The Last Days
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Then the disciples said unto Him, “…Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, see that ye be not troubled for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
For nations shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” ~ Matthew 24:3b-8
“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
And the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” ~ Matthew 24:11-14
“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of man be.” ~ Matthew 24:36-39
” Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. “~ Matthew 24:44
Oh soul, are you ready? Are you prepared to meet the Lord at His coming? Unbelievers shall carry on their normal activities. They will not listen to His warnings. They will be swept away as in the days of Noah. The fire shall burn up the earth, and all that is therein.
The Lord shall come as a thief in the night. Not even the angels in heaven know the hour. The day of Salvation shall be closed forever. Many will be denied entrance for their names were not written in the book of life.
Oh soul, take heed to His solemn warning! Every day, on the news, its the same old stuff, another story. Wars and rumors of war. Earthquakes increasing in their frequency and intensity. The day of the Lord is drawing near. The gospel is being preached in remote places through the internet. The Lord is on the verge of His coming.
The signs of His approaching are gathering near. The Lord is going to burn up the earth. He shall make a new heaven and a new earth. The wicked shall be burned up, those who did not place their faith in the Lord.
The Scripture says, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in therat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” ~ Matthew 7:13-14
Do you have the assurance that if you were to die today you’ll be in the presence of the Lord in heaven? Death for a believer is but a doorway that opens into eternal life.
Those who fall asleep in Jesus will be reunited with their loved ones in heaven. Those you’ve laid in the grave in tears, you shall meet them again with joy! Oh, to see their smile and feel their touch… never to part again!
Yet, if you don’t believe in the Lord, you’re going to hell. There is no pleasant way to say it.
The Scripture says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” ~ Romans 3:23
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” ~ Romans 10:9
Don’t fall asleep without Jesus until you are assured of a place in heaven.
Tonight, if you would like to receive the gift of eternal life, first you must believe in the Lord. You have to ask for your sins to be forgiven and put your trust in the Lord. To be a believer in the Lord, ask for eternal life. There’s only one way to heaven, and that’s through the Lord Jesus. That’s God’s wonderful plan of salvation.
You can begin a personal relationship with Him by praying from your heart a prayer such as the following:
“Oh God, I’m a sinner. I’ve been a sinner all of my life. Forgive me, Lord. I receive Jesus as my Savior. I trust Him as my Lord. Thank you for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
If you have never received the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior, but have received Him today after reading this invitation, please let us know. We would love to hear from you. Your first name is sufficient.
Today, I made peace with God...
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What Does the Bible Say About a Cashless Society and the Mark of the Beast?
The Beast (Anti-Christ) is a world ruler who, with the power of the dragon (Satan – Revelation 12:9 & 13:2) and the help of the False Prophet sets himself up and demands to be worshiped as God. This specific event occurs in the middle of the tribulation when he stops the offerings and the sacrifices in the temple. (Read carefully Daniel 9:24-27; 11:31 & 12:11; Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14; I Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 and Revelation chapter 13.) The False Prophet demands that an image of the Beast be built and be worshiped. These events occur during the Tribulation where in Revelation 13 we see the Anti-Christ requiring his mark on everyone in order for them to buy or sell.
Taking the mark of the Beast will be a choice but 2 Thessalonians 2 shows that those who refuse to accept Jesus as God and Savior from sin will be blinded and deceived. Most born again believers are convinced the Rapture of the church occurs before this and that we will not suffer God’s wrath (I Thessalonians 5:9). I think many people fear we may accidentally take this mark. God’s word says in 2 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love and of power and of a sound mind.” Most of the passages on this topic say that we should have wisdom and understanding. I think that we should read the Scriptures and study them carefully so we are knowledgeable concerning this topic. We are in the process of answering other questions on this subject (the Tribulation). Please read them when they are posted and read other web sites by reputable Evangelical sources and read and study these Scriptures: The Books of Daniel and Revelation (God promises a blessing on those who read this last book), Matthew chapter 24; Mark chapter 13; Luke chapter 21; I Thessalonians, especially chapters 4 & 5; 2 Thessalonians chapter 2; Ezekiel chapters 33-39; Isaiah chapter 26; the Book of Amos and any other Scriptures on this topic.
Be careful of cults which predict dates and claim that Jesus is here; instead look for Scriptural signs of the coming of the last days and Jesus’ return, especially 2 Thessalonians 2 and Matthew 24. There are events which have not occurred yet that must happen before the Tribulation can take place: 1). The gospel must be preached to all the nations (ethnos). 2). There will be a new Jewish temple in Jerusalem which is not there yet, but the Jews are ready to build it. 3). 2 Thessalonians 2 indicates that the beast (Anti-Christ, Man of Sin) will be revealed. As yet we do not know who he is. 4). Scripture reveals he will arise from a 10 nation confederacy made up of nations who have roots in the old Roman Empire (See Daniel 2, 7, 9, 11, 12). 5). He will make a treaty with many (probably this concerns Israel). None of these events have occurred as of yet, but all are possible in the near future. I believe these events are being set up in our lifetime. Israel is set to build a temple; the European Union does exist, and could easily be the forerunner of the confederacy; a cashless society is possible and is certainly being discussed today. Matthew and Luke’s signs of earthquakes and pestilences and wars are certainly true. It also says we should be watchful and ready for the Lord’s return.
The way to be ready is to follow God by first believing the Gospel about His Son and accepting Him as your Savior. Read I Corinthians 15:1-4 which says we need to believe that He died on the cross to pay the debt for our sins. Matthew 26:28 says, “This is the new covenant in my blood which is poured out for many for the remission of sins.” We need to trust and follow Him. 2 Timothy 1:12 says, “He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” Jude 24&25 says, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” We can trust and be watchful and not be fearful. We are warned by Scripture to be ready. I believe our generation is setting the stage of circumstances to enable the Anti-Christ to gain power and we need to understand God’s Word and be ready by accepting the Victor (Revelation 19:19-21), the Lord Jesus Christ who can give us the victory (I Corinthians 15:58). Hebrews 2:3 warns, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation.”
Read 2 Thessalonians chapter 2. Verse 10 says, “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” Hebrews 4:2 says, “For we also have had the gospel preached to us just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard it did not combine it with faith.” Revelation 13:8 says, “All who dwell on the earth will worship him (the beast), everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.” Revelation 14:9-11 says, “Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.’ ” Contrast this with God’s promise in John 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” Verse 18 says, “He who believes in Him is not judged; but he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of God’s One and Only Son.” John 1:12 promises, “Yet to all who received Him, to all who believed in His name, He gave the right to become the children of God.” John 10:28 says, “I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”
What Does the Bible Say About Prophets and Prophecy?
I would like to give you Scriptures and observations to help you understand this topic. First I would say that if a person’s prophetic statement were Scripture, we would have volumes of new Scripture continuously and we would have to conclude that the Scripture is incomplete. Let’s look and see the differences described between prophecy in the Old Testament and in the New Testament.
In the Old Testament the prophets were often the leaders of God’s people and God sent them to guide His people and to pave the way for the coming Savior. God gave His people specific instructions to identify genuine from false prophets. Please read Deuteronomy 18:17-22 and also chapter 13:1-11 for those tests. First, if the prophet predicted something, he had to be 100% accurate. Each prophecy had to come to pass. Then chapter 13 said that if He told the people to worship any god but the LORD (Jehovah), he was a false prophet and was to be stoned to death. Prophets also wrote down what they said and what occurred at God’s command and direction. Hebrews 1:1 says, “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways.” These writings were immediately considered to be Scripture – God’s Word. When the prophets ceased the Jewish people considered that the “canon” (collection) of Scripture had closed, or was completed.
Similarly, the New Testament was largely written by the original disciples or those close to them. They were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life. The church accepted their writings as Scripture, and shortly after Jude and Revelation were written, ceased to accept other writings as Scripture. Actually, they saw the other later writings as contrary to Scripture and false by comparing them to the Scriptures, the words written by the prophets and apostles as Peter said in I Peter 3:1-4, where he tells the church how to determine scoffers and false teaching. He said, “recall the words of the prophets and commands given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.”
The New Testament says in I Corinthians 14:31 that now every believer can prophesy.
The idea most often given in the New Testament is to TEST everything. Jude 3 says the “faith” was “once for all delivered to the saints.” The Book of Revelation, which reveals the future of our world, strictly warns us in chapter 22 verse 18 not to add or subtract anything to the words of that book. This is a clear indicator that Scripture was completed. But Scripture gives repeated warnings concerning heresy and false teaching as seen in 2 Peter 3:1-3; 2 Peter chapters 2&3; I Timothy 1:3&4; Jude 3&4 and Ephesians 4:14. Ephesians 4:14&15 says, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is Christ.” Nothing is equal to Scripture, and all so-called prophecy is to be tested by it. I Thessalonians 5:21 says, “Test everything, hold fast what is good.” I John 4:1 says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” We are to test everything, every prophet, every teacher and every doctrine. The best example of how we do this is found in Acts 17:11.
Acts 17:11 tells us about Paul and Silas. They went to Berea to preach the Gospel. Acts tells us that the Berean people received the message eagerly, and they are commended and called noble because “they searched the Scriptures daily to see if what Paul said was true.” They tested what the Apostle Paul said by the SCRIPTURES. That is the key. Scripture is the truth. It is what we use to test everything. Jesus called it the Truth (John 17:10). This is the one and only way to measure anything, person or doctrine, truth versus apostasy, by the Truth – Scripture, the Word of God.
In Matthew 4:1-10 Jesus set the example of how to defeat Satan’s temptations, and also indirectly taught us to use Scripture in order to test and rebuke false teaching. He used the Word of God, saying, “It is written.” However this necessitates that we arm ourselves with a thorough knowledge of the Word of God as Peter implied.
The New Testament is different from the Old Testament because in the New Testament God sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in us whereas in the Old Testament He came upon prophets and teachers often for just a period of time. We have the Holy Spirit who guides us into truth. In this new covenant God has saved us and has given us spiritual gifts. One of these gifts is prophecy. (See I Corinthians 12:1-11, 28-31; Romans 12:3-8 and Ephesians 4:11-16.) God gave these gifts to help us grow in grace as believers. We are to use these gifts to the best of our ability (I Peter 4:10&11), not as authoritative, infallible Scripture, but to encourage one another. 2 Peter 1:3 says that God has given us all that we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him (Jesus). The writing of Scripture seems to have passed from the prophets to the apostles and other eyewitnesses. Remember that in this new church we are to test everything. I Corinthians 14:14 & 29-33 says that “all may prophesy, but let the others judge.” I Corinthians 13:19 says, “we prophesy in part” which, I believe, means that we only have partial understanding. Therefore we judge everything by the Word as the Bereans did, always being watchful of false teaching.
I think it is wise to say that God teaches and admonishes and encourages His children to follow and live according to Scripture.
What Does the Bible Say about the End Times?
This idea is closely related to another idea. Many people believe that statements about future things are all symbolic and not to be taken literally. A number of years ago I listened to an audio tape on the Book of Revelation and the teacher repeatedly said: “If the plain sense makes common sense seek no other sense or you will end up with nonsense.” That is the approach we will take with Bible prophecy. Words will be taken to mean exactly what they ordinarily mean unless there is something in the context that indicates otherwise.
So the first issue to be settled is the issue of “Replacement Theology.” Paul asks in Romans 11:1&2a “Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people whom he foreknew.” Romans 11:5 says, “So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.” Romans 11:11&12 says, “Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!”
Romans 11:26-29 says, “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: ‘The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.’ As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” We believe the promises to Israel will be literally fulfilled to Israel and when the New Testament says Israel or Jews it means exactly what it says.
So what does the Bible teach about the Millenium. The relevant Scripture is Revelation 20:1-7. The word “millennium” comes from Latin and means a thousand years. The words “a thousand years” occur six times in the passage and we believe they mean exactly that. We also believe that Satan will be locked up in the Abyss for that time to keep him from deceiving the nations. Since verse four says people reign with Christ for a thousand years, we believe Christ comes back before the Millenium. (The Second Coming of Christ is described in Revelation 19:11-21.) At the end of the Millenium Satan is released and inspires a final revolt against God which is defeated and then comes the judgment of unbelievers and eternity begins. (Revelation 20:7-21:1)
So what does the Bible teach about the Tribulation? The only passage that describes what begins it, how long it is, what happens in the middle of it and the purpose for it is Daniel 9:24-27. Daniel has been praying about the end of the 70 years of captivity predicted by the prophet Jeremiah. 2 Chronicles 36:20 tells us, “The land enjoyed it sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah.” Simple math tells us that for 490 years, 70×7, the Jews did not observe the sabbath year, and so God removed them from the land for 70 years to give the land its sabbath rest. The regulations for the sabbath year are in Leviticus 25:1-7. The punishment for not keeping it is in Leviticus 26:33-35, “I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins. Then the land will enjoy its sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the sabbaths you lived on it.”
In response to his prayer about seventy sevens of years of unfaithfulness, Daniel is told in Daniel 9:24 (NIV), “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place.” Notice this is decreed for Daniel’s people and Daniel’s holy city. The Hebrew word for week is the word “seven” and although it most frequently refers to a seven day week, the context here points to seventy “sevens” of years. (When Daniel wants to indicate a week of seven days in Daniel 10:2&3, the Hebrew text literally says “sevens of days” both times the phrase occurs.)
Daniel predicts it will be 69 sevens, 483 years, from the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (Nehemiah chapter 2) until the Anointed One (the Messiah, the Christ) comes. (This is fulfilled in either Jesus’ baptism or the Triumphal Entry.) After the 483 years the Messiah will be put to death. After the Messiah is put to death “the people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.” This happened in 70 AD. He (the ruler who is to come) will confirm a covenant with “many” for the final seven years. “In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” Notice how all of this is about the Jewish people, the city of Jerusalem and the temple in Jerusalem.
According to Zechariah 12 and 14 the LORD returns to rescue Jerusalem and the Jewish people. When this happens, Zechariah 12:10 says, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” This seems to be when “all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26). The seven year Tribulation is primarily about the Jewish people.
There are a number of reasons to believe the Rapture of the church described in I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and I Corinthians 15:50-54 will happen before the seven year Tribulation. 1). The church is described as the dwelling place of God in Ephesians 2:19-22. Revelation 13:6 in the Holman Christian Standard Bible (the most literal translation I could find for this passage) says, “He began to speak blasphemies against God: to blaspheme His name and His dwelling – those who dwell in heaven.” This puts the church in heaven while the beast is on earth.
2). The structure of the Book of Revelation is given in chapter one, verse nineteen, “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.” What John had seen is recorded in chapter one. Then follows letters to seven churches that were then in existence, the “what is now.” “Later” in the NIV is literally “after these things,” “meta tauta” in Greek. “Meta tauta” is translated “after this” twice in the NIV translation of Revelation 4:1 and seems to mean the things that happen after the churches. There is no reference to the Church on earth using distinctive church terminology after that.
3). After describing the Rapture of the Church in I Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul talks about the coming “Day of the Lord” in I Thessalonians 5:1-3. He says in verse 3, “While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” Notice the pronouns “them” and “they.” Verse 9 says, “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
To sum up, we believe the Bible teaches the Rapture of the Church precedes the Tribulation, which is primarily about the Jewish people. We believe the Tribulation lasts for seven years and ends with the Second Coming of Christ. When Christ comes back, He then reigns for 1,000 years, the Millenium.
What is the Tribulation and Are We In It?
The Tribulation centers around Israel and God’s Holy City, Jerusalem. It starts with a ruler coming up out of a ten nation confederacy which comes from the roots of the historic Roman Empire in Europe. At first he will appear to be a peace maker and then rise up to be evil. After three and one-half years in which he gains power, he desecrates the temple in Jerusalem and sets himself up as “god” and demands to be worshiped. (Read Matthew chapters 24&25; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12 and Revelation chapter 13.) God judges the nations who have been hostile to and tried to destroy His people (Israel). He also judges the ruler (the Anti-Christ) who sets himself up as god. When the nations of the world all gather together to destroy His people and City at the valley of Armageddon, to battle against God, Jesus will return to destroy His enemies and rescue His people and the City. Jesus will return visibly and be seen by the whole world (Acts 1:9-11; Revelation 1:7) and His people Israel (Zechariah 12:1-14 and 14:1-9).
When Jesus returns, the Old Testament saints, the Church and armies of angels will come with Him to conquer. When the remnant of Israel sees Him they will recognize Him as the One they pierced and mourn and they will all be saved (Romans 11:26). Then Jesus will set up His Millennial Kingdom and reign with His people for 1,000 years.
ARE WE IN THE TRIBULATION?
No, not yet, but we are probably in the time just prior to that. As we stated earlier, the tribulation begins when the Anti-Christ will be revealed and form a treaty with Israel (See Daniel 9:27 and 2 Thessalonians 2). Daniel 7 & 9 say that he will arise out of a ten nation union and then take more control. As of yet, the 10 nation group is not formed.
Another reason why we are not yet in the tribulation is that during the tribulation, at 3&1/2 years the Anti-Christ will defile the temple in Jerusalem and set himself up as god and at the present time there is no temple on the Mount in Israel, though the Jews are prepared and ready to build it.
What we do see is a time of increased war and unrest which Jesus said would occur (See Matthew 24:7&8; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:11). This is the sign of the impending wrath of God. These verses say there will be increased wars between countries and ethnic groups, pestilence, earthquakes and other signs from heaven.
Another thing which must occur is that the gospel must be preached to all the nations, tongues and peoples, because some of these people will believe and will be in heaven, praising God and the Lamb (Matthew 24:14; Revelation 5:9&10).
We know we are close because God is gathering His scattered people, Israel, from the world and returning them to Israel, the Holy Land, never to leave again. Amos 9:11-15 says, “I will plant them upon the land, and they will no more be pulled up out of the land I have given them.”
Most fundamental Christians believe that the rapture of the church will also come first (see I Corinthians 15:50-56; I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12) because the church “is not appointed unto wrath”, but this point is not as clear and can be controversial. However God’s Word does say that the angels will gather His saints “from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:31), not from one end of the earth to another, and that they will join with the armies of God, including the angels (I Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; Revelation 19:14) to come to earth to defeat Israel’s enemies at the Lord’s return. Colossians 3:4 says, “When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”
Since the Greek noun translated apostasy in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 comes from a verb that is usually translated to depart, this verse may be referring to the rapture and that would be consistent with the chapter context. Read also Isaiah 26:19-21 which seems to picture a resurrection and an event in which these people are hidden away to escape God’s wrath and judgment. The rapture has not occurred yet.
HOW CAN WE ESCAPE THE TRIBULATION?
Most evangelicals accept the concept of the Rapture of the church, but there is controversy as to when it occurs. If it occurs prior to the start of the tribulation then only the unbelievers who remain on earth after the Rapture will enter the tribulation, the time of God’s wrath, because only those who believe that Jesus died to save us from our sins will be raptured. If we are wrong about the timing of the Rapture and it occurs later, during or at the end of the seven year tribulation, we will be left with everyone else and go through the tribulation, although most of the people who believe this believe we will somehow be protected from God’s wrath during that time.
You don’t want to be against God, you want to be on God’s side, otherwise, you will not only go through the tribulation but also face God’s judgment and eternal wrath and be cast into the lake of fire with the devil and his angels. Revelation 20:10-15 says, “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (See also Matthew 25:41.)
As I stated, most Christians are convinced that believers will be raptured and not enter the tribulation. I Corinthians 15:51&52 says, “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 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.” I think it is very interesting that the Scriptures about the Rapture (I Thessalonians 4:13-18; 5:8-10; I Corinthians 15:52) say, “we shall be forever with the Lord,” and that, “we should comfort one another with these words.”
Jewish believers use the illustration of the Jewish Marriage ceremony as it was during the time of Christ to illustrate this point of view. Some argue that Jesus never used it and yet He did. He used the marriage customs several times to describe or explain events surrounding His Second Coming. The Characters are: The bride is the church; the groom is Christ; the Father of the Groom is God the Father.
The basic events are:
1). The Betrothal: The bride and groom drink a cup of wine together and promise not to drink again of the fruit of the vine until the actual wedding happens. Jesus used the words the groom would use when He said in Matthew 26:29 “But I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s Kingdom.” When the bride drinks from the cup of wine and the bride price is paid by the groom, it is a picture of the payment made for us for our sins and our acceptance of Jesus as our Savior. We are the bride.
2). The Groom goes away to build a house for his bride. In John 14 Jesus goes to heaven to prepare a house for us. John 14:1-3 says, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also,” (the rapture).
3). The Father decides when the groom will return for the bride. Matthew 24:36 says, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” The Father alone knows when Jesus will return.
4). The groom comes unexpectedly for His bride who is waiting, often as long as a year, for Him to come back. Jesus raptures the church (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).
5). The bride is cloistered for a week in the room prepared for her in the Father’s house. The church is in heaven for seven years during the Tribulation. Read Isaiah 26:19-21.
6). The Marriage Supper happens in the Fathers house at the end of the marriage celebration (Revelation 19:7-9). After the marriage supper, the bride comes forth and is presented to everyone. Jesus returns to earth with His bride (the church) and the Old Testament saints and angels to subdue His enemies (Revelation 19:11-21).
Yes, Jesus did use the wedding customs of His day to illustrate last days’ events. Scripture refers to the church as the bride of Christ and Jesus says that He is going to prepare a home for us. Jesus also talks about coming back for His church and that we should be ready for His return (Matthew 25:1-13). As we said, He also says only the Father knows when He will return.
There is no New Testament reference to the seven day seclusion of the bride, however there is one Old Testament reference – a prophecy which parallels the resurrection of those who die and then they are to “go to their rooms or chambers till God’s wrath is complete.” Read Isaiah 26: 19-26, which looks like it may be about the rapture of the church before the tribulation. After this you have the marriage supper and then the saints, the redeemed and myriads of angels coming “from heaven” to defeat Jesus’ enemies (Revelation 19:11-22) and to rule and reign on earth (Revelation 20:1-6).
Either way, the only way to avoid God’s wrath is to believe in Jesus. (See John 3:14-18 and 36. Verse 36 says, “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him.”) We must believe that Jesus paid the penalty, the debt and punishment for of our sin, by dying on the cross. I Corinthians 15:1-4 says, “I declare the gospel…by which also you are saved…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” Matthew 26:28 says, “This is My blood… which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” I Peter 2:24 says, “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the cross.” (Read Isaiah 53:1-12.) John 20:31 says, “But these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through His name.”
If you come to Jesus, He will not turn you away. John 6:37 says, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” Verses 39&40 say, “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of the Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” Read also John 10:28&29 which says, “I give unto them eternal life and they shall NEVER perish and neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand…” Read also Romans 8:35 which says, “Who shall separate us from the love of God, shall tribulation or distress…” And verses 38&39 say, “that neither death, nor life, nor angels…nor things to come.. shall be able to separate us from the love of God.” (See also I John 5:13)
But God says in Hebrews 2:3, “How can we escape if we neglect so great salvation.” 2 Timothy 1:12 says, “I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”
Will People Be Saved During the Tribulation?
Revelation gives us a few verses which seem to indicate that a multitude of people will be saved during the Tribulation because they will be in heaven rejoicing before the throne of God, some from every tribe, tongue, people and nation. It does not say exactly who they are; perhaps they are people who had never heard the gospel previously. We have a clearer view of who they are not: those who rejected Him and those who take the mark of the beast. Many, if not most of the saints of the tribulation will be martyred.
Here is a list of verses from Revelation which indicate that people will be saved during that time:
“These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
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 the forehead and on their hand and they came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”
The reason for this is because they refused to follow the Anti-Christ and refused to take his mark. Revelation makes it very clear that ANYONE who receives the mark or number of the beast in his forehead or hand will be thrown into the lake of fire at the final judgment, along with the beast and the false prophet and eventually Satan himself. Revelation 14:9-11 says, “Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of his anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.’ ” (See also Revelation 15:2; 16:2; 18:20 and 20:11-15.) They can never be saved. This is the one thing, that is, taking the mark of the beast during the tribulation, that will keep you from redemption and salvation.
There are two times where God uses the phrase “from every tongue, tribe, people and nation” to refer to saved people: Revelation 5:8&9 and Revelation chapter 7. Revelation 5:8&9 speaks of our present age and the preaching of the Gospel and the promise that some from each of these ethnic groups will be saved and will worship God in heaven. These are the saints saved before the Tribulation. (See Matthew 24:14; Mark 13:10; Luke 24:47 and Revelation 1:4-6.) In Revelation chapter 7 God speaks of saints from every “tongue, tribe, people and nation” who are saved “out of”, that is, during the Tribulation. Revelation 14:6 speaks about an angel who preaches the Gospel. The picture of the martyrs presented in Revelation 20:4 clearly shows a multitude are saved during the Tribulation.
If you are a believer, I Thessalonians 5:8-11 says to be comforted, hope in God’s promised salvation and not be shaken. Now the word “hope” in the Scripture does not mean what it does in English as in “I hope something will happen.” Our HOPE in Scripture is a “sure thing, something that God says and promises will occur. These promises are spoken by the Faithful God Who cannot lie. Titus 1:2 says, “In the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the ages of time began.” Verse 9 of I Thessalonians 5 promises that believers will “live together with Him forever,” and, as we have seen, verse 9 says we are “not appointed to wrath but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” We believe, as do the majority of evangelical Christians, that the Rapture precedes the Tribulation based on 2 Thessalonians 2:1&2 which says we will be gathered to Him and I Thessalonians 5:9 which says, “We are not appointed to wrath.”
If you are not a believer and are rejecting Jesus so you can continue in sin, be warned, you will not get a second chance in the Tribulation. You will be deluded by Satan. You will be lost forever. Our “sure hope” is in the Gospel. Read John 3:14-36; 5:24; 20:31; 2 Peter 2:24 and I Corinthians 15:1-4, which give the Gospel of Christ, and believe. Receive Him. John 1:12&13 says, “Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor or human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” You can read more about this on this site on “How To Be Saved” or ask more questions. The most important thing is to believe. Don’t wait; don’t delay – for Jesus will return suddenly and unexpectedly and you will be forever lost.
If you believe, be “comforted” and “stand fast” (I Thessalonians 4:18 and 5:23 and 2 Thessalonians chapter 2) and don’t be afraid. I Corinthians 15:58 says, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”