Now What's Next? By Randy Nettles In March of last year, I wrote an article…
The Day Is Drawing Near
By Dennis Huebshman
There is an abundance of information in both Testaments about “end-times” and the Return of Our Lord and Savior Jesus. The bible has 320+ references to the second coming and one must read carefully to discern whether a passage refers to the Rapture or the Glorious Appearing (touch-earth 2nd. Coming). There is no way I can reference all these verses; however I would like to present some for you to consider.
Before getting started, the Old Testament references about the end times and return of the Messiah are actual “touch-earth” second coming. Prior to that appearance, Paul in the New Testament talks about a “mystery” and in 1 Corinthians and 1 Thessalonians describes a very rapid event – blinking/twinkling of an eye – where a group of people leave the earth to “meet Jesus in the air or clouds”. This “taking up” is referred to as the Rapture even though that word does not appear in the Bible. Jesus refers to both events in Matthew when He refers to not knowing the day or hour and one will be taken and the other one left. That has the elements of the Rapture because we don’t know when it will occur other than to know the “season”. There is no real reference to a sudden event in the Old Testament. The actual return of Jesus to the earth is given as 7 years from the signing of the peace treaty with Israel and the anti-christ is the author of that treaty. For that one, there is no mystery, and it goes all the way back to Daniel’s time. Jesus also tells of the “abomination of desolation” that will be in the Temple and was also described by Daniel. This will be the half-way point of the Tribulation or the Wrath. He warns the people to flee for their lives when this takes place.
As far as the Rapture goes, I am a pre-tribulation believer in that the Lord comes to take His Church (ALL Believers) away before the Wrath starts. God has promised that Believers who have accepted His Son will not go through the Wrath. Unbelievers will go through a very bad time on this earth as Ephesians 5:6 says, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the WRATH OF GOD comes upon the sons of disobedience. (Emphasis mine throughout) God’s promise is guaranteed in Hebrews 6:18 and Titus 1:2 as both plainly state God does not lie.
A couple of definitions to start Tribulation is defined as suffering, distress, trouble, misery, unhappiness, sadness and heartache. WRATH is anger, rage and fury and outrage. There is a difference. Jesus said we would experience tribulations and that is happening to believers around the world today. The term Wrath is a notable increase in the level of tribulation and will be a time like never before. In fact, during the 7-year tribulation, over 2/3 of the population of the world will be killed.
Believers, or the Church, refers to any and ALL that have accepted Jesus as their Savior. It’s not a denomination or any particular religion. It’s someone who has accepted Jesus and has formed a relationship with Him. Jesus had the most problems with religious leaders of His day, and He is not impressed by any formal group. Also, all relationships with Him are personal – one-on-one – Individual. A person is not able to claim heaven because of a relative or spouse’s beliefs. Each person must accept or reject the Savior by their own choice. Accept and you also get the Father, but reject and you get neither. (John 3:18; 1 John 5: 10-12 just for a couple references along with John 14:6)
The attacks against Christianity are escalating rapidly. Never before has the animosity been so open as in the world today. Satan knows his time is getting short and is pulling out all the stops. He knows who belongs to him and is using them against God’s elect. In 1 Corinthians 2: 14-16, “The natural person (unbeliever) does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person (believer) judges all things, but in himself is judged by no one. (except of course by God) End of verse 16 says, “We have the mind of Christ.”
One point that needs to be addressed is which trumpet summons the believers for the Rapture. Some have said it’s the 6th. Trumpet Judgment, but if that were so, God’s people would have to go through almost ½ of the Wrath. The trumpet mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15: 51-53 has nothing to do with the Judgment Trumpets, but is an “announcing” trumpet which Israel has used for special occasions for centuries. This is the same for the trumpet or shofar in 1 Thessalonians 4:15.
The thing is, the dead in Christ will rise first and all believers who are alive will …this is important… “Rise Up” to meet Him in the clouds. Hebrews 9:28, “So Christ having been offered once to bear the sins of many will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly awaiting Him. Further, 1 Thessalonians 1:10….to wait for His Son from Heaven whom He raised from the dead, Jesus, who delivers us from the Wrath To Come.
Romans 5:9, “Since therefore we have now been justified by His Blood, much more shall we be saved by Him From The Wrath Of God.
Revelation 3:10, “Because you have kept My word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the Hour of Trial that is coming for the whole world to try those who dwell on the earth.
Some Bible verses deal with the actual 2nd coming of the Lord when He will physically stand on the Mt. of Olives to defeat satan’s anti-christ and his forces. (Daniel 12: 1-3; Zechariah 12:10; Matthew 13:41 and Matthew 24: 15-31.)
1 Thessalonians 3: 12-13, “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in Love for one another and for all as we do for you so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of the Lord Jesus with All His Saints”. Who are His saints? All that were Raptured earlier.
When Jesus actually returns to earth it will be to set up His millennial kingdom. Those coming back with Him are those of us who accepted Him before the Rapture took place. There’s plenty of room for more, but one day the door will close just as when God closed the door to Noah’s ark, and the Wrath will start.
It’s so easy to avoid the worst 7 years that will occur on this earth by accepting Jesus as our Savior right now. To wait may put someone in the path of the tribulation as we don’t know exactly when the “twinkling or blinking of an eye” will occur. We are saved by Grace and not works so that no one can boast, and that means just to believe in the One God sent to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. To reject Him is to get in line for the White Throne Judgment. He will turn no one down, but he won’t force anyone either. It’s a free choice for the free gift. Just decide as soon as you can in order to receive it.