“PREPARING” FOR THE GREAT TRIBULATION: TRIBULATION TERMINATOR RAMBOS

QUESTION:  If, as some say, the church is about to go through the Tribulation, what can we do to prepare?

Often, when the subject of the rapture and the seven-years of judgment of the biblical Tribulation period of the end times is discussed, one can see a common lament of opinion toward those who believe that the church, all those born again in Christ a.k.a. the body of Christ, will escape into Heaven via the rapture.  That common lament, by some, toward those of us who believe that we who are in the body of Christ will escape the Tribulation period are robbing believers of their readiness to meet the days of judgment just ahead.  This lament is obviously heartfelt, representing a passionate desire on the lamenter’s part to expound a particular point of view.  In one form or another, those opinions are often expressed by a growing and quite vocal group of Christians.  Precisely because it is so typical of much thinking today, it becomes necessary to clarify and put a bullet in the head of this false doctrinal monster that so plagues many of the faith.  Many of the dissenters of the pre-tribulation rapture view are so passionate of their belief that the church will go through the Tribulation that they quite often label a pre-tribulationist a “heretic” or a “false prophet.”  Biblically speaking, a pre-tribulationist is far from being a false prophet or heretic, for it is sound biblical doctrine.  There are those who do indeed qualify for that label, but this label is far, far overused and abused.  Many expositors in the faith unjustly get accused of being a “false prophet” or a “heretic” based upon a minor misinterpretation of scripture that neither denies the faith or does any harm to the overall glorification of Christ and his crucifixion.  “False prophet” and “heretic” get ridiculously overused and misused.  One can be mistaken in their interpretation of a certain prophecy or minor doctrinal issue, but it does not make them a “false prophet” or “heretic.”  In fact, when expounding upon biblical matters, stand back a bit because you may get burned, fried and scorched with a fierceness with this accusation at some point in time.

BURNING SKELETON  MOUTH FLAMES

Back to the point of the article.  Doubters of the pre-tribulation rapture often express their opposition to the notion that the Apostle Paul believed and taught a pre-tribulation rapture of the church.  It is obvious that for them, this is a key point of theology.  Their position is quite clear.  So is ours.  For many years, we on the pre-tribulational side of the debate have proclaimed what we believe to be the truth about dispensational, pre-millennial and pre-tribulational eschatology.  In simple language, that means we believe in the Lord’s ongoing stewardship over his believing remnant on Earth.  He has guided the development of mankind across six thousand years of human history.  He has gone about this activity in various stages, each of which is clear and identifiable.  In addressing mankind, he has used different methods at different historical periods.  These “economies” or “dispensations” are portions of his total redemptive purpose.  Human history was laid out in accordance with the six days of creation.  That is, the six days of creation are a model for six millennial days of human struggle.  These days of struggle will come to an end in the seventh millennium with the return of Christ to set up and earthly Kingdom.  Today, we live at a time immediately prior to that Millennium, hence the term, “premillennial.”  Finally, this Millennium will be ushered in by a seven-year period, called the Tribulation.  This time interval will bring a series of indescribable horrors to the face of the Earth.  Of this period, also referred to as, “… the time of Jacob’s trouble …,” Jesus said …

“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).

In that day, the wrath of God will fall upon Earth.  In the verse above, Jesus is saying that nothing like this has ever befallen humanity before, and that includes the great flood of Noah’s day.  The Lord will call his church out of the Earth prior to this Tribulation period.  Thus, for us, the idea of pre-tribulationism has two central features.  First, we believe that we live prior to this horrendous event.  Second, we will be taken home to be with the Lord before it comes.  It is realized that there are differing opinions about these points, sometimes vehemently proclaimed.  Why is there such disagreement?  To begin with, there is great confusion about the purpose, nature and scope of the Tribulation.  First and foremost, it is aimed at setting straight the unregenerate state of the world.  Since the days of ancient Babylon and Egypt, corrupt governments have oppressed the hapless millions, who have been mired in paganism and tormented by the dark forces on high.  But even in those early post-flood days, God made it known that he planned a Kingdom that would come to encompass all of the systems of the world.  Furthermore, that Kingdom would be led from the throne of David.  The powers of this world will one day collapse and subsequently be required to pay homage to that throne from where Christ will reign.  With the foregoing in mind, and before dealing with the question of whether the church will escape the Tribulation, we must clarify it’s purpose.  There are three basic purposes of the Tribulation …

First of all, it will bring wickedness to an end.  to illustrate this thought, let us observe Isaiah 13:9: “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.”  To emphasize the point, let us observe Isaiah 24:19-20, The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly.  The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.  Here, we plainly see that God wants the transgressions of man to be utterly destroyed, never to rise again.  Note also that he uses the most relentless and unmerciful methods to achieve his ends.  Truly, the harshness of this period almost defies description.  It shakes the very Earth.  On a side note, it is believed by many that the incoming Planet X system with it’s accompanying orbiting moons and other planetary bodies will achieve this devastation that we read so prominently in Isaiah 24.  The evidence for it is very solid, evidence of which my wife and many others have personally witnessed and captured on camera.  To see my wife’s and other’s evidence, I have inserted her photo in another article on this site (link below). https://endtimesdarknessdescending.wordpress.com/2018/01/14/the-imminent-return-of-christ-defending-the-doctrine-of-the-pre-tribulation-rapture/

Second of all, the Tribulation will bring about a worldwide revival.  This global event will be led by selected members of the twelve tribes of Israel, from among the sons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob …

And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.  And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel (Revelation 7:2-4).

Thirdly, and perhaps most tellingly, the Tribulation will break the stubborn will of the Jewish nation.  There are two key passages that make this point.  The first comes from Daniel, as the angel tells the prophet what will happen to his people in the last days …

And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?  And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished” (Daniel 12:6-7).

These “holy people” are none other than last days national Israel.  The next passage is found in Ezekiel 20:37-38 describing Israel’s last day regathering and judgment …

And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 20:37-38).

These three aspects of the Tribulation illustrate that God will break the Gentile world power that is now conglomerating into a system of world government manifest in scripture as “Mystery Babylon The Great.”  The phrase “And I will purge out the rebels from among you” may very well be speaking of the certain segment of Jews that have a major part in the nation destroying implementation of this global government system.  For me, that one may be a little murky to be dogmatic, but we do find that God exhorts “my people” to “come out from her” (Mystery Babylon) and be not partakers of her sins …

“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).

Once this system of world power is broken, Israel will undergo spiritual preparation for Kingdom rule under Christ the Messiah.  It is no wonder that in Jeremiah 30:7, it is called “the time of Jacob’s trouble.”  Jacob, of course, is Israel.  His twelve sons produced the twelve tribes.  Thus, the outcome of the Tribulation is specifically tailored to provide the setting for the rule of regathered Israel.  By contrast, there is no scripture that defines the Tribulation as directed toward a judgment and consolidation of the Church.  The Church will have been caught up into Heaven before this point.  The church will return and rule and reign in the coming Kingdom while in our glorified bodies.

THE WRATH OF GOD VERSUS THE WRATH OF SATAN

There has been much discussion about the timing of the Rapture.  Will the church be caught up prior to the Tribulation, or will it perhaps be taken some time during it’s first half or second half?  Some have even speculated that the rapture follows the Tribulation.  Will the church remain on Earth long enough to witness the revealing of the Antichrist?  Some intensely believe that only some time after the rise of the “man of sin” (Antichrist) will the church be taken out of the world.  Those that believe this scenario of events see a pre-tribulation rapture of the church to be contrary to this view.  Those that espouse this view put most of their eggs in the 2 Thessalonians 2 basket ,,,

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3).

They understand this to be the Antichrist and thus conclude that this passage of scripture is telling us that the rapture will not occur until the Antichrist is revealed, which will be during the Tribulation.  From here, the pre-tribulationist is left without eyelashes and eyebrows and one piece of crooked cinged hair on their head as the accusation of “false prophet” and “heretic” rocket-fire from the lips to it’s intended target … the pre-tribulationist.

BURNING SKELETONMOUTH FLAMES

It is agreed and very true that chapter two opens with Paul’s reassuring words to believers concerning the rapture of the church.  In a pleading tone, he begs them to remain calm.  As this letter unfolds, however, it becomes quite plain and clear that he is attempting to counter the false teaching of certain unscrupulous men.  These men, some of whom audaciously wrote under Paul’s name, were spreading the false rumor that the day of Christ was upon them.  These two paragraphs of scripture tell us that the Thessalonian believers were in a state of anxiety.  Why?  Because false teachers were on the verge of convincing them that they were about to experience the Day of the Lord – the Tribulation.  After Paul had left Thessalonica, false teachers had come in – spreading a post Tribulational doctrine.  They were apparently saying either that the church was already in the Tribulation, or that it was only days or hours away.  Mentioned at least 21 times in the Old Testament, the Day of the Lord is also called the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, The Tribulation, The Scourge, the Day of Vengeance, the Year of Recompense, The Day of Wrath, Wasteness, Distress, Desolation, Darkness, Gloominess, Clouds, Thick Darkness, The Day of the Trumpet and Alarm.  In the New Testament, it is mentioned at least 9 times.  Here, among other things, it is called the Tribulation, The Great Tribulation, The Wrath of God and the Hour of Trial.  In 2 Thessalonians 2:2, it is called, “the day of Christ.”  In Matthew 24:21, Jesus himself referred to it as, “… great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”  Doubtless, the Thessalonian believers had been taught about a future time of judgment, and even knew the words of Jesus on the matter.  If a wicked teacher had them convinced that they were about to go through the earth-shattering time of horror known as the Tribulation, it’s no wonder that they were unnerved.  Paul’s letter is directed at convincing them of a recognizable order of events preceding the Tribulation, by which they could be warned.  He tells them, in effect, not to worry, that the Tribulation will not develop until certain key events have come to pass.  He doesn’t want these faithful, early believers to be tricked or deceived.  The next three verses make this abundantly clear …

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.  Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? (2 Thessalonians 2:3-5).

BIBLICAL TIMELINE OF EVENTS CHART
At the end of the Church Age, Christ will descend from Heaven with a shout and trumpet.  The dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive will be translated into Heaven for our union with Christ.  Following the resurrection and rapture, God will unleash great judgments upon the earth.  It is a scriptural certainty that the Tribulation will occur in two segments of three and a half years each.  In the middle of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will commit the “abomination of Desolation.”  He will desecrate the Temple Mount by declaring himself to be God.  At the end of the seven years, all nations will converge upon Israel for the last great war of history – Armageddon.  But Christ will return with the raptured saints and save the day.  He will establish a thousand-year reign as King of kings.

Concerning these verses, the pre-tribulation rapture doubters make a serious reading error.  They believe that the phrase “that day shall not come” refers to the rapture.  It does not.  In fact, it refers to the day of Christ.  As the critic of the Pre-tribulation rapture reads this verse, they see the words “That day (the rapture) shall not come, until the two conditions are fulfilled:  the falling away, and the unveiling of the man of sin (Antichrist).”  Of course, this would put the believer (the church) in the Tribulation.  This is a common error.  What verse 3 really says is, “That day (the day of Christ) shall not come until two conditions are fulfilled:  the falling away and the unveiling of the “man of sin” (Antichrist).  In other words, two things must happen prior to the Tribulation.  In making this statement, Paul brings a good word, and badly needed emotional relief to a group of the faithful who are convinced that they are about to fall under the control of a supernaturally wicked man and his evil system.  The Thessalonian believers were doubtless familiar with both Old and New Testament teachings about the Day of the Lord.  They knew it as a time when everyone then living would experience the effects of God’s judgment.  Furthermore, they realized that it was the time of the “abomination of desolation,” mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 24:15, in reference to Daniel 9:27.  They knew (and we know) that this will be a time when God permits great evil to rise to it’s fullness.  Supernatural horrors will become commonplace.  It is important to remember that Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians was written in A.D. 51.  At this time, the Temple still stood in Jerusalem.  The family of Herod had nearly completed construction on the vast Temple Mount complex, which had begun in 19 B.C.  One of the great ironies of history is recorded in the fact that Herod’s Temple only reached completion about a year before the Roman army reduced it to rubble.  However, at the time of Paul’s letter, it would be another nineteen years until it was destroyed in A.D. 70.  Upon reading this letter, Thessalonian believers were doubtless impressed with it’s words.  After all, the Temple still stood!  In their mind’s eye, they could envision a coming day – perhaps in the not-too-distant future – when that man whom we call Antichrist would present himself there, representing himself as a god.  For them, it was an imminent event.  The various sects of the Jewish priesthood still served there daily.  The Jewish festivals were still observed there.  This being the case, it was no doubt quite easy for false teachers to convince them that the Day of Christ was virtually upon them.  But now, Paul’s reassuring words eased their minds.  He said that two things had to happen before that day could come.  The first was something called, “a falling away.”  Could this mean that some sort of apostasy had to happen, paving the way for the man of sin?  How could this be, given that twenty years earlier, Jesus had already pronounced the corrupt priesthood as apostate?  No, the apostasy had already come; the falling away had to be something else.  Today, centuries later after Paul wrote this letter, the man of sin still hasn’t stood up in the Temple and pronounced godhood upon himself.  Furthermore, these passing centuries have witnessed a myriad of apostasies.  The world has witnessed a plethora of cults and “isms.”  There have literally been more false teachers than true ones.  We still have the same question as the ancient Thessalonian believers.  Since apostasy has historically dominated the world’s cultures, we wonder what the “falling away” could possibly be that hasn’t already happened?  Certainly, the epistles of Paul, Peter, John and Jude all present scenarios in which the last days will be marked by especially wicked departures from true Apostolic teaching.  In 2 Peter 2:1, certain “false teachers” are said to introduce heretical teachings.  The context and analysis of this letter shows that certainly, the work of these evil men has reached it’s greatest height in the twentieth century.  2 Peter 3:3 says, “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days, scoffers …”  These are the false teachers, both sacred and secular, who will even deny the second coming of Christ.  In 1 and 2 John, the Apostle says that these last days false teachers will deny the Trinity, the miraculous incarnation of Christ and his existence in a physical body.  In 1 Timothy 4:1, Paul refers to the false teachers as, ” … giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” [translated as demons].  In 2 Timothy 3:8, he describes these wicked leaders in the following way …

“Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith” (2 Timothy 3:8).

The composite picture of these men shows that their corruption has ranged into the accursed realm of the irredeemable.  They are completely sold into the service of Satan.  While posing as men of God, they are really pagan representatives of Satanic powers.  Again, however, we must say that the entire church age has seen the rise and fall of men such as these.  In the name of Christ, they have tortured and killed the faithful.  Their denominations are among the wealthiest organizations on Earth.  So what is this “falling away” that must precede the Tribulation?  In order to be identifiable, it must be worse than anything seen so far.  Perhaps there is another answer.  In the book “The Rapture Question” by Dr. John F. Walvoord, he quotes E. Schuyler English in his interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:3.  Walvoord writes …

“In reference to the “Day of the Lord, this passage states … ‘Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.’  The expression ‘the rebellion’ is the translation for the Greek word apostasia.  It is normally considered to be a reference to doctrinal apostasy.  English pointed out that the word is derived from the verb aphistemi, used fifteen times in the New Testament with only three of the references relating to religious departure.  In eleven of the instances, the word depart is a good translation.  As English indicated in a note, a number of ancient versions such as Tyndale’s, the Coverdale Bible, the version by Crammer, the Geneva Bible and Beza’s translation, all from the 16th century, render the term “departing.’  He therefore suggested the possibility of rendering 2 Thessalonians 2:3 to the effect that the departure must ‘come first’ i.e. the rapture of the church must occur before the man of sin is revealed.  If this translation be admitted, it would constitute an explicit statement that the rapture of the church occurs before the Tribulation.  Given the foregoing explanations, it would then seem that the “falling away”   is either rampant, open and overt demonic expressions of power within the church, or it is the rapture itself.  Certainly, we have not witnessed the former.  That is, this generation has not seen forms of apostasy that haven’t been present in one way or another since the deaths of the Apostles.  Neither has the rapture yet occurred.  The second prerequisite that Paul mentions is the actual unveiling of the man of sin.  In verse 3 of the above-quoted passage, he tells us that the Day of the Lord shall not come, except the man of sin be revealed.  This too has not happened to date.  Though many have speculated on the identity of the Antichrist, and some have inferred in their prophetic studies that he must be alive today, no one can tell you who he is with one hundred percent certainty.  Furthermore, there is no Temple in Jerusalem.  Unlike the days of Paul, the Temple does not now stand.  Neither is there an active Jewish Priesthood, though there are some groups in Israel today who are preparing for these eventualities.  The Jerusalem Temple Institute and the Temple Mount Faithful are two such groups who would like to build the Temple today.  But the present political situation simply will not allow it.  But on a side note, understand that the present situation is beginning to change dramatically in the last few years with the build-up to war taking place, so this will change things dramatically for this to happen.  We indeed see the signs for this approaching quickly … time is indeed running out, but in terms of a right now situation that points to the imminent start of the Tribulation, it is not yet, for it will occur only after the rapture.  Put in another way, the rapture of the church is now imminent, the Tribulation is not.

TRIBULATION VERSUS “THE” TRIBULATION 

Another error in basic biblical interpretation usually goes something like this … YOU HERETIC FALSE PROPHET! – GO TELL THE DEAR CHILDREN OF GOD IN RUSSIA AND CHINA WHO HAVE SUFFERED AND DIED FOR THEIR FAITH THAT THEY WILL NOT HAVE TO SUFFER TRIBULATION.  THEY WILL SPIT IN YOUR FACE.  GO TELL THE DEAD AND DYING AND THOSE WHO ARE IN PRISON THAT THERE WILL BE NO TRIBULATION!  GO TELL THEM IF YOU HAVE THE GUTS!  YOU AMERICANS THINK THAT BY YOUR STUPID STATEMENTS THAT GOD WILL JUST ‘SNEAK YOU OUT OF HERE!’  WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE ON HIS OTHER DEAR CHILDREN?  YOU THINK YOU HAVE A MONOPOLY ON GOD OR SOMETHING, HUH?!  I THINK YOU WHO TELL THESE LIES ARE A STENCH IN GOD’S NOSTRILS!  DO YOU THINK YOU ARE BETTER THAN HIS CHILDREN WHO HAVE DIED FOR HIS NAMESAKE?  SHAME ON YOU HERETIC!!  LET ME BE NUMBERED WITH THEM, NOT WITH YOU!!  

BURNING SKELETON  MOUTH FLAMES

Or this real conversation I had with a poor soul named Jeff in a comment section (as I was writing this very article) who was overly “courageous” in thinking he wants to go through the Tribulation after downplaying the rapture idea …

Jeff · 02:18 09/23/2018 – The problem I see in the “Rapture” scenario is that the whole Plan of God is to have a righteous group of God’s children all worshiping true God, and The Christ. If all of the “Born Agains” are taken, how can God’s ultimate scenarial goal, according to Isaiah, through Christ’s grace, come to pass? Christ still awaits a time when an alter to Christ will be in Egypt, and a highway from Egypt to Persia and Babylon, Isreal being in the center of the future highway, connecting all and all sacrificing to the One true God, and His Son, Jesus Christ.”

“END TIMES:  DARKNESS DESCENDING · 10:35 09/23/2018 – You are speaking of events that will occur during the 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ on Earth. Those raptured will return to Earth with Christ in our glorified bodies to rule and reign with him at least 7 years after the rapture occurs. Remember, the Tribulation period of judgment after the rapture will last 7 years. All of those left behind on Earth after the rapture who survive the Tribulation period and receive Christ during that time will go into the millennial kingdom of Christ on Earth still in their fleshly bodies. As far as those who go in the rapture, we will be in our new, glorified bodies ruling and reigning over the whole show (Earth) at that time.”

Jeff · 17:47 09/23/2018 – The modern philosophical”Rapture” is a false hope, a Tower of Babel. I see the idea of “Rapture” as a selfish desire to escape despair, that the church has brought forth this focus to fill pews: which we all know what filled pews mean; lucre. No one spoke of “Rapture” in the Days of Christ. It might be considered “Another Gospel.” The “Rapture” is a focus on saving one’s self rather than a focus of building the Kingdom of God. “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done.” There are many philosophies about when or how such and such occurs: “occur during the 1,00 reign”; there are many such philosophies of man about the same scriptures, thus argument ensues. But these are just ideas of men. The Apostle Paul speaks of “hopeless hope”; that which hope is garnered while in a hopeless state; a Hope in God to Come. Who will be left on earth to see God split the mount with his toe to save the Israelites, if everyone is “Raptured?” Maybe instead of focusing on saving ourselves, maybe we can focus on saving God’s real intentions of building His Kingdom here on earth. If not, you will have no hope in saving yourself. Let’s be courageous, and not shrink in our moments of glorifying God.

“END TIMES:  DARKNESS DESCENDING · 21:41 09/23/2018 – The Apostle Paul didn’t see the rapture as “philosophical” or a “false hope.” The apostle Paul called the rapture “the blessed hope” …

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

The idea of escaping the horror of the Tribulation is not “selfish desire.” It’s called someone who is in their right mind (no offence). The idea of the rapture didn’t come from someone who wished to “fill pews.” It was a revelation revealed to the apostle Paul by the Holy Spirit as part of God’s plan to remove the body of born again believers before the Tribulation strikes.

Does this following sound like “selfish desire”made up from “someone” who wishes to “fill pews”? …

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

Apparently, according to you, the apostle Paul was being “selfish.” The ideas of “men,” or idea of the Holy Spirit?

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (1 Peter 2:20-21).

Doesn’t sound like the “idea of men” to me. Perhaps the Holy Ghost was selfish too?

No offence, but your next point of contention is rather lacking in prophetic understanding. Not everyone is going to be raptured. The majority of people in the world are going to be left behind. This is how people are going to see him split the Mount of Olives in two at his second coming seven years after the rapture when he returns.

No offence, but God doesn’t have any intention of seeing the body of born again believers “build his kingdom here on Earth.” To the contrary, it’s God’s plan to destroy the current kingdom here on Earth via judgment of the Tribulation period and establish his own when it’s all over. We in the body of believers are going to be given the privilege of ruling and reigning over it by his decree (with him at the helm of course).

No offence, but wanting to be left behind to endure the nightmare of the Tribulation period is not being “courageous.” That desire is an utter lack of understanding of what the Tribulation is actually going to be like. The Bible’s warning of it’s approach is also meant to instill a sense of fear in the unbeliever to not want to be in it, thus God provided a way of escape through Jesus Christ. Any doubt of that statement is met with hard scripture …

“Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it? (Amos 5:18-20).“

“A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations” (Joel 2:2).

No offence, but I think you are part of the group this scripture is directed at – “woe unto you who desire the day of the Lord.”

The rapture is simply part of the overall plan of God to remove his bride before destruction comes. Plain and simple. According to Joel and Amos quoted above, anyone who wishes for this upon themselves isn’t quite right in their thinking.

Jeff · 23:12 09/23/2018 – Judge not, lest be judged. There are many false prophets, but I only have one. Many try to set themselves up as prophets over others. Go in peace, and we shall see who is right; or that neither of us have total truth. For He that is Truth, and the Light, shall set us all free.
END TIMES: DARKNESS · 00:33 09/24/2018 – Jesus’ command not to judge others could be the most widely quoted of His sayings, even though it is almost invariably quoted in complete disregard of its context. Here is Jesus’ statement: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1). Many people use this verse in an attempt to silence their critics, interpreting Jesus’ meaning as “You don’t have the right to tell me I’m wrong.” Taken in isolation, Jesus’ command “Do not judge” does indeed seem to preclude all negative assessments. However, there is much more to the passage than those three words. 

The Bible’s command that we not judge others does not mean we cannot show discernment. Immediately after Jesus says, “Do not judge,” He says, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs” (Matthew 7:6). A little later in the same sermon, He says, “Watch out for false prophets. . . . By their fruit you will recognize them” (verses 15–16). How are we to discern who are the “dogs” and “pigs” and “false prophets” unless we have the ability to make a judgment call on doctrines and deeds? Jesus is giving us permission to tell right from wrong (note, I’m not calling you swine or pig or anything, but doctrine is the issue here).Also, the Bible’s command that we not judge others does not mean that all truth is relative. The Bible clearly teaches that truth is objective, eternal, and inseparable from God’s character. Anything that contradicts the truth is a lie—but, of course, to call something a “lie” is to pass judgment. When Jesus said not to judge others, He did not mean that no one can identify erroneous doctrine for what it is, based on God’s definition of erroneous.

And the Bible’s command that we not judge others does not mean there should be no mechanism for identifying doctrinal error. The Bible has a whole book entitled Judges. The judges in the Old Testament were raised up by God Himself (Judges 2:18). The modern judicial system, including its judges, is a necessary part of society. In saying, “Do not judge,” Jesus was not saying, “Anything goes.”

Elsewhere, Jesus gives a direct command to judge: “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly” (John 7:24). Here we have a clue as to the right type of judgment versus the wrong type. Taking this verse and some others, we can put together a description of the sinful type of judgment:

Superficial judgment is wrong. Passing judgment on someone based solely on appearances is sinful (John 7:24). It is foolish to jump to conclusions before investigating the facts (Proverbs 18:13). Simon the Pharisee passed judgment on a woman based on her appearance and reputation, but he could not see that the woman had been forgiven; Simon thus drew Jesus’ rebuke for his unrighteous judgment (Luke 7:36–50).

Hypocritical judgment is wrong. Jesus’ command not to judge others in Matthew 7:1 is preceded by comparisons to hypocrites (Matthew 6:2, 5, 16) and followed by a warning against hypocrisy (Matthew 7:3–5). When we point out the doctrinal error of others while we ourselves commit the same doctrinal error, we condemn ourselves (Romans 2:1). The same goes with sin in general of course as well.

Harsh, unforgiving judgment is wrong. We are “always to be gentle toward everyone” (Titus 3:2). It is the merciful who will be shown mercy (Matthew 5:7), and, as Jesus warned, “In the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:2).

Self-righteous judgment is wrong. We are called to humility, and “God opposes the proud” (James 4:6). The Pharisee in Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector was confident in his own righteousness and from that proud position judged the publican; however, God sees the heart and refused to forgive the Pharisee’s sin (Luke 18:9–14).

Untrue judgment is wrong. The Bible clearly forbids bearing false witness (Proverbs 19:5). “Slander no one” (Titus 3:2).

Christians are often accused of “judging” or intolerance when they point out doctrinal error. But opposing doctrinal error is not wrong. Holding aloft the standard of doctrinal purity naturally defines error and draws the slings and arrows of those who choose it over revealed truth. John the Baptist incurred the ire of Herodias when he spoke out against her adultery with Herod (Mark 6:18–19). She eventually silenced John, but she could not silence the truth (Isaiah 40:8).

Believers are warned against judging others unfairly or unrighteously, but Jesus commends “right judgment” (John 7:24, ESV). We are to be discerning (Colossians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:21). We are to preach the whole counsel of God. (Acts 20:27; 2 Timothy 4:2). We are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

 

Here, the confident pre-tribulation rapture Terminator Rambos are deeply concerned that a grievous injustice will be done if the church escapes the Tribulation, even while the tortured faithful in other countries are already suffering theirs.  This betrays a basic understanding of the nature and scope of the Tribulation.  The truth is that many blessed martyrs of all ages have been tortured in unspeakable ways by the tyrants and heretics of history.  One has only to read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs to hammer this point home once and for all.  What’s more, this tradition goes all the way back to Christ himself.  The Roman cross was an instrument of torture, specifically designed to produce a lingering, agonizing, pain-wracked death of suffocation.  Furthermore, hanging unclothed before jeering crowds also assured a wrenching torture of the soul.  The Lord was despised.  He was rejected by his own people.  He suffered alienation and ultimate despair, taking upon himself the sin of mankind.  If anyone ever suffered tribulation, he did.  Throughout the Church Age, the faithful have been subject to that same wrath.  His own disciples and the Apostles, themselves, suffered torture and death.  As Jesus told them in John 16 …

Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.  These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:32-33).

As Jesus uttered these words, he knew the difference between tribulation in general and the seven-year Tribulation yet to come.  Likewise, the Apostles knew the difference.  As Paul traveled through Asia Minor, he was most concerned that his disciples there would not be deceived about the difficult conditions surrounding their faith …

“Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

Again, Paul was not deluded about the difficult nature of the Christian faith.  In this world where the spiritual high ground is often held by the forces of darkness, tribulation should be considered almost the norm.  As he said in 2 Corinthians 11 …

Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.  Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.  Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.  Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:23-28).

This is tribulation!  Yet, as demonstrated above, Paul clearly taught that the church would be caught up some time prior to the Tribulation.  Job certainly knew tribulation.  In Job 5:7 we read … “Yet man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward.”  But without a doubt, it was not the direct wrath of God that brought Job his period of Tribulation.  It was the wrath of Satan allowed by God.  Satan was eager to prove to the Lord that Job would crack under the strain of sufficient testing.  The Old Testament prophets had no doubt that there would one day be a period when God’s wrath would descend upon men.  Zephaniah 2:14 calls it “The Great day of the Lord.” Zephaniah 2:15 calls it “That day of wrath.”  Zephaniah 2:3 has a special message to those who are alive in that future day:

“Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord‘s anger” (Zephaniah 2:3).

It is clear that Zephaniah here is referring to a pre-tribulation rapture.

https://endtimesdarknessdescending.wordpress.com/2018/09/07/zephaniahs-pre-tribulation-rapture/

Certainly, those present on Earth in the days of the sixth seal, referenced in Revelation 6, have no doubt about the source of the wrath that is raining down upon them …

And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17).

Here, at the opening of the Tribulation period, we discover without a doubt, that the wrath of God is the source of man’s troubles.  This is the difference between the suffering of martyrs during the church age and the suffering of mankind during the Tribulation.  It is simply the difference between the wrath of Satan and the wrath of God.  The church is not called to endure the wrath of God.

PREPARING FOR THE GREAT TRIBULATION

Another fundamental error in anti-pre-trib “Terminator Rambo tactics” is the underestimating of the scope and extent of the Tribulation.  That conversation may go something like this (yes, this was a real comment I read somewhere) …

“Those that are deceived by you [pre-tribulationist] will stone you during the Tribulation.  Don’t think you will be gone son.  You will be right here.  Come look me up during that time, why don’t you.  If you think your lies will sneak you out of here before that time, just keep dreaming.  How many souls will you cause to be unprepared for that day, because of your lies?  Think about it.  Nowhere in God’s word will you prove to me or God that the church will be raptured before the Tribulation.  Why don’t you quote to your readers 1 Thessalonians 3:4?  “For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.”  Why don’t you quote 2 Thessalonians 1:4?  So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure.”  You know why you don’t?  Because it goes against your pet doctrine.  You see, Paul is warning and comforting his people concerning tribulation.  But you, you are lying to your readers.  I say again, you are a false prophet.  You will face this false doctrine at the judgment.

BURNING SKELETON   MOUTH FLAMES

Again, the pre-tribulation rapture Terminator Rambos fail to understand that there is a difference between general tribulation and the Tribulation period.  They will even quote scripture showing that the Thessalonian believers had already suffered tribulation.  Certainly, theirs was not the “Great Tribulation.”  But their major thought concerns a particular statement about the souls who will be unprepared for the Tribulation because of the pre-tribulationists erroneous teaching on the subject.  They obviously think that we are responsible for the difficulties that they will experience because we didn’t properly prepare them.  This begs a major question:  Given the assumption that we will enter the period of God’s wrath, just how does one prepare for the Tribulation?  Or, in answer to the “Tribulation Terminator Rambo’s” criticisms, how would we advise believers to prepare for that period?  To begin with – and this probably wouldn’t surprise anyone – I would counsel them always to be walking in close relationship with the Lord.  Because of the extenuating circumstances, they will certainly need his help at all times, and should cling to the hem of his garment as it were (you’re going to need it Rambo).  A quick glance at the opening shots of the Tribulation period should make any Tribulation Terminator Rambo re-think the sensibility of the idea that he is going to “prepare” for the Tribulation period …

UNTIMELY FIGS
And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.  And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.  And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:12-17).

There you have it.  Right off the bat, in the opening shots of the Tribulation, a defining statement is made and the ultimate question is asked in verse 17, “For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?  I could almost wonder if that statement wasn’t made with the “Tribulation Terminator Rambos” in mind.  And all of this is just the opening shots of the Tribulation.  The Kings of the Earth are going to be terrified and begging the rocks and mountains to fall on them and hide them from the Lamb (Jesus) who sits upon the throne.  The Tribulation will be a time of unspeakable, indescribable horror.  PREPARE HOW?  At this point, my thought turns to the “Tribulation Terminator Rambo” mentioned above and his statement that those deceived by the “false teaching” of the pre-tribulation rapture will try to stone us during the Tribulation.  Then, my thoughts turn to the inescapable conclusion that the Tribulation Terminator Rambos will be too busy trying to save their own lives to bother with us pre-tribbers.  Stoning won’t be on their priority list.  Remembering too that this man’s comment contained a taunting invite to “look him up during the Tribulation.”  Presumably, he wants us to walk right up to his front porch and sit down for a while, so he can tell us what fools we’ve been for teaching the pre-tribulation rapture.  But if I read the Bible correctly, he probably won’t even have a front porch, much less a house.  It will disappear in the first wave of earthquakes and be blown away by the storms that follow.  And where will he be?  If he survives the global nuclear war, the natural catastrophes, starvation and the persecutions of the Antichrist’s thought police, he’ll have long since gone into hiding.  Perhaps he will be one of those fortunate few who find a well-stocked underground shelter and an alliance of “capable” believers.

WHERE IS THE LOVE?  

Most of all, let’s hope his support group displays the love of Christ.  This is the quality that I see totally missing from his comment.  Paul put it best in 1 Corinthians 13.  In the first two verses of this chapter, we learn that the Lord measures our worth as an expression of his love …

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1).

There is much that we don’t understand.  Using our best efforts, we attempt to understand God’s word.  Through the examples and ideas of it’s great men, we try to live in the light of it’s great teachings.  But above all, we do our best to extend the love of Christ, both to the brethren and to the world at large.  If you give up everything and do not display God’s love, you will gain nothing.  If you do have that love, you will bear up well under life’s adversities, whenever and however they come.  You will be truly humble, not puffed up with your own vision of reality.  You will behave in a civilized manner, with the best interests of others always at heart.  You will be stable and even-tempered, wishing all men the best, even your enemies.  Your behavior will be above reproach, allowing the Lord’s plan to dominate your thinking.  You will rejoice in the truth, displaying righteousness and unshakable in your faith.  You will possess the kind of peace and spiritual endurance that has always marked the truly faithful.  You will then be prepared for life, whatever it may bring your way.  We may differ in our views of eschatology, but we should be united in the love of Christ.  I wish those “Tribulation Terminator Rambos” well.  May the Lord bless each and every one of you who may differ in your eschatological beliefs … and may you be spared the rigors of the Tribulation.

RAMBO 2

 

THE REQUIREMENT FOR YOUR INCLUSION IN THE RAPTURE AND ESCAPE FROM THE COMING WRATH

In order to accept the offer of God’s grace and his salvation, you must take the crucial three steps of …

1. Agreeing – A belief and agreeing with God in all that he says in his word, the Bible, about the fact that you are separated from God, as every man and woman on the face of the earth are before accepting his salvation.  The Bible reveals that all are separated from him in a spiritual state of death, or in another way that the Bible puts it, in a state of sin, that will result in eternal damnation.  Agreeing with God in your heart that you are in need of his salvation.  The Bible reveals that God looks upon the heart of a man, and thus, responds accordingly to the man or woman who comes to him for salvation in recognition of his inability to save himself.  The Bible makes these facts very clear – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).  The Bible describes these three kinds of death:  physical death (the state experienced when life leaves our bodies); spiritual death (spiritual separation from God caused by our state of spiritual death, or state of sin that results in outward acts of sin on a daily basis as the Bible also puts it – the state of sin is received from the first man Adam); and finally eternal death (the fixed state entered into by the individual who dies physically while he or she is dead spiritually).  It is eternal death, in particular, which is the horrible result of receiving the wages of sin.  The Lord Jesus Christ frequently described such a death as being eternal (without end) in a destiny which he called Hell.  He described Hell as a literal place of judgment (Matthew 13:42); a place of everlasting fire (Matthew 18:8); a place of torment (Luke 16:24,28); a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:50); a place of remorse (Mark 9:44-48); of bitter memory (Luke 16:25), and a place originally prepared for the Devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).  In fact, Jesus more often warned about Hell than he spoke about Heaven.  It is not God’s will or desire that any person should be consigned to perish in Hell (2 Peter 3:9), but rather that all should come to repentance of unbelief toward him and believe on him for the salvation of the individual’s soul.  But God’s justice requires that the “soul who sins” (remains in it’s state of death or state of sin) is the one who will die eternally (Ezekiel 18:4).  So, agree with God, admitting that you are unable to save yourself and in a state of sin under God’s just condemnation for that sin and that you are in need of his salvation.

2. Believing – Then, believe that God does not want you to perish eternally in the torment of Hell because of your sin.  Believe that God loves you so much that he provided a way whereby he could still be a just, holy and righteous God, and yet pardon you.  Believe that God did not just overlook sin, but that he sent his only begotten son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to provide salvation by personally paying the penalty for sin.  Believe that Jesus Christ, whose life, death, burial and resurrection is the best-attested fact of antiquity, did come to earth to live, die, rise again and ascend to Heaven in order to provide justification and salvation for all who trust him.  Believe that he, and he alone, can save you because he has fully satisfied the just demands of God.  Believe that you can’t become righteous in God’s sight by your own effort.  Believe that he wants to save you and that he will save you.  The Bible provides a solid basis for such belief …

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17). 

“But God demonstrates his love toward us in this:  while we were yet sinners,  Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). 

God presented him (Jesus Christ) as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in his blood.  He did this to demonstrate his justice because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies the man or woman who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:25-26). 

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures … ” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). 

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). 

“Jesus answered, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).  “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out [drive away]” (John 6:37).

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).

3. Calling – It is not enough to agree with God, admit your need, and believe that Christ can and will save you.  You must act upon those facts.  You must repent of the sin of your unbelief toward him and actively call upon him for the salvation of your soul based on the fact that you cannot save yourself because of your sins.  You must be willing to completely turn from your own efforts to save yourself or from any other hope.  You must come to Christ, calling upon him for salvation and counting on the fact that he will do what he has promised.  This means simply taking the gift of pardon and eternal life which he offers.  Merely believing about Jesus Christ without coming to him makes as much sense and is as effective as believing that a medication can successfully treat a fatal disease, but failing to take it.  Yet again, the Bible emphatically and authoritatively provides the basis for such statements:

“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). 

The word translated “believe” here means to “rest one’s entire weight and trust on the object or person in which the belief is placed.”  It requires action in keeping with the intellectual assent of that belief.

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

” … but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

The logical question you may be asking at this point is:  “how do I come to Christ and call upon him?”  The answer is that “calling upon the Lord” is just another term for praying, or talking to God.  To talk to God is not a complicated process, dependent upon some special rituals.  God has invited people to approach him through his Son in simple, straightforward terms.  In fact, Jesus approved of the dishonest, despised tax collector who simply prayed, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.”  While the exact words of your prayer to God are not of vital importance (since God sees and knows the attitude of your heart), the following is the kind of prayer that you could pray in calling upon God for salvation …

“Dear Lord Jesus:  I realize that I need you.  I admit that I have sinned and that I deserve your just, eternal punishment for that sin.  But I am sorry for my sin and I am turning to you and asking for forgiveness.  I believe that you died and rose again to pay sin’s penalty on my behalf.  I come to you and open my heart to you.  I ask you to come into my life, forgive me for all of my sin and make me your child.  I invite you to take control of my life and to cause me to be the kind of person you would have me to be.  I thank you for doing this because you have promised that whosoever calls upon you, as I am doing now, shall be saved.  I pray this in the name of your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.”

If this prayer expresses the desire of your heart, I urge you to sincerely and genuinely express it to God as your prayer.  The Bible makes clear that when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in our heart, God forgives our sins and counts us righteous, and that when we openly confess with our mouth what we have done in our heart,  God gives us assurance of that salvation (Romans 10:9-10).

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:3-7).

 

Questions or comments can be left by scrolling down at the very bottom of this page.

 

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7 thoughts on ““PREPARING” FOR THE GREAT TRIBULATION: TRIBULATION TERMINATOR RAMBOS

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  1. Thank you for this well-written and clearly defined explanation…I will return to it.

    …and will find it very helpful when trying to explain these things to others.

    very glad I signed-up here. 😀

    *Maranatha.*

    On Mon, Oct 1, 2018 at 4:35 PM END TIMES: DARKNESS DESCENDING wrote:

    > END TIMES: DARKNESS DESCENDING posted: “QUESTION: If, as some say, the > church is about to go through the Tribulation, what can we do to prepare? > Often, when the subject of the rapture and the seven-years of judgment of > the biblical Tribulation period of the end times is discussed, one can see” >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I came across something interesting once that the Pre-Tribulationist Perry Stone once brought up. It was in regards to Revelation 1-3 about the 7 churches. Revelation 1 explains a vision of the Lord walking among 7 candlesticks (v12-13) and it is explained that the candlesticks each represent a church (v20) described in the following two chapters. Some people think of 7 literal separate candles, but Perry Stone suggests that John saw one menorah with 7 candlesticks coming from it. He goes on to explain that this represents the maintenance of the menorah in the Temple. Supposedly, the priest would go in and snuff out 5 of the candles for inspection of the wicks while leaving two candles lit for light. Sometimes the candles were still good, but if the wick was short then the priest would remove the wick and replace it. After inspection he would light the 5 candlesticks with the flames of the two left lit.

    Upon inspection of Revelation 2-3, we see some interesting details that reflect what Perry Stone was describing. Two of the churches receive no condemnation whatsoever, the church of Smyrna (Rev 2:8-11) and the church of Philadelphia (Rev 3:7-13). The other 5 are given ultimatums to get their act straight, and the church of Ephesus is even told that Christ might even remove their candlestick (Rev 2:5), and Perry draws this imagery back to the priest removing the wick.

    Before I continue, I want to let the reader know that I was once a hardcore Pre-Tribulationist myself (don’t get me wrong, I still don’t deny the possibility of it), but upon reading through the Bible from beginning to end and studying a little from the early church I have since become open to the “possibility” of a Mid or Post-Tribulation scenario as well (leaning Post-Trib). My mindset really is “Pray for Pre-Trib, Prepare for Post-Trib” in like manner of Christ’s prayer in Matthew 26:39, ““My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” All I want is for people to understand that there is more than just one possible scenario regarding the Rapture, and that we should encourage one another if the scenario that each of us thought does not happen.

    With that said, one point that many Pre-Tribulationists bring up (including myself at one point) is that the church is not mentioned after Revelation 3, but is that really the case? Allow me to bring our attention to Revelation 11. Now, I used to think that the Two Witnesses were going to be two Old Testament individuals such as Enoch and Elijah (because neither tasted death), Elijah and Moses (because they are given power to shut up the rain for 3.5 years [Rev 11:3,6a; 1 Kings 17:1; James 5:17-18] and turn water into blood and cause plagues [Rev 11:6b; Exodus 7-12], as well Moses’ body was disputed over [Jude 9] possibly putting him up there with Enoch and Elijah), or even Zerubbabel with maybe the high priest Joshua (because of Rev 11:4 and Zech 4).

    However, scripture gives details of who the Two Witnesses are. In Revelation 11:4 it says, “These are [the two olive trees] and [the two lampstands] that stand before the Lord of the earth.” As we saw earlier in Revelation, the same book, the churches were called candlesticks/lampstands (depending on which translation you use) and there were two candlesticks left lit according to Perry Stone. We must consider the possibility that the Two Witnesses are not just two individuals, but two groups of people. I say this makes sense because we know that the “beast” that makes war with them is not a literal beast with 7 heads and 10 horns (Rev 13), but most likely the Antichrist’s (likely the wounded and revived head) overall kingdom. Also the “stars” mentioned earlier in Rev 1 are said to be angels (v20) and the imagery is carried over in Rev 12:4,7-9.

    Olive trees are not mentioned elsewhere in Revelation that I am aware of, but they are mentioned elsewhere in scripture. Jeremiah 11:16 says this, “The Lord called your [Judah/Israel] name, A green olive tree, beautiful in fruit and form; With the noise of a great tumult He has kindled fire on it, And its branches are worthless.” Paul in Romans 11 starting in verse 16 portrays Israel as an olive tree that has had many of its branches removed, and the Gentile believers in Christ being a wild olive shoot are being grafted in. He then says that if God did not spare the branches of Israel then He will not spare the Gentile branches (v21) much like what was being described with the candlesticks in Revelation 2-3.

    Another interesting thing about the letters to the churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia is they both mention “those who say they are Jews and are not” and that they belong to “the synagogue of Satan”. This is just my own speculation here, but it seems that there are true Jews within those churches along with the Gentiles that are of Israel by faith, and Christ is encouraging the churches saying those “Jews” that are persecuting them will get what they deserve in due time. These false Jews might be in league with the antichrist who they think is the Messiah. Just my speculation though.

    So “if” the Two Witnesses are the Israel and Gentile Churches instead of two individuals, what does that mean as far as going through the Tribulation? Let’s continue to go through Revelation 11. They will prophecy and perform wonders for 3.5 years (v3).

    Acts 1:6-8 says this:
    “So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

    Peter in Acts 2:16-21 says this:
    “but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:
    ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says,
    ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all [q]mankind;
    And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    And your young men shall see visions,
    And your old men shall dream dreams;
    Even on My bondslaves, both men and women,
    I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit
    And they shall prophesy.
    ‘And I will grant wonders in the sky above
    And signs on the earth below,
    Blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.
    ‘The sun will be turned into darkness
    And the moon into blood,
    Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.
    ‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'”

    If Pentecost was only a taste of the Holy Spirit then there is much more to come when the Witnesses do their testimony. Once they have finished at the end of those 3.5 years, the beast makes war with them and begins to kill them (Rev 11:7; 13:5-7; Daniel 7:21-22). I think it is because of this that God’s wrath is triggered, to avenge the blood of the martyrs (Rev 17:6; 18:4-8). The Witnesses are said to be Resurrected and Raptured after a 3.5 day period (Rev 11:11-12) at the sound of a loud voice. I think the number of days here is interesting as it doesn’t seem to fit the third day resurrection of Jesus, but it shares the same number of years that the Witnesses prophecy. I suggest that they are not a literal 3.5 days, but another 3.5 year period (Rev 13:5-7; Daniel 7:25; 9:27). That would mean that this time is the entire 7 year Tribulation period with the end result the Resurrection and Rapture of the saints.

    The first 3.5 years the Gentile and Israel Witnesses (us) would perform wonders we’ve merely read about, proclaiming our Christ. In the middle of that period the Antichrist will defile the Temple (Matthew 24:15-16; 2 Thes 2:3-4; See also 1 Corinthians 3:10-17; though I’m not opposed to there being a literal Temple as well) for 3.5 years. Whether during that last half or after, God will pour out His wrath on those who take the mark (Rev 16:1,5-6). At the last of the 7 judgment’s I believe the saints will be Resurrected and Raptured. Matthew 24 shows that there will be survivors that are not of the Antichrist. As with Noah “through” the flood, Lot’s family within eyesight of Sodom, and with the Hebrews living “in” Egypt, I firmly believe that God is fully capable of protecting and providing for His own people that are left from His own wrath. It will conclude with Jesus and us touching down and Christ defeating His enemies then beginning His reign.

    I also hold that the Trumpets and Bowls/vials are one and the same. All but two are direct reflections of one another. There is a pause after the 6th of each. At the 7th/Last Trumpet (mentioned right around the same time the Witnesses were Raptured at the sound of a great voice) the Kingdom of the world and the Kingdom of the Lord have been unified. Also, “in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets” (Revelation 10:7).

    Also note that the Resurrection proceeds the Rapture nearly every time the topic is mentioned. Paul says this about the order of the Resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:23-26:

    “But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death.”

    Christ has already been Resurrected, there will be a Resurrection “at His coming”, and then the last will be after judgment when death is finally conquered. John says this in Revelation 20:4-6 says this about the order of the Resurrection:

    “Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.”

    Paul mentioned 3 Resurrections, 1 already came and 2 are to come. John mentioned 2 Resurrections that are to come. One issue I have with the Pre-Trib view is that a Resurrection would have to occur at the beginning of the Tribulation, one somewhere in the tribulation for the Two Witnesses if they are not the Church, at the end of the Tribulation, and at the end of the millennium. I know some people will try to argue that there are several “First Resurrections” but that just does not seem to me what scripture is saying. It seems a bit of a stretch to me.

    Then there is the issue of what happens at Christ’s Coming. The Lord will descend from Heaven (1 Thess 4:16; Acts 1:9-11), there will be a great shout of an archangel (1 Thes 4:16; Rev 10:7; 11:12), there will be a sound of a great last trumpet (1 Thes 4:16; 1 Cor 15:52; Rev 11:15; Matt 24:31), as we said there will be a Resurrection (1 Cor 15:23; 1 Thes 4:15; Rev 11:11-12), we will meet in the clouds (1 Thes 4:17; Rev 1:7; Rev 11:12; Acts 1:9,11; Matt 24:30-31), and we will be united with our Lord forever (1 Thes 4:17; Rev 11:15-18).

    I know a lot of anti-anything-other-than-pre-tribulation people will say, “Well see, your issue is that Matthew 24 is only speaking about Israel.” To that I say Jesus audience was the exact same as John 14. We must also consider that the earliest church comprised of mostly “Men of Israel” (Acts 2:22,36-47). If we as Gentiles are to ignore Matthew 24 we might as well throw out most of the Old Testament and Gospels except for a handful of verses. I’d also like to point out that John wrote the book of Revelation to the seven churches in Asia (Rev 1:4) why would John have mentioned anything from chapter 4 on up to about chapter 18 to the churches? He should have wrote a separate document if it was not meant for the seven churches to read. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

    Anyways, I just want others to know that there are other possible scenarios regarding the timing of the Rapture. In any case, I want us to encourage each other under any scenario. If we are Raptured at the beginning, we can hug one another and praise God in relief. If we Raptured at the end, we can rejoice in the power that Christ gives us to do His work and comfort one another during the persecution of the Antichrist.

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    1. The problem with all of that is the fact that Revelation 4:1 makes the pre-tribulation rapture pretty airtight …

      “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a “trumpet” talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter” (Revelation 4:1).

      “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the “trumpet” shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52).

      ““For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the “trump” of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

      With the structure of the Bible being what it is, it is interesting to note that John is “caught up” to Heaven off the Isle of Patmos in Revelation 4:1 with the sound of a “trumpet.” As we know, the rapture will be accompanied with the sound of a “trumpet” and in the 1 Thessalonians 4 rapture passage we will be “caught up” with the sound of a “trumpet.” We have wording here that is describing the same event found in the rapture portrayal shown to John on the Isle of Patmos of what will occur after the church age is over in Revelation 3. It directly correlates with the passages of 1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.

      It is clear from what is going on here that this is meant by God to convey the fact that the Rapture of the church will occur at Revelation 4:1 before the judgments of Revelation 6 (also describing the same events in Isaiah 24) occur. John’s “catching up” in Revelation 4:1 is an intentional picture of the rapture of the church also occurring in Revelation 4:1. In light of this, I would say that the pre-tribulation rapture is very concrete. Revelation 4:1 is pretty vicious in my observation.

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      1. In 1 Corinthians 15:52 I notice that you emphasized the word “trumpet”, but it seems you overlooked Paul’s detail of this event occurring at the “last trump” in the very same verse. There are at least 7 trumpet sounds recorded in Revelation after 4:1. Interestingly enough, the next time God calls His chosen Witnesses to “come up hither” is at the voice and trumpet of the 7th angel (Revelation 10:7; 11:11-15). I’m not saying that Revelation 4:1 is not a type of Rapture, it is just not the Resurrection Rapture that Paul was describing because what John heard in 4:1 was not the “last trump”. The ‘last trump” that John heard was in Revelation 11. The Resurrection Rapture is clearly the subject of Revelation 11:11-15. The dead in Christ are literally Resurrected and Raptured, caught up, and the Kingdom on earth is unified with Christ forever. What John heard in Revelation 4:1 was “a” trump, but not the “last” trump.

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    2. Some make a colossal mistake when assuming that the trumpet that calls the church home is the same trumpet as the seventh trumpet of judgment in the book of Revelation. The rapture passage is mentioned in the context of the general resurrection. The Greek word for trumpet — salpinx — is used twice. But here, it is called the “last trump,” raising the question about what precedes it. The context demands that it must be the last of a series.

      Some suggest that since it is the last in a series of trumpets, it must be defined by the series, itself. One such series is found in Joshua, where on the seventh day, seven priests walked around Jericho’s walls, blowing their ram’s horn trumpets. Jericho was judged; the walls came down. Following this pattern, another similar series in the Bible is found in Revelation, where seven trumpets are sounded, apparently in rapid succession. They progressively unleash an astounding series of judgments at the end of the Tribulation. Taken in order, the first one releases hail, fire and blood; the second brings a fiery mountain which falls into the sea; the third brings down a toxic falling star, falling into a poisoned sea; the fourth, a diminished sun; the fifth opens the abyss; the sixth releases demonic powers; the seventh heralds the culmination of wrath, the spilling out of the seven vials, or bowls of wrath. To those who believe in a mid or late-Tribulation rapture, this seventh trumpet is identical to “the last trump” of I Cor. 15:52. But in Revelation the seventh trumpet is the ultimate expression of God’s wrath, in divine retribution. The last trumpet unleashes the judgments of the seven bowls of wrath. Nothing in the description of this trumpet connects it in any way with the resurrection of the faithful. What it does is clearly described:
      “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

      “And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God” (Rev. 11:15,16).
      This seventh trumpet is definitely not the “trump of God.” In the original New Testament Greek, this verse plainly says,
      “And the seventh angel trumpeted …”
      This is an angelic trumpet, not “the trump of God,” which Scripture elsewhere asserts to be His voice that sounds like a trumpet. Furthermore, it specifically announces an event recognized, hailed and affirmed by a great chorus of heavenly observers … observers already in heaven. They are not the church in the process of being raptured, as indicated by the fact that the twenty-four elders, who were there at the very beginning of the judgment process, are still present, now seated with God, as He enacts the long-awaited judgment. But to truly understand “the last trump,” we should go all the way back to the beginning, and the sounding of the “first trump,” which is not only the first trumpet in the Bible at Mt. Sinai, but God’s own voice … not a musical instrument. In light of this observation, it is a colossal mistake to assert that the last trump of Revelation 11 is the “trump of God” in 1 Corinthians 15:52. In light of all of this, the narrative of a mid or post Tribulation rapture suffers a knock-out upper-cut to the chin followed by some torturous and vile ground and pound. Then, as if to commit bloody murder with the life-giving substance already decorating the mat in pools of glorious red, the prophet Isaiah enters the arena with a pick ax, a chainsaw, a shovel and 666 bags of dirt and goes to work in his final defacement of the mid and post Tribulation rapture narratives by revealing a stunning sequence of events encoded in his God-breathed writing from the book of Isaiah. Isaiah’s hidden sequence of end time events reveals that there will indeed be a pre-tribulation rapture – buttressing and fortifying the New Testament’s declaration of a pre-trib rapture. After looking at this hidden chronicle of Isaiah, one can only come to the conclusion that God himself hid this coded sequence of sorts within Isaiah’s text to demonstrate his utter refutation of a mid or post Tribulation rapture. Link to that amazing spectacle can be read below …
      https://endtimesdarknessdescending.wordpress.com/2018/10/17/isaiah-chronicles-the-end-times-timing-of-damascus-destruction-solved/

      As one observes Isaiah’s hidden sequence of events, one can hear the ghostly shoveling of dirt echoing in the wind from afar as the mid and post Tribulation rapture carcasses are buried, never to rise again.

      THE END

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      1. So are you saying that these angels sounding these trumpets are doing so outside the authority of God, or are they being sounded on behalf of God? Throughout the Old Testament angels performed God’s works and spoke His words as if it came directly from Him. To say that the “trump of God” cannot be the 7th (last) trump because it came from an angel is like saying that any time God’s Word was given through an angel isn’t really “God’s Word” because it was the angel that spoke it. It would be a colossal mistake to rule out the 7th trumpet as the trump of God on that argument because the trumpets are blown from God’s authority.

        In regards to the elders, they are not confirmed to even be humans, or at least those Resurrected and Raptured. When John is caught up in the vision the 24 elders already have crowns (4:4). If we go with the KJV approach in 5:9-10 then the four beasts are included among those that are praising that they have been redeemed and made kings and priests. If we go with the modern translation approach they are praising that mankind (not themselves) has been redeemed. They don’t seem to be angels either according to the wording of 5:11. They do not seem to be those coming out of the great tribulation because one of the elders asked about them (7:13). They are not included among those that are sealed because those that are sealed sing a new song in front of the elders (14:1-3).

        In regards to Isaiah, are you one to say that Matthew 24 is not directed towards the church but is directed specifically for the Jews/Israel? If so, how can you say that Isaiah 26 and 27 is directed towards the church and not Israel even when 26:1 says “in the land of Judah”, and the context of 27:13 is “ye children of Israel” (Isa 27:12)? Those that “were ready to perish” and “worship the Lord” are the ones told to “enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast” (Isa 26:20). These people are the ones that say “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation” (Isa 25:9). These “outcasts” that shut themselves up during destruction until they are saved are the same people of Matthew 24:15-31.

        Let me ask you this, where in scripture does it say that the world marvels at the billions of people raised from the dead and many alive are also caught up in the air with them. This would be no secret event. People on earth would not be oblivious, especially in a Pre-Trib scenario due to the books and movies of the Left Behind franchise. Thanks to the well known actor Nicholas Cage, even more secular people would be aware of this scenario. People would be in awe and give God glory. You do know where this event where the secular world does give glory to God at the witness of the Resurrection and Rapture of His people is seen in scripture though, right? Revelation 11:11-13:

        “11 And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
        12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
        13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.”

        Who do you say that the two witnesses are? We know that the beast in the same passage is not the antichrist himself, but his realm of influence as the antichrist is only one of the 11 horns Daniel sees in Daniel 7:7-8 (one horn uproots three). Even then in John’s vision the antichrist is likely the head that was killed and brought back to life in Revelation 13:3 (which likely had the one horn that uproot the three). If this is the case, why is it all of a sudden reasonable to conclude that the Two Witnesses are limited to two literal individuals? If the antichrist is not a literal beast with sevens heads, a literal head of that beast, or even a literal horn then I do not see why the Two Witnesses are two literal individuals. They are not two literal lampstands nor two literal olive trees, but we do see elsewhere in scripture what they represent: The Church of the circumcision and uncircumcision. Which this goes back to my first comment.

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      2. No, these angels are not sounding these trumpets outside of the authority of God. That much is clear and is just plain common sense. They are indeed being sounded on the authority of God. To the redeemed, the very thought of the rapture event ranges from pleasant peace to thrilling anticipation. The trumpet is our signal to go home. It has nothing at all to do with judgment, wrath or divine retribution. And perhaps, that is its major feature. Paul goes to great lengths to describe this glorious event … its timing, characteristics and meaning. Most of all, he goes out of his way to emphasize the simple fact that those alive at the time of the rapture will be taken to heaven prior to a unique and cataclysmic period of judgment. His first and second epistles to the Thessalonians are centered upon the idea of comforting a group of people who have many questions about their ultimate destiny in Christ. Several times, he uses the word “comfort” to ease any concerns they may have about the future. Of course, Christians remember these letters as the ones that outline and detail the nature and timing of the rapture.

        After describing the catching-away of the church, he writes …

        “Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thessalonians 4:18).

        A little later, he add …

        “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do” (I Th. 5:11).

        In 2 Thessalonians, after describing the Antichrist’s rise to power as a sign that the Day of the Lord is present, he writes …

        “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, “Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work” (II Thessalonians 2:16 -17).

        It’s a colossal, gigantic, enormous, deadly, head-exploding, eyeball bulging, lung-inflating mistake to assume that these two trumps have the same purpose. The 7th trumpet in Revelation pronounces judgment and is identified with judgment. The trump of God in initiating the rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4 is not described as a trumpet of judgment. It is presented in a totally different context and manner. It’s described purposes and presented context are totally different than the last trump in Revelation. Two different beasts and two different purposes. To lump them together and name them the same trump is shortsighted in my humble opinion. Three times in Exodus 19:11-20, the trumpet of God is described for the first time in all Scripture. Here, it is identified as the ram’s horn or shofar. But the context completely rules out its identification as an ordinary ram’s horn. To the people gathered below, its sound was deafening, and so frightening that their fear increased to the breaking point. In the chapter that follows, the Israelites are described as so stricken that they moved back to a great distance from Mount Horeb …

        “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off” (Ex. 20:18).

        Flavius Josephus, a first century Jewish historian, describes the event this way …

        “Now, as to these matters, every one of my readers may think as he pleases; but I am under a necessity of relating this history as it is described in the sacred books. This sight, and the amazing sound that came to their ears, disturbed the Hebrews to a prodigious degree, for they were not such as they were accustomed to … [Moses] brought the people with their wives and children, so near the mountain, that they might hear God himself speaking to them about the precepts which they were to practice; that the energy of what should be spoken might not be hurt by its utterance by that tongue of man, which could but imperfectly deliver it to their understanding. And they all heard a voice that came to all of them from above, insomuch that no one of these words escaped them, which Moses wrote on two tables.” [Antiquities, III, 5, 2; 4]
        The book of Hebrews relates that they begged for the fearsome sounds to cease.
        “For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,

        “And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more” (Heb. 12:18,19).
        The point is clear and unmistakable. In the plainest possible language, we are informed that the first trumpet heard in Scripture was God’s own heavenly ram’s horn. Or at least, on a gigantic scale, it sounded something like a ram’s horn. It was not an earthly trumpet.

        Anyone who has ever heard the tekiah, teruah, shevarim blasts of the trumpet on Rosh HaShanah knows that even an earthly trumpet will strike fear into the human heart.

        A heavenly trumpet is something else, entirely. It sounded on Pentecost, and marked the giving of the Law. The “last trump” will mark the end of the church age, which also began on Pentecost. This is not a trumpet of judgment as clearly revealed further above in this comment. It is a trumpet of comfort that calls the church home. There is a stark contrast between the two trumpets. One a trumpet of judgment, the other, a trump of comfort. A trumpet need not be a condemnation. There are other trumpets in Scripture that sound the rallying call to move out to a new location, or to take some significant action. Typical of this are the two metal trumpets, hand-crafted from single sheets of silver by Israelite craftsmen. And here, for the first time, we get some hint as to the significance of those two trumpets on the Arch of Titus.

        As can be seen in the tenth chapter of Numbers, their specific function was to call and coordinate movements of the twelve tribes …

        “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps. And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee. When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward. When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys. But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm. And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations. And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God” (Numbers 10:1-10).

        The trumpets are hatsotserah, made of beaten metal, with a smooth, continuously tapered bore. By skillful overblowing they, like all trumpets, can be made to sound several different clear notes, much in the same manner as the modern keyless cavalry trumpet, which can sound several complex calls when the trumpeter simply varies lip tension and air pressure. To this day, all the armed camps of the world are trained to understand and obey trumpet calls. Perhaps this tradition dates back to the initial use of the two silver trumpets. Psalm 98, a psalm of Moses mentions both the metal trumpet and the ram’s horn shofar, here called a cornet …

        “Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King” (Psalm 98:5-6).

        By the time of David, Solomon and the First Temple, trumpets were used by the priests to announce the months and to celebrate the arrival of the various feasts, as seen in Psalm 81:3, where we read …

        “Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day” (Psalm 81:3).

        Here, the shofar is mentioned as the herald trumpet of important events in the House of David. Whether or not the original silver trumpets survived to the age of the First Temple is unknown, but Jewish history tells us that trumpeting was an integral part of Temple worship.

        When we come to the New Testament era, the two silver trumpets ordained in the days of Moses once again become used on a daily basis. We gain considerable insight into the use of the famous trumpets seen on the Arch of Titus. The blasts of the trumpets, blown by priests only, formed — at least in the second Temple — no part of the instrumental music of the service, but were intended for quite different purposes. Even the posture of the performers showed this, for while the Levites stood at their desks facing toward the sanctuary, or westwards, the priests, with their silver trumpets, stood exactly in the opposite direction, on the west side of the rise of the altar, by the “table of the fat,” and looking eastwards or down the courts. On ordinary days the priests blew seven times, each time three blasts – a short sound, an alarm, and again a sharp, short sound (Thekiah, Theruah, and Thekiah), or, as the Rabbis express it, “An alarm in the midst and a plain note before and after it.” According to tradition, they were intended symbolically to proclaim the kingdom of God, Divine Providence, and the final judgment. The first three blasts were blown when the great gates of the Temple — especially that of Nicanor — were opened. Then, when the drink-offering was poured out, the Levites sang the psalm of the day in three sections. After each section, there was a pause, when the priests blew three blasts, and the people worshiped. This was the practice at the evening, as at the morning sacrifice. On the eve of the Sabbath a threefold blast of the priest’s trumpets summoned the people, afar as the sound was carried over the city, to prepare for the holy day, while another threefold blast announced its actual commencement. On Sabbaths, when, besides the ordinary, an additional sacrifice was brought, and the “Song of Moses” sung — not the whole every Sabbath, but divided in six parts, one for every Sabbath — the priests sounded their trumpets additional three times in the pauses of the Sabbath psalm.

        Just as divine fire descended upon Mount Sinai, tongues of fire encircled the heads of Israel’s faithful. But this time, the message was grace, not Law. And this time, there was no frightening trumpet blast, only the declaration of Good News, and the joy of those receiving it in their own languages. The Gospel has never been delivered with a fearful threat laid before those who would flaunt the Law. Rather, it came through love and self-sacrifice. And in the centuries that followed, that fact has never changed.

        It has been said that the church — the body of Christ — is finite in nature. It began on a specific day, the day of Pentecost, and it will also end on a specific day, the day of the rapture.

        Since it was initiated in grace, why would it end in a holocaust of solar and meteorological chaos, complicated by disease and famine? Why would it end with the fearful blast of the seventh trumpet, which is intended to call forth destruction upon those who have lived in iniquity and will die in judgment?

        This is not the trumpet that calls the faithful home.

        Jesus, speaking in the Olivet Discourse about the “abomination of desolation” at the middle of the Tribulation, addresses those who live in Judea in those days. He says that immediately following this occurrence, which we know to be a mid-Tribulation event, there will come a period characterized by the ultimate evil, when Satan and his followers rage across the earth. He then described the years immediately following the unveiling of the Antichrist:
        “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

        “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

        “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Mt. 24:29-31).
        Here, the “elect” are the saints of the Tribulation who have persevered to the very end of the awesome “Day of the Lord.” They have received the Gospel by faith in the midst of fiery trial.

        And the trumpet mentioned above must be the seventh trumpet of Revelation, sounding as the Bowls of Wrath are poured upon the earth. It precedes the Harvest Judgment of Revelation 14, perfectly corresponding with the gathering of the elect described by Jesus as He spoke to the disciples on the Mount of Olives.
        “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.

        “And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.

        “And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped” (Rev. 14:14-16).
        Early in His public ministry, Jesus had mentioned this event as He expounded upon the sower, the soils and the weeds that grow up among them. He said,
        “The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels” (Mt. 13:39).
        He times the harvest as coming at the same future moment as the collapse of the world system. This makes the final harvest an act of mercy and salvation to those alive at a time of great distress, not the calling-home of a church in its ordinary state of daily living.

        The trumpet voice to the church will not be a call of wrath, but the gentle assertion of great power, as to John, when Christ called to him:
        “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet” (Rev. 1:10).
        Nor is the trumpet a mere instrument. We await the very voice of God. Its characteristics are unknown to us at present, but we’ll know it when we hear it. And it will sound much like a trumpet. It has happened before, and it will happen again:
        “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter” (Rev. 4:10).
        The first trump laid down the Law. The last trump will be a loving invitation, welcoming the redeemed to their new home, and making way for the trumpets of judgment on earth.

        Titus, a corrupt despot and enemy of God, was inflated with pride as he ordered his triumphal arch emblazoned with a panel to display Israel’s destruction. But to those who know, its trumpets carry the subtle message that the Lord isn’t quite finished yet.

        And indeed Watson, Matthew 24 is directed toward the Jews, while Isaiah 26 and 27 is most certainly a “hint” to the church, while at the same time, these Isaiah passages are also a direct message to Israel in that day. What some do not understand is that the Bible is a multi-dimensional book. It contains at least four levels of observable structure. The rabbis would call the fourth level the “sohd” level. The sohd level of biblical structure goes beyond this realm of existence. It basically lifts us above the first three dimensions of scriptural view, which are also correct and valid structures and interpretations, and shows us the glory aspects of scripture viewed from the heavenly places. Sohd level is not of this world. We can see the sohn level in the story of the flaming sword at the east gate of Eden; Moses encounter with God at the burning bush and later atop Mount Sinai for 40 days; the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night and led the Israelites through the wilderness; Elijah’s heavenly chariot; Ezekiel’s view of a celestial vehicle; Daniel’s encounters with angels; and John’s description of the New Jerusalem. The sohd level is definitely prophetic. Sohd is the secret level. It can best be seen if one does not look directly at it, but rather catches it out of the corner of the eye. And now, here is the criticism killer that will now pull out it’s pick ax and tear asunder the view that Isaiah 26 and 27 is nothing more than a reference having to do with Israel – John is the Gospel that presents the sohd level of Christ. He opens his view by telling us that Jesus was the personification of the “Word” of God, that he is the “Light” that shines in the darkness that cannot comprehend it. These are teachings that cannot be scientifically explained. They are not of the world. A primary example of the sohd level is John’s two writings of the book of John (John’s gospel) and his other book called Revelation. Many may be surprised to know that there is correspondence and hint of subject matter between every individual chapter that he wrote in both books. Each chapter corresponds to each other respectively. It is very observable. Read about this in the two links below …

        https://endtimesdarknessdescending.wordpress.com/2018/06/19/duplications-of-design-between-john-and-revelation-is-it-by-divine-design/

        https://endtimesdarknessdescending.wordpress.com/2018/07/03/duplications-of-design-between-john-and-revelation-2-johns-three-views-of-the-antichrist/

        Although the subject matter of each chapter is speaking of it’s own matter individually apart from the subject of the other book, the hint (or sohd) view will reveal an uncanny correspondence of subject “hints” (again, read the two links above for this example). The same thing that you see going on between the books of John and Revelation, you see the exact same hint going on in Isaiah 26 and 27 (sohd level view). It’s speaking directly at one thing, but hinting at another. It’s the same thing going on with Isaiah 26 and 27. Take another look. We have the resurrection of the dead in Isaiah 26:19 corresponding to the “dead in Christ” at the rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 …

        “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead” (Isaiah 26:19).

        In the very next verse, we see the living saints in Christ being “hid” while the indignation (Tribulation) is transpiring on Earth …

        “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast” (Isaiah 26:19).

        Verse 40 corresponds to the the “we which are alive and remain” part of the same rapture passage of 1 Thessalonians 4:16.

        As you can see from the example in the two links given above, we see the exact same hinting going on here. Yes, even though the direct meaning of the passages at the same time are referring to the children of Israel in it’s immediate context. Furthermore, God knowing the end from the beginning knew that there was going to be a Gentile church in the future, but that is something that he chose not to reveal to the Old Testament prophets. He chose to reveal that in New Testament times. But as we can see, he chose to tuck away a hint level view of scripture that speaks to us today who will be living in the church age. He “hinted” just like the Holy Spirit “hinted” between the books of John and Revelation. This is what most people fail to understand regarding the Bible. It is a supernatural book that transcends time and space. If you only look at the immediate context, you are not going on into the deeper hidden things of God (that hidden “sohd” level) …

        “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter” (Proverbs 25:2).

        To further buttress this point, it is highly recommended that you read the other two articles posted above in this comment.

        In regard to your issue with the 24 elders, I don’t see this as an issue that would dispute whether or not the rapture has occurred. In the wording of 5:11, we see the elders around the throne which seem to represent not only the elders, but the churches throughout the ages as well. These elders appear to co-reign with the Father in some lesser capacity. This brings to mind the promises made to the apostles wherein they will rule over the twelve tribes in the regeneration (Mtt. Mat. 19:28) and the promises made in the previous chapters to the overcomer (Rev. 2:26-27+; Rev. 3:21+ cf. Rev. Rev. 20:4+, Rev. 20:6+). Nowhere in Scripture do we see mention of elect angels occupying thrones.1 Later, during the Millennial Kingdom, we find humans which sit upon thrones (Rev. Rev. 20:4+). Whatever the case may be, this doesn’t appear to be an issue of whether or not the rapture is not a pre-tribulation rapture. You have a much bigger problem with getting around the sohd level structure of scripture in disputing the pre-Tribulation rapture than the elders narrative.

        As for your mention of who or what the two witnesses are, you seem to be over spiritualizing the text. In Malachi 4:5 we have this prophecy:

        “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”

        As you can plainly see, the narrative that the two witnesses are individuals and not one being the church is quite near to being impeccable.

        @#!$54get …. Excuse the typo, I was startled while typing as I heard the ghostly sound of the shovel falling to the ground after the final pile of dirt was laid.

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