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- How Are People Saved Now--Before the Great Tribulation?
Getting saved now is much easier than getting saved during the time of the Great Tribulation. Read below to see what is required of a person now. Background The Bible indicates that God causes us to exist (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17). However, all people have corrupted their existence by doing wrong things and failing to seek God (Psalm 14:1-3; Romans 3:10-12). In fact, near the foundation of the world, the wickedness of mankind had become so great in the earth that God “regretted that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him to His heart” (Genesis 6:5-6). “All flesh had corrupted their way on the earth” (Genesis 6:12). So God said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land,” because He said, “I am sorry that I have made them” (Genesis 6:7). Thereupon, except for saving one righteous man and his family (Genesis 6:8, 9-10; 7:1), one male and female of each animal (Genesis 6:19-20) and seven male and female pairs of certain clean animals and birds (Genesis 7:2-3), God destroyed every living thing with a flood (Genesis 6:17; 7:11-24). The Sacrifice System Thereafter, because God saw that “the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21) and “there is none who does good” (Psalm 53:3), and because of His mercies (Lamentations 3:22-23) and His desire to give people a chance to seek Him (Jeremiah 29:13), God implemented a system of sacrifices whereby the blood of animals would be shed to atone for the sins of people (Exodus 29-30; Leviticus 4-7). Jesus As Our Ultimate Sacrifice and Source of Salvation The sacrifice system instituted by God was a foreshadowing of His plan to offer His son, Jesus Christ, as a blood sacrifice for all of humanity (Hebrews 8:5; 9:11-14; 10:1). God planned for Jesus to become our sacrifice, because of His great love for us (John 3:16). In fact, having a God-given understanding of the mission of Jesus, John the Baptist, a famous preacher living during the time of Jesus, seeing Jesus coming towards him, announced to everyone, "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). Thus, though innocent, Jesus was condemned to die by crucifixion, and he was nailed to a cross and died (Matthew 27:26-50; Mark 15:21-39; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:16-37). He was then buried (Matthew 27:57-66; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42). However, because He is God, Jesus was raised from the dead (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20). By His death, Jesus paid the penalty of our sin (Hebrews 9:26-28), and by His resurrection we will all be made alive eternally (1 Corinthians 15:20-22; Romans 4:24-25; Hebrews 7:24-25; John 14:19-20). Whoever believes in Jesus “will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9-10). Because of Jesus’ death, we have deliverance from future judgment and forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14). Thus, we are not saved by our good works, because none of us is righteous (Romans 3:10), and all of our righteous acts are nothing more than “filthy rags” in the sight of God (Isaiah 64:6); we are, instead, saved only by the grace of God through our faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), believing in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, on the cross and resurrection (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10) as a gift of God to us (Ephesians 2:8-9). For those who reject the gift of God, a terrible judgment awaits; instead of being destroyed by a flood, the faithless will be cast into an eternal lake of fire (John 12:47-49; Romans 2:5; Revelation 20:11-15; Hebrews 6:2). Therefore, now in this time before the Great Tribulation comes, all of humanity has a simple choice: either accept the salvation, forgiveness and eternal life that God offers by believing in what Jesus has done for us, or reject the gifts of God and reap the consequences of eternal condemnation. Accepting the Gift of Jesus Christ If you wish to accept the gift of God, just tell Him by saying a prayer to Him like this: “God, I recognize that I have done things that have corrupted my life, and I have not sought You. Although I am unable by myself to make myself right with You, I now understand that through Jesus Christ You have given me the opportunity to be saved. Right now, God, I declare that I believe in and accept the great sacrifice of Your Son and my Lord, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for my sin and rose from the dead to give me life. Thank you for the amazing gifts of forgiveness of my sin, deliverance from eternal judgment and eternal life that You have given to me through Jesus. Amen.” This is how we are saved now. If you have prayed this prayer to God, then welcome to the Kingdom of God. Next Steps for Those Who Believe in Jesus If you have prayed the above prayer to God, you should now take the next step of being baptized, which is a public demonstration of your decision to accept the gifts of Jesus (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:41, 8:12; Colossians 2:12; Galatians 3:27). You should also begin to study the Bible as the Word of God in order to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18), to connect with other believers (Hebrews 10:25), and to “let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). May God bless you as you grow in your knowledge of Him. Getting Saved During the Great Tribulation Unlike now, in order for a person to obtain salvation during the time of the Great Tribulation, a person must add to his or her belief in Jesus some very important works. If you are living prior to the Great Tribulation you don't need to concern yourself with these additional works. However, if you are living during the time of the Great Tribulation, such additional works are critical to your salvation. Find out more by reading our post about The Gospel of the Tribulation and our post Letter to the Saints of the Time of the Great Tribulation. #salvation #god #plan #jesus #believe #flood #sacrifice #blood #noah #saved #christian
- The Gospel of the Tribulation
Did you know that the Gospel changes during the period of the Great Tribulation? Find out more below. The Great Tribulation We know that a time of tribulation is coming. The Bible makes clear, such as in Isaiah 24:1-13 & 19-20, and later detailed in Revelation 6, 8, 9, 11 & 16 that God has a plan at some future time to judge and desolate the Earth. Many refer to this period as the Great Tribulation period. Regarding that time Jesus said, “[f]or then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will again” (Matthew 24:21). The time of the Great Tribulation will be initially troubling, we believe, because it will be initiated by the Rapture, an event in which all saints in the world will be gathered to Jesus in heaven, leaving the world momentarily devoid of any saints and attendant influence of the Holy Spirit of God. Further adding to the trial of those days, as the judgment of God begins to unfold on the earth, is the fact that God’s plan of salvation will change. God’s Plan of Salvation Before the Tribulation Before the Great Tribulation, people are saved by their belief in Jesus Christ. According to Scripture, by believing in Jesus Christ, and what He has done, people can be forgiven of their sins and inherit eternal life with God; this is salvation, and we receive it by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). In this regard, Jesus said that “God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not judged, but anyone who does not believe is already judged, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God” (John 3:16-18). It is also written that “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). In relation to Jesus Christ, the Bible states among many other things that Jesus (1) is God (John 1:1) and the one and only Son of God (John 3:16), (2) is the expression of God the Father to all of humanity, and called “the Word” (John 1:1-14), (3) became a man, having been born of the virgin, Mary (Luke 2:1-7), (4) is a lineal descendant of Israel’s King David (Matthew 1:1-16), (5) lived a sinless life (2 Corinthians 5:21), (6) died on a cross, shedding His blood as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of mankind (John 19), and (7) now sits at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 1:1-4), waiting to return to the Earth in glory as the King of Kings at the time determined by the Father (Matthew 24, Revelation 19). God’s Plan of Salvation During the Tribulation Unlike now--the period before the Great Tribulation--the Bible indicates that during the Great Tribulation period, additional requirements must be added to a person’s faith in order to obtain salvation. Indeed, Jesus said, “[b]ut the one who endures to the end is the one who will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:13-14). Rejection of the Mark of the Beast and Refusal to Worship the Antichrist The endurance described by Jesus is further explained by reference to detail provided in the prophetic book of Revelation wherein John writes, “[t]hen another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb’” (Revelation 14:9-10). From this passage in Revelation, we know that during the Great Tribulation period, a person must, in addition to faith in Jesus, (a) refuse to worship the antichrist beast or his image, and (b) reject the mark of the antichrist kingdom (also known as the “mark of the beast”) that is mandated to be affixed to the right hand or forehead of all persons. The mark of the beast appears to be some form of identification with the religious, economic and/or social system promoted by the antichrist. Consequences for Rejection of the Mark of the Beast and Refusal to Worship the Antichrist The rejection of the mark of the beast will indeed constitute endurance, because the proposed mark will be required to participate in commerce. As Revelation 13:16-18 indicates, the antichrist administration will cause “all, the small and the great, the rich and the poor, and the free and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, and he decrees that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.” (See also Revelation 14:9-11, 15:2, 16:2, 20:4; Revelation 9:4.) Therefore, people who desire to be saved and inherit the Kingdom of God during the time of the Great Tribulation will, if they reject the mark and refuse to worship the antichrist and his kingdom, be unable to purchase food and water, to travel, to have a bank account, and otherwise engage in many of the simple activities of life that are needed to live. Moreover, these saints will be hunted down by the antichrist for their insolence against his kingdom, and they will be imprisoned and martyred. As John writes about the antichrist in this regard: “It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority was given to him over every tribe, people, language, and nation. All who live on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written since the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slaughtered. If anyone has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints” (Revelation 13:7-10). To make matters even worse, Jesus warns, in another end times discussion that "[b]rother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved" (Matthew 10:21-22). Thus, it will be difficult to trust anyone during that time, because the inability to participate in commerce and persecution will cause people to do the unthinkable. Family members who have hidden, or or supplied food, water and other needs to their family member "saints" (who haven't taken the mark and cannot participate in commerce) will suddenly turn on them--disclosing them to the antichrist government. The pressure on all will be great, which is why Jesus' counsel is to run (Matthew 10:23, 24:16) (and hide, Isaiah 26:20, Proverbs 22:3, Proverbs 27:12, Proverbs 28:12, Psalm 27:5, Psalm 31:20, Psalm 64:2, Exodus 2:3, 1 Samuel 19:2)--presumably so that the identity of the persecuted saints is not known. The End of the Great Tribulation Period The Great Tribulation period culminates in the exceedingly terrible and momentous “the Day of the Lord,” when Jesus, the One and Only Son of God, will return to Earth to establish His kingdom, and He will reign over all mankind (Daniel 7:13-14, Joel 2, Amos 5:18-20, Zechariah 12:10, Matthew 24 and Revelation 19). This event is known as the “Second Coming of Christ.” Reward for Endurance As noted above, Jesus promises that those who endure to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:22). In addition, for those whose endurance “to the end,” as Jesus describes, culminates in their martyrdom, Scripture indicates that a very special reward is promised: Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their foreheads and on their hands; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with Him for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4-6). Eternal Condemnation for Failing to Endure For those who fail to endure “to the end,” as Jesus describes, that is to say, those who succumb to the desire to engage in commerce, perhaps because of starvation, by getting the “mark of the beast,” or the desire to stop the persecution, perhaps because the threat of death is too frightening, Scripture indicates, as mentioned above, that a very devastating consequence is promised--a consequence far worse than death: “[t]hen another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb’” (Revelation 14:9-10). Conclusion Therefore, considering the immense significance of the reward for endurance relative to the punishment for failing to endure, we encourage all saints during the time of the Great Tribulation to embrace the following Gospel of the Tribulation: Believe that Jesus Christ is the one and only Son of God and that, as God and Lord, Jesus Christ died on a cross for your sins, rose from the grave, lives forever, and will one day return as the Messiah, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Reject the application of any mark (necessary for you to buy or sell) required by any government, kingdom, world leader or religion to be affixed in any form to your person, particularly on your right hand or forehead. If you have to do so, as the Word of God instructs, run and hide. Refuse to worship any person or thing other than God as described in the Bible. Hold fast and endure to these commitments until the first to occur of the end of your life or the end of the Tribulation period, which will be marked by the arrival of Jesus Christ as the Messiah, as described in Revelation 19:11-16. Help your friends and loved ones who may be left behind by providing them with a copy of our Letter to the Saints at the Time of the Great Tribulation. #tribulation #gospel #markofthebeast #endure #saints #jesus #salvation
- Letter to the Saints of the Time of the Great Tribulation
Below we have provided a letter to the saints at the time of the Great Tribulation, giving them guidance and encouragement from Scripture about living during this special, prophesied time. We, your fellow saints, who have been gathered to Jesus at the command of God (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), having been ordained to avoid the wrath of God (Romans 5:9, 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and 5:9, Isaiah 26:20-21 and John 14:1-2) because of our faith in things unseen (Hebrews 11:1), knew this time would come, because Jesus said, speaking about the time in which you are living, “[f]or then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will again” (Matthew 24:21). During this time, the Bible makes clear, such as in Isaiah 24:1-13 & 19-20, and later detailed in Revelation 6, 8, 9, 11 & 16, that God’s plan is to judge and desolate the earth, and you can see from these passages of Scripture that it is indeed a time of great tribulation. The good news is that God has a plan for you. Know this first, that God loves you, and He sent His One and Only Son, Jesus, to offer the sacrifice of His own life so that you could live. Jesus said, “God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not judged, but anyone who does not believe is already judged, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God” (John 3:16-18). Jesus also said, “I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10b). It is also written that “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). We, your fellow saints, accordingly encourage you to place your faith in Jesus Christ. In relation to Jesus Christ, the Bible states among many other things that Jesus (1) is God (John 1:1) and the One and Only Son of God (John 3:16), (2) is the expression of God the Father to all of humanity, and called “the Word” (John 1:1-14), (3) became a man, having been born of the virgin, Mary (Luke 2:1-7), (4) is a lineal descendant of Israel’s King David (Matthew 1:1-16), (5) lived a sinless life (2 Corinthians 5:21), (6) died on a cross, shedding His blood as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of mankind (John 19), and (7) now sits at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 1:1-4), waiting to return to the earth in glory as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords at the time determined by the Father (Matthew 24, Revelation 19). Speaking specifically about the time in which you are living, Jesus said, “[b]ut the one who endures to the end is the one who will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:13-14). Jesus’ admonition to you to “endure” is imperative for you, and it is your Gospel. You are warned in Scripture that, at the time of the great tribulation, an antichrist government will come into power and will cause “all, the small and the great, the rich and the poor, and the free and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, and he decrees that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six” (Revelation 13:16-18; see also Revelation 14:9-11, 15:2, 16:2, 20:4; Revelation 9:4). About this “mark,” please know that in the prophetic book of Revelation, John writes, “[t]hen another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb’” (Revelation 14:9-10). From this passage in Revelation, we know that during this time of the great tribulation, a person must, in addition to faith in Jesus, refuse to worship the antichrist beast or his image, and also reject the mark of the antichrist government (that we, your fellow saints, know as the “mark of the beast”) that is mandated by the antichrist government to be affixed to the right hand or forehead of all persons. The mark of the beast is a form of identification with the religious, economic, government and/or social system promoted by the antichrist or with the antichrist himself. We know that life will be extremely difficult for you if you reject the mark and refuse to worship the antichrist or his government. In fact, it is difficult for us to imagine what it is like for you to not be able to buy food, housing or transportation--the very essential elements of living. Moreover, we know that you will be hunted down by the antichrist for what he declares to be your insolence against his government, because of your refusal to accept the "mark of the beast" or to worship him or his kingdom, and many of you will be imprisoned and martyred as a consequence. As John writes about the antichrist “beast” in this regard: “It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority was given to him over every tribe, people, language, and nation. All who live on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written since the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slaughtered. If anyone has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints” (Revelation 13:7-10). Even worse, Jesus warns in another end times discussion that "[b]rother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved" (Matthew 10:21-22). In view of Jesus' warning, it will be difficult for you to trust anyone during the great tribulation, because the inability to participate in commerce and the threat of persecution will cause people to do the unthinkable. Family members and close friends who may have hidden you, or supplied food, water and other needs to you (because you haven't taken the mark and cannot participate in commerce) will suddenly and without warning turn on you--disclosing you to the antichrist government. Indeed, they may be compelled to do so under the threat of death. The pressure on all will be great, which is why Jesus' counsel is to run (Matthew 10:23, 24:16). Other Scriptures encourage you to hide (Isaiah 26:20, Proverbs 22:3, Proverbs 27:12, Proverbs 28:12, Psalm 27:5, Psalm 31:20, Psalm 64:2, Exodus 2:3, 1 Samuel 19:2) to escape the devouring bite of the beast. However, in spite of everything, as Jesus said, you must “endure to the end.” For those of you whose endurance “to the end,” as Jesus describes, culminates in your martyrdom, Scripture indicates that a very special reward is promised; as John writes in Revelation, “Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their foreheads and on their hands; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with Him for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4-6). Thus, you who become martyrs will return to rule over the very people who tormented you, if they survive the Day of the Lord (Isaiah 24:5, Isaiah 30:27-28&30-32, Isaiah 35:4, Psalm 110:5-6, Joel 3:2&12, Obadiah 16, Zephaniah 3:8, Ezekiel 39:2,1 Zechariah 14:1-5, Zechariah 12:9, Revelation 19:19-21). So be encouraged that your suffering, though severe, is temporary compared to the eternal kingdom that you will have the privilege to enjoy, serving the very Author of Life (John 1:3-4). However, for those who fail to endure “to the end,” as Jesus describes, that is to say, those who, perhaps because the threat of death is too frightening, succumb to the heavy hand of the antichrist by worshipping him or his kingdom or by getting his "mark of the beast," Scripture indicates, as mentioned above, in Revelation 14:9-10, that a very devastating consequence, far worse than death is promised--drinking "of the wine of the wrath of God." And it is extremely important when you face these moments of trial, wherein you are tempted to submit to the demands of the antichrist, that you consider the duration of the trial in relation to eternity, and persevere, because, as John warns in Revelation, "[a]nd the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus" (Revelation 14:11-12). Therefore, considering the immense significance of the reward for endurance relative to the punishment for failing to endure, we encourage all saints during the time of the great tribulation to embrace the following Gospel of the Tribulation: Believe that Jesus Christ is the one and only Son of God and that, as God and Lord, Jesus Christ died on a cross for your sins, rose from the grave, lives forever, and will one day return as the Messiah, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Reject the application of any mark (necessary for you to buy or sell) required by any government, kingdom, world leader or religion to be affixed in any form to your person, particularly on your right hand or forehead. If you have to do so, as the Word of God instructs, run and hide. Refuse to worship any person or thing other than God as described in the Bible. Hold fast to these commitments, persevere, and endure until the first to occur of the end of your life or the end of the great tribulation period, which will be marked by the arrival of Jesus Christ as the Messiah, as described in Revelation 19:11-16. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. #letter #saints #tribulation #apocalypse #rapture #endure #antichrist #markofthebeast SPECIAL NOTE TO WEBSITE VISITORS: We believe that during the Great Tribulation, the Internet may no longer be available (See Revelation 6, 8, 9, 11 & 16), and even if it survives, internet materials that discuss Jesus Christ or provide access to the Bible will be removed by the antichrist kingdom. Accordingly, we suggest that you print a copy of this letter, fold it, and place it inside the front cover of a Bible that you place in your home in a prominent location so that in the event of the Rapture or other traumatic event associated with the Great Tribulation, people will find the Bible and the letter--giving the readers guidance regarding the Gospel as it applies to them at such time. A draft of the letter is provided below: NOTA ESPECIAL PARA LOS VISITANTES DEL SITIO WEB: Creemos que durante la Gran Tribulación, es posible que Internet ya no esté disponible (ver Apocalipsis 6, 8, 9, 11 y 16), e incluso si sobrevive, los materiales de Internet que hablan de Jesucristo o brindan acceso a la Biblia serán removidos por el reino del anticristo. En consecuencia, le sugerimos que imprima una copia de esta carta, la doble y la coloque dentro de la portada de una Biblia que coloque en su hogar en un lugar destacado para que en caso del Rapto u otro evento traumático asociado con la Gran Tribulación, las personas encontrarán la Biblia y la carta, brindando a los lectores una guía con respecto al Evangelio que se aplica a ellos en ese momento. Un borrador de la carta se proporciona a continuación: 对网站访问者的特别说明：我们相信在大灾难期间，互联网可能不再可用（见启示录 6、8、9、11 和 16），即使它幸存下来，讨论耶稣基督或提供访问的互联网材料圣经将被敌基督国删除。因此，我们建议您打印这封信的副本，将其折叠起来，然后将其放在您家中显眼位置的圣经封面内，以便在发生被提或其他相关的创伤事件时大灾难时，因为它在那个时候适用, 人们会找到圣经和书信——为读者提供有关福音的指导，。该信的草稿如下： ОСОБОЕ ПРИМЕЧАНИЕ ДЛЯ ПОСЕТИТЕЛЕЙ САЙТА: Мы верим, что во время великой скорби Интернета может больше не быть (см. Откровение 6, 8, 9, 11 и 16), и даже если он сохранится, интернет-материалы, обсуждающие Иисуса Христа или предоставляющие доступ к Библии, будут удалены царством антихриста. Поэтому мы предлагаем вам распечатать копию этого письма, сложить его и поместить в обложку Библии, которую вы положите в своем доме на видном месте, чтобы в случае Вознесения или другого травмирующего события, связанного с Великим трибуналом, люди нашли Библию и письмо, давая читателям руководство относительно Евангелия, применимого к ним в это время. Черновик письма приведен ниже: NOTE SPÉCIALE AUX VISITEURS DU SITE WEB : Nous croyons que pendant la Grande Tribulation, l'Internet pourrait ne plus être disponible (voir Apocalypse 6, 8, 9, 11 & 16), et même s'il survit, les documents Internet qui parlent de Jésus-Christ ou donnent accès à la Bible seront supprimés par le royaume de l'antéchrist. En conséquence, nous vous suggérons d'imprimer une copie de cette lettre, de la plier et de la placer à l'intérieur de la couverture d'une Bible que vous placerez chez vous à un endroit bien visible, de sorte qu'en cas d'Enlèvement ou d'un autre événement traumatisant associé à la Grande Tribulation, les gens trouveront la Bible et la lettre - donnant aux lecteurs des conseils concernant l'Évangile tel qu'il s'applique à eux à ce moment. Une ébauche de la lettre est fournie ci-dessous : वेबसाइट विज़िटर्स के लिए विशेष नोट: हम मानते हैं कि महान क्लेश के दौरान, इंटरनेट अब उपलब्ध नहीं हो सकता है (प्रकाशितवाक्य 6, 8, 9, 11 और 16 देखें), और यहां तक कि अगर यह जीवित रहता है, तो इंटरनेट सामग्री जो यीशु मसीह पर चर्चा करती है या पहुंच प्रदान करती है बाइबिल को मसीह विरोधी राज्य द्वारा हटा दिया जाएगा। तदनुसार, हमारा सुझाव है कि आप इस पत्र की एक प्रति प्रिंट करें, इसे मोड़ें, और इसे एक बाइबिल के सामने के कवर के अंदर रखें जिसे आप अपने घर में एक प्रमुख स्थान पर रखते हैं ताकि उत्साह या अन्य दर्दनाक घटना से जुड़ी हो। महान क्लेश, लोगों को बाइबिल और पत्र मिलेगा - पाठकों को सुसमाचार के बारे में मार्गदर्शन देना क्योंकि यह ऐसे समय पर उन पर लागू होता है। पत्र का मसौदा नीचे दिया गया है: ملاحظة خاصة لزوار الموقع: نعتقد أنه خلال الضيقة العظيمة ، قد لا يكون الإنترنت متاحًا (انظر رؤيا 6 و 8 و 9 و 11 و 16) ، وحتى إذا نجت ، مواد الإنترنت التي تناقش يسوع المسيح أو توفر الوصول إلى الكتاب المقدس سيتم إزالته من قبل ملكوت المسيح الدجال. وفقًا لذلك ، نقترح عليك طباعة نسخة من هذه الرسالة ، وطيها ، ووضعها داخل الغلاف الأمامي للكتاب المقدس الذي تضعه في منزلك في مكان بارز بحيث يكون في حالة نشوة الطرب أو أي حدث صادم آخر مرتبط به. الضيقة العظيمة ، سيجد الناس الكتاب المقدس والرسالة - لإرشاد القراء فيما يتعلق بالإنجيل كما ينطبق عليهم في ذلك الوقت. يتم توفير مسودة الرسالة أدناه: הערה מיוחדת למבקרי אתרים: אנו מאמינים כי במהלך הצרה הגדולה, ייתכן שהאינטרנט כבר לא יהיה זמין ( ראה התגלות 6, 8, 9, 11 ו- 16 ), וגם אם הוא ישרוד, חומרי אינטרנט הדנים בישוע המשיח או מספקים גישה לתנ"ך יוסרו על ידי הממלכה האנטיכריסטית. בהתאם, אנו מציעים לך להדפיס עותק של מכתב זה, לקפל אותו, והניח אותו בתוך הכריכה הקדמית של תנ"ך שאתה מציב בבית שלך במקום בולט כך שבמקרה של ההשתלה או אירוע טראומטי אחר הקשור ל צרה גדולה, אנשים ימצאו את התנ"ך ואת המכתב - ויעניקו לקוראים הדרכה בנוגע לבשורה כפי שהיא חלה עליהם בזמן כזה. להלן טיוטת המכתב:
- The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord
Throughout Scripture we see many prophecies regarding the Last Days. Below we have compiled some passages and considerations regarding the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord. Students of Bible prophecy recognize that God has ordained a period in the future wherein Jesus Christ will return to the earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords to rule over all nations of the world for 1,000 years (see Revelation 20:4)—the millennial reign of Christ. Prior to this millennial period, God will judge the world. The period of God’s judgment is referred to as the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21), and it culminates in an excruciating Day of the Lord—a particularly devastating period that is concluded by the Second Coming of Christ (Matt. 24:29-30). Some of the critical considerations regarding this period along with their supporting Scriptures are noted below. 1. The judgment constituting the tribulation is understood from a prophecy in Daniel 9 to extend for a period of 7 years. See Daniel 9:24-27. The prophecy indicates that 490 years (or 70 “sevens”—also referred to as “weeks”) were particularly ordained regarding the Jews, Jerusalem and the work of the Messiah; the prophecy is divided into 2 sections of time: 483 years (or 69 of the “sevens”) of the prophecy were fulfilled when the Messiah was “cut off” (which many Bible students understand to equate to the crucifixion of and ascension to heaven by Jesus); thus, 7 years (or 1 “seven”) of the prophecy remain; according to the prophecy the antichrist will enter into a 7-year (or 1 “seven”) covenant with “the many”; then 3.5 years into that covenant, he will break it and cause sacrifices to cease. Thus, it appears that the covenant is with the people of Israel and may have something to do with the temple and sacrifices. 2. God will desolate the earth. Isaiah 24:1-13, 19-20. 3. God’s desolation of the earth is heralded by the breaking of 7 seals (Rev. 6&8:1-5), the sounding of 7 trumpets (Rev. 8:6-9:21&11:15-19) and the pouring of 7 bowls of wrath (Rev. 16). Each has its own consequence: Breaking of the 7 Seals Breaking of 1st Seal (Revelation 6:1-2) - A white horse comes, and the rider has a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. Breaking of 2nd Seal (Revelation 6:3-4) - A red horse comes, and the rider takes peace from the earth even such that people kill one another; and a large sword was given to him. Breaking of 3rd Seal (Revelation 6:5-6) - A black horse comes, and the rider has a pair of scales in his hand, and it seems that the price of wheat and barley increase dramatically. Breaking of 4th Seal (Revelation 6:7-8) - An ashen horse comes, and the rider’s name is Death, and Hades is following him; he kills ¼ of the people of the earth with sword, famine, plague and animal attacks. Note that the heralds of the first 4 seals, these "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," may be the 4 spirits who patrol the earth and appease the wrath of God as described in Zechariah 6:1-8. Some speculate that the rider of the white horse is the antichrist who, in a mimicking precursor to the Second Coming of Christ (Rev. 19:11-16), appears on a white horse. Breaking of 5th Seal (Revelation 6:9-11) - The souls of martyrs for God cry out for judgment. Breaking of 6th Seal (Revelation 6:12-17) - A great earthquake occurs; the sun becomes black; the moon becomes like blood; a storm of asteroids strikes the earth; the sky is split apart like a scroll; every mountain and island are moved from their places; all on earth cry out for death rather than to face the Messiah. Interlude (Revelation 7) - Angels halt wind from blowing on the earth. An angel seals 144,000 men from Israel on their foreheads. A multitude who came out of the Tribulation and whose robes have been made white by the blood of the Lamb cry out a praise to the Lamb, and the Lamb spreads His tabernacle over them. Breaking of 7th Seal (Revelation 8:1-5) - An angel fills a censor with fire from the alter and hurls it to the earth with lightning, thunder and an earthquake. Sounding of the 7 Trumpets Sounding of 1st Trumpet (Revelation 8:6-7) - Hail and fire mixed with blood are hurled to the earth; and 1/3 of the earth is burned up, and 1/3 of the trees are burned up, and all the green grass is burned up. Sounding of 2nd Trumpet (Revelation 8:8-9) - A great mountain burning with fire is hurled into the sea; and 1/3 of the sea becomes blood, and 1/3 of the sea creatures die; and 1/3 of the ships are destroyed. Sounding of 3rd Trumpet (Revelation 8:10-11) - A great star falls from heaven, burning like a torch on 1/3 of the rivers and on the springs of waters. The star is named Wormwood; and 1/3 of the waters become wormwood, and many people die from the waters because they are made bitter. Sounding of 4th Trumpet (Revelation 8:12) - 1/3 of the sun, 1/3 of the moon, and 1/3 of the stars are stricken, so that 1/3 of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for 1/3 of it, and the night in the same way. Interlude (Revelation 8:13) - An eagle flies and announces 3 woes for those who live on the earth because of the blasts of the next 3 trumpets. Sounding of 5th Trumpet (Revelation 9:1-12) - 1st Woe - The abyss is opened and smoke darkens the air and the sun, and Abaddon’s (or Apollyon’s) scorpion like locusts come out of the smoke and attack all humans that do not have the seal of God on their foreheads, and they torment humanity for 5 months. Sounding of 6th Trumpet (Revelation 9:13-21) - 2nd Woe – 4 angels bound at the Euphrates River are released, and they release a 200 million horseman army (breastplate colors are hyacinth, fire and brimstone) that kills 1/3 of mankind with plagues of fire, smoke and brimstone. Then, the 2 witnesses appear, are slain, are resurrected and ascend to heaven. An earthquake strikes Jerusalem; 1/10 of the city falls; 7,000 are killed. Sounding of 7th Trumpet (Revelation 11-12) - 3rd Woe – An announcement is made in heaven: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” The temple of God in heaven appears with the ark of His covenant. Signs appear regarding Israel, Satan, Christ and Michael, the archangel. (Rev. 12) A woe is announced regarding Satan’s being on earth filled with wrath, because he knows his time is short. Interlude (Revelation 13-15) The beast from the sea and the beast from the earth appear. (Rev. 13) The Lamb appears with 144,000 special saints; angels appear declaring the gospel, doom of Babylon, and doom for worshippers of the beast. (Rev. 14) One like the son of man reaps from the earth. An angel then reaps for the winepress. (Rev. 14) Angels receive the 7 bowls of wrath to be poured out on the earth. (Rev. 15) The 7 Bowls of the Wrath of God Pouring of 1st Bowl (Revelation 16:2) - Harmful and painful sores afflict everyone who has received the mark of the beast (the antichrist) and worshipped his image. Pouring of 2nd Bowl (Revelation 16:3) - The sea is turned to blood and everything in it dies. Pouring of 3rd Bowl (Revelation 16:4-7) - The rivers and springs of water are turned to blood. Pouring of 4th Bowl (Revelation 16:8-9) - The sun scorches people with a plague of fire and heat. Pouring of 5th Bowl (Revelation 16:10-11) - The kingdom of the beast is darkened, and pain and sores afflict people (possibly because sunlight provided healing and relief). Pouring of 6th Bowl (Revelation 16:12-16) - The Euphrates River is dried up—preparing the way (to Israel) for the kings from the East (to attack Israel). Spirits of demons, like frogs coming from the mouths of Satan, the antichrist and the false prophet, summon nations to come and attack Israel (the Battle of Armageddon). Pouring of 7th Bowl (Revelation 16:17-21) - An announcement is made from the throne in the temple in heaven: “It is done.” The strongest earthquake in history strikes the earth. Cities fall. Jerusalem is split into 3 sections. Islands disappear. Mountains fall. 100-pound hailstones fall upon the people of the earth. 4. Celebrations will cease. Isaiah 24:7-11, Rev. 18:22-23. 5. People will be scorched. Isaiah 24:6, Rev. 16:8-9. 6. All are subject to judgment. Isaiah 24:2, 4, 18. 7. The Day of the Lord and Tribulation are for judgment. Isaiah 24:5, Isaiah 30:27-28&30-32, Isaiah 35:4, Psalm 110:5-6, Joel 3:2&12, Obadiah 16, Zephaniah 3:8, Ezekiel 39:21. 8. The sun and moon will be impacted. Isaiah 24:23 They will become dark. Joel 3:15, Isaiah 60:2, Rev. 8:12, Matt. 24:29. 9. The antichrist will destroy Jerusalem and the Temple, first permitting the sacrifices and then halting them and desecrating the temple. Daniel 9:27, Zech. 14:2, 2 Thes. 2:3-4, Matthew 24:15-16. 10. Messiah will battle and defeat all nations. Zech. 14:1-5, Zech. 12:9, Rev. 19:19-21. 11. An earthquake will level the land, except for part of Jerusalem. Zech. 14:10, Rev. 16:17-21. The mountain of the House of the Lord will remain. Isaiah 2:2. 12. All of armies of nations will essentially panic, fight each other and rot while standing when Messiah arrives. Zech. 14:12-13, 15. 13. Great wealth will be collected at the battle of Armageddon. Zech. 14:14. 14. We do not know the day or the hour when Jesus will return. Matt. 24:42. #endtimes #apocalypse #rapture #greattribulation #tribulation #messiah #signs #armageddon #seals #trumpets #bowls #wrath #god #jesus
- Scriptural Support for a Pre-Tribulation Rapture
Did you know that there is substantial support in Scripture for the idea that the believers in Jesus Christ will be gathered from the earth in a Rapture prior to the Great Tribulation? We detail the supporting considerations below. We know that great Christians disagree about if and when the Rapture might occur. But please understand that the premise of this presentation is to plan for the possibility that the Rapture will occur. In other words, it is best to prepare for the Rapture, regardless of any theological disagreement about when or if it will occur. If you prepare for the Rapture, and it does not occur, there is no harm; you would have merely prepared for an event that did not occur; however, if the Rapture does occur, then each person who has not prepared, because he or she did not believe that the Rapture was clearly indicated in Scripture, is like the women in the Parable of the Ten Virgins who did not have their lamps ready (Matthew 25:1-13) or like the servant in the Parable of the Talents who buried his talents while his Master was away (Matthew 25:14-30). Therefore, while different views exist, we hope that you will at least consider the possibility of the pre-Tribulation Rapture, and for those who are open to the idea and/or are willing to learn more, we provide below 27 supports from Scripture for a pre-Tribulation Rapture--organized around 10 fundamental concepts. 27 Scriptural Supports for a Pre-Tribulation Rapture The idea of the Rapture originates from Paul's first letter to the Thessalonian church; in chapter 4 we find the following statement regarding the event: "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who remain, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord." 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (emphasis added to highlight the focus of the wording at issue). Interestingly, the Greek word translated here as "caught up" has its root in the word "harpazô" (see https://biblehub.com/greek/726.htm), which means “to seize, catch up, snatch away.” This is the same word used to describe Philip's being "carried away" from the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:39. Jerome's Vulgate (approx. 400 AD), the Latin translation of the Greek New Testament, uses a term for "caught up" that has its root in the word "rapio" to describe the event, and this is the word from which we get the word "rapture." Paul further discusses the "mystery" of the departure of the Church in 1 Corinthians 15, wherein he writes: "Behold, I am telling you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed." (1 Corinthians 15:51-52) Thus, the Rapture appears to be an instantaneous event where the dead believers in Christ and the living believers are suddenly granted immortal bodies. Notably, both the Thessalonians and Corinthians texts indicate that there is a preceding trumpet blast. (1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16). (A trumpet sound is also heard by John before he is drawn to heaven; see item 13, below). The idea of the Rapture has captivated Christians--even to the point of making movies, such as the Left Behind series--to demonstrate the magnitude of the event on the world in connection with the Great Tribulation and the antichrist. These hold to the idea that a rapture-like event occurs prior to the Great Tribulation (and actually even before the start of the "final 7-year period" discussed in item 5, below)--allowing the saints to escape the judgment of God that falls upon the earth and its inhabitants. While there are a number of views regarding when/if the Rapture will occur, a host of considerations reflected in Scripture suggest, collectively quite strongly, that the Church as the Bride of Christ will be raptured prior to the pouring out of the Wrath of God during the Tribulation: A. The Existence of a Plan for the Saints of Today (as the Church/Bride of Christ) That Is Different from God’s Plan for the Saints Who Live During the Time of the Great Tribulation Suggests a Substantial Chronological and Theological Shift That Is Best Explained by the Removal of the Church Prior to the Tribulation. 1. Plans for Jews/Israel and Gentiles That Are Different in Both Nature and Time. Fundamentally, there is a dichotomy in Scripture between Jews/Israel and Gentiles (i.e., all of the people who are not descendants of Jacob/Israel). If you consider the general notion that God has a plan for both groups, it becomes increasingly clear that the plan for the Gentiles, i.e., the saints constituting the Church (or the Bride of Christ), is different in both nature and time from the plan for His chosen people--the children of Israel. Difference in Nature It is important to recognize that God has particularly chosen the descendants of Jacob (Israel) to be His "treasured possession." (Deuteronomy 7:6.) Further, God has declared that He has a special plan for the descendants of Jacob (Israel). (Jeremiah 29:11-14.) It seems from passages such as Isaiah 49:5-6, 54:7-8, 55:3, 59:20-21, 60-61, Jeremiah 29:11-14, 31:31-34 (referenced in Hebrews 8:8-12), Jeremiah 32:40, 50:5 and Ezekiel 34:11-31, 37:26 (and other passages that refer to “Zion”), that the Jews/Israel are going to be saved by the special act of Jesus in making them His covenant people—by His seeking, calling, gathering, feeding and caring for them (the “Zion passages.”) However, as noted below in the "Difference in Time" section, we see that this plan unfolds in the future. Conversely, in the New Testament, we see a different, special plan of God that includes Gentiles. The difference in the plans may be attributable to the fact that the Jews rejected Jesus while the saints constituting the Church embraced Him (see John 1:11-13). Curiously, though the Jews rejected Jesus, God loves them nevertheless (because they were charged with bringing His Word to the nations - Romans 3:1-2), and He accordingly appears to want to offer them an additional opportunity in the Tribulation to accept Him. (Amazingly, too, as detailed more fully below, it seems that during the Tribulation, certain sons of Israel have a special role in the plan of God - Rev. 7:4-8.) Notably, in this regard, when Jesus was talking with the Jews, He stated, as recorded in John 10:16, "I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice; and they will become one flock, with one shepherd." (See also Ezekiel 34:11-31 in relation to the prior verses about Israel.) The distinction between the 2 groups is also noted in Acts 15 where the Council at Jerusalem determines that, unlike the Jews, the Gentiles are not obligated to observe the Law of Moses--except as to 4 specific guidelines (and the guidelines are substantially derivative of God's covenant with Noah in Genesis 9:4-6, which is also applicable to all humanity and not just to Israel). The distinction is also described by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 3:1-6 wherein he explains the "mystery ... that the Gentiles are [made] fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel ..." (Eph. 3:6) (see also 1 Corinthians 12:13 and Hosea 2:23). Difference in Time The distinction between the 2 groups and the distinct plans of God is perhaps most notably detailed by Paul in Romans 11--crescendoing in verses 25b-26a--where he identifies the fact that a time/chronological element is involved: "... that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved ...." (See the salvation of Israel by Jesus, the Messiah, described in Isaiah 49.) Thus, when "the fullness of the Gentiles has come in," the plan of God shifts back to the salvation of Israel, and all of the prophecies of the "Zion passages," referred to above, would become fulfilled. The plan for Israel thus appears to have been suspended, and the plan for the Church occupies the period of Israel's suspension. (And this idea of the plan of God for Israel being suspended and then shifting back to Israel is developed further in section B., below.) It is further notable that the plan shifted from Israel to the Gentiles most likely at the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, considering that the resurrection and faith in Jesus forms the basis for salvation for those living during the period prior to the Tribulation. (See Romans 10:9-10.) It is even further notable that Jesus appears to have identified the transition in the plan of God when, after hearing that Gentiles wanted to see Him (immediately following His triumphal entry into Jerusalem), He responded by saying, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified." (See John 12:20-23.) If the plan of God shifts back to Israel, concluding God's plan for the Church, the question is when--what event would mark such a transition? The Rapture is an excellent explanation for such a transition; if the Church/Bride of Christ is removed from the Earth, the removal would constitute the conclusion of the current plan and mark the beginning of a new plan. Amazingly, considering that the plan for the Church appears to have been instituted at or near the resurrection of Jesus, it makes sense that the plan of the Church would also conclude at a resurrection--the resurrection of the dead in Christ who rise first as Paul described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. Thus, the Church age would extend from resurrection to resurrection. [Interestingly, too, considering that Israel is believed to have received the law at Pentecost, and the Holy Spirit is recognized to have been given to the Church at Pentecost, it might be fair to say that the time of the plan of Israel extended from Pentecost to Pentecost, and now the plan for the Church continues during the time of Israel's suspension--from Pentecost with the arrival of the Holy Spirit--to a point at which the plan of God involving the Holy Spirit concludes (see items 19 and 20, below), possibly marked by a future Pentecost.] Conclusion The distinction in the treatments of the 2 groups and God's plans applicable to each flows through the considerations below. Recognizing the distinctions between the 2 plans of God for the 2 groups that is different in both nature and time, it makes sense in view of the totality of the considerations here and below that the plan for the Church would involve its removal from the earth before the wrath of God is poured out on the earth and its inhabitants during the Tribulation period, allowing God to complete His plan for the Jews and Israel during the Tribulation (and extending into the Millennial reign of Christ). 2. A Different Standard for Salvation During the Tribulation. Incredibly, there is a change in the gospel during the Tribulation period—adding to the need to believe in Jesus the additional requirement to “endure to the end” (i.e., reject the mark of the new world government on your hand and forehead, and refuse to worship the antichrist beast or his image--event to the point of death - Rev. 20:4). (See Matt. 24:13-14 and Rev. 14:9-12.) The new standard actually conflicts with the current plan of salvation (for a discussion regarding the current plan of salvation see our post regarding "How Are People Saved Now--Before the Great Tribulation?"), because it adds a requirement of works--whereas our current plan is that we are saved by grace through faith ... not a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). This new requirement means that a person otherwise saved by believing in Jesus (John 3:16) would lose his/her salvation by failing to complete the required work of rejecting the mark of the government. Rather than accepting the idea that God's plan of salvation could be changed mid-stream for hundreds of millions of people, adding a new requirement just because of the timeframe during which such people lived, it makes more sense to conclude that the gospel has changed or a new plan has been offered because believers in the gospel of Jesus Christ (i.e., as constituting the Church as the Bride of Christ) have been removed from the earth--raptured--enjoying the blessings of their faith, while those who rejected Jesus Christ are presented with this new plan--this second opportunity that requires works. Further, too, recognizing that we are now saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) and that "faith is the assurance of things hoped for" having no evidence of things that can be seen (Hebrews 11:1), it is important to note that the period of the Great Tribulation is marked by a host of dramatic, visible, supernatural events, including, among other things, (a) the unprecedented and shocking consequences of the breaking of 7 seals (Revelation 6 & 8:1-5), the sounding of 7 trumpets (Revelation 8:6-9:21 & 11:15-19), and the pouring of 7 bowls of wrath (Revelation 16), which desolate the earth, (b) the ability of the 2 witnesses to cause fire to flow out of their mouths to devour their enemies, to shut up the sky and prevent rain, to turn the waters to blood, to strike the earth with plagues, and to rise from the dead and ascend to heaven--causing great fear to fall on all who witness it (Revelation 11:3-13), (c) an eagle flying in midheaven and announcing woes upon everyone who dwells on the earth (Revelation 8:13), and (d) angels flying across the midheaven making announcements that will be heard by everyone on earth, including an angel who announces the fall of Babylon--the kingdom of the antichrist beast (Revelation 14:8), an angel who repeats the announcement of the falling of Babylon (and the angel illuminates the earth with his glory) (Revelation 18:1-3), and an angel who announces the "everlasting gospel" that everyone should "Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth, and sea and springs of waters” (Revelation 14:6-7). People on earth know that the judgments are from God; in fact, they blaspheme God because of the judgments (Revelation 16:21). [Moreover, the people of the Great Tribulation have the testimony of the Rapture of believers in Jesus, but we note this parenthetically, because we cannot sincerely use the pre-Tribulation Rapture itself to be evidence for the pre-Tribulation Rapture.] Thus, people living during the time of the Great Tribulation need substantially less faith to believe in God than do people living during the "Church Age"--the time between the ascension of Jesus and the Rapture of the believers. This widely available, dramatic, visible evidence, coupled with the rejection of Jesus Christ by people who lived prior to the start of the Great Tribulation appear to be precisely why such people have new, substantial additional obligations imposed on them to reject the mark of the antichrist beast, to refuse to worship the image of the antichrist beast, and to endure to the end in order to be saved (Revelation 20:4; Matt. 24:13-14 and Revelation 14:9-12.) Thus, this new standard of salvation reflects a sudden, massive change in the plan of God, and it makes sense that before this new plan would be instituted, God would first remove His "Bride" the Church--those who believed in Him with very little available, physical evidence--rewarding them for their faith. The Rapture best explains the removal of these saints. 3. A Different Seal of God in the Tribulation. We know that the Holy Spirit is the "seal of God" in us (2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Ephesians 1:13, Ephesians 4:30, 2 Timothy 2:19). In addition, as discussed above (item 2), salvation during the Tribulation is achieved by rejecting the mark of the beast government to the point of death as opposed to believing in Jesus alone; while the Holy Spirit is a seal for believers now, it seems that the absence of the mark of the antichrist beast is the mark or seal of believers in Jesus during the Tribulation (or stated another way: the mark of the antichrist beast is the seal of non-believers in Jesus during the Tribulation). In addition, during the Tribulation, at least some of the Tribulation saints will be marked with a new distinct seal of God on their foreheads (see Revelation 7:1-8). In Revelation 9:1-6, we see God instructing locusts to attack only those with the mark of the beast on their foreheads--passing over those who have the seal of God on their foreheads. In Revelation 14:1-5, we see that these sealed persons are a special, blameless group who were purchased from the earth as the first fruits to God and to the Lamb. Thus, inasmuch as a new seal is used to mark at least some Tribulation saints, and the mark of the antichrist beast government specially marks those who are not saints, the new marks/seals suggest that the Holy Spirit may no longer be used to mark believers in the same way as He does today, and that a new plan is instituted for sealing/marking saints. Such a new plan is indicative of the fact that the Church (having been sealed by the Holy Spirit) is not present for the Tribulation. 4. Two Prophetically Described "Crop" Gatherings Reflecting 2 Different Plans of God. There are 2 distinct "crop" (i.e., people) gatherings described in Amos 7:1-6: (1) the King’s crop (which, contextually, would represent the Church as the Bride of Christ--believers in Jesus who are raptured prior to the arrival of the “locusts”—the trials of the Tribulation), followed by (2) the spring crop, which would accordingly represent the saints (apparently a substantial number of which are Jewish) who die during or otherwise survive the Tribulation, having rejected the mark of the beast and having refused to worship the image of the beast; interestingly, the prophet Amos speaks of the second group distinctly as “Jacob”—i.e., the Jews/Israel (or perhaps he is expressing concern because he sees the particularly devastating impact of the Tribulation on Jews). The 2 harvests suggest 2 groups, which may well reflect or be the consequence of the existence of 2 plans of God--one for the Church and one for the descendants of Jacob (Israel). [There are clues indicating that the prophecy in Amos 7 relates to the Great Tribulation period. Joel 1 discusses a massive locust invasion of Israel at a time when other calamitous events are affecting Israel. The prophecy continues into Joel 2, where the "Day of the Lord" is mentioned; the Day of the Lord refers to the final days preceding the Second Coming of Christ (e.g. Isaiah 2:12; 13:6, 9; Ezekiel 13:5, 30:3; Joel 1:15, 2:1,11,31; 3:14; Amos 5:18,20; Obadiah 15; Zephaniah 1:7,14; Zechariah 14:1; Malachi 4:5). So we know that the locust invasion is the precedent to the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19:11-20; 16:12-16). Thus, the reference to the locust invasion of Israel in Amos 7 indicates that the passage is referring to the time of the Great Tribulation. Further, the prophet's concern that Jacob will not survive the invasion is indicative that Israel is being devasted at the end of the Great Tribulation--saved only by the arrival of the Messiah (Revelation 19:19-21). And ... it is in this context that we see the harvests being effected. The harvests can be fairly understood to be souls in this context.] B. The Focus on Jews, Jerusalem and Israel during the Tribulation and Millennial Reign of Christ Suggests the Absence of the Church During the Tribulation. 5. Daniel 9's Final "Week" as Reserved for Jews and Jerusalem Only. The final 7-year period that is described in the Daniel 9 prophecy (i.e., 70 periods of 7 years, 69 of which--or 483 years--were completed when Jesus died on the cross, but there remains 1 period of 7 years to be fulfilled in the future) was determined, according to Gabriel, only for Jews and Jerusalem. If that period is determined for the Jews, then it makes sense that the Church should be removed from that period. Thus, the 7-year period that encompasses the Tribulation would be particularly for the Jews and Jerusalem. It is interesting to note in this regard that the only persons who are marked with the seal of God during the Tribulation are from the "sons of Israel." See Revelation 7:1-8. Even if it is a special seal and not an exclusive mark of salvation (which it does not appear to be), the fact that it marks only the "sons of Israel" is clearly and exclusively significant to Israel and the Jews. They are later described as the first fruits to God. See Revelation 14:1-5. Moreover, the fact that these 144,000 are only from Israel suggests that the time of the Tribulation is particularly set aside for the Jews or that they have a unique and special role in the Tribulation. 6. The 2nd of the Amos “Crop” Gatherings as Representing Jews/Israel. As noted in item 4, above, the second crop that is arriving at the time of the locusts (i.e., the trials of the Tribulation) appears to be principally Jewish/Israeli inasmuch as they are described as “Jacob”; the prophet asks God to help Jacob survive the locusts. (See Judges 7:12, Joel 1 and Isaiah 33:4—invaders of Israel described like “locusts”—culminating in the Battle of Armageddon – Rev. 16:13-16—which also takes place in Israel.) (Note that the ultimate "spring harvest" gathering could well be the gathering of the elect--new Jewish believers--that Jesus described as being conducted by His angels in Matthew 24:31.) Of course, it could be that Jewish believers appear to be facing complete extinction by the antichrist--which prompts the prophet to ask for help for Jacob. However, there is no question in this passage that Jewish believers are the focus of the second crop being harvested. 7. The Millennial Reign of Christ Focuses on Jews and in Israel. Texts regarding the Millennial reign of Christ (see e.g., Zech. 8) make clear that the whole focus of that period is Jews, Israel and Jerusalem. In this regard, we find the following curious statement in Zechariah 8:23--"The Lord of armies says this: ‘In those days ten people from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."'" This verse begs the questions: (a) "Isn't Jesus also with non-Jewish believers?" and (b) "Shouldn't people living during the Millennial reign of Christ also be saying the same thing to believers from the Church--the Bride of Christ?" The only explanation for why people aren't also grasping the garments of believers as part of the Church and saying the same thing to them is that believers from the Church are either (i) not present with the Jews during the Millennium--instead resting with Jesus (and as noted elsewhere in these notes) in the New Jerusalem--having been previously raptured from the earth, or (ii) they are somehow spiritually distinct from the rest of humanity as those that reign with Christ (see Revelation 5:9-10) and are accordingly unquestionably connected with Jesus. [In this regard, I also note that those who reign with Christ include people who were martyred for their rejection of the mark of the beast and refusal to worship the beast in the Tribulation (Rev. 6:9-11, 20:4).] It is further notable in this regard that Jesus will arrive at His Second Coming at the Mount of Olives (see Zechariah 14:4) and will rule as Messiah from Jerusalem--and more specifically, from the Tabernacle of David (Isaiah 16:5) as opposed to ruling from any other or every other location. In addition, Isaiah 4, a chapter about the Millennial reign of the Messiah, speaks only about "survivors in Israel" (of course, they have survived the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord--omitting any consideration regarding the believers in Jesus, constituting the Church, as having also survived the Tribulation) and speaks of Yahweh's presence in Mount Zion--in Israel. Many other chapters in Scripture, prophesying about the Millennium, similarly refer to Yahweh's ruling from Zion in Israel. While these considerations may not necessarily fully substantiate that the Bride of Christ was raptured prior to the Tribulation, they strongly suggest that people constituting the Bride of Christ are uniquely spiritually distinct from those that live during the Millennium--where the focus is Israel and Jews. C. The Concept of Avoiding God’s Wrath Is Best Explained by a Rapture of the Church Prior to the Tribulation. 8. Promise to Believers of Avoiding Wrath. God's Word provides a repeated promise (Romans 5:9, 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and 5:9) that believers constituting the Church will not face God’s wrath—which should logically include the 7 bowls of wrath in the Tribulation (Rev. 15:1, 7 and Rev. 16) as well as the 7 seals (Rev. 6:16-17) and the 7 trumpets (Rev. 11:18) (see also Rev. 14:19). If believers constituting the Church are to avoid wrath as promised by God, then it doesn't make sense that they would have to face the wrath of God in the Tribulation. Many people say that the Tribulation is not the wrath of God, arguing that hell itself represents the wrath of God; however, Revelation 16 and the other passages referenced in this paragraph above make very clear that these 7 seals, 7 trumpets and particularly the 7 bowls are the expressly described as the wrath of God. (Many people make the mistake of assuming that because we know there are saints in the Tribulation, they must be part of the Church; however, we know that people will be saved during the Tribulation, but these saints are not part of the Church as we know it today. The change in the gospel during the Tribulation is evidence of that fact. See item 2, above.) 9. A Picture of Sequestration as a Parallel. In connection with the promise that the Church will not face God's wrath, there is a picture of God’s sequestration of His children from the Tribulation in chambers (Isaiah 26:20-21), which is similar to those described by Jesus in John 14:1-3 as reserved for His followers. Such sequestration makes sense in the context of believers having been removed from where they are situated (i.e., the earth) and placed into the chambers prior to the start of the pouring out of God's wrath in the Tribulation. 10. A Picture of Removing the Faithful from Judgment as a Parallel. Similarly, there is a general picture in Scripture of God's removing people who believe in Him from harm's way--such as, for example, Rahab and her family saved from the destruction of Jericho, Lot and his family saved from the destruction of Sodom, and Noah and his family saved from the flood of the world. See also Isaiah 57:1-2. Also, Enoch was taken by God (Genesis 5:24) prior to the flood (Genesis 7). Notably, none of these famous salvation examples are descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob--meaning that they are Gentiles who experienced protection from the judgment of God by believing the instruction given to them regarding the avoidance of such judgment. 11. The "King's Crop" Gathering Escapes the Locusts. As noted in items 4 and 6, above, there are 2 distinct "crop" (i.e., people) gatherings described in Amos 7:1-6. The first of the gatherings or harvests is called “the King’s crop” (seems to represent the Church); this crop is taken prior to the arrival of the locusts—which appears to represent the trials or judgment of God applied to the earth during the Tribulation. Thus, Amos' prophetic vision suggests that the King’s crop escapes the judgment of God on the earth. D. A Gathering to Jesus that Contextually Precedes the Tribulation Suggests the Church's Being Gathered to Jesus Prior to the Tribulation. 12. The First of the Amos "Crop" Gatherings. As noted in items 4, 6 and 11, above, there are 2 distinct "crop" (i.e., people) gatherings described in Amos 7:1-6. The first of the gatherings or harvests is called “the King’s crop” (seems to represent the Church); this crop is gathered prior to the arrival of the locusts—which appears to represent the trials occurring at the time of the Great Tribulation. Thus, the King’s crop appears to be preferential—escaping the judgment of the locusts. This is a strong indication of the fact of a gathering to the King of the Church prior to the Tribulation. 13. John's Revelation Experience as a Parallel. John’s rapture experience in Revelation 4:1-2 presents a picture of the rapture of believers who observe but do not experience the Tribulation--perhaps also like the translation of Enoch before the great flood. John was told "Come up here," and immediately he was in the spirit. Note that the 2 witnesses, after they have been put to death by the antichrist, are resurrected and then told to "come up here"--just like John and presumably just like the other raptured believers (Rev. 11:12). Similarly, John's experience of Rev 4:1-2 also parallels the rapture experience described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. In these instances, the gathering occurs prior to the Tribulation. Note that in both instances, a trumpet sound is heard (Rev. 4:1, 1 Thessalonians 4:16). 14. A Gathering Event that Contextually Precedes the Day of the Lord. Speaking of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, this passage provides perhaps the greatest description in Scripture regarding the Rapture: "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who remain, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord." In the very next chapter, Paul talks about the "Day of the Lord," which is the culmination of the Tribulation, so contextually, the Rapture/gathering of the Church as believers in Jesus precedes the Tribulation. 15. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb as Preceding Jesus' Second Coming. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb, attended by those who were saved by believing in Jesus (see Revelation 19:7-10), principally the Church as the Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:23-32, 2 Corinthians 11:2), contextually precedes the description of the Second Coming of Christ (see Revelation 19:11-19)--suggesting that believers are in heaven with Jesus before He returns to the earth. If believers are not raptured, then how do they get to participate in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb? The contextual indication is that the Church, having been gathered to Jesus, attends the Marriage Supper of the Lamb before Jesus executes His Second Coming. E. Stunning Scriptural Omissions Regarding the Church in Relation to the Tribulation Suggest the Church Is Not Present on Earth During the Tribulation. 16. Church Not Mentioned as Being on the Earth in the Tribulation. There is no mention of the Church in the Book of Revelation as being on the earth during John’s vision. Instead, the focus is on Israel, the antichrist and God’s judgment. The marked absence of references to the Church as being on the earth suggests that the Church isn't subject to the Tribulation. 17. No Warnings in the Epistles Regarding Surviving the Tribulation. There is a marked absence of warnings to the Church in the epistles regarding the Tribulation and how to survive it. If the Church were to endure the hardship of the Tribulation, the epistles would have provided guidance regarding how to handle it. Similarly, Jesus told His Jewish listeners in Matthew 24 just how they should respond to the time of the Tribulation--apparently because only the Jews and Israel would be the focus of that time period. F. Hints That the Church May Be in New Jerusalem During the Tribulation Suggest That the Church Is Not Present on Earth During the Tribulation. 18. Indications of the Church Being in Heaven or in the New Jerusalem during the Tribulation. Many texts suggest that the Church, which is the Bride of Christ, seems to be in heaven or in the New Jerusalem (see Revelation 21:2, 10-11, 22:17)--escaping the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15), which appears to be reserved for those living in the earth during the Millennial reign of Christ--who had not been saved prior to the Second Coming of Christ. Other texts reference a "great multitude" that could include saints who were part of the Church, such as Revelation 19:1 & 6, and those who are invited to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-9). But of course, nothing in these references indicates that these saints came out of or were otherwise on the earth during the Tribulation. G. Indications That the Holy Spirit Is Not Present in the Tribulation Suggest That the Church (As the Temple of the Holy Spirit) Is Not Present During the Tribulation. 19. Holy Spirit May Be the “Restrainer” of 2 Thessalonians 2. 2 Thessalonians 2:4-8 indicates that the antichrist does not appear until the one who restrains is taken out of the way. Many hypothesize that the "restrainer" is the Holy Spirit as present in believers who are raptured--thereby leaving with the believers to heaven. The departure of the presence of the Holy Spirit from the earth would enable the antichrist to press forward with his plans, unabated by the presence of God in people. (See Isaiah 48:9.) 20. The Holy Spirit May Not Be the Seal of God in the Tribulation. As noted in item 3, above, during the Tribulation, certain saints will be marked with a new distinct seal of God on their foreheads (see Revelation 7:1-3). The need for this special seal to mark these saints could be because God no longer uses the Holy Spirit to seal believers as described in 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Ephesians 1:13, Ephesians 4:30, and 2 Timothy 2:19. Also, as noted in item 3, above, the need to mark/seal believers becomes curiously unnecessary during the Tribulation in that the mark of the antichrist beast physically and visibly marks those who yield or swear allegiance to the antichrist beast--and thereby publicly and visibly seal their future doom--outside of the salvation available through belief in Jesus Christ (Revelation 14:9-12). Thus, the absence of the Holy Spirit--who is given to believers today as a seal--and the institution of a new plan for sealing a special group of saints during the Tribulation indicate that the Church (having been sealed by the Holy Spirit and having served as His temple) is not present for the Tribulation. H. Other Contextual Clues Suggest a Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church. 21. The "Apostasy" Event Preceding the Arrival of the Antichrist. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 refers to a "falling away" or "apostasy" that occurs before the arrival of the antichrist. The word from which "falling away" is translated is the Greek word "apostasia"; many commentators advocate that, among other things, (a) "falling away" is not the best translation of the word "apostasia"; (b) the best translation of the Greek word is "departure"; (c) in this regard, earlier translations (such as Wycliffe, Tyndale, Geneva, etc.) used the word "departure"; (d) there is a definite article (we use "the" to identify it) used with the "departure"--indicating that it is an event as opposed to a process (which is the nature of the falling away described in Matthew 24:10 and 1 Timothy4:1-3); and (e) Paul's reference to a "departure" event would be consistent with his prior teaching to them and could accordingly be pointing back to his 1st letter to the Thessalonians, wherein he, as provided in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, describes an event wherein the dead in Christ and those who are alive in Christ are gathered together with Christ in the air--and thereby "departing" the earth. See the article "The Rapture in 2 Thessalonians 2:3" and the article "Falling Away." Of course, the arrival of the antichrist occurs in conjunction with the Tribulation, so the departure in this context occurs before the Tribulation. 22. Contextual Clues in 1 Thessalonians 4. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, there are contextual clues, in addition to the clues noted above, that point to a pre-tribulation Rapture. First, Paul is comforting the Thessalonian church by telling them there is a basis for hope such that believers should not be concerned about those believers who have already died--reminding them that the dead in Christ will rise first (i.e., even before us--the believers who are alive and "remain"). Fascinatingly, Paul concludes the discussion with this amazing statement: "Therefore comfort one another with these words" (1 Thes. 4:18). Why would we as believers be "comforted" by this event if we were expected to go through the Tribulation--and perhaps be martyred? What would be comforting at all about the Tribulation? The Tribulation involves the mass martyrdom of those who believe in Christ AND reject the mark of the antichrist. It is marked by the greatest physical damage to humanity and the earth since creation. There could only be "comfort" if the dead in Christ and those believers that remain are collectively "caught up" prior to the Tribulation. Second, in detailing this event, Paul explains that "God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus" (1 Thes. 4:14); "bring" where? We understand "bringing" to be picking up and carrying to a place. The idea that God would "bring" the dead in Christ to a place is consistent with a rapture like experience. If, for example, the dead in Christ were merely brought to life just to live during the Millennial reign of Christ, there would be no "bringing"--there would be only a resurrection. Third, Paul doesn't state here that each believer dies and is singularly carried to heaven; rather it appears to be an event that affects ALL who have died in Christ along with ALL who are alive in Christ and remain. Finally and notably, Paul makes no mention at all of the Tribulation in connection with this event; rather, as noted above, Paul discusses the Day of the Lord (the culmination of the Tribulation) in the succeeding chapter--after the Rapture event. Thus, the entire context of the principal Rapture text of 1 Thessalonians 4 suggests a pre-Tribulation Rapture. 23. The Promise to the Church in Philadelphia. In Revelation chapters 2-3, letters are written to various churches. These churches could represent collections of saints in existence at the time of the writing of Revelation, collections of saints through church history, collections of saints existing in the last days, or all of the above. Assuming, as many students of Scripture do, that the churches represent groups of saints at periods of time in history, it might be that the saints in the church in Philadelphia are those present immediately prior to the time of the Tribulation. In this regard, it is interesting to note what is said to this church in Revelation 3: "Because you have kept My word of perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of the testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who live on the earth. I am coming quickly; hold firmly to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. The one who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name." (Revelation 3:10-12.) Thus, three very notable statements are made to this group of saints: (1) they will be kept from the "hour of testing" that is no doubt the Great Tribulation, considering the note that it impacts the entire world; (2) He is coming quickly--which is a specific and unique reminder to this group that Jesus is coming soon; and (3) Jesus will write on the members of this group, among other things, the name of "the new Jerusalem," which, as noted in item 18, above, is the likely location of the Bride of Christ. In further support of this concept, the statements made to the following church, the church in Laodicea, are suggestive of statements that might be made to the saints that exist during the time of the Tribulation: "The one who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat with My Father on His throne" (Revelation 3:21); this promise is consistent with the promise given to those who, in the Tribulation, reject the mark of the beast and do not worship him and are therefore martyred for their faith as described in Revelation 20:4 - "Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their foreheads and on their hands; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years." Thus, if the collection of saints existing prior to the Tribulation constitutes the church in Philadelphia, then they have a promise of being delivered by Jesus from the hour of testing. There are, therefore, strong suggestions that the church in Philadelphia--the collection of saints present prior to the Tribulation--are rescued from the Tribulation by Jesus--most likely in a Rapture event. I. The Presence of Other Groups of Saints Distinctly Identified as Being in Heaven and Having Come Out of the Tribulation Suggests a Different Treatment of the Church--Best Explained by a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. 24. The 5th Seal Martyrs. John records in Revelation 6 that when the 5th seal is broken he sees the souls of those who had been slain for the testimony which they had maintained (Revelation 6:9). These are those who "endured to the end" consistent with Jesus' stated requirements for salvation at this time (Matthew 24:13). And they are crying out for judgment against the people on the earth who killed them and who are obviously still alive; they are asking the Lord "how long" will He refrain from avenging their martyrdom (Revelation 6:10). And the slain are told that it will be a "little while longer"--until the number of their brothers who are to be killed is complete (Revelation 6:11). Amazingly, John does not see the other dead in Christ. He does not see all those who died prior to the Tribulation--either those who simply died as believers or those who were martyred prior to the Tribulation. Why? It doesn't make sense that John sees one group of the souls of the dead in Christ and not all the dead in Christ--unless the other dead in Christ have already been raised from the dead and gathered to Jesus at the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). It is possible that John doesn't see or hear from the Church, the Bride of Christ, until Revelation 19:1-10, Revelation 21:9 and Revelation 22:17, because they have been sequestered elsewhere in heaven (as indicated in item 9, above). It is also possible that John represents the Church--the believers in Jesus who were raptured and now observe the unfolding of God's plan having "come up here" to heaven prior to the Tribulation (Revelation 4:1-2). 25. The Multitude from the Tribulation. Similarly, in the very next chapter of Revelation, after the 6th Seal is broken, and after the 144,000 Jewish bond-servants are sealed, John records that he sees a vast, innumerable multitude "from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands," and they are leading worship near the throne of God and the Lamb (Revelation 7:9-12). In speaking with one of the elders near the throne of God and the Lamb, John learns that (a) these are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, (b) they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, (c) for this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and (d) He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them; (e) they will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes (Revelation 7:13-17). Once again, this group of saints that John sees does not include the dead in Christ who died before the Tribulation--again, presumably because those dead in Christ have already been raised and constitute a different group of saints in the heavenly realm (many of whom were rescued from the wrath to come--1 Thessalonians 1:10). Moreover, this group of saints who have come out of the Tribulation is unique in that they are required to wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb; believers constituting the Church do not need to wash our robes in the blood of the Lamb, because our faith in Jesus already gave us that cleansing (Ephesians 2:13, Hebrews 10:19, 1 Peter 1:2, 1 John 1:7, Revelation 1:5). Moreover, this group of Tribulation saints is unique in that they are given refreshment from hunger, thirst and the scorching of the sun and heat--because they experienced hunger, thirst and scorching as part of the wrath of God in the Tribulation (the seals of Revelation 6 & 8, the trumpets of Revelation 8, 9 & 11, and the bowls of wrath of Revelation 16)--unlike the believers constituting the church who have been promised and surely received protection from God's wrath as a consequence of the Rapture (see item 8, above). In short, this group of saints who died in the Tribulation does not include the Church--the Bride of Christ. Moreover, it could not be that the dead in Christ prior to the Tribulation are raised later (as if the gathering described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 were scheduled to happen later), because the dead in Christ in the Tribulation are already raised and in heaven--as John sees here--leading this moment of worship. In other words, it doesn't make sense that this group of saints, now leading worship in heaven, would have to return to the ground of the earth in order to be resurrected again as the dead in Christ who rise first in the 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 gathering. J. The Need for Special Gospel Proclaimers during the Great Tribulation Suggests that the Church Is Not Present to Spread the Gospel During the Tribulation. 26. The Presence/Need for 2 New, Special Groups of Gospel Proclaimers. There are 2 particularly unique groups of saints noted to be in the Tribulation, namely the 2 witnesses who prophesy and testify (Rev. 11:1-13) and the 144,000 sealed sons of Israel as the bond-servants of God (Rev. 7:1-8 and Rev. 14:1-5) (who are noted as protected from some of the judgments of God - Rev. 9:4); after the 144,000 are sealed, many people are seen in heaven as having come out of the Great Tribulation (Rev. 7:9-17)--suggesting that the sealed bond-servants were instrumental in evangelizing. The presence of these 2 special groups of saints who appear to have involvement in the spread of the gospel during the Tribulation prompts 2 related questions: "Why are these groups needed to proclaim the gospel during the period of the Great Tribulation, and where is the Church involved in helping them?" The absence of the church's involvement and the need for the presence of these new groups to spread the gospel is highly indicative of the fact that the Church as the Bride of Christ is gone. The Church had a different gospel, so new groups are needed to spread the new Gospel of the Tribulation. 27. The Presence/Need for Special Angel Gospel Proclaimers. In Revelation 14:6-7, prior to the pouring out of the bowls of the wrath of God (Rev. 16), an angel flies "in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people, and he said with a loud voice, 'Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.'" This angel is followed by a second angel who announces the fall of Babylon (which presumably is the kingdom of the antichrist beast) (Revelation 14:8). The second angel is followed by yet a third angel, who announces the declaration of eternal judgment on those who receive the mark of the antichrist beast and worship his image, declaring: “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” (Revelation 14:9-11.) Again, we know that the church is charged with spreading the gospel to every nation (Matthew 28:19-20). Yet, we see in this instance that the gospel is spread not by the church, but by angels. The absence of the Church here, bearing responsibility for spreading the gospel, and the need for the work to be accomplished by angels strongly suggests that the Church is gone by this time in the Great Tribulation. Thus, there is substantial Scriptural support for the idea that the Church as the Bride of Christ will be raptured prior to the wrath of the Tribulation period. #rapture #pretribulation #jesus #revelation #apocalypse #john #seal #tribulation #harpazo #rapio #vulgate #greattribulation #prophecy
- 37 Facts about the Coming Antichrist
Jesus and the author of the book of 1 John warn us that an antichrist is coming. Read the details below in order to recognize the antichrist. In Matthew 24 we see Jesus' warnings that false messiahs are coming (see also Mark 13:22). In 1 John 2:18, we see an additional warning that a particular antichrist is coming. Here are 37 facts regarding the antichrist as provided by Scripture; knowing these facts will help the world to recognize the antichrist when he appears; recognizing him is important, because (a) he comes to power at the start of a final, critical 7-year period that was prophesied regarding the descendants of Jacob, and many believe that the Rapture will occur before he comes to power (see our post regarding Scriptural Support for a Pre-Tribulation Rapture for more information), and (b) to avoid eternal condemnation during the period of the Great Tribulation, people will have to refuse to worship the antichrist, and they will have to reject the mark that will be mandated by the antichrist in order to buy or sell anything (see our Letter to the Saints of the time of the Great Tribulation post to learn more): He is also called “the beast” - Rev. 17:11 He will be a national and/or international leader—like a president or king - Rev. 17:11 He will rule with 7 other leaders (as an 8th king) - Rev. 17:11 He along with the 7 other leaders, will lead a 10 nation union - Rev. 17:12 Curiously, he “was” (presumably, before around 90 AD, when the Book of Revelation was written), “is not” (at around 90 AD), and will come again - Rev. 17:8 (a parallel to Jesus). This curious description causes us to wonder whether he is a resurrected Antiochus IV Epiphanes--the Seleucid emperor, ruling over the areas now known as Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Turkey, who referred to himself as "God Manifest," outlawed the reading of the Torah and sacrificed a pig to desecrate the altar in the temple in Israel? (See https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Antiochus_IV_Epiphanes.) Or is he a resurrected Nimrod--the "mighty hunter," and founder of the first cities of the area now known as Iraq, who tradition suggests built the Tower of Babel to escape another flood from God? (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nimrod.) Or is he a resurrected Nero Ceaser--who ordered the destruction of the temple in Israel and tortured Christians? (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nero). Or perhaps the curious reference refers to modern times—to a leader who was in power, lost the power and then regained it. (Revelation 17:11 clarifies that this beast who "was, and is not" is the 8th king). He is called “the little horn” - Dan. 7:8 (just like “the little horn” in Dan. 8:9 is considered to refer to Antiochus IV Epiphanes). He will come from “the abyss”—a place that even demons fear - Rev. 17:8, Rev. 11:7, Luke 8:31 [This is indeed a curious statement; the abyss is also referred to in Scripture as the bottomless pit, so it appears that he comes back from the dead such that either (a) he dies and is somehow resurrected, (b) perhaps the antichrist is a person who becomes inhabited by an evil spirit who had previously been locked away in the bottomless pit, or (c) perhaps, more radically and less likely, the DNA of a person at that time dead is infused into another to recreate or bring back from the dead an evil person from the past.] He will strike down God’s 2 witnesses - Rev. 11:7 He will be given authority to act for 3.5 years - Rev. 13:5 He will speaks arrogantly - Dan. 7:8 He will blaspheme God and those who dwell in heaven - Rev. 13:6, Dan. 7:25 He will be given authority over everyone on earth - Rev. 13:7 He will intend to change religious festivals and laws - Dan. 7:25 He will conquer saints - Rev. 13:7, Dan. 7:25 Everyone except the saints will worship him - Rev. 13:8 He or his false prophet delegate will require that everyone receive a special mark (which Scripture calls the "mark of the beast") on their right hand or forehead in order to buy or sell, and the mark is the name of the beast or his number, which is 666 - Rev. 13:16-18 He is also referred to as “man of lawlessness “ and “son of destruction” - 2 Thes. 2:3 His coming is in accord with the activities of Satan--with deception and wickedness - 2 Thes. 2:9-10 He will sit in the temple and proclaim himself to be God, defiling the temple - 2 Thes. 2:4, Matt. 24:15-16 He will enter into a 7-year covenant and break it after 3.5 years - Dan. 9:27 He will be thrown alive into the Lake of Fire at the arrival of Jesus - Rev. 19:20 He will deny the deity of Jesus – 1 John 2:22-23 He will exalt himself above and boast against all gods, including the God of gods - Dan. 11:36 He will do as he pleases - Dan. 11:36 He will be successful in what he does until the end of his time - Dan. 11:36 He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or any other god - Dan. 11:37 He will show no regard for the desire of women [some translations: the god desired by women] [many scholars believe that the correct interpretation is that he has no sexual interest in women and others that he has no particular regard for women] - Dan. 11:37 He will honor a god of fortresses [possibly a new god that he creates, his own military power, a new incredibly powerful weapon, some war god from the past—such as jupiter or mars, or Satan] with gold, silver, precious stones and treasures - Dan. 11:38 He will take action against the strongest of fortresses with the help of a foreign god - Dan. 11:39 He will give great honor to those who acknowledge him and will make them rulers over the many - Dan. 11:39 He will parcel out land for a price (perhaps rewards for honoring him or advancing his interests) - Dan. 11:39 His kingdom will be attacked by powers from the north and the south, and in responding to their advances, his kingdom will pass through and sack many nations - Dan. 11:40 His kingdom will also enter into Israel, but the area constituting what we know today as Jordan will be rescued from attacks by his kingdom - Dan. 11:41 His kingdom will also attack and conquer many other nations, particularly including Egypt, and he will acquire control over the gold and silver of that nation - Dan. 11:42-43 Other nations in Africa, particularly including Libya and Ethiopia, will endeavor to fight against his kingdom - Dan. 11:43 Threats by nations from the East and the North will prompt him to launch massive attacks that will result in the death of many people - Dan. 11:44 He will establish his kingdom in Israel near Jerusalem, and there he will be destroyed - Dan 11:45 As noted above, it is of eternal importance that people living in the time of the antichrist reject his "mark of the beast" that is required in order to buy or sell (Rev. 13:16-18), because as John writes in Revelation, “[t]hen another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb’” (Revelation 14:9-10). People living in the time of the antichrist must be able to survive in hiding or reject the mark under the penalty of death, and this will require endurance. Indeed, Jesus said, “[b]ut the one who endures to the end is the one who will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:13-14). So beware and be watchful of the antichrist and his mark. #antichrist #tribulation #markofthebeast #revelation #apocalypse #sixsixsix #israel #jordan #egypt #jerusalem #antiochus #epiphanes #endure #reject #libya #ethiopia #manoflawlessness #sonofdestruction #littlehorn
- The Future Millennial Reign of the Messiah
We have compiled a number of considerations and passages of Scripture regarding the future millennial reign of the Messiah. Read on to see how the Messiah will bring peace and restoration to a world that has been devastated by the Great Tribulation. Many passages from Scripture address the future millennial reign of the Messiah. The listing below is not comprehensive, but it allows you to see the pervasiveness of the discussion in Scripture regarding this special time. Christians, of course, recognize the Messiah as Jesus Christ. Many of the Scriptures refer to the One performing the works variously and fairly interchangeably as the Messiah, the Servant, the Son of David and God. The Scripture references and considerations have been placed into categories for convenient reference. The Reign The Messiah will stand on the Mount of Olives, and it shall split in two at His arrival. Zech. 14:4 The Messiah, sometimes referred to as Yahweh, will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem. Isaiah 24:23, Psalm 2:6-9, Psalm 9:11, Psalm 14:7 (and matching verse Psalm 53:6), Psalm 50:2, Psalm 87:1-3, Psalm 99:2, Psalm 102:13&16, Psalm 110:2, Psalm 132:13-14, Psalm 134:3, Psalm 135:21, Zech. 8:1-3, Isaiah 2:2-4, Isaiah 12:6, Isaiah 18:7, Isaiah 33:5&20-22, Isaiah 40:9-10, Isaiah 52:7-10, Isaiah 59:20, Isaiah 62:11, Joel 3:16-17&21, Obadiah 21, Micah 4:1 The Messiah is from the line of David. Isaiah 9:7, Zechariah 6:12-13, Jeremiah 23:5-6, Ezek. 34:23-24 The Messiah, before He reigns, is marred to the point of not looking human. Isaiah 52:13-15 (see also verses 7-10 for context that it’s the Messiah; see also Isaiah 53). Israel will look upon the Messiah—recognizing that they are the ones who pierced Him, and they will mourn for Him. Zech. 12:1-14 This Millennial realm of the Messiah may be what is described in Scripture as the Kingdom of God. Matt. 26:29, Mark 14:25 Everyone will know the Messiah. Heb. 8:11 The Messiah will rule over all nations. Psalm 2:8, Psalm 9:8, Isaiah 9:6-7, Daniel 7:14 & 27, Zech. 14:9, Isaiah 2:4 His reign shall continue on Earth for 1,000 years (Rev. 20:4) (hence, "millennial"). After this period, Satan will be released and will deceive the nations, enticing them to attack Christ (Rev. 20:7-9); all participants in this rebellion along with Satan will be defeated and cast into the Lake of Fire. Rev. 20:9-10. Thereafter, the Kingdom of Jesus will be moved to a new heaven and a new earth. Rev. 21-22. The Messiah (also called the Branch of David) will build the Temple, and he will rule from a throne as a king and also be a priest and counselor. Zechariah 6:12-13; Jeremiah 23:5-6, Acts 2:29-36, Isaiah 33:6, Micah 4:3 The Messiah will repair the Tabernacle of David. Amos 9:11 The Messiah will establish His sanctuary among His people from this point and continuing forever. Ezek. 37:26-28, Psalm 9:7 Martyrs and saints will reign with the Messiah during this time. Rev. 20:4-6, Daniel 7:27, Rev. 5:10. Jesus’ disciples will also reign with Him—judging Israel. Matt. 19:28 The Kingdom of Messiah will be everlasting. Daniel 2:44, Daniel 4:3, 34; Daniel 6:26, Daniel 7:14, 27; Micah 4:7, Luke 1:33 The Earth The earth will be refreshed when the Messiah arrives. Isaiah 35:1-2, 6-7, Amos 9:13, Zech. 8:12 Healing People will be healed when the Messiah arrives. Isaiah 35:3-6 Living water will flow out of Jerusalem. Zech. 14:8, Joel 3:18 There will be no death. Zech. 8:4 Peace There will be peace. Zech. 8:12&16, Zech. 9:10, Isaiah 2:4 Even the animals will live in peace. Ezek. 34:25, Isaiah 65:25 (although this verse could be applicable only to the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and new earth) Justice and Honor The Messiah will require that people live honorably, justly, truthfully and peacefully. Zech. 8:16-17, Psalm 99:4 People will not fear crime, danger or injury. Zech. 8:5 Particularly in Israel. Isaiah 60:18 The Highway of Holiness There is a special highway from Egypt to “Assyria” that presumably passes through Jerusalem. Isaiah 11:16, Isaiah 19:23, Isaiah 35:8-10, Isaiah 49:11, Isaiah 62:10 It is called the Highway of Holiness. Isaiah 35:8 People and Worship People will be joyful. Isaiah 35:10 All nations will worship the Messiah. Psalm 99:9, Psalm 100, Psalm 102:15&21-22, Isaiah 24:14-15, Isaiah 30:29, Isaiah 60:1-3 The nations are particularly invited to worship at Sukkot--also known as the Feast of Tabernacles or the Festival of Booths (which is curious, because it commemorates God's protection of the Jews as they wandered in the wilderness; however, it also celebrates the harvest). Zech. 14:16-19 The kings of the earth will be silent on account of Him. Isaiah 52:15 Probably because they will eventually join Satan to attack the Messiah, the praise of many will be pretentious—because of the apparent power of the Messiah. Psalm 66:3 Many things will be dedicated to the Messiah. Zech. 14:20 There will be sacrifices in Jerusalem. Zech. 14:21 There will be many celebrations. Zech. 8:19 Nations will seek the favor of the Messiah. Zech. 8:20-22, Isaiah 2:2-3 Many people will seek His instruction. Micah 4:2 Special Blessings for Israel The land of Israel will be restored from its desolation. Ezek. 36:33-36 Jerusalem and Israel will be made a notable item of God’s delight. Isaiah 62:1-7&12 The Messiah will particularly rule over His people, the Jews. Ezek. 37:24 The Messiah’s reign over His people, the Jews, from this point will continue forever. Ezek. 37:25 Israel will be particularly blessed. Amos 9:14, Micah 4:7, Zech. 8:12-15, Psalm 14:7 (and matching verse Psalm 53:6), Psalm 69:35-36, Psalm 132:15-17, Eze. 34:14-15&26-30, Ezek. 36:8-12, Ezek. 39:25, Joel 3:1, Zeph. 3:14-20, Isaiah 60:5-7&10-17 Peace in Israel will be permanent. Amos 9:15 The Messiah will gather Jews to Israel. Zech 8:7-8, Ezek. 34:11-13, Ezek. 36:24, Ezek. 37:21-22, Ezek. 39:27-28, Psalm 50:5, Micah 4:6, Zeph. 3:19-20, Isaiah 14:12, Isaiah 60:4 Jews will be honored. Zech 8:23, Psalm 126:2-3, Micah 4:7 The Messiah will provide a unique cleansing and salvation of Jews. Ezek. 36:26-29, Ezek. 37:23-28, Ezek. 39:29, Psalm 133:3, Isaiah 40:11 Satan Satan is bound in the bottomless pit during the 1,000-year period. Rev. 20:1-7 #millennium #messiah #millennial #reign #christ #jerusalem #israel #jesus #peace
- Signs of the Last Days
Throughout Scripture we see many prophecies regarding the Last Days. Below we have compiled a list of many of the prophesied events. You can use the list to compare to events of the day and recognize signs of the the Last Days. Scripture affirms that there are definitive signs marking the arrival of the end times. The end times or "last days" culminate in the Day of the Lord, a very special moment in time that will undoubtedly be the greatest physical/spiritual event on Earth after the creation. The Day of the Lord is, in essence, the explosive, universal heralding of the arrival of Jesus Christ to Earth as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This time Jesus comes to Earth not as a baby, quietly crying in the humility of a stable, having assumed the form of man as a means to offer him salvation, but as the unquestionable, holy and righteous power of the universe--exacting substantial judgment upon mankind at His arrival. We can actually look for the signs of the last days, having the confidence that, when we see them, we know the arrival of the King of Kings is near. Many of the signs are noted in the attachment below (provided in both .pdf and Excel formats): #endtimes #apocalypse #rapture #greattribulation #tribulation #messiah #signs
- Prophecy Timeline Video
This video summarizes some of the key elements of Bible prophecy as it relates to the Rapture, the Second Coming and the Great Tribulation.
- The Millennial Day Theory
This Video examines the Millennial Day Theory in relation to Bible Prophecy regarding the Rapture and our time.
- Imagining the Impact of the Rapture
This video considers what the headlines might look like when the Rapture occurs.
- Presentation 1 - Why Daniel 9:24-27 Is a Great Starting Point for the Study of Bible Prophecy
Of all the many places to start a Bible Prophecy study, it might be useful to start with Daniel 9:24-27. This presentation explains why, and it is followed by a presentation that discusses the Daniel 9:24-27 prophecy itself.