Last post we quickly established who Jesus is, what He did, and what He is going to do. I am going to be slowly moving through Revelation, as such, I couldn’t remember where I left off so I was re-reading the last post. As I read I couldn’t help but think that the Word seems pretty clear that the Christians (the elect) will not be raptured out of here before the tribulation period. Some of you might be thinking, what is the rapture, what is the tribulation, and why is he even bringing this up now?
I am going to divert from Revelation for this post and come back tomorrow; however, as we go through Revelation we are going to see very clear evidence that the world will face what is commonly called the Great Tribulation, the seven year period of Tribulation before Jesus comes back. Many solid theologians disagree about when the Christians will be “caught up” with Jesus in the sky, in other words, when Jesus raptures them out of here. Some say it is before the Tribulation period; however, I am not seeing any evidence of that as I work through the Word. I am not a great Bible scholar, so (as ALWAYS), you need to be prayerful and dedicated to checking these things out for yourself, I am only offering up what I am seeing.
Why is this important to consider? If Christians are under the false assumption that they will not be here for the Tribulation, how will they be diligent in preparing for it? How will they know the brutality they will face, and be prepared for it, if they are convinced they won’t be here. We need to be ready. As the world is in a state of confusion, we need to be ready to show people in the Word that this is exactly what God said would happen, in that God may use the opportunity to save them.
The focus of Matthew 24 is Jesus telling about His coming back:
Matthew 24:3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"
The first thing Jesus tells them is:
Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you.
Jesus warns us not to be deceived and in 2Thessalonains we see that even though the elect will face persecution and tribulation, He will give us rest. In other words, this “trouble” will not last forever, we will have complete rest. When will this happen? When Jesus is revealed from Heaven with the mighty angels….that is “The Day”….and again in 2Thessalonians we are warned not to be deceived, because this will not happen until certain things happen first; and a part of those “certain things” are listed in verse 3 below:
2Thessalonians 1:7-8 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2Thessalonians 2:3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,
We are continually warned not to be deceived, yet there will be many who are deceived:
Matthew 24:5 For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.
Then Jesus gives us a list of things that will happen. As you read the list in the verses below, we might be tempted to say, that is going on now. There is no doubt we are seeing a quickening of these things happening; but I don’t think it is even close to the period Jesus is talking about here. I don't mean close as far as "time"...I mean close in relation to the devastation that is coming.
Matthew 24:6-8 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Notice that Jesus says when all this happens it will be “the beginning of sorrows”. In other words, these things will be devastating compared to what we are used to, but we ain’t seen nothing yet.
Jesus just said in verse 8, “these are the BEGINNING of sorrows”…whether that marks the beginning of the Tribulation period, just after the start of it, or somewhere in the middle…..either way, He then tells us what will happen in that time to the elect:
Matthew 24:9-10 "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
Then we get another warning about the deception that will take place:
Matthew 24:11-12 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
Then Jesus tells us who will be saved:
Matthew 24:13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
Endure what? Endure persecution. Not be swayed by the false prophets. Not join in the lawlessness. Continue to love.
That’s not all!!....The Gospel MUST ALSO BE PREACHED!!!!
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
Are you saying we must preach the Gospel?.....YES!!!! What else would “earn” us the right to be persecuted?....It is the Gospel that offends!!!
Jesus gives us a very short over view of the End Times, and He also tells us that those days will be shortened for the elect. As I read this, along with the other verses about the end times I can’t help but think of two things: 1) I don’t see anywhere that indicated Christians will not be in the Tribulation Period and 2) Why would Jesus be telling the disciples that it will be shortened “for the elect” if the elect were not still there. This is where some might say, “well, there are still some getting saved during the trib.” I am sure there will be some getting saved during the trib, but where do we make the leap (from Scripture) that the “pre-trib saints” are gone?
Matthew 24:21-31 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened. 23 "Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 "Therefore if they say to you, 'Look, He is in the desert!' do not go out; or 'Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together. 29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.