Leading pre-tribulationists admit that the Bible does not straight-forwardly proclaim a coming of Jesus prior to the tribulation period, for which reason they will, in a spirit of contention, suggest that the post-trib' rapture position is on an equally-absent Biblical foundation.
But no straight-forward scripture is required to support post-tribulationism because the rapture is well-documented to occur at the coming of Jesus, while the coming of Jesus, whenever its timing can be ascertained, is always after the tribulation period. Who can deny that Jesus comes at Armageddon, and that Armageddon is after the tribulation period? No one dares to oppose these two, well-documented facts.
This, therefore, is all the proof that post-tribulationists require, and it places the onus on the pre-tribulationist to prove that Jesus comes before the tribulation. Until the pre-tribber can do that, he has no business telling you that there will, as a fact, be a pre-trib' rapture, or that the post-trib' rapture is on shaky ground. Let me put it this way, the post-trib rapture is on shaky ground only if the pre-tribber can prove a pre-trib Coming, but as the pre-tribber admits that there is no clear-cut scripture to support a pre-trib coming, the consequence is a rapture occurring at the only other Coming known to Scripture.
In order to derive pre-tribulationism, we must force the interpretations of certain scriptures in ways not readily apparent. It's very much like making out an object in a dense fog where, if one strains the eyes hard enough, something can be seen that isn't really there. Or, the teachings are like glasses providing new perspectives on the most basic post-tribulation scriptures, and, like magnifying glasses, they can turn some texts on their heads so that they appear to support a pre-tribulation rapture instead.
Larger portions of associated scriptures are tainted by the initial abstractions, wherefore there are repercussions, especially in the way Christians will one day approach the end times. I wouldn't be so inclined to making highly-oppositional statements if it were otherwise. I now make them confidently because it has come to my attention that pre-tribulationism was born within a small body of Latter-Rain, Zionist charismatics engaging in false prophecies, whose registered leader (Henry Drummond, banker) was in turn connected by certain Christian-Zionist groups to the world-rulership program of the Rothschilds...who have for three centuries been intent on procuring Zionism and the related counterfeit Millennium. Zionism has become a good word in Christendom thanks to pre-tribbers, but has anyone ever told you that Zionism is based on Satanic men no better than the Pharisees?
Something to consider, isn't it, before you give your support to modern Israel, the same Israel that God is very angry toward? You probably feel (as I do) that God opposes the Muslims who oppose Israel, and yet you may not realize that God is empowering the Muslims to destroy Israel. That's unusual passion, my friends, that God would use even His enemies to destroy His Promised Land.
Approaching the rapture debate by giving all views equal status would boost pre-tribulation teachings to a credible level, but such an unbiased approach would only increase the risk to the reader, for pre-tribulationism is going to be directly responsible for jeopardizing the lives of millions of believers. This is not to say that all pre-trib' writers have been deliberately leading the Church to harm, but that, regardless of the particular spirit of passion that moves them today, the doctrine harms by promoting an unprepared condition for facing the coming skincode.
I plan to investigate further as to whether Freemasons have congregated in pre-tribulation camps, posing as Biblical teachers but carrying out the wicked work of an Illuminati having every inclination to abandon us helplessly to the coming mark of the beast. The original purpose of the pre-tribulation appearance of Jesus, in my ever-growing opinion, was to provide an invisible return of Christ, a very necessary part of a counterfeit-Millennial scheme. In other words, a counterfeit Millennium requires a counterfeit appearance of Jesus, and, as Charles Russell, for example, claimed an invisible coming of Jesus in 1914, so the Illuminatists of the Catholic Apostolic Church must have plotted in the same way when first devising the pre-tribulation appearance of Jesus. Yes, pre-tribulationism was born in that very cult.
The rapture is not an easy event to counterfeit, but Latter Rainists are still with us today, stronger than ever, and they are working hard to re-define the rapture as a transformation event to occur, not in the clouds, but on earth as a Rosicrucian-like process called "Manifest Sons of God." In this process, the Christians are supposed to take on amazing bodies while still here on earth, so as to turn the world into the Millennium, apart from the visible appearance of Jesus. It's a grand hoax, so watch for it.
The rapture issue is not trivial for those who wish to enter eternal life. And this book is not a debate; it is a vital message...one that would be betrayed if I were to present pre-tribulationism as a worthy doctrine. Although I sympathize with the fear of pre-trib' believers who cling to their interpretation of the "blessed hope," I will not be found guilty in this book of comforting them in their error. But in the spirit of the late Jim McKeever, I stress the making of certain physical preparations for our bodies so that our spirits may not fail us in the coming time of testing.
My concern is not to produce a contentious situation for the purpose of entertaining Christians who might enjoy jousting on this matter. Yet it's not time for post-tribbers to bite their tongues for fear of ruffling feathers when too many are about to be led to mass religio-cide. The message we have has of late become relevant to the very salvation of those who have already taken on the name of Christ. If that sounds strange, please consider that the devastating skincode system will rob the salvation of many. The communication of the trib-prep message into the churches should now, therefore, be considered on par with any typical missionary effort to the masses.
Am I suggesting that Hal Lindsey and other recognized giants of prophecy are mistreating scripture? I can't know what for certain motivates these knowledgeable people in regards to the rapture question, and I have wondered how they could get something all so wrong. In my most-critical assessments, I see them as insidious Illuminatists, men of the occult presenting themselves as true Light. But among my most-generous conclusions is that they have so deeply committed themselves to their theory, and have been so well received by individual Christians as well as entire denominations that they delight in being the doctrine's holy messengers.
Even though there are significant post-tribulation scriptures offering direct evidence for a post-tribulation rapture, some modern pre-tribulationists have actually suggested that these texts represent God's method of disguising the pre-trib' truth until the last days. And at times they have openly asserted that their own pre-trib' colleagues are the modern prophets which are now disclosing the real pre-trib' truths hidden in the post-trib' scriptures. Imagine that. With such a "high calling," no wonder that the theory is propagated with such zeal! And no wonder that they feel easy in altering the meanings of all sorts of scriptures to their cause.
I suggest corrective viewpoints for pre-tribbers to embrace, which may turn out to be strong medicine, but, lo and behold, I as an avid post-tribber do have a Christian heart after all, so I'll present it in small doses for the duration of this book rather than all at once. The prescription is the acceptance of the Biblical call to endure tribulation and soul-suffering in order to somehow perfect the new creation that God is creating within us. This difficult process towards maturity is our time in incubation, and it continues only if we endure our trials without falling away from the Faith. What is a trial, after all, if it doesn't shake our Faith?
But at the appearance of Jesus, like glistening art taken from the King's kiln, we will be the envy of the world. If, therefore, I urge you to prepare to suffer the tribulation period, do not be stupefied as though I were deserting the Biblical path. If ever the Father has ordained good to come of evil, this period before us is going to be the Master Transformation. The members of the occult can only dream of receiving the same from Satan, for that demon's creative powers are always working toward his own stomach.
While the rapture is defined as an instant transportation to the clouds, with the purpose of sparing Christians the fires of Armageddon intended for the tares, it can also be defined as "ecstasy," for it is a real transformation in every respect in which great grief turns to incomprehensible joy. So take heart.
Jesus told us to keep a watchful eye out for the fearful signs of His return...i.e. signs occurring in the final seven years...not only revealing that He would come back for us after the signs, but that those who didn't watch might end up being left behind in Armageddon. It is no secret that those who wear pre-trib' glasses are minimizing the importance of watching for the signs, assuring us that no one need worry about the signs because the Church will be gone in rapture prior to them. Apparently, pre-trib' perspectives are so distorting that it doesn't dawn on those who hide behind them that it's counter-productive, backward, and even tragic, to put the return of the Lord before the signs of His return.
They consider it a ministry in itself to continually hold the comforting "Blessed Hope" before the Church in order to check the "alarmist" or "rock-the-boat" post-trib' proponents. Therefore, there have been many skilled writers promoting pre-tribulationism with evangelistic fervor, stacking Christian supply stores in their favor and thereby creating a leaning amongst uninformed Christian readers in the intended direction. Church leaders and seminaries are not afraid to preach the Comfort Theory openly as established doctrine, thereby causing many adherents to promote it confidently in Christian social circles. These factors sometimes combine to give the impression that pre-tribulationism is the status quo of the churches, contributing to the timidity of post-tribbers. However, the post-trib' position is quite pervasive even in the face of this misplaced zeal, and has been said to be in the majority worldwide.
That the post-trib' position has such strong acceptance while the propaganda so strongly opposes it is a considerable testimony of the concrete post-trib' language of the Bible, for there is no other factor among all of mankind other than the Bible itself that would want to promote such an undesirable prospect as the endurance of great persecution. But if the Bible promotes the idea, it should hardly be viewed as undesirable.
We remember how Jesus told the apostles that not a hair of their heads would be harmed, and yet they were murdered and otherwise persecuted harshly. Ditto for the tribulation period...the coming threats are indeed avoidable, and yet they are avoidable through loyalty to Christ amid the persecutions. In other words, the threats are not so much the persecutions themselves, but the failure to remain loyal amid them.
To my great relief, post-trib' books have been making it to the retail shelves of late. There is even a stunning book ("The Incredible Cover-up," Dave MacPherson, Omega Publications) that in detail explains the spawning of the pre-trib' theory near 1830 in association with the utterances of a Scottish teen (15 years old), Margaret Macdonald. Her reported "visions," as they have been labeled by her supporters, concerned the return of Christ, and, judging by the words, there can be no doubt that she believed in the passage of the Church through the tribulation period.
However, she also spoke something curious and absolutely new which reflects a basic tenet of the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine: she said that some Christians would see Christ coming, not with the natural eyes, but only with Spiritual eyes...meaning of course that the world would not see Him.
Not that I doubt the possibility of our being able to see apart from our optic nerves, if God should give us the ability, as, for example, He gave it to the disciple, Stephen (Acts 7), but it must be said that this particular idea coming from Margaret is quite clearly an extra-Biblical teaching. Jesus in Matthew 24:30 said that even non-believers will see him when he returns (and therefore mourn), and Revelation confirms this where it says, "EVERY EYE WILL SEE HIM" (1:7). Yet Margaret's claim was that even some believers will not see Jesus at his return because these will not be gifted with Spiritual eyes.
The words said to be Margaret's (I have doubts that she spoke them) are very much like my own, and speak of the coming persecutions and temptations at the hand of the anti-Christ period, and the need for us to be guided by the Holy Spirit in order to endure the period in the Faith. I do not believe that the writer of her words was portraying a pre-tribulation rapture, nor even a pre-tribulation coming of Jesus. The main concern of the "vision" is the promotion of a special Outpouring, which no one on Earth had yet received from God, but which was scheduled exclusively for the future period of Church tribulation. This is the basis of the Latter-Rain doctrine, advanced by Edward Irving, a friend of the MacDonald family, as well as David Bogue his contemporary in London, and Lewis Way of the "Jews' Society."
While I can easily accept that some additional Outpouring will be Offered us to combat the anti-Christ, I do not agree with the picture painted by the Latter Rain movement, which to this day is a Great Revival that is to come upon earth wherein all Christians become like the Two Witnesses in Revelation 11...miracle-working supermen of God that spit flames from their tongues and send the enemy reeling with tails between their legs. But Jesus didn't ask without reason, "When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith in the earth?" That statement concerning the earth's condition at the end reveals the very opposite of a global revival. And didn't Jesus state point-blank that there will be a great falling away from Him and a love growing cold even among believers? While a revival is defined as the lukewarm believers becoming hot, Jesus affirmed that the lukewarm would become cold. That's what we should expect, therefore, sad as it is.
People from all over Great Britain lined up at Margaret's door to hear more because the tribulation was being said to be within a few years...while God was reportedly about to send the "fire" of His Spirit upon His wise virgins, like never before, for the Conducting of incredible miracles, etc. Too many in attendance believed the utterances to be of God, and Latter Rain caught on somewhat, especially as a bold Edward Irving and his financial support, the wealthy "apostle" Henry Drummond, promoted the same.
Margaret's Latter-Rain outlook can be seen in the vision most explicitly with these words: "...there will be an outpouring of the Spirit on the body, such as has not been, a baptism of fire...Oh there must be and will be such an indwelling of the living God as has not been."
This is akin to the so-called "full gospel" that some charismatics preach, a phrase that accuses all other believers of having a mere portion of the gospel. The reality is that the born-again experience is itself the baptism in the Holy Spirit, but the "full gospel" is an imagined extra filling of the Holy Spirit taught to occur after one's born-again experience. The extra filling is said to be necessary for speaking in tongues, prophesying, performing miracles, and in some charismatic circles serves as the ultimate evidence of true salvation.
Wonderful. I wish I could have these gifts, what a great life that would be. I did want them, in fact, more than anything. I wish to be like the Two Witnesses...but not at the expense of fooling myself into thinking I have it when I don't, or thinking that I've just about obtained it, if only I could do a little better service, a little better prayer time, a little better Bible reading. I don't think so. Either He gives it, or every attempt to have it is in vain. We can't have the power of God by our own wills, for if we could, the churches would be filled with mighty people. Obviously, God's will is that we develop good character and grow strong in some hardships, not funnel miracle-power from our fingertips. Each one who belongs to Him will perform many miracles over a lifetime, but most miracles will be subdued, known privately only to the individual, usually through a simple, heart-felt request for the benefit of another in need.
In the Latter-Rain movement that extended from Edward Irving to John Dowie to the Pentecostalism of Charles Parham and many others, the extra-Spirit movement led to a counterfeit Spirituality, fully expected from those seeking to procure a counterfeit Millennium. But the Irvingite movement also produced a doctrinally-perverted Latter-Rain scheme that even the Pentecostals of the mid-20th century condemned. In it's full form, it's the proposal to overthrow the governments of the world in the Name and Strength of God.
What can we say about the secret coming espoused by Margaret (or whoever wrote the "vision"), which only Latter Rainists could see and partake in? Just as her Latter-Rain view, though appearing innocent, was transformed by the Irvingites into a plot to rule Europe, and thereby the world, in the name of Christ, so her view of the secret Appearance was transformed by the Irvingites into a pre-tribulation Appearance. Indeed, this is why I do not believe that Margaret wrote the vision, but rather someone in the Irving scheme (e.g. Robert Norton) wrote it on her behalf, to facilitate Latter Rain and pre-tribulationism as innocently as possible (i.e. through a child in this case), that the world would not suspect the conspirators.
Note that Charles Russell, a Zionist Freemason, predicted (as early as 1886) the invisible coming of Jesus for 1914, the first year of World War I...a war that the Rothschilds (known initiators of the League of Nations) had apparently hoped to pass off as Armageddon. In fact, Russell himself had "predicted" that 1914 would see "the complete overthrow of earth's present rulership" (The Time Is at Hand, 1907, p. 101), which sounds as though the Zionist plan was to set Israel up, after the War, as the world empire. Russell was the creator of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, if that proves to you that the Illuminati was intent on entering evangelical-Christian circles to deceive the true people of Christ.
It is difficult to know with certainty, however, whether the first World War was a trial run, a stepping stone, or a botched attempt at setting up the Millennium. There is evidence to show that the Rothschilds had, from as long ago as the Westcott-and-Hort era (mid 1800s), planned the Millennium for 2000, explaining why the British Royal family had a role in the Oslo Accords, a counterfeit seven-year peace treaty with Israel signed in 1993 (i.e. so that it ended in 2000).
The peace treaty failed, for the Muslims could not be appeased, wherefore the Illuminati finds itself at this time (2003) attempting to eradicate the Muslim problem with Plan B, this time a military offensive (i.e. the war on Terrorism). The Millennial rule has therefore been placed on hold until such time that the Muslim problem is dealt with satisfactorily, for there cannot be a Millennial situation until Israelites and Muslims are at peace. But I predict that the problem will never be solved, and that the real Armageddon, and the real Appearance, with the real Millennium, will occur first to the utter shock of the Illuminatists.
Praise God for the amazing discoveries of such men as Dave MacPherson. The work of these post-tribulationists in uncovering some basic historical truths is greatly underrated by pre-trib' proponents, but I find their dogged efforts a great boon in our understanding of pre-tribulation rapture foundations. Even as the pre-trib' theory (as we know it today) sprouted for the first time through members of the Irving church, the man who later claimed to have written Margaret MacDonald's vision on paper, Rev. Robert Norton, was not merely a member of Irving's church...not merely extremely devoted to Irving's Latter-Rain apostolicism...but he was an avid pre-tribulationist to the day he died 53 years later!
Irving was the chief minister of the Catholic Apostolic Church, now the New Apostolic Church (new because the prophecies of the original church failed to materialize). The Apostolic Church, as the name implies, entertained its leaders as the God-ordained renewal of true apostles in these last days, an egocentric claim made in one way or another by any typical cult of the 1800s. The modern cult comes with a few Catholic colors, including transubstantiation, sanctified holy water (for baptism), and acceptance of the apocrypha. Yet the original church name, in using "Catholic," likely had as it's truest meaning the replacement of the Vatican with the New-World-Order plotted by many bankers, including Henry Drummond. The 12 apostles of that church were each to rule a section of Europe (a 13th apostle had jurisdiction over the United States), wherein each section was said to be one tribe of Israel...thus wrongly viewing the God-ordained seat of Satanic power -- Europe -- as the Israel of God.
It was the Zionism quest of that cult, which not only mirrored Rothschild Zionism but seemed to mesh with it, taking place at the same time as Rothschild Zionism, after all, which convinces me that Rothschilds were involved in the 12-apostle scheme to rule Europe spiritually. There is excellent evidence that the Anglican Church was involved in the scheme, and I have a chapter or two in this book laying out some of these matters.
Because the prelude to the pre-tribulationist era was a product of liberal (i.e. false) prophesying and other unusual activity in the Irvingite church, modern pre-tribulationists would dearly like us to overlook or deny that their theory had anything to do with Irvingites. In fact, credit for pre-trib "enlightenment" had, as Dave MacPherson reveals, been alternatively given to John Darby by those early pre-tribbers who realized that connection with Irvingism would bode very detrimental to the theory. But behold, a Christian who had been working her way up the AMORC-Rosicrucian ladder told me personally that the organization suggested the use of the Darby Bible if ever the Bible was to be used, which gives me reason to suspect that Darby was secretly a Rosicrucian.
Darby had paid a special visit to the family home of the MacDonalds when many others around Britain were lining up at Margaret's door to hear the new teachings and see the reported miraculous works with their own eyes. For the full story, get Dave MacPherson's book ("The Incredible Cover-Up")...a real eye-opener!
Darby gave birth to the Exclusive Brethren when sparring with the faction that came to be known as the Open Brethren. Both groups evolved into anti-charismatic movements, but the Exclusive Brethren turned out to be anti-everything except their own. Thus, Irving and Darby were more than proselytizers of the new pre-trib' teaching; they were also heads in their respective cults...which survive to this day.
Some pre-tribulationists have sought to show that pre-tribulationism was founded in more reliable sources of still earlier years, but nothing has turned up that would indicate anything credible prior to Irving. The pre-tribulationist dog-bone digger, Grant Jeffrey, has found one man ("Ephraim") dating back to the fourth century, who wrote one sentence about the end times in such a way as to allow his words a pre-tribulational interpretation. But this was one sentence among many Ephraim statements devoid of pre-tribulationism, and even if we entertain that lone sentence as a pre-trib' statement, it was a lone instance amid a huge Church history...that didn't burst forth into a pre-trib' movement whatsoever.
Ephraim wrote: "For all the saints and elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins."
It's apparent that Ephraim's use of, "tribulation that is to come," was referring not to the 1260 days, but to Armageddon alone, because the Bible mentions two tribulations, one in Matthew 24:21 (relating to Israel's troubles), and one in Daniel 12:1, relating to the troubles of the anti-Christ and his dominion at the brink of Armageddon. There is with no doubt a Biblical theme assuring salvation via a rapture prior to terrible times, but to leap from that understanding to creating another coming of Jesus years before Armageddon is Biblically bankrupt.
To prove that Ephraim was a post-tribulationist, he also wrote, "But those who wander through the deserts, fleeing from the face of the serpent, bend their knees to God, just as lambs to the adders of their mothers, being sustained by the salvation of the Lord, and while wandering in states of desertion, they eat herbs."
The phrases, "face of the serpent" and "wander through the deserts," refer to the Revelation-12 text, specifically to the people of God in the final 1260 days. Thus, Ephraim viewed the wilderness Woman of Revelation 12 as the Church (i.e. not bloodline Israel) divinely protected within the 1260-day tribulation period...a post-tribulation doctrine that was common in the early centuries...and one that I hold to whole-heartedly.
I am one up on Jeffrey, by the way, because I found at least one pre-tribber dating all the way back to the first century. He was teaching that the Lord had already come, even though the anti-Christ had not yet shown up. He thereby rates as a pre-tribulationist, and because he was yet on Earth when he claimed that the Lord had already come, he must have been teaching an invisible coming, because no one saw it.
The problem for Jeffrey and friends is that the apostle Paul denounced the report of that pre-tribber; Paul even wrote to the Thessalonian believers warning them that this pre-tribber was a deceiver. Paul also said, under Inspiration, that believers should not be deceived by anyone teaching the same pre-tribulationism in the future, and then specified that there is no way for the gathering (i.e. rapture) to occur until the anti-Christ first comes upon the world scene.
Paul goes on still further in that section (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3), showing that the Lord doesn't come to gather us until He comes to destroy the anti-Christ. Yet, when pre-tribbers read these words of Paul today, they get a pre-trib rapture out of verse 7! Funny, that, sort of like saying, "I have a million dollars, and here's a penny to prove it." The Lord will certainly call them to answer for their rude twisting of Paul's words.
2 - DOING THE MEEK'N MACHO THING
Frustrated with post-tribbers for urging the Church to gracefully accept Her inevitable endurance of the tribulation, one prominent pre-tribulationist speared them by calling them "macho" Christians. It is that writer's use of the term that has spurred me to use it here against his own colleagues, because it serves pre-trib' schemers more aptly than humble post-tribbers. Yes, anyone accepting the tempering of their souls produced by God-permitted trials is hardly formed into a proud or egocentric person, but, on account of the trials themselves is molded to the very contrary. So, if we post-tribbers are not yet humble, we will be. But pre-tribbers, after realizing their error, armpit-deep in the tribulation, will be more humble still.
I, for one, am eager for the tribulation to begin, but I am not fearless in the face of the trials. I welcome the period, not because I then get a chance to show off my valiant machismo by kicking the anti-Christ's butt, but because it's the crossing of one last desert before reaching the Heavenly Oasis. Certainly, every Christian with an average filling of the Holy Spirit understands the cause for this optimism. The dictionary word, "macho," hardly applies, although I will entertain it if I can re-define it loosely as "Godly courage," instead of an exaggerated sense of manly pride.
Now, it was Hal Lindsey who called post-tribulationists "macho," and I wish I could say it was with jocularity, but I can't. He appears to resent us simply because we proclaim the Church's need for purification by trial prior to the rapture. Brother Hal has little to endure to the end if he must only endure until the start of the tribulation. And I do not need to be a true prophet to predict rightly that he will have to come down from his literary pedestal, as he has been caught plagiarizing big time so that even his publisher pulled one book (about Gog) off the shelf! Yes, it's true, and thanks be again to Dave MacPherson for sharing this and other bits of uncommon knowledge. I also had an author email me and testify that Hal had attempted to "steal" her book prior to her publishing it.
NO EGO ON OUR FACES
The apostle Paul recognized that his painful thorns were given him for the express purpose of keeping him from becoming macho. Therefore, the post-trib' position should be considered an immunity to machismo. God in his wisdom will adjust the volume and intensity of our tribulation trials at his own discretion, for our good, and we must try to endure them to the end, though I am sure it will be heart-wrenching at times. But if that's what's going to make us refined, spotless and complete, then let it be. Daniel had no reservations about understanding the need for macho saints in the end-times because he accepted God's words without pre-tribulation rapture principles to muddle up his view:
"And many of those [in the tribulation] who understand shall stumble, to refine and to purge and to make them white, to the time of the end" (Daniel 11:35).
It is a pretty simple matter to see that Daniel places the beginning of the 1260-day great tribulation period at verse 31, where the "abomination of desolation" occurs, while the quote above concerning the trials and refinement of the saints is found afterwards, in verse 35. Therefore, as the trials come after the Abomination, while the Abomination itself initiates the great tribulation period, it means the purification process of the depicted saints will occur IN the great tribulation period. Moreover, as the text clearly indicates, the purging continues to the period's very end. Macho or not, the depicted saints are going to have to endure it, for which reason they will be wise to prepare in advance for it, like the wise virgins of the parable.
Now, pre-tribulationists are not at all inclined to agree that the "abomination of desolation" in verse 31 is the Abomination of the last days because such an interpretation would depict the related saints too much like Christians in the tribulation. Of course, they cannot deny that an Abomination of Desolation will be associated with the end-time anti-Christ, but what they do do, erroneously enough, is to interpret the abomination here in verse 31 as another abomination of an earlier time. Then, whenever they discuss the end-time Abomination, they will cite the instances in either chapter 9 or 12.
In other words, merely to protect their pre-trib' theory, they wrongly enter an ancient Greek king, Antiochus IV, as the fulfillment of Daniel 11:21-35. In order to justify and promote this, they stress Antiochus IV as a type, or forerunner, of the anti-Christ. Having interpreted these initial verses in this way, pre-tribbers can then view the anti-Christ's activities as beginning in verse 36, although this is completely without textual justification because verse 36 does not introduce a new personality!
I dare say that the sole reason for this late placement of the anti-Christ's textual appearance (i.e. in verse 36) is to push him one verse after the saints are depicted in tribulation. In this way, the saints no longer appear to be related to the anti-Christ, or to the great tribulation period that he causes, but can be (mis)interpreted as ancient Jews suffering at Antiochus' hands. However, this interpretation is flatly rejected by the text simply because the depicted saints are to endure "TO THE TIME OF THE END," which is clearly a reference to the end of the world and cannot by any means be referring to any period in pre-Christian times.
Pre-trib' proponents will then say that the "abomination" of verse 31 was the slaughter of a pig in the Jewish Temple over 2,000 years ago by Antiochus. But understand that, as true as it might be that this well-documented slaughter was an abomination, the text makes it quite clear that the anti-Christ is introduced much sooner, in verse 21, meaning that he is fully associated with the Abomination of verse 31. Furthermore, and as it should be, the saints of verses 32-35 are end-time peoples associated with the great-tribulation period.
We all want to walk the New Jerusalem streets of gold, but the scriptures tell us time and time again that there's some hard times for the saints to endure before they may see their new faces reflected in its luster. Goshen-like protection in the wilderness we might receive from God, but that will not necessarily eliminate hard times. But if we are in spiritual pits living in this present society, as Lot was in Sodom, then we should certainly welcome the final desert. Not that desert localities have magical powers for refining us, but that the "civilized" society of man poses negative influences conflicting heavy-handedly with the spiritual condition desired in us by God, and we too-often succumb.
The alternative to running out into the desert in the tribulation will be to stay amid the complacent society where homosexuals are respected more than Spirit-filled Christians, and where too many unregenerate men neigh for the wives of others, and vice versa. In such an environment, how can you be purified spiritually? I say, be macho! Welcome the hard times for the sake of your purification, and do charge into the tribulation with courage. Do it for someone else if not for yourself, for by that attitude you will succeed with God's help.
As it has been said many times before, let me say it again: many Christians are in danger of repeating the error of Lot's wife. Whoever is more concerned with earthly endeavors, including church-related careers, will steer away from talk about tribulation preparation. "Any day now," pre-tribbers keep telling us, while we live in comfort and at ease, hardly bothered by the stench of Satan in our midst. No need to break away from materialism before entering Heavenly bliss; just come as you are in your soiled, worldly garb.
But, and we may have passed over this point, there was one fellow in a certain parable who actually made it to the Wedding Supper in Heaven--who had already spread the butter on his bread!--when he was seized and thrown out by the Bridegroom into the outer darkness because it was discovered that he was not wearing the proper wedding clothes (Matthew 22:11-13). In whatever way you might like to interpret this parable in terms of eternal security, the point is clear: the proper "clothing" is vitally important for believers. And the tribulation will urge us to dress in the proper, "white" clothing.
The evil around us has been steadily pacing forward, and the society we must live in has been suffering an escalating loss of righteousness for a while now. We are being asked to keep our clothes white in a world that is very prone to staining them. We might say that God has been conditioning us for the greater darkness yet to come? God may be doing his part to prepare you for the tribulation, but are you permitting progressively-difficult trials in your current experience? You have been partially conditioned for the tribulation already if you have been accepting these. I know at times I reject my trials, and like a child (or worse) I complain to God. But they are designed to make us mature men and women, and we may as well engage them the first time around because they will come back again until we act and think acceptably within their pressures.
Remember that Lot was mocked by his sons-in-law when he urged them to flee the immoral city to the wilderness town of Zoar. In the same way, your brethren may laugh behind your back if you reveal your plan to dress a wilderness locality to serve the tribulation there, and you may lose their friendship. But as Lot surely left Sodom with the Lord's angels, but only at the proper time, the Lord is going to stretch out his hand again to lead us into far-removed areas protected by angels. Look for that hand, and grab hold of it, no matter what others may think, no matter how they may mock. If Hal Lindsey mocked us several years ago, how much more will mockery come our way when the time is more at hand...when sinners have come to full sinfulness?
Nobody in their human nature wants to talk about suffering, or to welcome pain and trials. God has promised an end to all of these, in his Rest. Naturally, we are longing for the last whistle of the day, when we can punch out of here. At that last trumpet, the Lord will punch us out of here with a bang! There will be a spectacular rending of the sky making visible the dimension of Heaven. The saints will rise to wide open spaces in the sky while the world falls to the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. Satan will be imprisoned, and a new thing will be done in the earth. Christians will rule the planet as co-rulers with Christ and his apostles; a glorious kingdom it will be. In light of all this, let us welcome the trials. Let us prod each other on to a very macho task whenever we have the opportunity.
But if believers are waiting for the Knight on his white horse to come sweep them away by the silvery moon before the tribulation testing, they will be shocked to discover that their "date" isn't showing up for seven more years. We can only wonder if this shock will or will not cause a giving up the wait, and a turning to another lover instead--the world and its techno-complacency.
Whoever honors the tribulation love-affair by first separating from the skincode's money-based affluence, and thereafter keeping the command of love-thy-brethren, deserves to be separated more gloriously into the age of everlasting love and to SHINE LIKE THE STARS FOR EVER AND EVER" (Dan. 12:2).
GET OUT YOUR SPIRITUAL GRITS AND USE 'EM!
Tribulation preparation has to do with more than storing food and gasoline, and providing a piece of land for sustenance. It has also to do with, and in fact begins with, mental conditioning. To prepare your mind, you must at least become used to the idea of going through the tribulation. If you don't know what's coming, read the prophecies. If you neglect the entire topic, you will most likely suffer mental shock when the time arrives suddenly. Shock leads to hasty, frantic action, and even if this condition dies down and stabilizes, the reality of your situation will still be there, staring you in the face.Then, whether you find refuge with prepared Christians or not, there will occur the debilitating mental condition called "guilt." You will acknowledge your own foolishness for doing nothing for yourself and jeopardizing your family's welfare. You will feel guilt every time you need to impinge your situation on the backs of other Christians. You will eat their food with it written across your forehead, and dredging the mud is a terrible way to enter the tribulation marathon. However, if you accept the call to endure it, and you also prepare physically before it arrives, then you might put your mind to helping others instead of worrying about yourself. And you might have BLESSED written across your smooth forehead, and down your upraised neck, and around your proud shoulders, down to your firm and stable knees, and all the way to your blessed toes.
You don't want to be caught by surprise without mental conditioning because the battle to accept or reject the "mark of the beast" will occur in your mind. Above and beyond the strengthening of our faith through our current experiences, mental preparation will be necessary for things we have not yet experienced, such as severe starvation, repeated cold nights, great despair, imminent death, murder, mass murder, etc. All these things may happen to some loved ones in the fiery furnace, and perhaps to ourselves. Accept these things as real events yet to happen and make every effort to assure they don't happen to you and your loved ones.
Jesus did not ask us to put ourselves in harm's way to prove our worth, but told us to "beg" God for assistance...for avoidance or faithful endurance of the tribulation's persecutions. That doesn't sound like a call to take it all in stride. And judge for yourself whether Jesus meant for us to start begging while in the tribulation, or to begin before it comes upon us:
"Be watchful at all times, begging that you may be able to escape all these things that are about to happen, and to stand before the Son of man" (Luke 21:36).
We see that we should beg/pray on our own behalf before the tribulation comes upon us. That makes sense. Prayer is a future investment towards our struggle against the skincode. As an added benefit, prayer's by-product is the conditioning of our minds for the situations that we, or our loved ones, may have to experience. Not only that, but we also give Him the opportunity to implant in our (open) minds the strategies needed to avoid them.
Yes, the body will likely suffer. Accept it. Get used to it, and pray you won't need to endure the worst. But don't engross yourself and thereby produce living nightmares in the process. Don't believe, as some are suggesting, that extreme persecution/death is a certainty for all believers. The Spirit of God will help you with threats to your life and body when the time comes, but if you are preparing your mind now, you will then be more on top of things, whether it means life or death for you. The more you are horrified by death, starvation, or the wilderness, the lovelier the mark will become. You must not love your life so much that you are unwilling to die for Christ. Seek this condition, for it takes an extended period in your life to even come close to perfecting it, and is not a thing to be manufactured in an instant in the tribulation period.
Jesus tells us to watch while begging. For very good reason, he did not instruct us to build in the wilderness nor to prepare loads of food there. If he had so instructed, every generation from the onset of Christianity would have seen a running out into the wilderness to carry out the order, for it appears to be God's will that all generations should somewhat feel that they may be the very last of this age. And what a big mess premature preparation would have created for countless lives throughout the centuries! However, it is the watching for the signs provided to us that alerts to the right time for building and storing, and it is through the begging that God will provide our physical requirements so that we might successfully reject the skincode, remembering this, that rejecting it is not in itself complete assurance of salvation. One word: love! Love for others makes your faith strong, for faith is the Gift granted to those who love.
But to suggest, as pre-tribulationists do, that Jesus is returning for us before the signs of that return is to put the cart before the horse. Such dull thinking makes the signs useless!! Why did Jesus give the signs at all if he's coming back before them? Ask a pre-tribber that question when he/she claims that the return can be imminent only if Jesus returns before the signs. Tell a pre-tribber: imminence is NOT intended for Book-of-Life believers; otherwise He wouldn't have given signs to tip us off concerning the correct timing of the Return. But it's the world that sins that God plans to surprise imminently.
Having seen the skincode approaching very quickly, I realized that the right time to prepare a retreat had come. Being a few years too early was certainly not a problem for me, but who knows...perhaps I'm a little late; my place is by no means fully prepared as yet. This is great news because the end, and consequently, The Beginning, is finally here! Will you share my sentiments? Please do, and remember that you will make it if you try: God will make it for you if you try!
Exercise faith in the tribulation, yes, but perform your duty now by planning to do all you can for others when the time comes. Mental conditioning of itself is good and necessary, but if you don't let it lead to physical preparation (food, shelter, etc.), you're more likely to end up suffering the things you fear most. Yes, your spiritual condition will be most important, but how will you increase the quality of that condition if you are spending your every day scrounging for basic food? A strong mind may be able to resist the mark till the death of the person, but a solid physical situation is advised for those with average willpower so that it isn't very wise in any case to neglect a pre-trib' plan of preparation.
The net result of pre-tribulationism is to ignore the prompting of the Spirit to pray for some form of tribulation security. Though they may obey Jesus' instruction to pray for deliverance from end-time harm, pre-tribulationists think such deliverance will come about by a rapture prior to the tribulation period. While God attempts to lead them to active preparation, pre-tribbers reject any such direction, considering it to be a distraction from Satan more than a directive of God. Anything having to do with entering the tribulation is anything but God's voice because they "know" that God won't send them through it. Therefore, these believers are more likely to fall prey to the skincode.
Have you ever noticed the revealing picture in Psalm 18 of the coming of the Lord with dark clouds? It is far more dramatic than the picture in Revelation 19. You wouldn't want to be alive at that time if you fail him in the tribulation. Have you never read how the people of the earth will prefer the rocks of the mountains to fall on them rather than to face Jesus on that Day? Can you imagine the lights of the universe turning off so that the entire earth becomes pitch black? Then, in the sky, a light appears from the Messiah as he proceeds through the open throne-room of God. He radiates upon the dark storm clouds while speeding upon a cherub. Thunder and lightning is all about in the drama, shattering the so-called "PEACE AND SAFETY" in the earth, and its people recognize their doom and gasp for one last breath of life.
The saints who have died will then be whisked into the broad, open sky, and some (i.e. not all!) of those without the mark of the beast will be transported anti-gravity style to join the throng. What will CNN be saying then? Will it be on the scene? What will the New York Times be publishing the next day?
Weeping will then replace the celebration in the earth as the people see this sign in the sky. But there will be no more hesitation; the time for mercy ends. Liberalism, the stock market, porn in the local milk store...ends. The mountains and hills melt. Volcanic fire explodes forth and falls as burning hail from the sky onto the cities and nations of godless men, onto believers who in disloyalty took the mark to give themselves over to the New Sodom, and onto the goats who rejected the mark and yet did not conform to sheep-status. The earth will sway like a hut in its orbit. The only hope left for them will be to fight and defeat the King of kings, but within days, the battle of Armageddon is over, and the anti-Christ is grieving horribly in the Lake of Fire.
God has shed innumerable tears for his ailing creation; therefore, understand the immensity of the situation. The Day of the LORD that is so passionately portrayed in the Old Testament time and time again will come to its dawn. Tears will be forcefully held back, and redness of anger, the unmerciful "WRATH OF HIS WRATH" as Revelation puts it, will replace them upon his face.
How long God has waited for this Day he calls his own! How much work he has put into the preparation of our eternal glory! Are we going to enter the stage flippantly, to make ourselves naked and useless? Is it a time to cower, to shy away and depend on a false hope? Does this sound like just another day so that we should treat it as such? Isn't it time now to condition our minds for the task ahead so that we will succeed? Or is this being too macho?
3 - THE PAROUSIA AND THE FIRST RESURRECTION
Any New-Testament allusion or mention of the rapture, if its timing is not indicated by the writer, is understood to coincide with the post-tribulation return because this is the only return all writers knew about. In other words, it was unnecessary for the New-Testament writers to specify at which point in the tribulation the rapture would occur because there were no pre-tribulation rapturists in those days to contend with.
Inadvertently, the apostles did at times expose their position sufficiently to reprove modern pre-tribulationists. One such instance occurs in 2 Thessalonians 2, where Paul connects the rapture with the only appearance of Jesus that he knew about, the one which destroys the anti-Christ:
"Now we ask you, brothers, about the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him... do not let anyone [including pre-tribulationists] deceive you in any way; because it will not occur unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed..."(2:1-3)
You can readily see Paul teaching that the gathering and the appearance would occur together, at the same time. There is nothing which surprises us about connecting the events in this way. And then Paul's mindset exposes itself yet more as he goes on, showing us that the Appearance is not pre-tribulational because the anti-Christ must come first. One wonders how pre-tribbers ignore this straight-forward fact as they read it.
Hey, Church, the anti-Christ must come before the rapturous gathering!
How did Paul know? Jesus said so (in Matthew 24:15-31), that the Abomination of Desolation will be seen by the Elect, and will act as a sign of the rapture's nearness.
Notice how the double event, the appearance-rapture, is said to occur on "the Day of the LORD," which is a post-tribulation affirmation all in itself simply because the Day of the LORD is a post-trib' event. And it's not by coincidence that the Appearance occurs on the Day of the LORD; the Day of the LORD will be the Day of the LORD because the Appearance initiates the Day of the LORD.
There are many scriptures which show Jesus appearing at the end of the anti-Christ's rule. For Jesus to appear near the beginning of, or during, the anti-Christ's rule, is impossible; Paul places the Appearance in the last day(s) of the anti-Christ's life, for Paul shows the anti-Christ being destroyed by that Appearance:
"And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy by the spirit of his mouth and bring to nothing by the brilliance of his appearance" (v 8).
Shouldn't we also view the Gathering as a post-trib' event, since Paul in verse 1 connects it to the Appearance?
How do pre-tribbers wiggle out of this? You can depend on them to find a way! They always do, even if it means creating a new doctrine. One could argue that the anti-Christ is revealed before the tribulation altogether. And in order for the pre-tribber to do this, the Day of the LORD must be viewed as the entire tribulation period (i.e. the 70th Week), which is exactly what they teach, even though Joel 2:31 makes this an unacceptable option. But don't worry, they'll just twist Joel too! They can do that because they are God's special prophets!
Of course, there is no indication anywhere in the Bible exposing the revelation of the anti-Christ prior to the 70th Week. But that's not going to stop Hal Lindsey, who wrote:
"The Roman Dictator must be unveiled a short while before the actual beginning of Daniel's Seventieth Week, which also begins the Day of the Lord" (THE RAPTURE, BANTAM BOOKS, page 128).
This is quite a statement for one who goes to great lengths to teach otherwise, that the Church is not allowed to see any signs of Christ's pre-tribulation coming. Hal, you can't teach that the rapture is "at any moment," and then turn around and say there's nothing to worry about until the anti-Christ is revealed.
Hal uses an extra-Biblical argument to press his case, telling his readers that it's necessary for the anti-Christ to be revealed before the tribulation because time is needed to set up the "ten-nation European confederacy." "Ad hoc" is the word here! The Bible doesn't so much as tell us anything about the activities of the ten kings during the Week, let alone prior to the Week. What it does tell us is that the anti-Christ will have their support for an "hour" (i.e. Armageddon) to fight Christ.
We also know that the ten kings will hate the Harlot, wherefore if the Harlot represents the Revived Roman Empire (i.e. the European Union), as I and many others believe, then, obviously, the ten kings are not likely European kings. This supports my view that these ten kings are NOT the 10 minus 3 kings of Daniel 7 (more on that later, including the identity of the 10 minus 3).
"Then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy by the spirit of his mouth and bring to nothing by the brilliance of his parousia" (2 Thessalonians 2:8).
You don't need much time to figure out correctly which of the two arrivals is first in line. Obviously, the anti-Christ will be revealed before the "parousia" destroys him. "Parousia" is the Greek word for "visible appearance," often translated as "coming." We can now know for certain that whenever the apostles use the term "parousia" in relation to Christ's coming, they are referring to the brilliant, visible, post-trib' Appearance.
While it is difficult in the first place to use this term to describe the invisible coming that pre-tribbers envision, it is still more strenuous to place it at a pre-trib' time, especially as the apostles did not ever write/know about such an event. When Paul says, only 7 verses earlier, "Concerning his parousia and our being gathered to him..." the Gathering is thereby too-obviously tied into the bright, post-trib' Appearance. Anyone who assails this fact does not merely assail post-tribulationists.
When Jesus was warning us not to follow the false messiahs who would arise, he instead told us to wait for this brilliant coming in the clouds:
"For as the lightning comes forth from the east and shines unto the west, so will be the parousia of the Son of Man" (Matthew 24:27).
Lest anyone should even attempt to argue that this brilliant and fearful Appearance is an invisible or secret pre-tribulation coming, it is exposed only two and three verses later as the arrival of the Son of Man upon the clouds "after the tribulation of those days" (Matt. 24:29-30).
As far as we can discern, all New-Testament writers viewed the Parousia as the return of Christ which would rapture us out of this present world. James wrote,
"Be long-suffering, therefore, brothers, until the parousia of the Lord" (James 5:7).
How could James tell us that we must patiently wait until the Parousia, occurring after the tribulation, unless we must also endure the entire tribulation? Peter, like Paul, connects the Parousia with the Appearance on the post-trib' Day of the LORD, and, like James, Peter stresses the need for his lambs to await on earth until the fearful "parousia":
"The Day of the LORD will come as a thief, in which the skies with rushing sound will pass away, and the burning elements will be dissolved...As everything will be dissolved, what sort of men does it require you to be in holy behavior and godliness as you await and speed up the parousia on the Day of God, on account of which the skies will be set on fire..." (2 Peter 3:10-12).
Armageddon will be a day of melting and fire, rushing wind and cloudy tempest. Not just the mountains and islands, but the sun and stars as well will disappear. Peter is referring to the same post-trib' cosmic event spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 24:29, but with Old-Testament script as an additional basis of his portrayal. The pre-tribbers argue that the Day of the LORD here must arrive before the 70th Week because the Parousia must occur by surprise..."as a thief." They therefore think that it's the Church which is slated to be taken by surprise. But if this were true, then Jesus would not have given the Church signs of his Parousia, for signs are given that we might not be taken by surprise.
And so how do the pre-tribbers get out of this? They'll find a way; they always do! Just make the Parousia a two-stage event, with phase one before the tribulation, and phase two after the tribulation. They don't need Biblical support, because they are the special prophets of God. But Paul writes:
"You yourselves accurately know that the Day of the LORD will come like a thief in the night...But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this Day should overtake you as a thief..." (1 Thessalonians 5:1, 4).
There you have more confirmation that the brothers were to wait until the Day of the LORD for ultimate salvation? Again, we see why it is so absolutely necessary for pre-tribbers to interpret that Day as the entire tribulation period. But how can the Day of the LORD arrive and settle over the world prior to the anti-Christ's reign of 3.5 years? Is it not understood through common sense alone that the Day of the LORD cannot arrive until the day that Christ destroys the anti-Christ, at which time only He sets up the Kingdom of the LORD on earth? The great tribulation is hardly the Day of the LORD, but the Day of Satan. God himself sanctions the final 1260 days as the Day of Satan.
Note that Paul confirms another common-sense point of view, that those who are slated to be taken by surprise like a thief in the night are those living in "darkness." That's not the Church, is it? Why don't pre-tribbers acknowledge this basic thing? Because they wear their pre-trib' glasses and are themselves walking in a degree of darkness.
"...we who are alive and remaining at the parousia of the Lord will by no means precede those who are have fallen asleep [died], because the Lord himself, with the vocal command of an the archangel, and with a trumpet of God, will descend from Heaven and the dead in Christ will be arisen first, and then we who are living and remaining shall be raptured together with them into the clouds to a meeting of the Lord in the air...But concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you do not need to be written to, for you yourselves accurately know that the Day of the LORD comes as a thief in the night. Whenever they say, 'Peace and safety,' then sudden [imminent] destruction comes on them..." (1 Thessalonians 4:15- 5:3).
There you go. The surprise Visit by the Lord will occur with destruction on the ungodly tares...on those who are so unwatchful that they deem the day to be one of "peace and safety." And just what do we expect from the false prophets and teachers in the preceding tribulation period, but that they will preach peace and safety? And so the imminence of the Lord's Appearance is not slated for us who watch and please God...who live in the Light...but for those who scoff and persecute and carry out the evil lusts of their minds and bodies. So putrid will they become that they will not be permitted to continue populating the world with their sons and daughters.
There are three distinct events (in the above quote) all tied into one. That is, the Rapture is tied to the Parousia, and the Parousia is tied to the Day of the LORD. All that needs to be done, therefore, is to prove the post-trib' position of any one of the three. There can be nothing easier to do. In Revelation 16:14-16, it is a simple matter to see the rapture taking place in relation to Armageddon. For, in verse 14 we see the world's preparation for Armageddon, while in verse 16 we see Armageddon about to begin. And sandwiched between these two verses, Christ himself speaks, saying,
"Behold, I am coming like a thief..."
If Christ comes as a thief before the tribulation, why would he warn, "Behold, I come like a thief," just when Armageddon is about to begin? And does he not make it obvious that he will appear in relation to the 6th Bowl in which this warning is found? And is it not obvious also that the imminence (i.e. surprise) of His coming is yet in effect as late as that 6th Bowl, since he there uses the "thief" illustration? Yet pre-tribbers tell us over and over again ad nauseam that imminence cannot exist beyond the start of the 1260 days...because the events of the 1260 days will tip off the Church and thereby ruin the imminence.
Don't fail to connect the "trumpet of God" in Paul's quote with the seventh Trumpet of Revelation. The "vocal command of an archangel" should also be connected with the post-trib' uprising of the archangel Michael in Daniel:
"...Michael shall stand up [after the anti-Christ pitches his tents in Israel at the end of the tribulation period--see Daniel 11: 21-45]..., and at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found written in the Book. And many of those sleeping in the earth's dust shall awake..." (Daniel 12:1-2).
When the pre-trib' writer tells you, therefore, that there really isn't any definite Biblical proof either way, pre- or post-, he's just trying to make the score look even because he recognizes, deep down, that post-tribulationism has more than a decisive edge when it comes to Scripture backing one position or the other.
THE FIRST RESURRECTION
In chapter 20, we are shown the brutal killing of Christians by the anti-Christ:
"I saw...the souls of those who were beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God, and they did not worship the beast nor its image and did not receive the mark on their forehead or their hand, and they lived again and reigned with Christ a thousand years. This is the first resurrection.
If Christians are seen being killed by the beast, then they must be enduring the tribulation while that occurs. Now, if they are killed in the tribulation, their subsequent resurrection must occur some time after the period begins. Furthermore, because the resurrection of Christians who will live and die in the tribulation is called the "first resurrection," there could not by any means whatsoever be a resurrection prior to the tribulation. Since the rapture is undeniably fused to the resurrection of the Church, therefore, there can be no such thing as a pre-tribulation rapture. The Scripture quote above, then, is a strong case for the post-trib' resurrection/rapture.
How do pre-tribbers get out of this one? They claim that the first resurrection has more than one phase, having a phase at the start of the tribulation...a pre-trib' resurrection that is first-er than the post-trib' first resurrection!! Just as they split the end-time return of Christ into two phases without one scripture to back them up, so they split the first resurrection. But while the end-time return is never called the "first coming," here we do have the "first resurrection" so that those who modify the fact to their personal liking place themselves under the curse of Revelation wherein it warns that not one word should be altered.
Hal Lindsey wrote: "If the post-Tribulationists could prove that there is only one phase to the resurrection of life, and that it occurs at the [post-trib'] Second Coming, then they could make a strong case against pre- and mid-Tribulationism" (THE RAPTURE: Bantam Books; page 157).
IF WE COULD PROVE?! Talk about passing the dunce hat, Hal. The text doesn't imply phases, so why should we prove that they don't exist? Should the onus not be on pre-tribbers, therefore, who introduce and apply phases to this resurrection? We post-tribbers don't need to prove a thing, for the proof is right there in the pudding. Hal himself admits that the First Resurrection is emphatically presented as exclusively post-trib' in timing, so much so that the creation of phases is absolutely necessary to combat the fact. But instead of showing any justification from the text itself for the creation of phases, he places the burden on us to prove that they don't exist. I'm flabbergasted. Shame on you, Hal! Give your head a shake!!
Writes Hal: "If the rapture is separated by seven years from the Second Coming, as pre-Tribulationists contend, then there has to be at least one more phase in order to resurrect the Old Testament and Tribulation saints" (THE RAPTURE: page 157). Okay Hal...whatever you say. IF the moon is made of cheese, there just have to be cows up there.
Hal admits the "first resurrection" occurs at a post-trib' time in these following words: "Revelation 20:1-5 definitely places the resurrection of Tribulation saints after the Lord Jesus comes to earth, judges the anti-Christ..." (THE RAPTURE: page 157, 158). However, do you see how it is not the Church saints that in his mind will partake in that post-trib' resurrection, but, rather, whom he calls the "Tribulation saints." Since Christians are seen living and dying under the shadow of the anti-Christ, writers like he just stir up a cloud of smoke and, poof! Just change these Christians into a separate body called Tribulation Saints, and the Church disappears from the scene altogether.
I can be given to timidity as much as any pre-tribulationist. Bravery is a quality meted out by God, and not invested in me as a permanent or natural trait. As for endurance, I have as much difficulty enduring trials as anyone. My spurring the reader to express courage and endurance for the times ahead does not mean that I am a sure bet to make it faithfully through. I, too, must be tested, though I think that I will try as hard as I possibly can, never forgetting that I am worthy of worse than death, and that God is by far a prize worth dying for.
But if I say to myself, "Enjoy life now--have some fornication/adultery when the opportunity arises...experience Europe, Las Vegas...build me a shocking home...wear cloths and jewelry to impress and attract others to myself--and finally, when the tribulation arrives, I'll just refuse the mark and be saved"...well, you know, I'd be deceiving myself and giving myself to a dangerous and shameful peril.
4 - MATTHEW 24 AND THE ELECT-SHUN
Although the Bible does not say exactly this, suppose for the moment that it did so: "After the tribulation period, God will send his angels to gather Christians in the sky?" Would you then accept the post-trib' position since the gathering, or rapture, is clearly said to occur after the tribulation? I trust that this would strike someone as direct evidence for the post-trib' rapture.
I can show you a Biblical quote, word for word from the mouth of Jesus himself, which is the same as the above quote, except that the word "elect" is used instead of "Christian." No matter, for any other use of "elect" saints in the New Testament always refers to Christians...never to non-Christian Jews. Check this out for yourself if you wish, in the following verses using "elect," or just trust me:
- Matthew 20:16
- John 13:18, 15:16
- Acts 15:22, 15:25
- Romans 8:33, 16:13
- 1 Corinthians 1:27-28
- Ephesians 1:4
- Colossians 3:12
- James 2:5
- 2 Timothy 2:10
- Titus 1:1
- 1 Peter 1:2, 2:9, 5:13
- Revelation 17:14
However, this rather long list of evidence does not appear to matter to Hal Lindsey and friends. They yet refuse to view the elect of Matthew 24 as Christians, and they have no qualms about teaching you falsely as long as you line up with their pre-trib' views. To be most accurate, let me show you a reading of the Biblical verse that coincides with my Greek interlinear:
"And immediately after the tribulation of those days...he will send his angels with a great trumpet, and they will gather his elect out of the four winds from the extremities of the skies unto their extremities"(Matthew 24:29-31).
We know from other scriptures that the rapture will occur at a loud trumpet of God (I Thess. 4:16; I Cor. 15:23; Rev. 10:7), that it entails angels gathering Christians (Matt. 13:30, 39; Rev. 19:14), that the gathering will take place in the sky (I Thess. 4:17), and that God's elect anywhere else in the New Testament always indicates believers in Jesus, but the pre-tribulationists would lead you to believe this verse is anything but the rapture of the Church. Why? Because in this instance, the text clearly shows the event to be "after" the tribulation."
Rather than humbly accepting a post-tribulation rapture, then, and rather than admitting that the Bible has concrete language to that end, they attempt to undermine all by altering the meaning of one word, "elect," so that it becomes a reference to the Jews alone, and not at all to Christians. The Church is thereby removed from the text and, therefore, from the event completely. This is serious infringement; the entire discourse here on the end times is affected...we are no longer led to view the bulk of Matthew 24 as a warning for Christians, but solely for Jews.
It's pure manipulation, arrogance against the words of the Son of God. How else am I to understand the pre-tribulationists when they give Old-Testament cross references alone for Matthew's elect? Pathetic is the word! Of course the "elect" of the Old Testament are going to be Jews and nothing but Jews!
With the first coming of Jesus, the elect became the Christians, and the Israel of God became the Church. Therefore, it is required of all prophetic students to interpret the elect of the great tribulation period as New Testament Christians. To avoid this, pre-tribulationists have invented dispensationalism, that they might re-interpret the tribulation elect as Old Testament saints. Pre-tribbers have invented several dispensations for the sole purpose of introducing a new dispensation in the final seven years, suggesting that God is concerned in that period only with the Old-Testament dispensation again (i.e. natural Israel), and not at all the Church.
If this is true, why, in the book of Revelation, are God's people, when seen within the tribulation, always Christians? Even the 144,000 are Christians? Why would God, in the Revelation, be urging Christians to endure the tribulation faithfully and patiently if He were not concerned with the Church at that time? To the contrary, Christians are front and center in the Revelation.
Pre-tribbers in this way add error upon error, which would not be so disturbing if it didn't involve the words of Jesus, and especially such important words that concerns the safety of believers in perhaps the most-threatening times of the Church's history. Peter understood the Church to be the Israel of God:
"But you [Christians] are an elect people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation [i.e. Israel]..." (1 Peter 2:9).
Where in the Bible does it tell us that God will be concerned only with Jews in the last seven years of history, as by placing the Church on a shelf for the interim? What evidence is there that the 144,000 represent the special Jewish remnant rather than Church-based Messianic Jews? Shall we view these first-fruits as the Jewish remnant merely because the pre-tribbers require it for their dispensationalism? And shall we likewise view the woman of Revelation 12 as the Jewish remnant merely because pre-tribbers don't want emphasis on Christians during the tribulation? Shall we above all interpret all things through pre-trib' perspectives...so that all doctrines fall in line with a rapture before the tribulation? How far shall we go in distorting the realities of Scripture for the sake of altering the "elect" of Matthew 24? And how can Jesus view such groundless defiance as trivial?
Must we conclude that Matthew's post-tribulation gathering of the elect in the sky is of Jewish Christians only? Or, if this seems unsound, are we to deny that the gathering takes place in the sky at all, as some pre-tribbers do, claiming that the atmospheric terms used are merely symbolic of a broad, earthly gathering of Jews? If the text could not be explained literally, a symbolic view would be called for, but as there will definitely be a literal gathering of Christians in and from the sky, no one has any right to suggest this text is anything but that glorious event.
In the discourse, Jesus shares with the apostles certain situations ensnaring his end-time saints. Where he does not use the "elect" in referring to His saints, he uses "you," a word that on the surface indicates the apostles themselves, but in fact represents those who live long after them, just prior to His Return. If the pre-tribulationists wish to alter the meaning of the term "elect," they must likewise do so, for the sake of consistency, to the meaning of the term "you." In fact, this is exactly what they do, suggesting both terms refer to the Jews alone i.e. that the apostles are in this case representatives of Jews, not Christians.
But surely, if pre-tribulationism was not threatened by verse 31, no one would disturb the obvious "Christian" nature of both words. Thankfully, for those who find it hard to believe that Hal Lindsey and similar giants are shamefully wrong in this regard, we can appeal to verse 9 to get to the truth, where "you" refers absolutely to Christians and by no means to non-Christians Jews:
"Then they will deliver you to affliction and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name" (24:9).
Whether or not this is referring to the end-times, or to the first century, is not the point here. Rather, the question is: who is it that are hated because of their taking on the name of Christ? Jesus is speaking with the apostles, true enough, who are Jews, true enough, referring to them in the term "you," but as he does so, is it Christ-rejecting Jews that are depicted by that little word? Will it truly be non-Christian Jews who will be killed and hated because of wearing that Name? Anybody with a basic understanding of Jewish culture knows the Jews reject that Name as an item of highest priority. Therefore, the term, "you," refers to Christians, and Hal knows it!!
Accordingly, when Jesus, only six verses later (15), said to the apostles, "When therefore YOU see [the tribulation period...]," the word "you" must represent Christians as it does in verse 9. In that case, it will be Christians who will one day "see" (be in) the tribulation. More than that, the text exposes the flight of Israeli Christians into the wilderness:
"When therefore you see the abomination of desolation...then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains..." (24:15).
The "ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION" is based on a military invasion into the Temple site during the siege of Jerusalem by the anti-Christ (see Daniel 11:31). This event occurs near the midway point of the seven-year tribulation (see Dan. 9:27 and 12:12) and, as Jesus' warning suggests, it acts as a concrete sign for his Christian people in Israel, signalling the final good chance to get out of Israel before the anti-Christ's 42-month rampage begins. Now, just because the "great tribulation" begins in, and is best defined in relation to, geographical Israel, does not call for an interpretation of the "elect" as Jews alone, whether Christian or otherwise.
We do not imagine disbelieving Jews in Israel reading the New Testament right now to see what warning Jesus has for them, do we? They do not believe in New Testament concepts, simply because they do not heed Jesus, and are these, then, the ones Jesus is warning to flee? Would not Jesus be much more interested in saving from the anti-Christ the Christian Jews? Of course he would, even as the Christian Jews are much more interested in being saved.
But we can't stop there, for Jesus is just as concerned in saving every Gentile Christian who will be living in Israel when the anti-Christ invades. We could even entertain the warning as intended for all people: for anyone who will listen and take heed--Jew, Christian, Muslim, or pagan--but this would only discredit the strict Jew-only interpretation of the pre-tribulationists. In the final analysis, there can be little doubt that Jesus intended the warning primarily for Christians of any national background...Jew or Gentile.
Because the non-believing Jews are not apt to accept the invasion of the anti-Christ in light of Biblical prophecy, it must be to the end-time Christian Jews that Jesus says,
"Pray, lest your flight happen in winter or on the sabbath, for then there will be GREAT TRIBULATION..." (vs. 20).
It is unlikely that Jesus was merely "shooting in the dark" when he included the two particulars, sabbath & winter, in his warning. Rather, he was much more likely informing us that the Abomination would occur within these perimeters. My opinion, based on other Biblical considerations, that God has appointed the Abomination to occur on a Jewish holy day is somewhat affirmed here. And that holy day, Purim, happens to be in a cool season, in February/March. But that's another story.
Right now we are concerned with the mention of "sabbath" specifying Jewish Christians as the people-group being addressed by Jesus. Pre-tribulationists use this opportunistically to convince us that Jews alone are the subject of the entire discourse. Bahooey! It is only expected of Jesus to allude to the Jewish believers at some point in the discourse since it concerns a military invasion of Israel, but that doesn't mean that Gentile believers are excluded from his concerns.
We will also be told that these Jews to which Jesus is referring are merely those who convert to Christ during the tribulation period because those (Messianic) Jews which will be Christians prior to the tribulation are supposedly taken up in the pre-tribulation rapture. These late-comers to the Faith are viewed as the Jewish remnant Chosen to continue in flesh bodies after Armageddon, to populate the Millennium, and they are wrongly said to be the 144,000 and the "woman" of Revelation 12.
The Jewish remnant Chosen to populate the Millennium is not going to be saved during the tribulation, but afterward, at Armageddon, meaning that the Remnant can be neither the 144,000 nor the woman of Revelation 12 simply because both are shown as being saved prior to Armageddon. Go ahead, search the Scripture and see that the Millennial Remnant will be punished by God during the tribulation and will not be saved until the very end of that period.
SAINTS IN THE TRIBULATION
Just after the activities of the anti-Christ are revealed in the Revelation, the text reads: "Here is the endurance and the faith of the saints" (13:10). When in the next chapter there is a warning not to take his mark because those that do will be thrown into a lake of fire, again the text says, "Here is the endurance of the saints, the ones keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus."
If we had never been told anything concerning these "saints" in the tribulation, we would have no difficulty identifying them as the Church, the whole Church, and nothing but the Church. All believers throughout history, until the pre-tribbers came along and engaged their ideas, identified these key scriptural texts with the Church's endurance of the tribulation. But, of course, pre-tribbers will tell us that early believers were ignorant because they had not yet been gifted with prophets having prophetic understanding as do the leaders of pre-tribulationism.
As it can hardly be denied that the saints in the Revelation quotes above are Christians, the "gifted" leaders, because they have been informed (by a spirit?) that the Church cannot be in the tribulation, have canned a strategy for replacing the tribulation Church with an invented secondary body of believers, both Jew and Gentile, that do not partake in the rapture, but move on into the Millennium with mortal bodies. This lesser Body of Christ is called the "Tribulation Saints." The Jewish Remnant is said to be a part of these so-called Tribulation Saints.
If it seems curious to suggest that a second Body of Christ exists, it's likely because the Bible does not reveal such a group. It has been created by pre-tribbers merely to explain how Christians can be in the tribulation after a pre-tribulation rapture takes all Christians from the earth. It's like having an extra ace up the sleeve for when you're in real trouble. Yes, it's cheating the Word of God, and I would suggest that you keep away from the pre-trib' poker table if you know what's good for you, lest you gamble with your tribulation security and lose with a full house of very disappointed family members (dare I say "flushed" from their homes into the open fields?).
And you can see again how there seems to be no end to the twisting of Biblical ideas due to that one erroneous definition of "elect." Therefore, in the eyes of some pre-tribbers, the elect of Matthew 24 are viewed as the Tribulation Saints...usually/mainly the Jewish believers of that group. It is furthermore implied/stated that as their reward in coming to Christ late, they must endure the horrors of the tribulation period...yet another false doctrine.
The tribulation is best called "the 70th Week" (from Daniel 9). In being a mere seven years long, all saints who initially come to faith in it are going to be mere babes in Christ when heavy-handed Globalistic powers persecute them in the name of the "Beast." In other words, we are supposed to believe that all the Church Christians are up in the heavenlies merely watching on for seven years as these mere babes are slaughtered alone. It is said that God loves the Church Christians too much to allow them to endure the horrors of the tribulation, so he raptures them out before it begins, but He must not love the group called the Tribulation Saints as much, or it's just tough luck for them, because they are going to pass through the period most assuredly...as their penalty for coming to Christ late.
But, you see, here is the contradiction: pre-tribulationists recognize that the woman of Revelation 12 must endure a full 1,260 days in and around Israel, divinely protected in a special wilderness out of the anti-Christ's reach (Rev. 12:14). Well, if pre-trib' advocates can freely accept divine protection of Jewish believers while they live on earth during the more-violent half of the seven years, why do these same pre-tribbers suggest that it's absolutely necessary to remove the Church from the earth for that same period?
If the Jewish babes can be protected on earth within earshot of the anti-Christ's tanks, why can't God protect mature believers who live nations and continents more distant from the hot-spot of Israel? So, you see, even though they create a second body of lesser, younger Christians to take the place of the Church whenever Christians are shown living in the tribulation, the very bedrock of such argumentation melts away irreparably. If some can be protected, all can be protected. And which of us would dare diminish the ability of God's power to protect all of us? "Goshen" is the key word here.
Pre-tribbers point out how the word "church" is never found in Revelation from chapter 4 through to chapter 21, and because the tribulation period is within these chapters (6-16), the absence of the word is held up as evidence that the Church is not going to be in the tribulation whatsoever. This is very disturbing because it removes, once again, the warning of Christ to the end-time Church.
If there are Christian saints seen in the Revelation prophecy who are living in the tribulation, how can any Christian scholar be so slippery as to suggest the Church will not be in it? One had better have a little more reason that the pre-trib' rapture to alter Revelation in such an unreasonable way, seeing what curses lie in store for anyone who alters that book (see 22:18-19). That the Author of Revelation does not address tribulation Christians as "churches," but as "saints," is His personal business. And surely we can come up with better reasons for that decision than to wipe the Church completely from the tribulation chapters?
One thing that springs to mind is God's focus on individualism as opposed to congregationalism. We can see how, in the 2nd and 3rd chapters, the churches are not altogether pure before God, and some are downright in danger of condemnation. The point is, God is not going to save whole churches, for virtually every church has some bad apples, and for that reason he is calling "saints" endure the tribulation faithfully.
So, it's Matthew 24 all over again, but in this case, it's the "saints" that are the Jewish believers instead of the "elect." But did you know that the word "Israel" is mentioned only twice in the entire book of Revelation, and in both cases referring to 144,000 Christians who "follow the Lamb everywhere he may go"? In contrast, "church" and "churches" are mentioned no less than a combined 20 times throughout the book. What's more, almost all instances are found in the three introductory chapters.
Surely, God does not begin a book on prophecy emphasizing in all three introductory chapters a post-rapture reward for the members of the Asian churches who overcome tribulation, only to change the focus of subsequent tribulation chapters to Jewish saints? Certainly, this claim is fully unfounded since the entire book uses "Israel" only twice, and, what's more, wherever national Israel is depicted, she is seen punished rather than embraced by God. Indeed, there are only two instances of the word "Jews" in the entire Revelation, and neither are found in the tribulation chapters, but both are in the introductory chapters, and in both cases Jesus calls them "THE SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN" (Rev. 2:9; 3:9).
Again, that the "saints" in the tribulation chapters are identified as Christians spells out the fact that God is concerned with Christianity in that final period. The doctrine of dispensationalism, as pre-tribbers explain and modify it, has the purpose of changing this fact. But surely, Revelation's last usage of the term "churches" guarantees that the Jews alone are not the focus of the book:
"I, Jesus, sent my angel to testify these things [the entire book of Revelation] to you for the churches" (22:16).
Now, if the prophecies of Revelation were written "for the churches," why are there so many Christians avoiding them, as if the prophecies are not going to touch our lives? I can testify firsthand that if one studies the prophecies therein, and does not give up, God will bless the eyes with light so that they see quite clearly that which may appear to be fogged at first. For the book is called "Revelation" because it is meant to reveal, not to hide, and what it reveals is meant to be useful for tribulation endurance.
Moreover, among the prophecies is interwoven much moral instruction so that we need not shy away from prophecy because we think it is devoid of spiritual food. The introductory blessing, or warning, however you may view it, is more important now than ever:
"Blessed is the one reading and the ones hearing the words of the prophecy and keeping the things in it which have been written; for the time is near" (1:3).
You see, those who live before "the time" (i.e. great tribulation) are invited to use the prophecies for their benefit, which wouldn't be a reasonable offer if a pre-tribulation rapture is to take us up beforehand.
Intermingled among the prophecies, there are "things" to keep i.e. instructions to obey. Many instructions are visible between the lines, and some come to mind by the Spirit of God. Furthermore, as prophecies are fulfilled in history before our eyes, faith in God increases. But if we don't know what those prophecies are, how can the Spirit of prophecy testify on Christ's behalf?
5 - GREAT TRIBULATION SCARE TACTICS
Pre-tribulationists believe in, both, a double end-time Return of Jesus, and a double end-time resurrection of saints. But as neither are found in the Bible in double, pre-tribulationists must resort to whatever scriptures happen to permit arguments to that effect. It amazes me that pre-tribbers will even manipulate a scripture that speaks of God's wrath:
God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
Paul was making a distinction here between those appointed to eternal condemnation and those appointed to eternal life; he was therefore referring to Second-Death/Lake-of-Fire WRATH..and not merely to any common spell of God's anger in the here and now. After all, the Bible makes it painfully obvious that the Elect do suffer his anger when sinning grossly (e.g. King David), even punishment by death (e.g Ananias). It is difficult not to classify such Measures as "wrath." Yet we understand that the wrath suffered by the Elect is coupled with eternal mercy and is therefore not the WRATH that Paul referred to.
Such simple logic, wherein post-tribbers insist that there are two different kinds of Wrath, is somehow escaping pre-tribulationists in their desperation to find any "logic" possible to support a rapture prior to the tribulation period. It surely couldn't escape pre-tribbers that Revelation twice speaks of God's wrath as only just arriving in the final days, via the 7th Trumpet and the 6th Seal. This proves that the WRATH arriving in those two plagues is different than the wrath of God in previous history. And that WRATH is referring to Armageddon, the one-way trip into the Lake of Fire.
Pre-tribulationists would have you believe that your appointment with God's WRATH is automatic and guaranteed just for having your ten toes in contact with the earth in the 70th Week. Therein is how Paul's words are re-designed for the pre-trib' rapture purpose: we are now to read them as, "God did not appoint us to the tribulation period, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ through a pre-tribulation rapture."
How can God appreciate this utterly irresponsible revision, as He in the Bible makes it clear that some of the Elect will be persecuted, even killed, in the tribulation period (e.g. Revelation 14:12-13; 20:4)? Obviously, then, as Paul tells us that saints are not appointed to WRATH, we must view the tribulation saints as being persecuted by something other than the WRATH. Surely, this is not difficult, pre-tribbers. Surely you understand that it's the wrath of Satan that will kill some of the Elect in the tribulation. How could Jesus have made it any clearer that the "great tribulation" period is to be defined, not as an act of wrath against the Church--nor even against the world--but an act of wrath against the Jews in the Holy Land:
"When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has drawn near. Then let those in Judea flee to the mountains...because these are days of [God's] vengeance for the fulfillment of all the things which were written [in the Old Testament]...There will be great tribulation in the land and wrath [of God] against this people" (Luke 21:20-23).
Yes, this great tribulation of Judah evolves eventually into Armageddon in order to punish the world, but there must be a distinction made between the two: first, the Jews of the Holy Land are punished for one "Week" (an alternative term to "tribulation period"), then it's the world's turn after the Week. In the meantime, while the Jews are punished, the believers in Jesus are not, as pre-tribbers insist, in the sky having the time of their lives--God forbid.
As judgment starts with the House of God, the Elect Christians must also be purified before Armageddon, and we deduce that they are purified during the same period that sees the purification of the Israelites. But make a distinction: the bloodline Israelites are purified by the Wrath of God, while the Elect Christians are not purified by that Wrath, but by the powers that God permits the Satanic rulers. Those who are Rejected during this period, whether bloodline Jew or believer in Jesus, or who die from God's wrath, will be reserved for WRATH. Make every effort, therefore, not to be Rejected...starting now. Put away false prophecies; stop pillaging the Christians; teach Biblical truth; have compassion on the needy; and whole-heartedly depend on the Cross for forgiveness, and love, both in words and in deeds, the One who died there for you.
The wheat will take comfort in this, that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and that it's wisdom that will be required along with faithful endurance in order to be successful in the great-tribulation period (e.g. Daniel 11:32-35; Matthew 24:45; also the parable of the wise/foolish virgins). Fear Him, Jesus said, who has the power to throw us into WRATH.
The wheat realize that the healthy fear of the Lord is not the unhealthy fear of 1 John 4:18, the latter being a guilty conscience. Love for the Father and for the Elect will drive out that fear of condemnation, for the Spirit will manifest within our beings and give confidence to those full of good works...and they will be enabled to stand before the Son of Man rather than stooping down to His WRATH.
A pre-tribulationist will go into detail about the widespread fall of God's wrath in the 70th Week, including the Revelation plagues, and it would be especially supportive of their pre-trib' rapture theory if that period's devastation were made to appear inescapable...targeted for your own bomb shelter. To paint the bleakest picture possible, the entire 70th Week is defined as the "Day of the LORD," which in the Old Testament has such dark and gloomy events attached that it makes one want to give up the ghost just to think about it.
The astute Bible student will recognize that the Day of the LORD is NOT the 70th Week. Anyone with a thorough concordance can check out all the Day-of-the-LORD scriptures, to see that it concerns Armageddon alone; a prime example is Joel 2:31. But even if some Book-of-Life believers should be Permitted to suffer from the great-tribulation wrath upon Israel, it should not be viewed as appointment with WRATH, obviously, but as trials to be saved from. As the sheep realize, it's not WRATH if those who suffer and/or die wake up to eternal life.
It is precisely because the Church is on earth during the Week that the events of the Week will be tolerable. Moreover, mercy will still be available to all during the Week. We see a Body of God's people in Revelation 12 protected in the more-intense, latter half of the Week...while living on the earth. This is not news to any prophecy scholar, and yet pre-tribulationists fail to use this picture to bring some sanity to our perspective of the 70th Week. As post-tribbers have been saying from the start, there will be a "Goshen" in the final Week.
If the United States has the ability to fire smart bombs down chimney shafts without touching the bricks, so to speak, then God, in the Week, can hit certain targets with His localized wrath without affecting His own people...if that's what He should choose, which is exactly what He does choose, at times, according to certain Revelation plagues (e.g. 1st Bowl, 5th Trumpet).
In 1 Thessalonians 5:2, Paul reveals the Day of the LORD as coming like "a thief in the night" and thereby makes the Day synonymous with the return of Jesus, for other scriptures tell us that Jesus himself will come like a thief in the night. Pre-tribbers view their pre-trib' coming of Jesus as the thief-in-the-night return, of course, claiming as evidence that there is no way for the post-trib return to satisfy the "thief-in-the-night" phrase. For, they say, such things as the anti-Christ's appearance and the Revelation plagues would tip everyone off...spoiling the "thief" aspect of the Return.
It is truly regrettable that pre-tribbers wish to make us hard-pressed to explain how a thief-in-the-night Return could catch the Church by surprise if that Return occurs after the tribulation. In response, we must simply ask them to explain how signs of the return could act as signs if the signs occur after the return. Ha ha, what good would it do to place a sign reading, "bump in the road" after the bump in the road?
And so there must be something wrong with the premise of the pre-tribber's argument. The reality is this: the Bible says that it's the world which will arrive to Armageddon without realizing that Jesus is about to appear (e.g. 1 Thess. 5:3), in spite of all the signs of His return. Thus, pre-tribbers err because they wrongly have the thief-in-the-night return surprising the Church when in reality it is Designed to catch the non-Church by surprise (at Armageddon).
Indeed, the timing of the thief-in-the-night appearance is in glaring terms, post-tribulational, in Revelation 16:14-16 and Matthew 24:30-43, not to mention that neither Jesus nor the apostles speak of any other Return but the post-trib' one.
Please be reasonable. Because Jesus gave signs of his return, the signs are meant to tip off the Elect so that the Elect will not be taken by surprise. What could be more fundamental? Therefore, the return will be imminent -- like a thief in the night -- even though the signs reveal its timing. Does this confuse anyone?
Jesus said, "IF you do not watch, I will come as a thief..." On the other hand, IF we do watch, we will not be taken by surprise. Thus, Biblical imminence is a taking of the "sleepers" by surprise. It is His enemies which He intends to surprise on Pay Day, and Pay Day implies that these enemies will first trouble the Elect:
"...it is a just thing for God to repay with affliction the ones afflicting you...at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from Heaven with his powerful angels in flaming fire, giving full VENGEANCE to those not knowing God...who will pay the [merciless] penalty of eternal destruction" (2 Thessalonians 1:6-9).
Can anyone deny that this coming of Jesus and associated WRATH is at Armageddon? The "penalty of eternal destruction" is clearly referring to the Lake of Fire. In this text alone we can prove that the "wrath" that God did not appoint us to suffer begins at Armageddon...when Jesus appears with His angels. And doesn't Paul make it clear that the Elect must be on earth throughout the 70th Week since they are afflicted until the powerful angels appear for Armageddon?
Revelation 16:15 warns us to dress in righteousness as we watch, and clearly shows the thief-like coming occurring in the midst of Armageddon, between the sixth and seventh Bowls. Yes, at the very brink of Armageddon, Jesus says, "Behold, I come like a thief..." But a pre-tribber will avoid this verse when he elaborates on the imminence of the Lord's return, and thus exposes his dishonesty.
In Matthew 24, Jesus discusses the post-tribulation return in verses 29-30 and then underscores its imminence in verse 36 by saying, "no one knows the day or hour." This well-known phrase can only be referring to the post-trib' return of verse 30, since Jesus mentions no other return between verse 30 and 36. In fact, he mentions no other return in the entire Matthew chapter. Therefore, the phrase could be amplified to read, "No one knows the day or hour of the post-trib' coming of verse 30." Therefore, whether the pre-tribbers wish to understand it or not, the glorious Appearance after the tribulation will be by surprise even though the tribulation signs come first.
But the pre-tribber will never admit that the verse-36 phrase refers back to verse 30 because verse 30 is said to be "after the tribulation of those days." Instead, the pre-tribber suggests that Jesus goes from discussing the post-trib return at verse 30 to discussing the pre-trib return at verse 36. Again, note the dishonesty with which he treats the people of God.
Is the onus on us to prove that verse 36 isn't the pre-trib' coming? Of course not. The onus is on those who introduce it out of the blue to prove that such introduction is warranted.
When the Lord told us that we don't know when he's returning, he was simply saying that we don't know the date, whether in the first century, or the fifth, or the tenth, or the twentieth. But when the signs of the Week begin to come to pass, then, obviously, those who are watching are to know the century, and even the year and month eventually. How do I know that this is God's will? Because He said so, by indicating how long the Week would be, and by telling us that it will be near-1260 days from the Abomination to the end of the anti-Christ's rule. And we know that He comes near the end of the anti-Christ's rule.
But because the Return occurs a certain and unknown number of hours/days beyond the 1260-day period, the phrase, "no one knows the day or hour," will remain technically true even during the 70th Week. Thus, Jesus' words, "day and hour," appear well chosen...i.e. he didn't say "month and year."
Still, the fact of the matter is that the rapture is said to be completely imminent. How can this be? Only by shrugging the skincode off as coincidence...shrugging it off as something which by mere chance happens to reflect the mark-of-the-beast text. And if people are willing to view the skincode as a coincidence, they will also view the Revelation plagues and the Abomination in the same way. But it will not be the Elect doing this foolish thing.
Note in the following quote how it's specifically the destructive factor of the Thief's coming which occurs imminently:
"But concerning the times and the seasons [of the Lord's return], brothers...you yourselves know accurately that the Day of the LORD comes as a thief in the night. Whenever they say, 'Peace and safety,' then sudden destruction comes on them...But, brothers, you are not in the darkness, in order that the day should overtake you as a thief...(I Thess. 5:1-4).
This statement assures that imminence is associated only with those enemies not watching. It also confirms that the coming like a thief is synonymous with the "Day of the LORD." We see that the imminent ("sudden") factor is, not just the Return, but specifically the destruction. And, the point is, if sudden destruction occurs at Armageddon, then our view of the tribulation period should be consistent. That is, the tribulation period cannot be Destruction, for Destruction arrives only as of the Day of the Thief.
COASTING INTO THE PLAGUES
Some speak of the tribulation period with such dim and dire extra-Biblical pictures that many post-tribbers are beginning to think it futile to prepare a tribulation retreat. But both Jesus and Paul imply that tribulation conditions would not necessarily allow people to suspect the approach of Armageddon. And in order for this to be true, the destructiveness of the period must be of sufficient mildness or localization.
How could the final destruction of Armageddon come suddenly, as in the days of Noah, or while people are saying "peace and safety," if the tribulation is full of nuclear war? Yet, we have too many Christian teachers predicting nuclear war for the tribulation period...and in the United States yet.
This is not to say that there will not be some "storms" amid the mildness, for there will surely be, even the increased frequency of earthquakes and famines which was Predicted. But as the plagues will wake up the wise to the approaching Day, the same events will be viewed by the sleepers as merely passing storms. As I've heard, a frog left in slowly-heated water will not notice the rise in temperature, but will sit there until it dies. In like manner, the end-time plagues are to slowly increase in intensity, so that the enemies of God will be permitted to ignore the signs, as they wish, and to go about their business as usual.
The ax has been at the root of the trees for a long time now, and how I wish I could say that the "trees" refer to those outside the Christian camps alone. Alas, they also refer to the "friends" of God who do not produce good fruit, but who pillage the people of God. The Christian people have become a marketplace. Judge for yourself: is it right to write a Christian book to make money off of the Word of God? Is it right to sell a Bible for profit? There may even be post-tribbers who sell tribulation foods, etc., who may be prioritizing the money they make off of Christians rather than the good services they claim to offer. Imagine that.
The Revelation plagues, rather than being worldwide in scope, pertain to Israel and the surrounding regions, if we go by the textual evidence. Yes, one third of the trees will burn up according to the first Trumpet, for example, but there is no evidence that this refers to 1/3 the entire world. The Greek word used (gen) is not to be interpreted necessarily as "world," but can be interpreted as "region." In fact, Strong's Concordance (word #1093) defines the word as "soil; by extens. a region."
If the text were indicating 1/3 the world, then it would have used "kosmos," the typical Greek word used to indicate the entire earth, as, for example, it is used in John 3:16.
And the "sea" in the second Trumpet is singular and therefore does not appear to be referring to 1/3 of the world's oceans. Should we really believe that a third of all oceans will be turned to blood prior to Armageddon? Wouldn't that tip the world off so that imminence would not apply? Indeed, the very imminence argument that pre-tribbers use wrongly to promote a pre-trib' rapture can now be used to rightly portray the degree of calamity within the tribulation period: the great-tribulation plagues are not permitted to tip the world off concerning the post-trib' Return!
And note that it's only one "star" in the third Trumpet causing 1/3 the rivers to become polluted. Should we really believe that this one item will pollute 1/3 the entire world's river systems? Rather, would it not be a single bomb dropped on/near Israel that causes a third of that region's rivers to become "wormwood"?
And you can note in Revelation 7:3 that the angels were instructed to hold off on blowing the Trumpets until certain people of God were sealed, and because we find that the ones sealed are all Jews, it stands that the Trumpets had potential to harm only them i.e. not the rest of the world.
The four horses of Revelation represent God's horses (seen also in Zechariah 6) that come against Israel to cause her tribulation. For, the plagues brought about by these horses can be seen in Ezekiel's opening chapters, where he/He deals with end-time Jerusalem. Thus, if the horses, being the first four Seals, all represent God's military campaign against Jerusalem, which we know to begin midway into the Week, the Trumpets and the Bowls could likewise be viewed as pertaining to Israel, and moreover in the final half of the Week. Indeed, even when the string of final plagues brings history to Armageddon, we find that this very term, "Armageddon," means "mountains of Megiddo," which is a region in Israel.
There may be global repercussions from all the plagues upon Israel, especially Armageddon, but the world scene during the 70th Week will be nothing like the picture painted by pre-tribulationists, who promote the idea that 1/3 the world will be devastated. And they erroneously place the killing of 1/3 of mankind in the 70th week as well, where in reality it is a picture of Armageddon. In my chapter, "The Order of Revelation's 21 Plagues," I share reasons for placing the sixth Trumpet at the threshold of Armageddon, after the Week...i.e. after the 1260 days. If this seems impossible to you, then you haven't discovered the proper sequence of the plagues.
Pre-tribbers will also promote the idea that the fourth horse represents the killing of 1/4 of mankind. Thus, the combined 1/3 and 1/4 killed amounts to 1/2 of mankind killed, even before Armageddon! This is sheer folly, making the tribulation period an Armageddon all it's own. The false prophets making money off of the Church, with their books and tapes, and now even videos too, play off of this fear-mongering. But the exaggerated gloom of the final Week simply does not jibe with Paul, who was just echoing the words of Jesus when He said:
"For as they were in those days, eating and drinking before the flood, marrying and being given in marriage, up until the day Noah entered the ark, while they knew not what was coming until the flood came and took everyone, so will it also be when the Son of Man appears" (Matthew 24:38, 39).
The appearance which Jesus is alluding to is, of course, the one mentioned 8 verses earlier in verse 30, which is the post-trib' Return most assuredly. Therefore, his message is clear, that people during the great-tribulation period will be going about, fulfilling every typical human endeavor. There is no presentation of any financial collapse or atomic war on a grand scale. Everything, Jesus is saying, will be as usual...as always.
When we read about the destruction of Babylon in Revelation 18, we see that the sailors at Armageddon lament because they previously "became rich through her wealth" (v 19). Knowing that Mys. Babylon is destroyed at Armageddon, these words suggest that she will be very impressive just prior to. Certainly, no sailor laments the fall of Babylon like this, in that "one hour" which is her doom, if in the years previous there had been a devastating financial crisis. And the "merchants of the earth [will] weep and sorrow over her, because no one buys their cargo anymore, cargo of gold and of silver and precious stone and pearls and fine purple linen and scarlet silk..." (11-12).
The text also speaks about the singing and joy which previously fills Babylon prior to her sudden destruction in "one hour." It's everything as usual in the tribulation period, just as Jesus said it would be, until the lamenting hour of Armageddon, the event that is to pierce the heart of the entire world.
Therefore, don't allow yourself to be misled and alarmed by the reports of certain American-centered "prophets" who are prophesying horrid things for the United States for the 70th Week. Surely, if there is to be atomic warfare in the U.S. it would spell GLOBAL WAR Hardly a nation would utter "peace and safety" in such a situation.
True, "peace and safety" does not suggest a complete absence of wars, but just as there are many wars and natural disasters today, while most of the world eats as usual while attending to ordinary lives, so also the tribulation period will generally be. Yes, there will be war between the False Prophet and God's people, but this is not intended to destroy the social and economic machinery of the world.
In the hot-spot of Israel, men will be looting resident properties, raping the women...you name it (Zech. 14), clearly not on their knees begging God to hold off the plagues. As Pharaoh snubbed his nose at God one plague after the other, ditto for the rulers of the last days, and this indicates that the peoples under them will not be crushed by the plagues, until, that is, the very last one.
SKINCODE NEEDS A HEALTHY ECONOMY
The idea that the world must suffer an economic collapse prior to the tribulation period, is, as far as I can see, not Biblical. Yet, amid Christians, there is a notion being circulated in which a collapse is said to be necessary for ushering in the skin-based system. In fact, would not the contrary be more logical, if logic is the only basis upon which we may debate?
A thriving economy would best open the doors for the skincode. As the plastic cards are evolving to take the place of cash without a collapse, where they are thriving because the markets/corporations are confident, could the skincode not evolve from the plastic cards without a collapse, and precisely because the economy is stable/promising? Indeed, a faltering economy would dampen the hopes of the banks to usher in the skincode. Times of trouble do not spell technological progress in most cases.
The marketplace is not smart to try out a strange purchasing system when the economy is ill, not knowing if it will fully kill or somewhat revive the economy, when the cash and check system is known to work just fine. After all, the skincode is not necessary to make the world of money go round; it merely promises to make things more efficient for the banks, and only slightly more efficient for the consumers. Therefore, it will only be implemented when the economy is healthy--when the economy can handle a small dent should one arise.
Conspiracy theories, such as private "international bankers" in control of world politics, have some truth, but it's very difficult to rightly predict what they will try to do in the end, or what they will actually succeed in doing. We know that the Rothschilds and those before them had failed time and time again to bring about the New World Order. They are only men.
When we're talking about the manipulation of a global, economic collapse, we're not talking the no-risk and easy marketing of chocolate chip cookies, or anything else that everybody wants. We're talking what everyone, including the major corporations themselves, don't want: the upsetting of the economy.
If it's the bankers which are now bringing us the Mondex Smartcard and the skin-based system afterward, they certainly would not encourage an international collapse of the markets, since fluent commerce is how they hope to make money through these systems? The more we buy, the more they make on the fees charged for use of the credit cards/skincode.
Furthermore, the last thing which the silent partners of governments (international bankers) want, precisely because they are heavily involved in their own international, corporate enterprises, is an economic nightmare. It would be a huge gamble to eradicate consumer confidence in the markets in a long-term attempt to seize the corporations of others through a worldwide depression. At one time, when they had more to gain than to lose, economic collapses were debatable, but now that the Rothschilds and partners own so much, the last thing desired is a collapse, in my opinion.
I think that we in 1997 [chapter revised 2002] can now see how a collapse is unnecessary to bring on the skin-based system. All that is needed is a little advertisement to convince the peoples to accept it, with sports heroes and soap-opera stars telling us how fashionable we will be to conform to such a futuristic system. Those that don't conform will feel behind the times.
Globalism is a very fragile thing to begin with, where any little setback, much less damaging than a global collapse of the markets, could set it back for years. We know from the Bible that Globalism will be achieved to a fair degree in the end times, and it is for this very reason that we should not expect a global collapse of the markets. In fact, you can be sure that the engineers of Globalism are working hand-in-hand with private bankers to assure that a collapse will not threaten their dreams for Globalism.
What we should expect, quite to the contrary, is what we are now seeing, an exaggerated economic condition, where the object is to fool the people into thinking that the markets are better than they really are. Such an illusion would serve both the skincode and Globalism. People will be saying "peace and safety," not because there will be an absence of threats/disasters in the world, but because they will be deceived into thinking that peace and security has truly established itself. This illusion could not be created amid a global recession--especially not in a depression.
Have you heard that the United States government is going to give the country up to the United Nations? Have you heard that the US military is being urged to kill American citizens who will not go along with the New World Order? Have you heard that many concentration camps are being set up? Have you heard that the federal government is conspiring with China to bring about a false emergency so that martial law can be installed? Have you heard that President Bush arranged for the 9/11 New York disaster so that he could have an excuse to begin controlling the world? Ignore all these reports, for even if there is any truth to them, God has the last word, and His last word always favors us.
The Almighty has already spoken about the things which the righteous must overcome in the last days, at the front of which is the skincode/image of the beast. Therefore, concentrate on plans to overcome these, and forget about all the other, extra-Biblical possibilities, for if there were anything significant for us to worry about, God would have fore-warned us in prophecy.
In summary, I freely mix into my perspective of the coming days a backdrop of plagues to the normalcy of world conditions, and those plagues will certainly make CNN's headline news, even as they do today. However, my point is that CNN will exist. It will have reporters out and about making a living. They will go to MacDonalds for lunch, to the bank for electronic "cash," and to the bars for refreshment-plus.
There will be laughter in the world right up until the end of the tribulation. When the Two Witnesses of Revelation are killed, at the end of their 1,260 days, the world rejoices and sends gifts to one another, showing that the post offices are yet operating, not to mention the gift shops. But at that time, and that time only, CNN transmitters will shake to the ground; its wires will go up in a gas; and the faces of the newscasters will turn to television "snow," never to be seen again.
There is a vast difference between the tribulation years and the post-trib' Day of the LORD, therefore, and we should not equate the periods as do pre-tribbers.
6 - THE ORDER OF REVELATION'S 21 PLAGUES
The 21 plagues of Revelation are found written in order, beginning with the seven Seals in order, followed by the seven Trumpets in order, and concluded by the seven Bowls in order. However, an analysis of the plagues' written contents will reveal something that is contrary...some of the Trumpets and Bowls actually coming to pass before some of the Seals, and some of the Bowls coming to pass before some of the Trumpets! Therefore, as much as this might rub us the wrong way, the written order does not represent the sequence in which the plagues will one day befall the earth.
We can call the written order, the "consecutive order," as Hal Lindsey does. This is the sequence held to tenaciously by most pre-tribulationists. It serves their rapture position by committing the controversial 7th Trumpet more or less to the midway point of the 70th Week, years before Armageddon (this by the way wrongly forces the 6th Seal into the first half of the Week). Another sequence is required for the one who understands the 7th Trumpet to be the post-tribulation return of Jesus to both destroy the tares and to rapture the wheat into the skies.
The sequences now held to by post-tribulationists and pre-wrathers are merely variations of the consecutive order, showing how difficult it is for minds to deviate from the written order. They move the Trumpet and Bowl plagues forward in time (as compared to the pre-trib sequence) so as to correctly position the 6th Seal after the Week, and yet that's not good enough because they (wrongly) place most of the Trumpets before the first Bowl.
Let's read a word from Hal Lindsey, and then comment:
"By far the most important aspect of interpreting Revelation is just how the seven seal judgments, trumpet judgments and bowl judgments relate to each other.
"If the judgments occur in consecutive order, then it tends to support the pre-Tribulation Rapture...If the judgments are concurrent, then it tends to support the mid- and post-Tribulation views" (The Rapture, Bantam Books, pg. 90, 91).
Hal then offers a listless attempt to provide evidence for his "consecutive" sequence by merely showing the existence of God's wrath in the tribulation period. He writes, "If it can be demonstrated that Divine wrath falls on earth prior to the second coming, then, their theory contradicts itself" (pg. 91).
This is untrue. God's wrath existing in the tribulation does not contradict the post-tribulation rapture. Pre-tribbers have so confused Christians on this point that even those who hold to the pre-wrath position carry the error into post-trib' camps. In fact, the very name of the new movement, "Pre-Wrath," was devised to express this position that Hal expresses above...so that if the position is in error, the very premise for the pre-wrath-rapture movement is effectively obliterated.
Yes, the rapture must occur prior to the fall of God's Wrath, according to many scriptures, but not prior to the Revelation plagues. even though those plagues are indeed a falling of God's wrath. For, as you must realize, the wrath of God falls at all times, but the wrath that we are to be delivered from, by the rapture, is none other than the Armageddon event; the wrath in the Revelation plagues is not to be included as part of the wrath that the Church is to be delivered from. Pre-wrathers fail us by not realizing this.
Hal failed to mention anything within the written particulars of the plagues in an effort to prove the consecutive order, no doubt because the written contents disprove his sequence at several points. Consider the 6th Seal, written as early as the sixth chapter. Although it is found written before any of the Trumpets and Bowls, it describes the self-same, darkening/shaking of the skies found in Matthew 24:29 that Jesus places "after the tribulation."
Because the cosmic disturbances in both the Matthew and 6th-Seal texts are enormous as well as identical, we do well to equate them as being the very same event. But Hal can't view the Matthew event as the 6th Seal because his consecutive order places the 6th Seal long before the end of the Week. Thus, Hal is forced to convey a difficulty, that the sun, moon, stars and skies will be darkened/shaken twice, once in the 6th Seal, and once again after the Week to fulfill the Matthew text. For those who are not familiar with the 6th Seal, here it is:
"And I saw when He opened the 6th Seal, and a great earthquake occurred, and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became as blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth...and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth and the great men and the chiliarchs and the rich men and the strong men and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one sitting on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand'" (6:12-17)?
What could be more descriptive of the post-tribulation period than, "every mountain and island were moved out of their places," a catastrophic event that could not occur within the Week because it amounts to a fatal blow on civilization itself? Surely, such a geological shaking would crumble city building after city building, explaining why the peoples seek out caves thereafter.
As long as Hal and others stick to their pre-tribulation rapture, it won't occur to them that the "wrath of the Lamb," a phrase found in the 6th-Seal text that describes a particular/important wrath that arrives only at the arrival of the Seal, is distinctly the wrath of Armageddon. Or, if it can be shown that the 6th Seal is a post-trib plague, then the "wrath of the Lamb" doesn't arrive until after the Week, implying that the wrath is Armageddon. Pre-wrathers get this part correct...but then they wrongly place all the Bowls after the 6th Seal because they interpret the Bowls as wrath that the Church is to be delivered from.
And pre-wrathers, like pre-tribbers, have the sun, moon, and stars darkened twice, as if the 6th Seal was not the darkening of the skies found in Matthew. Jesus in Matthew 24:29 said:
And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give her light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then will the sign of the Son of Man appear in the sky..."
Make no mistake about it: the events mentioned with the 6th-Seal text are here said to be "after the tribulation" i.e. after the 42-month tribulation of Jerusalem. In this sense, I, too, am pre-wrath, but only if the "wrath" in "pre-wrath" refers solely to Armageddon.
The 5th Trumpet, because it is said to last for a minimum of 5 months, must be sounded before the opening of the 6th Seal, for there are not five months left in current history after the 6th Seal. All that remains is the post-tribulation period lasting a matter of weeks (Daniel 12:11-12), at most 75 days (I think 45). If the 5th Trumpet cannot occur after the 6th Seal, then a completely new sequential system must be drawn up which places the first five Trumpets before the 6th Seal.
THE SEVENTH TRUMPET
It is very important for pre-tribulationists to keep the 6th Seal from a post-tribulational timing because they position the 7th Trumpet after the 6th Seal, meaning that the 7th Trumpet would then become post-tribulational as well and therefore look too much like Paul's rapture trumpet that he calls, "the last trumpet" (1 Corinthians 15:52). Fortunately, we are not compelled by God to follow pre-tribulationist teachings, and the sooner we run from them the better. One only needs a quick look at the written details of the 7th Trumpet to realize its post-Week markings. For one, we see that on account of its sounding,
"The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ" (11:15).
Daniel 7:25-27 is a mirror of this quote, saying, "And [the saints] shall be given into [the little horn's] hand for a time, times, and half a time. But the Court will sit and [the angels] shall take his dominion away...And the kingdom and the dominion [of the little horn], and the greatness of the kingdoms under all the skies, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High..." Does anyone imagine these transfers of powers -- from anti-Christ to Christ -- occurring during the Week, while the anti-Christ's 3.5 years are yet unfinished? Apparently, pre-tribbers must do just that...when placing the 7th Trumpet either during or before the 3.5 years. But wiser ones will recognize the transfers of powers to be post-Armageddon.
In the prophecy of the 70 Weeks (Daniel 9), we learn that it's only after all 70 Weeks that the sins of Israel are atoned for (verse 24). Daniel goes on to say (still in verse 24) that righteousness will not be ushered in, nor Christ be anointed, until all 70 Weeks have come to pass. In other words, the transfer of powers within the 7th-Trumpet text, that officially crowns Jesus as King, cannot arrive until after the 70th Week. If it arrived before, it would obliterate the very heart of the prophecy...which intends to inform us that all things will be made new under Christ after the 70th Week.
Note that in the 6th Bowl, the world's power is not yet in the hand's of Jesus. This means that the 7th Trumpet must come after the 6th Bowl; so far as I know, no one but myself holds to this sequence, and those who have been convinced by this chapter.
In Revelation 11:18-19, still within the written contents of the 7th Trumpet, the Armageddon theme is amplified:
"and your wrath has come, and the time to judge the dead and to give reward to your servants the prophets and to the saints...and to destroy the ones destroying the earth. And the Temple of God in Heaven was opened, and his ark of the covenant was seen in his Temple, and there occurred lightnings and voices and thunders and an earthquake and a great hail."
While Armageddon is specified by the phrase, "to destroy the ones destroying the earth," the resurrection-rapture is implied by: "to give the reward to your servants the prophets and to the saints," The Elect are at this time appointed to Salvation while others are simultaneously appointed to Wrath; there is no significant time gap between the two events.
We see that the wrath of God has just arrived as of this last Trumpet, meaning that God states for the second time, as within the 6th Seal, that there is a special Wrath aside from all other wrath of God. The additional inference is, therefore, that the 7th Trumpet must be located very near to the 6th Seal...that the wrath mentioned in the 6th Seal is none other than the wrath mentioned in the 7th Trumpet: Armageddon. If this bores you, it's because it's too simple; yet it needs to be said because not everyone is getting it.
When in the 7th Trumpet the "door" to Heaven opens up for all the world to see, does it not represent the tempestuous, dreadful and radiant coming of Jesus??? But of course. The "lightnings and voices and thunders and an earthquake and a great hail" are a string of terms used conspicuously in Revelation no less than three times to specify Armageddon. As proof, the string is repeated in the indisputably Armageddon-related 7th Bowl.
Certainly, the "reward" held in Heaven for "the prophets" of the Old Testament does not arrive at some point in the midst of the Week, before the 70 Weeks are finished. And what could the reward be if not their resurrection into the Kingdom? Surely their resurrections will not take place until the kingdoms of the anti-Christ are in the hands of Christ. God said to Daniel, "You shall rest [die] and stand [be resurrected] in your lot at the end of the days" (Dan. 12:13). Even pre-tribbers confess that this resurrection of Old Testament saints occurs at Christ's post-trib' return, for the Daniel 12:1-2 text makes that timing very clear as being after the end of the anti-Christ. In fact, we see that it occurs as Michael stands up to support Israel in her (42-month) tribulation, even as we see in the New Testament that the rapture occurs with the war-cry and coming of Michael.
Therefore, it doesn't seem wise to envision Paul's "last trumpet" as sounding seven years prior to the 7th Trumpet of Armageddon. Would God be so dull/misleading as to call a pre-tribulation rapture trumpet, the "last trumpet," if it arrives prior to all seven Trumpets of Revelation? No, but if God has any concern for our understanding, the "last trumpet" of 1 Corinthians 15 is the last Trumpet of Revelation. For when God inspired Paul to write "last trumpet," He knew that He would soon write Revelation to us.
Even in chapter 10 of Revelation -- outside the written details of the 7th Trumpet -- that Trumpet is supported as the resurrection trumpet. Notice that the voice of the 7th angel may very well be the voice of Michael:
"...time will no longer be, but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, whenever he is about to trumpet, even the mystery of God will be accomplished, as he preached to his servants the prophets."
It would be short-sighted to insist that Paul's "last trumpet" and the related "mystery" were not, one and the same, the 7th Trumpet of Revelation occurring at the fulfillment of the "mystery of God." Compare Revelation 10 above with Paul's words below:
"Behold, I tell you a mystery! We shall not all fall asleep, but we all shall be changed...at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised..." (I Corin. 15:52).
How did Paul know, prior to the writing of Revelation, that the resurrection-rapture would occur at the last trumpet? Aside from Divine Inspiration, he had the Word of God to go on, as he knew from Daniel 12 and from the Olivet Discourse of Jesus that the resurrection-rapture would be at Armageddon, which is the end of current history, meaning that there could not be any trumpets thereafter. But if he thought that the resurrection-rapture would occur years prior to Armageddon, he would not have called it the "last." Nor would Divine Inspiration have allowed it.
If further proof of the post-trib' nature of the last Revelation Trumpet is required, it is available. Consider that since it occurs after the Two Witnesses are killed, it must be post-tribulational, for the Two Witnesses are killed after their 1260-day ministry. Thus, pre-tribbers are prone to distort this text too, suggesting that the 1260 days associated with the Two Witnesses represent the first half of the Week. But the Two Witnesses are introduced in a verse immediately following the 42-month trampling of Jerusalem, and everyone knows that the trampling of Jerusalem is in the second half of the Week.
Thus, the Two Witnesses are going to be a direct testimony against those who trample Jerusalem, meaning that their 1260-day ministry must also take place in the latter half of the Week. Certainly, God is not going from the second half of the Week in one verse to the first half of the Week in the very next verse. Therefore, beware of those (mid-tribbers included) who place the ministry of the Two Witnesses in the first half of the Week, for they do this without textual justification merely to avoid a post-trib' 7th Trumpet.
Behold. After the 4th Trumpet, with three remaining Trumpets yet to sound, an eagle flying in mid-air cries out:
"Woe! Woe! Woe!...because of the remaining trumpet blasts of the three angels about to blast."
The meaning is clear: each Woe equals one trumpet blast. After the details of the 5th Trumpet are given, the text reads, "The first woe is past." After outlining plagues of the 6th Trumpet, as well as the resurrections of the Two Witnesses and the Jerusalem earthquake, the text reads, "The second woe has passed. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly. The seventh angel sounded his trumpet..." (11:14-15).
So, then, make no mistake about it, the third Woe and the 7th Trumpet are one and the same. And if the second woe is post-tribulational because it includes the Jerusalem earthquake occurring after the deaths of the Two Witnesses, then the subsequent third Woe/7th Trumpet must be more post-trib still.
A NEW SEQUENCE
Let me finally reveal a sequential system of the 21 plagues that I believe is correct. In it, the plagues are arranged in triplets, forming seven basic plagues in all. The sequence is read horizontally so that a Trumpet always follows a Seal and a Bowl always follows a Trumpet:
As you can see, the structure of this system is rigid; one cannot move any plague from the sandwiched position into which it is locked. As each Trumpet is located between a Seal and a Bowl, so (most) every Bowl is located between a Trumpet and a Seal, while (most) every Seal is located between a Bowl and a Trumpet. If any one plague can be shown not to fit this arrangement, then the entire system falls apart. If there were any doubts in my mind as to the viability of this system, I would not be presenting it to the public as anything worthy. There are but two minor problems which I can overcome to my satisfaction, while there are quite a few intriguing keys which make the system work surprisingly well.
- 1st Seal, 1st Trumpet, and 1st Bowl
- 2nd Seal, 2nd Trumpet, and 2nd Bowl
- 3rd Seal, 3rd Trumpet, and 3rd Bowl
- 4th Seal, 4th Trumpet, and 4th Bowl
- 5th Seal, 5th Trumpet, and 5th Bowl--end of 42 months and start of post-trib' period
- 6th Seal, 6th Trumpet, and 6th Bowl
- 7th Seal, 7th Trumpet, and 7th Bowl
The 6th Seal is more rightly placed as the 16th of 21 plagues so that, without difficulty, it can now become post-tribulational. Because Jesus confirms that the cosmic disruptions inherent in the 6th Seal occur "immediately" after the tribulation of Israel (Matthew 24:29), we can theorize that it's the first plague of the post-tribulation period. If true, the 5th Bowl immediately before it should end the 42-month trampling of Israel. And if we ask whether the written contents of the 5th Bowl substantiate its ending the tribulation period, the answer is overwhelmingly yes, for it says:
"The fifth [angel] poured out his bowl onto the throne of the beast; and its kingdom became darkened..." (16:10).
As an act of God proclaiming an end to the Beast's throne, the 5th Bowl cannot occur until the 42-month trampling of Jerusalem has come to a close, for it is categorically stated that the Beast gets 42 months to exercise his authority/throne (Rev. 13:5). Furthermore, we may not be justified in placing this Bowl after the 42 months; we should instead view it as the very event which puts a close on the official 42-month term, as this is exactly what its wording suggests. It does not mean that the anti-Christ is killed at the 5th Bowl, however, but only that his God-sanctioned rule is over, announced more portentously by the darkening of the cosmos in the subsequent 6th Seal.
THE SIXTH TRIPLET
The 6th Trumpet and 6th Bowl follow the 6th Seal, regardless of the sequential system adopted. However, in the triplet system above, both the Trumpet and the Bowl are situated as near as can be to the 6th Seal. This is very logical in that both the Trumpet and Bowl have to do with the movements of the Kings of the East across the Euphrates river. No one denies that the 6th Bowl is post-Week in timing, but pre-tribulationists place the 6th Trumpet somewhere in the middle of the Week, thus distancing it from Armageddon by some years.
This view leads to the unreasonable teaching being widely propagated, that the killing of 1/3 the planet occurs somewhere in the middle of the Week. But if this is true, then the remaining 2/3 of mankind would be too wounded and disrupted to go on with normal life. Yet this is precisely as pre-tribulationists want you to view the Week, as though it were Armageddon itself, so that they can more-easily convince you that a rapture is needed before the Week.
The 6th Trumpet describes a massive Oriental killing machine, on the verge of entering the Israeli theater at the so-called "hour and day and month and year" (Rev.9:15). Surely this Appointed time is associated directly with Armageddon, especially as the incoming soldiers number 200 million while they in turn kill 1/3 of men. To substantiate its timing at Armageddon, the 6th Trumpet is within the "second woe." If the 6th Trumpet is thus post-tribulational (i.e. post-Week), it's back-to-back position with the post-Week 6th Bowl is certain.
The three Woes are all related to the Kings of the East, in my opinion. The first Woe, or the 5th Trumpet, represents the Kings of the East north of Iraq and attacking her to death, which could very well be the explanation for the darkening of the throne of the Beast in the very next plague (the 5th Bowl), in that Iraq acts as the Beast's military headquarters. Remember, Isaiah 14 calls this Beast the "king of Babylon." The Beast is not in Iraq at this time, but possibly in northern Africa as per Daniel 11:40-44.
Due to the great size of their army, the Orientals are easily identified as the "locusts" of Joel, "a great and strong people; there has never been the like, nor shall there ever be again to the years of many generations" (Joel 2:2). God calls these fighters, "His army" (Joel 2:11). Surely, then, the 200 million locusts cannot be unleashed upon Israel's mountains before the Beast's 42 months have fully transpired, for the Orientals come in the power of God specifically to put the Beast to his end.
We see in the 6th Bowl that the Orientals need to have the Euphrates river dried up before they can cross into Israel. Therefore, as the 6th Bowl is revealed as a post-trib' plague on the brink of Armageddon, how can the Orientals cross into Israel to kill 1/3 of men at any time during the Week?
Where some view the 6th Trumpet (the second Woe) as the killing of 1/3 the planet, I merely view it as the "release [of] the four angels which are bound at the great Euphrates river" (9:14). In other words, the killing of 1/3 of men doesn't occur in the scope of the 6th Trumpet, but rather that Trumpet is preparation for the Big Event (i.e. Armageddon) that eventually kills 1/3 of men. The 6th Trumpet plague is therefore the moving of a tremendous number of troops from Iraq and vicinity, to the upper (northern) Euphrates river.
The reading of the 6th Trumpet text suggests that 1/3 of men are destroyed very soon after the Trumpet -- and this is explained on account of Armageddon (the third Woe) being only days away. Thus, all three Woes are caused by the Kings of the East...remembering also that Jesus comes to Jerusalem from the east, no doubt giving the Orientals the inner stuff that leads to a crushing victory over the Arch Enemy. The 6th Bowl is, so to speak, the bundling up of the tares, prior to their burning:
"And the sixth [angel] poured out his bowl onto the great river Euphrates; and its water was dried, in order that the way might be prepared for the kings from the rising of the sun. And I saw out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet three unclean spirits as frogs; for they are spirits of demons performing signs, which go forth unto the kings of the entire inhabited earth, to assemble them to war on the great day of God Almighty [i.e. the Day of the LORD]. Behold, I am coming as a thief: blessed is the one watching and keeping his clothes, lest he walks naked and men see his shame" (Rev. 16:12-15).
Notice that Jesus, as a result of the 6th Bowl, has not yet returned to rapture the Elect. This is because he returns in the 7th Seal, the very next plague. Yes, Jesus will at that time be a plague, the worst of all. Notice that the Return, though post-tribulational, is the one in which Jesus comes imminently, as a thief. Therefore, any attempts to define the Return as a pre-trib event, by force of its Imminence, doesn't fly...unless one can show how the 6th Bowl is a pre-tribulational event (that's impossible).
Is not the implication of the quote above that the Orientals are coming to strip the Beast of his powers, and that this very contest is the basis of Armageddon? The "kings of the entire inhabited earth" would seem to depict the United Nations. In my current opinion, the "dragon" to whom Rome has been Granted (by God) represents the European Union; the "beast" represents a Russio-Arabic alliance, and the "false prophet" represents the United States and/or Britain.
As the Beast (Gog) is finding military success in northern Africa, Daniel says: "But news from the east and from the north shall trouble him. Then he will go out with great fury to destroy and to devote many to destruction" (11:44). Hence, the Beast decides to confront the Orientals, which is why he pitches his command post at Jerusalem (v 45).
Because the soldiers of the Beast repent not of their sins even after 1/3 of them are killed (Rev. 9:20-21), God sends the 7th Bowl to finish the job...which also destroys the Orientals. I view the 7th Trumpet as Armageddon Part One, the Military Affair, while the 7th Bowl is Armageddon Part Two, the Supernatural Affair...at which time the earth shakes and seethes with inner heat, turning the atmosphere into a turbulent weapon with incredibly high cloud formation, enabling ice bombs to form up to two feet in diameter (Rev. 16:21).
THE SEVENTH TRIPLET
The 7th Seal is of very short duration; it's positioned in the triplet system as the 7th Trumpet is "about to sound" (Rev. 10:7). Thus, while the 7th Trumpet must come after the 6th Bowl, an obvious thing that pre-tribbers and pre-wrathers find strange, stranger yet to all prophecy scholars is that the 7th Seal likewise occurs after the 6th Bowl!
- 5th Seal, 5th Trumpet and 5th Bowl--end of Week and start of post-trib period
- 6th Seal, 6th Trumpet and 6th Bowl
- 7th Seal, 7th Trumpet and 7th Bowl
The resurrection-rapture, of course. In the sequence I hold to, the awesome 7th Seal is positioned immediately after the 6th Bowl's preparation for Armageddon but before the 7th Trumpet initiates Armageddon. I submit to you with all logic, therefore, that the 7th Seal is the very day in which "the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky" (Matthew 24:30) -- i.e. the Resurrection-Rapture. It fits perfectly for the rapture to take place at the 7th Seal, as positioned in the list above, just as the seventh Trumpet is "about to sound" (Rev. 10:7). It's now of no wonder that there is "silence in Heaven" (8:1) if the angels are poised to descend to the clouds for a gathering of the Elect. Whom in Heaven would dare be in common conversation then?
As the 7th Seal evolves quickly into the 7th Trumpet, the Ark of the Covenant is seen in an opening of Heaven (Rev. 11:19) i.e. Jesus appears before all the eyes of mankind, along with voices from Heaven and a train of charging angels, all amid tempest and lightning. Thus, during the 7th Seal, all is quiet in the sky, and then suddenly the Noise begins.
Those who say that the seventh Seal is not closely related to Armageddon should take notice of the Armageddon terminology (to be quoted below) written just after the Seal's mention in 5:5. Because of that terminology, I do not believe that the seventh Seal is the prelude to, or the embodiment of, all seven Trumpets. Simply because the seven Trumpets are all written immediately after the seventh Seal does not convince me, for I have learned that the written order is not necessarily the actual order to befall the earth.
Perhaps the best evidence which can be found to prove the close relationship between the 7th Seal, 7th Trumpet, and 7th Bowl, is in the repetition of terms written in conclusion of each one. After the seventh Seal is written, we find that:
"[a censer] was filled with fire from the altar and cast into the earth; and there occurred thunders and voices and lightnings and an earthquake" (8:5).
In conclusion of the seventh Trumpet, it is written:
"And the Temple of God was opened in the sky, and His ark of the covenant was seen in His Temple, and there occurred lightnings and voices and thunders and an earthquake and a great hail" (11:19).
And after the seventh Bowl is poured out, it is written:
"and came a great voice from the throne out of the Temple, saying: It has occurred. And there were lightnings and voices and thunders and a great earthquake occurred, such as never occurred since man has been on earth...and every island fled, and mountains were not found. And a great hail as a talent in size came down out of the sky ..." (16:17-21).
I don't have room to show you here, but see for yourself how these same terms are all found in the Psalm-18 depiction of Jesus' return.
The written order of the 21 plagues therefore carries the reader three times from start to finish of the tribulation period, first by the Seals, then by the Trumpets, and finally by the Bowls. We can therefore expect the rapture to appear written (or implied between the lines) more than once.
CAPPING GOD'S ANGER WITH THE BOWLS
I see strong concord in the triplet system. The same-numbered Trumpets and Bowls share similarities. For example, the 1st Trumpet and 1st Bowl are both plagues on the LAND; the 2nd Trumpet and 2nd Bowl are both plagues on the SEA; the 3rd Trumpet and 3rd Bowl are both plagues on the RIVERS; the 4th Trumpet and 4th Bowl are both plagues on the ATMOSPHERE; the 5th Trumpet and 5th Bowl are both plagues on the BEAST'S KINGDOM; etc, just as if each Bowl finishes what its corresponding Trumpet begins. In fact, it has occurred to me that each Seal = one (corresponding) Trumpet and one (corresponding) Bowl.
That is, the opening of the 7th Seal unleashes the 7th Trumpet and 7th Bowl so as to cover two phases of Armageddon; the 6th Seal unleashes the 6th Trumpet and 6th Bowl and therefore covers the upper-Euphrates river region on the one hand and later northern Israel on the other; the 5th Seal doesn't appear as a plague against the world but never the less unleashes the 5th Trumpet and 5th Bowl and thereby covers the Beast's kingdom in/around Iraq (that location is my personal theory); in the 4th Triplet, the atmosphere is apparently filled with much debris in the 4th Bowl as a result of the 4th Trumpet; etc. Again, these similarities show continuity from Trumpet to Bowl and supports their back-to-back positions.
All the Trumpets appear to represent warfare; this is a Biblically-sound idea. Each Bowl can then be viewed as end-results of corresponding Trumpets. Indeed, the Bowls are Said to represent the completion of wrath:
"...the seven last plagues [Bowls], because in them the wrath of God is completed" (15:1).
This quote is thought by virtually everyone to mean that the Bowls occur last of all, after all the Seals and all the Trumpets. However, in light of all the evidence which so strongly demands a rejection of the consecutive order, the Bowls must be last in quite a different way. In the Triplet system, the Bowls are last only inasmuch as they are last in each triplet, wherefore they cap the wrath of God in each case. If we reject this view, then there develops the problem in having to squeeze all seven Bowls after the 7th (Armageddon) Trumpet, or else do what pre-tribbers do: put the 7th Trumpet illogically midway in the Week.
The book of Revelation does not out-rightly tell us when the 21 plagues begin. Some have them starting centuries ago by tying them to certain historical events. But because the first triplet includes a sore (singular in the Greek text) on those who take the mark of the beast (Rev. 16:2), it would seem that the first triplet, and, therefore, all 21 plagues, begin in the second half of the Week...after the skincode is enforced. On the other hand, the skincode will almost certainly be optional in the first half of the Week so that the plagues may begin then.
It appears that the first triplet occurs in the latter stages of the first half of the Week, and sets in motion the Beast's assault on Israel that is called the "abomination of desolation." It should be said that I am biased towards the idea that all four Horses (i.e. the first four Seals) are plagues on Jerusalem because I see all four in Ezekiel's account of end-time Jerusalem's desolation (chapters 1-11, especially 4-6). But as the first horseman is given a crown, would that not depict the start of the Beasts's 42 months of God-sanctioned authority (Rev.13:5)? If so, then it's the Beast who rides, and he's bent on overcoming Jerusalem. The 3rd Seal/horseman seems to be a reflection of Ezekiel 4:9-17; the 4th Seal/horseman appears equivalent to Ezekiel 5:12-17.
7 - PAN-HANDLERS
Some, by their own admission, call themselves "pan-tribulationists," a clever way of declaring their uncertainty in the pre/post debate. Herein are yet more victims of pre-tribulationism, for had the pre-trib' rapture not been propagated with such systematic fervor, the traditional post-trib' rapture position would be obvious.
Upon my conversion to Christianity, before having the opportunity to read the prophecies for myself with an investigative spirit, I became pre-trib' in my beliefs, but only because the books I had read assured me that the Bible taught a pre-tribulation rapture. I had no idea that the writers were deceiving me, which is exactly what I discovered upon looking into the matter for myself. I found no evidence for either a pre-trib' resurrection or a pre-trib' gathering, while post-trib' was clearly labeled or implied on every rapture passage.
I then realized how shallow and downright spurious were the pre-trib' arguments, and so I abandoned the teaching. Though at that early stage of my faith I very much feared going through what the Bible described in the end times, I accepted the post-trib' fact, and got used to it. But others, for whatever reasons, did not undergo this same process.
I often come across a lack of interest in prophecy. Some pre-tribbers will start to tell me this and that about why the pre-trib view is correct, only to reveal that they don't know the most basic prophetic scriptures. Overwhelmingly, they have not looked into the rapture matter on their own. Others who have looked into the scriptures, and who are quite expert concerning them, show such dire need to believe in a pre-trib scenario that they cling to pre-trib arguments even though they are groundless. It’s very perplexing. I stop short of concluding that these are cowardly believers; I tend to think that the problem lies more in their worldliness, their not wanting to bother with something so side-tracked as a tribulation retreat.
As small consolation, some believers who don't study prophecy, when challenged by a post-tribulationist, tend to become pan-tribulationists as they look into the matter for themselves. At some point, they end up seeing the clear post-trib' message of the Bible, but do not become outright post-tribulationists for fear of abandoning the pre-trib' view and the passion by which the theory is now preached. Believers are now coming into the post-trib' camp with some hefty decisiveness, only to raise the passions by which pre-tribulationism is preached. You should see the battleground that is apparent in the letters that I receive from both sides.
Take note of how many post-trib' sites there are on the internet. As a result, pre-trib' preachers are like chickens having lost their heads, and are making tremendous mistakes in their rebuttals that only devastate their position all the more. You should perhaps read Dave MacPherson's articles...who definitely does not feel sorry for their losses--to see a glimpse of how unscholarly and downright worldly are the pre-trib' biggies among us today, at http://www.notdeceived.net (just scroll down to his articles).
Pan-tribulationists have become confused and/or frustrated with the controversy, wherefore they succumb to approaching the tribulation question with a high degree of indifference. Even their motto is apathetic: "It will all pan out in the end." Yet this is what is perplexing, for while they are unsure of whether or not they must live through the tribulation, they neither seem to be appropriately concerned. Sirens should be going off in their minds in these days, and yet, they appear to remain confident that things will work out for them no matter which view is true. I'm not convinced that this is an acceptable application of their faith.
Perhaps priding themselves a little in trying to defuse the pre- versus post- dispute that has in the past divided believers, pan-tribulationists are selling themselves short by their coolness. Although the motive in trying to squelch the heated debate may appear fine, it is of concern when they handle the matter with triviality while they admit the possibility of having to pass through the tribulation. And squelching the debate may not be the will of God, because if post-tribulationism is correct, pre- and pan-tribulationists alike will place their family members in serious jeopardy in the face of the skincode. I realize that we are to promote peace and a spirit of unity amongst ourselves, but surely not at the expense of falling dumb to the skincode.
Hopefully, they recognize that the power of faith rests in God's hands and is not something we can muster up at will. What if God doesn't give this power? What if he doesn't give it because he's not happy with our presumptuous attitude?
What would you do or think in a situation in which, having been rejected by fellow believers, even when they see your children standing there with you? What a disaster. The scene is worthy of many tears. But it even calls for anger. It breeds a spirit of vengeance. It drives one to treachery. But as these reactions are not justified, as it would be no one's fault but your own, especially if you are reading this book, it spurs the betrayal of Christ and ultimately the reception of the skincode. What a disaster. The scene will bring many tears to our eyes. We are shocked, and are lost for words.
If the cost does not turn out to be eternal, where some will bend to death and severe suffering rather than to the mark, it will prove no less foolish to have walked unprepared into a situation like that, based on the confidence we had put in our personal faith. Would it not be more prudent to deny ourselves some current luxuries (unnecessary clothes, restaurant meals, renovation projects, a second car, anything and everything you don't need) and to spend the savings on an inexpensive country place for future use? The bleaker the setback at the outset of the tribulation, the more difficult will be the test on one's faith and body. How does anyone know if their faith will endure a wicked situation the extent of which is yet unpredictable?
Faith is appealed to when a harmful situation takes us suddenly or forcefully beyond our control. But if we see the trap from a distance and walk right into it, why should God deliver us as opposed to teaching us a good lesson for our irresponsibility? No one who has read the prophecies can deny that the Bible has shown a tribulation period awaiting end-time Christians "in the distance." It requires us, therefore, to prepare for it in order to avoid its iron teeth, and not to foolishly step foot into its jaws with the huge assumption that God will deliver. Would it not have been testing God if Jesus had stepped off the Temple wall if he then depended on God on the way down to save him?
Certainly, we would be correct in claiming that God is powerful enough to carry out any form of rescue mission, and that he can save us from the tribulation if we enter it unprepared, but is he compelled to save us when we challenge him in this way? Suppose some cocky fellow is brave enough to sail the Pacific Ocean alone in an open sailboat. Is God compelled to save him on account of his courage? When the hurricane appears, that man's courage will shrink, and he will pray for dear life, whether or not he believes in God. And God may answer, or he may not answer, but it would have been better had he sailed in a sealed sailboat while also providing some other form of insurance against the storms. Heading into the tribulation totally unprepared, without life-saving provisions, is likewise foolish, and one may as well sail the Pacific in a casket.
God is not our genie at our command. We misplace our confidence in Him when we show an air of pride in the power of our own faith to move his hand. This is the sort of ludicrous thing that is becoming popular with "faith" preachers, who snag memberships by convincing believers that they can have whatever they want from God if only they develop their faith muscle the right way, as if God is moved or compelled to act on our behalf merely because we exert proper Biblical methods.
Foolish preachers, and foolish followers. God gives when it's good for us to have what we ask for, and when we are pleasing to him, even if our faith at the time is as small as a mustard seed. Let the mustard-seed parable teach us that the goal of the Faith is not big faith, but high-quality faith. When Jesus commended those with "great" faith, it was the quality of the heart that made it great. Without obedience and humility, faith is powerless.
But if you should attempt to be obedient and humble just to get what you want, as the faith preachers prompt you to do, beware that you could be learning the evil craft of legalism and false humility, where in reality your priorities are your selfish desires rather than genuine humility and obedience, and where God sees the fact clearly and therefore gives you nothing.
And so people keep going back to the faith preachers, trying over and over again to "get it right," but they never do because the preachers never preach properly, but instead corrupt the heart with an anti-sacrifice message, called the "prosperity gospel," where God becomes a means to our gain. The first step to getting it right is to recognize the error of the name-it-and-claim-it faith preachers, and to condemn their preaching. Then, do God's business as a servant, expecting only Him as your reward, and He will give you what He will, certainly much more than what you can get from the prosperity gospel.
To spare ourselves an evil heart, let's want not. Just decide and habitualize not to want, and we will also find all sorts of Gifts such as wisdom and peace...a great trade-off because God gives wisdom and peace liberally but does not give most of our wants. Note that when Solomon asked of the Lord for wisdom, the Lord gave him his request specifically because the man did not ask anything for himself. The Lord said:
"Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long days for yourself, nor asked riches for yourself, nor asked the life of your enemies, and have asked for discernment for yourself, to understand judgment, behold, I have done according to your words" (1 Kings 3:11-12).
I can give you a one-word proof that worldly wealth corrupts wisdom: Solomon!
If we practice the destruction of our desires, we will also find the purity that builds Heavenly rewards, and anyone who depends on Heavenly rewards instead of earthly is the one with Faith...whose faith is proven true. But the one dying of Faith begins also to look to earthly things. If we crave, then we are more likely to fall into the dens of "prosperity gospel" halls, where faith and earthly things are tied hand in hand in a corruption of the Gospel.
Why get into all this while on the topic of post-tribulationism? Because it's fully relevant to prophecy. It is predicted that many will stray from the path of Christian contentment, and dwindle in their faith thereby, but those who learn from going astray, and as a result turn back to the "want not" principle, are the sheep. Surely this is the purity of the Elect Church in the tribulation period. The goats will continue going astray until they are back in the nightclubs, mingling with lusty wolves, foxes, and other hypocrites, and these will not even think to prepare a trib' retreat. Then, when the skincode comes out, they will suddenly repent and seek a place among us...but even then they will feed only themselves so as to shipwreck their faith in yet another way.
Could pan-tribulationists be well on their way to becoming goats? Could their indifference to prophecy be indifference to the plan of God? Could their lack of concern for tribulation endurance indicate that they have lack of concern for God's people? Does a man buying new shoes cast off the laces? Then why do Christians who come to Christ cast off prophecy? Such believers are sure to stumble.
Don't assume that your worldly prosperity is from Above. The Pharisees did that! But if you have such prosperity, you had better use it for the Kingdom or else suffer the fate as told by James. It is wrong to give thanks to God for the worldly things that we own when he has not given them to us. Those sheep who are kept poor by God are to consider themselves, according to James, elite in the sight of God. But then there are also goats who are kept poor that they may become sheep before it's too late. And why weep before God concerning our material poverty when we should be weeping for our spiritual failures instead. It's time to grow up and to find Life in Him, said James.
The person who has sincere humility in obedience will move his mountain now by his faith, before the tribulation arrives, to make for level ground in the time of trouble. The person without financial means can attempt to hook up with someone that does have means, and if all fails after all sincere attempts, then God would be pleased to assist by answering his/her humble prayers the way that He sees best. But the one who sits around waiting for God to move the mountain may be sitting in its cold shadow all tribulation long. God did not provide "oil" for the virgins who neglected to provide it for themselves. And he calls them foolish. Therefore, let's not pan-handle God in this situation.
SIGNS ARE MADE TO WATCH OUT FOR
Some Christians excuse themselves from tribulation responsibility by hiding behind the statement, "NO ONE KNOWS that day or hour." And so because they figure that they're unable to know when the Return might occur, they also reckon that they are not responsible to physically prepare for it.
However, when Jesus said that we don't know the hour or the day, he merely meant that we haven't been told the precise date of the Return; he did not mean to say that saints living in the tribulation would not know that the Return is within a few years. For Jesus also said, "When you see all these things, YOU KNOW that it is near." Therefore, we don't... but we do... KNOW. Why is it that some pay more attention to the "No one knows" part than to the "you know" part?
There are signs in the first half of the Week which alert us to the final half. We are even told the specific durations of the final period, to the day, and for a reason...that we might eventually know. If God said that there would be 1290 days between the Abomination and the end of the tribulation period, then obviously, because it's a dead give-away, He wants his sheep living at that time to know it. Therefore, tell the pre-tribbers to re-assess the way in which they view the imminence of the Lord's return. Tell them that the imminence is for the goats and the wolves, the dry seeds and the tares, the false-miracle workers, and for shooting stars that go dark no sooner have they started to shine...but imminence is not for the sheep who intend to care for His people to the end:
"But if a wicked servant says in his heart, 'My Lord delays,' and begins to strike his fellow servants [symbolic for betrayals], and to eat and drink with the drunk, the Lord of that servant will come on a day that he does not expect and in an hour which he does not know, and will cut him asunder..." (Matt. 24:48-50).
Obviously, then, only those believers living in the tribulation while not watching the signs are going to be taken by surprise, both by the Return and their fate in Hell. How can that price be worth the sensuality offered by this world in these days? Spare yourself and want not. Be the wise servant that feeds the Household of God. Practice until the tribulation, feeding the Household with hospitality, choice words and teachings, genuine fellowship, concern for their needs and ailments, and self-sacrifice. Seek the poor sheep, don't avoid them, for they are upper-class in the eyes of God. Whatever you give to them, you give to Jesus. This is not a new message, sorry, but the same one of old. For a new message, go to the prosperity-gospel halls, or to the pre-trib' book shelves.
How informative it is that Jesus portrays all ten virgins as drowsy when the critical mid-point junction of the tribulation arrives. Jesus reveals the reasons in that Christians will become weary in waiting for the Return. "My Lord delays," they will lament, and so the 1260 days will come on suddenly. But that doesn't mean that the virgins will sleep until the Lord's return, for we see that they do get up and trim their lamps at the middle of the night. Unfortunately, the foolish will then go wayward, perhaps to the taverns, the casinos, the lust-filled parties, internet/phone sex with one another, etc.
UNDERGROUND, BUT NOT SIX FEET UNDER
There can be no light at the end of the tunnel if one doesn't enter the tunnel; no morning if one doesn't enter the night; no Promised Land if one doesn't enter the desert. So make up your mind to become the underground Church in future years. Pray and plan accordingly.
Those who are struck to the heart, deeply concerned about their lot in the end times, show signs of being just where God wants them to be. This concern moves them to beg/pray. Indeed, when Jesus called us to "beg" God for tribulation security, it was a "sermon" condemning pan-tribulationism. He was telling much, not to be indifferent or over-confident, supposing that God will automatically save us when the time comes.
Who would be so reckless as to suggest to other believers that death at the outset of the tribulation is preferred to living through it? The pan-tribulationist! Death at the outset would not be consequential, some say, because eternal life through the resurrection is assured anyway...so why bother to prepare? But if one is truly man enough to sneer at death by entering the tribulation unprepared, then why doesn't he consider being truly heroic by staying alive as long as possible to be of help to those believers who are not so undaunted? Many children will be there, needing much support:
"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I thirsted and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you entertained me, naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me" (Matthew 25:35-39).
All those with needs are children. The need for food, water and medicine in the tribulation period goes without saying. The entertainment of strangers would refer to much more than general hospitality for a night or a week. The implied tribulation message is that the "sheep" are going to entertain (lodge) unprepared believers ("strangers") for up to 3.5 years when they come knocking.
Thus, while the parable of the ten virgins stresses the possibility of condemnation for those who enter the tribulation unprepared, the parable of the sheep stresses the likelihood of condemnation for those who won't think to support the unprepared. Therefore, not all the unprepared will be the goats. Or, not all those being foolish in this regard will be the condemned foolish virgins. Or, some of the Book-of-Life wise will not prepare for lack of means/health/time. In fact, your indifference up to the present time doesn't necessarily mean automatic condemnation, nor that you are incurably a goat. You still have plenty of time to become an ardent watcher and to grow long your sheep's wool.
Hard words for the wealthy believers, I know, but then, if we know that God is a hard boss to work for, we had better not bury our resources, as did the wicked, lazy servant of the parable that is found in Matthew immediately after the ten virgins.
If you have ever wondered what in the parable of the sheep and goats it means to visit Christ's followers in prison, then by viewing it with the tribulation in mind, it is self-explanatory. At least 1/3 of the Elect are going to have to go deeply "underground," but not, God hopes, with their heads in the sand, and I think that I am speaking to the bulk of this 1/3 when I speak to pan- and pre-tribulationists.
We're all going to need our brains above dirt line. When in trials, ask God for wisdom; when in the Tribulation, beg God for wisdom. But don't wish to be "six feet under" before anything even begins. If we must die, let us die while having been a profitable and cooperative part of a Tribulation Plan.
Remember, God is going to give the world a good dose of plagues alongside our tribulation endurance that will keep some heat off of us. Because of this Protection, and while the New World Order goes through one ailment after another, the prepared people of God...2/3 of the Elect...will be "TRIMMING THEIR LAMPS" in hopes/expectation of being raptured to a Mighty Messiah. No one trims a lamp to lie down in death. A lamp is trimmed when one is aroused! So take heart.
Anyone who mocks at the idea of Christians retreating into the wilderness should reflect upon the fact that God has ordained it. Those who flee will be greeted there by the Spirit. We will be consumed in prayer under the mid-night moon like Christ on the Mount of Olives. When our family awakes in the morning, there we will be, worshipping in the red sunrise of the dawn. The inner life of the Spirit that we now pant for but can't seem to mingle with enough in Lurid Babylon will be found in the Crisp Wilderness land of God's own choosing. And it is we who will feel sorry for those in the cities.
Is it foolish or unworthy to retreat into the Crisp Wilderness? There are post-tribbers who say that we ought to be brave soldiers for Christ and stay in the cities and suburbs during the tribulation, to be a salt and a light for God there. Let me assume that, when they say this, they are not merely shrugging off the burden of tribulation preparation for love of their current lives. Then let me say, great idea! One that aligns nicely with the parables concerning the feeding and caring of his people, except the way in which it is thought best to go about it isn't going to work.
Sturdy lamp posts they may initially be, but in the midst of a power failure before long! Everyone with the skincode will certainly be amazed at their steadfastness, their uprightness, and their comely stance as they continually brave the harsh elements along the street sides, but where's the power? For if Christians will be unable to acquire their own doses of physical daily needs in the city, how will they generate these things to others who may turn to Christ at that time? What good are humanitarians with nothing in their hands to offer? Or, what good are witnesses too sick to speak?
If you wish to end up in prison to evangelize the prisoners, who, by the way, will not likely take the mark if they are long-timers, you should stay in the cities and not find a country retreat. But if you feel God is not calling you to a tribulation prison ministry, then speak to Him about a country retreat.
Before you think to devote yourself to evangelizing lost souls in the tribulation cities, think twice. Unless you are given the green light from God, think thrice. Once the mark is out in force, the masses will be forced to take sides immediately. They will either give themselves to the Kingdom of God by refusing to buy/sell using the system, or they will continue operating in the marketplace by receiving the mark. Within a few days or weeks of the time limit given for the people to switch over to the skincode, most of those in the cities will already have it in their skins. Therefore, if virtually all city dwellers around you will have taken the mark, who will there be to evangelize? It will do no good to convert people with the mark, if I understand Revelation correctly.
First supply yourself with shelter in the country where food and water can be obtained, and don't forget to store some gasoline. Then, when the time comes, you can pray to go be a light to the Christians stranded in the cities, or to the undecided ones who have put off taking the mark while they consider conversion to Christ. If there is one starving soul who hasn't taken the mark, you will then be able to assist that one with both spiritual and physical food. But if you haven't provided physical needs for yourself, why should God send you to be of help when you have nothing to offer?
In any case, the presence of a believer will not be required when someone begs God for salvation at that time, for God can handle the conversion without anyone to help Him. But new converts will need food and a warm place to stay, meaning that God will steer them to a camp which can help them physically, which will not be you if you have no food or shelter even for yourself.
When Jesus said, "They will deliver you to affliction and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name" (Matthew 24:9), it doesn't sound like a very friendly environment to be shining an unwanted Light into. There is a time to retreat from the enemy, as Jesus often did into Galilee or the Jordan valley, from Jerusalem's priests, and there is a time to slip into the cities with the shrewdness of serpents when no one's expecting us. Therefore, interesting might also be an apt word to describe the tribulation. So get ready.
8 - THE ISRAEL OF GOD
Bloodline Israel is not a body of God's people in addition to the Church, as if God had two separate bodies of saints. Rather, bloodline Israel, by which I strictly mean the non-Christian Jews, is not at this time a people of God whatsoever. On the other hand, God is not forever done with her, and does not treat or view the natural Jews, His enemies, as He does all other enemies. He treats them much worse, simply because they have the Law and the Prophets while rejecting the Messiah therein. Yet at the end of this age, God will take a few Jews and bring them into the one Body of Christ, with subsequent special blessings to they and their children for one thousand years.
No typical post-tribulationist would oppose a drastic Emphasis on bloodline Israel in the final Week, unless those who hold to Replacement Theology have their way. There are amillennialists and Latter Rainists in the post-trib' camp who do, unfortunately, espouse that theology in such a way as to violate Scripture, especially Old-Testament prophecies. Replacement Theology teaches that God had forever been done with bloodline Israel when the Church of Jesus replaced her as a body of God's people. Therefore, Replacement Theology wrongly claims that most Old-Testament prophecies referring to end-time and Millennial Israel refer to the Christian Church...but rarely/never to bloodline Israel. Pre-tribulationists are correct in opposing this view. But pre-tribulationists are wrongly lumping myself and others into that Replacement camp for claiming a simple and obvious truth, that the Christian Church is the one, true Israel of God.
We can view the Church as the true Israel while not supporting Replacement Theology. Every pre-tribber who accuses otherwise ought to take heed, for your Lord does not take kindly to lies. Pre-tribbers making this accusation do so to protect their Two-Body position, vital for supporting their pre-trib' rapture theory. That is, when Elect Saints are depicted in the Bible as living on earth during the final Week, pre-tribbers must find recourse for viewing them as bloodline Jews rather than Church saints. Why? In order to teach that Church saints are not on earth during the Week. Thus, they wrongly proclaim two separate Bodies of saints, and that each one is Treated differently according to their different dispensations. And now you know why pre-tribbers invented yet another error, their Dispensation Theology: to accommodate the Two-Body view.
It is not enough for pre-tribbers to prove what we post-tribbers already know, that bloodline Israel will be Dealt with (by God) in the final Week, and that God will thereafter set up a Kingdom of Israel on earth that will rule for all generations. That being true, it doesn't make the bloodline Jews a Body of God's people between the Crucifixion and the battle of Armageddon. Jews not joining the Church (by Faith in Jesus) are not to be viewed as a second Body of God, and bloodline Jews destined to be Saved at Armageddon will be incorporated into the one Body of God: the true Christian Church.
I do not espouse Replacement Theology, therefore, because I acknowledge that God still has plans for bloodline Israel. According to numerous scriptures, the overall Plan will first begin with God's wrath against the Jews, which does not suggest to me that the recipients will be saints or "elect," as pre-tribbers wrongly maintain. Quite to the contrary. And because I say all this, the pre-tribbers will accuse me, as they already have on the Rapture-Ready internet message board, as being anti-Semitic (I am not anti-Semitic; for some years I partook in Jewish evangelism due to my respect for the lineage of Abraham). I was also portrayed as a heretic, and was then quickly ousted from the pre-trib Rapture-Ready board for disagreeing with two administrators who did not, nor would not, acknowledge that the Church is now Israel.
It seems plain to me from the words of Jesus that "salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22). Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't this mean that we can't be saved unless we enter into and partake of the Body of Israel? Not the body of mere bloodline Jews, but the Body of Elect Jews that was renewed by the Blood and subsequently continued forward by the 12 Apostles in submission to their Israeli Leader.
Pre-tribulationists tell us that God rejected the House of Israel at the Crucifixion, and placed her on freeze so as to place emphasis on the Church and "Church age" instead, until the 70th Week, at which time He would again focus solely on Israel. This dangerous view teaches the Christian people not to prepare for life in the 70th Week, wherefore pre-tribbers will be responsible for much suffering in the Church.
Do not be deceived. God did not "replace" Israel with the Church, but Old-Testament Israel and the New-Testament Church are one, and have always been one. It was the leadership of Israel that was replaced at the Cross, given to the Apostles when taken away from the Sanhedrin/Pharisees, but this in no way means that Jesus started a new Body called the "Church." Old-Testament Israel was the "Church," as is made obvious by the Septuagint's 78 instances of "ekklesia" (Greek for "church") when referring to the Old-Testament Congregation of Israel.
Indeed, the "church of Israel" is a phrase found throughout the Old Testament...over a hundred times...but usually translated into our English Bibles as "congregation of Israel" (NIV, "assembly of Israel"). Check out Strong's concordance under "congregation." As this Old-Testament Church was eventually cleansed in the Blood of the Lamb when that Lamb appeared in a flesh body, it's clear that the Old-Testament Church became the New-Testament Church, and did not replace it (big difference). Same Body, yet cleansed by Blood and Grace. Same Israel, but with a New Covenant:
"I will cut a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant which I cut with their fathers...which they broke..." (Jeremiah 31:31-32).
Clearly, the New Covenant in the Blood was cut for no other Body of God but for the Old-Testament Israel, to renew her, not to replace her with a second Body called the "Church." And certainly the New Covenant was not Provided to Old-Testament Israel to temporarily reject/suspend her in limbo until the 70th Week, but was provided to make Her alive and active immediately via the authority and teachings of the 12 Apostles.
The curtain of the Temple was torn by God at the Crucifixion, not because God had rejected sinful Israel, but because the New Covenant was then in force. If God had rejected sinful Israel, He would not have provided the Second Covenant for her. Yes, God rejected some of the Jews in sinful Israel, but he took a portion of them and provided them with the Blood. That Portion, still called the "Church" or "Elect" as in Old-Testament times, does not therefore become a second Body of God's people, but the same old sinful Body refurbished, renovated, repaired, renewed, recast, recovered, redeemed, perhaps even remodeled...but not replaced! Jesus died so that Old-Testament Israel could bloom into the Christian Church! Something has got to be markedly wrong with a theology that views Israel as being rejected and shelved at the Cross when the very essence of the Cross is a new beginning for Israel.
The rejected Jews were no better in the eyes of Jesus than the condemned heathen, and have been tolerated only for God's Promise to their bloodline father, Abraham; for no other reason will the bloodline Remnant of the end times be saved (Romans 11:28-29)...that God's Name might not be associated with those who break promises.
When the Temple and city of Jerusalem were destroyed in 70 AD, God was not rejecting Israel, but only those Jews who had distanced themselves from true Israel. Pre-tribbers wish to view that Israel as a blessed thing, when in fact they were an anti-Jesus people that God fully rejected. Pre-tribbers then teach according to their view, that God will deal kindly with Christ-less israel in the 70th Week, when the reality is to the contrary. Not only has God disgraced the bloodline Jews for over 1900 years, but the 70th Week is allotted for yet more Wrath upon them. This is not the same as a father discipling a son hard for gross misbehavior, but rather is an eradication of the entire pride and structure of an Arch Enemy. Not until after the 70 Weeks, says Daniel 9:24, will a remnant under Wrath be consecrated to God, for after Armageddon, even the stiff-necked Jews will respect Him.
Do you understand what I am now saying? I am not merely splitting hairs over semantics, but rather am pointing out the subtle difference between the Biblical reality and the pre-trib view, not to announce that my setting the record perfectly straight places me a notch above pre-tribbers, but to show that pre-tribbers make a slight alteration to the reality in order to define the "elect" of Matthew 24, and the Woman of Revelation 12, as non-Christian Israelites. That is, in order to deny the existence of the Church in the tribulation, pre-tribbers have got to paint non-Christian Israel as good guys in God's eyes, for in no malicious way can the "elect," or the woman of Revelation 12, be defined.
If the Christian Church is at times painted in Scripture with Israelite colors, as She is in 1 Peter 2:9-10, it should come as no surprise. The same occurs in Revelation 12, where the glorious "woman" there is Israel, both the Old-Testament Israel that (figuratively speaking) gave birth to Jesus, and the New-Testament Israel that, according to 12:11 and 12:17, is the Christian Church. No bloodline Jews are ever mentioned in Revelation 12, whereas Christians are, yet pre-tribulationists insist that the Woman is solely bloodline Israel. Too many post-tribulationists have not concerned themselves enough to disagree with this erroneous view, not realizing the importance, perhaps, of the prophecy as touches the Church's endurance of the great tribulation.
The apostle Paul says that bloodline Jews are experiencing a Hardening of heart, due to their rejection of Messiah, until the full number of Gentile saints comes to salvation (Romans 11:17-25). But how can the full number of Gentile saints fulfill Paul's words at the start of the 70th Week? Preposterous. For, many Gentiles will come to Christ during the Week. Dispensationalism was invented by pre-tribbers to end the "Church age" at the start of the 70th Week. To support that ludicrous idea, pre-tribbers call Christians living in the 70th Week by a name other than "Church"...by a concocted phrase -- "Tribulation Saints" -- that doesn't, as a title, appear in the Bible.
I do not know of one scripture supporting the blessing of bloodline Israel (i.e. the Remnant of bloodline Israel) within the 70th Week. All scriptures I have read in this regard point to a post-tribulation salvation for the Remnant. In fact, Jesus said that the bloodline Jews will not be helped and saved until they say, "Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord" (Matthew 23:39). Zechariah 12:10 reveals that time as a post-trib' one, when the Jews see Jesus with their very eyes.
The Zechariah-12:6 scripture has hastily and wrongfully been said to depict Israel's military victories since 1948, whereas it refers to the Remnant's military invasions after Armageddon, as verses 2-5 verify. The wrath of God on Israel is in verse 2, while verses 3 and 4 refer to Armageddon, wherefore verse 6 refers to post-Armageddon military campaigns of the Jewish remnant (also seen in Isaiah 11:10-16). The Millennial situation begins in verse 7; only then, after the 70th Week, do the bloodline Jews become strong, and only then will they enter into and partake of the New Covenant. Once we realize this timing for the blessing of the bloodline Remnant, we will find it easier to view the Woman of Revelation 12 as the Christian Church.
While this discussion may appear overdone, redundant, or even trivial, I assure you that I am going somewhere quite important, creating a foundation for the claim that the Church is Slated to receive divine Protection during the 1260-day Great Tribulation period. Again, it is very convenient for pre-tribulationists to have a two-Body view because it acts as recourse for eliminating the Church from the tribulation period whenever she is found there depicted with Israelite colors.
LAST I CONTEMPLATED, TRUE JEWS MAKE THE TRUE ISRAEL
Precisely because the Israeli Woman of Revelation 12 is living within the tribulation period, pre-tribulationists resort to changing her identity to bloodline Israel. But any Biblical symbol of Israel in the tribulation period cannot include bloodline Jews, for they are no longer Jews in the eyes of God. They are Jews only in the eyes of man, for the Bible teaches that a Jew in the eyes of God is one only in the Spirit.
There is indelible Biblical support for the idea that non-Jewish Christians are citizens of God's Israel. They are Jews in a very real sense, by the Spirit. Since the Spirit counts for more than blood, Gentile saints are Jews more than the Jews who are such by blood but not through the King of the Jews. Paul, a Jew who once held a lofty position in the "synagogue of Satan," maintained this very principle without any gray area at all when he became a citizen of Christ's Israel: "A Jew is not one outwardly, but is a Jew in the hidden parts [of the spirit]..." (Romans 2:28,29). In other words, Israelites are Israelites only if they are part of the elect Christian Church.
Just as the Law of Moses demanded that any Jew who grievously disobeyed it was to be cut off from the Israel, so also any Jew who rejects the word of God through Jesus shall be cut off. In fact, if rejecting Moses cut them off, rejecting Jesus will cut them off with so much more finality. This leads to the radical Christian position which we must uphold, at the bewilderment of the bloodline Jews. But NEVER must we persecute the bloodline Jews; this must be left to wicked powers chosen by God.
Thus, while Jews of Old-Testament times were born into the Israel of God from their natural births, a Jew in New-Testament times has to be born into the Israel of God by an alternative, second birth. If a person born into Abraham's stock by their natural birth now rebels against Jesus and does not become born again in the Spirit, such a one would not technically be cut off from Israel, because such a person would never have been a part of Israel in the first place. And so the means by becoming an Israelite citizen has changed, but this does not require a new Israel.
Peter said, while repeating Moses, "And it shall be that every soul which does not listen to that prophet [Messiah] will be utterly destroyed from the people" (Acts 3:23). Thus, the Old-Testament Jews (e.g. the 12 Apostles prior to the Crucifixion) who did devote themselves to "that prophet" simply retained their citizenship in Israel.
Do we Gentile Christians become citizens of Israel only when the Millennial Kingdom begins on earth? Do we consider our birth by blood to hold more priority than our re-birth by the Spirit? When we were born again in the Spirit, we were born into the Israel of God. So let's not view things from the natural perspective only since there exists the superior position of the Spirit.
Try reading Revelation 12 by viewing the Woman as the one Israel of God covering both Covenants, and we can see why it's Christians that are called her "offspring" in verse 17. This picture is no different than Paul's picture of the tree of Israel with its Christian "branches" (Romans 11), where Jews who do not put on Christ are branches that fall off the Tree. Yes, this woman of Revelation 12 is that same tree of Israel with Gentile saints grafted in; she is the "all Israel" mentioned by Paul, both the bloodline Jews in Christ, and the Gentiles-come-Jews in Christ.
We cannot separate the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of God; both are glued together forever and can forever be viewed as one. One is the Kingdom of Heaven which exists with or without the earth, having also a Heavenly Throne. The other is the Kingdom of God on earth. The first has always existed, but the second, having been Proclaimed, is still in the process of being built, and will be established finally, with an earthly throne, at the Return. The earthly kingdom, convened by Christ, the wonderful God-man, is the kingdom of Israel. After Armageddon, the eternal Kingdom of Heaven will merge with the Kingdom of Israel, to be thus formally married when God comes to live with mankind. The two kingdoms of God will then be, forever more, one Kingdom, over all the earth, over all the universe, yet ruling from...the United States? From Rome??
Dare we divide the Kingdom on earth into two distinct nations? That is what pre-tribulationists are infamous for, making two of everything: two Bodies of God; two parts to the Christian Church, two occurrences of the sun and moon being darkened, two returns of Jesus, two angelic gatherings of the Elect, two Judgment Seats, not to mention two "first resurrections" of saints and two "last trumpets"--and all for being able to apply the Bible to their pre-tribulation rapture theory whenever the singular reading goes counter to their claims.
When Paul wrote to Christians in Rome, some of whom were Jews, he revealed the existence of two Israels in one sentence while rejecting one of them as such: "Not all the ones of Israel are Israel..." (Romans 9:6). There you have it; two distinct Israels in one statement. The first represents the Israelites by blood alone, but Paul says this Israel is not Israel at all! Clearly, then, he calls the one, "Israel," whom he believes is not Israel, which can only mean he retains the use of the term only to identify the bloodline of Abraham, not to define it. He goes on to say, "...nor because they are the seed of Abraham are they all his children."
"It is not [Abraham's] children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise [made to Abraham]" (vs 8).
But Mertle! This exposes that Christians are now the only Israel of God.
The writer of Hebrews confirms that one House of Israel covers two covenants:
"Moses on the one hand was faithful in all His household [singular, not plural]...Christ on the other hand is a Son over His [same] household; of whom we [Christians] are [now] the household" (Heb. 3:5,6).
Can there be any doubt that the Old Testament Body and the New Testament Body are one and the same Household? In Acts 7:38, within a few weeks of Christ's ascension to Heaven, Stephen calls the Israel of very early Old-Testament times, "the church:"
"[Moses] is the one who had been in the church in the desert with the angel speaking to him on Mount Sinai..."
Do you see how "church" is not exclusively the New Testament Church? See how Stephen viewed the Christian people as an integral part of the old Church of Israel? "Church" used in New-Testament times was a Greek short-form for "Church of Israel" to distinguish from the nation of bloodline Israel. The Elect Jews of New-Testament times were not often called "Israel" by the early leaders of Christianity because there existed the bloodline Israel with geographical borders known to all the world as "Israel." To eliminate confusion, the leaders referred to the true Israel as "the church."
Although the Pharisees and their successors thought that they and their membership were the Church of Israel, Jesus had a few interesting words to say to the contrary, calling this camp the "synagogue of Satan" (Rev. 2:9; 3:9). Therefore, let no Christian call that camp "Israel" as a matter of Heavenly fact. My use of "bloodline Jews" is a special effort here not to use "Israel" to describe them, although I do use "Israel" elsewhere where this chapter's issue is not central.
The fact that Gentile Christians eventually outnumbered the Elect Jews does not make the Christian Church any less the Israel of God, nor does it make the Leader of that Church any less the King of Israel. The term "Christian," applying to Gentile believers as much as to Jewish believers, refers to Christ, the King of Israel. If you are a Christian, you are a literal Israelite. If you do not want to be an Israelite, I doubt that you are a Book-of-Life Christian, for you show animosity toward the King of Israel.
Could all this mean that the Israel of Revelation 12, when she is seen in the end-times, is the Christian Church alone? Shudder! Cold and clammy goose bumps all over pre-tribulationists.
All the Elect from Adam to the Christian Church to the very advent of the New Earth are the ONE Israel of God -- this is the Israel which is the woman of Revelation 12.
Just as Christianity did not emerge from the Israeli nation governed by the Pharisees under Caiaphas, so also the woman of Revelation 12, which is shown "giving birth" to the Christian Church, is not that bloodline Israel. There were chosen people amid the Old-Testament "chosen people," a holy, true and Elect Israel amid the Old-Testament "House of Israel." It is this holy Israel of God which figuratively gives birth to Jesus Christ in Revelation 12.
Jesus told the Jewish leaders that the kingdom of Israel would be taken away from them and given to others. It is unthinkable, therefore, that God would portray the Pharisaic Israel as He portrays the Revelation-12 Israel, for the one group was stripped of it's authority and handed to Satan, while the other radiates with 12 crowns of Godly rulership. Thus, these "others" to which Jesus would give the kingdom would go on to be the New-Testament segment of the Revelation-12 woman. Behold, she does not die giving birth to Jesus, as she is found much later in the great-tribulation period, wherefore she must also be the New-Testament Israel.
Are the bloodline Jews now ruling the geographical nation of Israel still Pharisees? Somewhat, for Orthodox Jews, the Pharisees of the modern age, hold some power in Palestine. Yet the current rulers are more the secular/liberal puppets of the Rothschild Illuminati (the State of Israel was made possible by the powers of the House of Rothschild). However, God will make the land of Israel his own by taking power away from these bloodline Jews whom He has rejected, and He will instead plant Spirit-filled Israel in it (yes, Christians) to rule for 1,000 years (Revelation 5:10 and 20:6). I reason that the Christian Elect will then, with immortal bodies, rule not only in Zion, but worldwide so that the entire planet will be the Empire of Israel.
The subjects of Millennial Zion will be the bloodline Jews destined to be born (again) into Israel at the Armageddon appearance of Jesus: "THEY WILL LOOK ON ME WHOM THEY HAVE PIERCED, AND THEY WILL MOURN FOR HIM, AS ONE MOURNS FOR AN ONLY SON, AND WILL GRIEVE OVER HIM, LIKE THE GRIEF OVER A FIRST-BORN" (Zechariah 12:10). But do we view these few saved bloodline Jews alone as the end-time Woman of Revelation 12? The pre-tribbers think so.
When Paul likened the Christ-rejecting Jews to branches (r)ejected from the Tree of Israel, he said that "God is able to graft them in again" (Romans 11:23). After the great tribulation, and not until, God will do just that. But because Paul shows the bloodline Jews RE-grafted into the same tree that holds Gentile branches, it is made plain that they are re-grafted into the Israel that is now the Christian Church. There will be no other place to re-graft them but into the Bride of Christ, for God will remove geographical Israel...yes, modern Zionism...with great desolation because the time will have arrived to plant the true Israel there instead.
THE WOMAN AND THE NEW JERUSALEM
We do know that just as the Church of God is called "the bride of [Christ]" (Rev. 19:7), so also the New Jerusalem is called "the bride, the wife of the Lamb" (21:9). This compels us to view the City as a symbolic depiction of the Church, although there is evidence to the contrary.
As the City is "as a bride adorned for her Husband" (21:2), it becomes significant to this discussion because the woman of Revelation 12 is adorned with some very illustrious terms, not to mention that she, too, appears as the wife of God. It is no wonder, since the Woman represents the people for whom the New Jerusalem is built. How we can fail to view the Woman in this light is perplexing, but to confine her to bloodline Israel, most of which is destined for great wrath, is to miss the mark completely.
The only people permitted into the City are "the ones written in the Lamb's Book of Life" (21:27). Therefore, it is clear: the Spirit-filled nation of Israel--"all Israel"...the one Household from all time--is the only people which will walk in and out of the New-Jerusalem gates. The illustrious Woman of Revelation 12 must depict this same Israel, and nothing less...all the people written in the Book of Life.
We see that in the New Jerusalem, God will be its "sun," and Christ will be its "lamp/moon" (21:23), while we already know from other texts that saints are regarded as stars. Therefore, while the sun, moon and 12 stars highlighting the Woman in her glory may refer to Jacob, Rachel and their 12 sons, they would also correspond to the Father, Son, and 12 apostles, even as the New Jerusalem includes acclaim for both, the 12 tribes of Jacob in the City's foundations, and the 12 apostles in the City's walls.
But please, let one thing be certain in your mind: the Woman present in the great-tribulation cannot depict the modern nation of Israel pitted with Pharisaic orthodoxy, swelled with liberal Reformism, pervaded by secular Westernism, and given to the Arabs and Russians for unparalleled devastation.
The worldly nation of Israel was depicted time and time again in the Old Testament as an adulteress, and the bloodline Israelites of New Testament times are depicted in no better light. Jesus said they are "...the ones calling themselves Jews, but they are not but a synagogue of Satan" (2:9). One chapter later in 3:9, he reiterates: "The ones calling themselves Jews, and they are not, for they lie." Therefore, if in chapters 2 and 3 Jesus labels the worldly nation of Israel as a church under Satan not to be identified as the true Church of Israel, how could this same Jesus portray this same Israel to the absolute contrary only a few pages later in chapter 12, where she is clothed in apparel that smacks of Godly glory:
"A great sign was seen in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon underneath her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars..."
Clearly, with a crown on her head, she is destined for eternal rule in the Kingdom of God. She cannot therefore depict the current leaders of Israel whom will be denied further rulership as of the Great Tribulation.
Didn't Jesus tell his Apostles that they each would have a throne? Wouldn't the 12 Apostles, therefore, be the 12 stars in her crown? But pre-tribulationists insist that the 12 stars are solely the 12 sons of Jacob. Are not the 12 sons of Jacob the forerunners of the 12 Apostles, and is not a Biblical forerunner in the Old Testament always inferior to the New-Testament fulfillment? But pre-tribulationists would loath to so much as entertain the 12 stars as the 12 Apostles because the Woman would then appear too much like the Christian Church. But shame on the pre-tribulationists for disguising the true identity of this glorious Woman!
9 - CHRISTIANS IN THE WILD
With the Roman empire now being revived through the European Union, and a global purchasing system evolving fast via a rice-size microchip skin implant, it is becoming critical that Christians understand God's message in Revelation 12, because the people led out into that chapter's wilderness locations are Christians.
Jesus had cursed and abandoned Pharisaic Israel some 60 years prior to introducing the Book of Revelation to the Christian Church in or about 95 AD. Note that the book was neither written for, nor offered to, the bloodline Jews. Included early in that book, aside from blessings to the wise, is an unsettling Critique of Christian churches of the Greek world. Then, as Revelation's central chapters challenge us further with a perplexing array of end-time events, special emphasis is placed on Christians enduring those events, not on the Jewish bloodline.
In the Book's entirety, we do not see a beloved people of God portrayed as a non-Christian, Jewish element. Not at all! Yet, the Book weaves Christian saints in and throughout the prophesied events, both Jews and Gentiles. Therefore, the Woman of Revelation 12, loved by God and Protected as she endures the end times, ought to be viewed as a representation of the Christian Church. Reflect upon verses 10-13, where the Woman is convincingly revealed as a Christian body.
The Jewish Remnant, a chosen people of God destined for His wrath during the 1260-day tribulation, but Saved afterwards upon surviving Armageddon, is conspicuously absent from the contents of Revelation. For reasons given in a previous chapter ("Who Will Populate the Millennium??"), the 144,000 do not represent the Remnant. The closest thing to the Remnant that we see, and only very briefly, are the Jews who glorify God after the Jerusalem earthquake in 11:13.
Possibly, this quake results in the faulting of the Mount of Olives, meaning also that the Jews of Jerusalem witness Jesus in the skies at that time, explaining well why they glorify God...finally. Take a deep breath of relief, O Lord, and Rest your weary Heart! It's been a looong 3,500 years of same-old-same-old since Moses slipped out of his sandals upon your mountain floor.
It is correct to view the Woman, at the time that she gave birth to the male Child, as Old-Testament Israel. However, as soon as the Child is taken up to Heaven in verse 5, Old-Testament Israel permanently evolves into Christian Israel. If you wish to view this as standard Replacement Theology, go ahead, even though it's not; note that I do not cancel Old-Testament prophecies concerning Jacob/Zion/Israel, nor spiritualize or otherwise twist them to somehow fit the Christian Church.
If there isn't a problem with our calling the Christian Church by the title of "Israel," then it should come without difficulty to view the Israeli Woman, in her 1260-day existence, as the Christian Body of saints alive at that time. But there are so many believers whom have been conditioned to view her as the Jews alone that I feel it necessary to extend myself still further proving otherwise (I provided other arguments in the previous chapter).
TWO ISRAELS; TWO FATES
We realize that Satan crucified the Lord Jesus primarily through the political powers of the Pharisees and other religious leaders of Israel. If the Roman governor (in charge over Palestine) had gotten his way, he would have released Jesus after His arrest by the Jewish leaders. Therefore, when we see the Dragon hounding the Woman after Christ ascends to Heaven, it could certainly portray Satan's attempt to destroy Christian Israel rather than portraying Satan's attack on worldly or Pharisaic Israel. Indeed, simply because Satan is pursuing Christ in verse 4, it's no stretch to conclude that it's Christian Israel that he persecutes thereafter.
Of course, the Bible makes it plain that Satan also attacks bloodline Jews in the end times. The "great tribulation" period begins with, and is defined as, not the destruction of the world, nor the persecutions endured by the global Church, but as God's punishment on bloodline Israelites:
"When you see Jerusalem surrounded by [the anti-Christ's] camps of soldiers, then know that its [abomination that causes] desolation has drawn near...these are days of vengeance where all the things that have been written [in the Old Testament prophecies] are to be fulfilled...There will be great tribulation on the land [of Israel] and wrath against this people, and they will fall by the mouth of the sword and will be led captive into the nations...and Jerusalem will be trampled down by nations until the times of the gentiles are fulfilled" (Luke 21:20-24).
Some believe that this section of Luke 21 pertains only to the invasion of first-century Palestine. If true, then the Gentiles are said to trample Jerusalem for 1930 years, and counting, ever since 70 AD. Yet, note Revelation 11:2: "the Gentiles will trample on the holy city for 42 months." Thus, the Luke quote above is best read in relation to the 42 months.
Indeed, everything stipulated within the Luke text is, according to other prophecies, completely true of the end-time Jerusalem invasion. And the end-time fulfillment holds priority over the first-century fulfillment due to an abundance of Old-Testament prophecies decreeing wrath on end-time Jerusalem as compared to scarce instances speaking on the first-century invasion. The end-time surrounding of Jerusalem can be seen in Isaiah 29:1-8; the captivity/exile of the end-time Jews can be seen in Zechariah 14:1-4; and the end-time trampling of Jerusalem can be seen in various Old-Testament texts including Isaiah 29:1-8.
I have chosen the two Old-Testament passages above for good reason, as they expose the wrath on Israel as God's wrath, not merely Satan's. This is important to this discussion. For it is impossible to see how Jesus in Revelation could portray the under-God's-wrath Israel of the end times as the glorified Israeli Woman under God's divine protection.
Those who claim that the protected Israel represents only the Chosen Jewish Remnant are not only being presumptuous, since the Revelation text makes no such allusion, but are twisting Scripture so as to teach Blessings to that Remnant during the 42 months. Again, the prophecies reveal the Remnant receiving Blessings only at the brink of Armageddon, when Jesus arrives to save them from their Great Tribulation.
The contrast between Israel under Wrath and Israel under Protection leads categorically to the truth, that the Woman is a portrayal of the infinitely higher Israel of God which the Christian Church now and forever more represents. With this in mind, read carefully the quote below in an extreme word-for-word translation from a Greek text:
"And were given to the Woman the two wings of the eagle great, in order that she might fly to the wilderness to the place of her, where she is nourished there a time and times and half a time [3 1/2 years, or 1,260 days] from the face of the serpent. And cast the serpent out of the mouth of him behind the Woman water as a river, in order that her carried off by the river he might make. And helped the earth the Woman, and opened the earth the mouth of it and swallowed the river which cast the dragon out of the mouth of him. And was enraged the dragon over the Woman, and went away to make war withthe rest of the seed of her, the ones keeping the commandments of God and having the martyrdom of Jesus" (Rev. 12:14-17).
The Christian Church did initially spring forth from Old-Testament Israel, and it is this, in conjunction with the above quote, that keeps even some post-tribbers viewing the Woman as Israel rather than the Christian Church. But the “rest of her seed” does not necessarily indicate Israel giving birth to the future Christian Body; the phrase can be understood in another way: as other Christians living simultaneous with the end-time Christians depicted by the end-time Woman.
Pre-tribulationists (and others) would like us to view the Woman as bloodline Jews in the end-time Israeli wilderness. If pre-tribulationists are correct, then the vision claims that, upon Satan's failure to overtake bloodline Jews in and around the Judean wilderness, he then turns on Christians instead? That result is not only unexpected of the text, and inconsistent, but it contradicts what many other prophecies dictate, that Satan is wildly successful against Jerusalem in the 42 months. I could perhaps take this view more seriously if there were just one scripture showing that the Remnant is saved before the 1260 days, but, correct me if I'm wrong, the Remnant would not be a remnant unless they are a part of the Wrath on Israel. That is, by "remnant," it is meant that some of those under Wrath survive the period of Wrath. Am I right? Yes I'm right. The alternative view is that God has determined no wrath upon the Remnant, but until I read even one scripture to verify that position, I'm not biting.
That erroneous view becomes very palatable if we are convinced (wrongly) that the 144,000 Jewish Christians depict the Remnant. If the 144,000 depict the Remnant, they would go up in the post-trib' rapture, and could not therefore populate the Millennium. But it is the Purpose of the Remnant to carry bloodline Israel into the mortal situation of the Millennial. There is a huge contrast in my mind between the glorious "firstfruits" that the 144,000 are called, and the dismal survivors of Israel's Great Tribulation...who are saved by the skin of their teeth. The first group is saved because they love the Lamb and willingly follow him wherever he goes. The second is saved for no commendable reason, but because God promised Abraham to make his bloodline great (it's a shame that it will take 2000 years of dejection, and then an Armageddon scenario to boot, to get those stiff-necked Jews to become pliable).
Do other scriptures show the Remnant being saved in a wilderness? Various prophecies clearly reveal that the Remnant is protected in other nations, having been sent into them by the anti-Christ. A good example is Joel 3:2-6, and we learn there that "My people" and "My inheritance," an obvious reference to the Remnant, are scattered toward the north into European regions. In verse 7 we see those exiled Jews coming back to Israel to the blessings of God. And in other prophecies we see Jews coming from the four ends of the earth, apparently indicating some of the Jews even now in other countries. In Isaiah 66:18-19, we see the Lord commissioning some of the Gentiles who survive Armageddon to go fetch Jews in distant lands, to bring them back to Jerusalem. When will He gather them back? Before the 1260 days? Of course not.
Never do we see an Old-Testament prophecy wherein the Remnant is Protected in a wilderness, or that the Millennial Remnant is gathered from a wilderness where it had been previously Protected. We see people running out into the wilderness while fleeing the dread Wrath on Jerusalem (e.g. Isaiah 2:10), but they may just as well die in the wilderness as per the wrath of God upon them. In fact, towards the end of Isaiah 2, some of the Jews who run out to the wilderness are likened to those maddened men in Revelation's sixth Seal, who will call on the rocks of the mountains to fall on them in order to hide them from the WRATH of God (Rev. 6:16).
Read Ezekiel 5 and see how this end-time situation will turn out, and how God feels about the Remnant. In 6:8, it says that He will spare some Jews during the war in Israel; again, they are shown fleeing from Israel, but being sent into other nations for that Protection, not to the Judean wilderness...which doesn't make sense to begin with since that wilderness will be surrounded with enemy soldiers of the anti-Christ. And what does verse 9 say? That God is pleased with his Remnant, as He is pleased with the 144,000? No, but we find that God will be angry with that Remnant: "Those who escape shall remember Me among the nations where they will be made captive, because I was broken by their whoring heart..." Therein is just one of many Biblical examples contrasting the 144,000 with the Remnant.
When we see the Remnant in Zechariah 14:8-9, the Jews are not said to be Protected in a wilderness, but, when Jesus finally appears to save a part of the Remnant there, he creates a chasm that extends from Jerusalem, east through the Mount of Olives, and further east yet toward the Dead sea. We see this Jerusalem portion of the Remnant also in Zechariah 12:8, and again in Isaiah 4:2-4. But why don't we see in any prophecy the salvation of remnant Jews in the Judean wilderness? Or, if Revelation 12 is truly on the subject of Protecting the Remnant, why does that chapter not mention the Jews exiled in other nations for the 1260 days, or the Jews holding out in Jerusalem for 1260 days? Other prophecies mention those two things; why not Revelation 12???
In Ezekiel 9:4, we see God placing "a mark on the foreheads of the men who are groaning and mourning over all the abominations that are done in [Jerusalem's] midst." Surely these are some, if the bulk, of the 144,000, for in Revelation 7 we see that the 144,000 also receive a protective "seal" on their foreheads (before the seven Trumpets are blown).
In Ezekiel 9:5-6, we see that the sealed ones are saved from the war against Jerusalem, though it doesn't specify how they are saved. It does say that, while the destroying angel is passing throughout the city, beginning at the Temple site (the anti-Christ will also begin at the Temple site), those with seals on their heads are to be passed by and not killed. This angelic scenario is of course not literal, but indicates to us that the sealed ones will be living in the city when the anti-Christ's men sweep through.
Jesus did warn that Jerusalemites should flee into the mountains when the anti-Christ surrounds Jerusalem (Matthew 24, Luke 21), but we understand that it's not the bloodline Jews whom are destined to obey this warning, but the Christians of Judea. The non-Christian Jews will arm themselves and stay to protect Israel. When the Church worldwide will no longer be able to buy and sell due to the skincode, you know that most will naturally move into the wilderness; this is predictable without Revelation 12 disclosing it to us.
No one says, "crush the rest of the apples," when the first batch were oranges. No, but the first batch must also be apples. In other words, because "the rest of her seed" are shown to be Christians, it would be consistent if the first batch -- those escaping into the wilderness -- are also Christians. I view the situation like so: upon Satan's failure to overtake Christians in the act of fleeing into wilderness locations, he then turns on other Christians instead. We are shown how Satan turns on the other Christians: by the powers of the two Revelation-13 beasts, for chapter 13 is a continuation of the vision begun in chapter 12. But who are the other Christians? Very apparently, they are those not in the wilderness.
This is important. For, in that the wilderness Woman represents Christians who escape Satan (as per 12:14-16) successfully, the Christians defeated by Satan as per chapter 13 (v 7) cannot be those in the Protected wilderness. Therefore, when the question arises as to the identity of the Christians who are defeated in 13:7, the answer is given in 12:17: "the rest of her seed". They must be those not in the wilderness.
In verses 7-9, we are shown a war between angels which appears to have a setting just before the 1260 days. Then, in verse 10, there is a proclamation from Heaven which in part says, "the accuser of our brothers has been cast down." Verse 11 exposes these "brothers," not as bloodline Jews, but as Christians "who overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb." We may easily understand from this fact that the very basis of the vision concerns Christians, not bloodline Jews. Indeed, not only is there nothing said about the bloodline Jews in chapter 12, but nothing again in the chapter-13 conclusion of the vision.
After verses 10-12 encourages tribulation Christians to overcome the Dragon, we come to the very next verse, which reads: "And when the dragon saw that he was cast to the earth, he pursued the Woman who bore the male..." (v 13) Because the text emphatically reveals them to be Christians who stand up to Satan in verses 10-12, it follows that the verse-13 Woman he pursues must be a Christian body of saints. Would God be so inconsistent as to emphasize Christians in verses 10-12, and then bloodline Jews in verse 13?
THE CHRISTIAN WARBecause Revelation 12 reveals the duration of God's wilderness preparations as being 1260 days long, the easy prediction is that all things necessary for the survival of some fortunate wilderness saints will be Made ready prior to the start of that period. With a little less certainty, we can also predict that the preparations will be made by the Ordination of many dynamic Christians, especially wealthy, generous, and wise ones.
These special people will provide shelters and food-producing operations in remote regions, into which other members of the Woman can run to find comfort at the appointed time. Some of the providers may not realize that their wealth, or their involvement in the food, building, or ranching industries, etc., has been (or will be) Arranged for them for the Tribulation Purpose. Others already do realize and are moving in that direction willingly.
The wilderness flight is the Strategy. It's how we are Instructed to fight against the Dragon upon his granting special powers to the Beast and False Prophet to make war against us. It is made clear not only in Revelation 12 that the Strategy is to be a Grand Retreat from the enemy, but it's also insinuated in 13:10, where we are instructed, in effect, to use not one bullet. If Jesus instructed those in Judea to flee the anti-Christ rather than to fight him, what makes some Christians think that He will tolerate our fighting with bullets?
As the vision would appear to pertain to believers worldwide, if I understand the "world and sea" in 12:12 correctly, the "desert" of the text is not a single one, but a representation of any/many. The Greek word for "desert" (eremos) is not necessarily defined as a waste place, but a geography where man does not generally live..."a lonesome place." Lush, tropical forests, therefore, or pleasant mountains and their soil-rich foothills, may apply as much as the grassy prairies and rocky plains. That's why I use "wilderness" instead of "desert."
I feel that the Ordained future isolation from cities will not only be the key to our defense, but a very tactful move on God's part because it forces us to disown our worldly lives. Therefore, rather than viewing the retreat as a cowardly event, view it as a necessary purification process. But, in truth, because we are Asked to lay down our lives unto death, if necessary, we are being asked to be courageous beyond the pale. We have everything to gain, even the earth as our inheritance as a mere starting point for far greater joys. Just imagine this earth littered with pleasant, truthful, loyal, upright, honest, peaceful, joyous, and energized friends with the same honor toward Jesus that you have.
Many questions come to our minds as we try to learn or imagine the mechanisms of protection which God might employ at that time, and there is significant disagreement in post-tribulation circles on this matter. The bottom line, as taught in this vision, is that the Dragon will fail to overtake the Woman! Good news indeed. However, this may merely mean that Christians will be permitted to move into the wilds. But what then? When Pharaoh failed to overtake the Israelites, the Hebrews yet had to endure the wilderness lifestyle. Some failed God in that department, and I would venture to say that the Biblical lessons that can be learned from that Mosaic desert flight are specifically for our learning who must one day endure the tribulation wilderness.
One can see a repeat mix of good and bad for the Woman in the last days -- deliverance from the World Empire, but also temptations created by complaining goats among the sheep, not to mention some back-stabbing traitors...i.e. the wolves now among us in sheepish clothing. However, it is predictable that most counterfeits will not join Christians in the wilderness for very long, if at all, precisely because they do not keep the faith under trial, and because they ultimately belong to the world. But there will be some spies who remain for long periods because they will delight in collaborating with authorities who despise us.
What of persecution that might come to us from non-Christians in nearby cities, even as the Exodus Hebrews had to contend with armed gangs from surrounding nations? Several apostles, and many ministers after them -- up until the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11 -- have been Appointed/destined for murder, but God protected them from many serious threats until such appointments arrived. Therefore, it may not be an either/or situation in the tribulation, but we may receive both, protection and persecution. It would be helpful if we all talked amongst ourselves concerning the sort of protection and persecution that we might expect to run into.
While the Revelation vision is most brief on the characteristics of future wilderness conditions, yet with reflection a larger picture develops. Because the vision assures wilderness protection, we are not, as a rule, going to be peppered there by the world's military equipment. The anti-Christ is certainly portrayed in the Bible as a ruthless warrior, but his guns are limited to the Middle East and northern Africa, so far as the Bible reveals. It is not likely a coincidence that few Christians live in those parts today. Could it be that Western tolerance and pluralism, freedom and democracy, while used by Satan for generations to strangle and resist the political influence of Christians, will be used by God to protect us when we need it most?
It is not a coincidence that the skincode and image-worship systems are emphasized in the chapter-13 section of the vision. These systems will be the critical weapons used against us in the 13:7 war. These weapons have everything to do with the wilderness flight because they cause the flight in the first place. The question is, will the image-worship system be such that permits the authorities to persecute us unto death legally, while we're in the wilderness? Some post-tribbers, especially the militant ones, are claiming just that. But if that's true, how can Revelation 12 promise both our protection and nourishment during the 1260 days?
If one resists the wicked system -- sophistication, fashion, status, sexual pleasure, luxury, leisure -- the False Prophet's "weapons" will be nullified. But if one is in the wilderness without food and drink, the weapons become more powerful because the life becomes more miserable. Therefore, the matter of food, etc. is not unimportant. Worse off yet will be the Christian multitudes without food and drink while stranded in cities. Predict that Satan will prompt his sons to find ways to keep us from leaving into the country. Indeed, that is the very message of the torrent of water spewing from the Dragon's mouth (12:15); since it's purpose is to overwhelm the Woman during her wilderness exodus, we learn that Satan doesn't want us to go out.
The torrent must somehow represent the authorities of nations allied to the anti-Christ and False Prophet. But pre-tribulationists are supporting the devil unawares with the same message: no need to find refuge in a wilderness. Ditto for Latter Rain "prophets" who teach that it's cowardly and unspiritual to retreat from cities when, according to their heresy, we ought to be kicking Satan's butt en route to taking over the world in time for the return of Jesus.
When you read the part about the earth swallowing the Satanic torrent, read the Power of God, not to kick Satan's butt, not to set up a Millennium before the Appointed Time, but to provide nourishment in some of the least accommodating places on earth. Note the Power of God also in the illustration of eagles wings (12:14), not Power for to rise up above the political powers of Satan, but to flee far from him.
Because Satan's basic power over us will reside in the electronic skincode system, the outer extremities of the Dragon's domain will be limited to the techno-tentacles of civilization. What authority could coerce us into making purchases with the skincode system where no electrical wires exist? Therefore, I think that we can predict easily the Plan B of our Enemy, not to shoot bullets at us, but to somehow get us back to the City once we are successful in our exodus. But when we refuse to take the skincode so as to be operational in society, the leaders will have two options, either to persecute (e.g. imprison) us in an effort to make us comply, or to set us free into the wilderness again due to the high cost of persecuting us. Revelation 13:10 instructs us to enter prisons willingly, and the parable of the sheep and the goats instructs us to visit those in prison to relieve them. But why not try to get them out while you're at it? If they are in prison due to being nuisances on city streets, you could offer to house them on your country place.
The Bible does say that the False Prophet will force everyone to receive the mark, but not by physical force, and, obviously, not everyone will take it. This, like so many Biblical statements, must be taken properly. The False Prophet will try to force everyone to buy and sell using the mark, perhaps meaning that the system will by law become the sole form of purchasing, but if some (i.e. we, or even some of those with the mark) don't wish to purchase using the mark, because they choose to barter, pay with gold/silver, or provide/grow their own needs, they will have that freedom, naturally.
There is no law that can be made to stop a people from providing their own food on their own land. Today, if you wish to quit your job and live in a wilderness location totally off the grid, you have that option as a right. But tomorrow, the principles of freedom can be abandoned even by those who now swear by them. As Daniel wouldn't worship the king, so his enemies made a new law that anyone refusing to worship the king had to be put to death. Perhaps the Image of the Beast will be set up for the same purpose of trapping innocent Christians, and making them subject to harsh persecution. The fantastic thing is, the Bible told us ahead of time that these things would occur, so that we will not lack faith when it comes time to dying for Him. How hard it is to die for a God if one is uncertain as to His existence. But that's the purpose of Prophecy, to give us the assurance that He does in fact exist. With this gift, we can bend our knees to death with much more peace and hope.
As the False Prophet will indeed kill some of those who refuse to worship the Image (13:15), it may appear that Democracy will give way to Dictatorship. But what if it's the Muslims who radically oppose the Image of the Beast so that it's they who are killed, where that Image represents Western Globalism under Western Democracy? Are we jumping to conclusions when we assume that it's Christians who are killed for refusing to worship the Image? Or, what if the only ones killed are those Christians who vehemently oppose the Image, politically and militarily, while those who merely shun it peacefully are left alone? Unfortunately, no details are given us by which we can see the correct picture ahead of time.
If I'm correct in defining the Image as a program on television, which includes the spewing out of propaganda against Christians, then expect our enemies to be among our own neighbors. Solution? Have no neighbors but like-minded ones.
Find a property that is off the grid, and a mile or two off a main road. Compared to land on the grid, that property will be reduced in price sufficient to cover your expense in building your own one-to-two mile driveway (you need gravel just under the tires, not the entire width of the driveway). Then, in the tribulation, you can close your gate, and because you won't likely be driving, no one will think you are home, especially in winter when they can see no tire tracks up your driveway. If you can get three or four miles off the road, you'll be able to use a chain saw, and maybe a gun for hunting, without it being heard; plus, the smoke of your chimney won't be caught by anyone's nose. You get the idea.
Why pay extra for a property on the grid when later you won't likely be able to use the township's electricity, gas, or water? Use the savings toward your own utility systems. If you have a creek that originates in no-man's-land, it'll be fine for drinking with either a boil or some chlorine. You can easily arrange to dig a pond on the creek, where you can take baths, or pump water into your tub, or even have some fish. It might attract deer and other meaty items. When you're off the grid, you can build your house any way you please, without meeting town codes.
10 - PROTECTED IN THE WILD
Whether we view the Revelation-12 Woman as bloodline Israel, or as Christian Israel, or both, God is shown protecting a people in the tribulation while they live on the earth, a picture which directly counters the pre-tribulationist claim that the only way to save the Church from the anti-Christ's rampage is to remove Her completely from the earth (in the pre-trib' rapture). So take heart.
It has been my opinion that, to insure protection more completely, we ought to be living on our own(ed) wilderness lands. Otherwise we will be required to seek food while trespassing on the farms/lands of others, only to subject ourselves to arrest (or worse). There will be many pre-tribbers among these trespassers, who, of course, will no longer be pre-tribbers at that time. Predictably, when believers are incapable of removing themselves from private lands for lack of anywhere else to turn, adversity from angry landowners will, in some cases, lead to death (especially if the owners are doggedly anti-Christian).
Will homeless Christians not be able to turn to their own brethren who do own lands? Can an elephant fit in your fridge? With all the pre-tribbers today, those who do not prepare will be legion!
It is less likely that military machinery will roll up onto our front yards where we own those yards. But police forces, and military units where required, will be dispersed into the wilds to weed out and arrest Christians who will come to trespass. Because of the great numbers of such unprepared Christians, coupled with the bad publicity that they will receive, some will be shot to death, or worse, whenever the troops think that they can get away with it...in no-man's land. Murder might be an ideal/easy way out of the dilemma...if the Lord removes the spirit from the body before great pain and horror takes hold. Blessed are those who die for the Lord, especially if it turns out that they don't feel the pain! But what if no one comes around to murder you, pre-tribber, so that you must live out a miserable existence?
My advice is that you create a homestead situation on your own land. It, too, may stand a chance of being burned down or looted, but what if it isn't noticed/touched until the final year of the great tribulation? You just never know, you may not be harmed at all; you may go up in the rapture from your own front yard. Jesus declares that very thing in Matthew 24. Oh, yes, read it and see if you can find where.
While I don't feel much liberty to say that God will support Christians in their trespassing over wilderness lands...stealing food and so on to survive...remember that, if you ever find yourself in such a position, God had made a law enabling the poor to freely take from the outer edges of the farmer's field. Small consolation, I know. But because He did not say that one could camp on the farmer's field, I do not believe that He is ordaining our running about on the lands of others. If anyone does so, they will be doing so, I believe, against His will.
Or, consider this argument: God will use our tribulation conduct to glorify His Name, meaning that He would not ordain such a poor display as our running about on the private properties of others, only to have us hounded by the property owners and police departments. Better to sleep on public lands and eat the edges of the farmers' fields than to trespass like a snake in the grass and steal like a fox.
Better yet to offer yourself to the farmer as his slave. But BEST to provide yourself with a tract of land that you own, and to prepare it before the tribulation arrives. Submit yourselves to the Babylonians, but do not bow down to their gods. Pay a few year's property taxes ahead of time, and then live at peace while the Lord conducts his Strange Work throughout the 1260 days.
While the beginning of Revelation 13:10 informs us that some of our numbers will land in prison, the latter part commands us not to attempt to kill those who arrest us, nor anyone else, at any time, during the persecution that we may receive. The purpose behind this command may just be to spare us the ultimate persecution. Remember that a soft answer turns away wrath. Be a pacifist when arrest comes your way, Jesus is saying, and keep in mind that those living legally on their own lands and growing their own food in peace will have much less, if anything, to be arrested for than those trespassing through the wilderness.
It will be true for some that no matter how well they behave, they will receive the ultimate persecution. This is necessary, even as it was with the men whom Jesus loved most, with the result that the powers of darkness will be judged forever as being unworthy to rule God's creation. In Revelation 20, we see that some will be killed by having their heads sliced off (perhaps this is more of a Middle-Eastern fate than an American/European one). The Purpose? To create rulers for God's Millennium. Ruling with Christ requires dying with Christ, and those who die physically for Christ tend to be the greatest leaders (e.g. John the Baptist).
It appears that God is cruel when we consider these things, but dying with Christ is not to be viewed anywhere near as horrible as dying without God...as an enemy of God. After the difficult moment of their bravery, martyrs find themselves standing before eternity, and we know that God is standing beside them as they meet "death." The reason that they are said to rule for only 1,000 years and not for eternity is, I believe, that ruling will become a thing of the past after the Millennium. Afterward, GENUINE PEACE. Rulership is required only where there are rebels to contain, just as law is necessary only where there are lawbreakers. Jesus hinted that the Law will pass away when the earth passes away (Matthew 5:18), and that timing is said to be after the Millennium (Revelation 21:1).
As we read on in Revelation just a few verses after we see the Protection of the Woman, we find the Dragon succeeding through the anti-Christ Beast in conquering, not the Woman, but The Rest of Her Seed: "AND IT WAS GIVEN TO IT [the anti-Christ beast] TO MAKE WAR WITH THE SAINTS AND TO OVERCOME THEM" (13:7).
Consider the suffering implied in the following verse by those "coming out of the great tribulation," where it appears that these saints will not receive much Protection, and can therefore be viewed as the Rest of Her Seed:
"They will no longer hunger nor will they thirst any longer, nor will the sun or any heat fall on them...and God will wipe away all tears from their eyes" (Rev. 7:16-17).
Yes, the verses read as a blessing, but the underlying suffering experienced beforehand is also made apparent. The saints will be hungry, thirsty, sun-scorched (without adequate shelter), and overwhelmed with tears during the great tribulation. Perhaps this sums up the tribulation testing for the Elect as a whole, including the Protected segment of the Woman, but I would confidently venture to say that anyone constantly on the run on the land of others will experience a much more seething test of faith than those living legally on their own land in pre-planned shelters, with garden plots and reliable wells to the side.
If you feel certain that Murphy's Law applies to you at all times, so that there is no question in your mind that you will be one of those given to this ultimate persecution, or, if you are of the belief that most Christians are Destined to meet up with such violence so that you're quite sure to be included, relax a little and recall that Jesus mentioned two people working the field, two grinding grain, and two others sitting/sleeping on beds on the very night/day that he returns (Matthew 24:40-41, Luke 17:34-35). Thus, realize that these as-usual, non-threatening conditions, if they exist for the Elect on the post-tribulation day of His return, must also exist within the 1260 days.
Where are the six believers that Jesus speaks about? They are definitely not being chased like animals through the country sides, nor meeting death in the jaws of a guillotine, nor are they in prison. Because we know that the three who are taken will not receive the mark of the beast, we reckon that they are not going to be working the fields or grinding grains in any commercial capacity. For this reason, I see them working on lands that would translate into their tribulation retreats, owned by themselves or by other believers.
Did Jesus highlight working in fields and grinding grain because they were common occupations in his day, or because they evoke self-sufficient living...necessary for, or common-place in, tribulation survival?
Do we explain the typical activity on the very day that Jesus returns as his returning before the tribulation? That's what pre-tribbers would tell you. But the Return that Jesus refers to, found in Matthew 24:40-41, refers back to the Coming in verse 30, the timing of which is clearly "after the tribulation" (v 29).
Behold how those not taken in the post-trib' rapture will be working on tribulation retreats, side by side with Book-of-Life Christians. Will those not taken have the skincode in them when the Lord returns? Not likely, for they are working alongside those who will not take the mark. In that case, refusing the mark/image of the beast is not enough to assure salvation. No, and neither is it enough to be a post-tribulationist who lives on a tribulation retreat. And so we must ask why it will be that some who refuse the mark/image, to the very end of the great tribulation period, are refused by the Lord.
It brings to my mind the parable of the sheep and the goats. In this case, the end-time goats are those "believers" who refuse the mark and live among us but feed only themselves. They will not go out to visit believers in prison, nor invite Christian strangers to partake of their retreats, nor feed or give drink to them, nor care for their sicknesses, but they will merely look out for their own wool.
On the other hand, the sheep will work as family, caring for all in their groups as well as themselves, as is only characteristic for them to do -- so characteristic that they will not see themselves doing anything special in particular. This love is what validates one's faith at all times, but especially in the great tribulation where the collective needs of the Church are going to be greater than ever. Without love, our faithful endurance is dead...mark that in your right hand and on your forehead!
Some might fall in with misguided groups who become cultish in their wilderness living, serving the leader(s) of a compound rather than the Lord. But if you are a Book-of-Life sheep, I trust that God will guide you right...into the communities owned by sheep. Better yet, start your own and be sure!
Why has God not openly revealed to us, via the Bible, any particular regions for the global Church to flee to, and why has he not itemized strategies for building/maintaining our tribulation properties? Could it be that the security of tribulation Christians will depend on His revealing as little as possible beforehand, to keep the Dragon and his sons from knowing what to do and where to do it in opposition to us? That makes sense.
Furthermore, without a Biblical Instruction to buy and build in a wilderness, the possibility of repeated false alarms from generation to generation has been diminished greatly. And in order to keep the Church from fleeing at the wrong time, God has granted us key prophecies that must occur first. I have devoted a few chapters in this book to the specific signs that must not only precede our wilderness flight, but precede the Abomination of Desolation by as much as years. You would do well to read the chapters as hardly anyone in the Church is sharing the early signs with you, for reasons to be told in those chapters. Some of these signs must have as their Purpose the Signaling of the Appointed time for us to get our trib' retreats finished. We must not begin the building of retreats when the Abomination of Desolation arrives, as that will almost-certainly be too late.
It is all too possible that I have "blabbed" too much in this book, saying more than God might approve of. On the other hand, it seems incumbent upon us to talk together, in order to plan/work together. I have tried to word this book in such a way as to bring the least harm and the greatest benefit. You fill in the blanks. Note that I have not so much as revealed my name in this public book. When you speak on these matters, be careful who you speak to, how you convey yourself, and what you disclose. If you write an internet book on this topic, know that someone somewhere must be drawing up a list of all who oppose the coming Skincode-and-Image system.
FED IN THE WILDERNESS
In that it would be callous or otherwise uncharacteristic of God to lead us into the wilderness without also preparing food and other necessities, we can at least be sure that we're going to be sufficiently looked after, IF we are in a wilderness site which He supports. But how is God going to prepare our needs in the wilds? Will he rain down manna once again? Will he make quail fall at our feet? The Revelation prophecy is not without a clue, and it does reveal that preparations are going to be made in advance. It also tells us that the Woman is going to be fed in the desert by a "they":
"And the Woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place there prepared from God, in order that they might nourish her 1,260 days" (12:6).
This spells out the divine preservation throughout the tribulation, and not just for the first few days or weeks. In the phrase, "that they might nourish her 1,260 days," how can we identify the "they" if the text does not speak of any particular group either before or after the verse? These servants come out of nowhere in the prophecy to feed the Woman.
"They" is a part of the Greek text (used in my interlinear) because the verb used ("nourished") is a third-person plural = "they will nourish." I point this out because the third-person pronoun, "they," is not included in some English versions of the Bible.
Although this pronoun may be referring to angels, it is also compelling to envision Christians which God has appointed to feed those who must flee. This will have great significance for some believers, especially the poorer ones, because of their coming across tribulation sustenance apart from providing anything for themselves. But to depend on this cheap and easy fix is not wise. Let's not be so sure that Preparation will be Made in reservation style, as though with individual names written on the backs of chairs, and with rows of tables just awaiting for us to plunge in the forks. What if God is calling you to be one of those appointees while you just sit back and hope that someone else provides for you? A sheep would never allow that to occur where there is means not to.
It would be good if you were to maintain close contact with the Lord concerning your personal task. It may be some time (maybe years) before you begin to see any Direction in your life, but keep your mind on the subject with a will to act. You never know when things are going to start clicking in your mind. You may begin to realize that some things which have already happened in your life appear to be leading you to tribulation service. Treat it as an adventure! Enjoy it man! Feel good about giving to God's people, and reaching the Heavenly Oasis together after thick and thin!!
The Greek verb (trephosi) under discussion literally means "they will thicken," and carries the idea of "fattened" in James 5:5. The same (trepho) is also used in Luke 4:16 when speaking of Jesus' up-bringing as a boy. In the form of a noun, it is found in the Lord's statement, "a worker is worthy of his keep" (Matthew 10:10). In other words, the Woman is not merely going to be fed food, but also "kept" (provided for) in other ways -- generally looked after as a father does his child.
As for the identity of the "they," you may agree with me that they are some of the appointees of the Lord found in Matthew 24:45-46, where the same Greek word is used for "food," and would, therefore, be better interpreted as "provisions":
"Who then is the faithful and prudent servant whom the Lord appointed over His Household [the Woman] to give them their food [provisions] at the set time? Blessed is that servant whom the Lord finds so doing when he returns.
At the set time? When he returns? We are to be providing for His people when he returns? Why, of course, for it will be provisions that the skincode will seek to take away from us, at a certain set time in the future, and right up until the Lord returns. But the Lord will thicken his Household because he has many faithful servants who glory in being appointed for the task. The Lord's question (in the quote above) appears to suggest that any Christian may apply, or that everyone of us should.
True, some have interpreted "food" in the spiritual sense, as food for the soul (i.e. Biblical teaching), and this is fine with me. But wouldn't it also represent physical food since he alludes to the great tribulation period in the phrase, "at the set time," and because we know we won't then be able to buy physical food in the ordinary way? With or without this verse, we know that Jesus wants us to feed/help one another in the great tribulation period.
Emphasize the words, "work" and "strong," in the following disclosure: "The people who know their God will be strong, and will work" (Dan. 11:32). This verse comes immediately after the verse in which we see the "abomination of desolation," meaning that the sheep are given a glimpse of their strength and courage in the great tribulation period. Note the contrast here between the strong tribulation workers and the weeping tribulation survivors of Revelation 7:14-17. Which do you wish to become?
There is Biblical evidence in the parable of the ten virgins that about half the end-time (professing) believers will not make it to the "Promised Land." The other half which do make it to the Wedding Feast represent the Elect Church. Of this half, it could be that 2/3 of it will be divinely protected in the wilderness, while 1/3 will be overcome with persecution. At least, this is how I read Revelation 12:4, that the stars thrown to the earth by Satan represent 1/3 the Christians of the last days.
We have been taught by pre-tribbers that 1/3 the stars in Revelation 12:4 are fallen angels. This theory-turned-doctrine, where 1/3 the original angels rebelled against God to take Lucifer's side, comes only from this one verse, for there are no other texts in the Bible which confirm the theory. But the entirety of the Revelation 12-13 vision speaks concerning the protection and persecution of the end-time saints. Therefore, pre-tribulationists seem woefully desperate when attempting to connect this end-time theme to an attempted coup of Heaven and subsequent fall of angels prior to the Genesis creation.
Are the stars depicting angels at all? No, but as the brilliant, life-sustaining sun is a proper representation of God the Father, and as the pierced and battered surface of the moon reflecting the light of the sun is an appropriate depiction of the pierced and battered body of the Lamb, (no, the moon does not belong to the werewolf or the moon god), so the numerous stars were created by God to depict the Elect, as Abraham considered full well when God made the comparison to him. Daniel itself later asserts (in 12: 3), where the resurrection-rapture is touched upon, that "those who are wise shall shine as the stars forever and ever."
When the cosmic stars fade away at the end of the 1260 days as per several Biblical texts, it's not a coincidence that the saints will almost simultaneously rise up into the sky to shine forever more in glorified bodies. Many things are going to be Uprooted at that time to Cause better things to replace them. Thus, the stars in the sky were Created to represent the countless saints. Which star in the sky are you???
Because Satan is throwing 1/3 the stars in a text that touches upon the great tribulation, the Christian people of God are the last things that pre-tribulationists would interpret them as. Moreover, pre-tribbers can't interpret the stars as bloodline Jews because Zechariah 13:8 tells us that 2/3 the Jews will be given up for death (while 1/3 are spared for Millennial Salvation). Therefore, if pre-tribbers were to interpret the Revelation-12:4 cast-down stars as saints at all, they would have to interpret them as Christians, not Jews.
So now you know why they choose to interpret the stars as angels even though it doesn't fit the vision. Why doesn't it fit the vision? Because the picture of stars being cast down by Satan is one of persecution against the stars. Do we imagine that Satan is persecuting the fallen angels who are on his side? Indeed, how does anyone come up with a picture of Satan rallying supporters (i.e. angels) to his side from the picture of Satan throwing stars down???
How simple can this be? It is not God who casts the stars down to earth, but Satan himself, wherefore we should easily deduce that the stars are Satan's enemies. Here, you be the judge of what the stars represent:
"And his (Satan's) tail draws a third part of the stars of heaven, and casts them to the earth" (Rev. 12:4).
Now, compare that Revelation quote to Daniel 8:10:
"And it (the anti-Christ) became great, even to the host of the heavens, and it made some of the host and some of the stars fall to the ground, and it trampled them."
Because Satan would not trample on (persecute) his own fallen angels, but would definitely do so upon saints, it is no surprise that the stars in verse 10 of Daniel are revealed in verse 24 as the saints of God. The same logic should apply in the Revelation quote. But the ministers among us in scholarly clothing, who deny that the stars of Revelation 12 are Elect saints, thus rob us of some comforting knowledge, that 2/3 the end-time Elect will not be cast down by the devil.
Because verse 4 is written prior to verse 5, a reader can be led to believe that the stars are cast down before Jesus is born in verse 5. But prophecy has the habit of describing events from start to end, and then at some undisclosed point, backing up and starting again so as to describe other events from start to end. I see verse 4 as an introductory overview of the entire vision of Revelation 12 to 13. That overview is simply this, that Satan persecutes 1/3 the Elect during the 1260 days. Then verse 5 begins to describe that persecution beginning with the birth of Christ, the leader of the persecuted saints. We soon learn that the 1/3 cannot be the Woman that flees successfully into the wilderness, wherefore the 1/3 must be the Rest of Her Seed.
What else should we do with the financial assets that we will need to leave behind on this earth? I believe that the ones who keep their wealth tied up in banks or businesses until the skincode is enforced will end up "donating" it to the banks/businesses/government, but the one who spends it beforehand by preparing a wilderness retreat will end up with tribulation security, even a blessing for others that will store heavenly rewards. But build with God and not on your own wisdom. Here's what happens when we spend money on projects in the name of God that are not from God:
"On April 1, 2004, [Hal] Lindsey used his WorldNetDaily column to promote the sale of shares in the Zion Oil and Gas Company, citing Biblical prophecy as a basis for suggesting that there was oil in Israel. Critics have pointed out that Lindsey failed to mention that one of the directors of Zion Oil was Ralph DeVore, a director of Lindsey's ministries, as well as his cousin."
What wisdom is it for a prophecy "expert," while teaching the Church that the rapture is at any moment, to be asking the Church to support oil exploration, and in a country that he knows is about to be wiped out?
11 - HEROES IN THE GREAT TRIBULATION
The flight of the Church into the wilderness is a predictable event aside from Scriptural testimony. If the skincode came out tomorrow, leaving your family no normal recourse for earning an income or buying food and water, I doubt very much that you'd just be inclined to wait for death to take it's toll. Therefore, the day will come when there will be an unparalleled evacuation from population centers.
This mass exodus will certainly create great preoccupation amid political spheres. My prediction is that leaders will conspire to keep the believers in "Egypt" for the sake of the holy-cow called, "The Economy." True, many unhappy workers and unemployed individuals will just love the fact that we will leave them tremendous job openings, and liberal sorts will be only too happy to see our moral absolutes go to the wayside with us, but politicians will likely choose to persuade us to conform to the 666 system because our going will be disastrous, not only to the economy and the tax revenue, but to many other needs in the human community.
When we refuse to stay on Biblical grounds, conflict with the liberal media and the authorities will result. You can just imagine how preoccupied the media will be in all this, for it will surely be among the top stories for a lengthy period. We will be badly portrayed as deserters of the human community. Liberal Christians, who view the book of Revelation as far less than a true glimpse of the future, will mock.
It shouldn't surprise us if special laws are passed in a forceful attempt to get us back to work. If that does occur, many goats will be purged from among us when they decide to take the skincode rather than to face prison. The prisons are already overcrowded so that another method of dealing with the more stubborn sheep will be required. Some post-tribulationists are predicting concentration camps to handle or eradicate us more cheaply.
We should not think as pre-tribbers would have us think, that the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth completely during the 1260 days, so that Satan will be given full reign over the globe. This idea comes only from the twisting of 2 Thessalonians 2:7, bent out of shape only to produce a pre-trib' rapture that isn't there. God merely removes His method(s) of restraint on Satan at that time, but He will still be in control of the devil, His puppet. That is how we should view things. Therefore, just like Pharaoh of Moses' day, the authorities which oppose us will be frustrated by a strange and unbeatable Power.
Under humane principles, the authorities ought to cancel the skincode system due to so many citizens being emphatically opposed--so emphatic that they are willing to quit jobs and resign from normal life. And so these people in charge of the world are not going to be normal. A form of economic madness possesses them already...a foolish dependency on computerized purchasing...even after they have realized from the Y2K-scare how easily the entire world can be brought down to utter, utter despair with something so likely as massive computer failure.
With so many other foolish things taking place in waves of wickedness, are we ashamed to speak to the people responsible? We are to be passive in regards to fighting back with the weapons of the world, yes, but not silent. Learn the will of God from the fiery testimony in the ministry of the Two Witnesses. If they are our example, I'd say it's just fine to shake a tongue as well as a leg. Just watch how you speak, and don't be surprised if you get yourself in hot water if you use hot language. I strongly recommend that you not appoint yourself to the ministry of the Two Witnesses, for that ministry is a Spirit-controlled ministry, and many false prophets have come claiming to be one or the other of the Two Witnesses.
With modern churches steeped in pre-tribulationism, while concerned about their community image, they are hardly positioned to be of any value in controversial issues such as this one promises to become, and although they avoid persecution in this way, they also rob themselves of the fruit that would otherwise spring forth. Maintaining a good reputation with outsiders does not mean that we should sacrifice the proclamation of society's sinfulness, or its related destination toward Armageddon, no more than a doctor should refrain from announcing to his patient that he by his actions is risking terminal illness. Churches should welcome a "bad" reputation if it results from the offering of such vital information to society. There is more to tribulation endurance than securing food and sharing it with others. We must also glorify God in the work that He will perform in shaming this world.
I predict a optional skincode for some time prior to the enforcement stage, but I could be wrong. Amongst the scrambling Christians during the optional stage, there will undoubtedly be a high level of competition in the quest to secure decent refuge and supplies. Can you imagine just five percent of the North American population trying to purchase food simultaneously to last 3 1/2 years? The food production industries are not set up to handle such demand. When stores welcome the situation with wide-open doors, the authorities might resort to specially-enacted laws in order to dodge a national emergency. Nonetheless, it will be a little like Egypt revisited, with God's people "pillaging" the "Egyptians" on the way out to the wilderness.
The earlier you buy, the more likely you're going to get supplies trouble-free, but just don't buy food too early so that it spoils. The same limitations exist with the purchase of land, when demand for it is high.
I foresee another tactical diaspora (scattering) directed by the Lord. Because many remote regions of the world will not be computerized, many unbelievers therein will have no need of receiving the skincode. And won't the Lord know it? Because we are destined to flee into remote regions by force of the skincode, into countless nooks and crannies over the face of the earth, won't we feed the gospel to the mark-less therein? In return, they will feed us their potatoes. We will fellowship with them and have a teaching ministry among them, and they will teach us how to live without a grocery store.
The one thing that will alleviate some demand for supplies will be the failure of pre-tribulationists to purchase their provisions. Sadly, since many believers will prepare nothing at all, it means that we are going to ration food for their sake.
If a church is shy in announcing the congregation's need for wilderness self-sufficiency in the tribulation, worried about persecution which may result from its own pre-tribulationist (or Latter Rain) members, it is robbing itself of God's assistance in this matter. But that church would also fail to inform its members of possibly the greatest risk to their Christian experience. What good will it have done for the church leaders to have maintained a good reputation with pre-trib' members when, later, the tribulation is in full swing? You realize that the pre-tribbers will appreciate your post-trib' message, no matter how forcefully you insist upon delivering it now, once they themselves are chin-deep in tribulation survival.
The divine purpose of the 666 system is not for Satan's personal delight so that he can grind us to a pulp, but it's God's method of separating us from the filthy world of lucre that now has the churches conformed to its nature. We are going to be moved by the skincode to a finer, spiritual plane. We must leave the old estate behind and become partners with the Bridegroom in the New Estate. It will hurt us some to be pried from our properties and luxuries to live like desert nomads, and some won't stand for it but will take the mark instead, but do you think Western-World churches (and I include myself) will enter spiritual realms of sparkling holiness with the material mind-set we share with unbelievers today, concerned about the shiny appearance of the outside of the dish, and not yet having learned much of what it means to sacrifice for others (sharing the valued goods on the inside of the dish)?
LET EMPATHY ARISE
Could God allow fully-unprepared and spiritually-weak Christian babes, as per the pre-tribulation doctrine of "Tribulation Saints," to be the only elect sheep left on earth...to be horrified by anti-Christians the world over in the most intense battle Satan has ever waged against God using human agency, while every devoted Christian -- every bold speaker, every dedicated humanitarian, every seasoned missionary, every wise counselor, and every refined servant -- is up in the sky looking on, drinking wine at the Feast with Christ?
If it's merely in logic that we must base our argument, since the Bible doesn't support that view, then, in being far more logical, I would think that God is training Christian workers/soldiers now, before the tribulation, for the sole purpose of assisting any new converts which might arise in the tribulation. Would God pull his best troops out of the field when they are needed more than ever, to set them up in glory merely to look on? What glory would there be in that?
Many are those who, in the 59th minute, will see the signs of the Bible come to pass and then turn to Christ on account of that divine testimony. Is God to leave them alone in their new faith? Nay. But we can be sure that the 1260-day period will be a great time of Christian service superseding the first-century apostolic ministry, and we are the ministers, IF we are not the foolish virgins or the goats.
For those pre-tribbers who have wanted to conform to first-century Christianity -- the tribulation will be your chance! Did you want the first-century blessings without the first-century persecutions? Persecution is what brings people closer together, and heroes are born of this. When we suffer persecution in a family setting, zeal sets in and consumes us, for the sake of others among us. Suffering makes us weak and meek, but only then does the hour of Power strike.
The tribulation will either teach us how to sacrifice for others, cheerfully, or it will turn us into the dark and selfish creatures that lurk just below the skin of our sinful nature. We're going to be tried, and the real persons that we are will surface, to the surprise of many. Many believers, said Jesus, will find themselves betraying the people of God, and I think it will be to their own surprise. If empathy does not characterize all those who will at first be eager to endure the tribulation, then envy, dissatisfaction, and ultimately, a spirit of division, will.
Separation from the world of wealth means that we're going to need each other, wear each others' shoes for a change, and with the words of Jesus as our guide, lay down our lives for someone else. You may as well plan on it ahead of time, but if the idea of tribulation empathy turns you off, pray it isn't because you are the wrong kind of person for the Kingdom. Charismatics like to dwell on the powers of the Holy Spirit, powers to perform miracles and cast out demons, but the Holy Spirit Himself is concerned with matters much more pressing, even our character. A hero who turns out to have bad character is forgotten? If Jesus died for our sins only to turn into a slouch, a cad, or a weasel, how wonderful would His coming Kingdom promise to be?
Christians can hardly touch each others lives closely enough during their church meetings. They may be able to grant friendly smiles and shakes...but the morning ends without much sacrifice so that the command of God goes mute, for deep relationships are not sown in that everyone keeps to his very own. Instead of a church becoming a single family, then, families within the churches remain isolated in a pattern reflected by the pagan world: what's mine is mine, and what's yours is yours. Truly, we are more isolated from each other than we are a family of God. Those accustomed to fine dining and regular get-aways hardly know the despair of poor folk in their own church! Imagine the Lord's "reward" to such peacocks when the time of visitation arrives.
Heaven is a family affair, and the tribulation is an introductory lesson -- an initiation -- in what is yet to come. While the riches of Heaven consist of gratifying relationships, the mark of the beast is, to the contrary, a preoccupation with the economy, the evolution of mankind's pride in technology, and a conforming to the selfish spirit of the one whose name the mark reflects. One can easily see why God would want to separate us from that fanatical world, and to give us a few years in the wilderness to prepare our souls, by just letting us be in tune with one another, with no one rich nor poor.
Does having "one mind" merely mean that we are to agree with one another in every way? Wouldn't it much more imply a single Family sharing in each other's struggles? Spiritual maturity is measured not by our ability to understand spiritual mysteries, or prophetic truths, but by how we treat one another in a family setting.
All the commands of God have to do with how we treat each other, and how we treat God, our Father. If spiritual maturity is our goal, then, while James in his epistle said it comes to those who persevere in tribulation, the importance of great-tribulation endurance is underscored. If the Lord seems far from you at times, don't be dismayed, for then you are in the midst of a faith-building trial. The fear within our hearts, and the silence from Heaven above, may make it appear as though the Holy Spirit is not guiding us, but we know that eventually, the skies turn from bronze to cotton once again, and our hearts surge again with refreshed faith.
The mark of a true Christian is not a constant smile. Being the light of Jesus doesn't mean that the face must always shine. Who doesn't love to smile, and who doesn't desire a brilliant face? But because trial after trial besets us while we witness open sin in our midst, it's okay to frown at times, to show a face of disappointment, or sorrow, or anger. It's not "stuffy" to feel these things. It wouldn't be very unlike the face that Jesus would at times wear. The seal on the foreheads of the Jerusalem Jews (Ezekiel 9) will be granted to those who mourn for the sins of Israel. But personally, I can no longer dwell constantly on the sins around me. though I crave the day that Christians rule everywhere, when they cease to permit unbridled freedoms to those who displease God. On that day, the wicked will wear the frowns, and we shall dance a dance of the happy-go-lucky.
THE END-TIME JUDAS KISS
If we are so adapted to the world's luxuries now, how will we fare in the period of rationing, when, as it were, God supplies only "manna." We can be sure there will be those among us who will complain in the desert and crave to go back to the pot roasts of Egypt. If we think the "manna" God will then supply is not sufficient, then our preoccupation will not yet be on our Spiritual increase? Many so-called Christians will instead fall prey to the increase in lawlessness: "Because of the increase in lawlessness," said Jesus, "the love of most will grow cold" (Matthew 24:12).
The "lawlessness" is that which God is now restraining so that it might appear at the Appointed time, the time which defines the tribulation period. God's aim in releasing this is to weed out all people who care not for His Family...that those not trained/interested in love should fall away. And this is why the entire Church must pass through the tribulation, that only those who pass the test(s) shall be saved.
Although there has always been lawlessness, the global order will soon pick it/Satan up and throw it into everyone's face as never before, for God will allow Satan to popularize blasphemy and falsehood the world over. Anyone not interested in truth and Spirituality (in the Spirit of Jesus) at that time will be overcome with lawlessness and its many forms of adverse spirituality, including the worship of material things, and especially intense sexuality.
Therefore, the mark of the beast will act as a filter. Those who pass the test with love-filled faith will not be filtered out of God's Kingdom. In this way, the Church as a unit will be purified, for purification has to do with filtering out the bad. In the end, the Elect will be God's heroes. The goats among the sheep, like Judas Iscariot, will be more concerned with the increase in silver, and, like Judas, some will offer the Family a "kiss" for the purpose of betraying us to our enemies. Read Christ's words:
"Then they will deliver you to affliction and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. Many [believers] will then be offended and will deliver one another for hating one another; and many false prophets will be raised and will cause many to err, and because lawlessness is to be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures [in Jesus] to the end, this one will be saved" (Matthew 24:9-13).
If you're wondering who our greatest foes might become, look inward towards "Christian" circles. Traitors may not necessarily persecute us directly, but they will "deliver" us to what we can presume to be police-related arrests. This is a very good reason for all of us to keep our noses absolutely clean.
Isaiah says, "And it shall be, they shall be hungry, and one will rave and curse his King, and his God, with face upward" (8:21).
While this passage specifically speaks of bloodline Jews in the Great Tribulation period, the same is a warning for us. We would expect some believers who are turned away from retreats to be less than understanding, who then go on in an apostate manner because they feel that God, too, has turned away from them. And there will be a special hatred for the sheep. Such goats will be given the phony red-carpet treatment by the secular authorities, as was Judas by the Pharisees.
So be warned now: the media derision of those days will convince many goats to take sides against us, which may then bring upon us our very own "Gethsemane." If your spouse divorces you in the near future, God may be doing you a favor, knowing beforehand that he/she will bend to the skincode and thereby become a threat to your security. If there are custody issues in regards to children, the spouse that is faithful to the secular world will likely get the children with ease, and we don't know just yet if this will be a means by which your children will receive the skincode, but it sure raises hairs just to think about it.
Perhaps children under a certain age will not be coded. Quite likely the skincode will not be issued to someone without a bank account. As for older children, in their early-to-mid teens for example, they are old enough to reject the skincode should the parent with the skincode try to urge them to receive it.
If you, a sheep, should end up entering the tribulation unprepared, and then seek food and shelter in a tribulation retreat, only to be turned away, have the wisdom and the character to understand that they are turning you away because they are already over-crowded. Instead of betraying them, and betraying God in the process, seek God's guidance and endure faithfully day by day. You will have great opportunity for eternal salvation even if you are rejected by the wilderness sites. Scripture assures you of that. If you must, succumb to death with a clean, mark-less body, and your soul will go up immediately in victory.
Be somewhat secretive in your retreat planning, avoiding even your own children and parents if they are not strong Christians -- especially a spouse -- and watch your conversation closely with those in church. I would tell no one over the internet where your retreat is located.
ENDURANCE WITH A CAPITAL END
The Elect are going to endure to the "end" of what? To the end of the tribulation period, obviously. But can it not also refer to the end of one's life, if that is how it ends for them during the tribulation? Fine, yes.
What are we to say, that "the end" Jesus speaks of refers to the start of the tribulation period? To the middle? The very fact that Jesus warns the end-time Christian population to "endure" in order to be saved spells out its going through tribulation, but that Jesus would come right out and reveal the obligation to endure the severest of trials "TO THE END" is a brilliant proclamation of post-tribulationism that no Bible expert in his right mind should defy.
If anyone insists that the "end" of verse 13 refers only to the end of one's life, then just read of the next verse, 14, and it can be noted that it refers to the end of this age: "And this gospel of the Kingdom will be proclaimed in all the inhabited earth as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come."
The scene in Revelation 13 is such that the Beast has festered upon the earth. Anti-Christ, the man, is blaspheming God to high Heaven, and the False Prophet is striving to conquer the Christian Elect by supporting and promoting skincode legislation as the sole form of purchasing. In the midst of this situation, Jesus says, "Here is the endurance and faith of the saints."
When in the next chapter there is a warning not to take the mark because those that do will be thrown into a Lake of Fire, again the text says, "Here is the endurance of the saints, the ones keeping the commands of God and the faith of Jesus."
What he appears to be saying is, "Here is the war for which you will need endurance, saints."
The best insurance against your falling away from the faith is to be a hero. Don't let God spit you out of His mouth; be hot. Be a hot star! Be a hot and shining star which He can proudly lift to the skies.
12 - THE EXTRA JAR OF OIL
More than one of Christ's parables were tactfully worded, apparently, allowing for a standard interpretation to apply for the many generations of believers living prior to the great tribulation, but with added insights applying specifically for tribulation believers.
Take, for example, the "food" found just prior to the parable of the virgins. It would depict spiritual food for all generations of believers, but also literal food for the great-tribulation generation. Also, the parable of the sheep and the goats appears to have its greatest significance in the great tribulation even while it can apply to previous generations.
Certainly, the parable of the ten virgins is a call to prepare for the return of Jesus, and while oil may depict the Holy Spirit in other scriptures, the story line of the parable does not support a Holy-Spirit interpretation as well as oil = food, fuel and related physical needs permitting us to live apart from receiving the mark of the beast.
Is it any wonder that charismatics would interpret the oil as the Holy Spirit, just so that they can interpret the extra oil as an extra infilling of the Spirit...which they claim to possess at the exclusion of all other believers? You do realize, don't you, that this in their minds makes all other believers -- those who don't speak in tongues or perform miracles -- into the foolish virgins condemned to Hell? I don’t agree with this charismatic “full-gospel” view.
In the parable, we see that because the five foolish virgins will not prepare extra oil, they will be incapable of enduring deeper into the night than required, and their calamity at the end of the night takes an infinite turn for the worse in the horrible fate of eternal condemnation. When at the end of the night the five wise virgins alone are rewarded with eternal life, the ones without the extra oil beg, "Lord, Lord...", only to hear Jesus reply, "I don't know you."
Sound familiar? It's the same condemnation reported by Jesus in Matthew 7:21, where he says, "Not everyone saying to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven." As the foolish virgins are believers in Jesus, so also the ones who say "Lord, Lord" in the Matthew-7 text, who claim to drive out demons and perform miracles in the name of Jesus but who do not live for God appropriately in the key areas required by Him. Therefore, as these condemned believers sound just like charismatics, is it really true that the wise virgins are within charismatic circles, or wouldn't the truth be nearer to the other way around, that some of the foolish virgins are those charismatics who create the will of God for their lives while confusing their imaginations for the voice and moving of God?
As a side note, I started out in Pentecostal/charismatic churches as a born-again believer, when I was converted, not in a church, but in my own room. I learned quickly that the Christian life must not be a largely mystical, revelation-based experience, but a calculated performance of doing the Words of Jesus. I must admit, I am largely disappointed in some areas of my performance. But one thing I won't do is what charismatics are famous for, playing prophet or apostle of God, or in other ways acting like an elite believer who considers himself special compared to others just because he partook in an amazing conversion experience. Within a month, as a witness to my old circle of friends, the Lord used me to cast out a demon from an anti-Christian friend while I was bending one knee in front of my old party-pals, and praying openly to Jesus for her deliverance. She was rolling on the floor at the time, but immediately her mind-losing screams ceased. This took place on the very night that the Holy Spirit showed me a morning vision of that woman, and following up by instructing me with a clearly-perceptible Voice to write something on paper. That was God's way of showing me that He had truly come into my life.
But He has not communicated with me in such grand ways more than a half-dozen times since, and I understand that, unless I obey the written Words of God through the direction of Jesus, my amazing conversion, or any other gift of God that comes supernaturally, and all the communications of God toward me personally, will mean nothing but deep regrets in Darkness.
What troubles me is that I heard a voice at age seven, while running across my front yard with no one around. The voice asked, "Will you live for me." I knew that it was God, no one had to teach me, but what troubles me now is my learning that famous charismatics and cult leaders, whom I think were false prophets, had typically claimed to have heard the voices of angels in their childhood...voices that they claim made them specially-gifted or positioned in the Kingdom of God. Whether they were lying, or whether the angels were demons disguised as Heavenly, I do not know, but in my case I told God, "NO," that I didn't want to give up my childhood fun to serve Him. I told him, maybe later.
God came back to me at age eleven, and at the very second that I was rejecting Him, while the words of rejection were still coming from my mouth, a strong bolt of lightning struck the chimney of my house, and sent broken bricks rolling down the shingles. Yet I ignored Him anyway, until age 21, when after a series of teen-age hardships, I sat upon my bed and looked up to the ceiling, saying, "If I have to go to Hell, from there I will love you." As I lay down on my bed just then, naked I remember, feeling dirty, I begged for His Spirit three times, and within a minute I felt a warm, half-frightening sensation sinking into my head, frightening because I could sense this Being was intruding into the depths of my being. When it was over, after seeing my terrible sins wiped clean, I could feel Jesus inside of me, radiating in every direction, and PEACE, such PEACE. I was never the same again.
Why did God call me like that from an early age? Was it to write this book? Indeed, as soon as I was converted, I began to study prophecy quite intensely, and couldn't understand why others found little interest in it. I also took to writing. When I learned of pre-tribulationism a year later, I determined to write a book against it, but never did I realize that I would be writing on tribulation preparation, until 1994, when through a series of miracle-like events, I thought that God had led me to my own tribulation retreat. I bought the river property, having four acres of native/wild pecan trees. I have since built the cottage, added a fenced garden beside it, and dug a well to clean water just ten feet below ground level. I consider all this wise, but my wife abandoned the project after the first year, and then me too. Am I one of the wise virgins simply because I am preparing for the deep dark night ahead? Perhaps.
THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT
The fact that the oil in the parable is needed for all ten lamps underscores the passing of all ten virgins through the night, until the Bridegroom comes and brings the Morning. There is no early rapture seen here; it occurs well past the mid-night hour. So please mark this: the oil which the virgins possess prior to the night means relatively little. It is the extra supply which they store for the deepest part of the night--or do not store for that time--which determines whether they are wise or foolish...whether they receive life or condemnation.
Note that the extra supply of oil is found in "jars," which implies the storage of something. What are Christians to store for the deepest part of the tribulation, do you think? Faith? The Holy Spirit? Yes, but also food and other earthly needs.
Is it truly too peculiar to depict the "night" as the tribulation period, otherwise known as the 70th Week? To the contrary, many have come to this conclusion without difficulty, although I can see why a pre-tribulationist would be very reluctant to interpret the night as the tribulation, since the wise virgins represent Elect Christians IN that night. The pre-tribulationist would like to distort this parable, therefore, so that the coming of the Bridegroom deep in the night is the pre-tribulation rapture (i.e. before the tribulation altogether).
It is so difficult to deny the implication of "night" as the tribulation period that pre-tribulationists have resorted to an elaborate scheme, suggesting that the parable reflects a Jewish marriage custom in which the groom would come and steal the bride in the wee hours of the night. But Jesus was not merely referring to the wee hours of the morning, but to a spiritually dark period in history. For, the parable includes the use of the telling phrase, "THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT."
Note that the Bible divides the last seven years into two halves of 3 1/2 years each, thus providing a definite middle of the tribulation period, which we are told arrives after the Abomination of Desolation occurs. Therefore, the parable's "middle of the night" irresistibly becomes a point in the future which sees the Abomination of Desolation. It is then, with about 1260 days to go before the anti-Christ's power is diminished, that the Church--the Woman of Revelation 12--requires food and drink from special wilderness sources. Note that the virgins do not wait for the bridegroom from their homes, but rather, "go forth to a meeting of the Bridegroom." Do you know when they go forth to this meeting?
A "cry" in "the middle of the night," says the parable, will be heard by all ten drowsing virgins, alerting them to the arrival of the Bridegroom. But, of course, there is significant time left before he actually arrives, for the extra oil is yet needed from that time onward. What would have been the point in storing the all-important jars of oil if there was no significant time between the middle of the night and the Bridegroom's return? And behold, verse 5 tells us that the virgins "went forth to a meeting" just as they heard that cry in the middle of the night, suggesting that the Meeting is the wilderness experience of Revelation 12.
If true, what could the jars of oil represent but storage of foods, etc.? If that's also true, then, while Revelation 12 doesn't reveal much of how the Woman is fed and kept, this parable does: not by expecting God to make food fall out of the sky, but by preparing our very own stores of food.
The sleepiness of the church up until that mid-night point refers to unwatchfulness. All commands of God are given because He knows in advance that we do not obey. Thus, He emphatically told us to watch because He knows that we will tire and not obey when the critical time arrives. But the Abomination of Desolation will be the grand wake-up call for us, when even pre-tribulationists will need to admit that they, too, are leg-deep into the 70th Week. Yes, we are foretold that all ten virgins will then "wake up" and begin to "trim their lamps" in expectation of the Bridegroom.
We see that the oil which the virgins happen to have in their lamps is sufficient to get them through the first half of the night. Then, at the midway point, the foolish virgins discover that they haven't got oil for the rest of the night, and they are quite alarmed by having to endure further without it. This very much evokes reaching the middle of the tribulation period without a store of earthly provisions to do battle against the skincode.
Oil is a source of both food and fuel, and there are some very solid reasons found in the parable itself to support this physical interpretation. For example, the foolish Christians approach the "ready ones" to borrow oil. Is it the element of love, faith in Christ, or the Holy Spirit that they seek to borrow from fellow believers? That doesn't fit very well.
The foolish virgins, realizing that the skincode is nearly upon them now, beg: "Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out." Are they saying, "Give us some of your Holy Spirit, for our salvation is going out?" That just doesn't fit. A request to borrow food and fuel, however, suits the text extremely well in that food and fuel would sum up the bare survival needs in the event of the skincode.
The response of the "ready ones" to the stern demands are stern denials. They tell the unprepared ones to go and "BUY FOR YOURSELVES." If the foolish ones, who suddenly discover that they are out of faith, or fear that they have lost the Spirit, go to Christ's chosen ones for assistance, wouldn't these wise Christians point them gladly in the right direction, sharing their faith with them, and in the Spirit pray together with them? To the contrary, the prepared ones refuse to help the unprepared ones by sharing their oil, suggesting that the oil does not depict spiritual things. Clearly, the extra jars are such a great prize at this point that they cannot be shared, wherefore the oil must depict provisions vital for life but not easily obtained. Having these provisions provides "light" in the final half of the Week; being without them darkens the period...and makes the mark of the beast enticing.
It's possible that the wise virgins steer the foolish ones to go buy their needs while the skincode is not quite at the enforcement stage, but, even then, at such a late time, while millions of pre-tribulationists and Latter Rainists attempt to buy simultaneously, they are not going to get enough to last very long.
What does the phrase mean which says, "go to those who sell and buy for yourselves." Is it per chance the parable's round-about way of implying, "go buy from God?" No way. This interpretation is denied simply because the foolish virgins did go out and buy for themselves, but since they were condemned while doing so, the theory is unsound. For, there is no just cause for condemnation in going to God in request of additional faith or Spirit.
Surely, Jesus, the author of the parable, would not include such inconsistencies as these, where if oil depicts the Holy Spirit, he would then have it borrowed and bought? The phrase, "go to those who sell," implies human marketplaces. But the phrase also reveals a betrayal of Christ, a receiving of the skincode...which is a just cause for condemnation.
Why do the wise Christians pack extra jars in the first place, if not solely on their prior understanding of having to endure very deep into the night? Pre-tribulationists ought to think hard on this. Anyone who does not believe that they must live through the final half of the tribulation does not pack provisions for that time. Because the wise virgins do prepare for the deep night, the parable identifies them as post-tribulationists who properly heed the requirement set out in Revelation 12 and 13: prepare for the skincode by living in the wilderness for 1260 days, and it would be wise to provide your own food and fuel rather than to depend on God to just plop it into your lap.
Indeed, the wise virgins do not appear to believe that God is going to supply all their needs as the needs arise, or else they would not be shown packing extra jars BEFOREHAND. Packing jars has to do with preservation, and anything packed is used in the future. So, the message of this parable is: don't wait until the tribulation arrives before you prepare your needs. And don't expect God to just hand you your needs at that late time.
The foolish virgins are certainly portrayed as having a strong will to continue in their faith, for they desire more oil the purpose of which is to live longer for Christ during the last half of the night. They certainly wish to enter the Kingdom of the Bridegroom, therefore, for they even knock hard and heavy on Heaven's Door later on (so to speak). Thus, the wishes of all ten are alike, but their deeds are clearly not. For the eventual condemnation of five shows that God has not chosen them. Jesus said, "many are called, but few are chosen." I wish it were not true, and I pray that it will not be true, but alas...
And so we see that those whom God does not choose will consequently not prepare extra oil for the darkest half of the night, suggesting logically that God will not move them to such preparations, for which reason we can expect them to make all kinds of excuses when "wise virgins" urge them to prepare. It certainly brings to my mind the stiff-necked pre-tribbers and mid-tribbers who are fully determined not to prepare anything at all.
However, there are also some post-tribbers who will suffer the same shock as the foolish virgins, for they feel no need to prepare anything...now telling me that God will provide all great-tribulation needs at the moment of need. This reasoning could be an excuse in that they really don't want to prepare. Or, acting spiritually tall, they will tell me that we should prepare spiritually rather than physically. But isn't it foolish to prepare spiritually and mentally but not physically? Are we to just die of starvation before the Lord to prove our great spirituality?
Yes, God can provide for us in an instant if he so desired, but God does not appear to give the extra oil to the chosen virgins without their own participation. Indeed, there exists a fundamental warning in this parable which exhorts us to such participation. I expect to see the chosen working in concert with the Father, to prepare needs before the night, so that the night becomes a time of spiritual growth and not a nightmare spent hunting for our physical needs. I believe that the Father will oversee/direct our pre-trib' preparations with or without our knowledge.
Note how we learn acutely here that our charity is not required to extend to the goats. Jesus makes plain the apparent "selfishness" of the wise virgins. Because the Father is not expected to move the goats to preparation, they will come knocking on our doors at the start of the last 1260 days, seeking our foods and our space. Count on it. This too is the message of this parable. But not all who come knocking, and not all who fail to make preparations, will be goats; some will be the Elect of God.
The wise virgins will invite many to partake of their provisions, even though the parable of the virgins doesn't reveal this. But it is revealed elsewhere in Scripture. For example, being the Elect, the wise virgins must also be the sheep who in the sheep-and-goat parable (Matthew 25:31) are shown practicing great charity toward other sheep. And the "they" in Revelation 12:6, whom God uses/appoints to feed His chosen Bride, must also be some of the wise virgins. Moreover, are the wise virgins not also those in Matthew 25:14-22 who use their "talents" to increase the Kingdom of God? The wise virgins are all over Matthew 25, not merely in their own parable. And what of the so-called "wise servants" whom the Lord will "appoint over His Household, to give [the Household] food in due season" (Matthew 24:45)?
In one account of the Old-Testament prophet Elijah, there wasn't rain for 3.5 years (we must wonder if this length of time isn't so because it reflects the 3.5-year great tribulation period). During the drought, God fed Elijah in a special way beside a stream in the wilderness. When Elijah was visiting the house of a woman (symbolic for the Church?), who thought that she was going to die on account of the drought, he told her:
"For so says YHWH the God of Israel: 'The pitcher of food shall not be consumed, and the jar of oil shall not fail, until the day that YHWH sends rain on the land'" (1 Kings 17:14).
Miraculously, for the entire 3.5 years, until the foods were made available to Israel again, Elijah was nourished by God's overspreading hand. This account is key to those post-tribulationists who believe that we don't have to prepare a thing before the great tribulation...that God will supply for us at the very moment of need. While I cannot argue against the possibility of this method of Care because God can act in a number of different ways, and because I do believe that he will intervene miraculously at times, neither can I disregard the parable of the virgins which teaches an onus on our part to prepare/store our own provisions.
Couldn't we consider ordinary preparation as being miraculous, if God is at the head of task? That is, the one who prepares a store of food will find that God makes it last to the end of the period, which is logical in that no one (generally speaking) will prepare a store of food except that God moves them to do so, and God will move only those written in the Book of Life.
The "jar of oil" in the Lord's promise to the woman of Elijah's day is not a representation of the Holy Spirit, for it is literal in this case. Since the jars of oil in the parable configure well to the widow's jar of literal oil--in that both cases are associated with enduring a 3.5-year period by dependence on God--the Elijah account is Scriptural support for the parable's physical interpretation of oil. After all, didn't Jesus know about the 3.5 years of Elijah's day, and the jar of oil from which he was sustained, when He told the ten-virgin parable?
If the objection is raised that the five foolish virgins would not be condemned by Christ to eternal Hell just because they failed to prepare bread and blankets for their tribulation endurance, then, if the reader has not yet seen it, let me spell it out. The condemnation is deserved because they will receive the skincode in order to secure their survival needs:
"If anyone worships the beast and its image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, even he shall drink of the wine of the anger of God" (14:9).
Verse 11 concludes the call with:
"And the smoke of the torment of them goes up from age to age, and they have not rest day nor night who worship the beast and its image, or if anyone receives the mark of its name."
Does this mean that people which consider themselves Christians can be condemned solely for buying merchandise, if they buy it by taking the mark? Yes. Does the parable imply that the condemnation of the foolish virgins involved their reception of the mark? Yes:
"'Lest it does not fully suffice for us and for you,' the wise virgins told the foolish ones, 'go rather to those who sell and buy for yourselves.' And while they were going away to buy, the bridegroom came, and the ready ones went in with him to the wedding festivities, and the door was shut [to the other five]" (Matthew 25:9-10).
Does this passage not imply that the foolish ones are in the act of buying their needs at the time of Christ's return?
They come begging to enter the Festivities, but the mercy of God does not extend out to them. They bang on the door, as it were, but no one opens, except Christ, to tell them to go away because he doesn't know them. How can this utter rejection and condemnation occur before the tribulation? Surely, this can only be a sentence passed by God after the tribulation. Therefore, the parable itself also reveals a post-tribulation rapture.
To suggest that the skincode will be enforced at that very point, "in the middle of the night," is logical, since the foolish Christians are found precisely then to be in great need of future provisions. Supporting this timing for the skincode is the fact that the Bride in Revelation 12 requires wilderness sustenance for exactly 1,260 days. Therefore, this parable is one of only two places in the Bible where I have been able to discover the timing of the skincode's arrival within the 70th Week.
Parables cannot say everything about a situation. They are meant to point out certain aspects only, and may not possess total consistency because the use of allegory is not always perfect in its reflection of reality. Therefore, not everyone who is found unprepared at the midway point of the tribulation will end up being condemned, and not all who ask for assistance from ready ones will be turned away. Jesus is telling us that the possibility exists because it will happen just that way to many, but he is not stating a universal law.
Even Biblical statements which are not parables are often generalizations. When Jesus said, "In this night, there will be two men on one couch; one will be taken and the other left" (Luke 17:34), it doesn't condemn one out of every two men who will be found sitting together at the Return. There will be cases where neither of two are saved, and also cases where both are saved. And, of course, there will be cases where there are more than two men working together. And notice that He didn't say there would be two men climbing the back sides of giant cactuses in an effort to hide from the anti-Christ's desert raiders.
In the same way, he didn't say two women would be stirring their stews with stalactites while hiding out in caves. He said, "There will be two woman grinding [grain] together; one will be taken and the other will be left" (Luke 17:36). Clearly, there will be those who will live with true believers in tribulation retreats, but who will not go up in the rapture. Thus, some foolish ones will, after all, receive space amid the wise virgins, and remain with them until the very end of the 1260 days.
Watch your backside, therefore. Not all is what it may seem among the post-tribulationists. But do realize that sheep sometimes do what goats are big on (i.e. sin), and that goats sometimes do what sheep are big on (i.e. love). Let God be the Judge; our job is to be as much sheep material as possible, and to hope that all believers achieve salvation.
Revelation 19 deals with a celebration in Heaven over the destruction of Babylon, a destruction that is post-tribulational according to the seventh-bowl (16:19). Therefore, the celebration over her doom must be more post-tribulational still.
But, now, the Wedding festivities -- the same festivities seen in the ten-virgin parable -- are brought to the fore. Yes, right there in Revelation 19, where Babylon's post-trib' destruction is being highlighted, and where Jesus is seen coming on his White Horse to commence Armageddon, the text says:
"The Marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has prepared herself, and it was given to her that she might be clothed with white linen bright and clean..."
"Blessed are the ones who have been called to the marriage supper of the Lamb" (19:9).
Therefore, shame on you, pre-tribulationists, who claim that the Wedding occurs somewhere in the sky and during the tribulation period...while mere babes in Christ are being severely persecuted on earth yet. And what nonsense it is to suggest a Wedding prior to the resurrection of Abraham, while even the end-time Jewish Remnant is absent.
Is it not plain from Revelation 19 and elsewhere--especially Daniel 11:35--that the Bride prepares herself with white clothing during the tribulation period...whitened by the tribulations therein and no doubt also by the wilderness experience? And doesn't Daniel 12:1-2 show the resurrection of Abraham at the end of the anti-Christ's rule?
The Rider of Revelation 19 is a Warrior and the Bridegroom at the same time. This is the fundamental post-tribulation rapture position, where the gathering of "wise virgins" occurs at the initiation of Armageddon, at the same time that both Old- and New-Testament dead saints are resurrected from the grave, and at the same time that the surviving Jewish Remnant is saved...that the entire "woman" of Revelation 12 (i.e. "all Israel") may find salvation simultaneously, and all partake in the Wedding Feast together.
It's not by coincidence that those remaining alive on earth should be taken up at that time, for it is absolutely necessary to pull the Bride up out of the world in order to rain the fires of Armageddon down, as even the wheat-and-tare parable confirms. For, simultaneous to the battle of Armageddon, there will be global upheaval...a melting of the mountains and a removal of the islands, among other drastic Measures.
After Armageddon, the Wedding table will be adorned upon the meadows of Israel, the wine will be passed out, and the Bread of Life will take his seat at the head:
"You shall lay low the noise of foreigners...the shouting of the terrifying ones shall be laid low. And YHWH of hosts will make a feast of fat things for all peoples in this mountain [Zion], a feast of wine on the meadows, of fat things full of marrow, refined wine upon the lees. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering which covers all the people, and the veil that is woven over all the nations. He will swallow up death in victory! The Lord YHWH will wipe away tears from all faces..." (Isaiah 25:6-8).
While I realize that the Wedding Banquet will include mortal Israelites, just where do you plan to be at the time, Christian, with your new immortal body? You will be right there, listening to the King, and sitting among the others, with wine in your glass and meat on your plate, with the realization that something very good is about to begin, lasting for an eternity.
Swallowing death in victory and wiping tears from all faces is Rapture-Resurrection talk, which is why I place this Feast found in Isaiah immediately after Armageddon. The fact that it takes place on earth certainly denies the pre-tribulationist view all the more. And so to distort yet another doctrine, they teach that the Feast will occur somewhere in the sky. In fact, the "mansions" of John 14:2 are said to be in the sky somewhere, and the Church is said to be spending the seven years in those mansions while the babes on earth are tortured.
In the post-trib' view, there are no mansions or rooms in the sky that Jesus will take us to during the rapture. As the rapture elevates the saints into the sky for merely a period of days, or less, the mansions/rooms of John, said by Jesus to be in the Father's House, are going to be on earth. Perhaps these rooms refer to the New Jerusalem, but, even so, the New Jerusalem will be set on earth.
After being taken up to the clouds to be spared the heat of Armageddon, Jesus will take us back down with him so that where he is, we can be also. Those who come back down with the Lord will then be appointed as the judges (i.e. rulers) of the earth, just as Jude 14 tells us. Those pre-tribulationists who interpret the coming of Jesus in Jude 14 as the Armageddon appearance are incorrect, and such a teaching creates yet another new doctrine, that of the saints coming to literally fight Armageddon alongside the Lord. Thus, the pre-tribbers violate the wheat-and-tare parable by sticking the wheat right into Armageddon's fires! But if that scene seems incorrect to you, then realize that Jude was speaking of a cooler, post-Armageddon landing.
In an effort to prove their position, pre-tribulationists teach that the "armies of Heaven" which follow the King of kings on his white "horse" represent the Church coming back to Earth with him, to fight alongside him in Armageddon. But nowhere are the saints ever called "armies of Heaven," and nowhere in prophecy do we see saints coming to fight in Armageddon. To the contrary, the phrase, "armies of Heaven," depicts the angels most appropriately, who are often shown side-by-side with Christ/God at Armageddon.
Indeed, where Thessalonians tells us more than twice that the saints are to be spared the wrath of God, it is referring to a rapture occurring at the Armageddon wrath, as per 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10, for example:
"...at the apocalypse of the Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven with his powerful angels in flaming fire, giving full vengeance to those not knowing God...when he comes to be glorified in his saints and to be admired by all those who trusted..."
These saints do not seem to be coming with the Lord and his angels, do they? But they are meeting the Lord at his Coming, filled with glorious admiration i.e. as though meeting for the first time. And if one reads verses 4-6, he will find that the saints are enduring persecutions and afflictions up until that apocalyptic Appearance. The WRATH of God (i.e. "full vengeance") is in association with the apocalyptic Appearance, of course, when he pays back our persecutors for damage done to us during the tribulation period.
The fact that the Bride is seen in white "linen" earlier in Revelation 19, even as the angelic armies of Heaven are shown in white, serves to show, not that the armies are the Bride, but that the saints will become like the angels. "White clothing" is said to depict righteousness, although I also believe that it depicts the white light of God which radiates from the angels.
Consider the angel in the first verse of the previous Revelation chapter (18), where it says of him, "the earth was lit up by his glory." Therefore, it may be that we will also shine literally with white light, as Daniel may have implied when he wrote that the saints will shine like the stars forever and ever. If true, pity those unbelievers who have frowned on eternal life by supposing it to be a completely boring affair due to everyone wearing the same, white colors...and robes on top of that, as if "robes" are literal.
THE OLIVET DISCOURSE
Each gospel text is in its own color:
MATTHEW-- --MARK-- --LUKE
Please tolerate my own comments in black text.
Late in the day, when the time had come to leave the temple, Jesus was sitting opposite the treasury, and as he looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. He saw a certain poor widow putting two lepta there, and said, "Truly, I tell you that this poor widow put in more than everyone, for everyone put into the gifts out of their abundance, but this woman, in her poverty, had put in all she had to live on."
One of his disciples said, "Teacher, behold, what great stones and what great buildings."
"Do you see these great buildings," he said, "in no way will stone be left upon stone which will not be thrown down."Then they left the Temple and probably heard more on this topic as they went. In the evenings, Jesus would go forth and lodge on the mountain called "Olives," a mere eyeshot from the Temple. As he sat on the Mount of Olives this night, the disciples approached him privately, asking, "Tell us, when will these things [about the Temple stones?] be, and what is the sign of your appearance and of the end of the age?" The apostles had assumed that the stones would be torn down at the same time/event as the end of the age.
"See that no one causes you to err. For many will come in my name saying, "I am the Christ," causing many to err. But you are about to hear of wars and rumors of wars (i.e. the Romans); see that you are not troubled; for it is required to happen, but the end is not yet. For in the end nation will be raised against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be pestilence(s), famines and earthquakes throughout places, terrors and great signs in the heavens; but these things are merely the beginning of birth-pangs.
"Before all these things [i.e. in the first century?], they will lay their hands on you, and will persecute you, delivering you to synagogues and prisons for being led away before kings and governors for the sake of my name. This will turn out as a testimony for you to give. Therefore, do not decide to practice your defense in your hearts beforehand, for I will give you a mouth of wisdom which your opponents will not be able to withstand nor contradict. Speak whatever is given you in that hour, for you will not be speaking, but rather the Holy Spirit.
"Then [(in the end times, after the beginning of “birth pains”), you will be hated by all nations because of my name. Many will then be offended and will deliver one another for hating one another. A brother will deliver a brother to death, a father a child, and children will rise against parents and will put them to death. Many false prophets will be raised to cause many to err. But the one who endures this persecution and confusion to the end, this one will be saved. Not a hair of your head will by any means perish; in your endurance you will gain your souls. This gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the inhabited earth as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end of the age will come.
"When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. When, therefore, you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken through the prophet Daniel [in 11:31], standing in the holy site, let the reader understand. Then let those in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those in the districts not enter into Judea. Let not the one on the housetop come down to take things out of his house, nor let the one in the field turn back to retrieve his coat, because these are days of God's vengeance upon Israel, fulfilling all the things written in the Old-Testament prophecies.
"Remember Lot's wife: whoever seeks to preserve his earthly life, he will lose it, but whoever will lose it will preserve it. Woe to the women having fruit in the womb and to those giving suck in those days. Pray that your flight will not occur in winter, nor on a sabbath; for then there will be great tribulation on the land, and wrath against this people Israel, such that has not come to pass up to now, from the beginning of the world, nor will it by any means happen again. And Israel will fall by the mouth of the sword and will be led captive to all nations, until the [42-month] times of the nations are accomplished [i.e. at Armageddon]. Unless the Lord shortened those days [at Armageddon], no flesh could be saved, but on account of the elect, those days will be cut short by My return.
"Days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but will not see one. They will say to you, 'Behold there!' or 'Behold, here!' Do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will be raised, who will give great signs and wonders, so as to cause to err, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you beforehand. If, therefore, they say to you, 'Behold, he's in the desert,' do not go forth; if they say, 'Behold, he's in the private rooms,' do not believe it. For as the lightning comes forth from the east and shines to the west, so also will the appearance of the Son of man be [i.e. suddenly, bright, fearful, from and across the sky, from east to west]. Wherever the carcass may be, there will the eagles be assembled.
"And immediately after the[Israel's] tribulation of those days, there will be anxiety amongst nations in perplexity, at the sound of the sea and surf, with men fainting from fear and anticipation for the things coming upon the inhabited earth, for the powers of the skies will be shaken [i.e. as per the 6th Seal]. The sun will be darkened and the moon will not give her light; the stars will fall from the sky i.e. to the horizon, and the powers of the skies will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man [the rapture?] will appear in the sky. All the tribes of the land will then bewail as they 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 great trumpet [the 7th Trumpet], and they will gather his elect out of the four winds of the air, from the extremities of the skies unto their extremities.
"When these things begin to take place, stand erect and lift up your heads because your redemption draws near. Learn this parable of the fig tree: "When its branch becomes tender and it puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things, know that it is near, at the doors. Truly, I tell you, that this generation witnessing these things will by no means pass away until all these things take place. The sky and earth will pass away, but my words may not by any means pass away. So you see, I have told you before all things happen.
"Concerning the timing of that day and hour (of the post-tribulation return of 6 verses earlier), no one knows -- not even the angels -- but only the Father. For as in the days of Noah, so also will the appearance of the Son of Man be without warning to those who perish. For as they were eating and drinking in those days before the flood -- marrying and being given into marriage, until the day Noah entered into the ark, thus not realizing anything until the flood came and took everyone, so also will the appearance of the Son of Man be [a sudden surprise only to those who do not heed the signs].
"It was the same in the days of Lot--they were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building--but on the day which Lot went forth from Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from the sky and destroyed all.
"Take heed to yourselves lest your hearts become burdened with headache, deep drinking, and the anxieties of life, so that the dayof Armageddon/Appearance comes suddenly upon you like a snare e.g. thief in the night, for it will come in on all the ones which sit on the face of the earth. But you be watchful, begging at all times that you may be able to escape all these things which are about to happen, so as to stand before the Son of Man.
"I tell you, in this night there will be two men on one couch; one will be taken and the other will be leftbehind; there will be two men in the field, one will be taken and one will be left behind; two women will be grinding grain at the mill, one will be taken and one will be left behind."
"Where, Lord," they asked him, being curious as to where those taken would go.
"Where there's a saved body [different Greek word than the "carcass" of Matthew 24:28], there also will the eagles be gathered together [i.e. in the sky].
"Watch, therefore, because you do not know when the Lord of the house will arrive, whether late in the evening, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or early in the morning; if he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. But know that if the homeowner knew in what watch of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have allowed his house to be dug through. Therefore, you also be ready, because the Son of Man will come at a time when you do not think so" [ifor which reason it will not be in/near the year 2000, when many think so].
"Who, then, is the faithful and wise servant whom the Lord appointed over his Household, to give them [his tribulation Christians] food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom the Lord will find so doing when he returns [as per verse 30]. Truly, I tell you, that he will appoint him over all his Millennial goods. But if a wicked servant says in his heart, 'My Lord delays,' and begins to strike [i.e. betray] his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with those who are drunks, then the Lord of that servant will come on a day which he does not expect, and in an hour that he does not recognize, and will cut him to pieces. His portion will be with the hypocrites; there will be wailing and the gnashing of teeth..."
For the rest of the Discourse, see Matthew 25.
Table of Contents
Pre-Tribulation Planning for a Post-Tribulation Rapture