The first resurrection of believers of all ages is really broken down into the three categories as indicated by Israel's harvest of grain.
That is, first there were the 'first fruits,' which was of course epitomized by Christ, and those that came out of the graves in Matthew We have the Main harvest that came from the Church Age and the great resurrection day at the Rapture, or the trumpet sound when Christ shall leave Heaven and meet us in the air. The Old Testament believers as well as the Tribulation Believers who will have been martyred and died, seemingly are represented by the gleanings and the corners that were left in the Jewish harvest, and they will be resurrected shortly after the kingdom has begun.
Then, I hardly had time to explain at the end of the lesson, but you see this is why we have that picture in the parables, and in the Old Testament, that the Jewish believers will be the guests at the wedding feast. We won't take time to look at that, but if you want to, you can pick that up in Psalms Chapter 45, I think. It's also alluded to in the Song of Solomon.
Now on our Time Line we're coming to that next event. The Church Age will have ended with the Rapture, and then we know that the Tribulation will be ushered in next. It will be that seven years not associated with the Church - because the Church Age has ended - it's gone. Instead, we'll be coming back to God's dealing with the Jew once again. I'll never forget a little lady in one of my classes, all of a sudden she just happened to see it.
Then she exclaimed, "In other words God's going to pick up with the Jews where he left off. Now, he has taken this Old Testament program, as we saw back in Psalms Chapter 2. God's time table stopped when He turned to the Gentiles with the Gospel of Grace. When that period has ended you will find Grace and Law cannot mix. Israel is going to have the Temple, she's going to go back under the Law. If ever I have any argument that we will not go into the Tribulation, it's that one purpose right there.
You can not mix Law and Grace. Therefore, Grace cannot go into the Jewish economy, as it will pick up again in that seven-year Tribulation period. It has to be removed, so they cannot be mixed. Paul, here in 2 Thessalonians, is coming as close to prophecy, if you want to call it that, as he does in any portion of his writings. He is introducing us to this seven-year period of time which Jesus in Matthew 24 calls the time of Tribulation. Now in 2 Thessalonians Chapter 2 verse 1 Paul writes to the Thessalonians believers who, believe it or not, had gotten to the place with all the persecution that they were under, and all the pressure, they were afraid that the Rapture had taken place, and they had missed it.
So, Paul had to quickly come back with 2 Thessalonians and reassure them that they hadn't missed the Rapture, that, yes, things were going to get tough, but it wasn't their situation. Do you see how that little bunch of words sets that completely apart from the second Coming.
See, at the second Coming Christ won't be gathering people unto Himself. He's coming! But here Paul is referring to an act of Christ where He's going to gather His own unto himself, and that's the Rapture. Verse 2: "That you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled. And he's going to give them points to look for so that they'll know that they haven't missed it. The Day of Christ is referring to that out-calling of the Church, the Rapture. That's all referred to as the Day of The Lord, etc. But, the day of Christ is that time when Christ will call the Body of Christ unto himself.
Let's look at what he says. Now, I'm afraid too many Christians, churchgoers and members, do not know what apostasy is. I can remember when I was young, I thought it had something to do with the Apostles, but I wouldn't doubt that a lot of other people think the same thing, because it is so close in pronunciation. But apostasy is that turning away from the revealed truth of the Word of God. Isn't that exactly where we are today? The churches, for the most part, have apostatized. They have turned their backs on the basic truths of Scripture.
And this is why all the false teachings are having such a free run in so many of our main-line denominations. And this is why so many theologians and pastors and preachers are denying the Virgin birth. They are denying the literal, physical, visible Resurrection of Christ as just so much methodology. They have turned their backs on the revealed truth of the Word of God. We're in it, so now then, what does that tell you and me? We could be expecting the Day of Christ at any time because the apostasy has now come about. Let's look further. There's also a second definition of apostasy.
We see it here and other places in our New Testament. It is actually translated, "departure," as a person departing from one place to another. So, you might say that within verse three, you not only have the apostecia of Christendom turning it's back upon the truth of the Word of God, but also the departure of the Christian himself; we're going to be taken out. And then, as soon as the apostasy has come on the scene, there shall be the revealing of whom?
That 'man of sin,' who will be revealed, the son of perdition. Who is that? The Anti-christ. We try to get folks to understand what the Bible really says. A lot of the time we have an idea that it says something that it doesn't say. Which is just as important as missing what it does say. In our last lesson we were talking about the , that will be administering the Gospel of the Kingdom during the Tribulation. Let's back up to the opening of the Tribulation in Revelation Here is yet another introduction of the man Anti-christ.
We talk a lot about the Anti-christ as he is the central figure in these seven years.
There Is No Seven Year Tribulation!
He is the very emissary of Satan, and will try at the end of the seven years to make war against the coming Christ. So we should have a complete understanding of who and what He is, and what we are seeing tonight that indicates that the time is not too far off for his appearance. So now let's read what John sees here:. Be careful. I'm sure you've all seen posters and books with all of these different looking animals that people have portrayed as the Anti-christ.
But we are not talking about a beast per se; we are talking about a government. Remember, Daniel, Ezekiel, and John here in Revelation write in symbolic language. You have to search the Scriptures to reduce these symbolisms to a literal thing. It's going to be a government headed up by the one man, Anti-christ. The beast here in Chapter 13 is first and foremost the revival of the old ancient Roman Empire. And the reason it is referred to as a beast here, as well as in Daniel, is that the government will be so bestial in its operation, there will be no concerns about individual or human rights.
And then the seven heads and ten horns and ten crowns - this again is a twofold picture I think, as Satan is often referred to as the seven heads and so forth, referring I think to his power and his authority. But usually we think of the seven heads and ten horns as the revived Roman Empire. It will be a consortium of ten nations coming out of the Old Roman Empire territory. And I think we are seeing it coming on the scene even tonight as the Common Market, or European Community. At the present time, I think there are twelve nations that make up the EC it may go a little higher , but when the peace treaty is signed between the Anti-christ and the Nation of Israel there will be only And we will be showing that as we come through our study of Revelation.
Back in verse 1 of Chapter 13, John " stood upon the sand of the sea. The world is getting "global. So out of this mass of humanity will come this empire that has been dead since about AD and will be headed up by this man of sin, the Anti-christ. Now verse Go back again to Daniel 7. When we studied Daniel several lessons ago I stressed then that when we studied Daniel we would have to study Revelation and Matthew 24 and They just all fit together so nicely. You can't study one without the other two.
Now that mandates a lot of repetition. But as I have learned over the years, repetition is one of the best tools of learning. Here, Daniel is describing a vision that he has had. Which, of course, is looking forward down through history, and he uses practically the same language.
And out of that sea of humanity the following happened:. And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear that was the Medes and Persians empire After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard that was the Greek empire under Alexander the Great After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast or empire , dreadful and terrible this was the Roman empire The Roman empire was noble in some aspects, but it was bestial in many others. It had no concern for the lower classes of people.
They threw people to the lions and thought nothing of it. They also became grossly immoral, wicked and evil. And, consequently, the empire finally fell in on itself. If you compare this passage with Revelation 13, you will see that John doesn't list the Roman empire. He begins with the Greek, the leopard, because he is speaking at a time when the Roman empire is still on the scene. So he doesn't have to list that one. But out of this Roman Empire you are going to see the residue of the previous three great world empires.
But here John lists the empires in reverse order. These four empires are the ones the Bible concerns itself with as the times of the Gentiles. We read about the Roman empire that faded off the scene, but now is coming back on the scene in verse Now back to Revelation Let's take this slowly so that we don't lose the overall picture.
About "The Ten Minute Tribulation" - Acknowledging "The Seven Year Tribulation"
Daniel sees all the residue of those empires coming back together in the revival of that fourth Roman empire that was dreadful and terrible:. Let's bring it right up to the present time. Western Europe is coming together more and more as the United States of Europe. Tonight, I think they are at the number twelve, and like I said, they may go to thirteen or more. But whatever transpires, we know they will drop back to ten. This is a revival of that empire that existed what - almost years ago? It was dead, and yet here it is coming back full force.
And the world is amazed. How can this be. Just fifty years ago most of the great cities of Europe were in heaps of rubble, ravished by war. Their industries had been destroyed. Yet where are they tonight. They are almost looking down on us. I've said for years, that it almost seems that there was a conspiracy to destroy our United States of America. I still think there is. Right after World War II, when we had utterly demolished our enemies, the Marshall Plan came on the scene and we just literally rebuilt Europe with American dollars.
Since then we have seen our industries leaving. We have all the oil resources we will ever need, but where do we get our oil? Foreign suppliers. Our steel business is almost gone. So you can see it seems there is a conspiracy to just bleed our beloved America dry. And all of it to enhance this revival of the ancient Roman Empire, or what we call the 10 nations of the European Community.
But nevertheless, this is all in the end-time picture, and in this EC there will come this leader, this man, this human, who is the other aspect of the beast. So you almost use the term synonymously. Now here comes the prophecy , and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; That means that the prince that shall come, the Anti-christ, would come out of the empire that destroyed the Temple and city of Jerusalem in 70 AD and we know that was Rome. And that is why the Bible has been looking forward to the end-time when the Revived Roman Empire would once again come to power, and we see that even tonight with the E.
They already have currency printed for the E. Isn't it amazing how an ungodly world, and Europe certainly is is falling right into the very format of the Book of Revelation. I just read a couple of interesting things about the European situation. A gentlemen sent me an article from the news magazine call "Europe" which is strictly a magazine to report the events in Europe, and out of that I picked up something that I had totally missed, and if I missed it I feel a lot of other people also missed it. So when I taught end time events of prophecy in this Through the Bible study a few years back I naturally referred to the "Ten" then as what I thought was the revived Roman Empire.
It fits so beautifully with Daniel and Revelation that I was very comfortable with that, and then all of a sudden the "Ten" expanded to eleven and twelve, thirteen, and fourteen. Well now I learn from this magazine "Europe" that there are two separate organizations in western Europe.
One of them is the original "Ten. So they have already set a time table to have a real Czar, a real chairman of the board who by sometime in the year will be in total control of their military, their security, and they hope to have as strong a military force as we now have with the United States involved as well. That will be Western Europe, China, and Africa. I feel that Russia and the United States will somehow meet their demise and will no longer be a factor in the events of the Tribulation period. How long? So how far does this verse bring us?
To the mid-point of the Tribulation. I'm going to stop there in this portion concerning the Anti-christ. Now let's drop down to verse A couple of lessons ago I mentioned the fact that during the Tribulation there would be an unholy trinity. A counterfeit trinity, with Satan as the counterfeit of God the Father, with the Anti-christ as the counterfeit God the Son, and with the False Prophet, the religious leader as we will see here in verse 11, the counterfeit of the Holy Spirit.
Not so much in his make-up, but in his operations. Not a government but a religious system coming up out of the earth; Stop a minute. The Anti-christ is described as coming up out of the sea, and since the Book of Revelation is dealing almost exclusively, or primarily with the Nation of Israel, it's God dealing with His Covenant people once again, in preparation for His return. Naturally all the Gentile nations are going to be affected by it, but it's Israel's seven-year treaty that concerns itself with the time factor and everything that is taking place here.
Israel will be so quick to accept the Anti-christ and his treaty, his offers of protection, and the Temple worship. I don't say it to look down on the Jew in the least bit, but I feel that this man, Anti-christ, will be a Jew. An Apostate Jew to be sure. Otherwise I can't see Israel so readily accepting his offers that he will make to them. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; Or "I am the Messiah. Are we already seeing that? Sure we are. But to no extent that it will after that seven years has begun.
And remember that just as soon as the Anti-christ signs that seven-year treaty with the nation of Israel, this seven-year Tribulation period is going to tick off, month by month, and day by day. And it will end exactly at the end of the seven years. Now someone asked the question at break, "Well, what will the Anti-christ offer the nation of Israel, that they will sign the seven-year treaty?
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They want peace with their neighbors. They want to be accepted into the family of nations of the world. And they have to maintain their defense structure. They have to keep their people taxed to death just to keep their enemies at bay. So if this man comes in, and I think he'll come out of the European Community with the power of N. And I think he'll come in and offer the nation of Israel absolute protection and a sovereignty that no one can approach.
He'll say, "I guarantee your borders. You can dismantle you armed forces. I'll protect you. And on top of that, he's going to give them permission to have their Temple worship. And he's going to guarantee them freedom in that. And so they're going to have no qualms about signing this seven-year treaty. Because like I said a few lessons ago, they'll almost think he's the Christ, if they don't indeed. But as we see Jesus unfold the events of the Tribulation, remember this: even though we are seeing the beginnings of it; we are seeing the great increase in earthquakes; we're already seeing the potential of famine; and we are seeing famine in some places.
Yet it's nothing compared to what it will be when these seven years begin to unfold. They wanted to know when His Kingdom would be set up , and of the end of the world? Jesus now begins to lay out the events of the seven years. It begins from the appearance of the white horse in Revelation 6 - the Man of Sin, the counterfeit christ, the Anti-christ. Do you see that?
That's the white horse. He's will come on the scene and practically convince the world that he is Christ. He's what the world is looking for. And we are already seeing people like that. Sigma Moon from Korea, about 15 years ago, tried to tell the world that he was the Christ. And we've had others, and we will have still more. But it's going to be culminated by the real counterfeiter, the real Anti-christ, and he's going to convince the world that he is the Christ and he shall deceive many.
Going back to Revelation, stop at I John, Chapter 2 for a moment. This is the same writer who wrote the Book of Revelation. And here again, as I have stressed before, is the one place where this Man of Sin is actually called the Anti-christ. They thought it would be coming in a relatively short time : and as ye have heard that antichrist here John is speaking of the real Anti-christ shall come, even now are there many antichrists; Of course there are.
But they can't hold a candle to the one that is coming. Now let's go back to Revelation Chapter 6. So we see this Man of Sin comes on the scene and he begins to conquer and overtake nations. He is setting up his power base. We are still at the mid-point here and Satan indwells the man Anti-christ. Think back a moment, when did Satan indwell Judas? From that moment on Judas became an instrument of Satan. As a result, Judas was able to betray Christ in the garden.
But when Judas tried to resist the power of Satan and throw the silver at the feet of the priests there at the Temple, what happened? The language is kind of confusing. In one Scripture it says Judas hung himself, and in another it says that Judas fell head-long and his bowels burst forth. In reality both are correct. There are no contradictions in Scripture.
Today's Scripture reading from Mark 11:25
When he tried to rebel against Satan, Judas's body almost exploded with the power of Satan. As he was catapulted, Judas' body burst asunder, and at the same time he hanged himself on a pole as the result of the catapulting. We will try to cover that before we go into the Book of Acts. So Satan is going to indwell the man Anti-christ, and from that point on everything the Anti-christ says and does will be a word and act of Satan himself. Verse Remember in verse 7 this religious system is riding on the back of the beast but now shall hate the whore or religious system , and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
That again is symbolic language. What is the Anti-christ going to do with the religious system? He's going to destroy it. We can also go all the way back to the Book of Daniel. He's going to set himself up as God and won't let the world religion have anything to do with him anymore. He's going to take absolute control himself. And since he is going to sit in the temple of God, we know that Israel will rebuild her temple and it will be in Jerusalem. In Daniel Chapter 9 we find out what this fellow will do at the mid-point of the Tribulation.
We find he's going to move into the temple in Jerusalem. He then will defile it. Verse 27, where the prince that shall come in verse 26 shall:. In order for temple worship to cease, it has to be going. So it stands to reason that if the Anti-christ is going to go into the temple in the middle of the Tribulation, then the temple must be operating. So that tells us the Nation of Israel will get her temple rebuilt, and we know she is ready for it, even as I speak. So at the mid-point of the Tribulation the Anti-christ will go into the temple and suddenly turn on the Jew.
And he will set himself up as God and force the Jew to worship him rather than the God of the Old Testament which they think that they worship. Just because Israel gets her temple back at the beginning of the Tribulation doesn't mean that God will be working in their lives. It will be much the same kind of religion as Judaism was during Christ's earthly ministry. They had the temple, the priest, the sacrifices.
Was God in it? They were still practicing a religion. Because they are still denying the Christ that died for them. Now back to Revelation Chapter Then verse Personally, I think by this time it will be Jerusalem. That is where we are tonight.
The nations think they are in control, but we know they're not. The world is falling apart completely, and I see no hope of the world returning to a stable condition. I'm not a pessimist, but rather an optimist; but on the other hand I see things that are going on in our beloved nation that we are no longer able to turn around. We are past that point of no return. So that tells me we are that much closer to the end and the calling out of the Body of Christ at the Rapture. I have a Jewish gentleman that lives in Hollywood, California, that watches the program, and we share with each other quite often.
He's not a Christian Jew. He's an Orthodox Judaistic Jew. Anyway, he called so excited the other morning, and reported that He had just returned from a seminar of rabbis. He said the rabbis are all excited because they are convinced that we are right at the coming of the Messiah.
He said they realized that they had some tough times ahead during the Tribulation. I always remind him that everything they are looking for in their Messiah coming the first time, is really the Anti-christ. And it is. The Jew is blind to that and they will accept Anti-christ.
Remember Jesus said in John , "I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. Let's turn to Revelation Chapter And here is where you can pick up a time frame if you will just take time to study it. You will find here in verse 3, where God says:. The word "prophesy" in Scripture can mean either one. To speak about the future or just speak forth the Word. They are His witnesses, and they are going to minister primarily to the Nation of Israel and the area of Jerusalem.
This is at the middle of the Tribulation and not the end. That is why I've come to Chapter 11 the middle of the Tribulation , after Chapter 6 the beginning of the Tribulation because again we are going to come right back to an event at the beginning of the Tribulation. It is the appearance of the two witnesses. I'll have to comment on who those two witnesses might be. We can't be dogmatic because the Scripture doesn't tell us. There's nothing in this verse that says that it's going to be so and so.
But we can speculate. The one that I think is a little easier to decide on than the other, is Elijah. I think that it's very possible that one of these two witnesses will be Elijah, because Elijah was taken up without having died. And there is a good reason for that. Let's go to the Book of Malachi. It's the last book of your Old Testament. Malachi Chapter 4 and verse God is speaking through the prophet , I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:" That's plain English. I know it was originally in Hebrew, but for us it's in plain English.
Before the great and terrible day of the Lord, Elijah will come. Alright, flip back if you will to Matthew Chapter Again, we are in Jesus' earthly ministry. Now in Chapter 11 he makes an unusual statement. Starting with verse Jesus is speaking and he says:. And from the days of John the Baptist until now and remember that this is during Christ's earthly ministry the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
And what's the next word? Who is Jesus talking to? He's talking to the Nation of Israel. If they would receive what? The King and the Kingdom. That's what He's offering. He's their King and He's ready to set up the Kingdom, if Israel would accept the King and the Kingdom at this point and time. Remember that it's an offer.
We know according to prophecy that it couldn't have happened because Christ had to die. But nevertheless, it was still a valid offer. They had the opportunity to accept Him as their King. So read it in that light. Who is? John the Baptist. Think about that for a minute. The Abrahamic and all the rest of them. The Old Testament said, "that before the return of Christ or the setting up of the kingdom, Elijah had to come.
John is the prophesied Elijah. But since Israel did not accept the King, and did not accept the Kingdom, what has to happen? Elijah has to come. Come back to Revelation Chapter I have to feel that on the basis of those two scriptures, one of these two witnesses will quite likely be the Old Testament Elijah brought back on the scene. He was also at the Mount of Transfiguration. Back to Revelation In other words, they are God's messengers for that time. The candlestick refers to the light that a candlestick gives forth.
In the midst of the Tribulation darkness and wickedness and iniquity, in the great cataclysmic events that are taking place, these two men will still be like a spiritual lighthouse. In other words, these two witnesses are going to have that kind of power. And then in verse 6, is another reason why so many people feel that one of these witnesses is going to be Elijah, because he's going to do the same thing that he did in his Old Testament experiences.
Remember Elijah stopped the rain for three years back in the Old Testament. Now I never get dogmatic about this. Others say it has to be Enoch, because Enoch didn't die either. This isn't all that basic to our doctrine. All we have to do is believe that our Sovereign God is in control, and is going to bring these two men to the city of Jerusalem at the very onset of the seven years of Tribulation. Or the beast here could be in reference to the Anti-christ himself. I throw this out to get you to study. I remember years ago as our class was dismissed, a lady walked out the door and she had just been a visitor.
She had come from another part of the country. And she said, "Well, I don't know that I agree with you, but I'll give you credit for one thing. I have already promised myself that starting tomorrow I'm going to study my Bible. Then verse 7 winds up with this government that I think will be the Anti-christ or the revived Roman Empire shall make war against them They will try to destroy these two men.
And they are going to succeed , and shall overcome them, and kill them. So that was what city? So they are going to be killed and left to rot on the streets of Jerusalem. Just because of their mortal hatred for these two men. Well, how did they torment them? By simply pointing out their wickedness, and their iniquity. And the righteous judgment of God which is already to a certain degree upon them. And the world is going to hate them. But the amazing thing is that verse 11 says something that 50 or 60 years ago was almost hard to swallow, and the average Bible believers had problems with this.
All you could say was that God in His wisdom knows how He is going to do it. And now you see it is so common. What is it? Who saw them?
The whole world. How do they see them? We do that everyday. It is very common now to see a news broadcast from the other side of the earth. I can remember when I was a kid, I would hear a preacher preach on this, and I can still hear mom and dad talk about, how that was going to be possible. How can the people of the world see two dead people lying on the streets of Jerusalem. Now, we just take that for granted. It will probably be on the national news. And the whole world will see these two witnesses suddenly ascend.
Right in view of the cameras up they go, and this is going to shake people up. But remember this will be the time of the supernatural and God isn't going to hide it. And when these two witnesses who have been put to death, are suddenly made alive, and ascend right out of the midst of Jerusalem, the whole world will witness it. Now these are Tribulation days. The days of Supernatural. Alright let's go on to verse It's historical. In fact, that's probably why the Dead Sea is so deep and why it is so far below sea level approximately feet below sea level.
Because at times the fault has literally dropped the surface of the earth in that area. Remember the whole Jordan valley is below sea level. Even the Sea of Galilee is feet below sea level. So when the Bible speaks of great earthquakes in that part of the world it is not unusual. So we know we are at the mid-point of the Tribulation.
Remember I told you rather than go verse by verse chronologically, take Revelation by events. The beginning the appearance of the Anti-christ and these two witnesses , and at the mid-point we have the end of these two witnesses and have a great earthquake. We studied earlier how the Anti-christ will come in and desecrate and defile the Temple at the mid-point. We will try to look at that in our next lesson.
But for now let's look at Revelation Chapter 7. And here again is a portion of Scripture that has been so completely perverted that we have a lot of confusion and it doesn't have to be. It is so plain. Now since these two witnesses are beginning to proclaim Godly things, and I think again just like Jesus said, they are going to be proclaiming the King and the Kingdom is coming.
Out of their preaching, almost immediately, they will have a response of their prophesying or speaking, by the , young Jewish men that we find in Chapter 7. Now let's read it:. Now isn't that easy to understand? These servants, I feel, have been listening to the two witnesses and so they are responding.
Now look who they are in verse So that there are no mistakes, He names them in verse except for one. And that question comes up often. Why aren't Dan and Ephraim mentioned in these 12 tribes? Remember, they moved up into the northern part of Israel, and what were the tribes guilty of?
They were the first ones to go into idolatry. And, consequently, they are left out of these 12 tribes. So we have 12, from each of the other 12 tribes all sealed and they are given a particular mission. Why isn't Dan and Ephraim mentioned in these 12 tribes? And here it comes in verse 9.
As a result of their sealing:. Now remember back in Chapter 6 when we talked about that 5th seal, in verse it reads:. This is where it all begins. These , young Jewish men will be encircling the globe in a miraculous way. They won't have to buy any airline tickets. I think they will be Spirit sent. They won't have to learn a language.
They will know every language and dialect everywhere they go. And these , young Jews will circle the globe at least three or four years out of this seven. And here are the results of their ministry. Now that is a vast number of people from every tribe and tongue and nation. And they will martyred almost as soon as they believe.
But a few will survive. And we will pick them up in a later lesson. There will be some survivors, as we saw in the Book if Isaiah a couple of lessons ago. What I think we have here is sort of a compensation, or an evening out of what the Nation of Israel literally missed. They were originally going to be the vehicle to bring the pagan, Gentile world to a knowledge of their Jehovah. But the , will sort of make a compensation for that. Turn to Revelation 7. The Book of Revelation primarily deals with those final seven years before the return of Christ at His Second Coming; then the setting up of His Kingdom upon the earth.
This seven years is primarily God dealing with the Nation of Israel; however, all the world will become involved. Remember Jeremiah ? We'll look at this verse more in detail later. It's God dealing with His Covenant people and for this reason they are still coming back to their homeland, getting ready for these final seven years. The best way to study Revelation is not to try to take it chronologically, but find the events at the beginning, at the middle, and at the end of the Tribulation, and then fill in the gaps.
Chronologically it won't make all that much sense to you. The past several lessons we have been looking at things at the beginning. The appearance of the Anti-christ when he will sign that seven-year peace treaty with the Nation of Israel, which will again kick God's time clock back in gear, as it has been stopped now all during the Church Age.
The appearance of those two witnesses. They will come to the Nation of Israel in Jerusalem. And they will begin proclaiming God's Word to the Nation of Israel, and out of the ministry of these two God is going to seal and commission the , young Jewish men whom God will use to circumvent the globe. They won't be preaching the Gospel of Grace as we know it, but, rather, they will be reverting back again to the Gospel of the Kingdom as it was being proclaimed at the time of Christ and Peter and the eleven.
There is a vast difference between the Gospel of Grace and the Gospel of the Kingdom. When you understand that, the Bible is much less confusing. At that time, the Age of Grace has ended and the Church is gone. A person will no longer have the opportunity to join a local congregation. But rather these , will be telling the world that the King is coming. After all, that was the message in Christ's earthly ministry. He Himself referred to it more than once as the Gospel of the Kingdom. The King and His Kingdom were about to come on the scene. Of course Israel rejected that, and the King was crucified.
God raised Him from the dead, called Him back to heaven to sit at the Father's right hand until His enemies should be made His footstool. We closed our last lesson with God sealing the , Jews there were 12, from each of the twelve tribes. Remember, the reason that God set aside the Nation of Israel was to fulfill the promises of Genesis , that the Seed of the woman would come to be the Redeemer of mankind.
In order to bring that to a fulfillment, He set aside the Nation of Israel, and promised Abraham that through that Nation of people would come the Messiah. So God begins to prepare the Nation of Israel for the roll of being the missionary to the nations.
A Different Matter
Exodus says, " And ye shall be unto me a Kingdom of Priests and an holy nation. But when the opportunity came and they could have had the King and the Kingdom, and they could have brought all the nations of the world to a knowledge of their God, they dropped the ball. In their unbelief they rejected the King and the Kingdom. They, in turn, were dispersed out into the world, lost their temple and worship, and God turned to the Gentiles through the Apostle Paul without using the Nation of Israel.
Using that same analogy in order to get a sweet taste of some sort of a redeeming of themselves, God will let these , Jews at least get a taste of what the Nation of Israel missed. This , will see a multitude come to a knowledge of salvation through their ministry. Now verses 13 and And after John sees this multitude of converted people. That was like, I suppose, when God put a mark on Cain, that no one could take his life. And it's the same way with these , They were sealed so that they could not be killed.
Suffer, yes, but they couldn't be killed. Reading on you will see that there were 12, sealed from each of the twelve tribes. To see how all of this fits with Matthew Chapter 25 come down to verse These are the privations that Tribulation believers, as well as the ,, will suffer during this seven-year period. Remember, if people don't take the mark of the beast during this time, they won't be able to buy or sell, and seven years is a long time if you can't buy groceries.
Seven years is a long time if you can't make a house payment, buy gasoline, or pay a doctor bill. So they will end up hungry and thirsty, and naked. Come back to Matthew Chapter So the , suffered these same privations during the Tribulation. They were thrown in prison and they're going to be hungry, and the only sustenance they had was from these believers. These believers, although they will have little to spare, will sacrifice to help these , Editor's Note: More about the , and how their mission ties into chapter 25 of Matthew will be explained a few pages ahead under the question: "Will some people live through the tribulation?
Revelation "And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book or scroll is a better word. It was rolled up and sealed written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. Just picture a scroll rolled up and then sealed with seven seals. On the outside are written details. This is alluded to in the Old Testament economy, going back to Israel. They had every right to mortgage their property. Some may think mortgages are strictly twentieth century, but mortgages are not something new. Even at the time of Ruth and Boaz, they could mortgage their property.
If the next of kin had the funds, and wanted to, then the mortgage could be paid off. There you have the three requirements for paying off a mortgage. Next of Kin, Able, and Willing. This was the whole idea in Israel, that the families would keep their inheritance. Now we have the same picture here of a mortgage. It says it was written inside as well as on the outside. The private details that were not for public scrutiny were written on the inside.
The lesson here is, there is a mortgage involved, sealed with seven seals, but only One can open the scroll and pay it off. No one seemingly had the next of kinship, who had the wherewithal in wealth, and who was willing. And John says in verse The stage is set. God the Son has taken the mortgage with the seven seals on it.
And now He is going to open it and begin the process of paying it off. Now we come to Chapter 6, and the first thing we are introduced to is the four horsemen of the apocalypse; most have heard of it. They are very interesting. He will take them off one at a time. And these seven seals are going to take us up to the mid-point of the Tribulation. Now the best way to understand the Book of Revelation is to realize that there are a whole series of sevens throughout the Book. The part we skipped was the seven letters to the seven churches.
Now we will see the seven seals; the seven seal judgments. They will introduce the seven trumpet judgments. The seventh trumpet judgments will introduce the final seven bold judgments. Interspersed between, there are seven distinct persons, and seven woes. The whole Book of Revelation is a breakdown of sevens. And seven is God's perfect number.
The whole Book is not a book of myths and legends; it is a perfectly tuned Book that is definitely a part of the Word of God. What we have is the beginning of this final seven years. Several lessons ago from the Book of Daniel, we showed that this seven-year period of time, which we call Daniel's seventieth week, or the time of wrath and vexation, or primarily the Tribulation, will be opening when the Anti-christ signs that seven-year treaty with the Nation of Israel.
That's back in Daniel Chapter 9. And when he signs that seven-year treaty, this is the beginning of the opening of the seals we see here in Revelation Chapter 6. Let's continue in Revelation Chapter 6. We left off in verse 2. Christ has taken the scroll from God the Father. The Apostles? The New Testament church? Millions of Christians over the last 2, years? Answer: Some people do believe that it is speaking of a pre tribulation rapture—Christians will be caught away and will not be here on the earth during the great tribulation period. If you go to Revelation , it tells us there what that means.
Revelation reveals the entire theme of the Book of Revelation, the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Chapters 2 and 3 contain special messages written to the seven churches of Asia. After John was released from exile, he became the overseer of these churches and was able to personally deliver the messages from God to them. Therefore, we know that Revelation is not written to us—the end time generation. It is specifically written to the Church of Philadelphia. Consider this: Revelation says that the Church of Smyrna would have tribulation 10 days.
Matthew clearly says that the rapture happens after the Great Tribulation. Furthermore, a study of the word elect or election in the New Testament reveals that every time the word is used, it refers to the church, not to the Jews. The most poignant case is Romans Even in Matthew 24, Jesus uses the word elect verses 22 and 24 to refer to the church, not the unbelieving Jewish people. Further support of verse 31 as the rapture of the church are the verses that follow it, which describe, among other things, two being in the field — one is taken, the other left.
This is the rapture. II Thessalonians clearly says that the Antichrist will be revealed before the rapture. This conflicts with the pre-tribulation rapture theory, which states that the first resurrection happens before the mark of the beast. Also, it has been said that a rapture and a resurrection are not the same. But the rapture is when the dead in Christ rise. This is the very definition of resurrection.
I Thessalonians talks about the rapture of those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord. In Revelation , the Antichrist makes war against saints who are from all kindreds, tongues, and nations. That does not describe Jews-only. I Corinthians speaks of the last trump. Revelation speaks of the last trump. The description of what happens at the last trump in each of these passages is the same. Every prophecy student would agree that the rapture is when the Lord comes as a thief.
One such warning is given in Revelation The following verse is the Battle of Armageddon — the 7th Vial. Why would God be issuing a warning that He will be coming as a thief right up until Armageddon, if He came as a thief seven years prior to this? It has been theorized that when the Lord comes as a thief in the night, this speaks of a Secret Coming. I Thessalonians clearly teaches, however, that the church will know when He is coming.
The Church will not be taken by surprise. Only the unsaved will be taken by surprise. It is hard to understand where the Secret Coming theory was even conceived. It has been commonly taught that the Great Tribulation is the Wrath of God. The Bible teaches the opposite.
Proof: One of the events that takes place during the Wrath of God is that the sun, moon, and stars will go dark. It is described in the 6th Seal — Revelation It specifically calls it the Wrath of God. The sun, moon, and stars going dark is also spoken of by Jesus in Matthew , only Jesus gives us the timing. He says that it occurs after the Great Tribulation. Revelation describes the events of the Great Tribulation. After all, God does not persecute His own people. Satan does. The post-tribulation rapture teaching agrees with this. History records that 11 of the 12 apostles were martyred.
Saints today are not immune from the trials, temptations, and persecutions of Satan. That is certainly true. But Satan would. The pre-tribulation rapture theory states that there is one Second Coming, but that it happens in two phases. We find this premise to be a stretch. It is said that the first phase is for His church.
It occurs at the end of the final seven years. There are some scriptures which are in conflict with this theory. Here are two: Titus instructs the church to live righteously in this present world right up until, not the Secret Coming, but the Glorious Appearing. I Peter teaches that trials and temptations will continue for the church all the way up until, not the Secret Coming, but the Glorious Appearing. In order to know the timing of the rapture, you must of course understand how the book of Revelation is structured.
The pre-tribulation rapture theory is based on the assumption that Revelation was written in a chronological sequence. This means, it is assumed that the events of the endtime are recorded in Revelation in the order they will happen: First the Seals, then the Trumpets, and then the Vials. If it can be proven, however, that Revelation was not written in chronological order, then the house of cards falls.
And it does. A simple comparison between the 7th Trumpet Chapter 11 and 7th Vial Chapter 16 reveals that they are the same, singular event. Add to this comparison the 6th Seal Chapter 6 , Ezekiel , and Matthew and we find that all five of these passages describe the exact same event.
The 6th Seal, 7th Trumpet, and 7th Vial is one event that is described in Chapter 6, again in Chapter 11, and again in Obviously, Revelation is not in the assumed chronological sequence. This is one of several proofs that Revelation is not sequential from front to back. And with this understanding, the underlying assumption upon which the pre-tribulation rapture is based collapses. It has been commonly accepted that in order for the Antichrist to rise to power, the Holy Ghost must be removed from the earth. The basis for this conclusion is II Thessalonians There are a few problems with the theory.
First and foremost, we already demonstrated above that the first 4 verses of this same chapter mandate the revelation of the Antichrist before the rapture, not after. Paul would not reverse his position so radically three verses later. And finally, if there is no Holy Ghost on earth during the Great Tribulation, then what power is being used by the Two Witnesses to perform all of their miracles. Revelation and other passages describe people on earth during the Tribulation who are born again. How can a person be born again without the Holy Ghost?
The pre-tribulation rapture theory states that those who are left behind will have a second chance at salvation. The parable of the ten virgins Matthew teaches that He comes once and there is no second chance to make the rapture. Some have taught a mid-tribulation rapture. However, this position is impossible since it assumes that the Tribulation lasts for seven years. Yet, there is not one scripture in the entire Bible that describes a seven-year tribulation. Every description of the Tribulation in the Bible teaches that it lasts for three and one-half years. Daniel , , Revelation , , , , and The misunderstanding about a seven-year tribulation comes from Daniel , which speaks of a covenant that will be confirmed for seven years.
This verse teaches that the abomination of desolation will occur halfway through the seven-year period. Jesus said that the abomination of desolation would mark the beginning of the great tribulation Matthew From this we know that the great tribulation only lasts for three and one-half years. Many have taught that the rapture is described in Revelation Revelation is cited by some as proof of a pre-tribulation rapture. This passage was simply a message to the Philadelphian church that John had oversight of after he was released from the exile on the Isle of Patmos.
Of course not. Again, this is a message to one of the seven churches of Asia Minor, which John would overseer after his release from exile. It is explained that God helped His chosen escape the great tribulation of the flood, and so likewise shall He rapture His church from the coming tribulation. However, it should be noticed that God protected Noah through the flood. He did not bring Noah into heaven to avoid the flood. Furthermore, the coming of the Son of man to which the days of Noah were being compared was the coming just described in verses , which the passage specifically says will take place immediately after the tribulation.
Hi, thanks for your response. I would have liked to respond to everything you said in your response but time will not permit me. So, I will respond to only a few things. Did Noah even experience the flood at all? He did not. While he was in the ark, he had no idea what was going on outside the ark. He did not experience the flood. Just as Noah was kept away from the flood, so the Church will be kept away from the great tribulation. You said the pretribulation rapture is based on the premise that the book of Revelation is chronological.
Who told you that? I have never heard that before. The pretribulation rapture teaching does not require the book of Revelation to be chronological. Whether one believes that the book of Revelation is chronological or not has nothing to do with the pretribulational rapture theology. Most of the proofs of pretribulation rapture can be found outside the book of Revelation. Please tell me, how does the idea of the book of Revelation not being chronological contradict a pretribulation rapture?
Post-tribulationists teach that the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ are one and the same event. But is that what the Bible really teaches? It is obvious to any open-minded student of the Word of God that the two events are not the same. The rapture will occur suddenly, unexpectedly and at any moment.
Jesus says no man or angel can know the day of the rapture. According to the Bible, not even the Son knows when that day will be. Only the Father knows that day. See Matthew and Matt. The fact that the people in this passage are saying there is peace and security shows they are not in the Great Tribulation, which means this passage is not referring to the Second Coming of Christ. Rather, it is referring to the Rapture which will happen before the Great Tribulation. While the rapture is imminent and can happen at any moment like a thief in the night, the same cannot be said of the Second Coming of Christ which occurs on the last day of the Great Tribulation Matthew See Revelation ,3; Rev.
Clearly, the post-Tribulation teaching runs into a big problem here and appears to contradict the Bible. Revelation and Daniel makes this very plain. Instead, it applies to a different event called the rapture which is imminent and will occur suddenly and unexpectedly. The only explanation here is that these passages are referring to different events: one is the Rapture which precedes the Tribulation and the other is the Second Coming which follows the Tribulation.
A popular belief is that the rapture and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ are two separate events divided by the duration of the tribulation. On the contrary, the Bible shows us just the opposite. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. The apostle Paul addressed this on several occasions in his epistles. In 1 Thessalonians he spoke of the rapture taking place as the Lord descended from heaven.
Many argue Jesus simply returns to the sky and turns right around; however, the Bible does not support this. A belief like this would force us to believe in a two phase return of Christ, which is not Biblical. Paul again in 2 Thessalonians addresses the church concerning the coming of our Lord and our gathering together unto Him. Paul continues to refer to these events as the day of Christ. Apparently Paul believed and understood the rapture took place at the Second Coming. Knowing there is only one more coming of Christ, the Second Coming, we must agree the rapture will take place at that time.
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