The good news is that Jesus is coming soon. The bad news is that things will get worse before they get better.
1 Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed–without remedy.
Whether it’s resisting the Gospel or insisting that things must happen a certain way, it’s not my way or your way that matters, but HIS WAY. I’m a Pro-millennialist; whatever Jesus wants to do, I’m for it! I see validation for a pre-tribulation rapture, a mid-tribulation rapture, and a post-tribulation rapture. There simply isn’t enough concrete evidence in Scripture to give a definitive answer. I know which one I WANT to be true: The pre-tribulation rapture. I see it in the statement about the Restrainer being removed from the earth to give the antichrist the freedom to maneuver. 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7
It is also true that the antichrist could function in an official capacity without revealing himself as the world leader until the temple in Jerusalem is built. We find in Daniel 9:27, which Jesus references in Matthew 24:15 and Paul explains in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, that the building of the temple will begin when a peace agreement is brokered by the antichrist between the Muslims and the Jews; it marks the seven years of tribulation and begins the countdown to Christ’s Return (see Daniel 9:27). The temple will take 3.5 years to build, at which time the antichrist will set up his throne in the temple and rule the world from there for 3.5 years. His “Coming Out” has been suggested to mean that the rapture will happen at this time and the Restrainer removed.
The only real evidence for a rapture of any kind is in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, at which time both the dead in Christ and those alive at Christ’s Return will join Him in the air as He goes to the Mount of Olives (see Acts 1:10-11 and Zechariah 14:4) for His Victory over His enemies (Revelation 19:19-21) and His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (see Zechariah 14:5b, 9, and 16-17).
As we can see, there are good arguments for each case. It doesn’t really matter. When our time comes to stand for Christ, WE WILL BE READY. Christ will have made us so. There is an assumption here: That we all are reading His Word and studying the Scriptures to learn all we can, that we are meeting together regularly–well, as regularly as we can at the present time–and discussing matters, filling out timelines and prophecies for each other, and holding each other accountable unto the Lord, learning all we can about our future home, and preparing to give the ultimate sacrifice if all upon to do so.
The best verse for us today is:
They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death. Revelation 12:11
In order for every person to have the choice to accept and receive Christ or to reject Him requires all of us being willing to take that choice to them. If one rejects the Gospel and kills us, we can pray for others who might be watching that the Spirit would convict their hearts because of our faith and they would repent and come to Christ–maybe even our executioners! The secret to not being afraid is to know what is in store for all of us. That subject is for a future post.
If you are scared of the future, of dying, of pain, or the possibility of watching family members being persecuted for their faith, then I urge you to cry out to God to show you the secrets of heaven and His Plan (they are hidden in His Word), and for Him to comfort you with His Presence, His Participation, His Protection, and His Power in your life. If we all seek Him in this manner, we all will experience REVIVAL in our lives!
Abba, the future is terrifying if we envision it without You in it. But, You are the KEY to our future! One way or the other, we will get to stand in Your presence and worship You forever–as well as serve You in Your temple, reign with You by managing Your estate (the new earth), and exploring Your new universe! Exciting times await us, Lord. May we find out all we can and be ready for the day of testing. I take great courage from Your promise to the church at Smyrna when You told them, “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.” Revelation 2:10 May I be as brave as Antipas, who gave his life for your name’s sake (Revelation 2:13). I love You, Lord, with my heart and with my life. Amen! Come, Lord Yeshua! (Revelation 22:20).