The Rapture Revealed by The Whitestone Fellowship.
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The Rapture Revealed.
As found in the Bible, is about actual events, hidden in plain sight. Please ask yourself,
Has the Tribulation begun?
Are the SEALS of Revelation being broken?
Has the church finished fulfilling the great commission of Jesus Christ?
Will you make it to heaven in the Rapture?
Why does it matter?
HAVE WE ENTERED THE SEAL JUDGMENTS OF THE TRIBULATION?
I have been a Practicing Christian since 1977. I have heard the doctrine of the “Rapture” preached and discussed over the last 46 years. I have studied the subject while taking classes in Bible College. The entire matter is
confusing and difficult to understand. But, thanks to this very complexity, I have been able to ignore the controversies and the biblical inconsistencies. I had no choice. It was too complicated. So, I just accepted the prevalent teaching of my denomination: The rapture will happen at the sound of a heavenly trumpet and if I am a Christian I will be miraculously snatched up into heaven ‘in a twinkling of an eye’. Matter closed. Or is it closed?
In 1996 a pastor and friend asked me to co-teach a class about the ‘rapture’ and the biblical tribulation. I was instructed to teach from the position of ‘pre-tribulation rapture’ and my friend would teach on ‘post tribulation rapture’. It took me one year to prepare. That year was the genesis that fixed my view on the rapture, and it was different than I expected. Over the next 19 years my view matured and has galvanized into a certainty. And that certainty has developed into an “Urgency”. What if I were to say, “We may have already entered the Seal Judgments? Would you stop reading at this point? Let me challenge you to read on and you decide.
I am certain that we have already entered the Seal Judgments and most Christians are not ready for what is coming, and in fact, may be at hand.
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Why does it matter “when” the tribulation starts or “when” Christians are to be raptured into heavens?
It matters because being ready for His Return is proof of True Christianity and only a True Believer in Christ will be guaranteed to join Christ at the sound of His Great Trumpet call and escape the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord.
It matters because being ready requires believing and doing what He has instructed us to do in preparation for His return.
It matters because He has warned that “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’
It matters because many Christians are sitting idly waiting for an event that has already begun and they are not DOING what He told them to do and therefore are in grave danger.
It matters because some of our family, friends and neighbors are completely unaware or just don’t believe that Christ will return and God’s final judgments will sentence them to outer darkness.
Because, as Christians, our faith, our convictions and our behavior
Are speaking louder than our words.
The Seal Judgments of the book of Revelation.
Interestingly, the idea or doctrine of a biblical ‘Rapture’ was introduced and made popular in the early 1900’s. Since that time, most doctrines of eschatology (the study of Biblical End Times) have been constructed to fit particular denominational belief systems. So, it is no wonder that there are multiple views of the timing of the rapture and the tribulation period. The plain language of the bible has been rearranged to fit certain denominational belief systems, so, most views of the rapture have become impossibly confusing and irrational.
If we follow Biblical reason, then the facts, timing and warnings related to biblical eschatology sense.
If the subject of the Rapture and a seven-year Tribulation are kept in context of the entire Bible and, whenever possible, are taken at face-value, an amazingly clear picture emerges. The Bible teaches and warns about;
A “tribulation period”, also known as “Times of Distress” followed by;
“A GREAT TRUMPET sounding” and “GATHERING TOGETHER” of His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other”, followed by;
“A Great Tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.”, also known as the “Wrath of the Lamb” or the “Great and Terrible Day of the Lord”.
And, since the Bible is meant to address every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues the events addressed by the coming tribulation are global in scope. So, at first glance, instead of being a future event it would appear the first Seal of the tribulation could have been broken (as early as the early 1900’s; for example, regarding Jesus’ warning of “wars and rumors of war”, the first Global war, World War One, began in 1914). If we follow the evidence, the facts, the timing and the warnings of the coming Rapture and Tribulation, this seems to make sense. But is it correct?
There is evidence, which I shall call ‘clues’ as to the timing of the beginning of the breaking of the first tribulation seal. These ‘clues’ come from direct testimonies of Jesus and His disciples:
- Hebrews 1:2, The Apostle Paul Says “For then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews was written around AD 60. This is a “timeline” clue.)
- Hebrews 9:26, The Apostle Paul says, “For then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews was written Around AD 60. This is a “timeline” clue.)
- Acts 2:14-17, “But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; 16but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:
AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says,
‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND;
AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY,
AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS,
AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; (Acts was written around AD 60. This is a “timeline” clue.)
- 2 Timothy 3:1-5, “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. (Acts was written around AD 60. This is a “timeline” clue.)
- 1 Peter 1:20, “He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you”.
- 1 Peter 4:7, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. . (1 Peter was written Around AD 60. This is a “timeline” clue.
- 2 Peter 3:3,“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?” (2 Peter was written Around AD 68. This is a “timeline” clue.)
- 1 John 2:18, “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore, we know that it is the last hour. (1 John was written Around AD 92. This is a “timeline” clue.)
There is ample ‘evidence’ (clues) that the breaking of the 1st Tribulation Seal could have occured as eary as the birth of Christ or as late as 92 A.D. Once again, there is clear and compelling language and testitmoniesand evidence that the first TRIBULATION SEAL may have begun to be broken in or around AD 30, and that SEALS two through five have been progressively opened, overlapped and are gaining in intensity.
Here is a short outline comparing Jesus’ account of the Tribulation period both in the Book of Revelation and in the Book of Matthew:
Revelation Ch. 6 – as corresponding to – Matthew Chapter 24
the 1st Tribulation Seal – Global conquest and political intrigue
the 2nd Tribulation Seal – Wars and Rumors of War
the 3rd Tribulation Seal – Famine
the 4th Tribulation Seal – Death
the 5th Tribulation Seal – Martyrs, persecution, Anti-Christ, falling away
The Opening of the 6th Tribulation Seal is The BEGINNING OF the 7 years of “THE GREAT TRIBULATION” period.
The 6th Tribulation Seal – Cosmic disturbances, blood moon, darkened sun
Sealing of the 144,000
Multitude from the tribulation before the Throne of God
All of these things and this historic time had been recorded, in various books of the Bible and is foretold in great and frightening detail, particularly in the Book of Revelation. You simply need the “eyes to see” and “the ears to hear”.
Evangelical and Protestant Christians have been taught that they will be ‘Raptured’ from the earth before the tribulation begins with the breaking of the first Seal of the Book of Revelation.
Many churches teach that to become a Christian all one has to do is to make a simple statement of faith. Then, they may sit back, assured of being raptured and going to heaven before the first Seal of the Tribulation is broken thereby spared the discomfort of the tribulation.
But is that proof enough? What about repentance from the former life? What about being transformed in our thinking and practice and following the life of Jesus, now?
The tenth chapter of the book of Romans tells us “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness (right living), and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
That salvation reveals a transformation in attitude and behavior which is the same as Jesus Christ.
If our attitude and behavior are anything less than that of Christ, we must consider the consequences.
There are many apparent contradictions regarding the doctrine of the Rapture and the Tribulation and much debate.
So, what does the bible actually say about this End of Days?
More specifically, what did Jesus tell His disciples and the rest of the listening and believing world about what is coming?
What we can expect to happen? What are we to do in order to ‘get ready’ and ‘stay ready’ until He returns to claim His Church?
We must turn to the Bible to find our answers.
The Bible says it is “God Breathed” and useful. (All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 2 Timothy 3:16).
God did not write or ‘breathe’ His message to us in an unintelligible or useless language. God has spoken through His prophets and His written Word and He meant for us to be able to understand what He says.
If you can put aside doctrinal and theological constraints that have sprung from denominational differences, you may get a clearer understanding of this subject.
Jesus’ disciples were asking some of the very same questions we are asking today (Matthew 24:3) “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
Then Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.” Matthew 24:4
I see two things here that give a starting point in our discussions and preparations and a way to adjust our “21st Century thinking” to Jesus’ intent.
- We are to be careful about deception regarding these matters. There are many voices giving advice. Jesus is saying, “stay focused on My Word”. As we engage in this End Times warfare, the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. We do that by keeping a biblical view and keep the scriptures we are studying in context of the entire bible teaching.
- It is easy to spot some nutcase saying “Hey, over here! I’m Jesus! I’m back! Listen and follow me!!” Very few Christians would fall for that. But institutional deception is a problem.
There is a brand of Christianity and church in this 21st century (a reemergence of Gnosticism and mysticism) that is far from the Truth and is not the body of Christ. It takes forms of commercialism or that of a narcissistic religion. It is a fake. It is not the “Christianity” of Jesus Christ. AND MANY ARE BEING MISLED. With this in mind, we must clear some of the non-biblical religious clutter of tradition, lore and attitudes of the 19th, 20th and 21st century the institutional church has invented.
The dominant teaching about the Rapture among Evangelical and Protestant Christians, is of a Pre-tribulation Rapture. I agree that Christians can expect God to rescue or ‘rapture’ the church away from earth before The Wrath of the Lamb or the Great Tribulation. The bible is also clear that the church is to be purged, cleansed, purified and redeemed before being ‘raptured’, (found in Daniel 12:1 – 10).
“THE questions” we should be asking is WHEN do the seven years of the tribulation actually begin? We have been taught and it has been generally accepted as ‘doctrine’ that the tribulation period starts with the breaking of the FIRST SEAL found in Revelation 5:1, which is a future and undetermined date. But is this correct?
We should look at the distinctions the bible makes regarding uses of the words “tribulation”, the “Great Tribulation”, the “Wrath of the Lamb”, the “times of distress”, and the “times of sorrow” to get an accurate picture and context. And I believe these distinctions are important for our understanding of the timing of these events and for our preparedness.
WHY COULD THIS DISTINCTION BE IMPORTANT – WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?
It is important because the context, the uses and meanings of these various words which refer to Tribulation affect our attitudes and our motivation for GETTING and STAYING READY for His return. They also affect our view of the timing of the coming Tribulation and the Great Tribulation.
Many Christians think that, by repeating a simple formulaic statement, they have done all that is necessary to GET READY for Christ’s return and will go to heaven or be “raptured” from the earth before the tribulation period because they…
Walked the aisle at church;
filled out a commitment card;
And, announced I AM A BELIEVER.
They believe they are saved and nothing more is necessary. In other words, they became a member of a local church, They tithe some small portion of their income, they get involved in the local church activities, going on a mission trip or any combination of good works.
But is this correct?
What does Jesus and the bible say? It is urgent that we understand what Jesus and the bible actually say about the coming Great Day of Wrath, The Great Tribulation and what it really means to GET READY and STAY READY and know WHY these things are urgent and important.
So, I will propose, for clarity, a chronological placement of the events of The Great Tribulation in relation to tribulation EVENTS described by Jesus and John the Revalator, and what Jesus and His Word says about getting ready!
The placement of the GREAT TRIBULATION event can be seen in other places in the bible, but I will focus on the books of Matthew and Revelation.
Our goal in this discussion is to discover
WHERE we are in relation to His Return,
WHY we are running out of time, and
WHAT we should be doing, as Christians, and
How to prepare for the End of Days Events and HIS Return.
The first step in preparation, if you have never taken it, is to be born again. That is, come to Jesus Christ in a humble surrender of your life to Him. He will, in turn, come into your life and lead you to leave your ‘old life’ behind, that is your old way of thinking and behaving. He will renew your Spirit that will allow you to transform your mind and that will empower you from the inside out. It will revolutionize everything about what you believe, how you think and how you live life. You will find forgiveness of every past deed and get a fresh new, and exciting, start in life.
#2. Pray. Search for Him in prayer. Start praying daily. Just go to Him and pray. He will guide you.
#3. Read the bible. Daily. He will guide you.
#4. Take this one step at a time, but, start.
If you are already a Christian, please carefully consider what is being presented. You are called, as a Christian to GO, TELL, TEACH, MAKE DISCIPLES, BAPTIZE BELIEVERS.
There is no doubt He is coming again, to get His Church. There is no doubt a time of Great Tribulation is coming. The real question is are you ready? Because every man, woman, boy and girl will have to make a choice: Go with Jesus or be condemned to the Lake of Fire for eternity.
Let’s proceed with Jesus’ discourse in Matthew 24 and compare the events in Matthew 24 and confirm them with the corresponding events in the book of Revelation.
Here is the Tribulation Timeline, in summary:
- The ‘tribulation period of birth pangs’ (Matthew 24:8 & Revelation 6) begins with the breaking of the 1st Tribulation Seal and continues through the 5th Tribulation Seal, during which time we will see the Apostasy, the great persecution of Christians, the revealing of the man of perdition and the signing of a peace treaty between Israel and her enemies.
The 1st Seal of the tribulation was being broken just after the death and resurrection of Christ and the succeeding seals (Seals 2 – 5) have been broken at various periods of time since AD 1 and that we have now entered the time of the breaking 5th Tribulation Seal. Jesus refers to this period, the breaking of the tribulation Seals ONE through FIVE as “the beginning of the birth pangs”, and He points out that “this is not yet the end”.
- Then, with the breaking of the 6th Tribulation Seal, THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE DAY OF THE LORD, THE GREAT TRIBULATION, BEGINS. (Matthew 24:29, & Revelation 6:12)
As witnessed by, Matthew 24:29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Verse 30. “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. Verse 31. “And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”
- The “7 years of Great Tribulation” (aka Daniels 70th week) begins with the breaking of the 6th tribulation seal, will reach the mid-point of the tribulation period, (after 3.5 years) with the sounding of the 6th Trumpet of the Great Tribulation.
- Then, the Great Tribulation will end with the pouring out of the 7 Bowls of Wrath.
Tribulation Judgments lead to the End of the Age
(Concern yourself with the first 6 Seals):
Revelation Chapter 6 as correlated to Matthew Chapter 24
The mention of International (Global) conquest and political intrigue in the 1st Tribulation Seal in Revelation 6, is correlated with false Christ’s and Messiahs in Matthew 24.
The mention of wars and rumors of wars is mentioned in the 2nd Tribulation Seal in Revelation 6 and in Matthew 24:6.
The mention of death, scarcity of food is mentioned in the 3rd Tribulation Seal in Revelation chapter 6 and Matthew 24 tells of famines and earthquakes.
The 4th Tribulation Seal in Revelation chapter 6 tells of death, famine and murders and in Matthew 24:7, Jesus tells of nations rising against nations, famines and earthquakes.
the 5th Tribulation Seal – Martyrs, persecution, revealing of the Anti-Christ, the great falling away (apostasy).
The 5th Tribulation Seal in Revelation chapter 6 speaks of persecution and martyrdom of Christians and Matthew 24:9-10 tells of persecution, martyrdom, apostasy and lawlessness.
The start of the 7 years of “THE GREAT TRIBULATION”, also known as the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord, coincides with the 6th Tribulation Seal which brings cosmic disturbances, blood moon, darkened sun, terror, calamity is described, both, in Matthew 24:29-31 and in Revelation 6:12-16.
During the period of the Breaking of the 6th Tribulation Seal these events will occur:
The Rapture of the Church;
Multitude from the tribulation before the Throne of God;
Sealing of the 144,000;
Now, let’s go into a little more detail regarding the End of Days by comparing and confirming Jesus’ account in the book of Revelation and the book of Matthew
FIRST EVENT from MATTHEW.
Jesus says “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars Matt 5:6 (also see Rev 5:1) . See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.
We have been led to view these events from a nationalistic perspective. In other words, if it’s happening in the U.S.A., it must be true. But we should watch for world events with a focus in Israel.
Also, notice that Jesus instructed, ”but that is not yet the end”.
This FIRST EVENT as described by Jesus in Matthew 24:6 can be correlated to a sign offered by John in Revelation 5:1 as the FIRST SEAL being broken, incidentally, by the LAMB Himself (Jesus).
CORRESPONDING FIRST SEAL of REVELATION.
”Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “Come.” Revelation 5: 1,
verse 2. “I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.”
It is interesting here that although a ‘bow’ is carried no arrows are present. (a coincidence?), and a crown (authority) is given. This has been described as a time of political intrigue and imperialistic nation-building on a world-wide scale. This event has been a dominant feature of the past century. This event is to be followed by another world-wide event related to the second seal in Matthew and Revelation (which would preclude regional or pre-Christ events).
There are world-wide movements to combine governments, financial institutions, religions, educational systems, societies, labor, technologies, militaries and more. The United Nations is what most point toward. Some were watching the European Union. But now, the G20 is the latest rebuilding of the “The tower of Babel”. But, do not doubt that the Globalist movement is real.
THE SECOND EVENT from MATTHEW.
Jesus says in Matthew 24:7 “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom (see Revelation 5:3).
There is now an intensifying of WORLD EVENTS also seen in the book of Revelation.
CORRESPONDING SECOND SEAL of REVELATION.
Revelation 5:3, “When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.” verse 4. And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.
Interestingly, World War I is described as the Great War . It was the first war recognized a WORLD WAR. It began in 1914 and lasted until 1918. But this would hardly seem to fit neatly into a seven year tribulation period.
Then we had World War II which began in 1939 and lasted until 1945. Now we have two WORLD WARS that spanned a combined ten years. The entire Great Tribulation clearly will last only seven years.
So, how do these WORLD WAR events relate to prophecy or should they?
Jesus has already given us instruction that this is not yet the end and He will give further instruction about the timing of these events in Matthew 24 verse 8.
THIRD & FOURTH EVENTS from MATTHEW.
Jesus says in Matthew 24:7 and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes (see Revelation 5:5-8).
It is important that we see and understand what Jesus is TEACHING corresponds with the unfolding of the Tribulation period as recorded in Revelation. It will give us clear instruction, not only of what is coming but
HOW TO PREPARE for these days.
CORRESPONDING THIRD SEAL of REVELATION.
Revelation 5:5, “When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”
CORRESPONDING FOURTH SEAL of REVELATION.
Revelation 5:7, “When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come”. I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.
We continue to see a clear correlation between Jesus’ descriptions of the “coming troubles” in Matthew to John’s depiction of the actual breaking of the seals in the book of Revelation.
Please remember: We are seeing Jesus describe the ‘beginning’ of the tribulation in Matthew 24 and the corresponding ‘beginning’ of the tribulation as Jesus actually breaks the Seals of the Books in Revelation.
But the Rapture has not yet occurred. This will present clear evidence that we will endure the tribulation up to and until the breaking of the Sixth Seal. Jesus tells us, “Do not fear. This is not yet the end”. But we must prepare!
Next, we get some clarification on events and the time or placement of the events:
Interlude – Time Marker – Instruction.
Here, we are provided an interlude and a “time marker of instruction”. This is a good place to get our bearings.
Matthew 24: 8 “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.
a. Jesus tells us this is NOT THE END but MERELY THE BEGINNING and remember there is no evidence the church has not been RAPTURED yet.
b. And He calls this the beginning of birth pangs. This is similar to tribulation in the idea of discomfort or suffering.
c. But the word describes a much different intensity of pressing or squeezing and pain than the GREAT Tribulation or the Wrath of the Lamb, which comes later.
There are several places in scriptures (in the books of Daniel, Matthew and Revelation) that use interchangeable words to describe ‘birth pangs’, ‘times of distress’, ‘times of sorrow’ and ‘tribulation’. However, there are other words such as ‘Great Tribulation’ and ‘Wrath of the Lamb’ that are a harbinger for a ‘time of trouble such as the world has never seen before and never will see again’. Is there a distinction between the uses of these words that will give us a WARNING useful to our salvation our preparation and our enduring to the end?
FIFTH EVENT from MATTHEW.
Jesus says, in Matthew 24:9, “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.”
Are we seeing a worldwide precursor to this prediction in our day? A return to the type of persecution the early church suffered? The book of Revelation puts it this way:
THE CORRESPONDING FIFTH SEAL of REVELATION.
Rev 5: 9, “When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud
voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?“ And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.
We saw a great persecution of the early Christians and we have seen terrible persecution of Christians throughout our brief history and those Christians will be included in this SEAL. Jesus is clearly referring to a ‘falling away’ or an apostasy in the latter days. We must remember to keep these scriptures and Jesus’ discussion in the context it was given.
These next verses give us an interlude or a recapitulation which we can use to define the chronology of these events. Jesus is describing terrible times, but they pale in comparison to what is getting ready to happen. The next EVENTS are so terrible that Jesus stops His discourse and emphasizes what is next and how to GET READY.
Interlude – Time Markers – Instruction, Matthew 24:11-20.
NOTE: Here is a ‘recap’ of the series of events and warning up to this point, plus another ‘time line marker’ in Matthew 24.
Matthew 24:11, “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.
Verse 12. “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.
Verse 13. “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.
Verse 14. “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.
Verse 15. “Therefore, when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),
Verse 16. “then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.
Verse 17. “Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house.
Verse 18. “Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak.
Verse 19. “But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!
Verse 20. “But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath.
- The next verse begins with the words, “FOR THEN…”
Not “before then”,
Not “as it has been”.
In other words, now that the preceding events have been completed and the seals have been broken NOW there will be a GREAT TRIBLULATION.
(2) Many theologians, preachers and bible teachers, who subscribe to the doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture occurring before the First Seal event, consider verses 15 through 20 as having already occurred.
However, Jesus is clear that He is telling His disciples of a coming event. For an example, see this excerpt taken from a “pulpit commentary” on Matthew 24 Verse 16. Then; i.e., when they shall see “the abomination of desolation,” etc. Them which be in Judaea. Not only in Jerusalem, but in its vicinity, as most exposed to danger from the invading army. Flee into (ἐπὶ, over) the mountains. The Christians seem to have taken this advice when the city was attacked by Costius Gallus, about A.D. , some three or more years
before the siege under Vespasian. Gallus had appeared before the walls, and apparently had every hope of taking the city, when, for some reason not certainly known (either owing to a supposed defeat, or ignorance of his own
success, or the advice of his generals), he suddenly withdrew his forces (Josephus, ‘Bell. Jud.,’ 2:19, 6, 7). The Christians, bearing Christ’s warning in mind, and having, as we may conjecture, seen the predicted sign, took the
opportunity of flight from the doomed city, and made their escape to Pella, a town of Decapotis, southeast of Bethshean, and the ruins of which are known now by the name of Fahil. Euschius probably refers to this, narrating that, owing to a certain revelation given to holy men among them, the whole body of the Church, before the war, removed across the Jordan to Pella, and dwelt there in safety during those troublous times.
Jesus is clear that He is telling His disciples what is yet to come.
BIBLE PROPHECY, FREQUENTLY, HAS HISTORICAL PRECURSORY EVENTS.
(Matthew 24 verses 21 and 29 describe this EVENT. Verses 22 through 28 give warnings and instructions for preparedness.)
Verse 21. “For then there will be a GREAT TRIBULTION, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.
Please pay special attention these words in verse 21:
FOR THEN, the “times of distress” or “the birth pangs” are now finished;
GREAT Tribulation, The Great and Terrible Day of the Lord is beginning;
Such as not occurred since the beginning of the world until now;
nor ever will.
Something new is happening. The intensity is going up significantly. THERE IS A TIME MARKER AT THIS POINT!
Read verses 22 through 28 carefully and absorb these dire warnings and instructions.
This is the time the Lord will appear and take His Church from the earth.
THE SIXTH EVENT FROM MATTHEW.
Matthew 24:22, “Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.
Verse 23. “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him.
Verse 24. “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.
Verse 25. “Behold, I have told you in advance.
Verse 26. “So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them.
Verse 27. “For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Verse 28. “Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
Verse 29. “But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
THE SIXTH SEAL of REVELATION BEGINS.
Revelation 6:12, “I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; verse 13. and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind.
Verse 14. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Verse 15. Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; verse 16 and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the
throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb”.
NOW IT IS BEGINNING. “THE GREAT TRIBULATION”. Matthew 24:21. “THE WRATH OF THE LAMB”. Revelation 6:16 (The breaking of the 6th Seal continues through Revelation 7:17),
Now is one of greatest the events ever to be witnessed by man .
SEVENTH EVENT from MATTHEW.
Matthew 24:30, “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.
Then, during and immediately after the SIXTH SEAL of Revelation.
Revelation 7: 1, “After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.“
Everything is coming to a crescendo.
God stops the events in progress and the breaking of the seals for a moment and all eyes are focused on the heavens. All the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:20).
The winds stop blowing and an angel ascends from the rising of the sun with the seal of the living God, announcing the SEALING of the bond-servants of our God and the gathering of His Elect!
The winds have been stopped.
The events of the End of Days are paused.
God sends forth His angels with a great TRUMPET.
This is the “EVENT” We all anxiously and eagerly anticipate.
NOTE: Some bible teachers will say this is Jesus coming to exact judgment on the earth. But read the text from Matthew 24:31.
EIGHTH EVENT From MATTHEW.
“And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
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.”
1 Thessalonians 4:16, “For 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”
How much clearer can this be?
Immediately following the breaking of the SIXTH SEAL they gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other!
Now, we go to the Book of Revelation for confirmation.
During and immediately after breaking THE SIXTH SEAL from REVELATION, we read in Revelation 7:9-17, “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, 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 cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb. “Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?”
“I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. “For this reason, they are before
the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. “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.”
The Church has been removed from the earth. The RAPTURE has occurred
immediately before the sounding of the FIRST TRUMPET JUDGMENT.
The Gathering of His Elect – A review.
Jesus finished breaking the first Six Seals of the Book of Revelation by sealing the 144,000 from the twelve tribes of Israel.
Then, a great multitude, which on one could count, from every nation and ALL TRIBES and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the LAMB, clothed in white robes, saying “SALVATION”!
Although the events recorded in the book of Revelation are not always in chronological order, chapters five, six and seven of Revelation (the breaking of the seals) appear to be in order.
Jesus’ description of the coming tribulation in the book of Matthew matches both description and order with John’s description of these same events contained in the book of Revelation.
We see Jesus gathering His elect at the sound of the trumpet (Matthew 24:31) and the “gathering of a great multitude which no one could count, 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 cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” as the same event?
This would mean that the church, (that is, Christians), may experience some extremely difficult times before the day of The Wrath of the Lamb and the Rapture of His church. Compare the troubles of the first six seals compared to the last seal, the seven bowls and the seven trumpets of judgment. Remembering that the Wrath of the Lamb will be a time of trouble such as the world has never seen before and never will see again.
So, even though a period of “distress” or “tribulation” begins with the breaking of the first seal of Revelation “intense trouble” or the Great Tribulation or The Wrath of the Lamb a series of events involving those who have been saved throughout the ages, begins with the breaking of the sixth seal as recorded in Revelation chapter seven, verse one. The angels hold back the four winds of the earth (an interlude for a series of events on earth and the tightening of the grip of travail upon the earth.
Jesus then uses the example of Noah to explain that Christians must prepare for His Return.
Interlude – Time Markers – Instruction.
NOTE: Here is a ‘recap’ of the series of events and warning so far and another ‘time line marker’ in Matthew 24:32. “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; verse 33. so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Verse 34. “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
Verse 35. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
Verse 36. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
Verse 37. “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.
Verse 38. “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
verse 39. and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
A simple ‘face value’ reading of these verses tell us all we need to know.
The time of His return is near;
His Words are enduring and unchanging;
No one knows the exact day or hour of His return.
It is time to prepare the storehouse, and enter our ark for the day of our salvation draws near.
So where do we go from here?
Except for a cursory reference, I have deliberately avoided relating current world events to the prophecies narrated by Jesus of Matthew 24 and those from the book of Revelation.
I am leaving it up to you, the reader, to look back over the past 100 years and consider what has occurred as related to biblical prophecy. It is up to you to consider the current condition of this world and compare it to prophecy in our day.
The bible says “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. (Matthew 24:32).
Daily, newscasts, newspapers, television, magazines, the internet and every form of media is telling us of the deteriorating condition of our world. If we are not at “the end” of this age, we are in dire circumstances. At any rate, it
IS TIME TO GET READY for what is upon us.
Finally, this presentation is a capsulated and condensed version of Jesus’ narration of The End of the Age in response to the disciple’s question, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?“
It is possible to go much deeper and broader in this study. If that is your desire there are plenty of materials available.
In fact, as we establish bible study groups that may well be one of our studies. But, for now, it is time to prepare.
So, where do I go from here?
Matthew 24:42-45, “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you must be ready as well; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.” Our time on this earth is limited and temporary. We must survive and serve while we await His return when He will gather us, His Elect, from the four corners of the earth, and take us to our eternal home.
Here is what we do:
ENTER INTO THE ark OF OUR SALVATION – JESUS CHRIST!
Prepare the Storehouse Of the Saints.
Come Together in Community.
Continue Making Disciples.
Find and connect with other Christians.
Plan and coordinate with family.
Organize “readiness” training classes.
Organize Action groups.
Organize service groups.
Store temporary food stuffs.
Build temporary currency reserves.
Store medical supplies.
Store water reserves.
Coordinate Bible Study Groups.
Coordinate Prayer Groups.
Commission Deacons and Ministers.
Designate Home Church sites.
Plan Worship Times and places.
Organize evangelistic meetings.
Send local missionaries.
In other words, do the work of the Church!
Your Brother and Friend,
Be sure and check out the article, “The One World Government Emerges in 2022” on our website.