I would like to say that my study in this area is ongoing, and certainly not exhaustive in it’s conclusion. There are many areas that I am certain God has not revealed to me yet and therefore, I ask that no one takes my words of this, or any other post as dogmatic doctrine. God Bless: So much Bible, so little time.
Many have arrived in their studies, or belief on the rapture as
being a pre -trib rescue from the “Great Tribulation” which Jesus has called a time of trouble like has never been on earth since it’s beginning. In my personal studies of the Bible, I do not arrive at the same fly away before trouble comes rescue plan at all. In fact it almost seems as if Jesus warns us in chapter 24 of Matthew against any such thoughts by telling us that many will come in his name, and some even claiming to be Him. He then goes on to tell the disciples, (as if to say that some of us as Christians will still be here ) to not follow the teachings of those who claim such things, and to not bother going to see if they tell you “Christ” is in the desert or anywhere else. Why ? Because Jesus’ return will not be that way at all. (Matthew 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:) (Matthew 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory).
Based on the fact that the Anti-Christ will deceive many in those days, and the signs and wonders that must first be seen before Christ’ return, It would seem that looking for Jesus to rescue us from the great tribulation period could actually be a very dangerous way of thinking.
Although, in a paraphrase, if I may, we are not really to be occupied in trying to figure out when He is coming back, as Jesus has said He himself did not know the hour or the day, but only God the Father knew. Instead of being occupied with when He is to return we are told to occupy and continue to work in the kingdom until His return.
Still we are admonished to continue to study the Bible, therefore I have found that a careful study, or even a casual reading of Matthew 24 where Jesus speaks to the disciples during His earthly ministry reveals much to us about this coming day known as “The Lords” day. I would like to post some of Jesus’ words from Matthew 24 as we get further along in this study, and or discussion, but first I’d like for us to go into 1st Thessalonians, from where I believe most of the Pre-trib rapture believers have made the hypothesis of the “Pre-Trib” rapture into a theory.
How this came about is quite understandable however, as I also think that the Thessalonians were under the same impression possibly from misreading the first letter to them from Paul. I also believe that is one of the reasons why Paul wrote them the second letter that we know as 2nd Thessalonians.
Lets have a look: 1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
For the most part this is the main place, Biblicaly speaking, the pre- trib theory came to be a hypothesis at all. Even so, as I have said I think the Thessalonians even believed it that way at least until Paul’s second letter got to them:
2 Thessalonians 2:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
As you see Paul mentions “A letter” from him. I believe he had gotten word that they were teaching and preaching on this pre trib theory and he felt a need to send the second letter partly for that reason. Also we know that Jesus said in Matthew 24:37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. As we recall the flood story it was the “wicked” who were carried away by the “Great Flood” waters, not the Children of God, also many other places and parables seem to be clear on the fact that the angels of God will come and pluck out the “Tares” from among the “Wheat” and not until the “END” of the Harvest will it be done.
Some will say, but, what about Enoch , for as we read in : Genesis 5:24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
This is a good point as we do see the Old Testament stories mirroring the New Testament prophesies and fulfillment’s. However, and it could very well be some of the Church will be taken away for walking and living such Holy Lives. I do not see the Bible or Jesus telling us this is what we are to be expecting, however, nor do I know very many people who are walking in such perfect adherence to Gods word that God would just come and take them away. I do know a few pastors etc, that have been called home who were walking seemingly that close, yet , as a group, or a church I know of none.
None the less, I do not believe it is any coincidence that Matthew 24, and 2nd Thessalonians both mention that the “Man of Perdition” (Daniel 11-12) (Revelation 13)..”Must be revealed before Jesus’ return.” Seemingly both Jesus, and Paul, were telling the disciples that some of the church, whomever is alive at that time, would be there to see the abomination of desolation.
(2nd Thessalonians 2: 3) Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition:
Unless we have a Preterist view of the end times, and I do not, we know this man of perdition to be revealed is the Anti-Christ, or in the Greek, the “Instead”of Christ, who is to be revealed after three and a half years of ruling the world from a “Peace” platform of political, economical, and religious hierarchy as it was prophesied by Daniel from a dream given to him from God by way of the Angel Gabriel.
Jesus, as we will see later in this study also said that the man of perdition would have to be revealed before He himself comes back. Therefore, unless the “Preterist interpretation” of the 70 weeks being complete upon the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. is true, ( though I believe only 69, prophetic weeks, or 489 years were fulfilled at that time, ergo, the last (prophetic) year, which equates to “7 years” in prophetic calculations is the “7 year” reign of the anti – Christ yet to come.) “Another topic for another time“
Now, lets look at : Acts 14:22Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Now this of course was not referring to the Great Tribulation period, But, if the Disciples of Jesus’ earthly ministry were not saved from great tribulations..or even death for most of them, how can we expect to be scooped out of harms way? to fly away from danger:
Jesus put it all this way, and I will close after posting only some of Matthew 24 , and asking you who have further revelation, or disagreement, please, regardless of your own belief on this matter feel welcome and free to post your reasonings:
Matthew 24:1And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 24:2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. ( Jesus was speaking of the destruction that was to come in 70A.D. by the Romans.) (24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand) 24: 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 24;22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. 24:23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24: 25 Behold, I have told you before. 24:26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. ( This next one is a big clue)
24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 24: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, andtheyshall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 24:37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Now, before I close this post I would like to ask you all to think of the Old Testament as the reflection of the New Testament, as many of you already know that it really is just that, a reflection, or a physical preface to the Spiritual things to come. Now with this fact in mind, lets look from the mirrored perspective of the Israelites in Egypt.
Throughout the Bible Egypt is typified as “Bondage” or , as a type of our “Worldly” habitation before we are born into the family of God. Israel is the modern day church, personified. ( This is not to say that physical Israel doesn’t still play a large role in Gods plan of the end time, in my opinion she does.)
( I do not believe in replacement theology)
Now in light of this, if we compare the Israelites deliverance from Egypt to our own deliverance as the church of Christ, we will see some striking similarities: In the book of Revelation “Jesus” is referred to as the “Lamb of God 29 times.
The Passover Lamb was the Lamb that the Israelites had to sacrifice, (Exodus 12) and then smear its blood of over their doors to be covered from the “Wrath” of God, that was to come unto Egypt by way of the 10 plagues. (Keeping in mind that this was taking place just before Moses lead them out of Egypt)
In Exodus7:19 we find that one of the plagues was “Rivers turned to Blood”
In Revelation 16:4 we find that the waters of the earth will also be turned to blood just before the coming of the Lord.
In Exodus 9:23 we read of the hail storms of the ten plagues in Egypt.
In Revelation 16:21 we read of the hail storm in Megeddo (End Times).
Exodus 10:12, Locust
Revelation 9:3-4 Locust as well for the coming tribulation period. (And they were told to not harm those on earth with the Seal of God in their foreheads)
The comparisons go on and on from here, but I will leave those for your personal studies. I believe ( SOME OF ) the Church will be in the earth until the last Trump has sounded, the 7th Trump. 1 Corinthians 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
What do all these comparisons of the Israelites Exodus from Egypt have to do with the “Exodus” of the church?
Well, it pretty much explains itself, however, you have to admit, the Israelites were still in Egypt during the time of the “Great” Tribulation brought upon Egypt by God through Moses to convince Pharaoh to let “My People Go”
Yet, they were covered in the Blood of the Lamb.
Not until the Egyptians pursued the Israelites (Compare to Satan’s last ditch effort of deception) did God part the Red Sea for the Israelites to pass through. Not till then did God’s wrath come crashing down onto the Egyptian Army. And not till then will we ‘”All see the Coming of Jesus” The sky will be parted, as the sea was parted.
Yes, I believe not in a Pre-Trib rapture, (at least not for all believers) but certainly I believe in the “Pre-Wrath” rapture for His children.
Once again, my study in this area is ongoing, and certainly not exhaustive in it’s conclusion…as there is the matter of comparing the Jewish Harvest of the Old Testament to the, at least 3 possible rapture scenarios of the New Testament.
1. The Barley Harvest…possibly the “Time of the Gentiles” or the church
2. The Wheat Harvest…Israel is usually refereed to as the Wheat. ( Possibly the 144,ooo, or Jewish Remnant)
3. The Grape Harvest, wherein some are refined,..and some are “Grapes of Wrath” which of course, Revelation even tells us of their destiny…spiritually speaking.
Ultimately, we can also not leave out the letters to the 7 churches where Jesus specifically tells some churches they will have to go through the great tribulation, and some He admonishes…repent…and He will keep them from i. And, also this nugget of Golden Revelation.
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, these are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Who knows? Maybe the “Holiness”, sinless perfection teachers are onto to something after all.
But, I don’t count anyone out, whom…Seek the face of the Lord daily ..enduring till the end.