What The Rapture And Beginning Of The Tribulation Will Mean For People Left On Earth

What few consider in describing the events of the Rapture and the following seven year Tribulation, is what will happen the day the Rapture takes place on earth.

A fair estimate of the number of believers in Jesus who will be take from earth, is one billion. These persons currently hold millions of positions of authority in key places of government, corporations, and in virtually every aspect of human society.

When these believers are taken to heaven by Jesus, the world economy, governments, corporations, schools, business, and every part of human life, will collapse. There will be mass hysteria, panic, rioting, looting, murders and terrible violence all over the world.

Millions of people will die during those first few months, as the world is thrown into a darkness and chaos it has never known. Jesus described these events as unlike anything that has taken place on earth before, or will ever happen again.

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. ~Matthew 24:21

The New Testament describes the Rapture and the beginning of the seven year Tribulation, as a juncture in the plans and purposes of God. At the present time the world is living under an extreme time of God’s Grace. Since the time of Jesus’ death for all sins and His resurrection, every person born since then, has had the opportunity to hear about Jesus, turn from their sins, and receive salvation and eternal life.

When this time of Grace comes to an end, it will cease the day Jesus comes for His church. Paul described this event in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, and 1 Corinthians 15:51-58.

From Grace To Wrath

The seven year Tribulation is an appointed time of God’s wrath and judgment on the kingdom of satan and this world that has rejected Jesus. The Tribulation begins with the removal of those who have believed God and took Jesus as their Savior. At the moment ever true believer is gone from earth, God will begin His time of wrath that is described all throughout the Old Testament, “The Day of the Lord.”

Twenty-seven times, in both the Old and New Testaments, the Day of The Lord is always the Tribulation period:

  • Isaiah 2:5, 2:12,13:6,13:9, 58:13
  • Jeremiah 46:10
  • Ezekiel 13:5, 30:3
  • Joel 1:15, 2:1. 2:11, 2:31, 3:14
  • Amos 5:16, 5:18, 5:20
  • Obadiah 1:15
  • Zephaniah 1:2, 1:7
  • Zechariah 14:1
  • Malachi 4:5
  • Acts 2:20
  • 1 Corinthians 5:5
  • 2 Corinthians 1:14
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:1, 5:2
  • 2 Peter 3:10

Events prior to the Day of the Lord:

Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them… For that day (Tribulation) will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction. He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.

First, an admonition to not believe the false teaching of those who said the Tribulation, “that day, the Day of the Lord,” has already come. Paul clarifies: the Day of the Lord will not come until after an apostasia, a rebellion, a falling away of faith, has happened; and the man of sin, the antichrist, arrives. When these take place, then the Day of the Lord, the Tribulation, has begun.

I have been a believer in Jesus for 46 years. This is the first time in my life that I have seen the events Jesus and Paul described, that would take place just before the seven year Tribulation begins. Today people are giving up their faith in Jesus is greater numbers than at any other time of history. There are greater numbers of atheists, and critics of God and the Bible, than I have seen in the past four decades.

The great apostasia has begun, and it will lead the world into the seven year Tribulation.

Why Did The Thessalonians Have Questions About The Rapture And The Tribulation?

The reason we are able to hear and understand the doctrine of the Rapture and the Tribulation today is because the Christians at Thessalonica were very confused about these two events. The reason Paul wrote his two letters to the Thessalonians was to clear up their misunderstanding regarding the timing of the Tribulation and clarify that the Harpazo would happen first.

After Paul spent three weeks in Thessalonica teaching them the Gospel, the doctrine of Jesus’ return for His church before the Tribulation, and the judgment that was coming upon the whole world after the antichrist was introduced, false teachers came to Thessalonica and began to tell the believers that the Tribulation had already begun.

This caused terrible confusion in the church because Paul had made it clear that before the Tribulation began, Jesus would come and remove His church. If these false teachers were right, and the Tribulation had already begun, then what happened to their loved ones who had already died?

The persecution that the believers in Thessalonica were experiencing made them wonder if the Tribulation had already started. Their suffering was an indication to them that the difficulties Paul had described that would happen during the Great Tribulation were already beginning.

Paul writes two letters to clear up this misunderstanding and give the Thessalonians confidence that before the Tribulation begins, Jesus will descend from heaven, resurrect their dead loved ones, and harpazo the believers who were still alive, and take them all to heaven. This would happen before the man of sin, the antichrist, would be revealed to the world and the time of Tribulation would begin.

The evidence these things are true is found in the text itself that Paul wrote to the believers at Thessalonica. If we correctly divide all these texts as we should, and compare them with what John writes in the book of Revelation, we can see and understand that Jesus comes first for His church, then the antichrist is introduced, followed by the beginning of the Tribulation.

First, notice Paul’s comments regarding the suffering the Thessalonians are enduring:

We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering…And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. ~2 Thessalonians 1:4-8

It was their persecution, and the false teachers who told the Thessalonians that their suffering was because the Day of the Lord (Tribulation) had already begun, that caused these believers to have sorrow. If the Tribulation has started and Jesus has not come, what happened to our deceased loved ones?

In response to this, Paul writes 1 and 2 Thessalonians to clarify the events of the Rapture, the arrival of the antichrist, and the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation:

First, the events of the Rapture:

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

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. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up (harpazo) 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 4:13-18

If you study this text with the forethought that Paul is seeking to comfort people who are worried about their loved ones who may be lost, it becomes clear, exactly what Paul is saying.

I do not want you to be ignorant is a clue. The Thessalonians had become ignorant because false teachers had said that the reason they were suffering such persecution was because the Tribulation had already begun. If this was true, the Thessalonians were in great distress. Paul had taught them that before the Tribulation begins, Jesus would descend from heaven and take them and their resurrected loved ones back to heaven. If the Tribulation had already started and Jesus had not come, their loved ones were still dead and perhaps lost.

In the remaining text of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, the actual sequence of events is explained by Paul so the Thessalonians will have comfort, understanding that Jesus really will come first for their loved ones, and then the antichrist will be revealed, followed by the seven-year Tribulation.

Paul writes his second letter to the Thessalonians because of their questions regarding the timing of the Harpazo and the beginning of the Tribulation. As Paul begins his second letter, he starts with the context of the letter: The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet Him.

This first sentence: Now, dear brothers and sisters, let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him, this is about the Rapture.

The descriptions after this statement are about what happens after we are gathered to Jesus at the Rapture: Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us. Don’t be fooled by what they say.

The Rapture is not The Day of the Lord. Our gathering to meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4) is the Rapture.

The Day of the Lord is the Tribulation

First, Paul tells us what the subject is about: our gathering to meet the Lord in the air; then He tells us that the Day of the Lord, the Tribulation, cannot happen until there is a falling away first and the antichrist is revealed. They are two separate discussions.

For that day (The Day of the Lord, the Tribulation) will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed.

The coming of Jesus for His church is not included in the statement describing the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation.

Events prior to the Day of the Lord:

Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them… For that day (Tribulation) will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction. He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.

First, an admonition to not believe the false teaching of those who said the Tribulation, “that day, the Day of the Lord,” has already come. Paul clarifies: the Day of the Lord will not come until after an apostasia, a rebellion, a falling away of faith, has happened; and the man of sin, the antichrist, arrives. When these take place, then the Day of the Lord, the Tribulation, has begun.

The opening sentence which describes the Rapture, our gathering together with Jesus, is not included with the text that follows describing the Tribulation period. Some people have been confused, linking both together, and imagine that the coming of Jesus for His church will also not happen until after the antichrist arrives and the Tribulation begins. If you carefully study these texts and understand what Paul is seeking to clarify, what is going to happen becomes clear:

  1. Our gathering together with Jesus at the Rapture
  2. The falling away, the man of sin, the Tribulation

The opening sentence in 2 Thessalonians 1 starts with the overall context: the facts concerning the coming of Jesus for His church. This is separate from the remaining text after this, which is solely about the antichrist and the Tribulation:

Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you? And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. When the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming (Revelation 19).

This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth. ~2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

Christians Already In Heaven Before The Tribulation Begins

In Revelation, chapter 4, John writes to tell us about heaven, and he shows us the church that is already in heaven before the seven-year Tribulation begins, in chapter 6. Jesus said: “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” ~John 14:2-3

The next event we are looking for in Bible Prophecy is what Jesus was describing in this scripture, where He promised, “I will come again and receive you to myself.” This is the event that Paul described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: The Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Paul adds a few details to this text regarding Jesus coming for His church, in 1 Corinthians 15:52: It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.

This is not the Second Coming of Jesus to the earth, which will take place at the end of the seven-year Tribulation, as described in Revelation Chapter 19:11-14: Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses.

The timeline for the events of the last days: The Present Time—The Rapture—The Tribulation—The Return of Jesus—Battle of Armageddon—Thousand-Year Kingdom—Battle of Gog and Magog—New Heaven and Earth—The New Jerusalem.

At the coming of Jesus for His church, no one knows the exact day or hour. At the coming of Jesus to the earth with His church, we know the exact day: 1,260 days after the abomination of desolation. When the antichrist enters the Holy of Holies in the Third Temple, the false prophet will command the world to worship the beast as God. Jesus and Daniel defined this moment as the abomination of desolation. Daniel said from that moment we can start counting and 1,260 days later, Jesus will return at the Mount of Olives.

We get 1,260 days from Daniel’s prophecy of the seventieth week in chapter 9: Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city.~Daniel 9:24

70 weeks of years, times 360 days per year (the prophetic year), equals 490 years. The first 69 of these weeks of years are 483 years. There remains just one seven-year period of time that is Daniel’s seventieth week. If we calculate the number of days in seven years, using 360 days per year—the number of days that were in a year when Daniel wrote his prophecy in chapter 9—and multiply this by 3.5 years, we get 1,260 days.

The first sixty-nine weeks (483 years) were fulfilled at the arrival of Jesus at Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, 32 A.D. The final seven-year period left to complete the prophecy of seventy weeks will be fulfilled during the seven-year Tribulation: Then he (Antichrist) shall confirm a covenant (Peace Plan) with many for one week (7 Years); But in the middle of the week (3 1/2 Years) He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. (Temple Must be Rebuilt) And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate (See Matthew 24:15), Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate. ~Daniel 9:27

Calculating 1,260 days from the day when the abomination of desolation takes place at the Temple, which will be built at the beginning of the Tribulation, Jesus will return on this exact day. Revelation 12 confirms this by the inclusion of a scripture that describes Israel as the woman who is fleeing from the antichrist after he commits the abomination of desolation: Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. ~Revelation 12:6

Jesus warned the Jews who were in Jerusalem that when this happens, to flee to the mountains: “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” ~Matthew 24:15-16

In Revelation Chapter 11, we see that the two witnesses, Moses and Elijah, who will come to Israel during the Tribulation period, will be killed by the antichrist after they complete their witness to the Jews. The term of their witness at Jerusalem is 1,260 days, the last three and one-half years of the seven-year Tribulation: And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. ~Revelation 11:3

When Jesus does return physically to the earth, it will be at the end of the 7-year Tribulation period, and all those who belong to Him will be returning with Him.

The event where Jesus says that He is going to “come again and receive you,” in John Chapter 14, is the Rapture that Paul described in 1 Thessalonians and 1 Corinthians. Paul calls the Rapture a mystery: Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all (Die), but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  ~1 Corinthians 15:51-52

The Word mystery is translated from the original Greek word musterion, something that was not formerly known in times past. The Rapture and the church were not revealed to any of the prophets in the Old Testament. Paul said that this was only revealed to him at that time by the risen Jesus. This event is referred to as the Rapture today, but at the time Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians, he called it the Harpazo.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 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. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up (harpazo) 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 4:14-18

The timing of this event is seen here in chapter 4 of Revelation where John is told, “Come up here.”

The Church, In Heaven: Revelation 4:1

After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”

As chapter 4 begins in the book of Revelation, we see the Rapture taking place and the church is already present in heaven. Now, some might argue that I am taking liberties here that the text does not warrant. It is important to understand that John is being told to “come up here”; but as we examine what John sees and then writes for us to read, it is an account of believers in heaven, wearing the garments that only the redeemed church of Jesus can wear, singing a song to Jesus that He has redeemed us by His blood. Who, other than the church, can sing this song and wear these garments?

It is for reasons we find in the text that I believe John is being told to come up here—an illustration for us of the time when Jesus will arrive at the atmosphere of earth and call each one of us who love Him to “come up here.”

First, John writes after these things. Again the Greek meta-tauta, after the things of the church have concluded, in chapters two and three. Perhaps a subtle hint, but no less important. When Jesus is finished with the church, in chapters two and three, He calls us home, in chapter four. John is describing a church who is no longer on earth but now resides with Jesus in heaven. When will this happen? Only at the Rapture will the entire church be taken to heaven and be together. The dead in Christ will rise first; those alive will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. When Jesus comes for us, we all go to heaven with Him. Here at the beginning of Revelation 4, we find ourselves in heaven, where John is also seeing himself there with us after Jesus tells John, “Come up here.”

We do not find the church on earth again in chapters 4-18. It is not until chapter 19 that we see ourselves returning to earth from heaven with Jesus. While the Tribulation is taking place on earth, in Revelation chapters 6-18, no one who was saved before the Tribulation began is still on earth. The only believers who are found on earth during the Tribulation are those who were left behind but now turn to Jesus during the Tribulation and are saved. Revelation 20 describes these who are saved during the Tribulation as beheaded by the antichrist because they would not take his mark or worship him: 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

The purpose of the Great Tribulation is a time chosen by God, when He will pour out His wrath on the kingdom of the beast and those who worship him. The Tribulation is also the seventieth week of Daniel, when God will turn from the Gentile world to the Jews and save those who will turn to Jesus as the Messiah at that time. God has not appointed those who love Jesus to experience His wrath. Jesus saved us so that we would never see the judgment of God for our sins: For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. ~1 Thessalonians 5:9

The purpose of the Tribulation is for God to pour out His anger on all those who have trampled underfoot Jesus’ sacrifice and counted the blood of His atonement as nothing: Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? ~Hebrews 10:29

In chapter 3 of Revelation, Jesus promised the church at Philadelphia—the church that teaches the word of God, has a little strength, and has not denied Jesus—that they will not go through the Tribulation: Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. ~Revelation 3:10

As we begin chapter 4 of Revelation, John is told that he will be shown things that will happen on earth after the church is taken out of this world. Jesus described these events in Matthew’s Gospel: 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. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. ~Matthew 24:21-22

The Tribulation Begins: Revelation Chapter 6

Many people ask why the Tribulation is necessary. Some Christians believe that we must go through the Tribulation to be purified. The preterists state that there is no Tribulation because it happened in 70 A.D.

Full preterists argue that, in Matthew 16:28 where Jesus states that some of those who were there would not taste death until He comes again, it means that Jesus returned in the first century, and the judgment of the Tribulation happened in 70 A.D. when Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple.

It is impossible to place the events you will read in the book of Revelation, at 70 A.D. There was no mountain burning with fire that destroyed every mountain and island. There were no demon locusts that stung men with their tales, and no one could die for five months; there was no 70-pound hail recorded in history that fell on men in 70 A.D.

There is also the problem of the fixed periods of time that Revelation describes. What do we do with the specific numbers that are in Revelation: 1,000 years, 7 years, 144,000, and 1,260 days? If 1,000 is not 1,000, then what is it? No one could really know, because it is up to the interpretation of the one who reads it. The preterists’ view, in all forms, is not possible.

Revelation means exactly what it says. There is no mystery in these events. Jesus said they would only happen once during the history of the world and last only for a short time, but that if they were to go any longer, no one on earth would survive.

Jesus said: For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be. And unless the Lord had shortened those days (to 3 1/2 years), no one would survive. ~Mark 13:19-20

The Jewish historian, Josephus, described the destruction of Jerusalem and the murder of 1.1 million Jews, as well as another 97,000 Jews who were taken as captives of war in 70 A.D. Thousands of other citizens of Jerusalem were sold as slaves, with many more being dispersed all over the world. This entire event is recorded by Josephus in the “Book of Wars,” Book 5, Chapter 22, Sections 1-3.

The book of Revelation described two-thirds of the people on earth being killed by twenty-one judgments from God. Clearly, the Tribulation did not happen in 70 A.D. or any time after. This will become very clear to you by the time you finish this book.

Why Will There Be a Tribulation?

The Bible defines two purposes for the Tribulation: first, the salvation of the Jews; second, judgment for the world. The seven years are the seventieth week of Daniel Chapter 9:25-27 prophecy, that is applicable only to Israel and the Jews: Seventy weeks (490 years) are determined for your people and for your holy city. ~Daniel 9:24

The Tribulation is not for the church; it is for “your people,” the Jews—the angel told Daniel. The Tribulation, the seventieth week of Daniel, is a time determined by God for the salvation of the Jews.

The primary purpose of the seven-year Tribulation is for Israel to believe in Jesus as their true Messiah. Paul wrote that during the Tribulation, “all Israel will be saved.”

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved. ~Romans 11:25-26

The Old Testament predicted the rejection of the Messiah by the Jews. Isaiah wrote that when He arrives, Israel will despise and reject Him, hiding their faces from Him. They will not honor or respect the Messiah when He arrives.

Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?…He is despised and rejected by men…And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. ~Isaiah 53:1-3

The term “the arm of the Lord” is a Jewish idiom for Messiah. In the case of Isaiah’s prophecy, the Jews did not believe the report that salvation had arrived in the Messiah, Jesus.13

Zechariah predicted that the Jews would crucify their Messiah, and when they see Him coming to earth again and realize what they have done, they will mourn and grieve for Him as for an only son who has died.

They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for me as for a firstborn son who has died. The sorrow and mourning in Jerusalem on that day will be like the great mourning. ~Zechariah 12:10-11

Jesus scolded the Jews for not recognizing the time of their visitation by the Messiah. He told the leaders of Israel that because they rejected Him, their house (the Temple) would be left to them desolate.

“See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’” ~Luke 13:35

Now as Jesus drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” ~Luke 19:41-44

Because the Jews did not recognize or accept their Messiah when He came, Jesus pronounced judgment upon the nation. The city of Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Roman general, Titus.

Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” ~Matthew 24:2

The Roman soldiers so completely decimated the Temple in 70 A.D., that there was “not one stone left upon another,” just as Jesus had said would happen when He predicted this event in 32 A.D.

In chapter 12 of my Revelation commentary, we see the salvation of the Jews that will take place in the last half of the Great Tribulation. This is the primary purpose for the Tribulation period: to save all Israel. When the Rapture happens, the Time of the Gentiles will be over, and the time of Israel’s salvation will begin.

A secondary function of the Tribulation is to demonstrate the evil of satan and those who worship him, and destroy both in the Lake of Fire. God will permit satan to reign over the earth as a self-claimed god for seven years. His reign will manifest the true hearts of those who hate God, and they will worship and serve the beast.

The Tribulation was never intended for Jesus’ church. When Paul wrote his first letter to the Thessalonian church, he specifically told them that this time of wrath is not for those who love Jesus, because God has reserved us for salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10). The idea that we must be purified by tribulation—from the text of Acts 14:22, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God”—is describing the tribulations (troubles/trials) that come from the world, not the Tribulation that comes from Jesus called “the wrath of the Lamb.”

There Is A Stunning Difference Between Tribulation From The World, And Tribulation From God

Jesus said that in this world we will have tribulation, but He has overcome the world (John 16:33). Jesus did not say that in this world the believer will have to endure the Tribulation that comes from God. The last three and one-half years of the Great Tribulation describes the wrath of God being poured out on earth. Nearly every person who decides to trust in Jesus at that time will be beheaded by the beast (Revelation 20:4). These believers are people who did not believe in Jesus before the Rapture, but decide to trust in Him after the Tribulation begins. When millions of Christians disappear from earth at the Rapture, the world will know that Jesus’ promise to return for His church and Paul’s description of this event in 1 Thessalonians 4 are true. A great number will turn to Christ during the Tribulation, but it will be at great cost—the loss of their lives.

The idea that Christians must go through the Tribulation in order to be purified of sin and be ready for the return of Jesus is impeached by the New Testament. Paul wrote that we are complete in Christ Jesus. Paul wrote extensively that all of our righteousness comes from Jesus, and those who trust in Him have no record of sin accounted to them.

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 2:9-10

And such were some of you (once sinners). But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. ~1 Corinthians 6:11

Jesus said that those who trust in Him are “clean,” and there is no need of any further purification:

Jesus comes to wash the feet of the disciples. Peter protests: “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.” Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!” Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.” For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.~John 13:8-11

The moment any person trusts in Jesus for their salvation, after repenting from their sins they are clean, holy, sanctified, and fully ready for heaven. If Christians must go through the Tribulation in order to be purified of sin and ready for heaven, this is a works doctrine that places salvation in the hands of the worker, not in Christ. Salvation is a free gift. We cannot earn it by being more pure or more worthy. When we trust in Jesus for our salvation, we are fully ready for heaven at that moment.

As we begin chapter six in the book of Revelation, the first three and one-half years of the Tribulation is set into motion by the first seal that is opened by Jesus: Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. ~Revelation 6:1-2

The peace is short; after three and one-half years, when Jesus opens the second seal, the Great Tribulation begins: When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. ~Revelation 6:3-4

We saw Jesus take this scroll from the Father, in chapter five. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus described these final three and one-half years as a period on earth unlike any that has taken place before: 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. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved. ~Matthew 24:21-22

The Tribulation Period is divided into two sections: the first three and one-half years is called the Tribulation; the second three and one-half years is called the Great Tribulation. It is the second three and one-half years that chapter six of Revelation is primarily describing. During this time, two-thirds of the people who live on earth will die by twenty-one judgments from God. This Great Tribulation begins when Jesus opens the first of seven seals in the Title Deed to earth. It will continue until chapter 18 of Revelation is concluded.

The beginning of the seven years is described by the book of Daniel as the seventieth week of Daniel. Chapter nine of Daniel describes seventy weeks of years (490); the first sixty-nine (483), fulfilled at the arrival of the Messiah on earth. Jesus completed this prophecy on the day He rode into Jerusalem on April 6, 32 A.D. There remains just one seven-year period of time (one week) in Daniel’s seventy weeks.

Chapter six of Revelation begins the last seven years of Daniel’s prophecy. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 describes the event that will trigger the start of the seven years: the Rapture of Jesus’ church. Revelation chapters four and five detail events taking place in heaven during the first three and one-half years of the Tribulation on earth. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 describes the next event: the revealing of the antichrist that will take place immediately after Jesus removes His church from the earth. Jesus describes the entire term of the seven years in Matthew Chapter 24. The revealing of the antichrist is triggered by the opening of the first seal for the Title Deed of the earth, that we saw in Jesus’ hand in Revelation Chapter 5.

At the midpoint of the seven-year Tribulation, the antichrist will enter the Temple that has been rebuilt at Jerusalem and go into the Holy of Holies. The false prophet will erect a statue of the antichrist there, and he will command the world to worship the antichrist as God. Both Daniel and Jesus describe this event as the abomination of desolation.

What Will Happen During The Tribulation:

In the New Testament, we learn that greater is He who is in us, Jesus, than satan who is in the world. The devil has no power over those who love Jesus in the time before the Tribulation begins. After the church has been taken from the earth (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), satan, working through the antichrist, will have the authority to hurt and kill any believer who professes their love for Jesus. John writes in Revelation 13:7 that authority has now been given to the beast over every believer from every tribe, tongue, and nation: You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He (Jesus) who is in you is greater than he (satan) who is in the world. ~1 John 4:4

For this reason, it is not a good idea to wait until the Tribulation begins before making a commitment to Jesus. If a person cannot live for Jesus now, before He comes for His church, it is certain that a person will not be able to die for Him during the Great Tribulation. Everyone who professes faith in Jesus after the Rapture will be beheaded by the antichrist: Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their foreheads or their hands. ~Revelation 20:4

For the rest of the people on earth who will not turn to Jesus for their salvation, they all worship the beast and their names are not written in the Book of Life.

Revelation 13:8-10

And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered before the world was made. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. Anyone who is destined for prison will be taken to prison. Anyone destined to die by the sword will die by the sword. This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently and remain faithful.

John writes a word of encouragement here for those who do trust in Jesus during the Great Tribulation—to not lose their patience in waiting for the end of the final three and one-half years. On the last day of the 1,260 days, Jesus will return with those saved before the Tribulation began; and everyone who loves the Lord will enter the one thousand-year kingdom of the Messiah, where there will be perfect righteousness and peace.

Those who are saved and have managed to hide from the wrath of the beast will need encouragement at this point. Every day of their lives will be a tremendous struggle to find food and water and to not place themselves in harm’s way so as to be killed by the beast.

It is my opinion, based upon the text of Revelation, that there will be very few who are not beheaded. There is every indication in these scriptures that the beast will hunt down and behead all those he finds who love Jesus and will not take the mark of the beast and worship him.

Revelation 13:11-12

Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

As the antichrist is an imitation of the true Christ, here we see the false prophet who is the third part of the unholy trinity (satan; the antichrist, his son; and the false prophet). He will lead the apostate church that will exist during the Great Tribulation.

Daniel gives us insight into the beast, who will rule as the king over the whole earth during the final three and one-half years of the Great Tribulation. Because Daniel described the beast as having no regard for the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, this description defines the beast as an apostate Jew: Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. ~Daniel 11:36-37

The desire of women has been interpreted by some as an indication that the beast will be a homosexual. The best translation of this term is that he will not regard the desire of women, which was to be chosen as the mother to give birth to the Messiah. We see this expressed by Mary in her declaration in Luke 1:46-49: And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.”

The antichrist, in the words of Daniel’s prophecy, will not respect or honor Jesus the Messiah. Instead, he will blaspheme and curse Christ and those who love Him.

Daniel continues his description of the beast by telling us that he will be a military genius, able to convince and gather the armies of the world to the Valley of Megiddo to wait for the returning Jesus. There the forces of the world will seek to destroy Jesus and His church, who are described by Revelation Chapter 19, and coming from heaven as a great army: And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. ~Revelation 19:14

Jesus will simply speak the word, and all of these armies will be destroyed in an instant; the blood of this carnage will be to the depth of a horse’s bridle (5 feet) for the entire 200-mile length of the Valley of Megiddo.

Notice the description of the beast by Daniel Chapter 11: for he will not regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things. Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain. ~Daniel 11:8-39

Here we find two great proofs that the church has already been taken out of the earth by Jesus, having been Raptured before the Tribulation began. How could we come with Jesus from heaven to earth, unless we had already been taken by Jesus from the earth previously?

The strategy for this final Battle of Armageddon is laid out in Daniel 11:40-47: At the time of the end the king of the South (Egypt) shall attack him (Antichrist); and the king of the north (Russia) shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. he (Antichrist) shall also enter the glorious land (Israel), and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon (Jordan). he shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. he shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. but news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. and he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.

At the end of the seven-year Tribulation, the Antichrist is headquartered in Babylon (Iraq). The King of the South (Egypt), along with the North African nations of Libya and Ethiopia, launch a rebellion against the troops of the antichrist who are in Israel. They are hoping to knock out the antichrist’s forces who are in Jerusalem.

While the antichrist is in Babylon, he hears a report that Egypt, Ethiopia, and Libya are rebelling. The King of the North (Russia) also comes to assist the Egyptians and the North Africans in their attack of the antichrist’s armies. The Russians will deceive the King of the South, as they are coming to help the antichrist. Russian forces will descend from the North into Egypt and carry away Egypt’s treasures.

Today we see that the alliance between Russia and China is increasing rapidly. The King of the South (Egypt), Libya, and Ethiopia are coming up towards Israel. The King of the North (Russia) is coming down towards Israel. China, Japan, India, and other armies are coming East towards Israel. The antichrist departs Babylon in an effort to stop the rebellion. He sets up his tents between the Mediterranean Sea and the Temple in the Jezreel Valley of Megiddo.

Suddenly, as the antichrist moves south, he hears a report that a 200 million-man army is approaching from the East. This news causes him a great deal of concern. Coming back to Israel, the antichrist is trying to keep the territory that he has already conquered. Russia coming down, Egypt coming up—all converging on the Valley of Megiddo. For a detailed description of these events, see the book of Daniel, chapter 11.

These are the events predicted by Isaiah Chapter 63, verses 1-2. Jesus will fulfill this event when He returns with His church from heaven at the end of the seven-year Tribulation. He will touchdown at the Mount of Olives, and then move up to the waiting forces gathered in the Jezreel Valley to fight the Battle of Armageddon.

The prophet Zechariah describes the Battle of Armageddon in his prophecy:

For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, The houses rifled, And the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the LORD will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south. ~Zechariah 14:2−4

We know that Jesus will return to the same place He departed from, the Mount of Olives, as foretold by the angels who stood nearby when He ascended back to heaven, as recorded in the book of Acts: And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as Jesus 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 return in the same way you saw Him go into heaven.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. ~Acts 1:10-12

John’s description of the false prophet, in Revelation 13:11-12, is critical to our understanding, for it will be through this man that the beast will receive worship from the inhabitants of earth: Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

John said that the power (two horns) of the false prophet will be like a lamb, appearing as holy and righteous, but his speech will be like a dragon, the authority of satan himself. All of his intentions will be to exalt the beast, even as the Holy Spirit seeks to exalt the Father and the Son. The power behind the church is the Holy Spirit; the power behind the beast will be the spirit of satan in the false prophet.

When the beast is killed, like Jesus, he will be raised to life again after three days. When this event happens, the false prophet will tell the world that the beast is God and they should all fall in worship before him as their God.

Revelation 13:13-14

He (the false prophet) performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.

When the disciples of Jesus asked Him what the signs were of His return and the last days, He began with the words: Make sure no one deceives you: Now as Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?” And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you.” ~Mark 13:3-5

Jesus was speaking to Jews about the time of Great Tribulation that will affect them and their nation. Here we see why Jesus warned the Jews to be careful and not be deceived. John writes in Revelation 13:13-14 that the false prophet will perform great signs, even to make fire come down from heaven, as Elijah the prophet had done. In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus spoke about this very thing: For false Christ’s and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand. ~Mark 13:22-23

If we follow people who perform signs and wonders, it is possible that we might be deceived. If we follow men who teach the word of God from the Bible, and they teach us what it says, we will be made wise. Christians are not to follow signs; signs will follow those who believe: And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;  they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” ~Mark 16:17-18

The people who will be alive during the Great Tribulation, many will be deceived by the miracles the beast will perform, and they will obey the command of the false prophet to worship the beast as God: And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. ~Revelation 13:13-14

Everyone who obeys the command of the false prophet and worships the beast will be cast into the Lake of Fire at the last judgment, with the beast, the false prophet, and satan: Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. ~Revelation 19:20

The Lake of Fire is the true hell that is described in the Bible. The word Hades is often used in scripture to describe the place where the unsaved are held in prison at the center of the earth to await their judgment. At the end of the one thousand-year reign of Jesus on earth, all those who are being held in the prison of hell will be raised to stand before the Great White Throne, of Revelation Chapter 20:11. They will be found guilty of rejecting the salvation that God offered them for their sins and will all be cast alive into the Lake of Fire.

When a person will not believe in Jesus for their salvation, God turns these persons over to a debased mind and they are unable to discern the deceit of satan. They will believe the lies of satan and be deceived by the miracles the beast performs. Because they would not receive the love of God through Jesus’ death for them, God will send them a strong delusion (error) so that they will believe the lies of satan and be lost: The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. ~2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

This is why it is critical to turn from our sins now, before the Tribulation begins, and trust Jesus for our salvation. If we wait until after the Rapture takes place and the Tribulation begins, we will not be able to discern the lies of the beast, and we will be deceived and worship him. This will seal our eternal fate, and we will be lost forever. Today is the day of salvation while we still have time and can understand the Gospel of Christ. Today is the day to turn from our sins and receive Jesus as our Savior.

Today Is the Day To Receive Jesus

We who love Jesus are only here on earth for a short time as visitors. Our real home is in heaven, where our names are already written and all of our hopes and dreams will be fulfilled once we arrive at our eternal home.

If you are reading this essay, and you don’t know for certain whether you are going to be a part of heaven, that issue can be settled in just a moment. If you are sorry for your sins, and you sincerely want to be forgiven and make your relationship with God right, all you must do is tell God how you feel and He will hear you:

Dear Lord Jesus, please forgive all my sins. I am sorry for my sins, Lord, and I want to be forgiven and make my relationship with God right at this moment. Please cleanse me of all my sins and come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior. Help me to live for you all the days of my life, and give me the hope of eternal life at this moment as I trust in you. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

According to the authority of God’s word, if you prayed that prayer and meant it, your sins no longer exist and Jesus has come to live inside you right now. Read the Bible every day, pray and tell God all that is on your heart every day, join a Bible-teaching church where people love each other, wait and watch for the return of Jesus every day, trust Jesus until the end of your life—and you will be saved. The moment your body dies, your spirit will exit your body and be taken immediately to heaven, where you will live forever in a perfect world.

All the events you read here, are from the book of Revelation, and written so that you might know what is about to take place. On Monday, September 6 at 6pm at Jerusalem, the Feast of Trumpets begins and continued until 6pm on September 8. This is the time that the return of Jesus for His church is likely to occur, if Jesus is coming for us this year. Every year during the Feast of Trumpets we look for the coming of Jesus. We don’t know if this year the Lord will come for those who love Him, so we must continually watch and live for Him every day.

Today is the day to turn from your sins to Jesus, and receive the assurance that when Jesus comes for His church, you will be ready. You become ready by praying the prayer above in all sincerity, and continue to follow Jesus for the rest of your life.

For more information on the Feast of Trumpets and the Rapture, see my book “Trumpets and the Rapture”



Categories: Believers Removed before Tribulation, Believers saved during the Tribulation, Building the Third Temple, Expecting Jesus Return, Forgetting the Rapture, Living For Jesus, Messianic Prophecies, No man knows the day or the hour, Not Watching For The Rapture, Rapture during Rosh Hashanah, Robert Clifton Robinson, The Battle of Armageddon, The Book of Revelation Commentary, The Last Days, The Rapture of the Church, The Sound of a Trumpet, The Tribulation Period, The Wrath of God, Watching for Jesus return

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2 replies

  1. Praise the Lord for this insightful message on the Rapture and the Tribulation to come! I’m so looking forward to and keeping watch for our Lords return! 🙏🏻 Praise God our redemption is drawing nigh!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • To Amy Roome:
      Yes, I agree! I believe the big kickoff to the Rapture watch was the Rev. 12 Sign
      on Sept. 23, 2017. This sign in the Heavens was predicted by John of Patmos
      2000 years ago!. Bible prophecy came true!! God Bless You!
      Steve Rodak

      Like

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