Sunday, June 27, 2010

Why the rapture is biblically pre-tribulation. You don't have to wonder!

I've noticed in these last few years that the certainty with which Christians hold the rapture as occurring before the 7-year tribulation is weakening. For decades, hundreds of years even, Christians understood the bible to be clear on this teaching: that Christians forgiven by the blood of Christ, living in the church age, will be raptured to Jesus and then the Tribulation will start. Lately, people are beginning to revise their stance. They are becoming more and more favorable to the notion that actually, Christians will go through the tribulation after all.

First, did you ever wonder why this angst and revision is happening NOW, of all times? Because we are the generation that will be experiencing these things, and it scares people. This is the age of Apathy, the age of the Laodicean lukewarm church, the Age of people not knowing their bible. It is the age of prosperity gospel, consumerism, and worldly things, which makes people want to finish life and activities here on earth before they go... because they can't really imagine heaven (being unfamiliar with the bible). On the other end of the scale, solid Christians are so in love with Jesus that their penitence extends to the 7 year Tribulation, thinking deep inside, they don't really deserve to escape.

It's all hogwash.

Satan is messing with your mind. Instead of encouraging each other with these words, we are fearful and confused. Whenever fear enters into the picture, satan is behind it. Whenever confusion enters the picture, satan is author of it. God is clear. Satan blinds. So let's take a look at what the bible says.

First, in the above scripture where Paul tells his brothers and sisters to encourage each other about the coming of the Lord, what would be so encouraging if before we get to the good stuff, we go through hell on earth? Demons biting people, oceans as blood, earthquakes so strong all the walls fall and all the mountains flee away? Paul said, "do not grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope." We have hope. The hope of His promises! Here are a few of those promises:

You have to understand the purpose of the Tribulation to begin with. God's plan for the Tribulation (Time of Jacob's trouble) is directly and only for the Jews, and to destroy the nations that persecute the Jews.

First, the key passage of God's promise in Daniel 9:24-27. This is the foundation of the Tribulation, because it describes the decree of God's plan for the Jews. And also, importantly, it is the only place in the OT where the Messiah is called the Messiah directly. So we pay attention:

"Seventy sevens have been decreed for your people. . . . So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven sevens and sixty-two sevens; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. Then after the sixty-two sevens the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.” The time of the decree is divided up into three parts:

7 'weeks' or 49 years, 62 'weeks' or 434 years, and 1 week or 7 years. In addition, these key verses tell us the plan of God for His people. 6 things --
1. to finish transgression of the Jews,
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 and
6. to anoint the most Holy (place) (Daniel 9:24).

The language is clear, 'seventy sevens are decreed for you people': the Jews. The clock stopped just shy of the last 7 years when Messiah was crucified. The church age was a mystery and hidden from man's knowledge, until Paul revealed it in Romans 11:25. The Jews had no idea that the seventy sevens would not be successive. Now, to Jeremiah. Remember, Daniel 9 is a KEY chapter and 9:24-27 is the central point in that chapter. But Jeremiah also describes God's plan. Jeremiah 30:3-11 gives the title of the Time, the effects on the Jews of that time, and His promise of that time (they shall be saved).

"For behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,’ says the LORD. ‘And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.’ " Now these are the words that the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah. “For thus says the LORD:

‘ We have heard a voice of trembling,
Of fear, and not of peace.
Ask now, and see,
Whether a man is ever in labor with child?
So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins
Like a woman in labor,
And all faces turned pale?
Alas! For that day is great,
So that none is like it;
And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble,
But he shall be saved out of it.
‘For it shall come to pass in that day,’
Says the LORD of hosts, (Jeremiah 30:6-11)

Jer 30 describes His work during that time: to destroy the nations that opposed Israel and to punish the Jews for their transgression. It is the final result of the covenant Genesis Abrahamic 'bless you curse you' promise in Genesis. Jeremiah 30 continues--

11 For I am with you,’ says the LORD, ‘to save you;
Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you,
Yet I will not make a complete end of you.
But I will correct you in justice,
And will not let you go altogether unpunished.’

It is a time of punishment. How and when God punishes/judges seems to me to be the moment when He uses the word "incurable." I wrote more at length about that point of no return, here. At a certain point He will punish, Jer 30:12 “For thus says the LORD:‘ Your affliction is incurable,"

So what of the saved Church Believers during the time of Jacob's Trouble? We are removed from that time and away from the place of trouble because we are not condemned. We are not under a decree of punishment. We are not under justice because the Ultimate Judge has already pardoned us! We are declared righteous and holy. Here are the verses:

Colossians 1:21-22: "And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight". The NIV says "free from accusation." Remember, the Tribulation is a time of justice and punishment, and we in the Church Age are "free from accusation."

1 Thess 5:9-11: "For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing." So we are not appointed to the Time of Jacob's wrath that Paul spoke of. Scriptures tell us just when that wrath is, it begins just prior to its mention in Rev 6:16-17 and ends in Rev 16:17 when the angel pours out the last bowl and cries "It is done!"

1 Thess 4:14-18 "We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 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. 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. 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. Therefore encourage each other with these words."

God's plan for the end for the age is something He is dealing with for the Jews only, as the clock that stopped at Jesus' at year 483 of the decree is death is re-started at the moment of our departure to finish those last 7 years. Paul describes it thus: in Romans 11:25:

"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." I wrote more about the concept behind that statement, 'full number' as the central point, here. When the Church reaches the assigned number of people who are going to accept Christ, the fullness has been reached and we sail, 'coming in' to port in heaven, and the partial hardness of the Jews' hearts is lifted. When He lifts that partial hardening they will recognize Him when He saves them in the Gog-Magog battle "Then they will know I am the LORD" as Ezekiel 38:23 says. Before that moment, we will be gone.

We will be raptured prior to the time of Jacob's Trouble, because we are already perfected, holy and righteous in His eyes. We are not under a decree of punishment because we are blameless and free from accusation. We are not appointed to wrath. The Tribulation is the last seven years of a decree that involves the Jews. These are decrees and promises. To doubt them doubts the Word of God. Therefore, we CAN know. It is Pre-trib. Satan is trying to steal Christians' joy at His promise of pardon. Don't let satan do it!

19 comments:

  1. another excellent post, elizabeth. God has truly chosen you as one of his spokespersons. peace and love to you. paul

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  2. wow... a follow up to one your recent posts. paul http://newine.wordpress.com/

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  3. Hi Paul,

    Thanks!! I'll check it out. As for the rapture being pre-trib, There's more, of course. The picture of Lot was a picture of the pre-trib scenario. There are other verses less explicit but just as clear if reading in context. I am so sad for Christians who are starting to doubt, or who somehow think it's "fair" to at least explore the other scenarios of mid-trib and post-trib. While it is good to rightly divide the word and study with open mind, when it comes to His promises, they need no further exploration, as far as I am concerned.

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  4. Hi Elizabeth:

    God bless you today and thanks again for a posting regarding the truth of the timing of the rapture of the church. It is very important and I think so many christians are confused and mislead by certain teachings or questionings about the scriptures regarding this area of truth. I think it is a fundimental misunderstanding as to who and what the church is. I think it was an article by David Regan I read that talked about our duties for the 1000 year reign of Christ and he mentioned the fact that we are a new "race". And I think it hit me for the first time after being a christian for 19 years that this is key also. We all read about Paul stating there is no jew or gentile, male of female, all are one in Christ...speaking of the church. We are a new race because of Christ in us. And that differentiates us and Israel and what the Father is doing with us individually. That is why Israel will go through the tribulation and we (the church - a new race) will not. We are not better and they are not better. We are different and the Father has differing purposes for us. Anyway, I think I'm rambling now but it clarifies things more for me to understand us being a new race and your posting about the Rapture and its purpose and timing is key to fundimental understanding of the scriptures and the Lords design for us as His body. Thanks again Elizabeth for your diligence in this matter. I appreciate it. God bless and Amen!

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  5. World events may be affecting the pretrib rapture view more than we think. To see some timely Google items, type in "Obama Avoids Bible Verses" and "Mayor 'Napoleon' Bloomberg." Suzanne

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  6. Suzanne, I respectfully disagree. If 'world events affect the pre-trib rapture', what you are really saying that things man does affects God's plan, His program, and His promise. Never happen.

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  7. Pre grin rapture? The philadelpbians who are counted worthy to escape all these things fly into the wilderness ( Sela) for 31/2 years. Christ brings 10000 of them from there at his return. The rest of the laodicians of all sorts are spit out into the trib. That's WORLD wide not just jewish Isreal. Ephraim and mannaseh face the worst punishments. There will be martyrs of those who wake up and repent of commandment breaking and are sealed.they refuse the mark of disobedience.whoever out of fear and rebellion takes the mark are to receive plagues.these are cult christians the harlot christians, daughters of the harlot and all the rest of decieved manknd. So where is the real promise of rapture to heaven.christ wules with the saints on earth for 1000 years. He comes at a shortened time for the sake of the elect or they.too would perish.so tell me. Am I satan revealing this?

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  8. Yes. Yes you are satan revealing this. Because nothing of what you said is biblical. As always when I respond to the people who say rapture is not pre-trib, "Got Bible?"

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  9. God bless you. its all informative.

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  10. Hi Elizabeth,

    I know I'm a Jane Come Lately to this post, but one quick thing:

    "First, did you ever wonder why this angst and revision is happening NOW, of all times?"

    I do disagree, but only slightly, with that statement. While yes it's definitely ramping up now, but the revision has historical roots. I believe one of the foundations of all the false doctrines found in eschatology goes way back over 1500 years to Augustine's City of God. Augustine's errors have been perpetuated since then, and repackaged by other prominent figures. The reformers, by and large, also were not (and most still are not) premillennial, let alone believing a pre trib rapture, because they refer back, not to Scripture, but to Augustine.

    So all this revision began a long long time ago. The devil has enjoyed getting believers to confuse Israel and the church, and of course, all of the awful results therewith.

    I'm currently reading a book by Renald Showers, "There Really Is A Difference", about covenant theology and all its subsequent errors, one of which is eschatological error. Showers says something profound: those who believe in the false doctrine of covenant theology have to employ a double hermeneutic to Scripture, to switch between literal and allegorical interpretation, in order to establish their beliefs. What a theological mess. Yet, sadly, this is what many true believers adhere to today, an error with deep roots.

    Anyone who is born again is my brother and sister in Christ, though I will state that those who adhere to covenant theology and/or eschatological errors have been misled.

    Yours in Christ,
    carolyn

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    1. Hi carolyn,

      I'm not sure if I'm understanding you correctly, but people believe pre-rapture tribulation not because Augustine said it but because it is in the bible. It is biblically correct, can be, and is supported by scripture.

      As for what covenant theology is, and dispensationalism, both are ways to interpret the bible. Neither is totally incorrect nor is either totally correct. Like any interpretive method,they can be twisted, misunderstood, and wrongly applied. MacArthur discusses Covenant theology here

      "Now, in the Old Testament there basically are six covenants. You hear a lot of talk about covenant theology, and there's much discussion about what are the covenants. To put it simply, I choose to believe that the covenants are those covenants which the Bible calls covenants. It's fairly safe ground, don't you think? I'm not real anxious to invent a covenant that the Bible doesn't identify as such. As you begin to read the Scriptures, God continually refers to Himself as a covenant-keeping God. Repeatedly God's faithfulness to His covenant is reiterated. We remember the wonderful words of Jeremiah, "Great is Thy faithfulness." And over and over again Scripture talks about God being faithful, being faithful, being faithful. Faithful to what? Well, faithful to His covenant, to His irrevocable promises which He made."
      http://www.gty.org/resources/print/sermons/42-16

      As for dispensationalism, again, it can be wrongly applied. Here is a definition of what it is:
      'Dispensationalism is an approach to biblical interpretation which states that God uses different means of working with people (Israel and the Church) during different periods of history, usually seven chronologically successive periods. However, dispensational division of history varies among its adherents from three periods, to four, seven, and eight dispensations. Seven is the most common.' more at this link
      http://carm.org/dispensationalism

      For people interested in learning more about covenant theology and dispensationalism, go to these links

      http://www.gotquestions.org/covenant-theology.html

      and here

      http://www.blogos.org/exploringtheword/Covenant-Theology-1-basics.php

      dispensationalism here
      http://www.gotquestions.org/dispensationalism.html

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  11. Hi Elizabeth,

    Whoops, no you didn't understand me correctly. We are not in disagreement over eschatology. I was just offering some history as to where eschatological error originated. I was giving some background, to supplement your post.

    My overarching point was that the current deviation from premillennialism and pretrib actually has its roots way far back in church history. So my point of disagreement was only that I don't think that the deviation is a new phenomenon. It's not a new phenomenon, it's old. 1500+ years old.

    In the first 300 years of the church, believers were correctly premillennial. But then error came via a few individuals, one unfortunately being Augustine. Augustine actually came to reject the truth of premillenialism when he began to study unbiblical philosophies, and he consequently started allegorizing scripture. The error of amillennialism was then born, and this view has dominated the church since. Most reformers of old, and many of those today, are amill (men like MacArthur being exceptions). I have never seen evidence of Augustine ever teaching a pre trib rapture, either.

    The MacArthur link was not him discussing "Covenant Theology". He was correctly describing the actual covenants of the Bible.

    For clarification, Covenant Theology is not an acknowledgement of the 6 actually covenants that are found in Scripture (as MacA did), but rather the invention of 3 covenants that are not written in the word of God, and then basing one's interpretation of the Bible on them, which involves a confusing mixture of literal interpretation and Scripture allegorization. Another problem with this method, is that the church is confused with Israel. This method deviates from a plain, literal reading of the word of God, which teaches premillennialism, and the church and Israel being separate entities. This again is the dominant view in the church, including that of many reformers of old and of today (again, men like MacA being exceptions).

    I am aware that dispensational teaching is another interpretive method, not without some challenges of its own. But it is absolutely correct in that while salvation has always been by grace through faith alone, God has dealt with man in different ways during different times. And it correctly keeps the church separate from Israel, resulting in the true teaching of premillennialism.

    I hope that clears up what I am saying.

    If not, please let me know.

    -carolyn

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  12. They are supposedly covenants God made within the God head, but they are not written in Scripture, so they are "inferred":

    Covenant of Works
    Covenant of Redemption
    Covenant of Grace

    (Some people combine the last two into one, making it two covenants, not three).

    Versus the covenants that are actually written in the Bible, that can be plainly read and understood. Such as that made with Abraham.

    -carolyn

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    1. I'm glad I asked this time instead of assuming. Those three you mention are not an allegorization. Rev. Matt Slick defines allegorization as "To allegorize means to use a symbol as representing a more complex idea."

      The covenants of grace, law and redemption are not symbols, but are simply a collapsing of the actual covenants, much as Jesus collapsed all 10 commandments into the two: love God totally and love neighbor as self (Mark 12:30-31)

      As Gotquestions defines, "Covenant Theology defines two overriding covenants: the covenant of works (CW) and the covenant of grace (CG). A third covenant is sometimes mentioned; namely, the covenant of redemption (CR). We will discuss these covenants in turn. The important thing to keep in mind is that all of the various covenants described in Scripture (e.g., the covenants made with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and the New Covenant) are outworkings of either the covenant of works or the covenant of grace."
      Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/covenant-theology.html#ixzz2dPVySP00

      So in that case, the covenants you mention are not invented.


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  13. What is your biblical basis for your position that the Tribulation is a time of God's wrath? Or that it is a period of seven years. Jesus stated that the appearance of the "abomination of desolation" would usher in a time of great tribulation . . . and that the time of tribulation would be cut short for the sake of the elect. If the "A/D" is at the midpoint of the final seven years and the time of tribulation is cut short, how can you call it a seven year tribulation? In that same text, Jesus says, "AFTER the tribulation of those days . . ." followed by His description of four distinct cosmic signs (sun, moon, stars, and celestial powers) which is followed by His "coming" and "gathering". (This pattern of tribulation, cosmic signs, come/gather is repeated in Rev. 6-7.) Paul used the same language in 2 Thes 2:1 referring to the "coming and gathering" which will not happen BEFORE the apostasy and the revelation of AntiChrist--the A/D and the time of tribulation.

    You keep reading between the lines to find a pre-trib . . . I used to do the same.

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    1. What is your biblical basis for your position that the Tribulation is a time of God's wrath?

      Dan 9:24-27; Rev 3:10; 1 Thess 5:9; Jer 30:7; Rev 6: Mt 24:3-30; Rev 6:4, Rev 6:16-17, Joel 2:30-31; Zech 12:9…and so on.

      What is *your* biblical basis for your position that the Tribulation is NOT a time of God's wrath?

      Why do most people interpret the Tribulation (AKA Time of Jacob’s Trouble) to be a period of 7 years? GotQuestions asked the following and answered here

      "What is the Tribulation? How do we know the Tribulation will last seven years?"
      http://www.gotquestions.org/tribulation.html If you study Dan 9:24-27 this will give an overview of why.

      Jesus said that if He did not cut short the tie no flesh would survive. (Mt 24:22). The Tribulation will be 7 years. If He let it go on longer, no one would be left alive. Who knows how long from He cut it short. In any case, 7 years was the time frame to spill out His wrath and if it was any longer all would die.

      Jesus will call His Bride home, and then pour out His wrath on the unbelieving world. Romans 11:25- shows the mystery of Israel’s salvation. It is mentioned there the fullness of the Gentiles will come in. The meaning is that Jesus has a number in mind for His bride. When that number is reached, we go. An understanding of the rapture takes a two fold approach- the several verses which plainly state it, (John 14:1-3, (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, 5:9)

      and secondly, a wider view of the reasons God is doing what He is doing, the latter of which takes a deeper study.

      Rest assured, there is no reading between the lines to arrive at this interpretation, it comes from reading the lines themselves, and understanding what Jesus is doing and why. GotQuestions says, Pretribulationism is the only theory which clearly maintains the distinction between Israel and the church and God’s separate plans for each. The seventy “sevens” of Daniel 9:24 are decreed upon Daniel’s people (the Jews) and Daniel’s holy city (Jerusalem). This prophecy makes it plain that the seventieth week (the Tribulation) is a time of purging and restoration for Israel and Jerusalem, not for the church.

      Read more:http://www.gotquestions.org/pretribulationism.html#ixzz2l76RKHHF

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  14. Jacob's trouble is mentioned once in the Word Jer. 30:7. This prophesy is clearly the dispersion of Israel. You can see the scattering that this time caused throughout the prophesy. Isaiah prophesies that when Israel becomes a nation again, she will never be scattered again. This scattering happened at 70 AD and continued until 1948 when Israel became a nation again

    Also Daniel 9:27 should be a wake up call for anyone. The entire prophesy Daniel 9:24-27 is about the cross of Christ. Jesus is cut off but not for Himself... He becomes the Sacrifice once and for all. In Himself He ended the need for sacrifices. They were then ended by Titus decimating Jerusalem and the temple and thus putting and end to the daily sacrifices, not to mention declaring himself to be god in the temple in true Roman form.
    Jesus spoke of the exact same 70 AD abomination of desolation that Daniel mentions. Matthew 24 Starts out by the disciples admiring the temple building. Jesus responds by saying that that particular building would be desolated by not one stone being left upon another.

    The disciples then ask about the future concerning these events. (Although they may not have been aware that they were asking about multiple events, and may have considered it singular.) The questions are in verse 3: "...when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and the end of the world. We can see clearly that there are three questions, and Jesus addresses them all in this chapter.

    70 AD At this time not a single stone was left upon another. History tells us that when the temple was burnt down the fire was so hot that the gold melted between the stones, and this is the reason they were displaced. Jesus also speaks of the abomination of desolation which also refers to that time. You will note that the abomination of desolation is not mentioned in the book of Revelation. The anti-christ may stand in the temple to be god, which is an abomination but the decimation has already happened. This decimation separates the events. The prophesy of the time of Jacob's trouble and the abomination of desolation has been totally satisfied. It is a thing of the past. The only reason to not see it so is to attempt to make the separation between Israel and the church. This issue, of course, is the foundation of the pretrib doctrine to separate the rapture from the second coming.

    If the pretrib doctrine can maintain that Matt. 24 is for Israel and Paul's writings are for the Gentile church then and only then can the assumption be made that the rapture is not at the second coming. There is a problem though, Peter also wrote to the exact same people that Paul wrote to. They made the rounds together in the book of Acts. Peter gives the same exact message to the Gentile church 2 Peter 3:10, as Jesus gives in Matt 24:29-35. Therefore the event of Jesus coming 'as a thief' is a singular event (1Thess. 5:3, 2 Peter 3:10, Rev. 16:15), and cannot be separated into the dual, rapture, and second coming.

    Jesus declares that He is coming like a thief in the night. If the rapture were to take place exactly 7 years prior to the second coming, Jesus would be lying by His second declaration of the nature in which He would be coming for the second coming... "As a thief". You cannot have the rapture "as a thief" in 1 Thess. 5:3 and then the declared second coming in 2 Peter 3:10, and Rev. 16:15 "as a thief" as well. Jesus makes this point very clear in Matt. 24:43, "But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into." Jesus makes it very clear that there is only one entry point of immanency. Therefore the rapture and the second coming are the same. To believe the pretrib doctrine you must blaspheme Jesus by making Him into a liar concerning this point.

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    1. wow, what a lot of work you did! I'm so sorry that you came to the wrong conclusion. The rapture and the second coming are two separate events.

      The church will not go thru the wrath. We are not appointed to wrath.

      In the rapture, the Lord comes FOR His saints. In the 2nd Coming the Lord comes WITH his saints.

      The thief...the Day of the LORD begins as the Lord takes His saints to heaven in the rapture. It will happen suddenly, the people will be eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage an suddenly, BLAM, we're gone, and the first seal is opened and the wrath begins to be poured out. The Day of the Lord is not one moment nor is it one event. It is a period of time- the time it takes for God to exhaust His wrath upon the remaining unbelieving world.

      We are children of the Light and will be in heaven with Him, while the children of darkness experience the worst tribulation there will ever be. If you are a true believer, anonymous, you will be pleasantly surprised to find yourself raptured to heaven prior tot he Day of Wrath. if you are not a true believer, then you will be on earth and will know the moment the Christians are gone, what comes next. I pray you're the former. :)

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