GOD WILL TURN GRIEF INTO JOY

Moffatt translates Romans 8:22,The entire creation sighs and throbs in pain.” There’s a radical difference between death pangs, which anticipate an ending and look backward, and birth pangs, which anticipate a beginning and look forward. The old, fallen, cursed Earth, convulsing and groaning in the final pains of childbearing, will birth a New Earth.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away,Revelation 21:1

Prior to His return, Jesus tells us we will weep and lament as the world rejoices.

Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joySo also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” John 16:20

God doesn’t only promise to replace our grief with joy, but to turn it into joy.

During the time of the Antichrist, we will experience great tribulation but Jesus will cut the time short for believers and will rapture His Saints before the wrath of God is poured out on an unrepentant world with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements.

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, those days will be cut short. Matthew 24:21-22

TIMING OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION

Most Christians believe we’re in the end times, but are they doing anything to prepare?

Jesus told us that before the Great Tribulation, a time period known as the “Beginning of Birth Pangs” would take place. Do world events show us that that time period has already begun? How long are the birth pangs? What event initiated them or will start them in the future. Watch this Nelson Walters video for surprising answers.

THE DAY OF THE LORD

“Wail, for The day of the Lord is near; as destruction from the Almighty, it will come! Therefore, all hands will be feeble, and every human heart will melt. They will be dismayed: pangs and agony will seize them; they will be in anguish like a woman in labour. They will look aghast at one another; their faces will be aflame.” Isaiah 13:6-8

Behold, The day of the Lord comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light.Isaiah 13:9-10

JESUS SPEAKING TO HIS DISCIPLES ABOUT THE END TIMES

Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” Matthew 24:29

When Jesus referenced this prophecy from Isaiah 13 in Matthew 24:29 and said that all of these things will not take place until “after the tribulation,” this was His way of saying that The Day of the Lord is what takes place after the portion of the Great Tribulation that believers will endure.

Paul echoes the same message:

you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.1 Thessalonians 1:9-10

The Day of the Lord is what initiates and immediately follows the resurrection of the dead Saints and the rapture of the Saints alive on earth. It’s also the time when God will call the world to account and pour out His wrath upon an unrepentant world.

God does not rescue believers from all suffering during the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:3-28; Rev. 13:5-10). Rather, He rescues us from the “wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:9-10) which is poured out with the Trumpet (Rev. 6:8-13) and Bowl (Rev. 16:1-20) judgements.

Finally, Paul makes it clear that before The day of the Lord, the Antichrist takes his seat in the temple and declares he is God. As this does not take place until halfway through the final seven years it is obvious believers will experience the time of great tribulation.

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us to the effect that The day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.2 Thessalonians 2:1-4

“Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken [paralambano], and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken [paralambano] and one will be left. Therefore, be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.” Matthew 24:40-42

WORLD GOES FROM BAD TO WORSE

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.2 Timothy 3:7

From here on in Christians do not expect the world to embrace you as they have every conceivable abomination. Look what Jesus said,

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.Matthew 24:9-14

Be reminded, the main battle going on is in the spiritual realm. The Bible tells us that Satan who has had dominion over this fallen world as a result of Adam and Eve’s rebellion is soon to be overthrown by our Lord Jesus at the same time the Antichrist is defeated at the Battle of Armageddon. At which time, Satan will be bound for a 1000 years in the Abyss. Jesus will then begin His Millennial reign on this earth from a reconstructed Jerusalem with the saints in their transformed bodies. That is the time when the following Scripture is fulfilled.

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:9-11

The last seven years on this planet is described as a time of Tribulation leading to Great Tribulation and then a final period when the wrath of God is poured out on an unbelieving world. It terminates with Jesus return with the raptured saints (raptured prior to the Wrath of God being unleashed with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements) to deliver a remnant Israel at the Battle of Armageddon and begin His Millennial reign on this earth.

Christians, God has a role for you to play in these last days to fulfill this Scripture “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” are you in prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit so that you will fulfill your destiny and take up your assigned role to rule and reign with Jesus in the Millennium?

The Judgment at Christ’s Coming
This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonian 1:5-12

PARABLE OF THE FIG TREE & HOSEA PROPHECY

Throughout the Scriptures the fig tree is used as a symbol of Israel. Jesus spoke the “Parable of the Fig Tree” (Matthew 24:22-25) to the disciples as part of His response to their questions concerning when He would return to establish His Kingdom on earth. The parable states that when the fig tree blossoms again, the generation that witnesses that event will be the one that will be living when the Lord returns.

Mark 11:12-14, 20-25

Just the day before as Jesus and His disciples were walking on the Mount of Olives, they came across a fig tree that was barren. Jesus pronounced a curse upon it, and it withered (Matthew 21: 18-19). This was a symbolic prophecy that because the Jewish people (represented by the fig tree) had rejected Jesus as their Messiah (and were therefore barren), their nation would cease to exist. Then, the next day, Jesus reminded them of the tree and said when it blossoms again (when the nation is re-established), the Lord will return. That prophecy, like the prophecy of the Millennial Days covered in a previous post “History of the World”, indicates we are living in the season of the Lord’s return.

I (Jesus) will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress earnestly seek me. Hosea 5:15

Come, let us (Jews) return to the Lord; for He has torn us, that He may heal us; He has struck us down, and He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live before him. Hosea 6:1-2

This amazing rarely considered prophecy in Hosea indicates His return is soon. The passage says the Messiah will return to Heaven and remain there until the Jewish people acknowledge their guilt in rejecting Him and earnestly seek His face — this will happen during a time of severe trouble for them (Great Tribulation). The Messiah will be gone for “two days.” He will return on “the third day” and will raise up the Jewish people, refreshing them like a spring rain. As God calculates time, it has been “two days” since Jesus ascended to Heaven, for to God, “one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day” (2 Peter 3:8 and Psalm 90:4).

NOT AFRAID OF THE ANTICHRIST

Michael Brown and Craig Keener in their new book Not Afraid Of The Antichrist make a good case that the rapture and 2nd coming are not two separate events separated by years but a single event of hours (possible days) that transpires right at the end of this age and just before Christ’s literal reign upon this earth. The authors certainly dispel the arguments made for a Pretribulation rapture. This is extremely important, Christians need to understand that in the “last days” they will experience tribulation even great tribulation. This is clearly prophesied by Jesus.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 24:9-13

Followers of my blog, will know that I support the PreWrath Rapture position, which has the Rapture occurring at the trumpet blast at the seventh seal. The wrath of God is then poured out with the Trumpet and Bowl Judgements. This happens in the last year of the seventh year of Daniels 70 weeks prophecy. The saints will have a sabbath year (Shemitah) prior to coming back to earth with Jesus to liberate Israel prior to His Millennial reign.

Our major difference to Brown and Keener is we believe Jesus said His children will not experience the wrath of God. Brown and Keener do not differentiate between the Tribulation and the Wrath of God.

Christians will experience tribulation, even great tribulation and how we handle it will be a great witness to the world and bring many into the Kingdom. It will be a time of refining/testing and sadly many will fall away as Jesus prophesied.

ARE OUR CHURCHES PREPARING US FOR THE COMING TRIBULATION?

Jesus taught explicitly that one of the ways you will know His return is imminent is you will see the Antichrist claiming to be God in a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem.

“So when you see the abomination of desolation–spoken about by Daniel the prophet—standing in the holy place. . .  For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” (Matthew 24:15-22)

Paul confirms that the Antichrist will come before Jesus returns to Rapture the Saints:

“Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, and as a result he takes his seat in God’s temple, displaying himself as God”                         (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4).

John records numerous instances in the Book of Revelation of Jesus warning the saints to become Overcomers of the beast’s system (e.g. Revelation 14:9–12).

In the light of all these Scriptures, why do so many hold on to the Pretribulation Rapture position? Could it be, because we don’t want to believe that God would put us through the intense persecution that the Bible tells us Christians will endure during the last seven years before Jesus returns? It is described as a time of tribulation and great tribulation after the midpoint when the Antichrist “takes his seat in God’s temple, displaying himself as God”.

None of us like the thought that we may have to die for our Christian faith under the regime of the Antichrist. But it is God’s will that ultimately matters. He knows better than us, therefore we need to trust His will because it is all-wise, all-good, all-sovereign.

I am reminded of Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways”, says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts your thoughts.” 

It may be God’s will that we confront the Antichrist system. We need to trust God, as have many martyrs before us, that He will be with us in the ordeal. What an honour it would be; to be a witness for the true God of the universe, to give glory to Him and to receive a martyrs crown. Pray God will give us the strength to stand up boldly for Him.

God may very well call us to be a Daniel and stand up to Nebuchadnezzar’s golden idol. Or Daniel’s companions, Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abed-Nego) confined to the fiery furnace. Or to be a David and stand up to Goliath when he mocked and blasphemed his God. 

Many churches in America and many in Australia stay away from the  subject of “end times” altogether, but many also preach the Pretribulation Rapture position, in both cases they are not preparing their congregations for the coming tribulation. Even worse they are not challenging their congregations about the urgency of the hour and the need to get about our Father’s business and obey Jesus command to preach the Gospel and make disciples.

 

 

PASTORS – PREPARE FOR THE COMING TRIBULATION

There are thousands of pastors out there that should be preparing the bride of Christ for the coming tribulation, but instead they are taking the easy road.  Since most American and many Australian Christians have embraced the Pre Tribulation position due to best selling books such as The Left Behind Series it is comforting for them to get confirmation from their pastors that they won’t face the Antichrist nor the great tribulation spoken of in Revelation. And yet Scripture is replete with warnings such as Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.  2 Timothy 3:12

Moreover, Matthew 24:29-31, Mark 13:24-27 Luke 21:25-28 clearly teach that the Rapture takes place “immediately after the tribulation of those days

Paul confirms itLet no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God2 Thessalonians 2:1-4

Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one anotherThen many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. Matt. 24: 9-12

It was granted to him (Antichrist) to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. Revelation 13:7

All of the apostles were killed for their faith.  Some early Christian leaders were stoned, others were killed by sword or spear, and some were even reportedly crucified upside down. Later on, the Roman Empire invented even more sadistic ways to kill Christians.  Entire families were fed to lions, and one emperor even lit the roads with the burning bodies of Christians that he had killed. During the Dark Ages, the popes of Roman Catholicism tortured and killed millions that did not submit to their authority.  Great men of God were burned at the stake for “crimes” such as translating the Bible into English and preaching a gospel of salvation by faith. Even today, Christians are being raped, tortured, beheaded and crucified by radical Islamic groups in the Middle East such as ISIS. Once again, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.2 Timothy 3:10-12

Paul to the church at Thessalonica: “and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow labourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith, that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know.” 1 Thessalonians 3:2-4

It is sad to contemplate that many Christians will be faced with horrors that they have never been prepared for.  Perhaps many will deeply question their faith or give in to despair and depression. Even of more concern, some may commit suicide so that they can get the “escape” that they were promised.

Ultimately, it really will come down to whether you will trust God regardless of your circumstances, knowing He is in control and will be with you every step of the way, just as He was with the early martyrs. Be encouraged, read some of their stories in Foxe’s Book of the Martyrs (updated 2006).

In fact, knowing Jesus return is not too far off we should be excited and committed to making sure we are in the centre of His will for the short time we have left on this planet and prior to meeting Him at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb – Revelation 19:7.

 

 

DEBATE: PRETRIBULATION OR PREWRATH RAPTURE

Alan Kurschner presents a convincing case for a PreWrath Rapture i.e. prior to the wrath of God being poured out in the Trumpet and Bowl Judgements. The video is a debate between Alan and Tom Ice who presents the case for a PreTribulation Rapture. It is a 50 minute debate so make sure you schedule sufficient time, and can I suggest you view it with your church group, so that you can discuss it afterward.

Prior to this video, I put up Nelson Walters much shorter video in the post titled, Eloquent Teaching on the Timing of The Rapture. I suggest you watch it prior to Alan’s debate with Tom Ice. Nelson also supports  a PreWrath Rapture.

HAVE CHRISTIANS BEEN MISLED ABOUT SECOND COMING OF JESUS?

Great to see that Dr Michael Brown has realised that Scripture does not support a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.

Without a doubt, the New Testament proclaims that Jesus will return to earth and establish His Kingdom. And without a doubt, the New Testament calls us to live with readiness and expectation. We can all agree on that.

But does the New Testament teach that, for true believers, Jesus will come suddenly, like a thief in the night, without any signs? Or, to the contrary, does it teach that His coming will not be like a thief in the night for godly believers, since we are awake and alert, fully aware of the signs of the times?

“To be clear, I don’t doubt for a moment that we’re living in prophetic times”, said Dr Brown

The gospel is spreading all over the world in unprecedented fashion, just as the Scriptures predicted.

Out of the ashes of the Holocaust, Israel has been re-birthed, and Jerusalem remains at the centre of world attention, again, in accordance with the prophets’ words.

And around the globe, Christians are being brutally persecuted for their faith, mowed down by the hundreds and thousands. This too is in harmony with Scripture, which speak of the last days as times of great blessing and great upheaval, of great light and great darkness, or great victory and great conflict. Jesus promised that Christians would not experience the wrath of God but Scripture shows us that in the end times, God’s wrath is poured out at the Trumpet and Bowl Judgements. The Rapture occurs after the sixth seal. John saw the great multitude that no one could number of believers before the throne clothed in white robes (resurrected bodies) and waving palm branches just prior to the seventh seal being opened and the trumpet judgements commencing.

Despite the popular theology of our day, Christians should not expect to get out of experiencing the tribulation or the end times. Nowhere in the Bible does the Lord promise us this, say Michael Brown and Craig Keener, two leading, acclaimed Bible scholars. In fact, they say, Jesus promises us tribulation in this world.

Yet this is no reason to fear. In this fascinating, accessible, and personal book, Brown and Keener walk you through what the Bible really says about the rapture, the tribulation, and the end times. What they find will leave you full of hope. God’s wrath is not poured out on His people, and He will shield us from it–as he shielded Israel in Egypt during the ten plagues. So instead of taking comfort in what God hasn’t promised, take comfort in the words of Jesus: He has overcome the world, and we live in his victory.