The Lost Ten Tribes And The 144,000

The Lost Ten Tribes And The 144,000

The Lost Ten Tribes And The 144,000

Spiritualizing and allegorizing biblical passages relating to Israel is not new. In the 1800s there were theologians who mocked the notion of regathering of the Jews into Eretz Yisrael and the reconstitution of Israel as an independent state in her native homeland. Many bible passages relating to Israel were allegorized to relate to the Church. Today many theologians propound the same replacement theology. This type of spiritualizing hermeneutics sees the 144,000 in Rev.7:1-8 as relating to the Church and not to Israel inasmuch as according to them the ten tribes of Israel were lost in captivity more than two millennia ago.

The ten northern tribes were taken into captivity by Assyria in 722 BC. “In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.” ( 2 Kings‬ ‭17:6‬ ‭). There is no historical evidence of a mass return until the two southern tribes also were taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon in 586 BC. Indeed, there were three waves of deportations, 606, 596, and 586 BC. At the defeat of Assyria by Babylon in 612 BC, the Assyrian Empire was incorporated into the neoBabylonian Empire. So Babylon inherited the Israelite exiles in the realm of Assyria. The neoBabylonean Empire was conquered by Medopersia in 539 BC. So also the Medopersia empire absorbed all Israelite exiles from both the kingdoms of Assyrian and Babylonia as these two kingdoms were incorporated into the Medopersian Empire. In 538 BC king Cyrus of Persia freed all Israelites in his dominion ( Ezra.1:1-4 ). Only a handful of them from all the various tribes were willing to return ( Ezra.2 ). The majority of the Israelites remained in self-imposed exile in Medopersia. The Medopersian Empire extended to Africa and India ( Est.1:1 ). Israelites from both Northern kingdom and the Southern kingdom of Judah remained in self-imposed exile until the destruction of the Second Temple by the Roman general Titus in 70 AD. Thus began the final scattering of the Israelites all over the world.

There are historians who date The Diaspora from 70 AD. Prior to 70 AD, there were Israelites exiles from the ten Northern tribes in the Indian subcontinent, China, Japan, and Central Asia. The ten Northern tribes were not lost. There are ethnic groups in China, India, and Japan who claim ancestry to the Jewish people. The Ben Menashe have begun emigrating to Israel. The Falashas Of Ethiopia are already absorbed in Israel. The Shinlung in India have petitioned the Israeli government. The Shinto Japanese claim origin from the ten Northern tribes. So also the Pashtun in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the Igbos of South Eastern Nigeria. There are those who doubt the Jewishness of these various ethnic groups. Ancestry is not only determined by paternity through DNA, but by other modalities like conversion to Judaism, adoption and legality. Orthodox Jews define a Jew as any person with one grand Jewish parent. In this regard there are any number of persons who do not know they are Jews. In the OT, if a servant refuses to part with his master, and has married and begotten children, he and his children are his masters irrespective of his ancestry ( Exod.21:1-6; Deut.15:12-18 ). There was one law for both the native Israelite and the stranger that sojourned amongst them ( Exod.12:49 ). If these claims are false, how come the Sacred Stones of the Aros and the Shinto Japanese are inscribed with the Jewish Tetragrammaton YHWH in Hebrew letters? The Igbos celebrate the First month and the Seventh month and also circumcise their male infants on the eighth day as do the Jews. These feasts and the practice of circumcision were observed by the Igbos long before the arrival of Christianity through colonial Europeans.

The 3 million Israelites who left Egypt during the exodus were not all from the ten tribes. There were other from the various peoples of Egypt who joined the Israelites. Israel in the wilderness was a mixed multitude. “And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.” ( Exod.12:38‬ ‭). There were some who found it extremely difficult to continue the journey into the promised land and turned back in the wilderness. “And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! And wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.” ( Num.14:1-4‬ ‭). The Igbos claim they migrated to South Eastern Nigeria from Egypt.

It was during the reign of the Medopersian kings that all Israelites irrespective of their tribe, whether they were from the Southern kingdom or Northern kingdom were generally referred to as Jews. They were named after Judah. This should not be a surprise because Judah would be the one his brethren shall praise. Following the fall of Reuben from grace ( Gen. 35:22, 49:3,4 ), the right of primogeniture was shared among his three brethren, Judah, Levi, and Joseph. The mantle of leadership fell on Judah ( Gen.49:10 ). Levi received the mantle of priesthood, whilst the right of double inheritance was given to Joseph by his father Jacob in recognition of his faithfulness ( Gen.48:1-22, 49:22-26, ). Levi and Simeon were scattered in Israel by their father Jacob in repudiation of the wrath they exhibited in their merciless massacre of the Shechemites in retaliation to the sexual violation of their sister Dinah by Hamor, the son of Shechem. ( Gen.34, 49:5-7 ). However the Levites obtained the priesthood because of their zeal for the Lord in the slaying of their brethren who apostasized in the Sinai and worship the golden calf ( Exod.32:26-29, Deut.32:8-11 ). The mantle of priesthood originally intended for the first born male from every tribe of Israel ( Exod.13:12-16, 34:19,20; Num.3:11-13 ) effectively executed their scattering amongst the tribes of Israel, whilst at the same time conferring the blessing of obedience to the voice of God through His servant Moses. How wonderful are the ways of God and His paths past findings? ( Rom.11:33 ). These developments were not immediate: they took sometime to evolve.

The Israelites of the Southern kingdom of Judah were called Yehudim, men of Judah by the Babylonians. This was because the Southern kingdom of Israel was lead by the house of David who were of the tribe of Judah. But we must also remember that the tribe of Benjamin was one of the two tribes alongside the tribe of Judah that constituted the Southern kingdom. So the appellation men of Judah was also applied to the Benjaminites. During the oppressive and idolatrous rule of the various dynasties in the Northern kingdom, there were some from the various tribes in the Northeast kingdom that emigrated to the Southern Kingdom.

Neither the Assyrians nor the Babylonians deported every Israelite. They were interested in their rulers, nobles and artisans. “And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land.” ( 2 Kings‬ ‭24:14‬ ‭).

The poor and the downtrodden were not deported. “But the captain of the guard left of the poor of the land to be vinedressers and husbandmen.” ( 2 Kings‬ ‭25:12‬ ‭). “And as for the people that remained in the land of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had left, even over them he made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, ruler.” ( 2 Kings‬ ‭25:22‬ ‭).

So, there was never a time when there were no Israelites from various tribes in Eretz Yisrael. There were also some nobles who escaped to neighboring nations and returned afterwards.

“And when all the captains of the armies, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah governor, there came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, even Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah the son of a Maachathite, they and their men. And Gedaliah sware to them, and to their men, and said unto them, Fear not to be the servants of the Chaldeans: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon; and it shall be well with you. But it came to pass in the seventh month, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the seed royal, came, and ten men with him, and smote Gedaliah, that he died, and the Jews and the Chaldeans that were with him at Mizpah.”( 2 Kings‬ ‭25:23-25‬ ‭).

The point I would like to prove here is that all the various tribes were represented in the land of Israel at all times albeit in very small numbers. There were Israelites whose ancestral families never left the land of Israel. During the religious revival in the reign of Josiah, all Israelites from the twelves were present in Jerusalem during the celebration of the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. “And the children of Israel that were present kept the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days. And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this passover kept.” ( 2 Chronicles‬ ‭35:17-19‬ ‭).

There is no need for us to allegorize and Christianize the 144,000. Oh! the ten tribes were lost, therefore God must be referring to Christians. Before the commencement of the 70th week, all the ten tribes of Israel will fully be represented in the land of Israel. The 144,000 will be sealed in the land of Israel. God would not need to go the Jews in the Diaspora to find the 144,000. He will not seal a few among the Shinto Japanese or Shinlung Indians or Igbos of South Eastern Nigeria. They will be found in the land of Israel. They will seek refuge in the Edomite wilderness during the outpouring of the wrath of God in the Day Of The Lord. “The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them.” ( Micah‬ ‭2:13‬ ‭).

That is where Jesus will meet them. It is there they will match with Him to the summit of Mount Zion in Jerusalem.

“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.” ( Rev.14:1-5‬ ‭).

In the light of the above scenario, British-American Israelism is false. It has no biblical basis. It is founded on a faulty theological system. Replacement theology is not sustained by Scriptures neither is supersessesionism. It is based on a faulty eseigetical and allegorical hermeneutics. The Church does not, cannot, and will not replace Israel, neither are the British and the Americans the so called lost ten tribes.

Avraham Shallom.

My Objections To A Brother Whose View On The Rapture Is Pretribulational ( 3 )

My Objections To A Brother Whose View On The Rapture Is Pretribulational ( 3 )

My Objections To A Brother Whose View On The Rapture Is Pretribulational ( 3 )

The 70th Week Of Daniel

This is the last seven years of the 70 weeks or 490 years appointed by God for Israel to finish the transgression, make an end of sin, make reconciliation for iniquity, bring in everlasting righteousness, seal up the vision and the prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” ( Daniel‬ ‭9:24‬ ‭). The starting point of this period is the signing of a peace treaty between Israel and the leader of the Eighth And Final Beast Empire of Satan, the leader of the most powerful empire in the history of man on Earth. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” ( Daniel‬ ‭9:27‬ ).

This leader of a powerful confederacy of ten nations will enforce a false peace agreement between Israel and her Arab and Islamic neighbours who are part of the ten nation confederation. This leader will pose as the Saviour of Israel from her surrounding enemy nations who would want her driven into the Mediterranean Sea. Jesus told the Jewish leaders, “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” ( John‬ ‭5:43‬ ‭). It is most probable that many from within Israel, especially the scornful leaders ( Isa.28:14-19 ) of the nation will see this great and powerful emperor of a consortium of ten nations as the Messiah of Israel. This period is divided into two equal halves of 1, 260 days, 42 months or three and one-half years.

( a ) The Tribulation Period

Pretribs call the whole of this 7-year period the Tribulation Period. Obviously it will be a time of trouble. But does that warrant it being designated as the Tribulation Period? We must bear in mind that this period relates to Israel. It is the last 7-year period appointed for her to finish the transgression, and bring in everlasting righteousness. For the first three and one-half years, Israel enjoys relative peace under the protection of the this powerful leader of ten nation confederation. He will probably station a protection force in Israel and her Holy City, Jerusalem, as did the United States in South Korea and Japan, and Russia in East Germany, Poland, etc., after the Second World War. Although this leader is the antiChrist, he is as yet veiled. Apart from the saints who understand the end times, and some members of his inner circle who know his mission, the large majority of the inhabitants of the Earth, including the leadership of Israel will see him as the answer to humanity’s myriads of problems. He will enjoy wide acceptance. Designating the 70th week of Daniel as the Tribulation Period builds an a priori case for the Pretrib Rapture Position. There are no Scriptures that gives warrant to this designation. It is better to refer to it as simply the 70th week of Daniel.

( b ) The Time Of Jacob’s Trouble

Another error the pretribs commit which is like the first is the designation of the whole of the 70th Week as the time of Jacob’s trouble. “And these are the words that the Lord spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. For thus saith the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” ( Jere.30:4-7‬ ‭). Although not all pretribs share this view ( Dr. Ronald E. Showers ), the large majority do. Like the previous one mentioned above it builds an a priori case for the Pretrib Rapture Position. If the whole of the 70th week is the time of Jacob’s trouble, then the Church is exempt from it. After all, God is dealing with Israel and no the Church.
But the whole of the 70th week cannot be the time of Jacob’s trouble because Israel enjoys relative peace during the first three and one-half years of the 70th week under the protection of the antiChrist prior to his unveiling at the midpoint of the 70th week.

The antiChrist will enforce this false peace agreement for the first half of the 70th week. He will ensure that none of the surrounding hostile Arab and Islamic nations attack Israel during the first half of the 70th week. This is to give Israel a false sense of security. He will deal with Israel himself. Until the midpoint of the 70th week when he abrogates the False Covenant of peace, he does not attack Israel. It is precisely in the middle of the 70th week when the antiChrist breaks his Covenant with Israel, and surrounds Jerusalem with his armies in what is called the Jerusalem Campaign by Robert Van Camden of blessed memory that every Jewish Israeli will put his hands on his loins, and face turned into paleness as a result of fear. “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” ( Luke‬ ‭21:20‬ ‭). At the same time he surrounds Jerusalem with his armies, he also desecrates the temple, and abrogates daily animal and grain offerings began at the ratification of the false peace agreement. This is the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet ( Dan.9:27, Matt.24:15 ). Therefore the time of Jacob’s trouble begins at the midpoint of the 70th week of Daniel. It does not include the first half of the 70th week of Daniel.

( c ) The Time Of God’s Wrath

It obvious from the Scriptures that the Church is exempt from the wrath of God: for God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus the Christ ( 1 Thess.1:10, 5:9 ). If it can be established or proven from the Scriptures that the wrath of God begins at the commencement of the 70th week, hurrah, the game is over, the Church cannot go through any part of the 70th week. But are there any Scriptures that teach explicitly or implicitly that the wrath of God begins at the beginning of the 70th week? Pretribs teach that the whole of the 70th week is the period of God’s wrath, thusly building an a priori case for Pretrib Rapture Position inasmuch as the Church is exempt from the wrath of God. But the Scriptures are unequivocal in teaching that the day of the Lord is preceded by cosmic and celestial disturbances, and that the wrath of God occurs in the day of the Lord.

The prophet Joel announced that the day of the Lord shall be heralded by the darkening of the Sun, Moon, and Stars, and the appearance of the blood Moon.

“The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.” ( Joel‬ ‭3:15‬ ‭).

“And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.” ( Joel‬ ‭2:30-31‬ ‭).

The prophet Isaiah spoke of the same. “Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.” ( Isaiah‬ ‭24:23‬ ‭).

John the revelator told us that this event occurs at the breaking of the sixth seal, after the breaking of the fourth and fifth seals which signal the Great Tribulation and the martyrdom of the saints. The Great Tribulation begins at the midpoint of the 70th week. The sixth seal therefore is broken way into the second half of the 70th week. “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.” ( Rev.6:12-14‬ ‭). It is obvious therefore that the wrath of God which occurs in the day of the Lord begins in the second half of the 70th week.

The cosmic and celestial disturbances shall send men scurrying for non-existent refuge under the rocks and mountains in fear of the wrath of God which is about to begin. “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” ( Rev.6:15-17‬ ‭).

In the Olivet Discourse, our Lord Jesus told His disciples that the darkening of the Sun, Moon, and Stars shall be preceded by the tribulation of those days. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:” ( Matt.24:29‬ ‭). The tribulation of those days is the Great Tribulation spoken of earlier in verse 21.

In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established. “This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” ( 2 Cor.13:1‬ ‭). We have established from the Scriptures that the day of the Lord is preceded by cosmic and celestial disturbances, and that this phenomenon is preceded by the Great Tribulation which begins at the middle of the 70th week. It is evident therefore that the wrath of God does not begin at the commencement of the 70th week but rather begins way into the second half of the 70th week after the Great Tribulation which begins at the midpoint of the 70th week.

( d ) The Tribulation

Pretribs generally label the first three and one-half years of the 70th week of Daniel as the Tribulation. Is this designation biblically accurate? Admittedly, the first three and one-half years of the 70th week of Daniel is a period of trouble. Apart from the emergence of false christs, prophets, and teachers, and of course the ultimate false christ, the antiChrist, there are wars, commotions, rumors, and threats of wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in diverse places. These are troubles no doubt, but is there any biblical warrant to label it the Tribulation? Believers are not specifically targeted for genocide. The troubles are such as arise from attempt by the antiChrist to gain world domination. In the Olivet Discourse our Lord Jesus calls this period the beginning of birth pains. “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” ( Mat.24:5-8‬ ).

It is better therefore to stick to the biblical label or simply call it the first three and one-half years. If we designate it as the Tribulation, is it in relation to Israel or the Church. During this period the antiChrist protects Israel. So Israel enjoys relative peace, tranquility, and prosperity during this period. And because the notorious world leader has not yet declared himself God, nor has demanded worship by all mortals, the saints are not specifically targeted for genocide because of their refusal to worship the Beast and to give him allegiance. Who is persecuting who? Nations are at war with one another, jockeying for power and prominence, and there is realignment of nations. On top of that are famines, pestilences, and national disasters like earthquakes which are the natural consequences of war. There is utter chaos. The rules of engagement enshrined in the Geneva convention will be rubbished. International NGOs like Medicine Sans Frontier and WHO will not be able to function. The essence of the second horse and rider is to take away peace from the Earth in order that men shall kill one another ( Rev.6:3,4 ). This is not particularly against Christians and the Jews. But that is not to say it will be easy for the believers and Jews. Not at all. But this is the narrow window of opportunity for both Jews and Christians who understand the end times to abandon the cities and towns, move into villages, forests, and wildernesses to prepare safe havens, store away food, medicine, and other supplies. It will be extremely difficult to do these things once the Great Tribulation has begone, and the Christians and Jews, and any other persons who refuse to give allegiance to the antiChrist are targeted for genocide.

Avraham Shallom.

The Prewrath Rapture Of The Church

The Prewrath Rapture Of The Church

The Prewrath Rapture Of The Church

Before Christ’s First Advent, the Scripture told us when He would come. “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” ( Dan.9:26‬ ‭). It is evident from the above scripture that the Messiah would come after the expiry of the 69th week of Daniel’s 70-week Prophecy but before the destruction of the Second Temple by the Roman general Titus in 70 AD. Therefore any Messiah that showed up for the first time after the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah, Jerusalem, in 70 AD is a pseudomessiah. And there have been a catologue of them. There are some believers that believe and teach that the Second Coming of Christ is very important, but that when He comes is immaterial. This view appears to be pious on the surface, but a closure examination reveals that it, like other views that improperly Time the Rapture, in contradiction to the Scriptures, is very deceitful. If the Scripture told us when the First Advent occurred and it was fulfilled to the letter, it is also expected that the Scriptures will also reveal when the Second Advent would occur, and it shall be fulfilled to the letter.

Dispensationalism And The Rapture

Classical Dispensationalism ( CD ) also called Traditional Dispensationalism ( TD ), makes a distinction between Israel and the Church. In principle, this view is biblically accurate. However, in practice, Classical Dispensationalism teaches that God does not work with Israel and the Church at the same time. It teaches that in the 70 weeks God is dealing with Israel. In the first 69 weeks, the Church did not exist on Earth. The New Covenant was enacted by Christ with His twelve Apostles who were representative of Israel in the Upper Room on Mount Zion at the expiration of the 69th week in 32 AD. The inception of the Church occurred on the Day Of Pentecost, in the gap of time between the 69th and the 70th week of Daniel. For this reason they name this timeless period the Church Age. In this Gentile interlude, God’s prophetic clock in relation to Israel is at a standstill. In the 70th week, God begins to deal with Israel again, and logically according to them, the Church will no longer be needed on Earth, and will cease to exist. This view necessitates that the Church be raptured prior to the commencement of the 70th week of Daniel. Some proponents of the Pretrib Rapture view concede that it is not an explicit teaching of the Scriptures as is also the Posttrib Rapture view. The Bible does not in some many words state either ( J. F. Valwoord ). Another Pretrib concedes that the proof is logically invalid, or at least unconvincing ( Richard Mayhue ). If the Pretrib Rapture view is not an explicit teaching of the Scriptures, then what is it? It is based on a man made theological system opsonized with Scriptures to make it palatable to swallow. The Scriptures must be bent to fit into their preconceived theological mold.

On the other hand, Progrssive Dispensationalism ( PD ) does not emphasize the distinction between Israel and the Church. To a very dangerous extent, it obscures and blurs this distinction to the point of extinction and obliteration or teaches that the Church has replaced Israel which fosters antisemitism in the Church. Supersessesionism is anti-Judaism and anti-Israel. This view is also dangerous. But because they do not insist that the Church must be on AWOL before the 70th week, some of them hold the Prewrath Rapture Position.

The Church And Israel

A closer examination of the Scriptures reveals that although the Church did not exist in the first 69 weeks of Daniel, for a period of 38 years from the crucifixion of Christ in 32 AD to the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem in 70 AD, God was working with both Israel and the Church at the same time. The Church and The Temple co-existed. Biblical scholars are agreed that either Apostle Paul or one of his associates wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews. It was addressed to Jews who believed in Jesus but under the Old Covenant System prior to the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem in 70 AD. He told them to get out of the Old House, and get into the New House. The Old House was about to be destroyed.

In the Acts Of The Apostles, the kingdom was reoffered to Israel which it rejected. Had Israel received Jesus as its Messiah, the Roman Empire would have metamorphosed into the Eighth And Final Beast Empire and the Kingdom Of God on Earth established immediately. There would have been no need for such a long gap of time between the 69th and the 70th week. However the kingdom was postponed and The Temple was destroyed. Israel went into exile. Thus began the long Diaspora which continues to this day. Between 70 AD and 1948, Israel did not exist as a independent nation. In 1948, Israel was reconstituted from the ashes of the Holocaust as an independent state. For the past 70 years since Israel’s independence, God has being working with both Israel and the Church. Anyone who denies that has denied a self-evident fact. To teach therefore that God does not work with Israel and the Church at the same time is a blatant lie that contradicts the Scriptures. In the Olivet Discourse, Christ addresssed His disciples not only as representatives of the nation of Israel but as also foundation members of the yet to be established body of Christ. Therefore we cannot relegate the Olivet Discourse and the Gospel of Matthew to the Jewish Waste Paper Basket. We concede that the New Covenant was established with Israel, not with the Church. The Church is the product of the New Covenant which God promised and established with Israel. One cannot establish a covenant with a non-existent entity. The Church is a fulfillment of the promise God made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the twelve patriarchs of Israel as well as the Davidic Covenant ( 2 Sam.7 ).

The Church, The Rapture And The 70th Week Of Daniel

The Pretrib Rapture Position designates the whole of the 70th week of Daniel as the period of God’s wrath. It also labels it the Tribulation Period and equates it with Time Of Jacob’s Trouble ( Jere.30:7 ). It divides the 70th week into two equal halves of three and one-half years each which is biblical. The first three and one-half years it labels the Tribulation, and the second three and one-half years it labels the Great Tribulation, none of which is biblical accurate. It rightly points out that the Church is exempt from the Wrath Of God, but wrongly concludes contrary to the Scriptures that the Church must be raptured before the commencement of the 70th week inasmuch as it is exempt from the wrath of God ( 1 Thess.1:10, 5:9 ). Do the Scriptures teach that the whole of the 70th week is the period of God’s wrath? The Pretrib Rapture Position makes no distinction between the wrath of God and the wrath of Satan. ( Rev.6:17, 12:12 ). Reading through any Pretrib writing one would be at a loss as to which is God’s wrath and which constitutes the wrath of Satan.

It rightly concedes that Israel enjoys relative peace during the first three and one-half years due to protection from the antiChrist ( Meno Kalisher ), the most powerful ruler of the most powerful empire in history due to the peace agreement which probably involves other Arab and Islamic nations like Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and Turkey which are part of the ten nation confederation of The Eighth And Final Beast Empire of Satan ruled by the antiChrist, based on the tenor of the words in Hebrew. Events that occur during the first three and one-half years are the emergence of false christs, wars, commotions, threats and rumours of wars. It concludes with famines, pestilences, and earthquakes which are the natural consequences of war. Meanwhile Israel enjoys relative peace stemming from the protection offered her by the antiChrist, and the resumption of animal and grain offerings in the rebuilt Third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. Why then do pretribs regard the first three and one half-years as part of the time of Jacob’s Trouble when Israel is peaceful all this while and prospers, and freely sacrifices in the rebuilt Third Jewish Temple? The first half of the 70th Week will be Israel’s best period since independence in 1948, although the lull will lead it off its guards.

“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” ( Dan.9:27‬ ‭).

The antiChrist does not interfere with Jewish worship in the temple until the middle of the 70th week when he receives power and authority from Satan ( Rev.13:2b ), relocates his headquarters to Jerusalem from somewhere in the land of Magog ( Dan.11:45 ), makes his debut at the rebuilt Third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah, desecrates the Third Jewish Temple by threading on its sacred precincts forbidden to Gentiles, erecting an image of himself in the Holy Of Holies, and demanding worship of all mortals.

“Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” ( 2 Thess.2:4‬ ‭). It therefore follows that the time of Jacob’s Trouble does not begin until the midpoint of the 70th week when the antiChrist makes his debut at the temple. At the same time, he sorrounds Jerusalem with his armies. Jesus taught his disciples in the Olivet Discourse that the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet is coincident with the surrounding of Jerusalem with the armies of the antiMessiah.

“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” ( Matt.24:15-21‬; cp. Mk.13:14-19 ).

Luke equated the same situation with the surrounding of Jerusalem with the armies of the antiChrist. “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” ( Luk.21:20-24‬ ‭).

It is explicitly clear from the Scriptures that the first three and one-half years of the 70th week of Daniel is not part of the time of Jacob’s Trouble. The time of Jacob’s Trouble begins at the midpoint of the 70th week and corresponds with the whole of the second half of the 70th week which is the time allotted to the antiMessiah to reign in Jerusalem. “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.”( Rev.13:5‬ ‭).

Why then do pretribs designate the first half of the 70th week as part of the time of Jacob’s Trouble? Because they want to keep the Church out of it. Do they truly succeed? No. They concede there are believers in the 70th who are not strictly Jewish. These they label Tribulation saints. But they have not been able to provide Scriptures that prove that so many millions or perhaps even billions of believers came to the saving knowledge of Christ in so short a period, three and one-half years after the Rapture of the Church, at a time when all the good pastors and believers are gone and there is no formal worship inasmuch as the first half of the 70th week consists of the emergence of false christs, wars and rumors of wars, famines pestilences and earthquakes. Is it the time for mass crusades, revival, evangelism, missions, and soul winning? Is this a good time for new converts to Christianity or old ones who missed the rapture because they were spiritual weak or indolent to acquire so much knowledge and inner fortitude to face the horrors of the Great Tribulation which begins at the midpoint of the 70th week whilst the seasoned saints are whisked away to heaven before the antiMessiah hangs out his shingles?

In 2 Thess.2:1, our Brother Apostle Paul linked our gathering together unto Him ( Rapture ) with the Parousia ( the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ ); “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,”: as also did our Lord Jesus in the Olivet Discourse; “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” ( Matt.24:29-31‬ ‭). Pretribs break this link in order to keep the Church out of the 70th week of Daniel, place the Rapture before the commencement of the 70th week, and the Second Coming at the end of the 70th week. They teach that those who are gathered are gathered into the Millennium at the end of Armageddon. But there is no reference to Armageddon in this segment of the Olivet Discourse quoted above. Our Lord Jesus Christ stated very clearly that the sign of His Coming which is the Shekinah in the heavens occurs after the Tribulation of those days and is preceded by the darkening of the Sun, Moon, and Stars. This event occurs in the second half of the 70th week, a significant amount of time before Armageddon which occurs towards the end of the 30-day Reclamation Period that follows the expiry of the 70th week of Daniel.

Secret And Silent Rapture

Pretribs also teach that the Rapture shall be secret and silent. But we see here that the Rapture is linked with cosmic and celestial disturbances and the appearance of the Shekinah in the heavens. Every eye will see Jesus coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, and with an entourage of angels ( Rev.1:7 ). The tribes of the Earth shall mourn. Men’s heart shall fail them for fear of the raging of the waves and roiling of the sees, and those things that are coming upon the Earth. “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” ( Luke‬ ‭21:25-27‬ ‭). It is at this point in The 70th week that Christ instructs His disciples to look up; for their redemption draweth near. “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” ( Luke‬ ‭21:28‬ ‭). The trumpet shall sound, and the angels shall be dispatched to gather His elect from one end of heaven to the other.

Imminency

Pretribs teach that no prophesied event shall occur before the Rapture can take place. This is their pet doctrine of imminence which teaches that the Rapture can occur at any moment and will be signless. But we see here that the Rapture is preceded by the Great Tribulation, the cosmic and celestial disturbances and the appearance of the Shekinah in the heavens. The Rapture cannot be signless inasmuch as it is preceded by these events: the Great Tribulation and the cosmic and celestial disturbances, and the sign of the coming of the Son Of Man in the heavens.

Will The Rapture Be Sudden?

Pretribs teach that the Rapture will occur suddenly, like a thief in the night. Yes, the Bible teaches that, but it relates it to the unbelievers who are in darkness, the children of the night who have no knowledge of the times and epochs. “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” ( 1 Thess.5:1-8 ). On the contrary, believers are the children of the day and light. They are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore that day cannot come upon them unawares.

Amputation Of The Great Tribulation

Pretribs label the whole of the second half of the 70th week the Great Tribulation. If the Great Tribulaion covers the whole of the 70th week, when do the trumpets occur? Between the end of the 70th week and the end of Armageddon is 30 days. The fifth trumpet alone lasts as long as five months. If the Great Tribulation covers the whole of the second half of the 70th week, then there is no time left for the trumpet and bowl judgments before the Millennium begins. Therefore, the Great Tribulation does not cover the whole of the second half of the 70th week. A distinction must be made between the Great Tribulation and the eschatological day of the Lord both of which occur during the second half of the 70th week of Daniel.

The Scriptures make it that the Great Tribulation is cut short by the cosmic and celestial disturbances in order to save some saints alive for rapture. “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” ( Matt.24:22‬ , cp. Mk.13:20‭ ). The Greek word is ekolobothesan derived from koloboo which means to amputate. If the Great Tribulation were not cut short, the antiMessiah and his security apparatus would ferret out and kill everyone who repudiates the authority of the antiChrist by refusing to accept the mark of the Beast. Google has mapped the whole world including ocean floors. There would be no where to hide. But pretribs teach that the Great Tribulation is not cut short. That what is cut short is the second half of the 70th week. That God could have permitted to be longer. Would the 70th week be a week if it were made shorter? This is the position of Renauld E. Showers, a professor at the Institute Of Jewish Studies, Cairn University. This explanation is begging the question. It contradicts the clear teaching of the Scriptures.

The Fifth Seal Martyrs

Pretribs describe the fifth seal martyrs as feeble Christians who could not make the first round up who were made the bottom of the altar. But the Scripture does not say so. They were killed for the word of God and the testimony which they upheld. “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy andrue, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” ( Rev.6:9-11‬ ‭). They should not be disparaged but honored. Even far more interesting is how did the fifth seal martyrs acquire so much inner fortitude in so short a time to withstand the horrors of the Great Tribulation if the rapture occurred before the terminus-a-quo of the 70th week?

The Teaching Of Christ

“And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” ( Luke‬ ‭17:22-30‬ ).

Because they would be in severe distress due to persecution, the disciples will desire to see the days of the Son Of Man, but will not see it. False teachers and false prophet who purportedly know His whereabouts will say to them, look here, see there. Christ warned His disciples not to follow them. This would be an attempt to lure them out of hiding in order that they maybe coerced to receive the mark of the Beast or be killed outright on refusal to accept it. His coming will not be to any secret chamber or in the desert. It will not be secret or silent. It will be like lightning that flashes from one part under the heaven to another with thunder and rumbling. Then He likened His Coming with the deluge in the days of Noah. They were eating and drinking, marrying and being giving in marriage, until Noah entered the Ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Christ taught His disciples that rescue ( Rapture ) and wrath occur the same day. The same day that Noah and family entered the Ark, rain deluged the heavens and the Earth. “In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;” ( Genesis‬ ‭7:13‬ ‭).

Christ also compared His Coming to the days of Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah. They were eating and drinking, buying and selling. They planted, they builded. But on the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. The teaching of Christ in the Olivet Discourse is very obvious. The same day that Christ is revealed, referring to Christ Coming like lightning, the saints shall be rescued ( raptured) and the judgment of God on the wicked will begin.

But this clear teaching of Christ has been turned into a controversy by the pretribs claiming that there was a gap of seven days between the entry of Noah and his family into the Ark and the beginning of the deluge. God warned Noah that there was seven days left and the deluge would begin. “For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.” ( Genesis‬ ‭7:4‬ ‭). Noah had to go in and out of the Ark to complete his job of bringing in the animals according to God’s instruction. On the seventh day he completed his job of bringing in the animals, and he and his family were safely shut in in the Ark. on the same day, the fountains of the deep were broken, the windows of heaven were opened, and the rain deluged the heavens. “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark; They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort. And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in.” ( Genesis‬ ‭7:11-16‬ ‭).

In their attempt to keep the Church out of the 70th week, they negated the clear teaching of Christ. Christ taught his disciples that the two events, the entry of Noah and his family into the Ark and the judgment of God on the ungodly occurred on the same day. On the seventh day, Noah and his family, and the animals were safely in the Ark, God shut them in, and the deluge began. The rescue of Noah and his family occurred on the same day that the judgment of fell. Jesus compared this to the day of the Son Of Man. So shall it be on the day when the Son Of Man is revealed ( Luk.17:30 ). The disciples understood this truth. It informed their question, “ when shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of their coming and of the end of the ages?” ( Matt.24:3 ). The parts of the sign would be given in reverse order: the sign of the end of the ages will precede the sign of His Coming. The cosmic and celestial disturbances will occur before the appearance of The Shekinah, the Sign Of The Coming Of The Son Of Man in the heavens. Pretribulationism contradicted the teaching of Christ in the Olivet Discourse. Christ’s Coming to rapture the Church occurs at the end of the ages. The end of the ages initiated the day of the Lord.

The Teaching Of Apostle Peter

“And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:” ( 2 Peter‬ ‭2:5-9‬ ‭).

Our brother Apostle Peter repeats the teaching of Christ that the righteous are rescued and then the punishment of the wicked follows. Noah’s rescue before the world was submerged in the waters of the deluge illustrates the back-to-back timing of the rapture of the Church and God’s judgment of the wicked that follows. Both events occur on the same day. Our Lord Jesus used the same illustration in His Olivet Discourse.

“But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as it was in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” ( Matt.24:37-39‬ ‭).

They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day that Noah and his family entered the Ark. And they knew not until the flood came and took them all away. So shall the Coming of the Son Of Man be. The same day the Church is rescued, then the judgment of the wicked begins. Christ gave another illustration saying the same thing all over again.

“Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” ( Matt.24:40-41‬ ‭).

But the pretribs in order to defend their pet doctrine of imminence and to keep the Church out of the 70th week of Daniel have made Christ’s illustration applicable to the battle of Armageddon instead of the rapture of the Church. They say those who were taken were taken in judgment and those left were left to enter into the Millennial Kingdom Of Christ. But the question of the disciples pertains to the sign of His Coming and of the end of the ages. His coming will initiate the rapture of the Church and the wrath of God on the wicked earth-dwellers who remain. The meaning of the passage is very clear. Those who were taken were taken to be with the Lord when He comes to rescue the faithful. Those who were left will be the unrighteous wicked who remain after the rescue of the righteous. They were left to face the wrath of God as it was in the days of Noah. This is exactly how Peter understood it. The righteous are rescued, and the wicked are left for judgment.

The meaning of Christ teaching is made more glaringly obvious when we consider the meaning of the Greek word paralambano rendered taken. It means to receive near, to associate with oneself in a familiar or intimate act or relation. It is used six times by Christ in reference to future events. It is used twice in Matt.24:40,41, and three times in Luk.17:34-36. In each instance it refers to the one being taken and the other left behind. It is also used by Christ in Jon.14:1-4. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” In this passage also, it carries the meaning of being received by Christ. When the saints are received by Christ in clouds of heaven at the Rapture of the Church, it carries the notion of the angels of God gathering the wheat into the barn ( Matt.13:30 ). Christ will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other ( Matt.24:31 ). “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” ( 1 Thess.4:17‬ ‭). A better rendering of paralambano is to receive intimately. So, those who are left behind will face the wrath of the Lord during the Day Of The Lord judgment of the wicked.

The Teaching Of Apostle Paul

As we have pointed out earlier, our brother Apostle Paul in His letter to the Thessalonians linked the coming of the Lord to our gathering together unto Him ( Rapture ). “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,”( 2 Thess.2:1‬ ‭). The classical rapture passage: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” ( 1 Thess.4:13-18‬ ‭); parallels the Second Coming passage in the Olivet Discourse: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” ( Matt.24:29-31‬ ‭). Those of us who are alive and remain at the coming of the Lord shall not go before those who are asleep. It is when Christ descends from heaven with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God that He will dispatch His angels to gather together His elect from one end of heaven to the other. This event occurs after the Great Tribulation of those days, after the cosmic disturbances asssociated with the darkening of the Sun, Moon, and Stars. The Church is raptured and God’s judgment of the unrighteous wicked begins.

God cannot begin to punish the wicked until their cup of iniquity is full. Their sin must pile up to heaven. It is a righteous thing with God to recompense Tribulation to them that trouble us. “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.”( 2 Thess.1:6-10‬ ‭). They must trouble us during the Great Tribulation for God to trouble them during the day of the Lord. The rest to the righteous is given when Christ descends from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taken vengeance on them that know not God. He shall punish the unrighteous with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power. This event, the punishment of the wicked in perpetuity shall occur when He comes to be gloried in His saints, and to be admired in all those who believe in that day.

Apostle Paul also taught the Thessalonians believers that although Christ will come like a thief in the night, it is only in relation to the wicked and unrighteous who are of the night and of darkness. “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,”( 1 Thess.5:1, 3-9‬ ‭). But believers are not of the night and darkness that that day should come upon them unawares. The day of sudden destruction cannot come upon believers like a thief in the night. We can know the general time period of His Coming but not the very day and the hour ( Matt.24:36 ). The believers are here until the day of the judgment of the wicked, but are delivered from it. The same day the saints are rescued, the judgment of the wicked commences. In all those passages of the Scriptures where Christ Coming is described as a thief in the night ( Luk.12:39,40; 2 Pet.3:10; Rev.3:3 ), the suddenness of His Coming is connected to the ignorance of the unrighteous wicked.

The Teaching Of Christ In The Scroll Of Revelation

The Scroll Of Revelation is highly organized and chronological. It is unique in the canon of the Scriptures being a direct communication from Christ to Apostle John the apocalyptist. It is the revelation ( unveiling ) of Jesus Christ which the Father gave to Him to reveal to the Church. It was revealed to Apostle John, the revelator through the mediation of an angel. In the first chapter, Christ, the risen Saviour is unveiled walking in the midst of the seven candlesticks which are the seven representative churches. Chapters two and three contain the letters to the seven churches. Chapters four and five unveil the Throne Room of God in the Temple of God in Heaven, a beehive of activities from where the events in the 70th week of Daniel in both heaven and on Earth are monitored and controlled. It is magic and hermeneutical jingoism, not biblical exegesis, to conjure up the Rapture in Rev.4:1 when John the revelator is invited into the Throne Room of the Temple Of God in Heaven to receive the revelation. The pretribs hold this unscholarly view in order to keep the Church out of the 70th week of Daniel and to sustain their doctrine of imminence. The first five chapters form the background to the Scroll Of Revelation.

In chapter six, the 70th week of Daniel begins with the breaking of the first seal which is the emergence of false christs, and of course the ultimate antiChrist who enters into a false peace pact with Israel for seven years ( Dan.9:27 ). He tries to form alliances with nations through subtle peace agreements. When this fails he resorts to war. This is the breaking of the second seal. Wars will naturally lead to famine, pestilences and natural disasters. This is the third seal which brings the first half of the 70th week to a close. In the middle of the 70th week, Satan is cast down to the Earth by archangels Michael with His hordes of fallen evil angels whose abode had been in the Dark Void and starry heavens. Satan is enraged ( Rev.12:7-9 ). He possesses the antiChrist, gives his power seat, and authority ( Rev.13:2 ). He relocates his headquarters to Jerusalem, surrounds Jerusalem with his armies, suspends temple worship and offerings, desecrates the rebuilt Third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah by erecting a statue of himself in the Holy Of Holies, and demands worship of all mortals. This is the abomination that makes desolate spoken by Daniel the prophet. Those who repudiate his authority by refusing his mark of allegiance are executed. This is the Great Tribulation which begins at the midpoint of the 70th week at the breaking of the Fourth Seal ( Rev.6:7,8 ).

The fifth seal depicts the arrival of the saints in heaven martyred under the fourth seal taking place on Earth at that time ( Rev6:9-11 ). It is purely a heavenly scene. It does not advance the chronology of the Scroll Of Revelation. So, the fifth seal is concurrent with the fourth. There is a certain number of saints to be martyred. It is not revealed to us. It is a secret number known only to God ( Deut.29:29 ). When that number is complete, God cuts short the Great Tribulation with the cosmic and celestial disturbances associated with the breaking of the sixth seal. There is a great earthquake, the Sun is darkened, the Moon will not give it’s light, and Stars will fall from the heavens. At the breaking of the sixth seal ( Rev.6:12-17 ), the unbelieving world will realize God is about to punish them for their evils. They scurry for nonexistent refuge under the rocks and the mountains. The saints are looking up for their redemption draws near. But before God unleashes His wrath on the wicked earth-dwellers, He seals the 144,000, and raptures the Church to take them away from the scenes of His wrath ( Rev.7 ). The Church is not appointed to wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus the Christ ( 1 Thess.1:10, 5:9 ). In Rev.8, the seventh seal is broken, and the wrath of God begins. There is no hint whatsoever of rapture before the commencement of the 70th week except that magically conjured up in Rev.4:1 by pretribs who are hell bent on getting the Church out of here before the 70th week begins.

The Rapture Occurs At The Parousia

The bane of the Pretribulational Rapture Position is the separation of the Rapture from the Second Coming Of Christ by a minimum of seven years. There is not a single verse of the Scriptures that clearly teaches or supports this separation. It is neither explicit nor implicit. Of all the passages of the Scriptures we have examined, there is none that makes this assertion. Until Christ descends from the heavens with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God, there can be no rapture. And this event occurs after the Tribulation of those days and the attendant cosmic and celestial disturbances that cut short the Great Tribulation. It is witnessed by all and sundry ( Matt.24:30;Rev.1:7 ). It is neither secret nor silent. There is no evidence in the Scriptures that Christ descends from the heavens with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God twice, once to rapture the Church before the commencement of the 70th week, and another, at least seven years later at the end of Armageddon. Christ’s descent from the heavens to the sky with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God occurs at the interlude between the end sixth seal and the breaking of the seventh. This event occurs in the second half of the 70th week after the Tribulation of those days ( Matt.24:29 ). At this point, He descends from the heavens to the sky to rapture the Church and the punish the unrighteous wicked during the day of His wrath that follows the darkening of the Sun, Moon, and Stars. All the OT prophets that spoke of the Day Of The Lord are unanimous in their proclamation that the Day Of The Lord is preceded and heralded by the cosmic disturbances.

Christ’s descent at Armageddon with the raptured saints and holy angels is not accompanied with the blowing of the trumpet with voice of the archangel ( Rev.19:10-21 ). The sole purpose is to defeat the armies of the kingdoms of this age and to reclaim physical repossession of the Earth in the behalf of the Father. Christ’s descent with the voice of the archangel occurs inside the second half of the 70th week, whilst Armageddon ends at the end of the 30-day Reclamation Period that immediately follows the expiration of the second half of the 70th week. To teach rapture before the commencement of the 70th week of Daniel is to court disaster. It makes the Church vulnerable to deception by false prophets, false teachers, and false christs of whom there will be a preponderance beginning from the first half of the 70th week of Daniel. The commencement of the 70th week is marked by the emergence of false christs, and of course the ultimate antiChrist, the Son Of Destruction. It will make the Church unprepared to face the horrors of the Great Tribulation. A generation of believers that have been taught they shall be taken to heaven on the wings of a “silver bird” before the emergence of the antiChrist will be ill prepared to resist the allurement of the antiChrist especially in those nations where the citizenry are used to food stamps and government handouts. The antiChrist will promise to put a chicken in every pot, and he will certainly deliver, thusly making unprepared believers chickens in his own pot during the Great Tribulation.

The Parousia Occurs At The End Of The Ages

In the Olivet Discourse, the disciples asked,our Lord Jesus the Christ, “ what shall be the sign of the thy coming and of the end of the ages.” They linked His Coming with the end of the ages. The word semeion in Greek is singular. There is only one sign of His Coming And Of The End Of The Ages. Jesus answered this question by narrating a series of events that shall transpire within the 70th week beginning from the emergence of false christs, then wars and rumors of wars, famines pestilences and earthquakes that bring the first half of the 70th week to a close. From the midpoint of the 70th week the Great Tribulation begins. Jesus told His disciples that the sign they asked Him about would occur after the Tribulation of those days. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” ( Matt.24:29-31‬ ). So the sign of His Coming and of the end of the ages occur back-to-back but in reverse order. First is the sign of the end of the ages which is the cosmic and celestial disturbances. This sign will switch off the natural lights of the universe. The Sun will be darkened, the Moon will not give her light, and the Stars will fall from the heavens. The darkened and frozen state of the Earth caused by the sign of the end of the ages will be reversed by the sign of His Coming which is the appearance of the Shekinah in the heavens. There is only one sign but there are two components of this sign. When Christ appears in the heavens, He dispatches His angels to gather His elects from one end of the heavens to the other. Then and only after then shall the end of the ages begin which is the outpouring of the wrath of God on the unrighteous wicked who remain.

In His post resurrection message to His disciples, Jesus promised His disciples His presence with them till the end of the ages. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”( Matt.28:18-20‬ ‭). If His disciples will not be here till the end of the ages why would Jesus promise to be with them till the end of the ages? We see that the parousia occurs at the end of the ages. If the parousia occurs at the end of the ages, then the Rapture also occurs the the end of the ages because the Rapture occurs at the parousia. This conclusion is biblically accurate because Jesus told His disciples that he who endures unto the end ( of the ages ) shall be saved. “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” ( Matt.10:22‬ ‭). This promise was made in relation to the Great Tribulation when the disciples shall be hated of of all nations on account of His name. Those who would be delivered from the Great Tribulation will be the faithful disciples who endure unto the end of the ages when the Great Tribulation will be amputated with the cosmic and celestial disturbances.

The End Of The Ages Occurs At The Breaking Of The Seventh Seal

The Olivet Discourse parallels the breaking of the seals in Rev.6-8. The fourth seal parallels the Great Tribulation. The fifth seal has no parallel in the Olivet Discourse because it is a heavenly scene. In the Olivet Discourse Christ was dealing with events on the Earth only. In the Scroll Of Revelation, He dealt with both earthly and heavenly events. The fifth seal is concurrent with the fourth seal. It is a heavenly reflection of the killings going here on Earth during the fourth seal, the Great Tribulation. The fifth seal will end when the number of saints destined to be martyred is complete. “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” ( Rev.13:10‬ ‭). The KJV translation is not helpful here. The correct translation would be “ If any man is destined to go into captivity, into captivity he goes: if any man is destined to be killed with the sword, with the sword , he shall be killed.” Those taken into captivity have been so destined, and those to be killed with the sword have also been so destined. Christ knows who they are. We do not know. Th secret things belong to God ( Deut.29:29 ).

The sixth seal corresponds with the cosmic and celestial disturbances, the sign of the end of the ages which indicates even to the unrighteous wicked earth-dwellers that God is about to punish them for the their evils. At the breaking of the sixth seal they seek non-existent refuge under the rocks and the mountains. “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the
rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” ( Rev.6:12-17‬ ‭). They know instinctively that the wrath of God to be poured out on them is about to begin.

There is an interlude between the sixth seal and the breaking of the seventh seal. This interlude in the Scroll Of Revelation corresponds with the appearance of the Shekinah in the Olivet Discourse. The appearance of the Shekinah in the heavens is not described in the Scroll Of Revelation. What is described is the appearance of the raptured saints in heaven in Rev.7:9-17. In the Olivet Discourse, Christ tells His disciples that at this juncture, the saints are gathered by the angelic reapers. In the Revelation account, He adds more details by revealing that the 144,000 from the twelve tribes of Israel are sealed for protection during the impending wrath of God ( Rev.7:1-8 ). The innumerable multitude which no man could number from all tribes and nations are the raptured saints in heaven who came out of the Great Tribulation.

“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Rev.7:9-17‬ ‭).

This Great multitude who no one could number are the raptured saints in heaven. But the pretribs tell us they are Tribulation saints who are martyred for their faith. How this innumerable multitude will come to the faith in the time when their is no formal worship and all the good pastors and teachers, and saints are gone, develop the so great a faith and inner fortitude to resist the antiChrist and his killing machine, they profer no answer and the Scriptures are silent. But we can see that after this gathering in Heaven the wrath of God begins in Rev.8 after the breaking of the seventh seal. The same day the Church is raptured, the seventh seal is broken and the wrath of God begins. The seventh seal has no judgment of its own but opens into the seven trumpets. The seventh trumpet has no judgment of its own but opens in the seven bowls. The seven trumpets and seven bowls constitute the wrath of God. They begin at the breaking of the seventh seal.

The Harvest Is The End Of The Ages And The Reapers Are The Angels

In the parable of the wheat and the tares, Jesus is the Master who showed the good seed ( Matt.13:37 ). The good seed are the children of the kingdom ( 38a ). The tares are the children of the wicked one ( 38b ). The wicked one is the Devil ( 39a ). Because in the early stages of growth, the tares look like the real wheat, it will be impossible for the angelic reapers to separate the tares from the wheat ( 29 ). Therefore they must be allowed to grow together until maturation when the tares are clearly distinguishable from the real wheat ( 30 ). When they are ripe, the farmer harvests the tares first, bundles them into heaps at the edges of the farm to be burned later after the harvest of the real wheat ( 42 ). Jesus makes it clear the harvest is the end of the ages, and the reapers are the angels ( 39b ). As we have shown, the end of the ages occurs after the Great Tribulation and the cosmic and celestial disturbances which interrupt the Great Tribulation. The wheat and the tares come to maturation during the Great Tribulation when the tares are marked for destruction with the mark of the Beast during the day of the Lord. Without the Great Tribulation, the angelic reapers cannot distinguish the tares from the wheat. The tares will be burned in the day of the Lord which occurs at the end of the ages. This is the message of the third angel: “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” ( Rev.14:9-12‬ ‭).

There is no separation before the Great Tribulation. As a matter of fact, the purpose of the Great Tribulation is to separate the wheat from the tares in order to enable the angelic reapers to conduct the harvest of the real wheat. When the marking of the tares is complete during the Great Tribulation, and the full complement of the saints to be martyred is reached, God cuts short the Great Tribulation with the sign given in the Sun, Moon, and Stars. Then the Shekinah appears in the heavens as Jesus descends to the sky from the Heaven with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God. The angelic reapers can now do their job of reaping the real wheat, the true believers who not only believe in Jesus but have not the mark of the Beast. This is the Prewrath Rapture Of The Church. Thereafter, the wrath of God begins in the Day Of The Lord At The End Of The Ages which corresponds with the breaking of the seventh seal. This is the same sequence of events occurs in Rev.14. The third angel announces the wrath of God on those with the mark of the Beast. This is followed by the final harvest in two stages. First the real wheat are harvested into the barn ( Rev.14:14-16 ). This is followed by the second harvest which is the wrath of God on the unrighteous wicked ( Rev.14:17-20 ). It ends in a bloodbath at Armageddon. The height of blood reaches up to the horse bridle, about 1.5 meters, and covers a distance of about 188 kilometers. The Armageddon Campaign begins in the vicinity of Jerusalem with the remnants of the armies of the nations surrounding Israel who are part of the Eight Beast Empire involved in the Jehoshaphat Campaign which occurs shortly before the amputation of the Great Tribulation, and ends in a final bloodbath involving the armies of all the nations of the Earth on Mount Megiddo in the valley of Esdraelon.

The Pretrib Rapture Position teaches harvest before maturation which Jesus says is impossible. The Prewrath Rapture Of The Church is in consonance with the clear unforced interpretation of the parable of the wheat and the tares. Jesus interpreted this parable Himself. We have added nothing to His interpretation of the parable. We have simply analyzed His interpretation and applied it to the eschatological timeline. The result is obvious to any honest exegete of the word of God. For further clarification see my article on the parable of the wheat and the tares, https://mtzionheritage.com/the-parable-of-the-wheat-and-the-tares/.

Avraham Shallom.

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Two Critical Events That Occur In Heaven During The Remaining 24-25 Days Of The 30-Day Reclamation Period

Two Critical Events That Occur In Heaven During The Remaining 24-25 Days Of The 30-Day Reclamation Period

Two Critical Events That Occur In Heaven During The Remaining 24-25 Days Of The 30-Day Reclamation Period

At the sounding of the seventh trumpet on the fifth or sixth day of the 30-day Reclamation Period, Jesus our Lord reclaims rule over the Earth for Almighty God. The remnant of Israel who were brought into a saving relationship with the Messiah are taken into protective custody in Azal. For the remaining 24-25 days of the 30-day reclamation Period, God Almighty will pour out His wrath on the living wicked earth-dwellers, adorers and worshippers of the antiMessiah, while Christ returns to heaven to hold court at the Bema seat judgment of the resurrected saints. After the saints are rewarded, the marriage of the Lamb takes place in heaven, after which Christ returns to Earth for the final showdown at Armageddon at end of the 30-day Reclamation Period. So, the two critical events that take place in heaven while the final wrath of God, the seven bowls judgments are poured out on the wicked inhabitants of the Earth are the Bema Seat judgment and the Marriage of the Lamb.

The Bema-Seat Judgment

The English word bema is a transliteration of the Geek word bema. Literally, it means a step or an elevated platform. It came to be used by the Greeks to mean a dais from which orations are made, usually in an amphitheater. Later the term was used by the Romans to designate a magistrate court or tribunal.

At the Bema-Seat judgment, the resurrected saints of all ages are judged. This is a trial , of their works for the purpose of reward, not whether or not they will enter into heaven; for they are already in heaven. In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he wrote:

” for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in the body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” ( 2 Cor.5:10). In Romans 14:10-12, Apostle Paul wrote: ” but why dost thou judge thy brother? Or why dost set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, as I live saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” ( Rom.14:10-12).

However, it in the book of 1 Corinthians that Paul gives a vivid and somber picture of what the Bema-Seat judgment will be like. “… I have planted , Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth therein. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet as by fire” ( I Cor.3:6-15).

Our works shall be judged on whether they are good or bad, and if good on their motives, whether they are based on the love of God or selfish motives, self-aggrandizement or in order to gain control of the lives of others. Those who are saved by fire are the compromising Christians who are untaught and unprepared for the fiery testing of the antiChrist. Because they have not kept God’s instruction concerning perseverance, they cannot enjoy the protection of God during the fiery trial by the antiMessiah. They shall bear the full brunt of the persecution by the antiChrist, but nonetheless shall be saved “yet as by fire” ( 1 Cor.3:15).

The Timing Of The Bema-Seat Judgment.

The scripture is very clear as to the timing of the Bema-Seat judgment. It is pinpointed as occurring after the blowing of the seventh trumpet, during the 30-day Reclamation Period following the close of the seventieth week of Daniel. Because the seventh trumpet is sounded on day 5/6 of the 30-day Reclamation Period, the Bema-Seat judgment must occur within the 24-25 days between the blowing of the seventh trumpet and the battle of Armageddon; for Christ must of necessity come back to the Earth for the final showdown at Armageddon.

” and the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this World are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ: and He shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, saying, we give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servant the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the Earth” ( Rev.11:15-18).

When the seventh trumpet sounds, rule over the Earth is returned to Almighty God. The rulers of the kingdoms of this World would get angry. God responds to their anger by pouring the remaining wrath of God, the seven bowls on the living wicked earth-dwellers, and desroying those who destroy the Earth. At this time also He rewards His servants the prophets and the saints, and all those who fear His name, in preparation for His retaking physical possession of the Earth. Whilst the Bema-Seat judgment is taking place in heaven, God will begin the destruction of those who destroy the Earth in final seven bowl judgments.

At the Bema-Seat judgment believers are rewarded with crowns. Because the twenty-four elders wear crowns, pretribulation rapturists identify them as representatives of the church who wear crowns received at the Bema-Seat judgment. The twenty-four elders are seen wearing crowns before the seals are broken( Rev.4:4; cf Rev.6:1-12). They reason therefore that the rapture must have taken place before the seals were broken. In other words, the Bema-Seat judgment must have taken place before the start of the seventieth week inasmuch as the breaking of the first seal marks the commencement of the 70 th week of Daniel, and the Rapture therefore pretribulational. The elders’ crowns ( Rev.4:4,10) are taken to be Bema-Seat rewards, and therefore prove that the Bem-Seat judgment has already taken place.

As we have seen, the Bema-Seat judgment occurs after the blowing of the seventh trumpet, which occurs on day 5 or 6 of the 30-day Reclamation Period, after the end of the seventieth weeks of Daniel, thus making that interpretation biblically inaccurate and impossible. Besides, there are two Greek words translated crowns, diadem and stephanos. Stephanos refers to a crown more elaborate. It is the crown worn by the twenty-four elders and the locusts that emerged from the shaft of the abyss( Rev.4:4; 9:7,8).

Whilst Jesus Christ the Son Of God holds court over the church at the Bem-Seat judgment, God the Father Himself will hold another court where an immeasurable and more severe punishment will be meted out to Satan, the antiChrist and the Final Beast Empire, and other wicked kings and inhabitants of the Earth.

” and I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient Of Days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool: His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheel as burning fire, and a fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousands thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment was set and the books were opened. And I beheld then because of the great words which the horn spoke: I beheld till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame” ( Dan.7:9-11).

The execution of the sentence handed down by the Father’s Supreme Court in heaven, will be meted out by the seven avenging angelic reapers. This final wrath of God is contained in the final seven bowl judgments. Whilst God’s angelic reapers administer the final punishment of God on His enemies, the antiMessiah and final beast empire, the saints of God will receive their rewards at the Bema-Seat judgment, being made ready to become the bride of Christ at the Marriage of the Lamb.

The Marriage Of The Lamb

The second great and glorious event that will take place in heaven while the wicked inhabitants of the Earth are being punished by the last avenging angels is the marriage of the Lamb. It will be stupendously glorious. It is another great event which both the church and Christ are eager to witness. All the heavenly dwellers look forward to it.

” and I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thundering, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints” ( Rev.19:6-8).

The Bema- Seat judgment is over, the saints are wearing their star-studded crowns, arrayed in fine linen which is the righteousness of the saints. The marriage of the Lamb to His bride has come. It is an occasion of magnificent splendour. The Father will spare nothing in the marriage of His Only Begotten Son. To attend earthly wedding, men put on their best. So also at the marriage of the Lamb, the heaven blaze forth their glories.

As for the bride, it will be something else. Washed in the blood of the Lamb, spotlessly clean, arrayed in fine linen, and decorated with star-studded crowns, we shall stand in His glorious presence faultless with exceeding joy( Jud.24).

” Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless” ( 2Pet.3:14).

Out of deep-seated and heartfelt gratitude to God, every believer should live in purity, in doctrine and in our manner of life in order that he or she might be blameless in the Day Of Our Lord Jesus Christ( 1Cor.1:8). Sadly enough, many of us fail in this regard. For this reason, the last days will be a time of great trial, and testing. During this time, the compromising believers who have not heeded Christ’s instruction concerning perseverance shall undergo the great persecution of Satan’s wrath at the hand of the antiChrist, in order to refine and purify the church for her exalted status of becoming the pure and spotless bride of Christ.

Who Is The Bride Of Christ?

It is commonly taught and generally well accepted that the church is the bride of Christ, and I share that view. However, there are some that believe and teach that the bride of Christ will consist of the saints of all ages, and go through a lengthy argument, with all the mental, and scriptural gymnastics to prove it. I believe that the bride of Christ consists only of the saints of the church age for the following reasons:

1) Jesus said, ” Of all those born of women, none is greater than John the Baptizer, but the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he( Matt.11:11).

2) John the Baptist himself said that he that has the bride is the bridegroom. By that we understand that he was referring to Jesus. But the bridegroom’s friend stands beside Him and hears His voice. In this my joy is fulfilled. If John the Baptist were the friend of the bridegroom, would he also be part of the bride?

3) If the saints of all ages were part of the bride of the Lamb, all the other attendees would be angels only. In all probability, the multitude spoken about at the marriage of the Lamb, other than the bride are not only angels( Rev.19:6-8).

4) The classic NT passage teaches that as the husband is the head of the wife, even so is Christ the head of the church and saviour of the body.

” for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle,or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish”( Eph.5:23-27).

5) The OT refers to Israel as the wife of God, estranged from her husband but not divorced, and will be reconciled to Him at the end of the ages.

” thus saith the Lord, where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? Or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold for your iniquities have you sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away” ( Is.50:1).

” For thy maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is His name; and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: The God of the whole earth shall He be called. For the Lord hath called the as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou was refused, saith thy God. For a small moment I have forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee” ( Is.54:5-7).

6) Ezek.16:6-14 shows us when the Lord entered into a marriage covenant with Israel. The prophet Hosea’s marriage to Gomer is a graphic illustration of the same marriage relationship. But Israel played the harlot, became estranged from her husband but not divorced. All the prophets are equivocal in speaking about the reconciliation of Israel to her Maker and husband( Ezek.16:60-63; Is.54:7-10). If the OT saints are part of the bride of Christ, they would be married to God twice. And there is no reason for that. The prophet Hosea wrote:

” Then said the Lord unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an an adulteress, according to the love of The Lord toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love flagons of wine…… For the children of Israel will abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without a teraphim: afterwards shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days” ( Hos.3:1-5).

6) One of the reasons adduced to prove that the OT saints are part of the bride of Christ is that both the OT and NT saints are the inhabitants of the new Jerusalem that cometh down from heaven, and rests atop The Millennilal Temple on Mount Zion. The fact that both the OT and NT saints are dwellers of the new and heavenly Jerusalem does not prove the OT saints are part of the bride of the Lamb, neither does the fact that we have all one spiritual father, Abraham, the father of the faithful. Not everyone who lives in the same house with the head of the house is married to the man of the house. In the same manner, in the new and heavenly Jerusalem, there are many inhabitants but only one wife of the Lamb, the NT saints.

7) The other reasons, there no two classes of believers, we are citizens of the same kingdom, are begging the question.

8) Incidentally, those who teach that the OT saints are part of the bride of Christ, also teach that the OT saints will be raptured with the church at the same time. If this is the case, what shall we do with the scripture that says many OT saints rose from the dead and appeared to many in the city of Jerusalem at the resurrection of Christ( Matt.27:52,53)? Did their eternal immortal resurrection bodies return to their graves after they rose with Christ from the dead? We conclude therefore that the OT saints are already risen from the dead. They have received their eternal immortal resurrection bodies. They now reside with Christ in heaven, where they play angelic roles.

The two classic rapture passages, 1Thess.4:13-18 and 1Cor.15:50-52, teach that the dead in Christ shall rise first, and then we that are alive and remain shall be caught up with them to meet the Lord in the air, so shall we ever be with the Lord. Moreover, when the raptured saints arrived in heaven, they were described as those who came out of the great tribulation( Rev.7:9-17). The OT saints will in no way go through the Great Tribulation by the antiChrist.

The Cosmic Disturbance

The Cosmic Disturbance

The Cosmic Disturbance

The vast majority of Pretribulational writers teach that The Day Of The Lord will begin with the Rapture of the church, encompass the entire 70th Week, the additional 75 days beyond the 70th week, and the millennium. This is the position of The New Scofield Reference Bible. It states that The Day Of The Lord “will begin with the translation of the church and terminate with cleansing of the heavens and the earth.” This was not the original view of Dr Scofield. In the 1909 edition of his reference Bible, Dr Scofield began The Day Of The Lord with the start of the 70th Week. In that edition of his reference Bible, he wrote, ” The Day Of Jehovah ( called also, ‘ that day’ and ‘ the great day’ ) is that lengthened period of time beginning with the return of the Lord in glory.” Others who shared this view were disciples of Dr Scofield through the influence of The Scofield Reference Bible. Dr Louis Sperry Chafer, the founder of Dallas Theological Seminary, and it’s first president, in his work, Systematic Theology, also started The Day Of The Lord at Christ’s Second Advent to the Earth. He wrote that ” This lengthened period of a thousand years begins, generally speaking, with the second advent of Christ and the judgment connected therewith, and ends with the passing of the present heaven and the present earth.”

Dr Scofield changed his position in the later editions of his study Bible. In the 1917 edition of his study Bible, he made pretribulational rapture a major facet of his work. Students of Louis Sperry Chafer like John F. Walvoord, Charles Feinberg, Charles Caldwell Ryrie and Dwight Pentecost have modified his position to reflect a starting point of The Day Of The Lord from the beginning of the 70th Seven.

In starting The Day Of The Lord from the start of the 70th Seven, they erred. The vast majority of pretribulational writers rightly affirm that the rapture must precede The Day Of The Lord. But they wrongly infer that if the Rapture is pretribulational, The Day Of The Lord must start with commencement of the 70th Week. But there are a few of them however, like Paul Feinberg and Richard Mayhue who acknowledge that The Day Of The Lord starts at or beyond the middle of the 70th Seven. In Spite of this realization, they have attempted to sustain Pretribulational rapture position. In so doing, they put a gap of three and one-half years between the rapture and The Day Of The Lord. But the Scriptures do not permit such an extended gap between the starting point of The Day Of The Lord’s Judgment and the rapture of the church. On the contrary, the word of God teaches that the very day the church is raptured, The Day Of The Lord’s Wrath begins. Our Lord Jesus The Christ addressing His disciples in the Olivet discourse said, ” And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son Of Man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the Ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all” ( Luk.17:26,27). The point of the Lord’s teaching is that the very day that Noah entered the Ark, the flood came, and destroyed them all. In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established. For confirmation and emphasis, Jesus gave them another example. ” Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the Same Day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.” ( Luk.17:28,29). The point of our Lord’s teaching is very clear here: On the same day that Lot and his family fled Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone, and destroyed them all. On the same day that Lot and his family fled Sodom, God judged Sodom. It is very clear here that the deliverance of the righteous and the immediate judgment of the living wicked earth-dwellers is used to illustrate the Second Coming of the Lord. That the Lord’s word, ” Even so shall it be in The Day when The Son Of Man is revealed removes every doubt.

Malvin J. Rosenthal has written: “Deliverance of the righteous immediately precedes the judgment of the wicked. To postulate a period of time between rapture ( deliverance) and wrath ( judgment) is to contradict the Scriptures.”

But The Day Of The Lord begins with the breaking of the seventh seal. And the rapture occurs the same day that The Wrath of God begins. It therefore follows that if The Day Of The Lord begins with the breaking of the seventh seal, the rapture cannot be pretribulational.

Here are some of the arguments that pretribulationists use to defend the premise that The Day Of The Lord begins at the commencement of the 70th Seven.

Firstly, pretribulationists designate the 70th week The Tribulation Period. By that means, they build an a priori case for the Pretribulation rapture position. They also suggest that The Day Of The Lord is a time of God’s Wrath, and that the tribulation period, by its designation is time of wrath. Therefore, The Day Of The Lord must begin at the start of the 70th Seven of Daniel, the tribulation period. This assessment which is assumed repeatedly in most pretribulational literature is fallacious because the Scriptures no where designate or refer to the 70th Week as The Tribulation Period. Besides it cannot be demonstrated that the breaking of the first five seals reflect the outpouring of the wrath of God.

The breaking of the first seal signals the emergence of a multiplicity of false messiahs in the religious circle, and in the political circle, the antiChrist who is the ultimate False Messiah( Rev.6:1,2; Matt.24:5). At the breaking of the second seal, there are wars, commotions and rumors of wars(Rev.6:3,4; Matt.24:6,7a; Luk.21:9,10). At the breaking of the thirst seal, there are famines, pestilences and earthquakes, which are the consequences of wars( Rev.6:5,6; Matt.24:7b,8; Luk.21:11a ). With the breaking of the fourth seal, The Great Tribulation( Rev.6:7,8; Matt.24:9-28; Luk.21:12-24), the time of Jacob’s Trouble( Jer.30:7), a time of distress or trouble( Dan.12:1) begins. The breaking of the fifth seal reveals the souls of the martyred saints under the golden altar of incense in heaven( Rev.6:9-11). The fifth seal is a heavenly scene which is a reflection of the martyrdom of the saints going on here on earth under the fourth seal. It does not necessarily advance the chronology of events here on Earth. It reveals the arrival of the souls of the martyred saints during the Great Tribulation by the antiChrist in heaven. Not until the breaking of the sixth seal, which initiates cosmic disturbances does God begin to actively intervene in the affairs on earth at that time. With the breaking of the sixth seal, God’s wrath is about to commence( Rev.6:12-17; Matt.24:29; Luk.21:24-28). God uses the sixth seal, the cosmic disturbances to interrupt and amputate the killing of the saints going here on Earth( Matt.24:22). But the outpouring of the wrath of God does not begin until the appearance of the Shekinah in the heavens, the sealing of the 144,000, and the rapture of the church which occurs at the breaking of the seventh seal, which is the last trump( Rev.6: 14-17; 7-8:1-6; Matt.24:29-31;Luk.21:25-28).

Secondly, some pretribulationists argue that the second, third and fourth seals of Revelation 6 indicate wars, famines, and earthquakes, which is true as we have shown above. They also go on to suggest that war is a method of God’s judgment( Lev.26:21-28; Ezekk.14:21); famine is a method of God’s judgment ( Deut.11:17; Ezek.4:16,17); and pestilence is a method of God’s judgment ( Num.11:33; 16: 46). And all these seals with the exception of the fourth which is broken precisely in the middle, are broken in the first half of the 70th seven of Daniel. Inasmuch as these Scriptures indicate that these instruments of death, wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes, are expressions of God’s wrath, and The Day Of The Lord is a time of God’s wrath; it therefore follows that The Day Of The Lord starts at the beginning of the 70th week.

There is no doubt that God uses wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes as means of divine wrath and judgment. The question is whether the wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes of the first three seals of Rev.6 originate in Satan’s wrath which are given vent through human expression, man’s inhumanity to man, or are the the wrath of God administered directly by Him? As we have seen, God plays no role in the first five seals of Rev.6. They all originate in human activities orchestrated by Satan through his minion , the antiChrist, although God is in sovereign control as the sovereign Lord of the universe, hence the supervision by the four living creatures. Men also start wars, cause famines and generate pestilences.

If God is responsible for the second and third seals, He must also take responsibility for the first which signals the emergence of the antiMessiah. If the first four seals are attributed to God, it therefore follows that God is responsible for the Great Tribulation during which the saints are singled out for extermination due to their refusal to bear the mark of allegiance to the antiMessiah. If the first four seals are God’s wrath, it therefore follows that God alone must take credit for the emergence of the antiChrist and his counterfeit religious system that is responsible for the martyrdom of His saints.

It is preposterous to attribute the emergence of the antiMessiah to God. That would mean that God has a divided house, and that God is responsible for that division within His house. And we know that a divided house cannot stand( Luk.11:17,18). How can God be responsible for the emergence of the antiMessiah which signals a movement towards the ultimate rebellion against God; the deification of man by man at the Third Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem ( 2Thess.2:4,5). Having failed with subtle peace diplomacy to gain the whole world to himself, the antiChrist will plunge the whore world into war, the red horse and rider( the second seal). With the heavy equipments of modern military technology, any world war will be devastating on the earth. The resultant devastation of war will cause famines and earthquakes , and the predictable insanitary conditions will lead to pestilences ( third seal, black horse and rider). Famines, pestilences, earthquakes cause death, aside from the deliberate annihilation of those who fail to comply with the antiMessiah by taking his mark of allegiance ( the fourth seal, the pale horse and rider). This is historic pretribulational, and premillennial interpretation of the first four seals agrees with prewrath rapture position which is biblically accurate. But to attribute the first four seals of Rev.6 to God is biblically unfounded. It stretches credulity to think that once The Day Of The Lord’s Wrath begins, the antiMessiah can assume control of the world and wreak such havoc on the earth and humanity.

It is even more egregious to start the commencement of the wrath of God from the beginning of the 70th week when we consider the fifth seal of Rev.6. With the breaking of the fifth seal, martyrs under the altar of incense in heaven are revealed. These are the believing remnants of faithful saints who have not bowed to the antiMessiah, who were killed due to their refusal to capitulate to the authority of the antiMessiah. These are not resurrected saints. They are disembodied spirits. They are souls without eternal immortal resurrection bodies. They are seen under the altar of incense of the Temple in heaven crying out to God for vengeance, with a loud voice saying, ” How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” ( Rev.6:10; cp. Matt.24:9-26).

If the seals are God’s wrath, the implication is obvious. God must take credit and responsibility for the martyrdom of His own faithful children, who refuse to give allegiance to the antiMessiah and bow to the image of the Beast, thereby forfeiting their lives. God must be held accountable for the martyrdom of His faithful saints who are humble and obedient to Him. Preposterous one may say, and that is absolutely correct. The very testimony of these martyrs belies the attribution of their martyrdom to God. They pleaded with God for divine retribution against their persecutors. God told them to patiently wait until their fellow brethren on earth who are to be martyred are also killed. There is a certain number or complement of believers to be martyred. It is a divine secret; it is not revealed to us in the Scriptures ( Deut.29:29). Immediately that number is complete, God will amputate The Great Tribulation. ” Except those days were cut short, no flesh( in context, observant Jews and Christians, and other nonconformists) will be saved ( Matt.24:22). This is the one singular most important reason why the seals cannot be God’s wrath, and The Day Of The Lord Wrath and judgment cannot begin at the beginning of the 70th week, the so called Tribulation Period.

Thirdly, pretribulationists teach that because it is the Lamb of God who has the authority to take the seven sealed scroll from the right hand of Him that sits upon the throne, break the seals, and open the scroll which leads to the unfolding of the events of the 70th week ( Rev.5,6), therefore the entire 70th week is the outpouring of His Wrath.

The Seals Are Not God’s Wrath

This argument does not make a distinction between the active will and permissive will of God, both of which are under His Sovereignty. Furthermore, it rests on an inadequate understanding of God’s purpose for the 70th week of Daniel.

Jesus as the Son Of God and the Son Of Man is given the seven sealed Scroll which is the Title Deed of the Earth. He as the True Adam, the Second Man who is the Lord from the heavens( 1Cor.15:47), is the Father’s representative in the earthly domain of His Universal Kingdom. He as the sovereign Lord of the Earth is bringing the history of This Age, Olam Haze to a consummate ending. The termination of this Age is the inauguration of The New Age, the Age to come, Olam Haba. Christ told His disciples, “…. and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the ages” ( Matt.28:20). From the start of the breaking of the seventh seal to the end of the The War Of Armageddon is the End Of The Ages. Jesus will be with His disciples till the start of the breaking of the seventh seal which marks the commencement of The End Of The Ages, which is the beginning of the outpouring of the wrath of God. The saints are exempt from the wrath of God. Therefore they must be physically removed from the Earth before the wrath of God begins. This period of time from the start of the breaking of the seventh seal to the end of the war of Armageddon is The End Of The Ages or simply The End. ” And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto The End, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the World for a witness unto all nations; and then shall The End come” ( Matt.24:12-14).

The persecution, the Great Tribulation is to go on till the end of the ages. He that endures till the end of the ages shall be saved,redeemed or rescued, that is, physically removed from the earth’s premises, the scene of the persecution. This gospel must be preached to the whole world, then shall the end ( the end of the ages ) come. Jesus is in sovereign command of all the events of the End times; everything must work in accordance with preordained plan. Besides, He is working out different plans and purposes during the 70th Week which relate to the distinctive significance of the seals, trumpets, and bowls of the Scroll of Revelation.

In the world of the Bible, seals signify authenticity, protection and ownership. They are also for the purpose of legalization and identification. The believer in Christ Jesus is sealed with the Holy Spirit which is the earnest( initial payment) of our inheritance( Eph.1:13,14). The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer is the absolute guarantee that his or her eternal salvation is secure. That He who began a good work in him or her will be faithful to complete it( Eph.1:6); and that no power in heaven and under the Earth will thwart His divine purpose for the redeemed. It is quite comforting to know that nothing can come upon us, even the midst of the worst of man’s inhumanity to man, a time when the antiChrist demands that men bow, capitulate to his authority or be annihilated, except that which has passed the security of His ineffable love. Even in the midst of The Great Tribulation, nothing can happen to the child of God except that which The Almighty God, in His Sovereign will permits. During The Great Tribulation, the believer shall be delivered up to be afflicted and killed( Matt.24:9). ” And when He had broken the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and the testimony which they held” ( Rev.6:9). Under these circumstances, the context of the 70th Week, the profound truth which is revealed in the word of God, becomes very relevant: ” And fear not them who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” ( Matt.10:28; Luk.12:5). We should not fear man who after destroying the body has no power over the soul, but rather we should fear God who has power, after destroying the body, to cast the eternal soul into hell fire. The soul of man is indestructible; every soul of man is eternal. The soul and spirit of man cannot be annihilated. When the Bible speaks of eternal life, it the quality of that life that is in view. Some, the saints, the elect of God will spend eternity in the heavenly Jerusalem, but the wicked, the condemned will spend eternity in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone.

The Scroll of Revelation, the Title Deed of the Earth, has the seven seals of the Almighty, indicating that He is the Lord of the Earth( Rev.5:1,5). ” Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, possessor of the heaven and the Earth” ( Gen.24:19). Jesus, thanking the Father for the successful mission of His disciples, addressed Him as “Lord of Heaven and the Earth” ( Matt.11:25). Prior to the commencement of the wrath of, shortly before the rapture of the church, the 144,000 from the twelve tribes of Israel are sealed with seal of God for identification and protection during the outpouring of His wrath( Rev.7:3); for God will not leave Himself without witnesses on Earth.

The Seals Of Revelation 6

Some pretribulation commentators also are of the opinion that the seals of Revelation 6 are not God’s wrath, but originate in the evil activities of men. John F. Walvoord commenting on the seals said: ” The judgment of war, famine, and death , and the martyrdom of the saints have largely originated in human decisions and in the evil heart of men.” Leon Morris wrote, ” The first four seals form a unity. They show us the self-defeating character of sin. When the spirit of self-aggrandizement and conquest is abroad, all God need do is let events take their course and sinners will inevitably be punished.” William Newell commenting on the fifth seal of Revelation 6 wrote, ” This fifth seal exhibits especially three things….; Third, the utter wickedness of the earth which is plainly expected to go on martyring the full complement of God’s saints.

As we have pointed out earlier, the fact that our Lord Jesus breaks the seals, signifies amongst other things, the assurance of eternal security for the martyred saints. The antiMessiah, under the permissive will of God can touch their bodies, but not their souls. The seals are not God’s wrath. They are God’s promise of eternal protection and security during man’s wrath, which is precipitated and perpetrated by the AntiMessiah who is empowered by Satan( Rev.13:4). This is the ultimate manifestation of the principle, ” surely the wrath of man shall praise thee” ( Ps.76:10). The first four seals affects one-fourth of the earth’s population( Rev.6:8). That the Lord Jesus is in sovereign control of the breaking of the seals guarantees divine protection and eternal salvation for the faithful saints who are martyred.

In a discussion of the seals, Gary Cohen wrote, ” The first four seals are seen to contain providential-type judgments. Such judgments are those which God, in His holy and wise control of all things in the world, permits to rise up out of natural causes.”

David Cooper who is a staunch defender of the Pretribulation rapture position wrote, ” At the breaking of each of the four seals, there appears upon the earth a rider upon a certain colored horse. These horses are symbols of movements and events of that period. This movement brings the antChrist to power….. A martyrdom of Tribulation saints occur at the breaking of the fifth seal. All of the things which occur under the first five seals are brought about and engineered by men who instigate and carry forward these events as indicated in Rev.6:1-11.”

As we have pointed earlier, nothing can come upon the believer except that which God in His sovereign will permits. That God is in sovereign control is elegantly attested by the fact that He breaks the seals, and supervises the sounding of the trumpets and the outpouring of the bowls. To teach that the first five seals are God’s wrath contradicts the evidence of the Scriptures, and the views and testimonies of the overwhelming majority of biblical scholars and commentators on the Scroll of Revelation. Our Lord Jesus spoke of the first five seals as signs of His coming, no where does He say they are His wrath.

The Trumpets

In ancient Israel as well as in the modern State of Israel, the trumpet served two major purposes. Firstly, it was and is still being used to call a solemn assembly, in other words to gather the people of Israel in the presence of God. Therefore it was sounded on Israel’s feast days and at the New moon ( Lev.23:24-25; Num.10:2-3,7,10; Ps.81:3). Secondly, it was blown to sound an alarm for war and judgment ( Num.10:9; Jere.4:19; Joel 2:1). When Israel went to war with its enemies it was to bring judgment on the enemies of God. The trumpet judgments will accomplish precisely these two purposes. At the breaking of the seventh seal which opens into the seven trumpets, the church will be raptured into the presence of God, that is, called as it were into God’s presence. We will meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with Him ( 1 Thess.4:16,17). At the same time, the eschatological Day of the Lord judgment on the Gentile nations that know not God will begin. It will be meted out on both unrepentant Jews ( Ezek.20:30-38), and inpenitent Gentiles ( Is.2:12-22; 24:20-23).

The Bowls

As we have pointed out several times earlier, the Greek word translated bowl in the KJV is phiale. It is from this word that we derive the English word vial. Unlike in ancient Israel and in the Roman world, the vial used in modern medicine is a narrow-throated vessel. In ancient Israel and in the Roman world, it was a wide rimmed shallow dish or saucer, the content of which could easily be discarded with a quick swish. Just as Muslims use kettles, an observant Jew would use such a dish for ritual cleansing of hands before the Shabbat , and for a variety of other religious observances, at the end of which he discards the dirty water with a quick swish because the bowl was wide rimmed and shallow. The rapid outpouring of the dirty and useless content of the bowl became a metaphor, a descriptive language for the outpouring of God’s wrath on the Gentile nations that know not God.

The psalmist pleaded with God, ” pour out thy wrath upon the nations that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name. For they have devoured Jacob, and laid waste his dwelling place” ( Ps.79:6,7). In the same vein, Jeremiah, the weeping prophet of Israel, made the same plea to God, ” Pour out thy fury upon the nations that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on the name; for they have eaten up Jacob, and devoured him, and consumed him, and have made his habitation desolate” ( Jere.10:25). Both of these passages of the Scriptures speak of the pouring out of God’s judgment on the nations that have not known Him, and that the outpouring of wrath will be based on their treatment of the descendants of Jacob.

God Himself responded affirmatively in Zeph.3:8. ” Therefore wait ye upon Me, saith the Lord, until the the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them my indignation, even all my fierce anger; for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.” The Lord will do this because He is jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with great jealousy, because He is sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease; for He was a little displeased with Israel, and the Gentiles helped forward the affliction ( Zech.1:14,15). God wanted to use the Gentiles nations to punish Israel for her sins and disobedience to Him, to correct, cleanse and purge her from her sins, but the Gentiles were overbearing in meting out divine justice to Israel, and exceeded the bounds of divine justice and decency because of their jealousy and hatred of Israel. In return, God shall reward them evil for their iniquities and wickedness.

So, there is a divine judgment of the nations, excluding Israel. For this purpose, the surviving remnant of Israel shall be hidden in Azal, taken to protective custody as it were. In the light of this judgment and the exemption of the Jewish survivors, the prophet Zechariah wrote, ” And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come , and all the saints with thee.” ( Zech.14:5). In the same vein, the prophet Isaiah wrote, ” Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.” ( Is.26:20). We can see very clearly here that Israel is exempt from the bowl judgments.

The specific judgment of God upon the Gentile nations from which, as we have pointed out Israel is exempt, shall begin at the end of the 70th Week. At the sounding of the seventh trumpet, Our Lord Jesus the Christ shall return literally to the Earth, reclaim God’s rule over the Earth usurped by Satan( Rev.11:17-17). According to Jewish calendar, the 70th week ends on the Day of Atonement( Yom Kippur). This is the occasion of Israel’s national Day Of Atonement ( Zech.12:10). Five days later will be the Jewish feast of Sukkot or Tabernacles. This will be the fifth day into the 30-day reclamation period ( Dan.12:11). On this day, the trumpet shall be blown in accordance with Jewish custom on every feast day. This shall correspond with the sounding of the seventh trumpet, at which instance God Almighty reclaims His rulership of the Earth through His human representative, an Adam, our Lord Jesus the Messiah, over the earthly domain of His Universal Kingdom. The Jewish feast of Hanukkah or the Feast Of Lights occurs 75 days after Yom Kippur. Therefore Hanukkah shall fall on the last day of the 45-day Restoration Period ( Dan.12:12). This will be the commencement of the mellinnial reign of Christ.

Therefore, the judgment of the nations will be poured out, beginning with the blowing of the seventh trumpet on the First Day Of Sukkot( Rev.11:18). Concerning that day, the prophet Zechariah wrote, ” And it shall come to pass, in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem ” ( Zech.12:9). The judgment of God on the nations will be swift, encompassing the seven bowl judgments which shall be poured out, emptied upon the Gentiles nations in a brief period of 24-25 days of the 30-day reclamation period ( Dan.12:11).

The Pretribulation Rapture position is built on the premise that the church is exempt from the wrath of God which is biblical accurate, but on the inference that the wrath of God begins at the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel which is biblically inaccurate. A cursory look and examination of The Day Of The Lord passages in Scriptures indicate that it is a period of unprecedented, awesome judgment of the nations by direct divine intervention in the affairs of men. What the mouth of the Lord has spoken, His right hand of righteousness will perform. During the wrath of God, the omnipotent arm of God is depicted unleashing God’s righteous indignation and judgment on inpenitent and recalcitrant nations of the world that know not God neither obey Him.

The foundations of this planet earth shall shall be shaken and reel and wobble under the impact of God’s wrath like a drunken man. The proposition that the antiChrist will rise to power, emerge as the ultimate demagogue, establish a worldwide rule, relocate his headquarters to Jerusalem, erect a statue or image of himself in the Holy Of Holies of the rebuilt Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah, apotheosize himself, demand worship of mortals, kill multitudes of Jews and Christians who refuse to bow to his authority and comply with his demands ( Rev.13:1-8)- all of these exetending over a period of three and one- half years into the Day Of The Lord- cannot be seriously entertained in the light of the biblical characteristics of The Day Of The Lord. The Day Of The Lord does not last for that long a period. Besides, only the Lord is exalted in that Day, and the haughtiness of men and their lofty looks shall be brought low. Concerning this the prophet Isaiah wrote,

” Enter into the Rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty. The lofty looks of men shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord shall be on every one that is proud and lofty, and upon everyone that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: and upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, and upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, and upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, and upon the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and The Lord alone shall be exalted in That Day. And the idols He shall utterly abolish. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth. In That Day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they have made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth. Cease ye from man , whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of? ” ( Is.2:10-22).

The idols of gold and of silver mentioned here are the little images of the antiMessiah which those who have taken his mark of allegiance shall be instructed to make for the purpose of private worship of the beast-antiChrist. At the breaking of the sixth seal, John the revelator wrote,

” And the Kings of the Earth, and the Great Men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the Mighty Men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and the rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on The Throne, and from theWrath Of The Lamb: for The Day Of His Wrath is come ; and who shall be able to stand? ” ( Rev.6:15-17).

John the revelator makes it clear that at the breaking of the sixth seal, all the living wicked earth-dwellers will suddenly realize that atheism and evolution are religious and scientific insanity respectively. The Richard Dawkins will throw away all their tons of books on evolution to seek refuge in the caves and tops of the ragged rocks from the Wrath of Him that sitteth on the throne of the Universe and from the Wrath of the Lamb of God, who execute God’s vengeance on the wicked who forsake God. In That Day, all the edifices of human achievements in defiance to God, all the Towers of Babel that men have built for themselves in defiance to God, whether they be religious, educational, whether they be in the realm of entertainment, commerce or industry shall become like the proverbial hill of beans and house of cards. In addition to the men themselves, they shall be consumed in the divine conflagration.

We can see that starting the Day Of The Lord at the start of the 70th Week, not only creates an insurmountable exegetical problem, but also compounds it by standing in opposition to the clear teaching of the Scriptures that the Day Of The Lord begins with the breaking of the seventh seal of Revelation 8 after the cosmic disturbances.

The Breaking Of The 7th Seal: The Start Of The Day Of The Lord

There is a clear evidence and overwhelming testimony that The Day Of The Lord is preceded by cosmic and celestial disturbances of considerable magnitude. Isaiah prophesied that the day of the Lord will be antedated by cosmocelestial disturbances. ” Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and He shall destroy the sinners out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in it’s going forth, and the moon shall not cause it’s light to shine” ( Is.13:9,10).

The prophet Joel testified also that the day of the Lord shall be preceded by celestial disturbances. ” Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision; for the Day Of The Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining” ( Joel 3:14,15). He also said, ” And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord” ( Joel 2:30,31).

That The Day Of The Lord shall be preceded by cosmic and celestial disturbances, the Scriptures are precise. One cannot but notice the precision that there will not only be cosmic disturbance, but that it shall be before the day of the Lord. The evidential conclusion here is obvious. If The Day Of The Lord begins at the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel as the pretribulationists would have believe, it therefore follows that the 70the week of Daniel must be preceded by cosmocelestial disturbances. There is no legitimate biblical alternative evidence. This evidence poses an enigmatic and insurmountable exegetical problem for pretribulationists.

A major facet and pillar of the pretribulational rapture position is the concept and doctrine of imminency. Imminency is the teaching that no prophesied event must occur before the rapture takes place. In other words, the rapture must occur without being preceded by any prophesied event. It can occur at any moment. John F. Walvoord, the former president of Dallas Theological Seminary declared that imminency is the “Heart of pretribulationists,” and so do the majority of pretribulationists after him. However, if the day of the Lord starts at the commencement of the 70th week of Daniel, and a prophesied event, cosmic disturbance must occur first, it therefore follows that cosmic disturbance must occur outside of the 70th, before it actually begins. We can see from here that imminency, the central pillar of Pretribulation rapturism is biblically inaccurate, and therefore untenable.

The Timing Of The Cosmic Disturbance

Since the cosmic disturbance is the precursor to The Day Of The Lord, is it possible to know when it will occur? Yes! The Scriptures are very clear as to the precise time when the cosmic disturbance will occur. In the Olivet discourse, our Lord Jesus the Christ said,

” Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heaven shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son Of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son Of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet , and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” ( Matt.24:29-31). Here we can see that the cosmic disturbance occurs way into the second half of the 70th week, after the Great Tribulation by the antiChrist.

John the revelator lends his voice as the timing of the cosmic disturbances. This should not surprise us as Jesus is the actual author of the Scroll Of Revelation, John the revelator being His amanuensis. So, Jesus is the author of both the Scroll Of Revelation as well as the Olivet discourse.

” I beheld, when he had broken the sixth seal and, lo, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood; and the stars of heaven fell into the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind” ( Rev.6:12,13).

We can see here too that a specific cosmic disturbance occurs way into the second half of the 70th week at the breaking of the sixth seal of Revelation 6. Some interpreters of the pretribuation persuasion have tried to negate the significance of this truth by trying to confuse it with the heavenly disturbances of the fourth trumpet judgment ( Rev.8:12). Unfortunately, there is no parallel of thought or language to warrant such association. Besides there is a convergence of thought and language in other passages of the Scriptures ( Is.13:10; Ezek.32:7,8; Joel2:31), as do the evangelists Mark and Luke in the Olivet discourse (Mark 13:24,25; Luk.21:25). Also this particular cosmocelestial disturbance is in perfect conformity with the chronology of the Olivet discourse in Matt.24. How far inside of the 70th week of Daniel the breaking of the sixth seal occurs has been answered by Matt.24:29; after the Tribulation of those days.

Many biblical scholars have recognized and called attention to the similarity and parallelism between Mattthew ( Matt.24:5-8) and the four horses and riders of the Apocalypse ( Rev.6:1-8). That similarity is self-evident, and does not need any stretch of the imagination.

First Seal: White horse and rider

This is false religion personified in the antiMessiah who conquers by subtle peace diplomacy, deception and political intrigue ( Rev.6:1-2). ” For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” ( Matt.24:5).

Second Seal: Red horse and rider

The rider upon a red horse is given a sword, and he went forth conquering and to conquer. This signals war ( Rev.6:3-4). ” And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” ( Matt.24:6-7a).

Third Seal: Black horse and rider

The third seal is a rider upon a black horse who is given a scale to measure the food supply. Food is rationed in time of famine. This signals famine, a natural consequence of war ( Rev.6:5-6). ” And there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” ( Matt.24:7b-8). This is the end of the first three and one-half years. Famines, pestilences, and earthquakes are natural consequences of war. With modern military technology, any World War will have devastating effect on our planet.

Fourth Seal: Pale horse and rider

The fourth seal is a rider upon a pale horse who kills with hunger, sword and the beasts of the earth. This is the Great Tribulation when the antiMessiah starves to death , hunts down and kills those who refuse to bow to his authority. The beasts of the earth are the enlivened robotic images of the antiMessiah equipped with AI which identify and cause to be killed those who do not give their allegiance to the antiMessiah by refusing to be beast-marked ( Rev.6:7-8). ” Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my names sake. And then shall many be offended and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved…..” ( Matt.24:9-28).

Many commentators of the Pretribulation persuasion conclude the comparison at this point. However, a close examination of the Scriptures shows that the comparison continues.

The Fifth Seal

The fifth seal reveals a complement of faithful saints martyred for their faith. They were martyred ” for the word of God, and the testimony which they held” ( Rev.6:9-11). The fifth seal is a heavenly scene, a reflection of the killing of the saints going here on earth. Therefore it runs concurrently with the fourth seal, their disembodied souls and spirits arriving in heaven simultaneously as the killing is taking place on earth. ” Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you, and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake” ( Matt.:249).

The Sixth Seal

At the breaking of the sixth seal, there are cosmocelestial disturbances. ” And I beheld, when He had broken the sixth seal, lo, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind” ( Rev.6:12,13). ” Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give its light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heaven shall be shaken” ( Matt.24:29).

” But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give its light, and the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in the heavens shall be shaken” ( Mark13:24,25).

” And there shall be signs in the sun , and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring” ( Luk.21:25).

We can see from the above Scriptures that cosmic disturbance precedes The Day Of The Lord, and that it occurs at the breaking of the sixth seal. The sixth seal is broken after The Great Tribulation, and the The Great Tribulation is cut short or better still amputated, and ends before the expiry of the 70th Week ( Matt.24:28; Mark 13.24; Luk.21:23-25). In Rev.6:12, the cosmic disturbance occurs after the martyrdom of the saints associated with The Great Tribulation by the antiMessiah.

The sixth seal will darken the heaven and frozen the earth. The sign of the coming of the Son Of Man, The Shekinah in the heaven shall dispel the darkness and defrost the earth. “And then shall appear the sign of the Son Of Man in the heavens” ( Matt.24:30; cp, Mark 13:26; Luk.21:27). The appearance of the sign of the coming of the Son Of Man in the heavens occurs after The Great Tribulation, but before the end of the 70th Week. What is cut short, amputated is The Great Tribulation, not the forty and two months allotted to the antiMessiah to persecute the saints of the Most High.

The fifth trumpet judgment alone lasts as long as five months. The first woe corresponds with the expiration of the fifth trumpet judgement. The sixth trumpet judgment is poured out but does not expire until after the end of the 70th week. The second woe which marks the end of the sixth trumpet judgment, after the death and resurrection of the two witnesses occurs on the fourth day of the 30-day Reclamation Period. The seventh trumpet is blown on the 5th or 6th day of the 30-day Reclamation Period. Shortly before it is sounded, the mystery of God shall be finished. At its sounding, God Almighty reclaims His rule over the Earth ( Rev.11:15).

The appearance of the sign of the coming of The Son Of Man is related to the Rapture Of The Church and the Sealing Of the 144,000 surviving remnants of Israel. It occurs before the breaking of the seventh seal which marks the starting point of the wrath of God. The rapture of the church and the outpouring of the wrath of God occur on the same day. Immediately the church is raptured, the wrath of God begins. The rapture and the beginning of the outpouring of the wrath of God occur on the same day. God does not exempt His children from the wrath of Satan administered by man; but He does exempt them from His own wrath which is administered by Him. Noah was told to get into the Ark before the deluge, and Lot told to leave Sodom before God rained fire and brimstone on the cities of the plain. In like manner the church must be taken away to heaven, raptured before the wrath of God begins.

God’s wrath begins with the breaking of the seventh seal. The seventh seal has no judgment of its own. And out of the seventh seal arises the seven trumpets. The cosmocelestial disturbances introduced with the breaking of the sixth seal are preludial to the Rapture of the Church and the commencement of The Day Of The Lord Wrath. In like manner, the seventh trumpet has no judgment of its own. Out of the events trumpet arise the seven bowls. The seventh bowl culminates in Armageddon.

A Great Multitude No Man Could Number

A Great Multitude No Man Could Number

A Great Multitude No Man Could Number

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom , and thanksgiving, and honour , and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these who are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said unto me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them nor any heat. For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and For shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” ( Rev.7:9-15).

The identification of this special group, a great multitude which no one could number is very crucial to the timing of the rapture. The traditional view of pretribulationists on this great multitude as exemplified by John F. Walvoord is that Rev.7 does not advance the narrative, but draws attention to two major groups of saints in the tribulation. He describes the opening portion of the chapter as picturing the 144,000 representative of the godly remnant of Israel on earth in the great tribulation. The latter part he describes a great multitude of martyred saints in heaven, those who died as a testimony to their faith from every kindred, tongue and nation. However, it is not recorded any where in their description in considerable details that they are martyred saints.

In Rev.6, at the breaking of the fifth seal, martyred saints are described. Their martyrdom occurred during the Great Tribulation at the hand of the antiChrist. ” And when he had broken the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and the testimony which they held.” ( Rev.6:9). They cried out to God for their blood to be avenged on  the perpetrators of their martyrdom ” them that dwell on the earth” ( Rev.6:10). God answered in the affirmative. They were given white robes and told to ” rest yet for a little season , until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” ( Rev.6:11). There is a complement of believers to be martyred. When that number is complete, God amputates the Great Tribulation by the antiMessiah with cosmic disturbances. These martyred saints are given glorified eternal immortal resurrection bodies on the first day of the millennium. ” And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded( cephalizo) for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had receive his mark upon their foreheads, or in their right hands; and they live and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” ( Rev.20:4).

The great multitude which no could number in Rev.7, is a different group from the martyrs under the fifth seal in Rev.6. For the following reasons.

(1) Innumerability

They are so numerous that they cannot be numbered. This is a figure of speech, a hyperbole, an overstatement.  It simply means that they are a very great and large number of people. Given some time they could be numbered, but it will be difficult to number them in a short while. This is in marked contrast to the 144,000 that could be easily number in short while.

(2) Internationality

They are international in scope. They include all nations, kindreds, peoples, and languages or tongues. ” After this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.” ( Rev7:9). In contrast to the fifth seal martyrs, they are simply said to be martyrs. No  information was provide on their nationalities. It is most probable they are also international in scope. But that information was not given in the relevant passage of the Scriptures.

(3) Martyrdom

The fifth saints are said to be martyrs under the altar of the temple in heaven. There is no biblical evidence this great innumerable multitude are martyrs. A martyr is a saint, a believer in Jesus Christ who is slain for for his faith. For this great multitude to be martyrs, one must postulate that after the rapture, within the 70th Week of Daniel, in the second half but prior to the cosmic disturbances, a universal multitude of such great magnitude that they could not be enumerated, were saved, baptized, became witnesses for Christ, and were slain for their testimony, appear in heaven, and are now seen before the throne of God. There is no biblical evidence that such evangelistic success occurred. According to Pretribulation rapturism, the 144,000 have just been sealed. There is no indication that the two witnesses have met with any success in their ministry ( Rev.11:3-10). Besides, it is debatable whether the three angelic announcements have been made ( Rev.14:6). If these are martyrs, how can one account for this innumerable international and universal multitude of believers after the church is taken away, and God is dealing primarily with Israel according to pretribulationists.

(4) Resurrection Bodies

In Rev.6, the martyrs are souls under the altar. They have not yet received their glorified eternal immortal resurrection bodies. They are souls “under the altar”( Rev.6:9). They are disembodied souls and spirits without glorified eternal immortal resurrection bodies.  What the Apostle, John, the revelator saw was their spirit bodies. The soul is internal to the spirit body. It is fluid and invisible even in the spirit realm. The soul is the constellation of the will, intellect and emotion. The spirit body corresponds more or less to the physical body. There is a physical body. There is also a spirit body, and there is an glorified eternal immortal resurrection body.

In contrast, the great multitude which no man could number in Rev.7, are standing ” before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.” ( Rev.7:9). They are resurrected saints; they have received their glorified eternal immortal resurrection bodies. They are clothed with immortality.

(5) Appeal For Vengeance

In Rev.6, the souls under the altar appeal to God for vengeance for their blood ( Rev.6:9,10). In contrast the great multitude in Rev.7, are proclaiming with a loud voice, ” Salvation to our God who sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb.” ( Rev.7:10).

(6) Recognition

In Rev.7, the Apostle John the revelator did not know who this great innumerable multitude were. He did not recognize them. When the elder asked him, ” who are these…? ” ( v.13). His response was, ” Sir, thou knowest” ( v.14). The answer is a clear admission that he did not recognize them. In contrast to Rev.6, John the revelator immediately recognized them as those ” slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held” ( Rev.6:9).

Conclusion

The question one would ask would be if this great innumerable multitude with universal representation who suddenly appear in heaven, are not martyrs, who are ? The great innumerable and universal multitude, appearing in heaven, clothed with white robes which signal righteousness, and standing in the presence of God with palms  in their hands, signaling justification and triumph, is the raptured church. This event occurs immediately prior to the breaking of the seventh seal which signals the beginning of the outpouring of the wrath of God ( Rev.8:1). The church is raptured before the wrath of God begins. ” For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ ( 1Thess.1:5:9).

John is asked two questions concerning this innumerable multitude by the elder: “who are these arrayed in white robes?” , and ” From whence do they come?” ( Rev.7:13). John did not know the answer to any of the two questions. The elder, the interviewer answered those questions himself. With regards to the question, who are they, he told John they are those who ” washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” And for the question, ” from whence did they come, he told him, ” These are they which came out of the Great Tribulation” ( Rev.7:14). It is therefore most probably that the small, and supposedly insignificantly church of the first century AD have become a Great innumerable multitude.

“And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God” ( Rev.711).

We see here that a heavenly host was worshipping God in the Throne Room in heaven in the behalf of this great multitude, but the church is no where to be found, conspicuously absent as it were. If the church have been raptured pretribulationally, one would expect the church to be present amongst the welcoming heavenly host. We conclude therefore that the great innumerable and universal multitude is the raptured church in heaven. It is the church that entered the 70th week of Daniel, went through the Great Tribulation, some of whom were martyred, emerged triumphant, and were raptured after the cosmic disturbance that interrupted the Great Tribulation, but prior to the breaking of the seventh seal which commences the outpouring of the wrath of God upon the living wicked earth-dwellers, adorers, and worshippers of the antiMessiah.

The symmetry, balance , and timing of Rev.7 should not be missed. It sandwiched between Rev.6:12-17 after the cosmic disturbance which announces the outpouring of the wrath of God, and Rev.7:1-8, which is the sealing of the 144,000, and Rev.8:1, which is the breaking of the seventh, the commencement of the outpouring of the wrath of God. In Rev.8, the wrath of God begins. In Rev.7, the church is raptured. But immediately prior to the rapture of the church, the 144,000 from the twelves tribes of Israel are sealed for protection prior to the outpouring of the wrath of God. God will not leave Himself without a witness and a representation on earth. If at any point in time there is no divine representation on earth, then, Satan has become the sovereign lord of the earth. But that would not be allowed to happen. The 144,000 are sealed for protection to go through the wrath of God in order that the church can be raptured to the Throne Room in heaven.