The Great Escape
By Grant Phillips
“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” Revelation 3:10 NIV
The Lord Jesus Christ promises His bride, the Church, that He will keep us “from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world.” The word “from” in the Greek is “ek,” and it means: out of, from, by, and away from. It doesn’t say that He will keep us through it, but He will keep us from it.
In John chapter fourteen Jesus tells us that He is preparing a place for us in Heaven and will come again to receive us unto Himself.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 He tells us by the Apostle Paul how this will take place. He will come for us before the seven years of Tribulation starts. He will call for us to meet Him in the air. Those who have already died at that time will precede those who are alive when He comes for us and we will all meet Him in the air and be taken to Heaven.
Revelation 4:1 is clear that when the Church age ends the Church is no longer on earth but in Heaven. Chapters two and three of Revelation speak of the Church age from the first century to the end of the Church age. Chapter four verse one begins, “After this” and ends “I will show thee things which must be hereafter.” In other words, after the Church age ends the seven years of Tribulation begins. He will show the Apostle John things that will happen after the Church is removed. The Church (the bride) is not mentioned again until chapter nineteen of the book of Revelation, at the end of the Tribulation period.
Many have said that we who look forward to the Rapture simply want to escape. We are accused of wanting to throw in the towel and bail out. So let’s just call this commentary “The Great Escape.”
An old song called “This World Is Not My Home” pretty much says it for those who long to see Jesus.
“Oh Lord, you know, I have no friend like you. If heaven’s not my home, Oh Lord, what will I do? Angels beacon me, To heavens open door, And I can’t feel at home, In this world anymore.”
Do I want to “escape?” Let me answer that with a question. If I could choose between a world of lying, murder, hate, perversion, sickness, death, grief, greed, poverty, fear, calamities, etc. or a world of no lying, no murder, only love, no perversion, no sickness, no death, no grief, no greed, no poverty, no fear, no calamities, etc., which do you think I would choose? And to top it off, instead of Satan and his cohorts constantly trying to devour me, he is out of the picture, and I get to live with and worship Jesus in all His glory. Heaven or hell? For me, that’s a no-brainer. Heaven means always with Jesus. Hell means apart from Jesus.
Is it wrong to want to escape? Some think it is. Some think we, as the Church, should suffer by going through the Tribulation with all of Satan’s kids. Why? Are you nuts? What good would that do anyway?
The Church is not going through the seven years of Tribulation on earth. Why?
1. These particular seven years are the remaining seven years that belong to Israel. The Church dispensation must end before the remaining seven years due Israel begins. God tells us about the 490 years due Israel in Daniel chapter nine. They are for Israel, not the Church. 483 of those years ended with the first advent of the Messiah. The remaining seven years are yet to come. These particular seven years are God’s judgment upon Israel and His drawing them to Him. They have nothing to do with the Church.
2. These particular seven years are also a time of God’s judgment upon the world. This judgment will be carried out by the Lord Jesus personally. He is not going to administer judgment upon His own bride, the Church. Why? He has already taken our judgment upon Himself. Also, the bridegroom, Jesus, is not going to beat the crap out of His bride and then say, “Okay honey, let’s go celebrate with a big wedding feast.” Think “spouse abuse” and “domestic violence.” I don’t think so.
3. The judgment that Jesus administers during this time will be a time of wrath like the world has never seen, even surpassing the flood of Noah’s day. Jesus isn’t mad at His bride, the Church. He loves His bride and will remove her from His wrath, but He isn’t too happy with Satan and the world.
Some will say, “But the Church has suffered since its inception. Why shouldn’t it suffer during the Tribulation?” Because all the suffering the Church has endured since its inception has come from Satan and his followers, not from God. The suffering handed out by the Antichrist during the Tribulation won’t be toward the Church, because the Church won’t be here. God is administering justice through Satan’s puppets in the first half of the Tribulation, and then the last 3½ years will be direct judgment from God upon a fallen world. Satan is not in control, and neither are the Antichrist and the False Prophet of course. God is in control and His judgment will be fierce.
No member of our Lord’s Church wants anyone to experience this time of misery that is coming upon the world, but it is coming. We are so thankful that our Bridegroom loves His bride and will remove us from harm’s way. We will escape His fury. We are also most grateful for those He will save during this terrible time and there will be many. Yes, many will be saved, but through much suffering and probably death.
Do I believe in the “Great Escape?” You betcha, and I’m all for escaping the wrath of God. Would you like to escape? Notice these words of Christ.
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20
He is speaking to the Ladicean church, the apostate church of this age that does not know Him. Oh, they claim they do, but they do not. Come to Him today and you will not be disappointed. How?
“…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:10
Is it wrong to want to escape the Tribulation and be with Him at the Rapture? Would you rather die in a burning house or put your faith in the fireman to rescue you? I’m for the fireman.
But what if I die before the Rapture? Are you a child of God? Have you come to Him through His Son Jesus? Then what’s the problem!? If I die before the Great Escape (Rapture), I get to be with Him even sooner. By the way, if that happens, I’ll see you at the Rapture. I’ll be coming with Him to pick up my new body.
“and the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then we who 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 Thessalonians 4:16-17
The world around us, which includes pseudo Christians, will continue to mock what they call our Great Escape, but for those of us who believe, just keep looking up. It is going to happen, and it could happen at any time.