TRIBULATION PRECEDES THE RAPTURE WHICH PRECEDES THE WRATH OF GOD

Social justice activist Shaun King unleashed a barrage of comments on social media claiming that statues of Jesus Christ are “a form of white supremacy” and should be torn down.  King is the co-founder of Real Justice PAC and supports the Black Lives Matter movement by sharing his views on injustice through social media.  His remarks come in the wake of a surge of protests and activism that have been taking place over racial injustice and equality.  Across a number of countries protesters have vandalized and torn down statues that represent history.  In a series of tweets, King declared that “public statues of the white European they claim is Jesus should also come down.  They are a form of white supremacy.  Always have been.”

He continued, “All murals and stained glass windows of white Jesus, and his European mother, and their white friends should also come down.  They are a gross form of white supremacy.  Created as tools of oppression.  Racist propaganda.  They should all come down.”  The activist alleged that the “white Jesus is a lie” and “a tool of white supremacy created and advanced to help white people use the faith as a tool of oppression.” 

Many of my previous posts have quoted Scriptures that clearly demonstrate the Bible prophesied this coming escalating persecution of Christians. Bible prophecies also address the apostasy, the falling away of churches that don’t uphold the inerrancy of God’s Word. This we also see happening as churches approve gay marriage and homosexuality. The good news is that these events signal the soon return of Jesus to rule and reign on this earth. Man’s time to rule on this earth, as well as Satan’s time of dominion, is coming to an end. Although, the Bible reveals that Satan gets an another opportunity to deceive mankind at the end of Jesus Millennial reign.

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Revelation 20:7-10

Jesus tells us that Christians will experience great tribulation during the last seven years prior to His return, but they will not experience the wrath of God that is poured out on unbelievers. The wrath of God follows the opening of the seven seals around the Scroll containing the trumpet and bowl judgements.

When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?Revelation 6:12-17

The next event John sees in Revelation 7 is the saints in heaven. The Rapture of the saints has occurred at the seventh seal. The censer that held the prayers of the saints is offered up one last time and then the censer is filled with fire from the altar and thrown to earth to initiate the the first trumpet judgement.

And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake. Revelation 8:3-5

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.Revelation 7:9-12

BIBLE REVEALS ANTICHRIST ORIGIN AND TIMING

Nelson does a great job of unpacking Scripture to reveal what the Bible shows us about end times events and what we are seeing and reading in the media of current events in the Middle East.

I doubt you will hear this message in your local church and the Bible tells us that much of the church will be asleep and even more tragic much of it will fall away and compromise with the world and its values. Hence, God brings on catastrophes to refine/test His church.

“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested,” Revelation 2:10 (Church at Smyrna – persecuted church)

‘” I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.” Revelation 3:1-3 (Church at Sardis- dead church)

THE BIBLE ON JUDGEMENT AND THE WRATH OF GOD

Are we storing up for ourselves the wrath of God?

Francis Chan talks on the wrath of God and judgement and what it reveals about God and His ways.

The world and even Christians don’t like to read the following verses of Scripture, but Francis recognises we are in the “last days” when God will pour out His wrath on an unrepentant world. He is called by God to deliver this word of coming judgement regardless of the cost just as the O.T. prophets were called to deliver words of coming judgement to Israel and Judah.

“The Lord avenges and is furious.
The Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries,
And He reserves wrath for His enemies;
The Lord is slow to anger and great in power,
And will not at all acquit the wicked.” Nahum 1:2-3

“But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are storing up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds” Romans 2:5-6

ARE YOU PREPARED TO SUFFER FOR CHRIST?

“Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” (Acts 9:15-16)

Paul understood up front at the start of his ministry that suffering came with the assignment.

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. (Philippians 3:10)

Now well into his ministry, Paul understood that there was a knowledge of God and intimacy with him that can only be obtained by, “participation in his sufferings.” It is difficult to comprehend, but true, that those who have not suffered with Yeshua are missing out on intimate knowledge of our Lord. Obviously, we don’t go out looking to suffer for Jesus, but it is obvious that we should not try and avoid suffering for Him, if we do, we will miss out on an intimacy with Yeshua that brings us closer to Him and makes us more like Him.

This understanding is crucial as we draw closer to the last seven years before Jesus return, the 70th week of Daniel’s 70 Weeks prophecy. It is a time of tribulation, escalating to great tribulation as Jesus opens the seven seals on The Scroll.

“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.” Matthew 24:9-10

Just as Jesus refines the Jewish remnant in the last days as described in Zechariah.

And it shall come to pass in all the land, says the Lord, that two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one-third shall be left in it: I will bring the one-third through the fire, will 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, “This is My people’; and each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’ ” Zechariah 13:8-9

Likewise, Jesus will use tribulation, even great tribulation in the last six years prior to The Rapture to produce a meek and humble people that will trust Him implicitly. Sadly, as shown there will be a great falling away in the church, apostasy, Jesus also says, “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24

With the trumpet blast at the seventh seal, The Rapture takes place and simultaneously when The Scroll is opened God’s Wrath is poured out on an unbelieving world with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements.

SIGNS OF THE END TIMES

According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, just 30% of respondents identifying as Millennials or Generation Z (ages 18-38) say religion or belief in God is very important, which means 70% don’t believe in God. This compares with 67% of those over 55 who say belief in God is important. 

The above poll results demonstrate, conclusively, the devastating effect the teaching of evolution as fact in our schools and universities has on belief in God and His Word.

Despite the fact the latest scientific evidence, particularly the DNA Encode project, has proved conclusively, living things are highly complex, with an extraordinary multi layer level of information on the DNA. Moreover, the DNA controls highly complex machines in the multitude of cells that make up a human body so that only intelligent design can be their source. The information on the DNA, and the design of the machines in the cells, had to be correct when the organism came into existence (irreducible complexity). Evolution by random chance is nonsense and yet it is still being taught in our schools and universities. Why? Because they cannot countenance a supernatural God, certainly not the God of the Bible. Moreover, they are oblivious to the fact that supernatural beings are influencing their actions. This is spiritual warfare as described by Paul in God’s Word.

“Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesian 6:11-13

Another devastating result is most respondents under 38 do not see having children as very important while some 54% of respondents over 55 say it is. 

Don’t believe in God, and judgement, and life after death, then why be concerned about anything but self. God’s Word prophecies that prior to Jesus second coming that this is what it will be like for Christians.

“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. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24: 9-14

Will the church be prepared for the coming tribulation? What is being preached in your church about increasing persecution of Christians and the end times? Has your church compromised with the world on gay marriage and homosexuality?

SCRIPTURES FOR TIMING OF RAPTURE

“Now when the Lamb opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been violently killed because of the word of God and because of the testimony they had given. They cried out with a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Master, holy and true, before you judge those who live on the earth and avenge our blood?” Each of them was given a long white robe and they were told to rest for a little longer, until the full number was reached of both their fellow servants and their brothers who were going to be killed just as they had been. Then I looked when the Lamb opened the sixth seal, and a huge earthquake took place; the sun became as black as sackcloth made of hair, and the full moon became blood red. . . . .” (Revelation 6:9–12)

The Rapture has not occurred at the fifth seal as those under the altar are identified as souls and they are asking God when will He avenge them. Note also the cosmic disturbances that take place at the sixth seal they precede the coming of the Day of the Lord – The Rapture.

“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7: 9-10)

It is at the end of the sixth seal, John saw the raptured multitude of saints praising God standing before God’s throne in heaven. The rapture has taken place.

“I will produce portents both in the sky and on the earth— blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sunlight will be turned to darkness and the moon to the colour of blood, before the day of the LORD comes— that great and terrible day!” (Joel 2:30–31)

Note again the cosmic disturbances before the Day of the Lord comes.

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man arriving on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:29–31)

Note it is after the tribulation that the cosmic disturbances take place before the Son of Man comes to rapture His saints, those dead first and then those alive on the earth.

“And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth nations will be in distress, anxious over the roaring of the sea and the surging waves. People will be fainting from fear and from the expectation of what is coming on the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man arriving in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to happen, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the other trees. When they sprout leaves, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near. So also you, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.” (Luke 21:25–31)

Note once again the cosmic disturbances precede the Son of Man coming to rapture His church.

I hope this helps to show The Rapture takes place after the tribulation not Pretribulation and that it takes before the wrath of God is poured out with the trumpet and Bowl judgements. Defined by the “end times” writers as a PreWrath Rapture

“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

SUPPORT FOR PREWRATH RAPTURE

The Prewrath Rapture positions the rapture at the trumpet blast of the seventh seal . Jesus said believers would not endure the wrath of God that is poured out with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements but He said that we would see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place (Matthew 24:15). It is at the end of the sixth seal that we are told ‘For the great day of His wrath has come.” (Revelation 6:17) At the seventh seal; The Rapture occurs and then the wrath of God begins to be poured out on the unrepentant. Much the same as Noah, his family and the animals enter the ark, God closes the door, and the wrath of God is poured out.

The Rapture

Believers will experience tribulation even great tribulation meted out by the Antichrist but at the same time Christians will shine brightly in the darkness with many turning to Christ despite the persecution it brings.

Dr Alan Kurschner of Eschatos Ministries explains how the greek grammar in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 supports Prewrath.

The Greek grammar in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 clearly supports the prewrath interpretation that those two events: 1. apostasy and 2, the lawless one revealed, will occur first, before the day of the Lord.

“Let no one deceive you in any way; for the day of the Lord will not come unless [ean mē] the apostasy comes first [prōtonand the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3

A couple of simple cross-references of the same Greek construction in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 to other biblical examples will demonstrate that the pretribulational view skews Paul’s message. The Greek is constructed with the conditional “unless” (ean mē) coupled with the adverb “first” (prōton), which results in placing the conditional events sequentially before the main event.

For example, John 7:51: “Our law doesn’t condemn a man unless [ean mē] it first [prōton] hears from him and learns what he is doing, does it?”

That is to say, before the event of “condemnation,” two events need to happen first: (1) hearing from the accused, and thus (2) learning what he is doing. The two events do not happen “during” the condemnation, as the flawed pretrib Greek analysis would have it. Rather, they occur before the verdict of condemnation.

Next Mark 3:27: “But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property unless [ean mē] he first [prōtonties up the strong man; then [tote] indeed the house can be plundered.”

That is to say, the strongman is tied up first, before the house is plundered (the “then” [tote] confirms this).

These two examples that share the same Greek construction with 2 Thessalonians 2:3 suffice to illustrate Paul’ message that before the day of the Lord begins, two events must happen first: the apostasy and the revelation of the man of lawlessness. Only then can the day of the Lord begin.

THE LORD IS ALWAYS AT WORK PARTICULARLY IN CRISIS SITUATIONS

Lord is always at work. In fact, it is specifically in the midst of catastrophe, crisis, and the times when it seems as though the Lord is most absent that He is actually most active. Learning to see gospel opportunities when many others only see crisis is not a skill that comes naturally. Yet it is a skill that the body of Christ must learn. The closer we get to Jesus return the more we are going to see crisis situations and catastrophes. The Bible is clear, the last seven years of history prior to Jesus return will entail Christians going through tribulation and great tribulation in the second half of the 70th Week of Daniel. We are fortunate that God has given us many prophecies concerning His Second Coming so that the church can prepare and even use the prophesied events as part of our evangelism efforts.

Is the church preparing for this period?

We are told that there is a great falling away in the church in the last days. Sadly, we see that happening in our day with much of the church compromising with the world on issues such as gay marriage, homosexuality and other LGBTQ issues.

The catastrophes of history have not been meaningless. God’s plan was that in the fullness of time, He would reveal the hero of the story who would make sense of all the suffering mankind has endured throughout the ages. From the chaos is revealed a mystery of unimaginable grace from God to His creation. More than has ever been given out, by way of indescribable human suffering, God has taken upon Himself in the person of His Son. The promised Deliverer finally came, and His tragedy was greater than any catastrophe to ever befall mankind, for God made “him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Before the first human disaster ever struck, God determined that He Himself would bear all of the suffering of man’s failures on Himself when He would come and die on a wooden cross. If we are tempted to think it has been unfair that God would orchestrate catastrophe in human affairs, can we still remain uncertain in light of this truth?

Quotes taken from the book, The Mystery of Catastrophe: Understanding God’s Redemptive Purposes for the Global Disasters of the Last Days by Joel Richardson and Nathan Graves  (Kindle Locations 119-121). WinePress Media. Kindle Edition.