REVELATION, APOSTASY, END, TIMES, & THIS GENERATIONFirst Chapter Free

COMMON QUESTIONS

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Many are at a loss to explain why the greatest of all the seven wonders of the world, the great pyramids, are totally missing from the greatest of all historical books, the Bible. These great structures are the focus of science, astronomy, math, culture and anthropology. The Bible has hundreds of references to Egypt and the pharaohs, both in the Old and New Testaments, but one never finds even a hint of the pyramids.

The reason why God has skipped over discussing the pyramids may become evident in these final times. Many feel we are entering the end times now. The prophet Daniel describes a week of years (seven years), in which Jesus’ return, and judgment of the world occurs (see Daniel’s 70thWeek End Times Chart in the Appendix).

Jesus gave us a prophecy in Luke 21:29-32, of the generation which would see His return. This generation, which sees these trees coming out of dormancy, will see the return of Christ. The fig tree coming out of dormancy is Israel (1948-1967). The fig tree is a common Jewish reference to Israel. The other trees coming out of dormancy also were established at the same time (Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Libya, Palestine, Iran, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and many others). These were all part of the Byzantium and Ottoman Empires (from the time of the Roman Empire, until WWI), and all became countries again at the time of Israel.

Some say “this generation” cannot refer to the end times, because other references to “this generation” in the New Testament always refer to the generation of Jesus. However, out of all these references, three are to this fig tree generation (future), four are to the generation of Jesus time, and seven are references when Jesus is telling His generation that He will give them no signs of the end times, which means the fig tree references are indeed future (our time), because the references in Luke 21, Matthew 24, and Mark 13, all list many signs of the end. As to the period of time of this last generation, we read (within the context of this prophecy of Jesus in Matthew 24:37), that the coming will be like the days of Noah, where God declared 120 years as the maximum limit of time which God would tarry with man, which means Jesus could return any time before 2,068 A.D.—120 years after 1948 (Matt. 24:22).

Even though these references are interesting and encouraging to those who want to see Jesus, one must be extremely careful. No one knows the day or hour. Even though the events going on in the world indicate the prophecies are being fulfilled right before our very eyes, and the Bible seems to indicate that the generation which saw Jerusalem restored to Israel would be the generation during which Christ will return, we must wait patiently on our Lord, and not trust in human understanding (Matt. 24:32-34).

Revelation can mean many things to different people. But, by knowing what the overall purpose and plan of God is in the Bible, one can get a clear message from Revelation.

The whole purpose of the earth age in which we find ourselves, is for us to reconcile ourselves with God (see the Salvation section), or as some choose, to deny God and accept this world (Satan’s domain on earth), as the highest order of things.

Revelation, in the early chapters, describes how, not just people, but even most of the Christian churches fall short, not being spiritual enough to recognize Satan’s hold on this earth age and its fallen souls. Many churches accept worldly standards, popular trends, or traditions passed down from generation to generation, and do not stay close to God and a true worship of Him and His Word. The warning of this is found in chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation.

The Bible is filled with references to deception, and how one must be watchful. Because the purpose of God’s plan is to ultimately save as many of our souls as possible, one must not become anxious about all the devastation in Revelation. The purpose of all this earthly devastation is to attract as many as possible to an acceptance of worshiping the true, uncreated, eternal power—Jesus. People will realize the limitations of this world, and hopefully understand their true hope is in Jesus.

In Revelation, it becomes very clear, as God begins to judge people, and Satan, where the real eternal power rests. Our earthly life is but a short intermission in time, a short period of decision-making. What is truly important to God is our eternal life.

The purpose of Satan’s actions, is to attract a person to worship in a more earthly, worldly form (in which one denies God, and chooses instead, this life’s pleasures and temptations, with little regard for God’s plans for us). Satan imitates Christ as much as possible, in order to deceive us. Pagan god stories often use virgins, and resurrection from the dead, as themes to imitate Christ.

In Revelation 1:9-10, John is first taken to the last day. This last day is found in Revelation 19:11—Christ’s return. In these first few chapters of Revelation, we encounter the message to the seven churches, which John receives. Some think these represent seven ages that the church has gone through. Others think these seven churches represent the seven various types of Christian worship we see in the world today, as well as in the past. The seven churches John writes to were all in existence at the same time when John wrote Revelation, around 96 A.D.

In Revelation 1:20, it would seem all the churches are going into the tribulation together, as all seven are “together in Christ’s hand.” There is no indication that they are separated into different periods of times or ages, but rather, the churches are separated into different ways of praise and worship. Each of the seven churches received all seven of these letters in this book of Revelation. Two are close to God, and the rest have strayed away and are warned that they fall short of God’s will. Again, in Revelation 2:23, God’s reference to “all the churches” indicates all churches exist at the same time together, and witness each other.

In Revelation 1:9, by John’s reference to him being “our companion in tribulation,” it is indicated that all will go into tribulation. In Revelation 1:10, the reference to “the Lord’s Day,” and a “trumpet,” is pointing out that John is seeing these things from a perspective of being at that very last day (the Lord’s Day), the day Christ returns. According to Revelation 19:11, this is the last day, and John is being given a view of events that will occur in the end times (1 Cor. 15:50-52).

After a description of the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3, John is shown the end times, so as to accomplish two things:

First, we are warned to be worshipful of Christ, and to walk away from Satan.

Second, we are warned to be prepared to endure hardships, and not to be surprised or dismayed. All the destructive things that occur in Revelation are, in effect, constructive things when viewed from heaven. All this destruction will be used by God to convict people to walk away from Satan, and to accept Christ. We will see just how limited is this world.

This will be a last chance, if you will, to turn away from Satan.

Revelation 4 is where one finds two schools of thought on the direction God’s plan takes. One paradigm just continues in the same vein of thought, with John at the last day (the Lord’s Day), looking back and describing what he is shown. There is no “rapture,” or taking of the church and believers to heaven, before the destruction of this earth age. The other school of thought, or paradigm, views chapter 4 as the point where the Christian church is “raptured,” and taken away to be with Christ. Therefore, Christians would not have to endure the devastation which John tells of in the following chapters.

Let’s try a scenario…..

Suppose you were Satan, and you wanted all inhabitants of earth to turn to you and worship you, rather than Christ. Wouldn’t you try and deceive people by encouraging the Christian churches to depend on a pre-tribulation rapture, so that when the rapture doesn’t happen, and the devastation begins, the earth’s inhabitants would feel lost and bewildered, turning to someone powerful to save them from destruction (that someone powerful, of course, being Satan)?

There is a potential danger of depending on the pre-tribulation rapture. One cannot positively say that the pre-tribulation rapture is God’s plan for the church. One can be deceived as a result of not being watchful. Deception has been around ever since Adam and Eve, when many of the heavenly host were first deceived by Satan (26, 27).

There is also a potential danger in depending on the pre-tribulation rapture to occur, because one may not prepare oneself to endure hardships if one feels one will be taken away before the devastation begins. Again, one cannot know for sure if God’s plan calls for a rapture of the believers before Satan’s destruction begins. Faith in the pre-tribulation rapture may set people up for failure—failure to be watchful, and, thus, a failure to endure the hardships to follow.

If God’s plan for placing us on earth was to save as many souls as possible (to allow us to turn away from Satan and turn to Christ), does it make sense for those who do follow Christ to be “raptured” away, before they can be a testimony to all the lost in those last days? Christians will be doing the good work of sharing the promise of eternal life, even while this world is falling apart.

Some feel that the 144,000 (Rev. 7:4), are selected for this purpose. The 144,000 are used to reach out to the Israelite tribes, who are lost and have remained blinded all these years (Rom. 11:25­-26). Many Jewish people will reject teaching by Christians, and the 144,000 will teach the coming of the true Messiah, as foretold for the Jewish people. Christians will help all they can, reaching out to both Jew and Gentile, to share the grace, love, and forgiveness of Christ.

One can see that if one assumes a rapture takes place early on (with God taking away all souls to be with Him before the destruction of this earth age begins), and then, this rapture does not occur as theorized, it would be highly probable that people would find themselves unprepared to endure, and would be spiritually devastated—playing right into Satan’s plan.

Many would turn to powers on earth (government, science, and false religions)—Satan’s realm of influence.

In the Bible, we read in numerous places, the need to be watchful, and also to be prepared to endure. Could it be that Satan could, in effect, have confused and deceived many of those in the body of Christ with a poor understanding of when Christ will rapture those still alive on earth? Many will turn to earthly powers to try and save themselves, as this earth age begins its destruction. Revelation tells us, in the first few chapters, that God finds fault with most of the Christian churches. Only two are close to God’s Word. Only two understand God’s plan.

The warnings to endure are many (Matt. 5:11-12; 24:13, 21-24; Mark 13:13, 14:35-41; Luke 17:24-36; 1 Pet. 4:13-14; Phil. 1:28­-29; 2 Tim. 2:12, 3:1, 12; Rev. 2:7, 11, 26, 3:5, 12, 21, 13:9, 14:13, 21:7).

So…..

Are the followers of Christ really raptured and taken away before all the destruction listed in Revelation actually begins?

Conventional thought would have us believe that in Revelation 4:1, the phrase “after this” means after the church age, or after the rapture of the church. The “catching” of John into heaven is supposed to symbolize a rapture of the Christian church.

When one actually reads Revelation 4:1, one may find it very difficult to interpret God’s Word this way. There are at least two interpretations of this part of Revelation—two paradigms.

If one thinks in terms of God’s overall plan and purpose for this earth age, one sees where Christ’s witnesses (the followers of Christ), are actually to be used, not only before the tribulation, but also through the tribulation, to encourage as many souls as possible with Christ’s message of salvation, eternal life, the need to avoid Satan, and to endure.

So….let’s go down through a list of arguments for and against each view of when the “rapture” occurs.

 

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