First, I would like to thank those who commented on my last blog. Your comments allowed me to study this subject a bit more. After a few days of not writing, I felt that it was now time to respond to the comments using this blog format.
When I last wrote, I asked this simple question “What if I told you I did not believe in the Rapture?” Simply put, I do not believe like other people may. I do see where the word for “taken up” is from the Greek that we translate as rapture. However, I do not believe this is the same event as the traditional teachings have taught. I do believe this is the “first resurrection” based on Revelation 20.
Most times, we also hear thoughts such as the church will not go through the Great Tribulation as it is the “wrath of God”. Therefore, the church will be taken away as the wrath of God is not on His people. Although the sentiment is true, you automatically have to assume that the Great Tribulation is the wrath of God. From Scripture, this is simply not true.
The final trumpet blown in Revelation 11 is the same as what Paul describes in his letters to the Thessalonians. It is a time where God sends his angel to gather his elect from the four corners of the earth. This also matches Jesus’ account in Matthew 24. Then once the elect are gathered, the bowls of wrath are then poured out. According to Daniel, during the Great Tribulation, the people of God will be hunted down but also protected by God. If the people of God are already gone, then who is God protecting?
In Matthew 24, Jesus says, “For then there will be great distress (Great Tribulation), unequaled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equaled again.” (vs 21 NIV). Here Jesus says that whatever events happen during this time will be the worst the world has ever seen up to that time and will never be equaled again. Logically, we can assume that this time has not yet come.
In approximately, 70 A.D. the temple of Israel was destroyed as Jesus had predicted in Matthew 24:2, “Do you see all these things? I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” This was the very act of the Roman soldiers under the ruling of Nero. It was one of the most horrific times of the day. There were innocent dead bodies everywhere. Roman soldiers had killed every one in and outside the Temple. The Jews were once again exiled. But is this the same as the Great Tribulation?
According to Daniel and Revelation, the Anti-Christ has specific characteristics. First, he will be one who has abandoned the gods of his fathers (Daniel 11:37). He will have a priest like companion telling others that he is God. (Rev. 16). This same person will make a peace treaty with Israel and half way through the 7 year period of time will break that treaty (Dan 7 and Rev 12). He will then hunt down those who belong to God and Christ but they will be protected (Dan 7 and Rev 12).
So has this time happened yet? According to historians, the book of Revelation was written between 69 A.D to 96 A.D. Unfortunately, no one knows for sure. However, based on the Scriptural evidences, it appears that this time has not yet come. If the Great Tribulation had already happened in 70 A.D. then the book of Revelation that John wrote would only have 1 year (maximum) to come true. If it was written after 70 A.D. then obviously this time has not yet come.
If the Great Tribulation is considered unequal from any other time in history or future, then the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. could not be it. In the 1940’s Adolf Hitler hunted down millions of Jews. This massacre was the worst the Jews had ever seen. During that time Christians were also killed because of helping the Jews. This appears to be a period of greater destruction than that of 70 A.D.
So why have I spent all this time on that and not the 1,000 year reign of Christ? According to Revelation 20, an angel is holding the keys to the Abyss. At that time, he throws Satan into it and binds him for 1,000 years. The purpose of this is “to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.” Why would this happen. The following is simply my opinion. I believe that God wants to prove to the world they can no longer make the excuse “the devil made me do it.” It is a time where our own rebellion will show even though there is not supernatural temptations.
After Satan is bound, John sees the souls of those who had been killed during a time of great tribulation. Sound familiar? At this point in Revelation 20, they are raised from the dead and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Revelation 20: 5b-6 says, “This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection.”
Later on in the same chapter, Satan is loosed and will deceive the nations once more. He will gather all the nations and their armies and go out to defy Christ one last time. At this time, fire from heaven will devour them. Then Satan, the Anti-Christ and false prophet will be thrown into the lake of burning sulfur.
Finally, the rest of the dead are raised and the Great White Throne judgement is done. If anyone’s name was not found written in the Book of Life, they too will be thrown into the lake of burning sulfur.
I had thought all about this over the past few days. I asked myself, “Is this figurative or literal?” Is this really going to happen or is it just an example of what happens to those in Christ and those who do not know Christ? This was the conclusion that I came to.
The 1,000 year reign of Christ is literal. The account of Revelation matches Matthew 24, Daniel and 2 Thessalonians. The time of the Great Tribulation is also matched by Matthew 24, Revelation and Daniel. The final wrath of God is also matched by these same accounts. This conclusion is not based on traditions or what others have stated. I have come to this based solely on Scripture. Nothing less, nothing more.
When this challenge was provided to me, I remembered what my father taught me as a child. He always said, “Never believe someone because they say it’s from the Bible. Read it for yourself and see if what they say equals what the Bible says.” This was the attitude I took for this study. This same principle I am teaching my boys as well. I do not want them to believe simply because I say so, but because God says so.
As I have stated in prior blogs, I am always open to other studies and what you have learned from them. My only request is that what is stated is solely based on Scriptural evidences. I have and always will challenge the traditions of the church. If the tradition is based on Scripture and can be proven with Scripture, then that is awesome. However, if it is not based solely on Scripture, then it is simply tradition.
Thank you again to those who responded the last time. I hope and pray that you will find this edifying and encouraging. Just because we may not agree on certain points, the simple fact that you believe in Jesus as the only Way, Truth and Life is enough to allow me the privilege to call you my brother and sister. Keep studying!
God Bless and encourage someone today.