December 14, 2016

The 'RUMOUR OF WARS' is related to the incident after the RAPTURE...

The Bible is clear that the time of the RAPTURE is an event quite different in character and time from the RETURN of the LORD. The 'RUMOUR OF WARS' is related to the incident after the RAPTURE... now the situation as stated on the attached picture provides insight into how close we are to the event of the #Rapture...

Will The Church Go Through The Tribulation?

Thousands of Bible-believing Christians believe that the coming of the Lord for His church is imminent; that is, it could happen any day, any moment. They believe when this event takes place that Christians will be translated, receiving instantly glorious bodies suited for life in heaven. At the same moment, the dead in Christ will be raised from their graves and with those translated will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Thus will begin an eternity of bliss in the presence of the Lord.
The hope of the imminent return of the Lord is as old as the church. The apostles anticipated the coming of Christ that could occur at any time. Early in his ministry, Paul exhorted the Thessalonians “to wait for his Son from heaven” (1 Thess. 1:10). They were told to “comfort one another with these words” (2 Thess. 4:18) when their loved ones fell asleep in Jesus. Later Paul wrote Titus that Christians should be “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). The Apostle John records late in the first century the words of Christ to the disciples the night before He was crucified: “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3).

If we follow the analogy of Scripture symbolism, significance belongs to that emblem, making it quite worthy to stand by the side of the former one. You remember Christ’s first exhortation in the Sermon on the Mount immediately following the Beatitudes: ‘Ye are the salt of the earth, ye are the light of the world. Men do not light a candle, and put it under a bushel. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds.’ If we apply that key to decipher the hieroglyphics, the burning lamps which the girded servants are to bear in the darkness are the whole sum of the visible acts of Christian people, from which there may flash the radiance of purity and kindness, ‘So shines a good deed in a naughty world.’ The lamp which the Christian servant is to bear is a character illuminated from above {for it is a kindled lamp, and the light is derived}, and streaming out a brilliance into the encircling murky midnight which speaks of hospitable welcome and of good cheer in the lighted hall within.

Now, what is the connection between that exhibition of a lustrous and pure Christian character and the former exhortation? Why this, if you do not gird your loins your lamp will go out. Without the concentrated effort and the continually repeated detachment and the daily renewed ‘Lord! here am I, send me,’ of the alert and ready servant, there will be no shining of the life, no beauty of the character, but dimness will steal over the exhibition of Christian graces. Just as, often, in the wintry nights, a star becomes suddenly obscured, and we know not why, but some thin vaporous cloud has come between us and it, invisible in itself but enough to blur its brightness, so obscuration will befall the Christian character unless there be continual concentration and detachment. Do you want your lights to blaze? You trim them-though it is a strange mixture of metaphor-you trim them when you gird your loins.

III. Lastly, the waiting hearts.

An attitude of expectancy does not depend upon theories about the chronology of prophecy. It is Christ’s will that, till He comes, we know ‘neither the day nor the hour.’ We may, as I suppose most of us do, believe that we shall die before He comes. Be it so. That need not affect the attitude of expectance, for it comes to substantially the same thing whether Christ comes to us or we go to Him. And the certain uncertainty of the end of our individual connection with this fleeting world stands in the same relation to our hopes as the coming of the Master does, and should have an analogous effect on our lives. Whatever may be our expectation as to the literal coming of the Lord, that future should be very solid, very real, very near us in our thoughts, a habitual subject of contemplation, and ever operative upon our hearts and conduct.

Ah! if we never, or seldom, and then sorrowfully, look forward to the future, and contemplate our meeting with our Master, I do not think there is much chance of our having either our loins girt, or our lamps burning.

One great motive for concentration, detachment, and alertness of service, as well as for exhibiting the bright graces of the Christian character, is to be found in the contemplation of the two comings of the Lord. We should be ever looking back to the Cross, forward to the Throne, and upwards to the Christ, the same on them both. If we have our gathering together with Him ever in view, then we shall be willing to yield all for Him, to withdraw ourselves from everything besides for the excellency of His knowledge; and whatsoever He commands, joyfully and cheerfully to do.

It should be clear to any impartial observer that the early church believed in the imminent coming of the Lord, but without solving many problems related to it.
The church soon became involved in problems other than the study of prophecy, however, and church councils in the fourth century and in following centuries were concerned primarily with the doctrine of the Trinity, the doctrine of sin, and various controversies. Paganism and ritualism engulfed the church after the fourth century, and it was not until the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century that Biblical doctrines began to be restored. In the period since the Protestant Reformation, attention has again been directed to prophecy. More concentrated study has been directed toward prophetic interpretation in the last hundred years than any similar period in church history.
Further study of prophecy, particularly among premillenarians, has raised some problems that had not been considered before. One of the major problems is that specific signs are given in Scripture for the coming of Christ to establish His righteous kingdom on earth as predicted by the Old Testament prophets and confirmed in the New Testament. A great period of unprecedented tribulation is described, for instance, by Christ (Matt. 24:15-26). The general period of tribulation is revealed to be seven years—a conclusion reached from Daniel’s seventieth week, equivalent to seven years (Dan. 9:27). The last half of this period is the great tribulation. The Book of Revelation devotes many chapters to the same event. Obviously, if this period of trouble must precede the coming of Christ to establish His kingdom, how then can His coming be a daily expectation?
If the coming of Christ for believers in this age is imminent, it must occur before these predicted signs and before the tribulation period. Hence, many have come to believe that the coming of Christ for His church is an event which takes place before the tribulation time while the coming of Christ to establish the kingdom on earth occurs after the tribulation. In confirmation of this conclusion, students of the prophetic Word find abundant proof to sustain these conclusions. While as many as twenty-five arguments could be advanced in support of the translation of the church before the tribulation, for the sake of this brief discussion seven principal reasons will be presented.

Many careful Bible students distinguish the purpose of God for Israel and God’s purpose for believers in this present age. God is now supremely revealing His grace in the salvation of Jew and Gentile alike. Believers since Pentecost are regarded as the body and bride of Christ, a company distinct from Israel’s program and promises. With the beginning of the tribulation period, however, if premillenarians are right, God will resume His program for Israel in preparation for His millennial reign upon the earth.
It seems most logical to believe that His program for the present age will be finished before God resumes His announced program for Israel in the tribulation. In confirmation of this, there is no reference to the church as the body and bride of Christ in any of the tribulation passages. Believers in the tribulation are referred to only by general terms such as saints and the elect—terms used for believers all through the Bible. Thus in Revelation, chapters 4-19, describing the tribulation, there is no mention of the church as a body of believers. By contrast, Revelation, chapters 2-3, mentions the church many times.

In the Scriptures, the tribulation is described as a definite period of trouble unprecedented in all history. Daniel describes it as “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation …” (Dan. 12:1). Christ spoke of it as “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matt. 24:21). The Book of Revelation describes it as an outpouring of the wrath of God upon an unbelieving world (cf. Rev. 6:17), a time when apostasy and sin reach unprecedented blasphemy. It is a period which brings death to most of the earth’s population and destruction to civilization. Nothing like it has ever happened before. It seems out of keeping with the present age of grace to inflict on the last generation of believers such a series of catastrophes. In fact, there are definite promises that point to deliverance before the day of wrath comes.

In John 14:1-3, in connection with the promise of Christ, “I will come again,” the purpose of His coming is revealed to be to take believers to “my Father’s house,” by which term He describes heaven. After He meets the church in the air, He will take them to the place prepared. In contrast, at His coming to establish the millennial kingdom, all believers remain in the earthly scene. In 1 Thessalonians 5:4-10, believers are assured that they are children of light, not children of darkness. They are comforted with the promise that the day of wrath will not overtake them as a thief, as it will the world. They are promised, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:9). In 1 Thessalonians 1:10 our hope is stated: “To wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” If believers are delivered “from the wrath to come,” why inflict upon them a day of wrath designed for the ungodly? Are not believers assured: “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Rom. 5:9)? In Revelation 3:10 the godly church at Philadelphia is promised: “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” In a word, they are promised that they will be kept “from” the period of tribulation ahead. That is different from being kept “through” this time.
This promise was true for the historic church at Philadelphia because they had the hope of the Lord’s return before the tribulation. If this church prefigures the true church as a whole, as many believe, it points to a further conclusion that all true believers in this age will have the same hope. This seems to follow a pattern found even in the Old Testament. Noah was saved from the flood. He was borne safely above it. Lot was led out of Sodom before its destruction. Rahab was saved before Jericho fell. Enoch was translated before the flood. While analogies are not conclusive, the translation of the church before the tribulation would be in keeping with these precedents.
Removal of the Holy Spirit
According to 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12, the one now restraining sin in the world will be removed from earth’s scenes before the beginning of the Day of the Lord, which includes the day of wrath. While there has been much discussion as to the identity of the restrainer, the best answer is that it refers to God’s restraining hand, more specifically to the work of the Holy Spirit resisting the rising tide of sin in the world. It is clear that this restraint is removed during the tribulation time. Obviously, the Holy Spirit cannot be taken away while resident in the church in the world as is now the case. A chronology can thus be set up— the church indwelt by the Holy Spirit removed from the earth; then, the man of sin is revealed; with his appearance the tribulation begins. While the Holy Spirit continues to be omnipresent, His work will be similar to the period before Pentecost, but with His restraint withheld.

A number of events which seem to occur after the translation of the church and before the establishment of the millennial kingdom requires an interval of some years duration. According to John 14:1-3, the believers in this age go to heaven when Christ comes. There they will be judged for rewards (2 Cor. 5:10). There, too, the marriage will take place between the church as the bride and the Lord as the bridgegroom (Eph. 5:25-27). After His coming, they are forever together—“Where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3). Again, “so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17).
It is clear from Scripture that there will be a believing remnant on the earth when Christ comes back to establish His millennial kingdom. This remnant is never identified with the church and is never spoken of as translated. It is composed of believing Jews and Gentiles living at the close of the tribulation (Ezek. 20:34-38; Matt. 25:31-46). After the second coming, they are still in the flesh and are not free from death. They till the ground, raise crops, bear children, and repopulate the earth (Isa. 65:20-23; 66:20-24; Zech. 8:5; Matt. 25:31-40). Not a single passage in the Old or New Testament related to the Lord’s coming to establish His kingdom ever speaks of a translation of living believers. It should be obvious why this is true. If the translation of all believers took place at the end of the tribulation, there would be none left to fulfill these prophecies of a godly remnant still in the flesh to populate the millennial earth. Evidently, the church after the Lord’s coming is not going to raise crops in the earth, bear children, repopulate the earth, and be subject to death. An interval of time is demanded, then, during which another generation of believers will come into existence. While every believer will be translated when Christ comes for His church, a new body of believers will be formed in the awful days of the tribulation. Those of this group who escape martyrdom will be the believing godly remnant on the earth when the Lord returns with His church from heaven to establish His millennial kingdom. In view of these facts, it is impossible to make the translation of the church and the establishment of the millennial kingdom simultaneous....
John Walvoord