BY PASTOR MIKE TAYLOR
15 “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
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.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:15-22)
As the hour approaches for the start of the Tribulation and the end of this present age, I have many Christians that email me and wonder “Are we in the Tribulation now, or can it get any worse that what we see already at the present?”....Some come to the erroneous conclusion that we are in the first part of the Tribulation, as the world is going stark raving mad. Environmental disasters of earthquakes, volcano eruptions, drought leading to famine in third world countries, ISIS beheading Christians in the Middle East, and nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea leave many wondering if we are indeed, in the first years of the coming Tribulation. Are we?
The Lord God gave us definte signs of when the beginning of the Tribulation would start, and although I would agree that we are bumping right up to the time the Bible calls Jacob's trouble, we have not crossed that red line that says we in the Tribulation. Why do I say that?
THE PURPOSE OF THE COMING TRIBULATION
The Tribulation has a primary, secondary purpose and even a third reason for the time. From the perspective of Israel the Tribulation has a primary purpose. From the prophet Daniel, that primary purpose is six fold:
"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people [Daniel and the Jews] and upon thy holy city, [Jerusalem] to (1) finish the transgression, and to (2) make an end of sins, and to (3) make reconciliation for iniquity, and to (4) bring in everlasting righteousness, and to (5) seal up the vision and prophecy, and to (6) anoint the most Holy." (Daniel 9:24)
That primary purpose had been going on from the rebuilding of the Temple after the Babylonian exile and ancient Israel's return to her own land for 483 years, when Jesus rode into the city of Jerusalem riding on the back of a donkey.
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” (Zechariah 9:9)
Thus Jesus fulfilled the prophecy in the 483rd year of the Prophecy and if Israel would have accepted their Messiah, then the Kingdom of God would have come upon the earth at that time, but that was not God's plan. Several days later, Jesus would be tried, convicted in a Sanhedrin court, sentenced by a Roman governor and crucified on a cross for the sole reason of being the Messiah they did not want to accept. Their image of their “political Savior” was a King David type, not this lowly carpenter who wanted to save them from their sins. They didn't need a Savior, (in their deceived thinking) as they had the law of Moses, which they didn't realize could not save them from being separated from God the Father for all eternity. They knew of the timing of the coming Messiah, and here He was standing right in front of them, but they didn't like His spiritual message of repentance.
When Jesus died on that cross, the time period of 490 years that Gabriel told Daniel would be required to fulfill that prophecy, stopped and has been on hold now for nearly 2000 years. That leaves a final 7 years of the prophecy to the nation of Israel on hold. God will complete His promise to the Jewish people in the near future.
But for the Church that was born at Pentecost because of the blood sacrifice Jesus paid, points 1-4 of the above verse was accomplished at the cross. The last two points of 5-6 are yet to be fulfilled, but neither of them apply to the Church anyway. The prophecy is for the Jewish people and of Jerusalem with a rebuilt Temple standing on the Temple Mount and the anointing of the Messiah taking place at the 2nd Coming of Jesus to reign and rule for a Millennium.
The primary purpose of the Tribulation, therefore, is to effect the national redemption of the Jews.
2 “But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:
3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto theLord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.” (Malachi 3:2-4)Israel will be refined through much persecution, until they recognize their Messiah that their forefathers rejected in 33 AD and they still do today.
There is a secondary purpose as outlined in Revelation chp. 9:
"Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts." (Revelation 9:21)
In reading the whole of chapters 6- 9 of this apocalyptic book, gives you the reason for the coming Tribulation. God is putting down all rebellion upon the earth, known as the “nations” who will not repent of their sinful lives, or give God any glory. But those who love their unrighteousness and sinful practices will not repent even in the face of this horrific judgment that is being poured out on them, and it only gets worse, much worse.
This secondary purpose is to purge this earth of unrepentant, rebellious mankind that rejects Christ as Lord of their lives. God will nearly wipe this planet clean of all human life. By definition, to be a Christian, one must repent of one's sins. So the Church has no purpose in God's judgment against these “unrepentant, lawless” sinners.
There is also a third reason for the Tribulation. It is to allow Satan full and free reign over the earth and its inhabitants. Among the many purposes of Heaven outlined in God's Word is the trial of Satan. At the conclusion of the Tribulation, there will no doubt remaining among the angels and the inhabitants of God's realm, (the saints of God) to the depth of Satan's guilt or the severity of the forthcoming punishment. This was prophesied in Isaiah what would become of Lucifer, now known as Satan (the adversary) when he was cast out of heaven when he proclaimed his infamous “I wills” to be like the Most High God....
"Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?" (Isaiah 14:15-17)
HARPAZO OF THE CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD
The doctrine of immanency teaches that Jesus could come at any moment and “snatch by force” His redeemed bride which is HARPAZO in the Greek that Paul spoke of in 1st Corinthians and 1st Thessalonians
15 “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.
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:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up (HARPAZO) together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
What is the dictionary defintion of what Paul wrote above of the HARPAZO, or being “caught up” in English..1) to seize, carry off by force
2) to seize on, claim for one' s self eagerly
3) to snatch out or away
The fulfillment of this passage could come at any moment, from the day of Paul until the starting point of the Tribulation. How do I know that it is confined to that period of time? Glad you asked. Because the Bible expressly promises us that the Tribulation will not start until Satan has total control over this earth.
In order for Satan to have total control (and therefore no excuse) the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and His ministry of identifying and restraining evil must be removed.
Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit would indwell within me until He returns, as I am neither of the “house of Israel” or part of the Christ rejecting Gentile nations and have no part in the coming Tribulation, but the scripture says that the coming Anti-Christ will overcome the “saints” during the tribulation.
“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and 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, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:7-8)
If the Holy Spirit must be 'taken out of the way' BEFORE the Antichrist can be revealed, which is the only logical way to interpret what Paul wrote in 2nd Thessalonians 2:7-9,
If the Holy Spirit must be 'taken out of the way' BEFORE the Antichrist can be revealed, which is the only logical way to interpret what Paul wrote in 2nd Thessalonians 2:7-9,
7 “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
So if God is withdrawing the work of the Holy spirit, that would leave me comfortless, if as a Christian I am found to be still present during the time known as Jacob's Trouble, the Tribulation. If God has left me alone just when I need Him the most, then Jesus broke His Word, and we know Jesus cannot lie.
16 “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
No matter how I try to read the above verses otherwise, I cannot be present during this time. Until the Holy Spirit is “taken out of the way” then that Wicked cannot be revealed, which is the Anti-Christ.
This may be confusing to some, but let us identify the players in the preceding verses listed above in 2nd Thessalonians 2:7-9. The “mystery of inquity” or the spirit of the Anti-Christ (1st John 4:3) "He who letteth". First, "he" is a personal pronoun, so this isn't a 'thing' to be taken out of the way, but a 'Him'. 'To let' is an old English phrase that signifies indwelling, as in the phrase, "Room to Let."When the verse speaks of “that Wicked” it is also a personal pronoun and in context, refers to the one whom Jesus will destroy at His Second Coming.
So in modern everyday English, the meaning of the passage says “the Anti-Christ won't be revealed until the Holy Spirit's presence is taken out of the way”...So the point of the passage that should not be any bone of contention, is that if the Holy Spirit is removed, and we have God's Holy Spirit within us, and Jesus will NOT leave us alone without comfort, then if the Holy Spirit is leaving, then so shall God's Church. Every born again believer on this planet will be removed at the very same instant as God's Holy Spirit. Since Satan cannot overcome God, and God is dwelling in me, then the Anti-Christ can't overcome me if I were still on the earth.
I cannot picture a situation in which I would lose the Holy Spirit's indwelling presence while I am still alive on this earth. It is unthinkable.
So now that I hope you can see that the Church will be removed prior to the Anti-Christ being revealed and we will not be subject to God's Wrath. Now some say that the first part of the Tribulation is promoted by Satan and evil men. Many try to say that God's wrath is not revealed until the 6th seal is opened, as the righteousness indignation of God's judgment is finally revealed..is that true? I ask you. Who is opening the seals of the “title deed to this earth” by removing all rebellion on the planet? From the first seal until the last, the author of this judgment is Jesus Christ the Lord. He is causing events to happen. He is using men to enact judgment on other lawless men, just as He used Babylon and Assyria as the iron rod of judgment on Israel for their lawless behavior and rejecting the laws of God. So here God is doing the same thing by using men to bring about the beginning of His wrath indirectly, but will show His indignation directly in subsequent seals of judgment. In chp. 6, the men of earth know who is causing the problems and the evil that befalls them, and they cry out:
15 “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
LET US ANAZLYZE THIS COMING TRIBULATION.
Where do we get seven years of tribulation? Some ask me that question and assert that there is no basis for it...
Daniel says that Antichrist rules for one 'week' -- or seven years.
27 “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Daniel 9:27)
I've even had some deceived notions that this above verse is speaking of Jesus causing a covenant to be broken in mid-week, but clearly it is speaking of an abomination of desolation that only happened one other time with Antiochus Epiphanes when he desecrated the Holy Temple and spawned the Macabbean revolt.
The first three and one half years are a period of false peace for Israel. Because of confirming a covenant with Israel, the coming Anti-Christ will reveal himself by enforcing a pre-existence covenant that is possibly the Oslo Accord from the earth 1990s. The last three and one half years are a period of intense persecution and Great Tribulation for the Jewish people. It is the remaining 7 years left to fulfill the prophecy given by Gabriel to Daniel, that has been on hold for the Age of Grace that we have been living in for almost 2000 years now.
No matter how novel an interpretation one may develop to argue against the seven year period, Daniel also identifies it as a period of 2520 days, divided into two periods of 1260 days each. The first part is the Tribulation that causes a false peace for Israel, but is surrounded by unrest and war around the globe. The last 1260 days are known as the Great Tribulation, when the AC is revealed as the abomination that causeth desolation, and Israel will know they have made a pact deal with the devil. They will run for their very lives, but many will not believe the prophecy and will not escape into the wilderness, just as it was in 70 AD when those who believed fled to the mountain fortress in Petra, in the Jordanian wilderness. (see chp. 12 of Revelation v. 14-17)
Now to those who make a wishful thinking by asking the specific question “why cannot Christ's coming for His elect occur during the first half of the tribulation?” Scripture outlines a season (of tribulation) for the purpose of judgment that is to last seven years.
As mentioned, the tribulation is the not the time for the Church's redemption, it is Israel's time. The purpose in general is the refinement of Israel as silver is refined in the fiery furnace for purification, and the removal of rebellion and the judgment of the lost. The Church is being judged now in this Age of Grace. Those who have God's earnest deposit of His Holy Spirit residing within their own spirit have a guarantee of redemption and glorification when Jesus comes for His bride, His Church. The Church of the Living God is neither under judgment or in need of redemption. She has already been redeemed, and judged righteous by the blood of the Lamb, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
To not believe the above redemption of our bodies at the rapture of the Church is to believe that Jesus' sacrifice in His own blood on a roman cross was not good enough to save us to the uttermose. It is to believe in a type of Catholic purgatory that Jesus did NOT pay it all once for all time.
WHAT IF WE DO HAVE TO SUFFER SOME OF THE TRIBULATION?
Some hypothesize, and it's pure speculation, that if there is not a removable of the Bride of Christ before the Tribulation starts, could it not cause some to turn away from their faith, as was talked about in the gospels. They say, “won't there be some suffering on the part of Christians?”...”and if so, we are causing those to become discouraged and fall away”.
I agree that we shall not escape all suffering, as that has been part of the human condition since man was created. There is persecution and modern day martyrdom in such places as the Middle East, Communist China, and Central Africa. This is not an ancient concept, but continues to this day by evil men.
There is a major difference between the sufferings of men at the hand of other evil men, by one phrase ...”The Wrath of God”. Tribulation saints differ from the Bride of Christ saved during the Age of Grace, or the Church Age. Those saved during this horrific seven years will have their metal tested as like no other period of time memorial. Evil is rampant. Satan seeks to destroy all mankind, but in the process gain worship for himself, and attempts to destroy all of the nation of Israel to make God out a liar. And I must point out again a major distinction between the saints of the Church age, and the Tribulation saints by God's Holy Word:
Of the Church Age saints, John writes:
"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world." (1st John 4:4)During the Tribulation, it is the saints that are overcome:
"And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." (Revelation 13:7)The same Apostle John wrote both verses. Is it not 'pure speculation' to assume that the differences in status are irrelevant? Two set of saints are not the same. The church Age is the Bride, the Tribulation saints wil be the guest at the ceremony as they are in martyrdom.
A final question that has been kicked around on Christian forums I host, that is “if the pre-tribulation rapture of the church is true, how does that give God any glory. Wouldn't it be more glory to Him, if Christ appears amidst the persecution of His saints and rescues them from the Anti-Christ and Satan?” I am reminded of a verse that Jesus spoke to the Apostle Thomas, you now, doubting Thomas?
"Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." (John 20:29)
Paul speaks of this very thing in Romans 8, which if we are saved by grace through faith, when Christ actually appears, how much faith will be necessary when you see Him in all His glory?
24 “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
As bad as it seems, and my friend, it will get exponentially worse, from chp. 6 of Revelation till chp. 19 when the Saints of God come back on white horse clothed in linen, white and clean following the Lord of Lord, and King of Kings..Jesus our God and Savior..
11 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” (Revelation 19:11-15)
Jesus has come, rebellion has been put down. The saints rule the earth along with our Lord Jesus, and the Millennium starts and returns the earth to what it came from, perfection.
But of this writing, the antichrist has not yet been revealed. The peace treaty has not yet been confirmed. Temple worship has not yet been restored. All these are events that take place BEFORE the Great Tribulation begins. It is that termination of sacrifice that begins the Great Tribulation.
The antichrist can't cause the sacrifice to cease until AFTER it has begun. That can't happen until the Jews possess the Temple Mount. The antichrist cannot take his seat in the Temple of God, causing Israel to reject him, which kicks off the Great Tribulation, until AFTER there is a Temple to sit in.
None of this has happened, but make no mistake, it could happen almost overnight. These events noted just in the preceding two paragraphs are totally INDEPENDENT of the rapture of the Church. None of them exist because we are not in the Tribulation just yet, but it's right over the near horizon and is looming larger and larger with each passing day. We are indeed close, but we are not quite there yet...Reader take warning. I urge you to believe on the only begotten Son of God, slain from the foundation of the earth, and miss this coming Tribulation, by grace through faith.
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)
8 “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying to see you standing in front of our Lord Jesus, when we all receive the rewards done in our body for service...If you should need prayer, counseling, or just a friendly listening ear, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or vist me online at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com, for more biblical messages straight from your Bible...God bless you all..
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET