the Left Behind Doctines
THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH
"WHAT IS IT"
One of the most persistent doctrinal questions from sincere truth
seeking people today is: what about the "rapture"? What happens when
Jesus returns to earth? How soon is it going to happen? Who will be in
it? Many saints, enlightened by the Spirit, have come to an awakening
realization that the old traditional theories of religion do not
harmonize with the pure simple teaching of the Word of God.
complied and written by
We know that Jesus will return soon. Of this there is no doubt. The
Bible makes this very plain. But how soon? And what happens at this
time? Who will see him? These are questions that deserve an answer.
First let us start from the negative side, and expose the old false
teachings that so many hold to. We will examine the teachings and then
show when and where this teaching originated. Then we will look at the
Bible and see what it actually says, letting the Holy Spirit throw
divine light on the Word and show how it harmonizes with what God is
doing in the earth today.
"THE ESCAPE THEORY"
The word rapture does not appear any where in the Bible. Yet this word
has been associated with the coming of Jesus, and spoken of as "the
hope of the church". Although this word is not found in the Bible, it
is found in most dictionaries. Some dictionaries give more definitions
and shades of meaning than others, but the dictionary I now have before
me says simply " RAPTURE ... strong feelings that absorb the mind; very
However, to most fundamentalist and pentecostal people the word rapture
brings to their mind a picture of white robed saints leaving the earth
and soaring through the air to a meeting on some cloud somewhere in
outer space. This image has been preached evangelistically until many
people have come to accept it as gospel fact, without bothering to
check and see if that is what the Bible actually says.
According to the evangelist, the trumpet may sound before he this
meeting is over, or before you wake up in the morning. when that
happens, the cemeteries burst open and the dead rise, and those still
living go zooming off into space to meet the Lord. The reason for this
is, they say, "Because the Antichrist will then appear and the Great
Tribulation will begin. And God is far too good to let his people go
through much tribulation." The implication is that they are far too
weak to survive in the face of such demonic power. They will then
attend the marriage supper of the Lamb up in heaven, get their
"rewards" for their labors here, and have a wonderful seven years of
joy and singing. While their unsaved loved ones, their children who may
not have been born again, and the untaught millions of heathen are
suffering untold agonies on earth. "Good enough for them", seems to be
the general attitude, "They should have gotten prepared, like me."
This may not be your attitude, and this may not be the way you see the
"rapture". Even within denominations, there are wide differences of
opinions on this subject, ranging from violent "escape-rapture"
adherents, to those who are shaky or just don't know. I have had many
pentecostal preachers to write and say, "Brother Britton, I know my
denomination preaches this theory. but I have never gotten a witness to
it, and just can't find it in the scripture."
"PRE-TRIB, MID-TRIB, OR
Because we dare to look into the Bible on this glorious subject of His
coming, and dare to teach differently than the fundamentalist
denominations, some spread the word that we do not believe in the
coming of the Lord, or the catching up of the saints. This is not so.
We believe in a very real "coming of the Lord", while the "rapture"
people actually believe in the "departing of the saints". While we
teach the "appearing of Jesus", they teach the "disappearing of the
church". I will explain more on that later.
For those who believe in a geographical removal of the saints from the
earth at His coming, there are three basic concepts.
1. THE PRE-TRIBULATION-RAPTURE.
This means that God's people will be removed from the earth just before
tribulation begins. Thus they will not be here for any of the seven
years of plagues, vials, etc.. Bumper stickers state: "In case of
rapture, this car will self-destruct". Tracts for airliners say: "In
case the trumpet sounds, be prepared for this plane to crash, your
pilot may be a Christian." These things are designed to generate fear,
and in some cases they do. One of the scriptures they use is Revelation
4:1-2 where John heard a voice "as it were a trumpet talking with me,
which said come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be
here after. And immediately I was in the Spirit: and behold a throne
was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne." They say John was a type
here of the church being caught up off the earth into heaven. But it
says no such thing. It does not even imply that John left the Isle of
Patmos during this time that he was "in the Spirit." In fact in
Revelation 1:10 John states that "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's
day, and behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying I am Alpha
and Omega." Here he was in the Spirit first, then heard the trumpet. I
have heard no one argue that he was a type of the "rapture" here, in
Another verse they use is in Revelation 3:10... "Because thou hast kept
the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of
temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell
upon the earth." This, they say, proves we are removed from the earth
during the time of tribulation. But it actually says no such thing. In
fact, verse 9 says the opposite. It tells us that God will bring the
enemy down before our feet. We have to be here for that to happen.
"WHEN WILL IT HAPPEN?"
2. Next we come to the MID-TRIB. They believe that the Bible teaches
that the Church will have to go through the first 3 1/2 years of the
tribulation while Antichrist is warring against the saints, but will be
raptured and spared the last three and a half years while God is
pouring out the worst judgments upon the earth. They believe this
because of the many scriptures that show God bringing His people
through great fire and into glorious victory. Yet there are other
scriptures which indicate a place of great joy and glory for the
Overcomer during this time, so they surmise that God will take them off
the earth during the last half. This is a "middle of the road"
position, designed as a compromise between two seemingly different
concepts in scripture.
3. Finally there are the "POST-TRIBULATION" people. They believe that
the church goes through the entire seven years of tribulation (some
believe in only 3 1/2 years total), and that only after the tribulation
are the saints "caught up", as according to Thessalonians. They see a
Church being empowered by the Spirit to survive the worst onslaughts of
Satan. They believe God is able to keep His saints in the midst of the
fire, as with the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace. This is
an admirable attitude, and much closer to truth than the "Pre-trib"
view that was born out of fear and selfishness.
Some think that if the "post-trib" teaching is right, that this would
mean seven years of horrible suffering and untold agony for God's
people, and almost total destruction of the Church. But this is not so.
A beautiful scripture in Isaiah 26:20-21 shows us that the Lord does
not intend for His people to suffer the horrors of the Tribulation.
Someone asks if the Church will be here on earth for the Tribulation,
and the answer is NO! We will be here DURING the Tribulation, but we
will not be here FOR it. While the Day of the Lord is a day of judgment
for the wicked, that same Day of the Lord will be a day of glory and
power for His anointed people! I intend to be here for the GLORY!
Isaiah says: "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut
they doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment,
until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of
His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity:"
Now, the pre-tribulation rapture people say that this scripture proves
that God will remove His people from this earth during the tribulation.
It proves no such thing, and in fact, it says exactly the opposite. We
will be here while the wrath of God is being poured out, but is shall
not be poured out upon us, for we shall be hid in Christ. We shall be
in an Ark of safety, as Noah was. "As it was in the days of Noah".
ENOCH AND NOAH
Some like to point at Enoch, who was translated that he should not see
death, and say that he is a type of those who are raptured before
Tribulation. But Enoch did not live during the time that judgment was
being poured out on the earth in the form of a flood. Enoch was
translated 669 years before the Flood, and never met Noah. In other
words, his translation was not for the purpose of helping him escape
the flood, Jesus did not say: "As it was in the days of Enoch"...He
said, "As it was in the days of NOAH". And Noah went through the flood,
protected by the Ark he had prepared and entered into. And when the
flood was over, and the wicked had been "taken", he stepped out of the
Ark, and inherited the earth. He and his family were the only ones to
own the earth now, for everyone else who might have had a deed to a
piece of property was gone, along with their heirs. So there was no one
left to dispute Noah's claim. He inherited the earth. Read Psalms
chapter 37 and see the principle laid down in scripture.
Paul never preached that message of fear. He never told the people they
would escape the battle. In fact, in Ephesians chapter six he urges
them to put on the entire spiritual armour of God in order to be ready
to face whatever came in the Tribulation. I don't know how anyone could
miss that, but they just seem to ignore it. Let me quote from Ephesians
6:13 to see how plain it really is: "Wherefore take unto you the whole
armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand IN THE EVIL DAY, and
having done all, TO STAND." Not fly away, but stand! That's the gospel
Paul preached. that's the true teaching concerning the Day of the Lord,
the Great Tribulation, "that evil day". We have another message you
should read entitled "Day and Night". If you have not read this booklet
yet, send for it. No escape rapture for the Church, but an ark of
safety, being girded with the glorious armour of the Spirit...truth,
faith, the Word of God, ...etc.
The "escape" that the Bible teaches is found in 1 Corinthians
10:13..."God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above
that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to
escape, that ye may be able to bear it." God and His faithful people
have always been victorious, and our "hiding place" is in Christ. "Your
life is hid with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3). It is the fearful,
the faithless, or the wicked, who seek a geographical hiding place.
Some want to leave the earth and go somewhere else while some cry for
the natural rocks and mountains to hide them (Revelation 6:15). Today,
some are seeking a hiding place in some natural place, a farm, a
desert, a foreign country, a wilderness area, etc. But it will not
work. It is only another form of "self-rapture". You cannot escape from
the devil or Antichrist that way. Your protection and safety is only in
Christ, and in absolute obedience to the Spirit of God. Whether it be
on a farm or in the city, in a wilderness area or in a metropolitan
center, the hiding place is the same...in Christ! Hallelujah! Don't
criticize those who leave the city, or move out of California, or go to
a farm somewhere. Perhaps the Spirit has instructed them to do so, and
their safety is in their obedience. And don't criticize those who stay
in the city, or refuse to flee from the coastal areas. They may simply
be obeying the Spirit also. And this is where their safety lies.
Everyone must be led of the Spirit, and not persuaded by someone else
that the true doctrine is to "run and hide".
NOT WHEN, BUT WHAT?
Confused by now? No doubt. For as yet we have only explained the
various theories that are being preached about His coming, and given a
negative and confusing picture. But hold on. The picture is getting
brighter, and clearer. The big hassle about the return of the Lord has
mostly been as to the time it happens...Pre-Mid or Post. But the Spirit
is speaking expressly these days, not so much as to the time of it, but
rather as to what takes place when it happens.
Everyone has assumed that whenever it happens, we will go zooming off
the earth into outer space to meet the Lord somewhere in another
geographical location. Pictures have been drawn by artists, and
distributed by the multiplied thousands, of Jesus standing on a
stratocumulus cloud a few thousand feet in the air, while Christians
are being lifted out of a village below. Some are a few feet off the
ground, others halfway to the cloud, etc. A most unscriptural picture,
yet many form their beliefs from this sort of thing, and take it as
acceptable gospel truth. Let me give you the history of how this theory
EDWARD IRVING AND MARGARET
Perhaps you have heard of the Irvingite movement, known as the Catholic
Apostolic Church. The Encyclopedia Britannica, volume 12, 1966 issue,
pages 648-649, describe Edward Irving and the controversy over his
teachings in Scotland and England in the early 1800's. He was
excommunicated by the London presbytery, and in 1833 was condemned and
deposed from the ministry of the Church of Scotland because of his
teaching concerning "the sinfulness of Christ's humanity". He also
began to teach a "rapture of the Church", after a young Scottish lass
by the name of Margaret MacDonald went into a trance and described a
vision in which she said she saw the saints leaving the earth at the
return of the Lord, before the tribulation. Her trance and vision took
place in the spring of l830, while living in Port-glasgow, Scotland.
Her "revelation" was recorded in a book written by R.N. Norton and
printed in London in l861. I have a copy of this portion of the book,
though it is now out of print and almost impossible to obtain. Prior to
this time, the Church, clear back to the Apostles, had always preached
that the Church would go victoriously through the tribulation. There is
no record of the "escape rapture" theory being preached before l830. On
April 30, l831, a Mrs. J.B. Cardale, who later joined Irving's church,
had uttered a personal revelation in a home prayer meeting, echoing
Margaret MacDonald's revelation of a pre-tribulation rapture.
It was from this supposed revelation that the modern doctrine and
modern phraseology respecting it arose; it came not from Scripture, but
from that which falsely pretended to be the Spirit of God. Edward
Irving accepted this teaching, and it was taught at prophetic meetings
at Powerscourt House in Ireland, attended much by Plymouth Brethren
organizer John Darby. Irving's views influenced Darby, C.H. Mackintosh
and C.I. Scofield (whose Bible notes popularized the new theory). So it
was a young Scottish girl who originated this idea, and is so recorded
on page 15 of Norton's book on the Catholic Apostolic Church. Darby,
Scofield, along with Clarence Larkin and his charts began to teach this
new theory and in the early 1900's it reached a peak in popularity.
When the Holy Spirit was poured out in pentecostal power at the turn of
the century, the Lord emphasized the fact of the nearness of the coming
of Christ. But the pentecostals got no new light at that time on the
specific events of His appearing. They carried over what the
non-pentecostals had been teaching regarding Miss MacDonald's
"revelation". While in a Pentecostal Bible school in l947, we used
Larkin's book of charts for a text book. Along with charts promoting
the escape rapture theory, I discovered that our "textbook" also had
statements in it denouncing the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and
speaking in tongues in our day as being demon inspired. I was shocked
to learn that we were being taught about the coming of the Lord by men
who claimed our pentecostal experience was of the devil! My reaction
was to ask, "Why doesn't God raise up Spirit filled men who can give us
real revelation on prophetic events by the inspiration and
enlightenment of the Holy Ghost? Well, praise God, He did!
HE IS REALLY COMING!
So much for the history of the false. Now let us look at the Bible, and
see what it really says about what this 'catching up' is all about.
While many Pentecostal people, churches, and denominations were "dying
on the vine", God was still moving by His Spirit. Hungry, concerned
saints began to hear from God in a fresh and glorious way. Half a
century after the restoration of the Holy Ghost Baptism and gifts of
the Spirit had begun, a fresh outpouring of the Spirit swept across
America and around the world. Among the vital truths established
through that Move of the Spirit was the fact that the Body of Christ
was one body, and that divisive denominational systems were not of God.
"Come out of her, my people" was the call that went forth. It became
clear to many that no man-made ecclesiastical system would accept or
contain the great thing that God was preparing to do in the earth. In
fact, what God was about to do would be a means of destroying the power
of Babylon and the whole Harlot system. So the Move of God became the
worst enemy the denominations had. Let me make a difference between the
denominational systems that divide God's people and the precious
people, preachers, and even officials bound up in these systems. God
loves those dear people, and so do I. But He hates the Babylonian
systems that divide the saints into warring camps and prevent them from
progressing into new spiritual truths...and SO DO I!
Another wonderful truth that God began to give revelation on was the
coming of Christ. First of all, He gave glorious revelation on the
mystery of the appearing of "Christ in you, the hope of Glory". Light
began to break on our hearts, from the Scriptures, regarding the sons
of God, the Overcomer, the Manchild company, the Army of the Lord, the
Melchisedec priesthood, etc. then the Spirit began to show us that the
old rapture theory of escape did not fit in with the very nature of God
nor the principles by which He always operated. Back to the Bible we
went, to examine again the scriptures we had based this teaching on.
Besides the ones I mentioned in the book of Revelations, there was 1
Thessalonians chapter 4, Matthew chapter 24, Luke chapter 17, Isaiah
26:20, and others. Other scriptures such as Matthew 25 and the ten
virgins, had been twisted all out of shape trying to make them look
like they were saying that we had been taken off the earth at the
"ONE TAKEN...AND THE OTHER
To give you an idea of the way the scriptures were mutilated by those
straining to prove this theory let us look at the example in Matthew
chapter 24 where it tells us that at His coming, "one shall be taken,
and the other left". Songs were written, and sermons were preached, to
urge us to be ready to be "taken" when Jesus comes. When actually, the
Bible is saying the exact opposite. It was the wicked that were "taken"
in Noah's day, and the righteous were left to inherit the earth. So
shall it be in the day of the coming of the Son of man.
Matthew 24:37-41 says: "But as the days of Noe were, so shall 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 Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the
flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son
of Man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and
the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall
be taken, and the other left." Now who was taken in Noah's day? The
wicked! Will it be different now? No, it will be like it was in Noah's
day. That's what the Bible says. And if there is still any doubt in
your mind as to whether the saints will be "taken when Jesus comes",
let us turn to Luke 17:27. While Matthew says that the "flood came and
took them all away", Luke gives the same account of this teaching of
Jesus, except that in Luke we read: "and the flood came and destroyed
them all". So to be "taken" means to be destroyed by the judgments that
are coming upon the earth. Do you still want to be taken?
THE PENTECOSTAL EVANGEL
In April 1983, while living in the city of Daville Va, , I published a
message on this subject entitled "One Shall Be Taken". Although we had
just a little over a thousand on our mailing list at that time, this
message caused such an uproar and storm of protest from some quarters,
that I thought I would have to hit the storm cellar. Carney, Oklahoma
was in "tornado alley", and after I published this message, I thought I
had been hit by one. However, it opened the eyes of many sincere
people, and made them realize that they had been duped and deceived by
those who had twisted the scripture to try to make it mean something it
did not say.
It seems that with many, the "rapture" theory had become a "sacred
cow", and to question this teaching or expose it as false was like
attacking the blood of Jesus or the virgin birth or motherhood. Good
men almost got violent about it. Rumors would be started that you must
be dabbling in spiritualism, free-love, or even devil worship, if you
didn't believe in the good old rapture. Dare to "rupture the rapture"?
Be careful. It was dangerous to your reputation. But thank God, some
cared more for truth than they did for their reputation! And the truth
marched on! In an article about the 24th chapter of Matthew, we read:
"Contrary to what is often taught...the Rapture is not in evidence
here. Those "taken" are the wicked, who are taken in judgment - just as
the wicked of Noah's time (mentioned in the preceding verse) were taken
in judgment. Those "left" are the righteous who remain to enjoy the
blessings of the Millennium which will follow Christ's return to
earth." unquote. The same thing I had said six years before. How do you
like that? Thank God for men everywhere who are willing to tell it like
it is. Even if the majority disagree with them.
WHO ARE THE ELECT?
In the early part of this 24th chapter of Matthew, Jesus is telling of
the signs of His second coming and the end of this age. In verse 21 He
speaks of the Great Tribulation, and in verse 22 He says that the
"elect" will be here at that time. And in verse 24 He says that the
false prophets and false Christs would try to deceive "the very elect".
Then in verses 29-31 He gives a sequence of events: After the
tribulation of those days, the sun and moon shall be darkened and the
powers of heaven shaken, then the tribes of the earth shall see the Son
of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, then
His angels shall gather the elect together.
Now this should be plain enough, and stop all arguments. But they have
devised a scheme to get around these scriptures. They simply say that
"the elect" are not Christians, they are the Jews who are left here
after the rapture. All you have to do is get a concordance, and read
every scripture that mentions the "elect" of God, and see who they are.
Start with Romans 8:33, Colossians 3:12, 1 Peter 1:2, and Mark 13:20.
"WHAT DO YOU DO WITH 1
Good question. The answer is, I believe it and preach it. But I believe
what it says, not the fables men have built around it. Turn with me now
to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18... Read the entire context, and see the
subject he is dealing with. He starts out by saying "I would not have
you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep" (in
death). So the subject matter in this portion of scriptures is what
happens to those who have died, those who did not survive until the
coming of the Lord, until the manifestation of the sons of God that he
preached and wrote about. Will they miss out on the glory of that Day
of the Lord? Oh, no. Paul tells them that those who have died in Jesus
are going to return to this earth when Jesus returns. This same Paul
tells us in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 that when a man of God dies, his
body goes to one place and his spirit (his conscious life) goes to
another. "To be absent from the body is to be in the presence of the
Lord". We are not sleeping or unconscious in His presence. That part of
us that has eternal life is still living and conscious when we go into
his presence. Our dead bodies, that part of us that ceases to have
life, sleeps in the grave. Whether it is put into a tomb, or is
cremated, or eaten by lions, makes no difference. When the spirit
leaves the body, the body immediately "descends" into that state of
death (lower parts of the earth), while the spirit "ascends" into His
At the second coming of Christ, the order is reversed. The physical
body "rises" or ascends from the state of death, no matter whether it
has become bones, dust, ashes, or food for the birds. Out of the state
of death that physical body rises into a glorified state, like unto His
"body of glory" (Philippians 3:21). Meanwhile, not leaving the presence
of God, but descending with Jesus back into this visible earth realm,
the conscious spirit once again is joined to the body which it left at
death. Only in a much higher realm. (And "higher" does not mean
somewhere up in the sky where airplanes fly and rain clouds drift
So Paul comforting their hearts about the fate of their loved ones who
are going on to be with the Lord. He is not saying to them "don't
worry, we shall see them someday up in heaven". He is saying that they
are coming back with Jesus for the great Day of the Lord and the events
connected with that. Read on in chapter 5 and see that this is so. l
can hear someone say: "Oh, I want to go to heaven someday and see
mother." Well, don't worry, dear one. If she is one of God's elect, one
of those who "sleep in Jesus" (verse 14), she is coming back here. Just
stick around, and be prepared. Someone says "Oh, I want to go to heaven
and get my rewards". In Revelation 22:12 Jesus said "Behold, I come
quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his
work shall be." Is there a heaven? Of course there's a heaven! Will we
go there? Of course we will go to heaven! But what we are talking about
today is the return of Jesus to this earth, and what happens at that
time. 1 Thessalonians 4 says nothing about us being "caught away" to
heaven. What it does say is that we who are alive and remain until His
coming shall be "caught up". And it does not say anything about us
coming back down after we are caught up. Once I get caught into that
realm of glory where Jesus is, don't ever talk to me about descending
back down into this life of mortality, sickness, aging, and death.
The song writers have said that Jesus "is coming back to catch His
waiting Bride away". The Bible never said that. It never implies that
the return of Jesus is to rescue His bride off this planet earth, take
her to another geographical location where there are no battles, or
hide her from the face of the Antichrist. When the Bible speaks of
being "caught up", it is not speaking in terms of miles or light-years
Turn with me to 2 Corinthians 12:1-4..."It is not expedient for me
doubtless to glory I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body,
I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell; God knoweth)
such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man
(whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth)
how that he was caught up into paradise". Where did he go? Physically,
his body went nowhere. But he had an experience. God took him into that
realm of life that is known as paradise, the third heaven. That first
heaven corresponds to the first gate or entrance into the Tabernacle
that brings us to the brazen altar (symbolic of Calvary). In Ephesians
1:3 we read that God has blessed us with "all spiritual blessings in
heavenly places in Christ; according as he hath chosen us in Him before
the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame
before Him". That's a heavenly place, friends. But you don't have to
get into an airplane or spaceship to get there. In Him, holy and
without blame. Calvary brings us into a heavenly place. this is the
first heaven. The second heaven corresponds to the second realm of the
Tabernacle, the sanctuary, wherein dwells the candlestick and the
golden altar of incense. When the Bible says (Ephesians 2:6) that He
"hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly
places in Christ Jesus", it is not speaking of a physical ascent into
the sky, it is talking about a spiritual ascent. The Baptism in the
Holy Spirit brings us into a supernatural heaven in Christ. This is the
second experience, the second heaven God has brought us to.
THE THIRD HEAVEN
Paul had already ascended into the first two heavens with salvation and
the Baptism in the Spirit. Now he is saying that God took him for a
little while into that realm of life, that third heaven, which is our
inheritance in Christ. Moffatt's translation says "In the body or out
of the body? I do not know. I simply know that in the body or out of
the body (God knows which) this man was caught up into paradise and
heard sacred secrets which no human lips can repeat." In this
experience, it was not important to him to know whether or not his body
went into that realm or place. Fourteen years later he is still
suffering the afflictions of a mortal body. But he has been into that
third heaven. He knows it is there. And if he has to lay his body down
in death, he knows that it eventually has to come into the realm of
glory also, by the resurrection power of Christ. Caught up.
WHICH WAY IS UP?
Of course your answer would be given to that question by pointing over
your head, into the sky above you. But the man in Australia, or China,
or Palestine, would say otherwise. If we all went "up" physically in
relation to where we are, the people of earth would all be flying off
in different directions. If you point up today at noon, then twelve
hours later at midnight, the part of the universe you pointed to at
noon would now be down, not up. Actually, this physical universe is so
created so there is no such a place as "up" in the universe. We can go
farther out from the earth, and send space ships to the moon, and Mars.
But the earth is constantly turning, and so is the entire universe.
That's what causes day and night, summer and winter.
We point at the clouds above us and say
that is up. But to folks a few miles away, those clouds are not up,
they are down over the horizon. Stratocumulus clouds range from ground
level to 6,500 feet high, a little over a mile. Altocumulus clouds go
from 6,500 feet up to 23,000 feet high (over 4 miles high) the cirrus
and cirrocumulus clouds, the highest order of clouds, range from 16,500
to 45,000 feet high, less than 9 miles high. That's not in outer space,
like the evangelists preach. While flying across the nation to
California, I looked out of the plane window at the clouds below. We
were high above all the clouds, but with a vast sea of clouds below. I
thought to myself that if those were the clouds Jesus appeared in or
with, then I would have to be "caught down' instead of being "caught
up". But that is contrary to Bible principle.
The Bible never says that Jesus returns "to" the clouds, or "on" the
clouds. It is very careful to tell us that He comes "in" the clouds, or
"with" the clouds. Clouds of glory. Daniel 7:13 says "with" the clouds
of heaven. Does Heaven have clouds? Oh yes. Revelation 1:7 also says
that He comes "with" clouds. Matthew 24:30, 26:64, Mark 13:26, 14:62,
and 1 Thessalonians 4:17 all say "in" the clouds. Hebrews 12:1 tells us
that the heroes of faith are a cloud. Those Old Testament saints that
have gone on to be with the Lord are a great cloud of witnesses. 2
Peter 2:17 and Jude verse 12 both tell us that false ministries are
clouds without water. They appear to be a witness, but they have no
life to give. Ecclesiastes 11:3 says that "if the clouds be full of
rain, they empty themselves upon the earth." A true ministry has life
to give, and is willing to empty himself in order to be a blessing to a
dry and thirsty people. Pour his life out for others. That's what Jesus
did. The Old Testament speaks about a cloud of incense over the Mercy
seat in the Holy of Holies, and says that is where God will appear. "I
will appear in the cloud upon the Mercy seat" (Leviticus 16:2).
"A CLOUD RECEIVED HIM"
Acts 1:11 is a scripture some like to quote, and they say "See, it says
that as He went away, He shall come in like manner. And He left from
that cloud and went up into heaven didn't He?" No, He didn't. Read it
again. Acts 1:9-11"And when he had spoken these things, while they
beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold,
two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of
Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is
taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have
seen him go into heaven." In like manner. Some say that He will come
out of the sky and stop on a cloud where we will meet Him. But notice
that in Acts 1:9 He did not start from a cloud and ascend to outer
space. He started from their visible presence, and disappeared from
view in a cloud, ascending by that means into heaven. Reverse the
order, and we see Him appearing from out of a cloud and descending back
into our visible presence where we can see Him and be with Him. Glory
to God! "As He went" "in like manner".
WHAT REALLY HAPPENS?
"To meet the Lord in the air." Not meet Him up in the sky, or in outer
space. But in the air. Air. The stuff we breathe. It is all around us.
It's what there isn't any of in outer space. When airplanes fly up
above the clouds, they have to take their air with them in order to
breathe. Wuest translation says we meet Him "in the lower atmosphere."
But it will be in a much higher spiritual order. Caught
up...Hallelujah! I like that. "So shall we ever be with the Lord." But
aren't we with Him now? In one sense, we are. But 2 Corinthians 5:6
makes it plain that "whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent
from the Lord." But when we are "caught up", our bodies are also
involved in this ascent, so that we can be forever in the presence of
the Lord in a way we cannot know now, and still have our body. A
glorious body then.
So the sum of what we have said is this: The old pre-tribulation escape
rapture theory that originated with Margaret MacDonald in l830, and now
held by many Fundamentalists and Pentecostals, has been proven to be
false and contrary to scripture. God has promised to deal with those
preachers who lull the people to sleep with this doctrine. In Ezekiel
13:4-5 He says "O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the
deserts. Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge
for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord."
God's complaint against the prophets was that they did not prepare the
people for what was coming in the Day of the Lord. And in verse 10 He
says "Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying Peace;
and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and lo, others daubed
it with untempered mortar." Irving built the wall, while Darby, Larkin,
and Scofield daubed at it. But God says it shall fall. The storm is
coming. The prophets have said "Peace", and there was no peace. Back to
1 Thessalonians now...in chapter 5, verse 3: "For when they shall say,
Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail
upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."
What really happens is that Jesus is coming back with a sound of a
trumpet. Now wherever he Bible speaks of a trumpet, it is symbolic of a
message going forth. Look it up. Many scriptures confirm this. Trumpets
sounded for each feast day. There was a trumpet, or message, that
introduced the feast of Passover, a type of Calvary and salvation.
Another message or trumpet sound for Pentecost. Some heard it and are
enjoying that feast. And there is a message or trumpet of restoration
that brings Jesus back to earth (Acts 3:21). And when He comes back,
those saints that come back with Him shall receive their bodies again
that were laid down in death. Those bodies shall ascend or rise out of
that state of death, into a glorious state of likeness to His body of
glory. Then those who are still dwelling in these mortal bodies shall
be "caught up" into that same place. This mortal shall put on
immortality. Death shall be swallowed up in victory. Then the sons of
God, that manchild company, shall be "caught up unto God, and to His
throne." (Revelation 12:5) The manifestation of the sons of God (Romans
8) takes place. The Jubilee trumpet of Leviticus 25 begins to sound.
The Melchisedec priesthood order passes through the veil into the Holy
of Holies to be with their great High Priest, Jesus our Lord. Those
whom He has made to be kings and priests begin to reign on this earth
(Revelation 12:5). The Armies of heaven who follow Jesus on white
horses, destroy Babylon, burn her with fire, and bind Satan with
unbreakable chains. All enemies begin to be put under the feet of the
body of Christ, until every enemy has been destroyed, even death!
Whether or not you have faith to believe for these great things, does
not bother me in the least. For the performance of those things God has
spoken does not depend upon your faith, and is not hindered by your
belief. He has spoken, and He shall perform it. The age of death, sin,
sickness, crime, hate, war, pain, darkness, and rebellion is rapidly
coming to an end. The door is opening to a new age. The Kingdom is
getting ready to come to earth! Hallelujah! JESUS IS COMING SOON!
How I came to kmow that the
LEFT BEHIND doctrines was not of God
Sometimes you come upon a crossroads unexpectedly, not knowing that one
small event will begin a chain-reaction that is destined to change you
From my birth, the hand of God has been upon my life. At the age of 7,
I was genuinely converted and undeniably called into the ministry. At
the age of 8, I was ordained, by my granfather, the youngest ordained
minister in the world. By the time I was a teenager, I had already
preached to hundreds of thousands of people, and had successfully
ministered throughout the easten coasts of the united states.. In the
early adult years of my ministry, my desire for the knowledge of God's
Word did not dwindle and the zest for more of the deeper things of the
Spirit constantly seized my soul. I was introduced to the Baptism of
the Holy Ghost by a dear wonderful woman name Loretta Barbour. The
Baptism of the Holy Ghost radically readjusted my ministry, for which I
praise God. This new dimension of the Spirit created a desire for
spiritual mountain peaks that comes only by a true walk with God.
It's not easy to allow the Holy Ghost to teach you, particularly,
doctrines that are contrary to your raising. Human nature seeks to hold
fast to the old as much as possible. However, through a series of
events, the Holy Ghost illuminated the scriptures so that I could see
them in their true text rather than through gray glasses of tradition.
I was thoroughly schooled in the pre-tribulation rapture theory
doctrine to the fanatical point of equating the pre-trib rapture theory
with Bible fundamentalism. In 1984, the first rays of light broke
through because of an experience that I can never forget nor deny - I
was visited for the first time by an angel of the Lord. In 1985, at a
christian campground called Calvary Pentecostal in Ashland VA, God gave
me several astounding visions of coming trouble and calamity upon the
nation. What so troubled me concerning these visions was the fact that
I saw the Church passing through great tribulation. Not one time did I
ever have a comforting vision of the rapture or a secret 'catching
away.' I rebelled, at first, to preach these visions, fearing that the
visions, possibly, were of the flesh and in err according to the
scriptures. But like Jeremiah of old, the visions were like fire shut
up in my bones and I found myself constantly sharing these visions even
though there was a certain amount of questioning in my mind of their
I am the first to recognize that a doctrine must not stand on personal
visions and private revelations but on the infallible Word of God. The
visions to me were God's way of opening my eyes to truths in His Word
that before I was blinded to just as the burning bush was God's way of
getting Moses' attention to hear the words of the I Am. After God had
cracked the hard shell of my traditional teachings, immediately, the
Word began to fit together and what beauty I began to see, not only
from the types and shadows of the Old Testament; but in the New
Testament itself, the pattern remained the same - tragedy to triumph,
testing to victory, persecution to glory. Now, unequivocally, I could
preach the message of the Church passing through the great tribulation
(without reference to one of my visions) based entirely on the Word of
Because of the vast ignorance of people concerning the tribulation
period, I felt it necessary to highlight the message in this book,
Rapture / Tribulation . I purposely have written it simple and direct
so that the layman could understood and not be destroyed in the
'perilous days'.......................for lack of knowledge." Hosea 4:1
How It All Began
Edward Irving - the Catholic Apostolic church - Margaret McDonald -
these names play a prominent roll in the pre-tribulation theory. It is
a shocking surprise to many people when they discover that the word
'rapture' appears no place in the original Bible text.
In 1830, a young girl, Margaret McDonald, claimed a spiritual vision in
which she saw the Church being bodily removed from the earth by Jesus
Christ before the great tribulation. Until this time, all of the
founding fathers preached and believed the Church of Jesus Christ
would, through great persecution, enter into the kingdom of God; and
all of the early fathers expected the Church to pass through the great
tribulation, meet Christ in the end and simultaneously witness Satan's
total defeat by our Savior's second coming. However, Margaret
McDonald's vision had such great impact upon Edward Irving that he
began to teach the pre-tribulation rapture theory in all his prophetic
meetings. See Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 12, 1966 issue, Page
648-649. Influenced by Edward Irving's theory were other influential
people - John Darby, organizer of the Plymouth Brethren; Bible
teachers, C. H. McIntosh and C. I. Scofield. Scofield included the new
pre-tribulation theory in the footnotes of his famous reference Bible -
the Scofield Bible. Clarence Larkin also helped popularize the
pre-tribulation theory. His charts were used extensively at the turn of
the century in the wave of a great spiritual awakening that shook
Western Europe, United States and Canada.
I can fully understand why the pre-tribulation rapture theory is so
immensely popular. The Bible said, "If you suffer, ye shall also reign
with Him." (II Timothy 2:12). This new theory offered reigning without
suffering. I cannot find a scripture where Christ offered His followers
a promise of escaping persecution. Rather, the Lord said, "He shall
deliver thee in six troubles, yea, in seven there shall no evil touch
thee." (Job 5:19). The very last promise Christ gave His new born
Church before His ascension was, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto
the end of the world." (Matt. 28:20). This included through the
tribulation, but the new escaping theory appeals to the weak Christians
who do not feel adequate to face the antichrist and Satan's attacks.
Notice how carefully the apostle Paul instructs the Church at Ephesus.
Ephesians 6:13, "Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that
ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to
So interwoven into fundamental and conservative religious theology is
the pre-tribulation rapture theory that many people will not
investigate the other side. They have eyes to see, but are blinded;
ears to hear, but they won't hear. How pathetic! Many of these very
ones who are sitting down waiting to fly away any moment are going to
be snared as God's Word so plainly teaches. Hosea 4:6 states, "My
people are destroyed for lack of knowledge."
John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word." In the long centuries ago,
the Psalmist declared that the Word of God is established forever
(Psalms 119:89). Let every man be a lie, but God's Word is the truth.
Jesus told Peter, "Upon this 'Rock' I will build My Church." The Word
of God is the foundation upon which we stand and every doctrine,
regardless of how popular or unpleasant it may be, must be weighed and
tried by the Word of God. To young Timothy, Paul wrote, "Preach the
Word." Every new revelation, theory, and idea must be examined in the
light of, "Thus saith the Lord." I am not against commentaries, text
books and helps for the Christian's study; but we all must realize that
the Bible itself is its greatest commentary.
The apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost vindicated Jesus by the Old
Testament prophets. Philip proved Jesus the Son of God to the eunuch by
taking the text of Isaiah. You interpret the Word by the Word. "We have
also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take
heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn
and the day star arise in your hearts. Knowing this first, that no
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." II Peter 1:19-21. There is
no contradiction in the Word.
Jesus. in Matthew 24:3, was asked by His disciples a very pertinent
question - "Tell us when shall these things be? And what shall be the
sign of Thy coming and of the end of the world." The disciples, in a
few days, were going to have the reins of the Church placed in their
hands. Shortly, these disciples would have the responsibility of
establishing the doctrine upon which this new Church would build. These
early followers of Jesus asked for and received the answer to a
question which they had every right to know, mainly, "Lord . . when
will You return again?"
Beginning at Matthew 24:4-31, Jesus outlines, in brief form, the
important highlights to which the Church could
Verse 4 - Jesus tells them, "Take heed that no man deceive you."
Verse 5 - "Many shall come in My name saying, I am Christ and deceive
Verse 6 - ". . .wars and rumors of wars. . .see that ye be not
troubled. . .the end is not yet."
Verse 7 - "Nation shall rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom. .
.famine. . .pestilences. . .earthquakes"
Verse 8 - "All these are the beginning of sorrows."
Verse 9 - ". . . they shall deliver you up to be afflicted and kill
you. . .you will be hated of all nations for My name s sake."
Verse 10 - ". . . many shall be offended and shall betray one another
and shall hate one another."
Verse 12 - "Because iniquity shall abound the love of many shall wax
Verse 13 - "But he that shall endure unto the end the same shall be
Verse 14 - 'This Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the
world for a witness unto all nations and then shall the end come.
Verse 15 - ". .you will see the abomination of desolation spoken of by
Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place."
Verse 16 - "Let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains."
Verse 17 - "Let him which is on the house top not come down to take
anything out of his house."
Verse 18 - "Neither let him which is in the field return back to take
Verse 19 - "Woe unto them that are with child and to them that give
suck in those days."
Verse 20 - "But pray that your flight be not in the winter neither on
the Sabbath day."
Verse 21 - "For then shall be great tribulation such as was not since
the beginning of the world to this time, no nor ever shall be."
Verse 22 - "Except those days should be shortened. there should no
flesh be saved but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."
Verse 23 - ". . .if any man say. . .here is Christ. believe it not."
Verse 24 - ". there shall arise false Christs. and false prophets and
shall show great signs and wonders that if it were possible, they shall
deceive the very elect."
Verse 25 - "Behold I have told you before."
Verse 26 - "If they shall say unto you behold He is in the desert go
not forth~ behold He is in the secret chambers, believe it not."
Verse 27 - "For as the lightning cometh out of the east and shineth
even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
Verse 28 - "For wheresoever the carcass is there will the eagles be
Verse 29 - "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."
Verse 31 - "And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a
trumpet, and they shall gather His elect from the four winds, from one
end of heaven to the other."
How interesting it is to note in verse 13, Jesus emphasized, "But he
that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." Verse 21,
Christ foretells of the great tribulation. Verse 29 states,
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days..." Verse 30 says,
"Then." Not before, not during the middle, but after the tribulation,
then Christ returns.
THE LAST TRUMP
I Thessalonians 4:15-17, "For this we say unto you by the word of the
Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord
shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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." The apostle Paul gives us an insight to the second coming of
Christ and how wonderful it is to notice the parallel between the two
The account in Matthew 24: 30-31 and I Thessalonians 4:15-17 describe
the same coming not separate comings. Let us examine these two
scriptures in parallel. Matthew 24 is what Christ said and I
Thessalonians 4 is what Paul said:
Christ said - "Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven."
Paul said - "The Lord shall descend from heaven."
Christ said - "And He shall send His angels with the great sound of a
Paul said - "With a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the
trumpet of God."
Christ said - "And they shall gather together His elect."
Paul said - "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."
So you can readily see that there is no conflict in that which Paul
preached and the message that Christ preached. The Holy Spirit gave us
a double record. I Thessalonians 4:15, 16, 17 fits perfectly with
Matthew 24:30,31. The event Christ described in Matthew (verse 29)
plainly is, ''After the tribulation..."
Many theologians are trying to be hair-splitters, playing on the
ignorance of many people and are trying to confuse some by unfounded
arguments. One of the most unfounded arguments is concerning trumps and
trumpets. The argument goes like this: I Thessalonians 4:16 speaks of
the archangel with the trump of God. Matthew 24:31 speaks of the angels
with the trumpet of God. They say these two are not the same; but in
the original Greek, the Greek word, 'salpigs' is the same word used in
Matthew 24:31 and I Thessalonians. So trump and trumpet in the Greek
are the same word. And carrying that thought through in I Corinthians
15:52, where Paul teaches us that the resurrection occurs at the last
trump, he first mentions the last trump, and then says "...for the
trumpet shall sound..." Both words are used so the argument is
ANGELS or ARCH-ANGEL
The pre-tribulationist recognize that for their doctrine to survive, it
necessitates a secret coming of Christ of which the Bible makes no
reference so they must make I Thessalonians 4 the corner stone upon
which they build. One of the discrepancies they try to point out is
that the Thessalonians account speaks of the archangel and the Matthew
account speaks of angels. To me the answer is very simple - if Christ
returned with His angels, the arch (chief) angel would be in the
company. We plainly see that the Word of God remains intact, unshaken.
Since Matthew 24:21 makes direct reference to the great tribulation and
in verse 22, Christ speaks of shortening the days for the elect's sake,
we can't help but wonder who Christ had in mind. Since the setting is
Jerusalem and the disciples were Israelitic, could the elect here mean
the Jews? If the message were to the Jews, many argue, it would not
have a bearing or importance upon the Church. But if we discover that
the elect are not Jews but the Church then the warnings become very
Romans 8:31-33, .... .If God be for us who can be against us? He that
spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us... shall He not with
Him ....give us all things. Who shall lay anything to the charge of
God's elect?" Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, declares in II Timothy
2:10, "I endure all things for the elect's sake." The apostle Peter
introducing his epistle says, "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ to the
strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and
Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father." (I
Peter 1:1-2). Paul in the great epistle to the Ephesians emphasized,
"According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the
world." (Eph. 1:4). One thing is taught so prominently in the New
Testament in Galatians 3:28, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is
neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for ye are all
one in Christ." Acts 10:34-35, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no
respecter of persons but in every nation He that feareth Him and
worketh righteousness is accepted of Him."
Who are the elect today? Galatians 3:29, if ye are Christ's regardless
of whether Jew or Gentile, "Then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs
according to the promise. Romans 11:7, "What then? Israel hath not
obtained that which he looketh for but the election hath obtained it."
In the Old Testament, every promise that God made to Abraham He kept
even to the fulfilling of the sending of the Messiah.
In the New Testament, the elect definitely speaks of the Church. So in
Matthew 24, when Christ forewarns of the great tribulation and
identifies the elect being on the earth during that time, it is a sober
warning for us to notice. Matthew 24 is no more a message to the Jews
than is John 3. In John 3, Christ told a Jewish ruler by the name of
Nicodemus, "Ye must be born again." Just because Nicodemus was a Jew,
are we to assume that the message is just for Jews? How ridiculous! The
New Testament is not nationalistic but is spiritualistic.
The very thought of persecution is repugnant to our old human nature;
and, yet, there it is as big as life itself throughout the Bible -
persecution. In Matthew 5:10, Christ Himself in the beatitudes said,
"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake." The
invitation of Christ to the early followers promised, Matthew 10:22,
"Ye shall be hated for My name's sake." I Peter 2:21, "For here unto
were ye called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an
example that ye should follow in His steps." II Timothy 2:12, "If we
suffer we shall also reign with Him." Every apostle of Jesus Christ,
with the exception of John, died a martyr's death. Stephen was stoned
and James beheaded as was also the apostle Paul. The Bible, by word and
example, shows that persecution has always been against the true
Since Satan is the prince and power of the air, the apostle Paul
declared that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against powers
and principalities. The early Church at Jerusalem was just a few days
old when the council began to seek means to destroy it. II Timothy 3:12
says, "They that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
Any person who has read Fox's Book of Martyrs can not help but be
touched by the gruesomeness that the early believers endured for the
testimony of Jesus Christ. Even to this day, you can almost hear the
blood scream from the ground of the great coliseum in Rome where
multiplied thousands of young believers gave their life for Jesus
Christ. Over 100,000 Christians, whose bones still remain, were buried
in the catacombs under the city of Rome.
It is estimated that at the time of the communist takeover of China, at
the end of World War II, between 20 and 50 million people were
eliminated, including the entire Christian population of most cities.
One of the most touching stories I have read concerning persecution in
our generation was that committed by the communist of North Korea.
Young Sunday School children who persisted on attending Sunday School
had their ear drums literally burst to make examples of them to other
children as well as parents. The modernistic preachers and churchmen of
today who believe in co-existence with antichrist communism need to
visit the forced labor camps of Siberia that still exist and talk with
those who are now suffering persecution. And their only crime was that
they believed the Word of God and acknowledged Jesus Christ as Lord of
Karl Marx emphasized, in his writings, for communism to survive, they
must eliminate Christianity. The fiendish demons of hell are
re-grouping in this generation to unleash the most diabolical attack
against the Church that it has ever witnessed. And I must give you
warning, if you are a true follower of Jesus Christ, you will be
affected by this great persecution that is soon to begin world-wide. No
wonder the apostle Paul, in Ephesians 6:13, admonishes us, "Take unto
you the whole armour of God that ye may be able to withstand in the
evil day and having done all to stand." Mordecai, in the book of
Esther, told the young new Queen of Ahasuerus, "Think not that you will
escape. Remember the sword devoureth all alike."
Many feel snug and secure and quote many scriptures of promised
protection. The Lord did not promise to protect us by removing us from
persecution, but by being with us in persecution. John 17:15, "I pray
not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that Thou
shouldst keep them from the evil."
What is going to bring about this terrible persecution? And why will
the persecution center around the Church? Revelation 13 shows us a
picture of a beast rising up out of the sea (here sea means people and
the beast is the symbol of government) having seven heads and ten horns
and having upon his head, ten crowns and upon his heads the name of
blasphemy." The appearance of the beast is like a leopard and his feet
like a bear, and his mouth like a lion and Satan gave him his power and
authority. What we have pictured here is a confederation of powers that
form a super world power. As this beast gains more prominence and
power, he survives a deadly wound and the world wonders after the
beast. The world will begin to worship Satan and the beast saying, "Who
is like unto the beast, who is able to make war with him?" All armies
and military power will be controlled by this world system, and this
world government system will be antichrist, blaspheming God and His
name and all that are connected with God. In Revelation 13:7, the
scripture is very clear that it was given unto him to make war with the
saints and to overcome them and power was given him over all people and
kindreds and nations. John, earlier in Revelation 7:13, has told us
about these martyred saints. "What are these that are arrayed in white
robes and whence came they; and I said unto him Sir, thou knowest and
he said unto me, These are they which came out of great tribulation and
have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
Continuing in chapter 13, John tells us that this beast of world
government will wax bolder. In verse 15, it is stated, "He had power to
give life to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should
both speak and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the
beast should be killed."
Why will persecution be against the saints at the end time? Because
God's covenant law has been written in their hearts, "Thou shalt
worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve." Jesus
instructed us, "God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship
Him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24). World government will
institute world religion. World religion will become completely
materialistic. The true believer will not worship the image.
A great example of this is the three Hebrew children in Daniel's day.
In the ancient days of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, a symbol of world
government at that time, erected an image of himself and commanded
everyone to bow before the image. But thank God, even in those days,
God kept Himself a witness and these three young men refused to bow and
worship the image. Subsequently, they were cast into the fire
(tribulation); and, of course, we know the outcome of the story with
the revelation of the Fourth Man. Because at the end time the saints
refuse to submit to worshiping the beast, they will be denied the right
to buy or sell.
The Mark Of The Beast
Revelation 13:16, "And he (the beast) causeth all both small and great,
rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or
in their foreheads and no man might buy or sell save he that hath the
mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name." The mark of
the beast will completely control everyone's buying and selling.
Without the mark, it will be absolutely impossible to purchase any
item. No doubt, at this particular point in history, the world will
applaud the beast government and its programs as great social and
humanitarian break-throughs. The beast government, with its socialistic
doctrine, will be highly received by the masses of the people. And
because of the beast's government power, man will receive the beast as
God and the world will think it is Utopia. The government's control of
every facet of social life will bring about government supplied
housing, government supplied medical care, government supplied food and
government supplied clothes, etc.
In the prophet Daniel's vision of the end time, he saw a government at
the end that spoiled the goods among the people. Daniel saw it
prospering - meaning, being accepted. Since the turn of the century,
the world has been gravitating down the road toward socialism. The only
remaining power on earth that has not yet been submerged under the
avalanche of socialism is America. But already there are signs that the
dam is breaking. Peoples' attitudes today seem to be that government
owes everyone a living. In 1934, when the Social Security Act came into
being, this signaled America's departure from the original American
concept of the old Yankee ingenuity and individualism. Slowly but
surely the American people have become indoctrinated to a socialistic
idea. The short range effect of government intervention and government
subsidies can be applauded; but little by little, the freedom of
individuals are vanishing and government has assumed the roll of "Big
Daddy". Big, impersonal, controlled government always fits its subjects
to its mold. As government grows, it exercises more and more authority
and legislates with disregard to the individual.
John, the revelator, saw a time in which Satan would weasel his way
into governments and wrestle the reins away and seize power for
himself. The average layman pays little attention to most events that
transpire. Most of us never realize what really is happening until it
is too late. The majority of the people are like the frog that gets
boiled alive. The way to boil a frog alive is to place it in a pan of
cool water, set the water on the stove and turn the fire on under the
frog. As the water heats, the frog adjusts to the temperature. Of
course, the rest can be understood. As people begin to accept
governmental control over their lives (some call it 'changing with the
times' - I call it 'boiling like the frog'), it will become easier and
easier to abdicate; and eventually, individuals will become but puppets
on the string controlled by their captors.
WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE MARK?
In order to obtain the mark of the beast, a person will be required to
accept the state appointed religion. The state religion at this time
will be controlled by antichrist who will substitute himself for God.
Paul forewarns us in II Thessalonians 2 that at the revealing of the
son of perdition, he, antichrist, "...will exhalt himself above all
that is called God or is worshiped, so that he as God will sit in the
temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." Revelation 13:15, ". .
.that he will cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast
should be killed." And in order to guarantee obedience, the beast by
declaration declares that you will not buy or sell without governmental
approval. You will not receive governmental approval without worshiping
the image (state religion).
WHO WILL RECEIVE THE MARK?
The pre-tribulation rapture theory assures its followers that they will
not be here during that great and dreadful time. Subsequently, many of
these sincere people will be snared because they will not recognize the
antichrist. Because of their pre-tribulation doctrine, many will not be
able to stand against the temptation. Our greatest weapon is knowledge.
The Word of God speaks often of "knowing the time."
One of Satan's cleverest devices is to lead people to believe that the
mark of the beast will be placed on one's person. All sorts of
ingenuous ideas have been conjured up, including tattooing with
invisible ink: My personal opinion is that the mark of the beast will
be, at the final stage, a simple plastic or metal identification card
that you will carry with you and you cannot transact business without
it - an individual card with your number on it: The fact that he said
you receive a mark in your right hand, I believe, symbolizes that most
people are right handed. He mentioned in Revelation 13:16,'. "...or in
their foreheads." I believe John is speaking here of having the number
committed to your memory.
Neither do I believe in Revelation 14 that those that were with the
Lamb had their Father's name tattooed or branded on their foreheads. In
Revelation 14, these that have the name of their Father, I believe are
those with the new mind that we read about so much in the New
Testament. I Corinthians 2:16, "We have the mind of Christ."
Phillipians 2:5, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ
I personally believe that the beast government at the end time will
allocate every person X amount of buying power. I foresee by the
Spirit, the elimination of currencies. You will simply have an
identification card that will allow you to enter any business and
present it, and electronically the computers will instantaneously
credit or debit your account. The government will be in the banking
business, clothing business, and the government will be controlling the
houses, hospitals, the factories, the schools, the farms - total,
complete governmental control. Your numbered card will be your most
West Germany, in 1971, established a national law making it mandatory
that every baby born be issued asocial security number. You can see the
drift is in the direction that the Bible speaks of.
It is a fact that today it is almost impossible for a person to obtain
employment without a Social Security number. The time is coming when it
will be utterly Impossible to purchase a single item, not even a tube
of tooth paste, without governmental approval called the mark of the
Many are confused today thinking that when the mark of the beast comes
everyone will have to have the number 666. Revelation 13:18 clarifies
this, "Count the number of the beast for it is the number of a man and
his number is 666." You can fully understand now why Christ's warning
in Matthew 24, after verse 15's warning of the rising of the man of
sin, immediately tells us, verse 16, that "those which be in Judea flee
to the mountains, let him that is on the housetop not come down to take
anything out of his house, neither let him which is in the field turn
back to take his clothes and woe unto them that are with child and to
them that give suck in those days but pray ye that your flight be not
in the winter nor on the Sabbath day for then shall be great
tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this
time, no nor ever shall be." At this point, the mark of the beast is
given, ushering in the great tribulation against the saints. When the
government takes your home away from you, there will be no need to go
back to it. If all you have will be confiscated, as it will be if you
do not receive the mark of the beast, it is no wonder the scriptures
state, "Woe unto them that are with child and those that give suck in
those days." I am sure that one of the most testing times in anyone's
life will be the decision of whether or not to take the mark of the
beast and have shelter for your family and food for your children or
refuse the mark of the beast and have to flee for your life.
Revelation 13:4, "And they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto
the beast, and they worshiped the beast." Isn't that the trend even
today? "Saying who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with
him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and
blasphemies, and power was given unto-him to continue forty and two
months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme
His name and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was
given unto him to make war with the saints." There he is; making war on
earth against the saints. "To overcome them: and power was given him
over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon
the earth shall worship him..." Most people stop right here, but let's
read on. "...whose names are not written in the book of life of the
Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." The exception of those
who do not worship him are those "whose names are written in the book
of life- not whose names are Jewish or Gentile, but whose names are
written in heaven's book
From the garden of Eden until now, Satan's desire has been to be
worshiped like God. The account of Christ's temptations in the
wilderness spotlights this fact so clearly. "Again, the devil Taketh
Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and shewth Him all the kingdoms
of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto Him, All these
things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me."
Satan's (the beast) last big stand will be to require everyone, small
and great, rich and poor, to worship him (the beast); that is, everyone
except those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
What is going to happen to the saints who do not take the mark of the
beast? The Word of God tells us, "The just shall live by faith."
(Romans 1:l7)~ Daniel foresaw the time when, "The people that do know
their God shall be strong, and do exploits." (Daniel 11:32). In this
affluent day of complacency, many saints are spiritually lazy; but the
fires of tribulation will drive people in or out. Everything that can
be shaken will be shaken and God will strengthen what remains. (Hebrews
Sealing Of The Saints
The Bible plainly teaches that at the end of this age, the world will
be separated into two groups. The mark of the beast will identify those
who pay allegiance to the world government and its antichrist system.
Revelation 13:8, "And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him
whose names are not written in the book of life." In Revelation 6:17,
"For the great day of His wrath is come and who shall be able to
stand?" I Thessalonians 5:9 promises us, "For God hath not appointed us
to wrath but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans
1:18, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all
ungodliness and unrighteousness of man who hold the truth in
unrighteousness." No saint of God will suffer the wrath of God. I
repeat - no saint of God will suffer the wrath of God! Everything that
the saints suffer in the tribulation will be from the hands of Satan.
Revelation 7:1-4, "And after these things I saw four angels standing on
the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth,
that the winds should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any
tree. 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
that were sealed 144,000 of all the tribes of the children of Israel."
Most people stop right here and read only half of the sealing that
takes place. When the prophet John declared that God was sealing His
people, John did not indicate that 144,000 were all that were sealed.
Your King James version punctuates in verse 4 with a colon after, . .
.1 heard the number of them that were sealed:), which indicates that
there is going to be a list of references, but that he wants liberty to
come back to that thought after the listing and that is exactly what
you see happening in this scripture reference. From verse 5 through
verse 8, you have the 12,000 out of each tribe of Israel that is
included in the sealing. In verse 9, the prophet John takes back up and
says, "After this . . '' meaning after the 144,000, ''. . .I beheld
and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number. . ." Personally,
I cannot perceive the Holy Spirit speaking of a multitude that could
not be mathematically counted. The idea here is not how many are there;
but rather a multitude that cannot be numbered with the mark of the
beast. Glory! (Notice that this group of people were, ". . . of all
nations, and kindreds, and people and tongues.") This is clarified for
you in verse 13, "And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What
are these that are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I
said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they
which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes white
in the blood of the Lamb."
When the righteous are sealed by their God and the world is numbered by
the antichrist, by the mark of the beast, you will have two groups of
people on the earth - the righteous and the wicked. Everyone that is
going to be sealed will be sealed. II Thessalonians 2:7, "For the
mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he that letteth will let
until he be taken out of the way." The Holy Spirit's job of convicting
men of sin, in that day, will climax and He will be taken out of the
way. Once a person has taken the mark of the beast, he will not be able
to untake the mark of the beast and accept God. In Revelation 14:9,
"And the third angel followed them saying... If any man worship the
beast and His image, and receive the mark in his forehead, or his hand,
the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God . .
But in the midst of all the calamities that God poured out on the
wicked, not one scripture speaks of anyone repenting. Revelation 16:21
pictures the wrath of God on the wicked men, "And men blasphemed God
because of the plagues." Revelation 22:11, "He that is unjust, let him
be unjust still: and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he
that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let
him be holy still.''
Matthew 24:37, "But as the days of Noah were, so shall the coming of
the Son of man be." II Peter 3:6, "Whereby the world that then was,
being overflowed with water, perished." Genesis 6:3, "The Lord said, My
Spirit shall not always strive with man." Verse 5, "And God saw that
the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every
imagination of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually."
Verse 7, "And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created
from off the face of the earth . . ." Verse 8, "But Noah found grace in
the eyes of the Lord." Verse 13, "And God said unto Noah, The end of
all flesh is come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence
through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth." Verse
17, "And, behold, I, even I,do bring a flood of waters upon the earth,
to destroy all flesh . . ." Verse 18, "But with thee I will establish
My covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark."
This Old Testament example, Christ said, is a parallel , to His second
coming. (Matthew 24:37). "As the days of Noah were . . ." The ark is a
type and symbol of the safe place; Christ is our safety. The door of
the ark was shut after Noah and his family had passed through
persecution because of their faith in God and obedience to His Word,
and after they had entered into the ark. Just anyone did not enter the
ark; only Noah and his family - the body of believers. And "God shut
the door." (Genesis 7:16). The shutting of the door meant that those
inside were sealed in and those outside were sealed out.. After
persecution, after the sealing, then "the flood came and took them all
away." The waters cannot be typed anything except the wrath of God on
the wicked. The ark is a type of God's sealing Noah from His wrath. In
no scripture do you read that God protected Noah from the violence of
his day; only from the wrath of God was Noah protected. Noah passed
through the flood. Who was taken away? The wicked, perverse generation~
Who came forth in the new world? Noah, his wife, his children and their
wives - those God had sealed.
ISRAELITES IN EGYPT
When the children of Israel were in Egypt, Almighty God did not protect
them from the persecution they received from Pharoah. In fact, it was
this severe persecution that caused God to speak to Moses at the
burning bush and send him directly to Egypt. When Moses arrived in
Egypt, he saw their affliction. Daily their affliction and persecution
grew worse. When God was ready to belch out His wrath upon Egypt, the
Bible makes a distinct reference to the fact that God made the land of
Goshen a special place for His people. With every plague,
supernaturally, those in Goshen escaped. In the final plague, when God
visited Egypt with the death of the first-born son, the Lord made it
very clear that the blood type of the sealing would be on both sides of
the door posts; and when the death angel came, he passed over every
house that was under the blood.
So it will be at the end of this age. Every blood covenant saint, every
Holy Ghost sealed son of God will be protected during the great
tribulation from the wrath of God. After all, the wrath of God is being
poured out upon the wicked in retaliation for what antichrist
persecution has done against the righteous. "Seeing it is a righteous
thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you. . ."
THREE HEBREW CHILDREN
In Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar erected an image, which is a symbol or
a type of the last day government, and made the decree "when the
trumpet sounds, everyone must bow". The whole world was to worship that
image. I am sure that in that vast audience, there were many Jews who
bent their knee, who bowed down to the image, thinking the only way God
could keep His name alive was for someone to compromise. I will
guarantee you that compromise is not God's way. God wants you to have
faith above everything else and to stand fast regardless of what others
do. But in the crowd, there were three -Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego
- and they did not bow! They were thrown into the fire. God didn't
deliver them from the fire but through the fire.
God is going to deliver His Church, not from, but through tribulation.
God did not keep Daniel from being thrown into the lion's den, but He
brought him out of the lion's den.
The original text of Revelation 3:10 said, "Because thou hast kept the
word of my patience, I also will keep thee from failing in the hour of
temptation." II Timothy 2:19, "The Lord knoweth them that are His . .
How this miracle of protection works is beyond me. I cannot understand
how God kept the three Hebrew children alive in the fiery furnace, but
I believe in God's sufficiency.
The Second Coming
The Christian's great hope and promise is the resurrection from the
dead. The cry of the apostle Paul's heart in Philippians 3:10 was,
"That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection . ." Verse 11,
"If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead."
Verse 12, "Not as though I had already attained, either were already
perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which
also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." Verse 13, "Brethren, I count
not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting
those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things
which are before. Verse 14, "I press toward the mark for the prize of
the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." The prize, the high calling,
the reward is the resurrection. Isn't this the purpose of Jesus' first
coming? Had he not gone to the cross, spent three days in the heart of
the earth and on the third day, resurrected victorious over death, hell
and the grave, He would not have finished the way. His high calling of
God was to conquer and redeem. The last enemy that we put under our
feet is death and that occurs at the second coming - the resurrection
of the dead and the changing of the living.
In I Thessalonians 4:13, Paul is writing concerning the resurrection -
(The early church desired to know concerning the state of the dead in
Christ) - and Paul is comforting them, saying, ". . . sorrow not, even
as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and
rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with
Him." Here in this very scripture, the great apostle Paul ties the
coming of Christ and the resurrection together. There will be no
resurrection from the dead till Christ comes; but at the second coming
of Christ, the dead in Christ will be resurrected.
I Thessalonians 4:15, 16, and 17 is not establishing when this will
occur (as most preach it); but rather how it will occur. Verse 16, "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." Notice, Paul says that the angel will have the trump
of God. In I Corinthians 15:51-52, Paul gives us more details
concerning the resurrection, "Behold, I show 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." Here
you are told when the resurrection occurs- ". . . at the last trump."
Since the resurrection will plainly occur, according to I Corinthians
15: 51-52, at the last trump, we need to discover for ourselves where
these trumps are in the Word of God. (Remember the fact we established
in chapter 2 that 'trump' and 'trumpet' are the same in the original
The trumps are found in Revelation in chapters 8, 9 and 10. John, in
his vision, wrote concerning seven trumps. In Revelation 8, 9 and 10,
these seven trumps are sounded. At first reading, you might not place a
great deal of emphasis or importance upon the trumps until you discover
I Corinthians 15:52 that teaches the resurrection occurs at the last
trump. With that knowledge, we examine the last trump and we discover
the resurrection, indeed, occurs at this momentous time in God's
Revelation 10:1-7, "And I saw another mighty angel come down from
heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his
face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: And he
had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the
sea, and his left foot on the earth. And he cried with a loud voice, as
when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered
their voices. And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I
was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me,
Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them
not. And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth
lifted up his hand to heaven, And swear by him that liveth for ever and
ever, who created heaven and the things that therein are, and the
earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things
which are therein, that there should be time no longer: But in those
days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound,
the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his
servants the prophets."
MYSTERY OF COD
You will notice, when the last trump sounds, the mystery of God will be
finished. What do you suppose the mystery of God is? We know for
certain that Jesus Christ is not the mystery of God today. In the Old
Testament, Jesus Christ is concealed; in the New Testament, He is
revealed. The mystery of God today is the body of Christ - the Church.
At this present moment, no one person can fully and completely identify
every member of the body of Christ. I certainly could not possibly know
who is in the body of Jesus Christ today and who is not. The Church is,
indeed, a mystery. However, the resurrection will reveal the true body
of Christ because only they that are Christ's will be raised - at the
last trump. Even the patriot Job, in the long centuries ago, longed for
the resurrection, as he declared,.....and though after my skin worms
destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." (Job 19:26).
LAST TRUMP SOUNDS
In Revelation 11:15, we read the scripture concerning the actual
sounding of the last trump. "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." Christ does not make the kingdoms of this world His
kingdoms until He returns. II Thessalonians 2:8 explains to us that
when Christ returns, He shall consume that wicked one with the spirit
of His mouth and shall destroy him with the brightness of His coming.
When Christ returns to reign for ever and ever, we will also reign with
Him. Verse 16, "And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on
their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God." Verse 17,
"Saying, we give thee thanks, 0 Lord God Almighty, which art and wast,
and art to come; because Thou hast taken to thee Thy great power and
hast reigned." Verse 18, "And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is
come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that
Thou shouldst give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the
saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great; and shouldst
destroy them which destroy the earth." What is the reward of the last
trump? The resurrection.
The Bible does not teach but one resurrection for the righteous.
Revelation 20:4 states, ". . .they were beheaded for the witness of
Jesus and for the Word of God:' They did not worship the beast neither
his image. They did not receive the mark of the beast in their
foreheads or upon their hand, and they lived and reigned with Christ a
thousand years. How did they live and reign with Christ a thousand
years beheaded in the great tribulation? (And we know it was the 'great
tribulation' period because of the beast, his mark, etc.) Obviously,
they came forth in the resurrection. Verse 5 and 6, "And the rest of
the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This
is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the
first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they
shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a
The resurrection of the righteous is tied directly to Christ's second
coming. II Thessalonians 2, "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the
coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto
Him. ...This scripture could easily be paraphrased and be correct as,
"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
and by our resurrection (gathering together) unto Him." ". . .that ye
be not soon shaken in your mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor
by word, nor by letter from us, as that day of Christ is at hand. Let
no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come. . ." What
day is he talking about here? Well, obviously from verse 1 that day is
the coming of the Lord and the time that we shall be gathered together
to Him. Paul plainly states that,"...... that day shall not come except
there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the
son of perdition . . . " It is obvious to me that if Christ is not
going to come before the great falling away and the revealing of the
man of sin, the son of perdition, then the Church is going to be on the
earth during the time that the Bible reveals as the great tribulation.
In Matthew 24:15, the man of sin is polluting the temple. Here in II
Thessalonians 2, we see the revelation of the man of sin as one who
opposeth and exhalteth himself above all that is called God or is
worshipped, so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God showing
himself that he is God. (World Church.)
"The mystery of iniquity.. ." Paul declared, ". . .doth already work:
only He who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way."
Some people interpret that scripture to mean that the Holy Spirit, who
refrains the lawless one, will be taken out of the way by the means of
rapture, but no place does he indicate here a rapture. We have here,
instead, a picture of a sovereign God taking the fences down and
allowing Satan the opportunity to work unrestricted. This closely
parallels Job in his afflictions. The Lord removed the fences from
around Job. Satan can do nothing unless God allows it
If Christ came and raptured some saints before the son of perdition
exalted himself and martyred the saints for the testimony of Jesus,
there would have to be more than one (1) resurrection for the
righteous. But at Christ's second coming, this definitely will be the
first resurrection. (Refer to Revelation 20:4,5). Imagine what a sight
- the graves bursting open, the saints receiving a new body, the
heavens all aglow, the ten thousands of His saints all shouting. It
doesn't sound like a secret coming to me. It seems that everything in
earth will be announcing the glorious truth that Jesus has come. Romans
8:19-23, "For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the
manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to
vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same
in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the
bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain
together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have
the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within
ourselves, waiting for the adoption to wit, the redemption of our body."
You can't make me believe that such a colossal event would go by
undetected and unnoticed by the secular world. If this momentous event
were to occur before the great tribulation, I promise you, it would
turn the world upside-down. Every baby, in every hospital - gone! No
trace of them! Multiply this scene one hundred million times,
worldwide. Just suppose you are an unbelieving husband and you
witnessed for yourself your wife's disappearing and your children
vanishing into thin air, leaving no trace, nothing but the clothes that
are melted from their backs, you'd never make me believe that it
wouldn't sober you. If the event were to take place today, as the
pre-tribulation theory teaches it may, the world could count seven
years from the time of the 'catching away' and know the day the Lord
would come back. But you see, it is not going to happen that way. "No
man knows the day, nor the hour.
A strong objection I hear from many who preach the 'any moment' coming
of Christ is that it takes the urgency out of evangelism. Some make a
slurring remark that if Christ is not going to come today or tomorrow,
then we can eat, drink and be merry; but how far from truth can one
drift? The tribulation message has an urgency about it to be prepared
to withstand!! Christ may come for any one of us today. You may breathe
your last breath before the sun rises in the morning. My friend, Christ
may come for you at any minute by way of the grave. But Christ is not
going to come for His Church until the appointed time. (Acts 3:21).
The parable of the harvest worker shows that even the latecomers who
came in at the 11th hour received the same reward as those who were
from the beginning. What is the reward reserved in heaven for us? The
crown of life! How are we going to receive the crown? When Christ
comes, He brings His reward, with Him. (Revelation 22:12).
The resurrection occurs at the end of the tribulation with a great
sound of the trumpet, with a shout!! Revelation teaches that the souls
that were under the altar were waiting impatiently with the cry, "How
long, Oh Lord, how long?" They have not yet received the resurrection.
They're told to rest a little while that their fellowservants should
also be slain which have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
One Taken - One Left
Matthew 24:37-41, "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 also the coming of the Son
of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and
the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall
be taken and the other left." 'I'll fly away, oh, glory . . .'
'Good-bye, world, good-bye . . .' - the songs of the past years seem to
be obsessed with being taken out of the earth.
Thousands of people read the above passages and see the rapture in the
'one taken'. In discussing this scripture with people, you seldom find
anyone who says they want to be left. People have the peculiar idea
that if you're left for any reason, it is bad. For instance, if you get
left by the bus, it's bad. If you get left by the plane, it's bad. If
you get left by the taxi, it's bad. People have this built-in opinion -
to be taken is good, to be left is bad. But when you read this
scripture in its context, Jesus Christ is saying that His coming would
be a parallel to the days of Noah and that just as in the days of Noah,
the wicked knew not until the flood came and took them (the wicked) all
Jesus continued and said, "Two shall be in the field, the one shall be
taken, and the other left." The fact that Christ said two shall be in
the field, the one taken and the other left, does not indicate that
numerically 50% of the world will be saved or that half will be lost;
but, rather, we have here a picture of the final days of man's
government when the earth will be divided into two camps - the
righteous and the wicked.
For a fuller understanding, turn to Matthew 13. Christ is speaking to
the multitudes parables concerning the kingdom of heaven. At the
conclusion of Christ's day long message, the disciples inquired
concerning the meaning of these parables. Verse 36-43, "Then Jesus sent
the multitude away, and went into the house: and His disciples came
unto Him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the
field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is
the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children
of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The
enemy that hath sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the
world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are
gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of the
world. The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and shall gather out
of His kingdom all things that offend, and them that do iniquity; and
shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and
gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in
the kingdom of their Father." Here the sequences are very clear. The
field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom.
The wicked are symbolized by the tares. The harvest is the end of the
world. The reapers are the angels. Verse 41, the Son of man shall send
forth His angels and they shall gather out of His kingdom. What is
taken out of His kingdom? It is identified clearly - all things that
offend and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them (the wicked)
into a furnace of fire. There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
In verse 45, we see, after the wicked are taken away, then shall the
righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. All
right, we have one that has been taken away; and, in verse 43, we have
one that is left.
Clarifying this further, verse 47-49, "Again the kingdom of heaven is
like a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:
Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered
the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end
of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from
among the just." The message is here repeated; only told in a different
fashion. The picture and the meaning are identical. The wicked are
taken away. He severed not the righteous from among the wicked; but,
rather, the wicked from among the just.
Genesis 1:31, "And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it
was very good." This explains that at the creation it was very good.
The prophecy of Isaiah (11:9) is, "The earth shall be full of the
knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." At Christ's second
coming, He will usher in the eternal reign. II Thessalonians 2:8 makes
clear that at Christ's coming, Satan will be destroyed with the spirit
of His mouth and the brightness of His coming and the wicked will be
taken away; but we will reign with Him for ever.
The Eminent Return
Did the apostles and early followers of Jesus Christ anticipate
Christ's return in their lifetime? In studying the apostle Paul's
letters, one cannot help but come to the conclusion that Paul
anticipated dying. In II Timothy 4:, Paul states, For I am now ready to
be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a
good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the
Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me
only, but unto all them also that love His appearing." (verse 7,8).
Paul knew that he would die and come forth in a resurrection.
The Bible is filled with the doctrine of the resurrection. The faithful
apostle continuously comforted the early believers, not with the hope
of translation, but with the hope of resurrection. Jesus, in Matthew
24:6, said to the disciples that 'the end is not yet'; and in verse 14,
commissions His followers to preach in all the world for a witness unto
all nations, and then shall the end come.
Ironically, the eminent return of Christ has only been preached since
1830. Beyond this date, we can find no record of anyone ever having
proclaimed that the Church would escape the great tribulation by means
of an eminent return of Jesus. I feel it necessary to emphasize, since
the scriptures so plainly teach the Church passing through the
tribulation (not my opinion for I can think of nothing sweeter than to
go to bed tonight and have Christ take me out of the earth), but I must
prepare people for the coming storms and hold out the glorious truth
that when the storm has passed, Satan shall forever be defeated and
none other than Jesus Christ Himself shall reign for ever and ever.
Have you ever just stopped and really listened to the rapture message?
Without the exception, all agree and teach the trouble that is going to
come upon the earth will be the direct results of the antichrist; yet,
their doctrine should be, instead of antichrist, anti-Jew. The word
anti means "against, opposite." Yet, I have never heard them stand up
and preach anti-Jew; but they always talk about antichrist. How can
This man of sin, the son of perdition, be against Christ if Christ's
people and those who expound His name are gone? The fact is, Satan's
fury is going to be unleashed against those who follow Christ.
What makes you think that the carnal, natural-minded, materialistic,
fleshly Jew will not submit to the beast and world government? The Jew
of today, with his nature for self-preservation, is no different than
the Gentile with his desire for self-preservation. We see now the Jews
and Arabs reconciling their differences. World government will not
necessarily be, nor does the Bible teach it will be, anti-Semitic. But
the Bible does teach that Satan will hate Christ and His followers.
In Genesis 3:15, God announced that the serpent and the holy seed would
be enemies. Galatians3: 16, "Now to Abraham and his seed were the
promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one,
and to thy seed, which is Christ." The reason for Old Testament
persecution of the Jews was simply because Christ was going to come
forth from the root and stem of Jesse and the tribe of Judah. But when
Christ was manifested in the flesh, Satan turned his attentions to this
new covenant people and has been seeking to destroy them ever since.
The early followers of Jesus expected Satan's fiery tests so the
apostle Peter writes in 1 Peter 4:12,13, "Beloved, think it not strange
concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange
thing happened unto you, but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of
Christ's sufferings; that when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be
glad also with exceeding joy." I Peter 2:21 lets the saints know that
Christ suffered leaving us an example, meaning we, too, would suffer.
II Peter 2:1,2 doesn't speak of an eminent return of Christ, but rather
forewarns us to beware of false prophets and false teachers "who
privily shall (not might) bring in damnable heresies, even denying the
Lord that bought them..and many shall follow their pernicious ways; by
reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of."
Had these early followers of our Lord believed that Christ would return
any moment, they would not have been employed by the Holy Spirit to
warn us of these events that must - let me emphasize the word must - be
fulfilled before Christ returns.
II Thessalonians 1:6-7 is as clear as possibly can be concerning
tribulation for the saints. "Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to
recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are
troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from
heaven with His mighty angels." Paul emphasizes that the wrath of God
is going to be poured out upon them that trouble the saints. But
notice, Paul says you will be troubled first. In other words, you will
pass through tribulation. Israel, which is a metaphor in the Old
Testament to the Church in the New Testament, during their bondage in
Egypt, cried unto the Lord by reason of their affliction, (and daily
their affliction became heavier). When it reached the point they could
no longer endure it, God sent forth Moses - a type of Christ's second
coming. Acts 3:20,21, "And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was
preached unto you; Whom the heaven must receive until the times of
restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all
His holy prophets since the world began." You'll notice that Jesus
remains in heaven until all things - not most - but all things are
God is a God of pattern and consistency. Galatians 4:4, "But when the
fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman,
under the law..." Shows us that Jesus came the first time at a
designated moment - not one minute before, not one minute after.
Christ's second coming will be exactly at the precise moment to which
Almighty God has foreordained it. Jesus testifies that not even the
angels in heaven know the day nor the hour. Christ's second coming is
known by the Father for Jesus plainly says that the 'Father only knew
I Thessalonians 5:1-9, "But of the times and seasons, brethren, ye have
no need that I write to you, for yourselves know perfectly that the day
of the Lord so comet as a thief in the night. For when they shall say,
Peace and safety;- then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail
upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren,
are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye
are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not
of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do
others; but let us watch. . . For they that sleep sleep in the night;
and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are
of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and
for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God bath not appointed us to
wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." In verse 8,
Paul is warning us to put on the breastplate. Already he has warned us
in Ephesians 6:13 to, "Take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye
may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to
stand." I Thessalonians 5:9 is a comforting verse and parallels with II
Thessalonians 1:7, "And to you that are troubled rest with us, when the
Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels." You
see, when God's wrath is poured out upon the earth it will be at the
conclusion of the great tribulation. In fact, it will climax with the
final wrath of God - Jesus Christ returning in flaming fire taking
vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of
our Lord Jesus Christ. Who shall be punished with everlasting
destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His
power." (II Thessalonians 1:8,9). Jesus said, "Till heaven and earth
pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till
all be fulfilled'' - meaning every word spoken. (Matthew 5:18). In
fact. many things not spoken but only implied by the Spirit shall be
According to many rapturist's theology, the time of the Gentiles is
over. According to their foolish calculations, in 1948, when Israel
became a nation, the Gentile dispensation ended. But the reason so many
people are confused today is because scholars have divided the Word of
God and sectionalized it under a very hypo-religious terminology
invented in the crafty minds of modern-day deceivers and have packaged
it to the church world like a New York 5 th Avenue advertising agent
would package soap or crackers, calling it-dispensationalism. No place
does the Bible teach that the church age is divided into
multi-dispensations. Because the argument of the rapture will not stand
on its own feet, the doctrine has been surrounded with high-sounding
religious terminology. The gullible, unspiritual-minded church member
reads it, and because it sounds complicated enough, they think it is
You cannot prove from the Word of God that the seven churches of Asia
represent seven dispensations. Dispensationalism is a strong word to
support a weak doctrine, mainly, rapture. Prove me wrong! The only
division that we have in the Word of God that could be called
dispensations would be the old dispensation - Old Testament, - and the
new dispensation - New Testament. The old deals with the natural; the
new with the spiritual. The old deals with the sons of Abraham; the new
with the sons of God.
Spiritualization Of The Word
"Don't spiritualize!" Oftimes in dealing with the book of Revelation, I
am confronted by those who object to many of the spiritualizations that
I give. But we must look at the Word and either interpret it by the
carnal knowledge that we receive from man or by the Spirit of
First, look at Revelation and be honest with yourself. Was John giving
us a picture of literal things? In Revelation 1:10, at the very outset
of the book, John declared, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day."
Revelation 4:1,2, "After this I looked, and behold, a door was opened
in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as if it were of a
trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew
thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately, I was in the
Spirit: and behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the
From the very outset, John was in the Spirit. If you are to take the
book of Revelation in a literal sense, about all you will have is a
comedy of errors and contradictions. Understand, I do not believe there
are any errors or contradictions in Revelation. But if you interpret
the book in the physical sense, you will have people being sealed or
branded like cattle on their foreheads; and hideous monsters, more
terrifying than Edgar Allen Poe could ever imagine, coming up out of a
sea, having seven heads and ten horns, resembling a leopard, with feet
like a bear, the mouth of a lion and a dragon giving him power. Is this
literally what happens? Of course, we know it is not. John plainly
explains that this represents governments and kingdoms, nations and
peoples, times and events.
Christ is depicted on a white horse, "And He hath on His vesture, and
on His thigh a name written, King of Kings. and Lord of Lords."
(Revelation 19:16). Is Christ a tattooed freak that belongs in a side
A city is shown coming down from heaven. Is this a literal city? It's
called the New Jerusalem. If it is a literal city and not a spiritual
picture of the Church, Christ's bride - a city? How foolish! Paul said
in Galatians 4:26, "But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the
mother of us all."
The only possible way to understand the mysteries of the Spirit is to
have the Holy Spirit reveal them unto you. In Matthew 16, when our Lord
asked the disciples, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?.....And
Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the
living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou,
Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee but
My Father which is in heaven." (verses 15-17). Romans 8:7 says, "The
carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of
God neither indeed can be." I Corinthians 2:14, "But the natural man
receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness
unto him; neither can he -know them, because they are spiritually
discerned." I Corinthians 2:9,10, "But it is written, eye hath not
seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the
things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath
revealed them unto us (saints) by His Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth
all things, yea, the deep things of God."
Not everything in the Word of God is spiritualized, but rest assured
that more of God's Word is spiritual than natural. No wonder the
apostle Paul said that it was hid from the wise and prudent, ". . .but
revealed unto us." How is it revealed unto us? By the Spirit, God, Who
is a Spirit, wrote to us who are His children. How are we His children?
Romans 8:9, "If any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of
His." So readily you can see that hidden in the fields of prophecy are
gems of truth that can only be discerned, comprehended and evaluated by
In Revelation, we are not interpreting a dream John had; we are
understanding a revelation. In Revelation, we are not interpreting a
prophecy, but are discerning a revelation. Rest assured, it takes the
Spirit of revelation to understand the Revelation.
In Christ's great message to the disciples concerning the end of the
age, the key word was 'watch'. But watch what? The very fact that the
command is to watch lets us know that there will be definite signs
which we shall be able to discern. Luke 21:36, "Watch ye therefore, and
pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things
that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." Many read
into this scripture things that it does not say. Some assume the
phrase, 'accounted worthy to escape,' to be proof positive that the
Church will be raptured off the earth. In studying the Word of God, you
cannot ignore the glorious truth that God consistently delivers His
people through their battles. The three Hebrew children were delivered
in the testing. How glorious to realize that had it not been for the
fiery furnace, the three Hebrews would not have seen the Fourth Man.
There is always victory in testing. Daniel was delivered, not from the
lions den, but through the lion's den. Noah was brought victoriously
through the flood.
What does it mean to watch? II Timothy 3:1-5, "This know also, that in
the last days perilous times shall come, for men shall be lovers of
their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient
to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection,
trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those
that are good, traitors,. heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more
than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power
thereof: from such turn away." The apostle earmarks definite events
that fully describe the end time. If the very next event on God's
prophetic calendar was to be the second coming of Jesus Christ,
Christ's own commandment to watch is inconsistent with the text. The
Church of Jesus Christ will see the rise of antichrist. The Church will
see the false prophet. The Church will see the Babylon system. The
Church will see the formation of world government. At this very moment,
great prophetic events of which Christ told us are being fulfilled.
Revelation 3:18, "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire,
that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be
clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint
thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see." The fire of
persecution will not tarnish the pure gold.
"Watch," Christ said. But how can we watch except we know the signs we
are to watch for? Christ's return to earth will not be one minute
before the appointed time, nor one minute later than the appointed
time. How thrilling it is to recognize the sovereignty of an Almighty
God and know He will protect us by His mighty power during the great
tribulation. Do not underestimate the power of God supreme Who is able
to preserve us in the days of trouble.
Rapture Rhetoric & Double Talk
An old proverb says, "You say something long enough and loud enough,
someone will believe it." The rapture rhetoric has been repeated so
loud, so often, that many people assume there is no other opinion. The
impressionable young Christians are told about the rapture as soon as
they are converted. And because young converts have very little
spiritual discernment, many of them are not able to comprehend, for
themselves, the true message. Because a pastor or teacher has assured
them they are to soon go flying off in a rapture, they ignorantly
accept this doctrine and eagerly propagate it.
But facts are facts. Revelation 4 is identified by the rapturist as the
chapter in which the Church is removed. The contention is that the word
'church' appears -no place else in the book of Revelation; and,
henceforth, it must have been raptured. Is it? The word 'church'
appears 19 times in the first three chapters of Revelation. But if you
studied the scriptures at all with an open mind, you will easily see
that John is not writing about the Church universally, but rather to
the seven specific churches in Asia Minor.
No one can equate John the revelator as a type of the church.
Revelation 4:1, "After this I looked..." John is speaking from a
personal standpoint. John said,....I heard. . ." and continues, ". .
.talking with me. . . " The invitation was, "Come up hither and I will
show thee things which shall be hereafter, and immediately I was in the
Ironically, during the most severe part of the great tribulation, the
nation Israel is missing also. From Revelation 7:4 to 21:12, the word
'Israel' is not mentioned. But throughout the book of Revelation, the
terms of saints, servants, etc. are used. God, Who is consistent, uses
the term 'saints' throughout the rest of His Word interchangeably with
the Church. Why not in Revelation also? For instance, Revelation 13:7,
"...and it was given unto him. . ." (the beast) ". . .to make war with
the saints. .
" It does not say it was given him to make war with the Jews, but
rather to make war with the saints and ". . .power was given him over
all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." Revelation 14:12, "Here is the
patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of
God, and the faith of Jesus." What else do you need to be a Christian?
Christian means 'Christ-like.' Being born again is the faith of Jesus.
You can't be saved without faith, and the faith is the faith of Jesus.
These mentioned here in Revelation are keeping that faith and no longer
are they Jew or Gentile. (In Christ, we are neither Jew nor Gentile;
but if we're born again, we are saved and we will be saintly.)
The time is at hand for people to demand that the ministry stay
strictly with the Word of God. The double talk of secret comings of
Christ, multiplicity of resurrections and mysterious disappearings has
thoroughly confused the believer and cast doubt upon the very Word of
God itself. To find pre-tribulation rapture of the Church in the Bible
is like hunting for a needle in the haystack. Why strain at a gnat and
swallow a camel when the Word of God is so plain? At the end of this
age Christ is coming back - period! Physically, literally, as He went
away, so shall He also come again.
In II Thessalonians 2:3, the Bible talks about ". ..falling away. . ."
No one assumes that the falling away is from the faith of Judism. The
falling away is from the true faith of Jesus Christ. I Thessalonians
5:3 speaks of "peace and safety." To be misinformed can be as tragic as
being not informed at all. (How terrible to expect the rapture and have
to pass through the tribulation. On the other hand, how wonderful to
expect tribulation and receive a rapture.) Many will be deceived that
wait for the pre-tribulation rapture. As the darkness of tribulation
comes upon them, thousands of these people will be destroyed simply
because the watchman (preachers) failed to warn of impending dangers,
preaching rather that the Church will not be here on the earth during
the great tribulation. Daniel 12:9,10, "To the prophet Daniel, the Lord
said, Go thy way Daniel for the words are closed up and sealed till the
time of the end. Many shall be purified and made white and tried." Who
are these that are purified, made white and tried? Revelation 7:14,
"These are they which came out of great tribulation and have washed
their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
Revelation 17:6, "And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the
saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus." Plainly, we see a
hideous day of persecution coming. The ones that fall away from the
faith, fall for lack of knowledge. No wonder the Lord, through Hosea
the prophet, cried out, "My people are destroyed for lack of
I Thessalonians 4:16, "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." Here we have the account
of the dead in Christ partaking first of the resurrection. Verse 17
teaches, "And we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together
with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, so shall we ever
be with the Lord." I John 3:1-2, "Behold, what manner of love the
Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:
therefore, the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved,
now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall
be; but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him. for we
shall see Him as He is.
The great revelation of I Thessaionians is that Christ's coming will
bring a literal change to our Adam body. The resurrection will take
place with the dead being raised to a new body; but when Christ comes,
we, which are alive, are caught up. I think the 'catching up' here has
greater significance than many would like to imagine. Some envision
only being caught up in a body to a cloud; but the greater 'catching
up' (rapture) is in the catching up out of the natural body, the
catching up out of the sin nature, the catching up out of corruption to
that glory that Christ now possesses.
I Corinthians 15:35, "But some men will say, how are the dead raised up
and with what body do they come?" Verse 38, "But God giveth it a body
as it hath pleased Him and to every seed his own body." Verse 42, "So
also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is
raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory:
it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural
body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there
is a spiritual body." Verse 45-52, "And so it is written, The first man
Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening
spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which
is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of
the earth earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the
earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly,
such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have born the image of
the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I
say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;
neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show 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." The instant change is our 'catching up' out of the body of
flesh to a body like the Lord's. Verse 53-56, "For this corruptible
must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So
when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal
shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying
that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 0 death, where is
thy sting? 0 grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin."
Everything that dies is sin. Death and sin go together. At Christ's
coming, when He shall put Satan under His feet, we shall be changed.
Then sin shall be destroyed. "The strength of sin is the law. But
thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus
Continuing Paul's teaching in I Thessalonians 4, not only will we be
caught up into that glory realm; but, I can easily believe that we
will, at the second coming, have access to the same liberty that Christ
now enjoys. I can fully believe that at the resurrection, when the sons
of God shall be made manifest and we shall be changed into His exact
image and likeness, space would have no limit to us.
Philippians 3:10-14, "That I may know Him, and the power of His
resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made
conformable unto His death; if by any means I might attain unto the
resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either
were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that
for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not
myself to have apprehended: but this one thins I do, forgetting those
things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are
before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of
God in Christ Jesus." What is the prize of the high calling of God in
Christ Jesus? The resurrection, immortality, the likeness of Jesus
Christ. This is the prize that Christ brings with Him when He comes.
Christ does not take us away to give us our reward; but rather, He
brings His reward with Him.
"...we which are alive and remain. . ." shall be changed and together
". . .with them in the clouds..." "...shall... "meet the Lord in the
air and so shall we ever be with the Lord." The Greek word here for
'meet' is apantesis, and it is used in one other instance. Acts 28:15,
"And from thence when the brethren heard of us, they came out to meet
us." It carries the meaning of a friend rushing out to meet a friend.
At Christ's second coming, think of it like this. Christ's coming is
the glory train returning to the earth and we are not going out to
board the train to go off; but rather, the welcoming committee that is
to greet it on its return.
In John 14, Jesus said, "If I go away, I will come again and receive
you unto Myself that where I am, there ye may be also." If you will
read the scripture carefully, you can see what Christ is explaining -
His going away and His return. He did not say that He was going to come
back and take us away; but rather, "I will come again and receive you
unto Myself (changing from corruptible to incorruptible), that where I
am (not where I have been) there ye may be also."
To those who criticize my staunch defense that the Church will pass
through the great tribulation, need to take another look at the Word of
God. This is not just a plausible doctrine; it is the only doctrine the
Saints, you need not be afraid of the tribulation. The fire that tries
you will only make you pure.
The Cloud Coming
The pre-tribulation theory, advocated by man, suggests that Christ's
second advent will be actually a descent of Christ to a cloud. The
pre-tribulation theory then suggests that Christ, from this cloud, will
resurrect the dead and ascend back into heaven for the duration of the
great tribulation. This theory is not Bible.
Let us first examine the scripture. Acts 1:9-11, "And when He had
spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud
received Him out of sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward
heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?
this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come
in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." Plainly from verse
11, we know that Christ's second coming will be exactly as His
departing, only in reverse order. If this same Jesus which is taken up
from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him
go into heaven, then obviously, as He went up into a cloud, Christ will
be returning out of the cloud. Christ did not ascend up into a cloud
and wait a period of time and then go up into heaven; but rather, these
believers observed Christ steadfastly until He disappeared into the
clouds. No scripture any place states Christ is coming back to a cloud.
The Word says that He is coming ". . .in the clouds. .
Very clearly we see from the scriptures that Christ will return to the
earth - the literal ground upon which we walk. The same Jesus who went
up from the earth is coming back to the earth. If people will accept
the Word for it says, there would not be the division among believers
as there is now. The scriptures do not advocate, nor indicate, the
Church bodily being removed from the earth; but rather emphatically
teach Satan's removal from the earth at a time when Christ returns to
put all things under His feet.
Daniel 2 indicates Christ, Who is symbolized as the stone cut out of
the mountain without hands, would, at the end of the age, crush the
image, which symbolizes world governments; and Christ, the stone, is
not removed from the earth, but instead, fills the earth with an
everlasting kingdom that will not be destroyed.
Rejoice today, saints in the glorious revelation. Christ is coming back
to this earth and then will be fulfilled the host of scriptures
declaring that the glory of God shall cover the earth as the waters
cover the sea. And at the end of this age, every redeemed man, woman,
boy and girl will triumphantly join in to sing ". . .the song of Moses,
the servant of God and the song of the Lamb.
." Fulfilled in the glorious advent of Christ will be Romans 8
which declares that "all creation moaneth and groaneth, travailing,
waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God." Christ's second
coming will eliminate Satan's claim on all of the redeemed
At no time has persecution been able to destroy the Church. Persecution
did not destroy the Church at the beginning when all the power of Rome
unleashed against it. I praise God that at the end time, anti-christ
with all his power will not be able to destroy that true Church that
Christ said was built upon the rock and ''. . .the gates of hell shall
not prevail against it."
Regardless of how rough the way may become or how much Satan may try to
destroy you, Christ has promised that "He that is within is greater
than he that is in the world." The tribulation period is only the
darkest hour before the dawn.
The cry today, even as John's was long ago, is "Even so, come Lord
Jesus." The hope of every believer is for Christ to return; not for the
church to disappear, but for Christ to reappear. Since the scripture
clearly teaches the Church is to pass through the time of testing
called the 'great tribulation', it is far better to prepare for it and
know how to be ready so you can stand than to have the day overtake you
as a thief.
Saints of God, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you