First, let me say that, although I have come back to my previous conclusions, I did go on a journey several days ago, with regards to my beliefs about ‘The Rapture’ and its timing. There is a video going around (Heaven Awaits 2011) that will probably ‘go viral’–among Christians at least. It contains some amazing information relating to Bible prophecies, signs in the heavens, current events, and Jewish feasts. It definitely states that there will be a preTribulation Rapture . . . and that its coming could be imminent.

I too am weary of this sin filled world. I would love to be able to have my heart lifted up with joy in the belief that Jesus could be coming to get me in just a couple of months. This is the attitude with which I watched the video. I truly wanted to believe it was right. However, a couple of things I heard seemed to conflict with what I already knew, so I went to the Scriptures to see.

After all consideration, I believe the video DOES put forth a very compelling argument . . . for the beginning of The Tribulation possibly being around September 29th of 2011 . . . but unfortunately, not for a Rapture to occur at, or before, that time. I too, am disappointed, after allowing myself that brief time of hope in ‘what if’.

As I said, I’ve come back around to my belief that ‘the gathering together of the saints’ occurs when the Lord returns–just before the 7th trumpet (Revelation 10:7 ) . . . which is the ‘last trumpet of God ‘–not of men (I Corinthians 15:52).

I had previously written about this on my blog, so in part, I will cut and paste from that article. I will also share fresh revelations on the subject, from the last few days.

“But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.” (Revelation 10:7)

 

Here is the mystery that God revealed to his prophets:

“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ [Isaiah 25:8]

‘Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting? ‘” [Hosea 13:14]

(I Corinthians 15: 51-55)

 

The last trumpet is the seventh trumpet.

“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:

‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.’ ”

(Revelation 11:15)

 

Also, notice the parallel wording of the following three passages:

1.   “The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘It is done!’ ” (Revelation 16:17) This is also what Jesus said, on the cross, when He gave up His spirit.
2.   “But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.” (Revelation 10:7)
3.   “The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:

‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ,and he will reign for ever and ever.’ ” (Revelation 11:15)

At the seventh trumpet, the mystery of God’s grace towards the Gentiles, through Jesus’ death, will be complete. The time of man’s rule will be done. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2: 34-35 (and 2: 44-45) will be fulfilled. At the seventh trumpet, Jesus returns, to strike down the nations and then, to rule them with an iron scepter. And at the seventh trumpet, the body of/bride of Christ will go up to meet Him in the air, as He arrives.

 

The day of His return is also referred to as ‘The Day of the Lord’. When He returns, He will

1.   do battle with the wicked, who have gathered to fight against Him (and against the nation of Israel) in the Valley of Armageddon. After defeating them, He will
2.   take the throne and rule over the Earth for a thousand years.

“The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East.Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.

“Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.”

Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.

The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘It is done!'” (Revelation 16: 12-17)

Right there, sandwiched in between the sixth and seventh bowls, is Jesus telling us to be ready, that He is coming like a thief! Notice how out of place this verse is, in the context of the passage.

 

Now, here is a rather long passage, from Revelation 19, after the Tribulation period has already been described.

“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” [Psalms 2:9] He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. [refers to Revelation 14: 17-20, which immediately follows the harvest of the righteous–Rev. 14: 14-16] On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.” [Jesus makes reference to this in Matthew 24:28–another very interesting, out-of-context verse]

Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. [Revelation 16: 12-14] But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh. [Matthew 24:28 fulfilled]” (Revelation 19: 11-21)

 

The Bible is pretty clear that we will be here (those of us who survive) through all but the very end of the Tribulation. The pre-Tribulation Rapture teaching is a dangerous fallacy that has the potential to strip many Americans of their faith when persecution arrives. It will also confuse many, with regards to the identity of The Antichrist, because those who believe in a pre-Tribulation Rapture may dismiss the Antichrist as ‘impossible that he’s the one’ because ‘we are still here’.

However, II Thessalonians 2 makes it clear that we WILL see the ‘man of sin’ (Antichrist) revealed. This will take place after a great ‘falling away’. Jesus will NOT return until these two events have taken place.

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

 

In the ‘Heaven Awaits 2011’ video, the speaker explicitly says that the coming of Jesus and our being gathered to Him are two separate events. THIS IS WRONG! Matthew 24 and Mark 13 show plainly that it is one event:

Immediately after the distress of those days *

‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ [Isaiah 13:10 & 34:4]

At that time ** the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” (Matthew 24: 29-31)

*Immediately after the distress of wars, famines, earthquakes, false prophets, persecution, and the flight of Israel into the wilderness for three and a half years . . .

** at that time = a time when the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. I believe this corresponds with Rev. 6: 12-14

“I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place” (Rev. 6: 12-14)

So, after the distress, these signs will occur in the heavens. And then (at that time) Jesus will appear in the sky . . . and all the nations will mourn.

Let me go back to the verses in Revelation 6 that follow the ones I just gave . . .

“Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?’ ” (Revelation 6: 15-17)

When they see either these signs in the heavens, or Jesus Himself coming, everyone hides in caves [and ‘bunkers’] and among the rocks of the mountains–because the great day of God’s wrath has come . . . the day of the Lord . . . the day He comes to strike down the nations (then He will ‘rule them with an iron scepter’).

I believe that these are the same people who, in Revelation 16:16 (after the pouring out of the 6th bowl of God’s wrath), have gathered in the plain of Megiddo . . . Armageddon. Remember again, Jesus’ out of context words in Revelation 16:15, because I believe it shows that these (Revelation 6: 12-17 and Revelation 16: 14-16 and Matthew 24: 29-31) are parallel passages:

“Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.” (Revelation 16: 15)

But back to the point–yes, Jesus comes at the last trumpet, to strike down the nations . . . but, as Matthew 24 and Mark 13 clearly show, this is ALSO when he gathers the elect.

“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” (Matthew 24: 30-31)

and again in the gospel of Mark

“But in those days, following that distress,

‘‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ [Isaiah 13:10 & 34:4]

At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.” (Mark 13: 24-27)

 

Many people talk about a preTribulation Rapture where Jesus ‘comes as a thief in the night’. But both First Thessalonians and Second Peter show that they are misapplying the phrase.  It is the day that Jesus returns to the Earth (aka The Day of the Lord), that will come as a thief–not a secret Rapture.

” . . . for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” (I Thessalonians 5: 2-3)

and

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare . . . That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.” (II Peter 3: 10-12)

This also lines up with Rev. 6: 12-14:

” . . . The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red . . . The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.”

Because, with the Earth’s atmosphere rolled back, everything on Earth will certainly be laid bare and be destroyed by the heat of the sun.

 

More about the LORD’s return is found in First Thessalonians:

“We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” (I Thessalonians 4: 14-17)

“God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him”–this means that when Jesus returns, He will bring with Him all the Christians who have already died. But listen to how this happens: “the Lord himself will come down from heaven . . . and the dead in Christ will rise first.” Then, together with all the resurrected Christians, Jesus continues to proceed towards the Earth (bringing with Him all the Christians who have already died).

Then “we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord” . . . “we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air”.

First Corinthians tells us the same thing:

“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” (I Corinthians 15: 51-52)

 

These Scriptures outline the reasons I say that The Tribulation and The Second Coming are one and the same. I’m sorry that I can’t give you ‘better news’. But does this mean all hope is lost? By no means. God does not intend for us to suffer wrath.

“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Thessalonians 5: 9)

 

” . . . and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead–Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” (I Thessalonians 1:10)

 

Not only will He rescue us, He will be with us.

” . . . And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 20)

 

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23: 4)

 

“The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.

Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”

They replied, “Certainly, O king.”

He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”

So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. ” (Daniel 3: 22-28)

” . . . if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.” (II Peter 2: 9)

“Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” (Luke 21: 36)

Jesus would not have told us to pray that we would be counted worthy to escape, if it were not possible for some.

“I know your deeds . . . I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name . . . Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.” (Revelation 3: 8-10)

 

We must understand that the wrath of God is not the same as tribulation. Jesus promised that, in this world, we would have tribulation. Trials and hardship come to each of us at different times. Although we do not understand it, we know that suffering has its place.

Suffering can solidify our faith.

” . . . though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (I Peter 1: 6-7)

 

Suffering can put our priorities in the right order, and help us to see–and live–life from a spiritual perspective.

“Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” (I Peter 4: 1-2)

 

Suffering can mature us.

” . . . we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5: 3-5)

 

Suffering can purify us.

“ . . . ‘Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.” (Daniel 12: 9-10)

 

But, besides the benefits that it can provide us, God sometimes has another reason for allowing us to suffer.

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And,

“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,

what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” [Proverbs 11: 31]

So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” (I Peter 4: 12-19)

 

If we don’t deal with sin in our lives, God will.

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” (Proverbs 3: 11-12)

 

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12: 7-11)

 

Jesus tells the church at Laodicea (the ‘lukewarm church’ which represents the condition of the American Church today):

“I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.” (Revelation 3: 18-19)

At least a portion of today’s American Church is going to suffer during The Tribulation. Revelation 3: 17-22 tells us we are not pleasing to Him right now. Jesus is warning those who will listen to repent. However, verse 19 promises us that He is going to rebuke and discipline those who don’t.

 

Our Lord’s desire for His Church, and the purpose for everything He does in our lives is this:

that we be “a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5: 27)

 

The Lord knows how to deal with His children. For those who are not walking in righteousness, The Tribulation will produce the outcome He desires.

“See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction . . . ” (Isaiah 48: 10)

 

“This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.'” (Zechariah 13: 9)

 

“To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen” (Jude 24-25)

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