the wrath of God (Revelation 15:7)

1st bowl: At one point during the great tribulation (Matthew 24:21) period, the beast will require all to take the number 666 on their forehead to be able to buy food and also require all to worship the image of the antichrist.  For all those that did take the 666 mark, the first bowl of God’s wrath contains ugly, painful sores that will be poured out on them.

2nd bowl:  Whereas, during the trumpets being blown only 1/3 of the seas turned to blood and 1/3 of the living things within it died, now the whole sea will turn into blood and everything will die.

3rd bowl: Same concept with this bowl as with bowl number two except this time it happens to the rivers and springs.   They’ll become blood. This is the judgment for those that killed God’s saints and prophets; now they are given blood to drink. (Revelation 16:6).  In all probability, this will happen in the last week before Christ returns.  It’s a known fact that people cannot live more than a week without water and that’s when the weather is cool. A more typical estimate is three to four days. And the time is cut even shorter when intense heat that is about to follow in the fourth bowl is involved. 65% of the human body is made up of water and it will be lost very quickly under the conditions to come.

4th bowl: The sun will become much hotter. So hot that it will be scorching people.  People will realize that God has control over these things but will STILL refuse to repent and glorify Him.  I wonder if they’ll be thinking, like I’ve heard people say today, “If God is like that, I don’t want to have anything to do with Him.”  It’s really sad if that is the case because they do not realize that life here on this earth is just a vapor compared to eternity. And if they have any knowledge of the Bible, and realize that things have happened in the direct progression as the Bible states, then they should surely realize that hell is real and that is where they will spend eternity….eternity, burning with no water to drink…what a nightmare!  It’s heartbreaking, the hard headiness of people and the blinders that Satan can instill in someone. It is just too mind-boggling to even try to comprehend! (And as a reminder, the alternative: accept Christ, live for Him, then live eternally where there is no crying or pain)

5th bowl: The beasts’ kingdom will be thrown into total darkness.  Men will continue to curse God because they will be in a lot of pain from the sores on their bodies. They will still refuse to repent.

6th: The great Euphrates River will dry up to prepare the way for the armies coming from the east.  This river has always been a hindrance to any type of military movement. It seems to be the dividing line between two different types of people. Three evil spirits of demons will appear that will resemble frogs.  They perform miracles and they gather kings of the world to do battle at a place called Armageddon (Revelation 16:12-14).  Jesus states that He will be coming “like a thief” (Revelation 16:15) and informs those that are left to keep their clothes on.

7th bowl: A loud voice comes out of the temple saying, “It is done!”(Revelation 16:17). There will be lightning, thunder and the worst earthquake that there ever was. Cities will totally collapse. Even islands and mountains disappear and will not be able to be found.  Hail weighing one hundred pounds falls from the sky.  This makes people curse God.  And again, it still amazes me that with each of these curses, the people DO realize who is in control but STILL refuses to repent and turn to Him!  They are just caught up in their own selves, not wanting to admit that they are weak while He is strong.  They are going to hold to this stance to the end.

And FINALLY:

The heavens will open and the most magnificent sight that ever was seen will appear coming out of the sky on a white horse.  I get chills when I think of this.  The man who was scorn, beaten, humiliated and crucified will now come in all His strength and power that has always been a part of Him, even during His time on earth. The armies of heaven follow Him and are dressed in white linen.  His robe will have been dipped in blood. When He opens His mouth a sharp sword will come out and strike down the ones against Him. Zechariah 14: 1-9 tells us that He will stand on Mt. Olives and it will be split and form a great valley.  There will be no daytime or night time.  On this day there will only be one LORD. He will be victorious! He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords! The beast and the false prophet will be captured and thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.

So this ends the great tribulation period with our Lord being victorious over all the nations! Hallelujah!

(As always, feel free to comment or ask questions below).

The Post Tribulation Theory

(For better understanding, first read the post titled, “THE TWO RETURNS OF JESUS AND THE TWO HARVESTS OF THE EARTH”)

This theory says that the rapture will not happen until the end of the age and that Jesus will only return one time; when He comes back to do battle. The supporting scriptures are as follows:

  • Mathew 24:27-31:

27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

In the above passage, Jesus is describing in His own words His return. He definitely attributes the timing as being “immediately after the tribulation of those days”.  He also makes mention that eagles will be gathered together, which coincides with what happens at the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19:17).  The darkness referred to can be related to the pouring out of the fifth bowl (Revelation 16:10), which is at the end of the “tribulation of those days” and at the same time of the great battle. The verses go on to say that He then sends His angels to gather His elect with the great sound of a trumpet.  So far all the verses seem to point to Jesus coming one time when it’s time to do battle and THEN gathering His elect but notice that He sends His angels out with a great sound of a trumpet. Could this be the seventh trumpet blowing while the bowls are being poured out? In a future post, I will detail the progression of the plagues and it will show just how devasting the pouring of the bowls will be to mankind. It seems that they will be accomplished in a dramatically short time. So I can very well see that that the seventh trumpet could be blown simultaneously to the dispensing of the bowl. But who are the “elect” mentioned that will be gathered? Some say it’s the 144,000 Jews who were given the mark at the sixth seal. We see in Revelation 14:1 that they will be with Jesus when He returns to Mt. Zion, in the same time span as the seventh trumpet when there also is a harvest of the earth, which will be expounded on in a later post. It definitely would have to be the case that the seventh trumpet is blown at the same time that the bowls are being poured out to conclude that the 144,000 would be the “elect” mentioned; but if the seventh trumpet is blown as a separate entity from the bowls being poured, then there is no way that the “elect” could be the 144,000 since they were redeemed prior, or at the time of, Jesus standing on Mt. Zion (Revelation 14:3). 1 Peter 1:1-2 identifies the “elect” as being those that are sprinkled with the blood of Jesus. Jesus definitely gathers a group of people to Him “after the tribulation of those days” and at the time He comes back to do battle and it will NOT be a “secret rapture” by no means! (as seen in the thirtieth verse of the printed scripture).

  • John 6:39-40,44:

Jesus emphasizes that He will rise up all who believe in Him on the last day three times.

  • Revelation 2:26-27:

And once again, the Church of Thyatira is told that if they do His will until the end, they will have authority over all nations.

  • Revelation 20:4-5:

These verses are referencing the start of the 1000 year reign. The ones beheaded have come to life to reign with Christ during the 1000 years.  The rest of the dead does not come alive until after the 1000 years (verse 5).  This is considered the 1st resurrection. Because of this, the post-tribulationists believe that Jesus will appear only once AFTER everything is over and that this is when Jesus will shout and the dead in Christ will rise. (1Thessalonians 4:16-17)

The only post-tribulation theory drawback for me is that they claim Jesus only returns once when He actually comes two times (see the post concerning the two returns).

What do you think? Please comment below.

 

THE PRE-WRATH THEORY

(For better understanding, first study the post titled, “THE TWO RETURNS OF JESUS AND THE TWO HARVESTS OF THE EARTH”)

This theory assumes that we will go through part of, and maybe a big portion of, the days of tribulation but that salvation will come before God’s wrath is poured out on the earth.  This could be a week, a month, a year, or even the same day of the seven last plagues containing the wrath of our Heavenly Father. Listed below are some thoughts and scriptures that support this theory.

  1. 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and 1 Thessalonians 5:9:  Both of these verses state clearly that we will not suffer the coming wrath. We will definitely not suffer God’s wrath. His wrath is dispensed when the bowls (or vials in some versions) are going to be poured out.  Several scriptures verify this but the one that is the clearest in all versions can be found in Revelation 11:18. Go back a few verses to verse fifteen to see this at the time the seventh trumpet is being blown, which sets in motions the bowls being poured out. No, we are not going to suffer God’s wrath but does this mean that Christians will not suffer? Of course not! Many times saints in the Bible were chained, beaten and kept in jail for the sake of Christ. Jesus Himself suffered everything that we ever could, but more to a deeper degree: stripped, spat upon, made fun of, mocked, beaten and hung on a cross and there are many scriptures that tell us to be prepared to suffer.
    • Philippians 1:29: “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;”
    • 2 Timothy 3:12: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
    • John 15:20 (this is Jesus speaking): “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”

Even if it comes to the point of having to suffer for Christ, the Holy Spirit will strengthen us that are one of God’s children just like He strengthened Paul and the apostles who, after they were beaten for preaching the word, they rejoiced “because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” (Acts 5:41 KJV).

In Luke 21:35-37 we are told to always be on the watch so that we will be able to escape what is about to happen. There will be a way to escape, just as he provided for Noah who was rescued from the destruction that occurred by obeying God’s unprecedented command and building a boat. Then there was Lot and his family who were spared annihilation by going into the wilderness. There will definitely be a way to escape the devastation if we just watch as the Luke passage instructs us too. Revelation 2:17 mentions “hidden manna” which is in reference to the manna that the Israelites were given as they wandered in the wilderness. Do you think that the ones left wandering in the wilderness will get to see it fall from heaven as the Israelites did?

If we are left here on the earth, it may be comforting to learn that during the times the plagues are being issued, they will be selective.

  • Revelation 9:4: Locust are told not to harm ones with seals of God on their foreheads.
    • Who will have the seals?
      1. Revelation 7:3-4: 144,000 Jews
      2. Ephesians 1:13; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22:  Christians
  • Revelation 16:2: Painful sores only on people who have the mark of the beast.
  • Revelation 16:10: The fifth bowl of God’s wrath is only poured out on the throne of the beast and his kingdom.

The most compelling thought concerning this theory for me is the comparison of 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 and Revelation 10:6b-7

  • 1 Corinthians 15:51-52:
    1. Paul wrote the church of Corinth that he will tell them a mystery (church of Corinth was made up of Gentiles and Jews).  He goes on to say that everyone will not sleep (referring to death), but will be changed in a twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet, and the dead in Christ will be raised imperishable. Take note that this happens at the last trumpet.
  • Revelation 10:4,6b-7:
    1. Verse 4: John is told not to write down what is about to be accomplished.
    2. Verse 6b: There will no more delay, the seventh (and last in the series) trumpet is about to be blown.
    3. Verse 7: The mystery of God that He announced to His servants is about to be accomplished and it’s a mystery that has been previously announced to the prophets. If it was announced to the prophets, then it should be somewhere in the Bible, right? If you believe that the mystery that is about to happen is not the same as the Corinthians passage, please post below the mystery that you found that this could be talking about because I am not so set in my opinion that I do not take what others say and consider them. The only criteria I have for making a determination is that it be clearly written in the Bible, remembering that Jesus does not want us to be deceived.
  • After comparing these 2, look at Revelation 11:15-18:
    1. The seventh trumpet is blown and the twenty-four elders fall on their faces and worship God and say that the time has come for rewarding of His servant and the saints.
    2. Also, the elders reveal that God’s wrath has come.

There are two times in Revelation where a voice is heard saying “Come up here”. In these instances, humans are actually taken to be with Jesus

  • John’s is called up to heaven to be shown all that will be taking place in Revelation 4:1.
  • Revelation 11:12-A loud voice from heaven tells the two witnesses to ‘Come up here”. This happens in the midst of the tribulation. The two witnesses will be on earth 1260 days prophesying (Revelation 11:3) before they are killed by the beast and lays in the street dead for three days. The Bible does not clarify when they will begin the 1260 days. The only thing we can be sure of is that when they are revived from being dead in the streets three days and they ascend into heaven, that it will be somewhere after the 1260 days of the tribulation which could very well be the same time as the seventh trumpet.

God’s word expounds on two times that Jesus will return to the earth and a harvest of the earth will take place, one at the end of the tribulation and one sometimes during it. After discovering this and studying it in detail, I was astounded that I had NEVER heard about the harvest in Revelation. I have an old Bible in which I took notes during a sermon series in my younger days (very young!) and when I looked back to see what I wrote down when we got to chapter fourteen that decisively tells of a harvest of the earth, the note beside it said that it was the harvest that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 13:24-30 and Matthew 13:36-43, the Parable of the Wheat and Tares. After a detailed comparison of the two, I found that they were definitely talking about two different events. (Again, please see the post “THE TWO RETURNS OF JESUS AND THE TWO HARVESTS OF THE EARTH” for more detailed information concerning the two returns of Jesus and the two harvests of the earth.)

If I say I hold to any theory, this would be it because it can actually happen at any time during the tribulation period. We ARE definitely promised not to suffer God’s wrath, so anytime we are taken out of here will be pre-wrath. Personally, I do believe it will be near the end of the days of trials.

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

THE MID-TRIBULATION THEORY

This theory makes the assumption that believers will be here for the 1st half of the tribulation but will be raptured up at midpoint.

  1. Daniel 9:27:  This is the only scripture in the Bible that I have been able to find that mentions anything happening at the midpoint.  I feel fairly confident that we will not recognize day one of the days of tribulation but if there is a defined day one that we recognize, I’m sure there will be Christians marking their calendars anticipating that exact 3 1/2 mark since the rapture did not happen at the beginning.  It is my opinion that this theory does not hold much credence to it.

What do you think? Comment below.

THE PRE-TRIBULATION THEORY

The pre-tribulation theory says that everyone will be raptured before the days of tribulation that Jesus refers to in Matthew 24:21 and Matthew 24:29. This is the theory that I was led to believe for the majority of my life. As a teenager back in the seventies, we would sometimes be shown films that featured the end times. They always showed, as most films do today, Christians disappearing with their clothes left behind and everyone that remained on earth panicking because no one is able to explain it and of course, there was always an empty baby nursery at a hospital. I sure hope it happens this way but after examining the scriptures, I truly have my doubts.

It bothers me when a preacher is dogmatic about preaching the pre-tribulation theory. Most Christians have never even studied Revelation on their own so what is taught about this matter is very critical. When this topic is expounded on, it should be taught as a “theory”, not as fact because it is a subject that is highly debated among the wisest of Christian scholars.  I have a fear that if any of the church (by the church I mean the followers of Christ, not the physical building) is still here when the mark of the beast is instituted, having not been raptured, that they may lose confidence in God because “the preacher said that we wouldn’t have to go through this!” I worry that they could possibly lose sight of the fact that it will still be possible to escape the horrors of this time period if they just keep the faith. We are promised that in His Word but it may not be by Him rapturing us at the beginning. Could it possibly be that He will guide us to flee and miraculously supply our needs so that we will know that He is God?  I’m especially concerned about the ones that have been “church-goers” but have never accepted Christ as their Savior. I fear some may take the mark of the beast out of frustration, realizing that they have been taught wrong if this theory is incorrect. The Bible tells us in Matthew 24:10 and 1 Timothy 4:1 that many will abandon the faith.

As you delve into this subject, please keep an open mind and do realize that no one can be 100% sure when we will be taken up to be with Christ as told to us in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. We can hope for the pre-tribulation theory to be right but we need to be ready in case it is not. Do not be caught off guard! It is always better to be prepared for the worse and then the better happens, then to be prepared for the better outcome but instead, the worse happens.

Do not form any opinion until after you have read and studied all the theories, and even then, please be cautious of becoming dogmatic about it. Focus more on living for Christ and examining your heart to make sure that you are in compliance with His will for your life.

Below are some scriptures used to support this theory:

  1.  Daniel 12:1 This scripture talks about a very distressful time, one like no other; BUT, the ones “found written in the book” will be delivered. The Book of Life is a book where everyone who will be with Christ for eternity is written. (Revelation 20:15)  There is more than one book though as seen in Revelation 20:12. It would be nice if the book mentioned in this verse is the Book of Life but there is no surety of this. (And note that this verse does not specify the method of deliverance.)
  2. 1 Thessalonians 5:3:  People are saying “Peace and safety” at the coming of the Lord.  If people are saying this, it stands to reason that the Lord may return for us before the great tribulation, mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 24:21.  This is when the antichrist will be on a mission to conquer the world and it will be a tremendously devastating time.  It doesn’t seem like anyone will be feeling safe or at peace then.
  3. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:  I have heard this referred to as the “rapture text”.  We learn that we will be caught up to be with Jesus, with the dead in Christ rising first.  Jesus comes down, gives a loud command and we meet Him in the air.  This is quite different from the final time He returns in Revelation 19:11-16; at that point, He returns on a white horse with the armies of heaven behind Him.  There will definitely be two returns of Jesus which will be discussed in great detail in a future post.
  4. 2 Thessalonians 2:7:  Something is holding back the power of the antichrist.  Most pre-tribulationists say that this is the church, reasoning that the church will have to be removed before the antichrist can begin His work  Even if this is correct, there is still the fact told to us in Daniel 9:27 that the antichrist’s abomination that destroys will not be revealed until halfway through the “week” (which is actually seven years). There is a possibility that we won’t even recognize him as the antichrist until this point, which is discussed more thoroughly in my book, Biblical Answers to End Time Questions.
  5. Revelation 3:10:  The church of Philadelphia is going to be kept from the “hour of temptation”.  But is the hour of temptation the whole tribulation and does this verse say the way that they will be spared?  That is not clearly spelled out. Compare this verse to Revelation 2:26, the letter to the Church of Thyatira who will be here until the end.
  6. One of the main reasons that some are convinced that the pre-tribulation is right is because the word “church” is not mentioned after chapter three in Revelation but the word “saint” is in Revelation 13:7,10 and Revelation 14:12. (Depending on your version of the Bible, these verses can say saint or holy; they are interchangeable). The word Saint was used to refer to those who follow Jesus and made up the church in New Testament times. (see Romans 1:6-7; Acts 9:13, 26:9-10; Philippians 4:21-22). Also, there will be multitudes coming out of the tribulation who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:9,13-14).  So are we to say that they are not part of the “church” and not a “bride” of Christ? And again, the church of Thyatira will be here until the end. (Revelation 2:26)

What are your thoughts on the pre-tribulation theory? Do you know any other scriptures that could possibly support this theory? Please put them in the comments below if you do.

A BLESSING AWAITS YOU! (REVELATION 1:3)

Hey everyone,

A few years back I felt the desire to study what the Bible said about the end times, not just in Revelation but researching the whole Bible from cover to cover. I began to read the Bible through, taking notes of anything that was said about the last days. It didn’t take me long to be amazed at some of the information that I was learning; some that I had never heard. One of the first things I noticed was written in Daniel 9:27. It says that there will be a peace treaty “with many”. What? I had always been taught that a peace treaty would be made with Israel; never once had I heard that it would be “with many”.  I’m almost certain that Israel will be included among the “many” but it won’t be a treaty just with them.  I also had always been told that the antichrist would take over the entire world; but not so, according to Daniel 11:41.

This blog is intended to help anyone who wants to dig deeper into God’s Word. We will begin with a study of the end times but later other subjects will be discussed. For many reasons, Christians sometimes shy away from studying the latter days. Three of the main excuses I have heard in the past are, “It’s too hard. I don’t understand it.”, and “We should live for the day and not dwell on it. It will happen when it happens”, but the one that causes a lot of concern is “We won’t be here during the times talked about in Revelation so why should I study it?” I can understand the first excuse somewhat but I hope this study will help with that. The second excuse is so unbiblical. Jesus tells us to watch for Him in Matthew 24:42, Matthew 25:13 and Luke 21:36, along with Revelation 16:15.  He reveals that His coming will be quick in Revelation 22:20. His first coming was recognized by two people, a man and a woman because they were looking for the Messiah and anticipating seeing Him. Even as a baby they recognized who Jesus was. (Luke 2:25-39) We will definitely recognize Him when He returns again in all His glory but there are things about the last days that we may not recognize and could possibly be deceived if we do not study. We should be living in great anticipation and excitement of His return. Take Noah’s for example, he waited expectantly for what the Lord had revealed to him in Genesis 6:13-17, following every day an unprecedented command to build a humongous boat without knowing the exact date of the devastation to come. Even though Noah was unaware of the exact date of the flood; it is probable that he was in great anticipation waiting on it. In the same way, we should be ever watchful while doing what God is convicting us to do for Him. And now for the third excuse given above. It is imperative that the Word is studied from front cover to the back (yes, even Revelation) so we will be prepared and not be led astray when the time comes. No one is 100% of the exact sequence of events as far as when we will be united with Jesus, but there is some clarification when the scriptures are studied as a whole. That is why I hope that you will participate in this adventure through the Bible. We will begin by exploring the different opinions of when we will be “gathered together unto Him”. (2 Thessalonians 2:2-KJV) I will be sharing the outlines I made during my investigation. The theories that will be presented for your consideration are the pre-tribulation theory, the mid-tribulation theory, the post-tribulation theory, and the pre-wrath theory. I think that you will see from this study that there are scriptures that could be used for just about all of them. It’s such a mystery! It entices me to study even more!

So grab your Bible and let’s get started! Please comment at the bottom of each post and let me know your thoughts but remember to be kind and courteous if others opinions are different from yours. Luckily, what we believe about when we will be united with Christ has nothing to do with our salvation. We are saved by grace and are allowed to have different opinions about some things. Let’s enjoy reading each other’s posts and agree to disagree if that is the case. As long as we have all accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will all be heaven together whenever that time comes. Hope to see you there!