Finally, we have come to the New Heaven; and no, we are not in transition, “awaiting our resurrection to the New Earth,” as Randy Alcorn would tell you. That is nothing more than slop that people have made up.
Then why talk about the rapture of the church?
Because, in the chain of events before the New Heaven and the New Earth show up, we have to have the catching away of the church.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 tells us that the man of sin, the antichrist character, cannot come unless the church departs. A clear definition of this comes from the Geneva Bible, published in 1587.
On the other hand, the King James translation, which some will tell you is the only authorized Bible you should use, was decreed in 1769, almost two hundred years later. In case you haven’t heard, the King James Bible came to us because the State Church of England, the Catholic Church, ordered it rewritten to reflect their anger over people leaving the only recognized church, by their standards, for Protestantism. In the process of rewriting, 2 Thessalonians 2:3 was intentionally changed to read “except there come a falling away first,” and that was indeed happening.
So, the church’s departure initiates the seven years of God’s wrath.
Some things that will happen in association with the rapture:
- The catching away of the church.
I use the terminology catching away, as it is a translation of the Greek word harpazo. Rapture, which many of us use, is a translation of the Latin word rapturo. It doesn’t matter which term you use as long as you get there, which, by the way, is through you accepting Jesus Christ into your life as your savior.
This time with Him will last for seven years, the same time frame as the wrath of God is being poured out upon the earth. During these seven years, people will continue to come to Christ, take a stand for Him, and, sadly, have their heads cut off; they will be the martyred saints.
- ¼ of the world’s population will be brutally murdered.
This will be through several methods, including manufactured pestilence of every kind. This list includes injections, diseases, and death at the hands of humanity.
- A massive war focused on the Middle East and likely involving President Putin of Russia will occur in the Jezreel Valley of Israel.
While this war will be horrific, one-third of Israel will survive, and this character, Gog, will be killed on the hillsides of Israel. The battle will be ended as God sends a firestorm upon the combatants. No one of a sound mind can tell you precisely when this will occur, except to say that it will be very close to the church’s rapture.
- The third temple will be rebuilt. Reports indicate that it can be rebuilt in about three months.
- The two witnesses from God will show up and preach in the streets of Jerusalem.
However, they only remain for three and a half years.
- Amid this chaos, a man will rise and declare peace.
Many will tell you that he, the antichrist, makes peace with Israel, but scripture does NOT say that. It says he will make peace with many. The many are most likely the nations that will be warring with Israel and taking a severe beating at the hand of God.
All this most likely happens right after the catching away of the church and rebuilding of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
- The winds of the earth will cease.
This will make the planet’s temperature rise by a deadly amount. Humans and plant life will die and suffer.
- The water supplies will be poisoned and turned to blood.
Literally? I don’t know. I just know it will be undrinkable.
- The oceans will be poisoned as something massive will slam into them, and one-third of the ocean vessels will be destroyed.
- A demon horde of locusts will be unleashed and sting people, making them want to die, but they will not die.
- The economic systems of the earth will be destroyed.
The Bible tells us that the global leaders who put their trust in money will all see the smoke arising from Babylon. Since Babylon was destroyed thousands of years ago, this represents greed and power. Sorry, but it will be gone.
- And do not forget that 100-pound, fiery hail stones will batter the earth.
At the end of seven years, the wrath ends. But, so many things will happen at the end of the wrath.
Here are a few:
- Jesus will come back with a sword out of His mouth, and we will be with Him.
The nations will have gathered for battle with the Lamb – Jesus, and those who came to fight with Him will be slaughtered in the Jezreel valley; this is the place we call the valley of Meggido.
- The new Jerusalem will come down from heaven.
- Jesus will be seated as a judge and reign during the thousand years of peace.
- There will be NO MORE WARS.
- The law of God will continue to be preached among the nations, and many will come to know Jesus.
In other words, the nations – people will come to understand the nature and character of God. He is not out to kill you. However, the eternal torment made for Satan and those who followed him in the rebellion will also be filled by people who choose to follow Satan.
Between the killing that people will do against people and the things God is pouring out upon the earth, I cannot imagine how anyone survives.
It is NOT clear what we, the church, will be doing during the millennium, as we are in Him. But I am sure it will be grand.
Revelation 21:9-27 tells us the details of The New Jerusalem.
“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:9 NASB)
That deadly angel says, “Come here, and I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” I chose the term deadly, as this is the same angel that had been pouring out the wrath of God upon the Earth.
What is coming?
You would be correct if you said the New Jerusalem, yet it is the bride.
I thought we were the bride?
We are, but here, we are as those bricks, made up of pure gold, that comprises the entirety of the New Jerusalem. We are also the shining city.
I have become rather emphatic regarding the New Jerusalem, the Holy City, and how it comes down at the beginning of the millennial reign of Christ. But, like most everything else, there is some challenge, or the enemy comes along, invading my thoughts with confusion and doubt. In moments like this, I must regroup mentally, find my evidence and reestablish my confidence.
Like everything in scripture, evidence of the Holy City coming down at the beginning of the millennium is scattered and, in a sense, hidden throughout the Bible. One of those places is the entirety of Revelation 22. Here, we find this river that starts small and quickly widens, coming from under the throne of God. Along both sides of this river, the trees of life grow. The leaves of those trees are for the healing of the nations. (See Revelation 22:2.)
When and where does this healing take place?
Only during the millennial kingdom, and so, I was right, the Holy City does come down at the beginning of the millennial reign.
If you have followed my posts for the last couple of months, you would be aware of how I have, over the previous twenty years, fought through erroneous teachings, such as only believers enter the millennial kingdom and the racist belief that’ no Jews enter the millennial reign.
“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper.”(Revelation 21:10-11 NASB)
I suppose that is understandable if you are confused about when the Holy City comes down. But know this, it is not by my doing; as I pointed out, the leaves of the tree of life bring healing to the nations. However, after the great judgment seat and the Earth and heavens being burned with fire and replaced, there is no longer any need for healing for the nations, as they are healed, or they are gone, cast into the lake of fire – their names not being found in the book of life.
Perhaps the confusion is deeply embedded in the idea that we constantly apply our broken human understanding to Biblical concepts and events, such as the Holy City coming down and when. I see this happening when the earth is still horribly polluted, damaged, and has non-believing people walking around on it. God can and will handle all that, and it will not affect those living in that city.
Now, if He has to lift the Holy City off the earth to purge the earth with fire, then so be it, He will do so with the blink of an eye, and it may have all of us in it, still walking on the streets of gold, as it moves.
Should we care how God moves, lifts, or vaporizes the garbage under the Holy City to purge the heavens and the earth?
NO. If we struggle to know, much of our struggle is wrapped up in wanting to have answers for other Christians who have lived through the erroneous teachings as we did. We struggle because we cannot seem to grasp the hope that the Apostle Paul tells us we have though we try. (This becomes harder when some “brother” in Christ tells you not to waste your time talking about Jesus coming back soon, especially when the “Christian community has been preaching this gospel for well over 2000 years, and we are still here.) We can have that hope if we have our name in the Book of Life. The only sure-fire way to know if you have your name there is to accept Jesus Christ as Lord over your life.
It seems simple enough, doesn’t it?