So far, we have almost traversed through the first half of Daniels 70th week. Lets look at what scripture says as “The Great Tribulation” begins. We have been through the “beginning birth-pangs,” they have run their course and are turning into “hard labor.” Matthew chapter 24 is very clear when it says, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation…” As we proclaim the name of Jesus and profess our faith in Him, we will be hated, betrayed, and killed. There will be oppression from all nations as the Antichrist takes full bloom, revealing his true goals and nature. There will be constant attempts to deceive those that stand up for Christ. Lawlessness will abound and many that have wavering faith will crumble under the pressure and grow cold in Christ. This will become a time of unprecedented suffering on a global scale. In Matthew 24 verses 9-28 Jesus is laying out a sequential order of events that we can follow.
What does He specifically talk about taking place as tribulation arrives on the scene? This is the “hard labor,” an “hour of trial.” This is most definitely not a time to try to stand on your own. The fact is that you will not survive without a unending dose of faith in God. Believers will be betrayed and killed, even at the rising up of family members against each other. Seems impossible but “hard labor” will bring about deception, deceit, and a lying nature, all to try and survive on our own merits against the onslaught of the Antichrist. I do not mean to sound overly harsh but, this time is surely approaching, and we need to empower the strongholds of our faith in preparation. When times get tough on a global scale, someone becomes the scapegoat. Satan and the Antichrist will offer up the believers in Christ to fill that role in those days. False prophets will try to make it easy for the believer to change course and succumb to Satan’s enticement.
In the midst of this ungodly outburst of chaos, a ray of hope will come forth. Scripture says the gospel will be preached worldwide. I believe those that are steadfast in Christ will realize that the door is closing and go forth to reap a last harvest of souls. Remember, this all begins when the Antichrist desecrates the Temple, proclaiming himself to be God and requiring people to worship him. When this happens, we are told that Judea must flee to the mountains. Do not stop to take anything with you, if you are not home, don’t return there. This gives the impression that things begin to happen fast. As the previous four seals have been removed, this time of tribulation has been on the increase. As the Antichrist declares himself God, it is reaching a fever pitch. So much so that Matthew 24:22 – NIV says, “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” As God reaches out to shorten the days, protecting those who have remained faithful and endured to the end, we can look for the “Rapture” to take place.
Matthew gives us a view of these events from an earthly perspective. We can look at Revelation 6:9-11 to get a heavenly view of the same events. This is the time of the opening of the 5th seal in heaven. What John saw was a great alter and underneath it he saw the souls of those that had been slain for their testimony during the tribulation. They cried out for God to avenge them. They were given white robes and told to wait for a little while. The scripture describes these people as, “souls,” those that had not received their resurrected bodies yet. They had not yet received their reward at the Judgement Seat of Christ. Since the scroll has seven seals and they are not all removed yet, they must wait until the full complement of saints have been martyred as they were, and the remaining two seals are removed. When this occurs and all saints have either been martyred, or raptured we will appear in our resurrected bodies before Christ for judgement. Then, on to the marriage supper of “The Lamb.”
Looking back, we see that the first five seals are all a natural and “horizontal” function of man’s sinfulness and wanton wickedness against man. This brings tribulation but not wrath. God’s wrath now comes as a supernatural vertical expression of His judgement, from Heaven to earth. Tribulation has arrived because of man’s rebellion against God. Man has rejected God and put his arms around the lies of the Antichrist. Remember, God said the saints would go through tribulation but, they would not face His wrath. Thus, my belief that the “Rapture” takes place in the middle of Daniels 70th week and is Pre-Wrath. Determine today what your stand for Christ will be tomorrow. Tomorrow the choice will be much harder to make.
Have a great day.