Exposing the Left Behind Doctines
THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH

"WHAT IS IT"
Information is complied and written by
TrueRevivalFires@aol.com

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.
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 great joy".
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 POST-TRIB?"
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 Revelation 1.
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 got started.
EDWARD IRVING AND MARGARET MACDONALD
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 rapture.
"ONE TAKEN...AND THE OTHER LEFT"
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 SPEAKS
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 THESSALONIANS?"
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 presence.
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 about).
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.
"CAUGHT UP"
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 away.
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.
WHAT CLOUDS?
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 so radically.

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 full meaning.

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 God.
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.

WITHSTAND

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 stand."
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."

2
The Word
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
have reference:
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 many."
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 cold."
Verse 13 - "But he that shall endure unto the end the same shall be saved."
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 his clothes."
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 gathered together."
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 examples.

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 trumpet."
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 elementary.

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.

3
The Elect

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 relevant.

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.

4
Persecution

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 believers.

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 their life.
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."

WORLD GOVERNMENT

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.

5
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 Jesus."

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 important possession.

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 beast.

**********************

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.

FAITH LIVING

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 12).

6
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.''

NOAH

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. . ." (II-Thess. 1:6).

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.

7
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 Greek.)

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 calendar.

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 thousand years."

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.

8
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 away.
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.

9
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 fulfilled.

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 the time.

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 accomplished.

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 truth.

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.

10
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 revelation.

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 throne."

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 show? No!
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 the Spirit.

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.

11
Watch

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.

12
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 Spirit."
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 knowledge." (4:6)

CAUGHT UP

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 Christ."

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 Bible teaches.
Saints, you need not be afraid of the tribulation. The fire that tries you will only make you pure.

13
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
Epilogue

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 free."