Some one asked me if we go through the tribulation or if the rapture happens and we avoid the wrath of God. Here is my reply and it makes sense, It came from a man who devoted much of his life to prophecy and had a uniquely Jewish perspective and its pretty simple. (for a welcome change)
Most people that do not believe in pre tribulation rapture say the second coming of Christ is at the END of the tribulation and that their is no rapture of the church before the wrath of God is pored out. People who believe this are called post tribulation believers. This means that Christians stay on earth for the last seven years of Daniels 70 weeks. According to the book of Daniel the 70 weeks Israel’s history (70 periods of 7 years) stopped when the messiah was cut off. (but not for his own sake) after the 69th week (week of years, or 69 periods of seven years) there a pause. The last 7 years is still to come. That 7 years is also known as the great tribulation. This view says that the “we shall all be changed” and the meeting Christ in the air references are referring to the time when Jesus steps on the mount of olives physically, destroys the anti Christ and sets up his kingdom. It’s often called the second coming of Jesus. Lets look at that viewpoint for a moment examine it.
How do you determine when that last seven years starts? It starts when Israel signs the peace treaty with the anti-Christ. The angel visiting Daniel makes that clear. Most people that believe that there is no rapture believe Jesus comes at the end of the seven years. Revelations says he comes back and steps onto the earth. Jesus physically coming to earth is the signal that the seven years is over. So since the angel says its seven years between the signing of the treaty until Jesus comes to rule we can assume Jesus does come at the exact end of the seven years. We have a firm start, and finish to the seven years. OK then we can take seven years from the treaty signing, add the seven years and know to the exact day when Jesus comes again. Whoa there sparky? You mean that you can know the exact day if you know the date of the signing? Wait a sec, Jesus said no one can know the day or the hour. That’s a problem. It doesn’t fit. As I see it this gives us three choices. One is that the angel that spoke to Daniel wasn’t really speaking of an exact 7 year period. But then again he says “blessed are they that wait the 1335 days”. http://biblehub.com/daniel/12-12.htm
Lets read that.
“From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.” Daniel 12:11
“Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.” Daniel 12:12
Wow1 he even counts the days. So he says exactly to the day when the tribulation ends. So were looking at the next possibility. If Jesus coming marks the end of the tribulation (post tribulation view) then the end of the seven years can be predicted to the exact day! I do not think that was an accident that the angel mentions days here. I think its a hint, or clue from God, for a few people to take note of. It seems suspicious for angels to talk in terms of days instead of years. He could have just said at the end of the seven years.
The next possibility is Jesus really wasn’t telling the truth about no man knowing the day.
Ok whats the next possibility? The event of Jesus ending the 7 years by returning physically to earth and the event “no man knows the day or the hour” are not the same event. One can be predicted and marked in advance with total accuracy on a calendar (once the peace treaty date is known) and one can not be. One day can be known and another is a mystery. “behold I show you a mystery, we shall not all sleep, (be physically dead) but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.”
Does the bible ever indicate Christians can escape the “wrath to come?”
“Because you have kept My command to endure, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is going to come over the whole world to test those who live on the earth.” http://biblehub.com/revelation/3-10.htm There are a few more like this. (even in the old testament)
Be alert at all times. Pray so that you have the power to ESCAPE everything that is about to happen and to stand in front of the Son of Man.” http://biblehub.com/luke/21-36.htm
So only the date that can not be figured exactly in relationship to Jesus return is the pre-tribulation coming of Jesus in the air. For Jesus words about not “knowing the day or hour” there has to be a return of Jesus that can not be calculated. The verses describing this unknown day generally have a “taking away” or trans-formative component with them. Verses like
I tell you, two will be seated on the same couch that night. The one will be taken, and the other will be left behind.
When it says one will be left behind indicates the one taken, and the one doing the taking are leaving the one not taken on the earth. If these two are leaving the earth the only place left to go is into heaven. This verse shows someone being taken off the earth and one being left on the earth.
Compare coming “like a thief in the night” with the return of Jesus at the end of the seven years. In one its stealthy.
In the second coming at the end of the 7 year tribulation the bible says their is an earthquake that levels every building. When Jesus touches the mount of olives it is ripped in two and water comes out and flows down the Jordan river and into the dead sea which becomes no longer dead. This is not the way a thief operates.
The exact day of end of the tribulation and second coming is easily calculated once the peace treaty is signed. This means a different event from the second coming is referenced. , is the only version that fits “not knowing the day.” Jesus speaking about “you don’t know when your master will return” and admonishing us to “watch” can not be referring to the end (post trib) or middle of the tribulation. (mid-trib) since they will be known.
So I can only logically believe that Jesus comes for us in the clouds, he meets us in the air, technically he never touches the earth. So he does not return to the earth for a second time yet. This mystery event does not end the seven year tribulation. He comes to meet Christians in the air and takes them to the marriage supper of the lamb.
Revelation shows this happy event happening in the midst describing the horrors of the tribulation period. We see a horror contrasted with celebration. This indicates The events are happening in parallel.
The One will be taken, one left. I think this shows clearly he takes us away just before the trial that comes on the whole world.
I believe that the exact end of the 7 years he comes back to rule. I believe that day can be known. The fact that the angel gives the exact number of DAYS to wait means he is saying we can know that EXACT day of the second coming. Some people here on the earth during that wrath are going to be desperately counting the days till it’s finally over, and it will be a real comfort know the number is limited.
This snatching away or rapture doctrine matches up to ancient Jewish wedding tradition. Which goes like this:
The groom works on the house until the father says it’s ready. No one knows but the father when that day is, not even the son. Only the father can tell the son to go and get his bride.
When they father says the house is ready and everything is prepared he gives the word and the groom goes to get his bride like a thief in the night. He expects his bride to be packed up ready to go every single day. He has promised to come for her, but does not know when. Its a sign of love and respect that she waits for him faithfully every night, she has no way of knowing when he will show up. It shows her devotion and belief in her future husbands word to be expecting him. She does not know when he will come but she waits watching for him every night and is packed AND ready. She fixes herself up each night as if it is her honeymoon night. Shes bathed, smells good and looks pretty. She wears her best clothes. If she is not packed and ready it is a real insult to the groom. Remember the parable of the wise virgins who took the time to buy oil. They didn’t know when the groom would show up, so they were always ready. The foolish ones didn’t make any preparation by buying oil. The groom took the faithful ones and left the unfaithful ones since they were not ready and had neglected to keep up their means to light the way to travel to the groom. (thy word is a light unto my feet) The wise ones took care to make sure they had the means to see their way to the groom in the dark. They had taken the time to get the oil needed for their light source.
“Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.”
So Jesus says he is coming back at a time that will be a total surprise to his bride. The exact day of the end of the tribulation will be a surprise to no one who knows even a little bit about prophecy. So if the end of the seven year tribulation marked by Jesus physically setting his foot on the mount of olives. (the second coming) Then that day can not be the time Jesus spoke of when he said “no one knows that day or the hour, but the father only”. He must have been talking about a different day. The only thing I see fitting the surprise description is him coming to snatch us away. I believe he takes the Christians the says are not destined for wrath, out of the way of the wrath of God. I believe that in revelations where it shows Jesus coming back with his saints that the saints had to first go up with him before they could come back down with him. I believe Christians spend the seven years of tribulation in heaven.
The next event in the ancient Jewish tradition is that the bride and groom they go in the place he has prepared for her.
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
In the Jewish tradition the bride and groom live in the house he and the father built. They both live for about a year without really working. It’s a honeymoon Jewish style. The honeymoon of Christ is seven years long. It is called the marriage supper of the lamb. Can you imagine what kind of party God can put on? His very first miracle was making water into wine. God knows how to throw a party, and it’s pretty clear to everyone except maybe the (insert denomination here) that Jesus advocates having lots of wine at a wedding. Wow!
The rapture of the church is the only view that fits the “no man knows the day” scenario. Don’t let anyone tell you that Jesus will come for his church at the end of the seven year tribulation. That day can be known EXACTLY based on the signing of the treaty with the antichrist.
I asked Zola Levitt at a prophecy conference what was the one reason he believed in pretrib, not mid tribulation or post tribulation. He had an open mike for question.
His one reason answer was because “it has to be a surprise”.
He said you can calculate to the exact day of the middle of the tribulation, and the exact end of the tribulation based on the date of the treaty. The only one that can be a surprise is the one BEFORE the treaty is signed. That’s pre tribulation. That’s a hope!
“Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand. Daniel 12:10