These are perilous times. We look around us and see that the world has grown darker and more evil. We perceive the hearts of people growing hateful and cold. Governments are corrupt. The perverse rise up and censor and mock the righteous. God is relegated to a corner and told to be quiet. Christians are silent and say little for fear of ridicule or loss.
These are the days predicted by the scriptures in which God would end the evil of this world and bring the light of His kingdom to earth. The world doesn’t expect Jesus to come. In fact, they laugh at the idea. Even Christians have difficulty accepting that Jesus will come again, believing the lie of the scoffer who asks: “where is the promise of Jesus coming?”
Jesus promised to come again for those who love Him. We see in the prophets of the Old Testament, two arrivals of the Messiah; one for salvation, a second for judgment. We read the words of Paul who states that Jesus coming for His church is a doctrine that Jesus told hm personally.
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. hen we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. —1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
There are some who claim that the Rapture is not taught in the Bible. Okay, I will stipulate the term Rapture is not found, unless of course we read from the Latin translation of the Bible. When the church translated the original Greek into Latin, the word used for the term Paul describes as “caught up,” was “Rapturo.”
Setting aside the term Rapture, what would we call this event that Paul describes in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4:15-18 where those who love Jesus are “caught up?” Paul says that these believers in Jesus will be caught up with the dead to meet Jesus in the air. Is their any doubt about these words? What Paul wrote is not hard to understand but clear descriptions of the dead who believed in Jesus for their salvation before their death and the living who also love the Lord, rising to meet Jesus in the atmosphere of earth at a specific event.
We know that this is not the second coming of Christ because Jesus does not physically come to earth when believers are caught up. The believers rise to meet the Lord in the air.
At the second coming, Jesus touches down from the same location that He ascended to heaven; the Mount of Olives.
Now it came to pass, while Jesus blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. —Luke 24:51
Ascension to Heaven From the Mount of Olives
Just after the last supper and shortly before Jesus would go to the cross, He stated that after He was crucified, He would be raised to life three days later. Jesus remained on the earth for 40 days after His resurrection and confirmed that He was alive by more than 500 eye witnesses, none of whom ever wrote in contradiction that He had not risen from the dead. Jesus’ final instructions to His disciples directed them to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Father; the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. After showing Himself alive for 40 days, Jesus ascended back to heaven from the Mount of Olives.
Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, 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, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” hen they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. —Acts 1:9-12
It is interesting that Zechariah describes the return of the Messiah to the earth, a second time, also to the exact same location of Jesus departure, the Mount of Olives.
Behold, the day of the Lord is coming…in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. —Zechariah 14:3-4
Jesus is Returning to Fight the Battle of Armageddon
When Jesus returns to earth with His church, it will be to fight a great battle, described by the Book of Revelation Chapter 16: The Battle of Armageddon. This war will take place in a valley, north of Jerusalem called Megiddo.
With these things in mind, we understand that the coming of Jesus for His church is a day where only those who love the Lord will experience this event. At the return of Jesus, every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him.
Behold, Jesus is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. —Revelation 1:7
Zechariah describes those who pierced Jesus, the Jews, seeing Him at that time and realizing they had crucified their Messiah. They will mourn for Him as a Father mourns for His only Son.
And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. —Zechariah 12:10
Jesus is returning to establish His kingdom on earth.
David wrote in the second Psalm that God marvels that men on earth think they can oppose Him and somehow prevent His kingdom from arriving.
Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. —Psalms 2:1-4
God holds these who think they can prevent Him from accomplishing what He has determined, in “derision.” He ridicules their pathetic attempts as examples of the rebellion of men that has existed since he created men on the earth. When Jesus arrives the second time with those who love Him, He will come to The Valley of Megiddo north of Israel, where the armies of the world will be waiting for Him. Their desire is to destroy the Lord. Jesus will simply speak and every man will be slaughtered. The blood from that carnage will be five feet deep, across the entire two hundred miles of this valley.
In the Book of Acts, chapter 4, the disciples of Jesus were called into the Jewish council to give an account of their attempts to make Jesus know. They were instructed to cease speaking of Jesus or they would endure the wrath of the council. Peter and John stood before these men and explained to them that they would not be able to stand against the coming of God’s kingdom nor would they be able to prevent all that He had determined. Then Peter quotes from Psalms 2, regarding the coming of Jesus:
So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done. For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed. And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:
‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ.’ (Peter quoting David in Psalms 2)
“For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. 29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. —Acts 4:18-31
Immediately after Jesus comes for His church and all those who love Him are “caught up” to meet Him in the air, the world will be thrown into chaos for a time. A new leader will emerge out of a European nation that was once a part of the Old Roman Empire. He will speak with such power that people will wonder after him. A covenant of peace will be made between the Arab nations that surround Israel and grant the Jews seven years of safety. He will make it possible for the third temple to be built on the same temple mount site of the former temples in just three years. The Muslim places of worship will not be disturbed and both Jews and Muslims will have access to their places of worship in peace.
At the mid-point of the seven years, this leader, known in the Bible as the “beast,” will enter the new temple of the Jews. An image of the beast will be placed in the Holy Place. A command will go out that all the world should worship the beast as God. This will begin the last three and one half years of the Great Tribulation. During this time, two-thirds of the people on earth will die by twenty-one judgements from God.
It is a common misunderstanding that the entire purpose of the seven year Tribulation is intended for the nation of Israel and the Jews. This is the seventeenth week of Daniel’s prophecy for the Jews that is described in chapter 9. Sixty-nine of these seven year period have already been fulfilled, one seven year period remains. All of the events of the Last Days do not concern Jesus’ church, but only the Jews. For this reason, our understanding of the prophecies of the last days should be seen through the lens of Israel and the Jews, not as having a purpose for Jesus’ Church.
Until Jesus removes His church, the final week seventieth of Daniel cannot begin.
This Seventieth weekt is a time of God’s wrath on the kingdom of the beast and those who will worship him. Because this is a time of God’s wrath, those who have believed upon Jesus for their salvation cannot be here. The wrath of God for sins was already poured out upon Jesus at the cross and no wrath remains for those who have taken Jesus as their Savior. It is for this reason that Paul wrote a few verses after the text about being “caught up.” that “God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation.” We notice that this text is immediately after the scriptures which described Jesus” Church as being caught up.
Everyone who takes Jesus as their Savior and sincerely believes upon Him for their salvation, will be caught up at this event. Only those who have refused to believe in Jesus will be left behind. God has given the world 2,000 years to believe in Jesus so that no one would be left behind to endure the Great Tribulation.
Those who deny the teaching of 1 Thessalonians 4; that the church will be caught up, must explain why the text is so clear in describing people who love Jesus being removed from the earth before the wrath of the Great Tribulation begins. There are some who claim that Jesus church must first be purified before they can enter heaven. This doctrine adds the requirement of good works for salvation, to the already perfect and complete sacrifice Jesus’ made for believers on the cross. There is nothing more that any person must do to receive eternal life and be qualified to escape the judgements of the Great Tribulation, other than believe upon Jesus for salvation. All those who trust in Jesus are already purified by the blood of Christ which cleaned every person who believes from their sins.
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. —Colossians 2:8-10
It is a lie to insist that anyone must be purified by the Great Tribulation.
There will be many who will be saved during the Great Tribulation, but they will be killed by the beast for their faith in Christ. We see these individuals in heaven, seated under the altar of God. They cry out: “how long Lord before you judge and avenge our blood?”
When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed. —Revelation 6:9-11
If you cannot live for Jesus now, before we are caught up, how is it possible that you could live for Jesus during this time when your head will be removed for believing in Jesus as your Savior?
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. —Revelation 20:4
There are many more events that will take place which are centered around this time of Great Tribulation. For we who live on the earth now, the time of these events is upon us and the day to make a decision for Jesus is now. If you would like more information about these events, you can pickup up my new book at Amazon, called: Great Tribulation: Time Of The End,” on sale for “$1.99
The following is a free preview of Great Tribulation
Categories: Believers Removed before Tribulation, Believers saved during the Tribulation, Fulfilling Daniel's Chapter 9, Not Watching For The Rapture, Robert Clifton Robinson, The First Arrival of the Messiah, The Time and Season of Jesus Return, Watching for Jesus return