Lessons


Session 1



The Millennium

 

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Christ predicted His return to this earth over two-thousand years ago. Along with that prediction, He spoke of a time when He would return to rule the earth for 1,000 years. The prediction of the 1,000 year or millennial reign of Christ is most explicitly found in the book of Revelation chapter 20 verses 1 through 3. The question that faces interpreters of these predictions is:  When and what is the millennial reign of Christ and how does it fit in with His return for His people?

 

The Millennium is the starting point for understanding end-time prophecy.  Many people will claim to have a certain "millennial" position such as pre-millennial or post-millennial.  These descriptions explain the relation between Christ's return to earth and the millennial reign as predicted in scripture.

 

The Millennium


The Millennium is the event predicted in scripture when Jesus Christ will rule this earth for 1,000 years. There are three theories about how these scriptural predictions are interpreted.

 

  • A-millennial View

  • Post Millennial View

  • Pre-Millennial View

     

We will discuss each of these and what they mean, but it is important to note that none of these views is universal or definitive. If you find two people that claim to be "A-Millennialists," you will most likely find that they will still have significant differences in their interpretations. The descriptions that follow are typical descriptions of those that hold each of these views.

 

 

A-Millennial View


The first view is called the A-Millennial View. The “Ah” in the Greek language is a form of negation, so the name “A-Millennial” means “No Millennium.” The view is probably one of the most prevalent views today, particularly in the scholarly realm. Because of the problems of interpreting all the prophecies surrounding the return of Christ, many have chosen, to view the millennium as figurative or symbolic. They also view most of the book of Revelation in the same way. Those who hold to this view see the millennium as prophetic of Heaven. They believe the world will get progressively worse until Christ returns.

 

 

Post-Millennial View


The Post Millennial view was much more prominent in previous generations than it is now. It is sometimes called the Preterist View. Those who interpret the millennium in this way see most of the book of Revelation as historical. They see the millennium as beginning at the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. They see the millennium as symbolic of the age we are living in right now. Christ does not rule in a physical sense, but in a spiritual sense. They see the world evolving in to a “new heaven and a new earth.” Things will continually get better until Christ comes to reign personally. By the way, they typically see the millennium as a figurative amount of time and not as a literal 1,000 years.

 

Postmillennial View

 

 

Pre-Millennial View


The third view is called the Pre-Millennial View and it is probably the most well-known and accepted among most people that have an opinion. It is the most literal interpretation of the scripture and views the millennium as a literal 1,000 years. It sees the millennium as a future event preceded by a seven year period commonly known as the Tribulation Period. It is during this seven year time when God will judge the world and set up His millennial kingdom.

 

The Pre-Millennial View is depicted by the illustration below. The Millennial reign of Christ will take place right after Christ returns to this earth. After the millennium it is prophesied that God will create a new heaven and a new earth. We are told in Revelation 21:1:

 

(NIV) 1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." 5 He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

  

Pre-Millennial View

 

The millennial reign will be preceded by a seven year period prophesied in Daniel 9:27. This time has most commonly been called the "Tribulation Period."  It is a name derived from scripture because the Bible does indicate that during this time there will be an intense period of trouble or tribulation.  There is some question about how the return of Christ will fit against this seven years, but we’ll address that later.

 

This seven year period we said was most commonly called the Tribulation Period, but a more accurate, scriptural name would be Daniel’s 70th Week. Daniel chapter 9 records future events about a ruler who is to come – whom we know as the Antichrist. In verse 27, we are told...

 

Daniel 9:27 (NIV) He will confirm a covenant with many for one `seven.' In the middle of the `seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.

 

We will get deeper into this later. For now we see that this seven year period will precede the millennium. According to the Pre-Millennial View of things, all of these events are still in the future. We are still in a period commonly called the “church age.”

 

In Revelation 20:1-10, we have quite a detailed description of this thousand year period. This is why many hold to a more literal interpretation of the millennium, and this is the position of this study.

 

Rev 20:1-10 (NIV) And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. {2} He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. {3} He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.{4} I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. {6} Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. {7} When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison {8} and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth Gog and Magog--to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. {9} They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. {10} And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (emphasis added)

 

An important point to note is that these three views of the millennium not only represent a difference in viewpoint of end-time prophesy, but more importantly they reflect a difference in interpreting scripture.

 

There is a fancy word that means the science of interpreting scripture. It is the word “Hermeneutics” (Her-man-new-tics). It simply means “understanding scripture.”

The Apostle Paul wrote…

 

2 Cor 1:13 (NIV) For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand…

 

God gave us His word so that we might understand His purposes. But how do we interpret scripture? These different views of the millennium reveal that there are two basic ways to interpret the Bible.

 

Hermeneutics

 

The first is the allegorical method. The allegorical method sees everything as a symbol of something else. Both the A-Millennial and Post-Millennial views are allegorical interpretations. They see most prophecies as symbolic. The problem with an allegorical interpretation is that ultimately the reader determines what the scripture teaches because he has to decide what each symbol means. 

 

Opposed to the allegorical method is the “Face Value Method.” This method takes scripture at its most literal, customary meaning. Even a “face value method” recognizes that sometimes the scripture obviously is meant to be taken symbolically – especially in prophesy. But in those instances it is still a face value method in that a symbolic interpretation is clearly taught and often explained. The result is that rather than the reader making a determination of what is being taught, the reader simply discovers what the scripture teaches as it is taken in its most literal sense.

 

Session 2


Daniel's 70th Week

 

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Session 1 ended with the explanation of how the three views of the millennium reflect our understanding of interpreting scripture.  One can approach scripture from an allegorical viewpoint, or a literal - face-value approach. This study takes a literal or face-value approach to interpretation.  There are five keys to a face-value hermeneutic or interpretation.

 

5 Keys

 

The first is to accept the meaning of scripture in its most normal, natural, and customary sense. Number two is to take scripture in context. Any individual or group of individual scriptures can be made to say almost anything. The setting and ideas of the passages surrounding the scripture must be taken into account. Number three: compare scripture with scripture.

 

Someone once said that scripture is its own best interpreter. Number four: before truth is realized, all seeming scriptural contradictions must be harmonized. If the proper interpretation is found in a scriptural passage, it will harmonize with all other scripture. Number five: watch for near/far prophetic applications in scripture. 

 

Matthew quoted Isaiah's prophecy to King Ahaz...

 

Isaiah 7:14 (NIV) Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. 15 He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right. 16 But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.

 

This prophecy was given to Ahaz and was fulfilled in his time.  But Matthew quotes this prophecy...

 

Matt 1:22 (NIV) All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel--which means, "God with us."

 

There were several hundred years between these two fulfillments.  Therefore, it was fulfilled in the near future in King Ahaz's time and in the far future when Jesus was born.  This is a common occurrence in Biblical prophecy. So, the fifth key is to watch for possible near/far applications to prophecy.

 

Understanding Prophecy

 

We start with a proper scriptural interpretation (Hermeneutic), and then we must understand that end-time prophecy revolves around five concepts as depicted in the pillars in the illustration below:

 

Pillars of Second Coming

 

These five concepts are 1) Daniel's 70th Week, 2) The Salvation of Israel, 3) The Rapture, 4) God reclaiming rule of this earth, and 5) The Battle of Armageddon.  These are five prophetic markers that delineate end-time events.

 

Daniel's 70th Week

 

The first pillar of end-time understanding is Daniel's 70th Week.  This week is described in Daniel.

 

Dan 9:24 (NIV) Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.

 

These "sevens" are seven years. The KJV called them "weeks" of years. Therefore there are 70 sets of seven years prophesied. Daniel tells us that the 70 "sevens" are decreed regarding two things: 1) your people (Israel) and 2) your holy city (Jerusalem).  Then he lists six goals for establishing this period of years.

  1. To finish transgression

  2. To put an end to sin

  3. To atone for wickedness

  4. To bring in everlasting righteousness

  5. To seal up vision and prophecy

  6. To anoint the Most Holy

In the next verse he elaborates on this 70 "sevens" of years...

 

Daniel 9:25 (NIV) Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.

 

  • (7 sevens + 62 sevens = 69 sevens)

  • 69 X 7 years = 483 Years

 

In 445 B.C. Artaxerxes Longimanus issued a decree to rebuild Jerusalem (cf. Neh 2:5).  From 445 B.C. to Jesus Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem = 483 years exactly!  Daniel continues...

 

Daniel 9:26 (NIV) After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him. (emphasis added)

  

  • 69 sevens + 1 seven = 70th seven = Daniel's 70th Week

 

We are told in verse 27 that the "ruler who will come" will confirm a covenant with many for one "seven."  Most agree that this "ruler" refers to the Antichrist.  Therefore the 70th Week of Daniel will begin by the signing of a seven-year covenant by Antichrist with many.  Most also agree that this will be a covenant of  peace between Israel and the "many."  Isaiah writes of this covenant.

 

Isaiah 28:15 (NIV) You boast, "We have entered into a covenant with death, with the grave we have made an agreement. When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by, it cannot touch us, for we have made a lie our refuge and falsehood our hiding place."

 

 “69 Weeks are past, and only the 70th week remains before ‘everlasting righteousness’ can be brought to Israel and the most Holy One will be anointed, reclaiming rule over the earth from Satan.”  (Van Kampen, Robert, The Sign, 1999, page 91).

 

Daniel's seventieth week is also referred to in the book of Revelation.  Although the prophecies do not explicitly mention Daniel the correlation is unmistakable.

 

Rev 13:4-5 (NIV) Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?" {5} The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months.

 

  • 42 months = 3 ½ years

  • 3 ½ years = “the middle of the seven”

 

Rev 12:6 (NIV) The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.

 

  • 1,260 Days = 3½ Years

 

Rev 12:14 (NIV) The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach.

 

  • Time (1 Year) + Times (2 Years) + ½ Time (½ Year) = 3½ Years

 

The prophet Daniel elaborates further on these time periods...

 

Dan 12:11-12 (NIV) From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. {12} Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.

 

  • 1,290 days = [ 1,260 days + 30 days ]

  • 1,335 days = [ 1,290 days + 45 days ]

 

Daniel prophesies of "the middle of the seven" which is 3½ years or 1,260 days. Then at the end of the book he mentions that from time that the Abomination of Desolation is set up - which is at the "middle of the seven," there will be 1,290 days - this is 30 days more than the 3½ years.  Then he says that "blessed is the one" who reaches the 1,335 days.  This is 45 more days than the 1,260 + 30.  Each of these periods have a significant point of reference.  Rev. 13:5 tells us that he will rule for 42 months or 1,260 days.  Daniel 9:27 states the Abomination of Desolation will be set up until the "end is poured out on him." and last, we are told that one is blessed if he reaches the 1,335 days.  Therefore, we can put together this picture.  The Antichrist will rule until the end of the 70th week or 1,260 days.  Thirty days later he will meet his "end."  The book of Revelation tells us that his "end" will be at Armageddon.  The next event will be the establishment of the millennial reign of Christ which we can surmise will happen 45 days later.  This is depicted in the chart below...

 

70th Week of Daniel

 

The final event that takes place during Daniel's 70th week is the salvation of all Israel. The Apostle Paul states...

 

Rom 11:25-28 (NIV) I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. {26} And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. {27} And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.   (emphasis added)

 

The prophet Zechariah records that by the this time there will only be 1/3 of Israel left!

 

Zechariah 13:8-9 (NIV) "In the whole land," declares the LORD, "two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it. {9} This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, 'They are my people,' and they will say, 'The LORD is our God.'"

 

Now we can modify our chart to include this last event of Daniel's 70th Week...

 

Israel Saved

 

We are left with two time periods that need a more detailed explanation - that is the 30 day period and 45 day period following the 70th Week.

 

30 and 45 Days

 

These periods will be covered in detail in the next two sessions, but we can classify them as follows:

 

  • 30 Days = Reclamation Period

  • 45 Days = Restoration Period

 

Session 4


The 45 Days Before the Millennium

 

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We ended the last session dealing with the pouring out of God's final wrath in the form of the seven bowls found in the book of Revelation chapter 16. The 30 day period ends with two final events as depicted below:

 

30 Day Reclamation

 

 

The Bema Judgment

 

By this time, all of the saints of God will be in heaven having been rescued from the earth in the "rapture." While the Salvation of Israel and God's final wrath are happening on earth, in heaven the saints of God will be undergoing what the scripture calls the "judgment seat of Christ."  The word "judgment seat" is the Greek word "bêma," therefore this judgment is often called the "bema judgment." It is foretold by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians...

 

2 Cor 5:10 (NIV) For we must all appear before the judgment seat [bêma] of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

 

The timing of this judgment is revealed in Revelation 11:15-18 as being after the seventh trumpet has sounded.

 

Rev 11:15-18 (NIV) The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever. {16} And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, {17} saying: "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.{18} The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great-- and for destroying those who destroy the earth.

 

There are three prophetic events mentioned in this passage.  First, the seventh trumpet is sounded. Second, it is proclaimed that God has once again begun to reign on earth. And third, the time has come for judging the dead and for rewarding God's servants."  So, the judgment seat of Christ will be taking place during this time.

 

We studied that there are 1,260 days for the rule of Antichrist and 1,290 days until the destruction of Antichrist. The question is, what happens to stop the rule of Antichrist during the 30 days? Well, we have seen that Jesus, Himself, will return and lead the Israelites in exile back into Jerusalem and then reclaim rule from Antichrist. With Jesus' return, the power of Antichrist is limited.

We are told this in the book of 2 Thessalonians.

Dictionary - anaireo

 

2 Thess 2:8 (NIV) And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.

 

The word destroy in the original language does not mean to annihilate, but to render ineffective.

 

Therefore, as Jesus appears on the scene, the Antichrist's power is rendered ineffective. In fact, the only two actions we have recorded that the Antichrist will take during the 30 days, is to kill the two witnesses and to gather together the nations for the battle of Armageddon.

 

The Battle of Armageddon

 

Rev 19:11-16 (NIV) I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. {12} His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. {13} He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. {14} The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. {15} Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. {16} On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

 

This is a description of the Lord Jesus leading the armies of heaven to the battle of Armageddon.  This is the decisive battle when the Antichrist will finally be defeated and the war WILL be over! The scripture tells us that the Lord will be leading the armies of heaven.

 

Rev 19:13-14 (NIV) He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. {14} The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. (emphasis added)

 

The question is, who are these "armies of heaven?" The scriptures are quite clear about the identity of this army.

 

Matt 13:40-42 (NIV) As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. {41} The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. {42} They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  (emphasis added)

 

Here in Matthew, the scriptures tell us that at the end of the age it will be the angels that are sent to "weed out" the kingdom. Several other times the angels are spoken of as being the agents of divine judgment and completion.

 

2 Thess 1:7-8 (NIV) … This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. {8} He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (emphasis added)

 

There are many prophecies that deal with this final conflict.

 

Isaiah 34:1-3 (NIV) Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear… {2} The LORD is angry with all nations; his wrath is upon all their armies. He will totally destroy them, he will give them over to slaughter. {3}Their slain will be thrown out, their dead bodies will send up a stench; the mountains will be soaked with their blood.

 

Rev 19:19-21 (NIV) Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. {20} But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. {21} The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh. (emphasis added)

 

This passage deals with the aftermath of the battle. We are told that the beast and the false prophet (the Antichrist and his right-hand man) will be captured and then thrown into the lake of fire. All the rest are killed by the sword that comes from the Lord's mouth. Some have speculated that this "sword" is the word of God coming from the mouth of Jesus. After all, in John 1:1 Jesus is called the Word.

 

Ezekiel 39:4 (NIV) On the mountains of Israel you will fall, you and all your troops and the nations with you. I will give you as food to all kinds of carrion birds and to the wild animals.

 

We are told twice that the birds will eat the flesh of those who will be killed in the battle. We are also told in Ezekiel that it will take seven months to bury all the dead from the battle

 

Ezekiel 39:12-13 (NIV) For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them in order to cleanse the land. {13}All the people of the land will bury them, and the day I am glorified will be a memorable day for them, declares the Sovereign LORD.

 

The Restoration Period

 

 45 Day Restoration

 

God's judgment is finished as the last bowl is poured upon the earth...

 

Rev 16:17-18 (NIV) The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, "It is done!" {18} Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. {19} The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. {20} Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found.

 

The seventh bowl symbolizes total devastation. The earth will suffer a catastrophe as never before. It is described as an earthquake more severe than has ever happened before. The cities of the nations collapse and mountains and islands can no longer be found. This is the reason that Jesus protects the saints in the place called Azel.

 

The Restoration of Mt. Zion

 

Zechariah 14:10 (NIV) The whole land, from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become like the Arabah. But Jerusalem will be raised up and remain in its place, from the Benjamin Gate to the site of the First Gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the royal winepresses.

 

We are told that the "whole land" will be like the Arabah. The Arabah is a desert. This seems to refer to the devastation described by the seventh bowl. But then we are told that Jerusalem will remain in its place and in fact, be raised up.

 

Isaiah 2:2 (NIV) In the last days the mountain of the Lord's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.

 

This verse is repeated again in Micah 4:1. Mt. Zion will be raised as "chief:" of the mountains. This seems to be the opposite of what had happened in the seventh bowl. As all mountains disappear, Mt. Zion becomes the greatest of all mountains - and all nations stream to it.

 

Ezekiel 20:40(NIV) For on my holy mountain, the high mountain of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD, there in the land the entire house of Israel will serve me, and there I will accept them…

 

The Restoration of Israel

 

Jeremiah 31:10-12 (NIV) Hear the word of the LORD, O nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: 'He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.' {11} For the LORD will ransom Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they. {12} They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the LORD-- the grain, the new wine and the oil, the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more. (emphasis added)

 

In Daniel we read that a major reason for the 70th Week was the judgment of Israel. But Isaiah records how Israel will come to truly rely on Jesus - "the Holy One of Israel" as their Messiah. Where they relied on the Antichrist and his covenant, they will now truly rely on the Lord.

 

Isaiah 10:20-22 NIV) In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. {21} A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God. {22} Though your people, O Israel, be like the sand by the sea, only a remnant will return. Destruction has been decreed, overwhelming and righteous.

 

We also see that Israel will be restored from all nations. But, this will be a restoration of everyone "who is called by my name."

 

Isaiah 43:5-7 NIV) Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. {6} I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.' Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth-- {7} everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."

Micah 7:7-9 (NIV) But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. {8} Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light. {9} Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the Lord's wrath, until he pleads my case and establishes my right. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness.

 

Isaiah makes it plain that the "new" Israel will also include foreigners or gentiles.

 

Isaiah 56:6-8 (NIV) And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant-- {7} these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations." {8}The Sovereign LORD declares-- he who gathers the exiles of Israel: "I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered."

 

The Restoration of the Temple

 

Ezekiel 43:6-7 (NIV) While the man was standing beside me, I heard someone speaking to me from inside the temple. {7} He said: "Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites forever. The house of Israel will never again defile my holy name--neither they nor their kings--by their prostitution and the lifeless idols of their kings at their high places.

 

We are told in Zechariah that Jesus, Himself, will build this temple.  We are told in verse 15 that those who are far away will come and help in this re-building, but the prophetic message is that Jesus will direct the building of the millennial temple. He will rule as King, and intercede as priest and he will finally bring true harmony between those roles.

 

Zechariah 6:12-13 (NIV) Tell him this is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the LORD. {13}It is he who will build the temple of the LORD, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.'

 

Christ to Rule Over the Earth

 

Daniel 7:11,13-14 (NIV) "Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire… {13} In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven… He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. {14}He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed."

 

 Session 3


The 30 Days After the 70th Week

 

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There are two periods mentioned in the book of Daniel that occur immediately after the end of Daniel's 70th Week.

 

7 years and 30 days

 

The 30 day portion can be classified as The Reclamation Period, and the 45 day portion can be called The Restoration Period. These names are chosen to clarify the things that will happen during each specific period. To understand the 30 day Reclamation Period, we must look back at what will happen at the mid-point of the 70th Week.

 

The Midpoint

 

Antichrist Demands Worship

 

The Antichrist will sign a seven year covenant with Israel and other nations and at the mid-point of the 70th Week, or 3½ years into the covenant, he will break the terms of the covenant and demand that the world worship him. 

 

Dan 9:27 (NIV) He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.

 

The Apostle Paul records more clearly what this "Abomination of Desolation" will be...

 

2 Thess 2:3-4 (NIV) Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. {4} He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

 

Woman Flees to Wilderness

 

Next, the scripture tells us that the "woman" will flee to the wilderness.  Most scholars agree that this woman is a symbol for Israel.

 

Rev 12:13-14 (NIV) When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. {14} The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach.

 

  • Time = 1 year; times = 2 years, ½ time = ½ year

  • 1 + 2 + ½  =  3 ½ years

 

Scripture identifies this "wilderness" as the land of Edom.  The prophet Obadiah prophesies against Edom for the way they will treat those of Israel who flee...

 

Obadiah 1:12,14-15 (NIV) You should not look down on your brother in the day of his misfortune, nor rejoice over the people of Judah in the day of their destruction, nor boast so much in the day of their trouble. {14} You should not wait at the crossroads to cut down their fugitives, nor hand over their survivors in the day of their trouble. {15} The day of the LORD is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.

 

144,000 Are Sealed

 

Rev 7:3-4 (NIV) "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God." {4} Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.

 

Most scholars agree that this 144,000 identifies the "woman." Therefore, as Antichrist begins to demand the worship of the world, Israel will rebel and at least 144,000 will flee to a desert place prepared for them.

 

Ezekiel 20:35-38 (NIV) I will bring you into the desert of the nations and there, face to face, I will execute judgment upon you. {36} As I judged your fathers in the desert of the land of Egypt, so I will judge you, declares the Sovereign LORD. {37} I will take note of you as you pass under my rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. {38} I will purge you of those who revolt and rebel against me. Although I will bring them out of the land where they are living, yet they will not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

 

Two Witnesses Prophesy for 1,260 Days

 

That number - 1,260 days (or 3½ years) appears again as the book of Revelation foretells of two servants of God that will come on the scene.

 

Rev 11:3-6 (NIV) And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth." {4} These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. {5} If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. {6} These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.

 

Many have sought to identify these two witnesses, the scripture doesn't explicitly tell us.  However, common thought is that these two might be Moses and Elijah.

 

Trumpet Judgments Begin

 

Rev 8:1-2,6-7 (NIV) When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. {2} And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. {6} Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them. {7} The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

 

This is an overview of the events that are prophesied to take place during the latter half of the 70th Week.  Much greater detail will be given to these prophesies and their timing further on - but, to understand the 75 days period that follows the 70th Week, the background of prior events must be understood. These 75 days break down as follows:

 

75 Days

 

The 30 day Reclamation Period will consist of four major events that will serve to finalize God's judgment of the world. Furthermore, as the prophecies are calculated, so often giving the number of days, it is possible to set the timing of the 30 day period and to delineate what will happen during the first five days of this Reclamation Period.

 

Two Witnesses Killed

 

First, we can place the timing of the 30 day period because of the prophecy of the death of the two witnesses...

 

Rev 11:7-8 (NIV) Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. {8} Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.

 

We were told in Rev. 11:3-6 that the witnesses WILL testify for 1,260 days.  Therefore, they cannot be killed until their testimony is finished.  Furthermore, the death of the two witnesses is clearly foretold as occurring just before the seventh angel sounds his trumpet in Rev. 10:7.

 

  • Cannot be killed until end of 1260 Days

  • Between 6th and 7th Trumpets

 

This places the timing clearly at the end of the 70th Week and the beginning of the 30 day period.  Specifically, the witnesses are killed WHEN their testimony is finished.  Therefore, they will be killed on the first day of the 30 day period.

 

All Israel Saved

 

Prophecies concerning the salvation of Israel also help pinpoint the timing of events during this 30 days. The Apostle Paul gives us a clue as to what will happen next...

 

Rom 11:25-26 (NIV) I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. {26} And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob." (emphasis added)

Paul is explaining that all of Israel WILL be saved and he calls it specifically a "mystery." This exact same term is used in the book of Revelation as the seventh trumpet is about to sound...

 

Rev 10:7 (NIV) But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets. (emphasis added)

 

The prophet Hosea acknowledges the repentant spirit of Israel at the last day.  He also provides us with a time frame for Israel's restoration back to their true Messiah.

 

Hosea 6:1-3 (NIV) Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. {2} After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.{3} Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.

 

So, the restoration of Israel will be a three day process.  It is also interesting to note that Hosea states that the Lord will appear and come to them.  There are several prophecies that indicate that the Lord will deal personally with Israel in the last day.

 

Micah 2:12-13 (NIV) "I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob; I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel. I will bring them together like sheep in a pen [Bozrah], like a flock in its pasture; the place will throng with people. {13} One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out. Their king will pass through before them, the LORD at their head."  (emphasis added)

 

The prophet Micah states that Israel (or Jacob) will be gathered like sheep in a pen.  The Hebrew word for pen is the word Bozrah.  In fact the King James Version of the Bible translates this verse as follows...

 

Micah 2:12 (KJV) … I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold…  (emphasis added)

The conclusion is that Israel will flee to Edom and to the city of Bozrah. It is also important to note that Micah 2:13 prophesies that there is One who will go up before them... "Their King will pass through before them, the LORD at their head." 

 

The Journey to Jerusalem

 

Isaiah 63:1-4 (NIV) Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? "It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save." {2} Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? {3} "I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. {4} For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redemption has come.

 

All of these prophesies indicate that Jesus will personally appear to those Israelites who flee to the wilderness.  He will judge them and they will finally acknowledge Jesus Christ as their true Messiah and Lord.  Then he will lead them out of Bozrah on a two day journey to Jerusalem. Other prophecies indicate that the wilderness remnant will not be the only Israelites to come to the Lord. As He journeys to Jerusalem He will be joined by other Jews who remain and will have been in hiding.

 

Hosea 11:10-11 (NIV) They will follow the LORD; he will roar like a lion. When he roars, his children will come trembling from the west. {11} "They will come trembling like birds from Egypt, like doves from Assyria. I will settle them in their homes," declares the LORD.

 

Those who come to Jesus from all over the world are called His children. Other passages indicate that this will be a gathering of all of those who are left - who have accepted Christ as their Savior.

 

Isaiah 14:1 (NIV) The LORD will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land. Aliens will join them and unite with the house of Jacob.  (emphasis added)

 

So, this seems to be a universal gathering of all those who believe in Jesus - what a reunion! One of the most moving scriptures about this time is found in Zechariah...

 

Zec 12:10 (NIV) And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.

 

As Jesus makes His way to Jerusalem, a multitude of the Israelites will come flocking to Him - recognizing that He is Lord. Now something awesome happens. On the third day Jesus enters Jerusalem. This is also the day prophesied that the two witnesses are resurrected. When the Antichrist kills the two witnesses on the first day of the 30 day period, their bodies will lie in the streets for three days.

 

Rev 11:10-11 (NIV) The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. {11} But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them.

 

The scripture is not explicit, but the prophecies lead one to believe that Jesus, Himself, arrives in Jerusalem with redeemed Israel and raises the two witnesses from the dead. What a spectacular possibility! Three days have a significant meaning in scripture. When God prepared to appear to the children of Israel in the wilderness, He had them consecrate themselves for three days.

 

Exodus 19:10-11 (NIV) And the LORD said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes {11} and be ready by the third day, because on that day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.

 

It seems fitting that in three days, all Israel is saved and the two witnesses are resurrected. Prophecy tells us that once He arrives in Jerusalem, Jesus will lead Israel to the Mount Zion, because He is reclaiming His rule over the earth.

 

Obadiah 1:21 (NIV) Deliverers will go up on Mount Zion to govern the mountains of Esau. And the kingdom will be the Lord's.

 

Rev 14:1,3,4b (NIV) Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their fore-heads. {3} And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. {4} …They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb.

 

At this point the seventh angel sounds his trumpet...

 

Rev 11:15 (NIV) The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever."

But God's judgment is not quite over...

 

Rev 14:7 (NIV) He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water."

Rev 14:19-20 (NIV) The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God's wrath. {20} They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia.

Rev 15:1 (NIV) I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues--last, because with them God's wrath is completed.

 

God's final wrath is about the be poured out on the world and it will happen quickly. Revelation describes the seven bowl judgments that follow the seven trumpets. But before these final judgments are poured out, Jesus provides for His followers.

 

Zechariah 14:4-5 (NIV) On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. {5} You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

 

In this prophecy, God has prepared a place of refuge for His people before His final wrath is poured out. This is the only place Azel is mentioned, and we know nothing more about it except that it is a place of refuge. Prophecy does mention this time of protection.

 

Isaiah 26:20-21 (NIV) Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. {21} See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer.

 

Then the bowl judgments begin...

 

Rev 16:1 (NIV) Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, "Go, pour out the seven bowls of God's wrath on the earth."

 

So, the 30 day period ends up looking like this...

 

30 Day Reclaimation

 

The Bowl Judgments

 

  • They will happen quickly (possibly in as little as 25 days?)

  • All things affected (rather than 1/3 as in the trumpet judgments)

  • Seventh Bowl = Total Devastation

  • Followed by Armageddon

 

Revelation 16:1 (NIV) Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, "Go, pour out the seven bowls of God's wrath on the earth."The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly and painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. 3 The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead man, and every living thing in the sea died. 4 The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. 5 Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: "You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged; 6 for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve." 7 And I heard the altar respond: "Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments." 8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. 9 They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him. 10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony 11 and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done. 12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. 13 Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty. 15 "Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed." 16 Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. 17 The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, "It is done!" 18 Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. 19 The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. 20 Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. 21 From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.

 

As you read the bowl judgments, it becomes apparent that they follow one another very quickly. For example, the first bowl is a judgment of sores. But, when the fifth bowl of darkness is poured out, the scripture states that the people cursed God because of the sores - the sores were the first bowl.  Therefore the indication is that there will not be much time in between judgments. It makes sense that they would happen in a span of 25 days. Also, the fact that all things are affected would necessitate that the bowls happen quickly, or no one would be left alive.

 

Session 5


The Rapture

 

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The rapture is the great "catching away" of all those who have trusted Christ - living and dead. The word "rapture" is not found in scripture. It is from the Latin Vulgate (ancient Latin translation of the Bible) "rapere" which means to "catch up." In 1 Thess 4:17 the Bible states that we will be "caught up" and this is the phrase where the Vulgate used the word "rapere."

 

1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 is the definitive passage that describes the event we call the rapture.

 

1 Thess 4:15-18 (NIV) According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. {16} For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. {17} After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. {18} Therefore encourage each other with these words. (emphasis added)

 

The fact that the saints will be raptured is clear in scripture and there has not been much debate on that fact.  However, the timing of the rapture has been hotly debated for centuries. So, the question is, when will the rapture occur?

 

Rapture?

 

There are three major views as to when the rapture will occur. They are depicted below.

 

3 Views of the Rapture

 

The Pre-Tribulation position is that the rapture will occur at the beginning of Daniel's 70th Week. In fact, those that hold to this view see the rapture as initiating the 70th Week. The Mid-Tribulation position is that the rapture will occur at the mid-point of the 70th Week when Antichrist demands the world worship him. The Post-Tribulation position is that the rapture will occur at the end of the 70th Week. This position is that the second coming is exactly that - the second coming, that Jesus will return at the battle of Armageddon and rapture his saints. Let us look at each of these views in greater detail in reverse order.

 

Post-Tribulation Rapture

 

According to the Post-Tribulation view, the rapture will happen at the battle of Armageddon. All during the 70th Week, God's wrath will be poured out upon this world.

 

Post-Tribulation Rapture

 

There are some scriptural problems with this view. The first problem is that according to this view, God's people endure His wrath. There are many scriptures that teach the opposite...

 

Romans 5:9 (NIV) Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! (emphasis added)

 

1 Thess 1:10 (NIV) and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead--Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. (emphasis added)

 

1 Thess 5:9 (NIV) For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. (emphasis added)

 

Rev 3:10 (NIV) Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. (emphasis added)

 

Luke 21:36 NIV) Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. (emphasis added)

 

There is also a problem about the timing of the rapture. According to the scripture, no one knows the day or the hour when the rapture will occur - not even Jesus - only the Father. Now if the rapture occurs at the battle of Armageddon, then the day is predictable. Once the 70th Week begins one must only wait 7 years plus 30 days.

 

Mark 13:32 (NIV) No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

 

A third problem is the mere fact that there is not one scripture that clearly specifies this timing for the rapture.

 

A fourth problem is that there is a conflict in the timing of the Bema Judgment and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb that will follow the judgment. If God's saints are still on earth - how can they participate in the Bema Judgment or the Marriage Supper?

 

A fifth problem is also a conflict in timing and is indicated in 1 Thessalonians 3:13.

 

1 Thess 3:13 (NIV) May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.  (emphasis added)

 

If God's people are in His presence WHEN Jesus returns with His holy ones, then it is impossible for His people to be on the earth when Jesus returns!

 

The resulting problems are pictured below:

 

Post-Tribulation Problems

 

 

Mid-Tribulation Rapture

 

The Mid-Tribulation rapture position was actually a response to the problems created in the Post-Tribulation view. Because the scripture is so clear about God's people not enduring His wrath, some chose to see the rapture happening at the mid-point of the 70th Week. And this position DID solve some of the problems. If the rapture occurred at the mid-point, then God's people would not suffer God's wrath and the conflict in timing of the Bema Judgment and Marriage Supper of the Lamb are solved - as well as the conflict in 1 Thess 3:13.

 

Mid-Tribulation Problems

 

However, this position still did not solve the predictability problem. One must still only count 1,260 days after the beginning of the 70th Week. Also, again there is no scriptural basis for the rapture occurring at the mid-point of the 70th Week.

 

 

Pre-Tribulation Rapture

 

By far, the most popular view is the Pre-Tribulation position. This is what has been called the "left-behind" view. According to the Pre-Tribulation view, Jesus will rapture His people at the beginning of the 70th Week. God's people are completely absent from the earth during the 7 years (except those who are saved during the 7 years) while they are going through the Bema Judgment and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Meanwhile, on earth God's wrath is being poured out upon mankind. Many see God's people returning with Jesus at the battle of Armageddon.

 

Pre-Tribulation Problems

 

 

During the 70th Week or what is more commonly called "the tribulation period," this view teaches that some very specific things are happening on the earth. There are three significant events that are specific to this view. First, this view sees the seals, trumpets and bowls as all signifying God's wrath and that they are poured out upon mankind during the entire 7 years. Second, the 144,000 Jews spoken of in

 

Revelation chapter seven are seen as Jewish evangelists who will usher in the greatest revival in history - which is the third significant event.

 

Pre-Tribulation Events

 

Revelation 7:3 (NIV) "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God." {4} Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel. {5} From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben 12,000, from the tribe of Gad 12,000, {6} from the tribe of Asher 12,000, from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000, from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000, {7} from the tribe of Simeon 12,000, from the tribe of Levi 12,000, from the tribe of Issachar 12,000, {8} from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000, from the tribe of Joseph 12,000, from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000. {9} After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

 

These evangelists and the revival explain the multitude that follow in verse 9. Now the Pre-Tribulation view is the only view that has the proper scriptural balance between the deliverance of God's people and the punishment of the ungodly through the pouring out of the wrath of God.

 

Balance of Prophecy

 

Because the scripture declares that God's wrath will punish the wicked, but God's people will be "rescued from the coming wrath."

 

There are six assumptions that form the basis of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view. These assumptions are defined as follows:

 

Pre-Tribulation Assumptions

 

The first assumptions is that the 70th Week is only for the Jewish Nation: Israel and the church are separate entities and God cannot work with both at the same time. The  Old Testament is for Jews only. I have heard it stated that when Jesus arose from the dead the Jewish clock stopped and the Gentile clock started. When the 70th Week arrives, the Gentile clock will stop and the Jewish clock will start once again. This assumption is based on the scripture in Luke 21...

 

Luke 21:23 (NIV) How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. {24} They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.  (emphasis added)

 

This is an assumption because this reasoning does not hold out in scripture. For instance, on the day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter spoke to the crowd and applied Old Testament prophecy to describe what was going on with the people who would become the new Christian church.

 

Acts 2:15 (NIV) These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! {16} No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: {17} "`In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. {18} Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. {19} I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. {20} The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. {21} And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'

 

Furthermore, he quotes the Old Testament prophecy regarding the Day of the Lord - which should be an exclusively Jewish prophecy - and states that on that day "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

 

The second assumption is that Matthew chapter 24 was written specifically for the Jews. This is an assumption because it is not explicitly stated in scripture and it allows the reader to ignore this passage as irrelevant. We would not allow anyone to blatantly ignore any other passage in this same way. The third assumption is that Revelation 4:1 signifies the rapture.

 

Rev 4:1 (NIV) After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”

 

The Apostle John is exiled on the isle of Patmos, and Jesus appears to him in visions and instructs him to write down what he sees.

 

In chapter four, John is told to "come up here" to heaven where his vision continues.  Most who hold the Pre-Tribulation view see the words "come up here" as signifying the rapture - the catching away into heaven. The door is open in heaven and the voice is like a trumpet. The problem is that this too, is an assumption. The scripture does not indicate, in any way, this symbolism..

 

In 2 Thessalonians 2:7, the "one who holds him back" is mentioned (in the KJV he is called the "restrainer") as one who holds back the Antichrist from being revealed until the proper time.

 

2 Thess 2:6-8 (NIV) And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. {7} For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. {8} And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. (emphasis added)

 

Those who hold to a Pre-Tribulation view adamantly insist that the "restrainer" is the Holy Spirit. Therefore, at the rapture He is taken out of the way with the church allowing the Antichrist to be revealed to the world. This, too, is an assumption because scripture does not identify this one "who holds back."

 

We have already mentioned the fifth assumption, it is that the 144,000 Jews sealed in Revelation 7 become evangelists. This is an assumption because nowhere is this stated.

 

The last assumption is the because of the Jewish evangelists, the greatest revival in history takes place during the 70th Week. This is an assumption because nowhere is there any indication that this revival takes place. It is assumed to explain the presence of the multitude that follows.

 

Pre-Tribulations Assumptions

Rev 7:9 (NIV) After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

 

Rev 7:13-14 (NIV) Then one of the elders asked me, "These in white robes--who are they, and where did they come from?" {14} I answered, "Sir, you know." And he said, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

 

All of these assumptions make sense and fit together. Each assumption can be explained and reasoned - but the shear number of assumptions causes questions, and promotes the conclusion that this is a view that is forced to fit together.

 

Pre-Tribulation Problems

 

In addition to the assumptions, there are some scriptural problems with the Pre-Tribulation view. The first is that scripture mentions explicitly that the return of Christ will be unmistakable. According to the Pre-Tribulation view, the rapture will be only known to those taken to heaven. The rest of the world will know only that multitudes have disappeared. However, scripture indicates on several occasions that when Christ returns it will be obvious.

 

Mat 24:26-27 (NIV) So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. {27} For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

 

Luke 17:23-24 (NIV) Men will tell you, 'There he is!' or 'Here he is!' Do not go running off after them. {24} For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other.

 

Rev 1:7 (NIV) Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.

 

If the rapture is a "secret" to the world, how could these scriptures be relevant? Some have explained that they are speaking of Jesus' return at the battle of Armageddon. Even with that reasoning, why would Jesus make the distinction of not believing if someone tells you "there he is" or "here he is."

 

Furthermore, why would Christ have not explicitly told his followers that in the last day they would be raptured, and then God's wrath would be poured upon the world? Why is the pre-tribulational rapture missing from end-time passages?

 

Another problem is that according to this view, the Holy Spirit will be absent from the world having been "taken out of the way" by the rapture of the church. Therefore, how do we explain the greatest revival in history and the great multitude saved when the Holy Spirit is no longer in the world?

 

Furthermore, scripture tells us that rather than a multitude saved, God will cause those who reject Him to be deluded into delighting in wickedness...

 

2 Thess 2:10-12 (NIV) ...They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. {11} For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie {12} and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

 

We are also told in the book of Revelation that even after suffering God's wrath people will still not repent.

 

Rev 9:20 (NIV) The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood--idols that cannot see or hear or walk. (this is after the 6th trumpet has sounded)

 

Rather than a great revival taking place, it seems that people will dive more into wickedness and rejecting God than ever before.

Another problem is the application of Matthew 24 to only the Jews. The reasoning is as follows:

 

  • Predicts persecution of God’s people, therefore has to apply to Jews & converts during Tribulation Period

  • The Disciples were Jews and so He was speaking to them as Jews

     

But...

 

  • They were and are a part of the Bride of Christ – what would happen to them is the same as will happen to US!

  • We would not allow this with any other passage of scripture!

     

If there is a pre-tribulational rapture, then according to Matthew 24, there must be two raptures...

 

Matt 24:29-31 (NIV) Immediately after the distress of those days ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ {30} At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. {31} And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

 

The Son of Man in the clouds, loud trumpet call, send his angels, gather his elect... it sounds a lot like the rapture does it not? Therefore, if the rapture has already happened, there will be another very similar event - supposedly directed at the Jews. The scripture in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 also poses a problem.

 

2 Thess 2:1,3 (NIV) Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him… {3} Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.

 

This passage begins "concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him..." Does this sound like he is speaking of the rapture? Then he goes on to say that "that day" will not come until the "man of lawlessness" (the Antichrist) is revealed. So what comes first? The Antichrist or the rapture?

 

Last, there is simply no scriptural evidence of Jewish evangelists, revivals, or for the timing of a pre-tribulational rapture.

 

Pre-Tribulation Problems

 

Pre-Tribulation Problems

 

All of the Pre-Tribulation problem points can be argued…

But the entire picture is still one where all the pieces seem to be forced to fit together!

 

Understanding End-Time Prophecy

 

 

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