Once again, I am interrupting my train of thought on 1 Timothy; hope you don’t mind.
A few days ago, on my Twitter feed, a young lady proclaimed, “the more I read Revelation chapter seven, the more I am convinced of a post-tribulation rapture.”
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, even if it is wrong. However, a writer, of which I have several of his books, clicked like on her comment, and that causes me grief. I will tell you that I refused to get into a fight with her, primarily because at my age I cannot remember passages that I could use as a club against her. I happen, at this point in time, to find this memory issue a blessing, as I still remember key words and themes and will take the time to find a prudent answer.
If I am going to make a brash statement such as, we are destined to go through the “tribulation”, as though the seven years that are coming are called the tribulation, then I am going to have to present a premise (Let’s just say, a darn good reason why I believe that way.) Webster’s Dictionary of American English (1828), tells me that an aspect of the word premise is “To speak or write before, or as introductory to the main subject; to offer previously, as something to explain or aid in understanding what follows.
In the case of this young lady, her premise was nothing more than informing her audience that she read the seventh chapter of Revelation more than once. Merely announcing that you have read something more than once tells me nothing more than you can read. And so, just this morning, after finishing my other devotionals, I intentionally played Revelation 7, repeatedly, on my phone’s Bible application to see if I could pick up on what would tell me where she came to this conclusion; I found none.
Premise is everything, and if I am going to make the postulation that Revelation 7 is powerful evidence that we are going to go through the time of God’s wrath, then I need to define why, but I can’t do that if I don’t understand or believe that this time period is just that, a time of great wrath and judgment.
I told an acquaintance that God’s wrath is the basis for the seven-year period; to which he angrily responded, it is NOT. He would not back up his assertion as it was an emotional assumption based on traditional religious teaching. He merely proved to me that he had not read his Bible.
So my premise for understanding anything in the book of the Revelation, beyond chapter three, is that the seven-year-period is the time of God’s wrath and judgment and is the major focus, aside from Jesus, of the Revelation.
What is the first thing you see when you begin to read the Revelation?
Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ,
If I must have proof of this statement about this time being the time of wrath, then I have dig through the majority of scripture from Job through the Revelation. The understanding that the wrath and judgment of God are coming is seeded throughout the Psalms, the Prophets, and the New Testament.
Job chapter 19 is interesting as it has Job telling those with him, even as my flesh is destroyed, I will see God. There is no assumption that anything else will happen; and I am referring to any potential wrath that he might, by religious standards, deserve.
“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last, He will take His stand on the earth. “Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh, I shall see God;” (Job 19:25-26 NASB)
And, there is the declaration from Job that,
“wrath brings the punishment of the sword, So that you may know there is judgment.” (Job 19:29 NASB)
King David understood that Israel had become a reproach to their neighbors, and he asked the Lord if He would pour out His wrath upon the nations instead.
We have become a reproach to our neighbors, A scoffing and derision to those around us. How long, O LORD? Will You be angry forever? Will Your jealousy burn like fire? Pour out Your wrath upon the nations which do not know You, And upon the kingdoms which do not call upon Your name. (Psalms 79:4-6 NASB)
End, page one.
And this is precisely what God will do, but you should know that God’s wrath is to be poured out on Israel as well.
When God began killing them, they finally sought him. They repented and took God seriously. Then they remembered that God was their rock, that God Most High was their redeemer. But all they gave him was lip service; they lied to him with their tongues. Their hearts were not loyal to him. They did not keep his covenant. Yet he was merciful and forgave their sins and did not destroy them all. Many times he held back his anger and did not unleash his fury! (Psalms 78:34-38 NLT)
The Prophet Isaiah declares,
Come here and listen, O nations of the earth. Let the world and everything in it hear my words. For the LORD is enraged against the nations. His fury – (many of the translations use the word wrath here) is against all their armies. He will completely destroy them, dooming them to slaughter. Their dead will be left unburied, and the stench of rotting bodies will fill the land. The mountains will flow with their blood. The heavens above will melt away and disappear like a rolled-up scroll. The stars will fall from the sky like withered leaves from a grapevine or shriveled figs from a fig tree. And when my sword has finished its work in the heavens, it will fall upon Edom, the nation I have marked for destruction. (Isaiah 34:1-5 NLT)
God also uses the term judgment(s) against the nations and Israel. Here is an example of what Ezekiel tells us.
“Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Because you have more turmoil than the nations which surround you and have not walked in My statutes, nor observed My ordinances, nor observed the ordinances of the nations which surround you,’ therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I, even I, am against you, and I will execute judgments among you in the sight of the nations. (Ezekiel 5:7-8 NASB)
A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; The LORD is avenging and wrathful. The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies. (Nahum 1:2 NASB)
If Israel is the target of His wrath, then it safe to assume that many of them have become His enemies.
Mountains quake because of Him And the hills dissolve; Indeed the earth is upheaved by His presence, The world, and all the inhabitants in it. Who can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the burning of His anger? His wrath is poured out like fire And the rocks are broken up by Him. (Nahum 1:5-6 NASB)
If you wanted to know some of the ways in which Israel made God angry, try reading Ezekiel 16. There are so many details here that I will limit the passages. The NASB entitles this chapter the Lord’s faithless bride.
Ezekiel 16:2 NASB “Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations.
The NLT uses the terminology “her detestable sins.” So then what are some of these sins?
Ezekiel 16:16-17 NLT You used the lovely things I gave you to make shrines for idols, where you played the prostitute. Unbelievable! How could such a thing ever happen? (17) You took the very jewels and gold and silver ornaments I had given you and made statues of men and worshiped them. This is adultery against me!
End, page two.
Israel was barely out of Egypt when they coerced Aaron to make them the god Moloch. A massive image in the shape of a bull with outstretched arms and a hollow body in which they set a fire; the participants then roasted their children in the heated arms of this image.
What is the modern equivalent of such child murder?
We call it abortion and classify it as women’s health.
“Moreover, you took your sons and daughters whom you had borne to Me and sacrificed them to idols to be devoured. Were your harlotries so small a matter? “You slaughtered My children and offered them up to idols by causing them to pass through the fire. (Ezekiel 16:20-21 NASB)
Perhaps by this time you understand why God is bringing His wrath and judgment, and to whom this wrath is supposed to come – the nations (We who are not Jews fall under the category of Gentiles or nations, that is, until we gave our life to Christ. We never take the place of the Jews, however, the adoption process, that God instituted, brings us into the family by placing us into Christ.) and Israel.
If you believe that those of us who are in Jesus Christ are supposed to endure the wrath and judgment coming upon those who have ignored Jesus, you have a serious problem. The Apostle Paul said, this message, in opposition to Christ coming back to rescue His church, is a doctrine of Demons, and you need to repent.
What did Paul preach?
Romans 1:18 NASB For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
What is the wrath directed at? 1. All ungodliness, and 2. The unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth in the unrighteousness. When we accepted Christ’s life in us, we obtained His righteousness, nothing less, and in God’s eyes, we are righteous and accepted.
Just off the top of your head, who does it sound like God is talking to in Romans 1:18?
You would be right if you said the nation of Israel.
You want to know one of the ways they suppress the truth?
The rabbis in Israel prohibit the synagogue members from reading Isaiah 53 and the book of Daniel.
Why do you suppose that is?
Because both of these prophets very precisely spell out the Messiah and who He is, and they can’t have that.
This next paragraph applies to all who exhibit stubbornness and an unrepentant heart.
Romans 2:1-5 NASB Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. (2) And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. (3) But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? (4) Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? (5) But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,
How about this one.
Romans 5:6-9 NASB For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. (8) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
Christ died on that cross and rose again. It is because of those actions and our faith in those actions that we are saved from that WRATH that is to come. This statement is a short version of 1Corinthians 15:1-4.
End, page three.
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 NASB (9) For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, (10) and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.
We are not only rescued from the wrath to come, but this wrath is not our destiny. Our destiny is a seven-year banquet, in heaven, with Jesus. Let me make a point here. Over the years, some of the more heavyset speakers – who obviously enjoy food, have told us, we will sit down to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Because of one of those men – a man who frequently dove into teaching the doctrines of demons, I did a word search for “supper of the Lamb.” It only shows up one time in our Bibles and that is in Revelation 19:9. In close proximity to that phrase, there is nothing to explain or define what that looks like, that is until you get to Revelation 19:17,18. Here a bloody scene has been described and obviously, God’s enemies have been slain.
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. (Revelation 19:17-18 KJV)
Perhaps you get the idea. For me, just knowing that I will be thankfully clinging to Jesus, finally holding on to the one who was willing to give His life for me.
Pay attention, God has NOT destined us, who believe, for wrath, and that is the primary purpose of the seven-years. Surprisingly, the secondary motive is to draw all humanity to Him. Considering the horrors that are coming it is hard to conceive, but it is true as it is His nature and character.
For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Thessalonians 5:9 NASB)
The next verses speak of God keeping us from sufferings or, as some put it, tribulations. Here are the verses, and they refer to Lot as an example of how God keeps us.
Yes, Lot was a righteous man who was tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day. So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment. (2 Peter 2:8-9 NLT)
Since some of you may not be familiar with Lot I will give you a quick overview. Lot is Abraham’s nephew. They lived side by side, as Abraham watched over him for a time. As their herds grew and workers fought, it was time for Lot to move on. Given the pick of the land, Lot picked the area of Sodom and Gomorrah. You can speculate on the whys of such a move, but perhaps God had a story to tell and it required Lot to go there. Fast forward, this place is a deviant, sexual orgy hot spot, and on the day the angels came to town with one purpose – to destroy, they find Lot sitting in the gates of the city. This gate thing was important as this is where the law was handed down and affairs of life were adjudicated; from this, we know that Lot was a righteous decision-maker. The dickering was done, the place was to be destroyed, and we find Lot stalling. Having read the story it is hard to understand why he stalled, so the angels grabbed him and his family, saying, we cannot bring the pain until we get you to safety.
Rescue has become a hot topic, even more so lately, as the restrictions passed down by an omniscient few (Bill Gates and friends,) have put the world under oppressive restrictions for nine months, and it’s only getting worse. People who lean toward the prophetic (they read their Bibles and see that these events we find in scripture are being played out before us,) are crying out, Lord, come and rescue us, and soon. Of course, the opposition, many of whom claim there is no God, consistently screams you just want to escape. Well, this is good news for us believers, as escape is a theological concept and we see it in the word rescue.
End, page four.
Rescue is the Greek word rhuomai and it means, according to Thayer’s concordance “to draw to one’s self, to rescue, and to deliver.” Does the idea of drawing an entire global community of Christ-followers sound very similar to the rapture of the Church? That is because it is!
The word temptations or tribulations creates a problem only because we call God’s wrath the time of tribulation. Jesus said, in this world, because you belong to me, you will have tribulations. By-the-way, in the Revelation, there is a time period, the second half of the seven-years, of which Scripture says, that the tribulations will be so great that unless the Lord intervenes no one would survive. So a distinction has to be made between the common and sometimes violent, daily tribulations of life, and the apparent non-stop horror of the seven-years.
The English word translated here as tribulations or temptations is the Greek word peirasmos. It means to put to proof. The Word Study Dictionary tells us this, “When God is the agent, peirasmós is for the purpose of proving someone, never for the purpose of causing him to fall.”
Since we operate under the assumption that God’s wrath is entirely for the purpose of killing off people who are in conflict with Him, then we cannot assign that time period to those who are deemed God’s people, in any way shape, or form as we should be excluded. I am hoping you see the logic here.
At this moment, you may not feel like one of God’s people even though you did all the appropriate religious steps and accepted Jesus. That’s just like Satan to tell you that, but you do belong to Him, and God does see you through the shed blood of Jesus. It is that blood, which you accepted in faith, that makes you righteous.
“in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:52 NASB)
At this point in time (in heaven,) feelings won’t matter anymore as you will be like Him.
Since the time of wrath is for the dispensing of wrath, then what do we former sinners get?
A home in heaven with the Father. Simply put, all the wrath of God was put on Christ for one purpose. So that we would not have to suffer wrath for sin. We were forgiven on that cross. Those who reject Him get to stay and endure.
Do we humans punish sins here on earth?
Certainly, we do, if we can prosecute you. God instituted laws for the lawless, and those who stumble into sin. Sin is so many things, including gluttony, but who is counting. Jesus took all the sin upon Himself, voluntarily, so that scripture could say, God so loved the world, that He gave His only son. He redeemed us, paid the price for us, and bought us back so that we could walk free in His love.
How do you repay Him?
You don’t, you open your arms and allow Him to come in. Remember, at that moment, in the twinkling of an eye, you were changed; you passed from life to death. Oh sure, your body will die if Christ does not come back first, but your spirit is alive to God now, and always will be.