At the turn of the year moving into 2021 a meme was circulating saying that 2021 was the year that the Mad Max movie was set in. (when it is set in 1984, but I digress) Other memes were saying after the first week that they have tried the trial period and do not want to continue the subscription. We live in interesting times and as well as the memes circulating that I mentioned, I have heard people who have no interest in religion or spirituality say that things seem apocalyptic at the moment with the way the world is going. Worldwide pandemic and ever growing new variants as well as the political scene in the USA and the roll out of vaccines all feed into the fears we face and the hope that science and mans rationality via science can offer.
I personally took to the Bible to look for clarity to what is going on today. Did I find clarity and answers? Yes, but not to the questions I was hoping for. I turned to the book of Revelation and took several hours a day for 16 days reading and studying. I had not gone into this level of study since my days at seminary where I studied theology majoring in Old Testament and Hebrew for a few years of my life. I will be mentioning at some point the Mark of the Beast. I want to clarify that I DO NOT believe the Covid vaccine is this mark. NOT AT ALL. To say that would be a complete misrepresentation of scripture and what it teaches.
I will be writing up some of my thoughts of what I found and will be quoting the Bible fairly frequently as I do this. I will be quoting only from the King James Bible which is the Bible based on manuscripts that I came to trust as I translated the Hebrew from the Masoretic text. I will not be offering my own translation as there is none finer than the King James Bible with all the committee counter checks. For those from a non-religious background reading this I would only recommend the King James Bible despite the plethora of modern translations on offer. The reasons for this really would be a red herring to what I am currently writing about and may well feature in a future write up of my continuing studies. This theme of King James bible being the trustworthy Bible will pop up from time to time.
My blog is intended to be about about the mental health side of pastoring people. I felt however that there was a lot put online about the mental health of people during this Covid pandemic but see a gap in spiritual health. Man afterall is a tripart being of body, soul and spirit therefore requiring to look after physical health, mental health and spiritual health. Thsi is easily seen in Hebrews 4:12 which demonstrates how the Word of God achieves this. It is no mere book, it is living and active.
Do I think that we are living in the very last days of life on this planet? I honestly do not know is my plain and honest answer. I have lived my whole life expecting the imminent return of Jesus Christ and as a young man did not expect to still be here now. I have tried and failed on many occasions to live with that sense of expectency. All I can say is that we are a day closer than yesterday and there is a lot more apocalyptic speech surrounding us each and every day with fear mongering from politicians over the state of the planet and the politics of today. What I do know is that true wisdom is knowing who to fear and when to fear. The begining of wisdom is the fear of God and by fear, I mean respect on steroids. So what I would say from a spiritual welfare context is fear less of man and mans problems and look to God and consider praying to Him. Even simple prayers like, God, I want to know more of you, conect with me. Then trust and have faith. If you are agnostic and sitting on the fence as to whether God exists or not, your prayer could sincerely look like this: God, I doubt your very existence, help my unbelief and open the eyes of my heart that I might see you and your love.
For me, this write up is an act of love, there are a number of people that I really love. Some of these people are not part of my immediate blood family, a number are friends that I have met in various contexts from childhood through to courses and random meetings. What all have in common is that I think of them often and care deeply for them. I love them a lot and would know that I am betraying them by not sharing this information with them if I decided to not write this or share this post with them. I believe what I am writing and am writing it with a significant level of certainty and if something I write helps those that I love then all this effort will be worth it. I will be picturing those that I love in my mind as I write this. I am therefore not making this an academic work with sources quoted and footnotes. I will however only source the Bible verses I quote from so that they can look them up for themselves if they choose to. If this makes it to you and we do not know each other then you may well be a secondary benefit and can make of it what you will. If what I write leads you to Christ as your personal Saviour then we will meet some day and you can tell me of the connection my writing have had on you finding salvation.
Three Millennial approaches to interpretation in the Bible.
There are three main systems of interpretation connected with the Book of Revelation:
The Futurist (this is where I am coming from, I do not believe these events have happened, the events of the Book of Revelation are still to happen)
The Preterist (this teaches that these events have already happened and that the antichrist was Nero and the second coming was the fall of Jerusalem in AD70. These Preterists are basically Amillennial believing that the Millennium of Christ reigning is metaphorical and has been happening. I state that this is incorrect and is a way of distancing churches around today from being equated with any of the events within the Book of Revelation. I would call the Preterist method incorrect, Preterists usually try to date the book having been writen earlier to place it in pagan Rome during the reign of Nero, this however suits their agenda. I beleive it was written later in 91 to 96 AD in the reign of Domitian)
The third way of interpreting it is the Historical school of thinking. (this school believes that some of the events are future and some are historical having taken place. This is what I would call half correct)
I am therefore a futurist. I believe the events of the Book of Revelation are all still to happen. Futurist authors are people like: Pember, Darby,Larkin, Scofield, Ruckman and others.
The first thing I am going to do is treat the scaffolding of the Book of Revelation like an essay structure. I will show it two different ways. The first way I will show is a chronological way that can be very confusing. The second scaffold I will show is a layered scaffolding that removes a lot of confusion over the chronologies. Now in the book of Revelation it deals with a 7-year period called the Tribulation and then a 1000 year period called the Millennium reign of Jesus Christ. There are other ways of interpreting Revelation that I am not covering.
Revelation is made up of 22 chapters 404 verses and 11,995 words.
The Sequential Chronological approach
Here is the way that I was taught it confusingly before. I will label this the sequential chronological structure. It is made of up 3 sets of 7 plagues or woes of God, Seals, Trumpets and Vials but there are lots of random things in this mix as well that confuse structure and the ability to determine a chronology of timing over a 7 year period.
You have the introduction chapters 1 to 3 going over the messages to the 7 churches.
Then you have chapter 4 which is a transition to the 7 Seals.
You then have the 7 Seals, as in scrolls with seals on them, (not sea mammals).
Then chapter 7 is a strange tangent changing subject, talking about the 144,000 who are sealed by God.
Then we have chapter 8 and 9 which are about the 7 trumpets. Each trumpet is further devastation upon earth as punishment from God.
Chapter 10 This chapter was largely ignored by any preacher in the past as it was not one of easier to explain parts.
Chapter 11 talks about 2 witnesses that preach about God for 3 and a half years and cause a drought of rain for the 3 and a half years. They get killed by the Beast or Antichrist.
Chapter 12 to 14 talks about the Whore of Babylon, the Antichrist and the False Prophet and a dragon and the mark of the beast.
Chapter 15 to 18 is the last set of plagues or woes which are the 7 Vials full of the wrath of God. This includes the Battle of Armageddon. The great whore and the final destruction of Babylon.
Chapter 19 is the Marriage supper of the Lamb which is a marriage of Christ to the Church.
Chapter 20 Is the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ on earth for 1000 years where he rules all nations with no governments. Chapter 20 ends in the Great White Throne Judgement.
Chapter 21 Is the final restoration of creation with a New Jerusalem.
Chapter 22 Is all about heaven and eternity.
This sequential chronological way of interpretation has a major strength, it has an overview that makes sense on a surface level. 7 churches leading to a 7 year tribulational period which involves 3 sets of condemnations on the earth under the categories of 7 seals then 7 trumpets then 7 vials of wrath culminating in the second Advent of Jesus Christ and a judgement and then the Millennium and heaven.
The sequential chronological way has a major weakness; when you try to dig into the chronology within the 7 year period you end up going backwards and forwards and in circles and it becomes very confusing trying to make sense of the inner chronology of what is happening. There are so many maps and charts that people have made trying to map out these 7 years and in the end it becomes very confusing to the extent that people end up abandoning revelation and the amazing teachings that are therein. For those who like labels this is called a Pre Tribulational Pre Millennial interpretation of Revelation and when the Rapture will happen. Which is at the start of the 7 year tribulation.
I will look into the Rapture in more detail within this write up as part of the conclusion of everything I write and title that part A Rapture Letter to my friends and family.
Before I start the second layered interpretation of the book of Revelation I will make a statement about the book of Revelation.
The Book of Revelation is the key to understanding the Old Testament and the Old Testament is the key to understanding the New Testament. (The Old Testament talks more of the second Advent than it does of the first Advent of Jesus as a baby. This is why I believe that the Jews missed it. The first Advent was a tiny target to see but the second Advent is huge in its exposure and is a target that is hard to miss. It is a significant proportion of the minor and the major prophets as well as appearing in other parts of the Old testament.)
Here is the second layered interpretation of Interpreting the Book of Revelation. Let’s use the Gospels as an analogy. We see Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as different angles of looking at the birth, life , works and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is how I look at the book of Revelation in a layered approach which looks at the same timeframe from different angles. The Book of Revelation has four main layers of interpreting the 7 year period of the Tribulation.
This layered way has a major strength, it makes a lot more sense of the chronologies within the 7 year tribulation, many of them are happening simultaneously as well as sequentially.
The weakness of this method is that it requires you to consider the interpretation of the Book of Revelation in a way that you have likely never been taught it. For many that will bring with it the suspicions and distrust of learning something out with their accepted pattern of thinking. I have only ever driven a manual or stick shift car with gear shifting, the thought of driving an automatic car fills me with dread as I have never done it before and fear the lack of control. For those who have never been taught the Book of Revelation, this will not be a weakness for you. Whichever way you chose to interpret the Book of Revelation there will be difficulties. There is no simplistic way without difficulties. This way I am showing has what I find the least amount of difficulties of all the Pre Millennial ways I have studied.
The Layered Approach
Ok here is the layered approach and it does have similarities to the sequential approach.
Here is the scaffolding like an essay structure.
Introduction chapters 1 to 5: message to the 7 churches. Chapter 1 to 3 describe the church age which we live in and but also is futuristic describing 7 churches that will find exist in the tribulation.
Chapter 4 Heaven opens and John is describing his vision of the 3rd heaven (Heaven opens twice in Revelation once for John to go up and once for Christ and his armies to come down) chapter 5 is setting up for the 1st layer.
The 1st account of the great Tribulation: Chapter 6 (a literal 7 year period of hell on earth that anything so far experienced or seen pails into a shadow, this includes covid and the previous world wars) Chapter 6 and the 7 Seals, span the whole 7 year period. Verses 14 to 17 of chapter 6 are at the end of that 7 year period.
Chapter 7 is a transitionary chapter between the first account and the second account. As previously mentioned it mentions the 144,000. I will go into this is more detail later. Reminder that this is just an outline. Seal number 7 is like a reset button moving onto the second account.
The 2nd account of the Great Tribulation is chapters 8 to 11. Chapter 11 verses 14 to 19 show the end of the 7 year period described for the second time. This focuses on the 7 trumpets.
The 3rd account of the Great Tribulation is chapters 12 to 14 These focus on the Counterfeit Trinity. The actual trinity is God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. The Counterfeit trinity is Satan the Antichrist and the False prophet. Chapter 14 verses 13 to 20 is the 3rd account of the ending of the Great Tribulation.
The 4th account of the Great Tribulation is Chapters 15 to 19 these focus on the 7 Vials of the wrath of God. For example one of these vials, the first looks like a new strain of leprosy. This 4th account does not just end in the Battle of Armageddon but in the second Advent of Jesus Christ in ch 19 vs 11 to 16 and the destruction of all the earths forms of government in ch 19 vs 17 to 21
Chapter 20 has Satan bound for 1000 years where Christ rules on earth for this full Millennium. This is a literal 1000 year period that has never happened. At the end of chapter 20 is THE GREAT WHITE THONE JUDGEMENT. This is where if you are a non believer, you will stand before God to be held accountable for every thought and action you have ever had.
Chapter 21 is the restoration of creation and the New Jerusalem
Chapter 22 Concludes with Eternity.
If I had to miss the Rapture this is what I wish someone would tell me:
I have now explained the two approaches, a sequential chronological approach and a layered approach to interpreting the Book of Revelation. I will not be giving a detailed chapter by chapter review going verse by verse of the entire book. We are currently at 2221 words and that is just explaining an overview. What I will do is touch on certain aspects that I would wish that someone would tell me if I found myself to be an interested person towards the end of the world or even someone who thought they were a Christian and found the Church Raptured away and themselves left behind on earth to go through the 7 year Great Tribulation.
It is called the Great Tribulation to distinguish it from everyday tribulations that we go through which includes things like Covid and cancer and a multitude of other tribulations that mankind forces upon each other. The Great Tribulation includes at its end great tectonic plate shifts resulting in earthquakes where entire mountain ranges collapse, continents are ripped apart and forced together. Diseases such as a new form of leprosy which affect everybody who takes the mark of the beast and not those who don’t. (I do NOT believe for a moment that the covid vaccinations are in any way a mark of the beast.)
First thing is that the Church age will come to an end and the true Church will be Raptured and removed from the earth. This will be the commencement of a 7 year period of hell on earth. People will be forced to be sealed with the Mark of the Beast, those that refuse it not only will be unable to buy and sell but more importantly will be hunted down and upon capture forced to take it or face beheading. The seven years will have consequences from God that specifically target those that have taken the mark. The worst consequence is that they are marked by Satan and judged by God and share the consequences with Satan and do not share the consequences that those who belong to God share.
I will not start with explaining the rapture. I will begin with looking at the seven churches and pay particular attention to the 7th church. The meaning of words sometimes helps explain things about them.
Revelation chapters 1 to 3: The Seven Churches
There are 7 churches
1 Ephesus meaning Fully purposed
2 Smyrna meaning Myrrh
3 Pergamos meaning Much marriage
4 Thyatira meaning odor of affliction
5 Sardis meaning red ones
6 Philadelphia meaning brotherly love
7 Laodicea meaning civil rights
Chapter 1 verse 20 says in its second half: “The seven stars are the seven angels of the seven churches. “ this shows that sometimes when the Bible mentions stars that it can also mean angels.
1 Ephesus meaning Fully purposed. This is the early church from 33AD to 200 AD this was the fully purposed church fresh out of the experience of having met Jesus for the next few generations. Here it mentions they are losing their first love which in reality is to lose appreciation for what God has done for you. It is mentioned that they hate the Nicolaitans ( Conquering the laity, a church with a hierarchy that is not given by God that rules over and conquers the laity)
2 Smyrna meaning Myrrh. Myrrh symbolises bitterness and death, this is the church from 200AD through to 330AD which is the persecuted church. One of the best books you can ever read is Fox’s book of martyrs. This will explain and demonstrate the death of Christians through out history. It is amazing to me how the name of the church demonstrates what is happening at the time during the church age.
3 Pergamos meaning Much marriage. This is from 330 AD to 500 AD and is the transition from pagan Rome to Papal Rome which is when the church started to have much marriages meaning married to the ways of the world. There are many Christians in the Roman Catholic church today but this has not always been the case through out its history. It is a church of traditions that are not necessarily biblical and has its hands steeped in blood.
4 Thyatira meaning odor of affliction. This is from 500AD to about 1200 AD This goes right through into the crusades There is a fascinating study to be had in this church concerning the study of the tribe of Dan which is one of the 12 tribes of Israel. Dan is described in Genesis 49:17 as a serpent. In Judges ch 18 the tribe of Dan gets a young man to be a priest for their tribe. V19 shows that he is called Father and he takes care of the idols and uses them as an aid to worship. Well the tribe of Dan settle at Zidon and Tyre on the Phoenician coast. However in 1 Kings ch 16 Ahab takes over and marries the daughter of the King of the Zidonians. So here we have an idol worshiping tribe marrying a Baal worshiping kingdom. The daughter of the Zidonians of Dan is mentioned in these verse to Thyatira, her name is Jezebel.
5 Sardis meaning red ones. Obviously with the name meaning of Red ones we are expecting some blood here. This is from 1200AD through to 1500 AD. and includes the Spanish Inquisition. I have just finished reading the Huguenot trilogy which is a fictional trilogy based on fact where the Roman Catholic church persecutes the Calvinist Huguenots in the south of France to the extent of the St Bartholomew’s day massacre where medals were given by the Pope to participants in the massacre who killed unarmed Huguenots which you can research for yourself. Fascinating yet bloody period in the history of the Catholic Church.
6 Philadelphia meaning brotherly love. This is from AD 1500 to 1900AD During this period you have Martin Luther waking up. When looking at religious history it is like eating a bucket of KFC, you have to eat the meat and spit out the bones, so for me Martin Luther has meat he demonstrates Justification by faith and faith alone. In contrast at that time the Roman Catholic church was selling forgiveness to those who could afford it. Martin Luther also has bones, he is anti semitic. (When I look at any Christian writer, I realise there will be meat and bones.I eat teh meat and spit out the bones. I therefore do not have to limit myself to reading people whom I agree with on everything,) This is the age of the true church beginning to wake up in a variety of forms we have the greatest of believers coming in this age from john Wesley and George Whitefield to Jonathan Edwards etc The Gutenberg Bible was translated then refined in The King James Bible, and all the great revivals have something in common. They used a King James Bible. This is the only church NOT told to repent. They have an open door and have kept God’s word. In this church we hear warning of the synagogue of Satan mentioned. I have had some great discussions on this in a messianic fellowship called Menorah Messianic Fellowship in Budapest in Hungary when I was on mission there as a much younger man. The synagogue of Satan is replacement theology. That is those who wrongly apply 2nd Advent prophecies aimed at the Jews; to aiming them at the church and applying them to the church. I have heard these prophecies aimed at Jews in the second Advent misapplied in many churches preached unwittingly from many Pastors over many years. Which brings me to the 7th age of the church.
7 Laodicea meaning civil rights. This is 1900AD to Present. We live in the age of the church of Laodicea.
I am going to put the whole text here:
Revelation chapter 3 v 14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 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.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
I was born in and am living in the age of the church where believers are typified and generalised as being lukewarm and are married to the world far more than they would ever know. Self realisation of this mindset is largely non-existent. Lets look at the meaning of the name of Laodicea. It means civil rights. We live in the age where everybody wants to have their rights, and rights matter more than the Word of God. The rights for men and woman to be treated equally, the rights of children not to be smacked the rights of every minority to be recognised whether we are talking about rights of race, sexuality, gender, age, now I am not saying that we should not have rights. What I am doing is saying that the chase after rights has become a golden calf that replaces God. All the philosophers of the last hundred years have become just as important to Christians as the Word of God. What I mean by this is that the authority of God has diminished in the minds of men and that the authority of men via their vain philosophies has grown in the minds of men and replaced the Word of God as the authority that they use to underpin their actions. The consequences of lukewarm is that God would want to spue you out of His mouth.
I read of a minister who had the guts to say to a self righteous person, If I knew every thought you have ever had, I would be unable to look at you and would want to puke and if you knew every sinful thought each other have ever had you would want to puke at the sight of others. That is the sort of harder message that is never shared today with everybody wanting to be told what they want to hear, preachers need a pokey stick to challenge and shoogle and be less like the emasculated spineless men that I see in many pulpits that take the easy path to ministry
When thinking of this age of Laodicea, where we chase after rights I would go so far as to say that it is frighteningly difficult to find a church today where the Pastor or Minister, can rightly divide the word of truth. This is mostly because they have not been taught it and do not have it in their hands.
What I would expect in this age is dwindling church numbers and dwindling relevance. Well who wants their coffee or tea lukewarm? It is hot tea or iced tea, hot coffee or iced coffee, the lukewarm goes down the plug hole. In any age however there are always aberrations to the rule. You do not have to be a lukewarm Christian even if you are living in the age of Laodicea.
Two geographic streams of thinking and manuscripts.
When it comes of the Word of God there were two geographic streams of manuscripts and thoughts. There is the North African stream and the Antiochian stream.
From North Africa you have the thought streams typified by Origen and Eusebius and the corrupt manuscripts that come out of this geographic region, the Alexandrian, Vaticanus and Sinaiticus texts. These streams of thought are the more allegorical interpretations of scripture which progresses into modern liberal teaching where maybe the bible contains some words of god. Where other writings out with the bible are used to help interpret the bible and may well hold more authority for the reader or liberal believer. (I deliberately did not use capitals in the last sentence to demonstrate the lack of reverance that this thought stream develops) When I use the word liberal, I am meaning theologically liberal and not politically liberal. Both uses of the word liberal are very different. Out of the North African scripts are the vast majority of modern bible versions. I consider these North African Scripts to be corrupt manuscripts including any modern bible translations that come out of them. The worst of them all is the New King James Version. The lie closest to the truth is the worst lie as it is the most deceptive. The geography of the streams of thought also influenced the manuscripts and corrupts those manuscripts.
From Antioch you have the Holyeth Hand Grenade. Yes it is the same place but out of Antioch came a different family of manuscripts. These manuscripts are not as old as the North African Manuscripts but are the vast majority of manuscripts. They are known as the textus receptus are the manuscripts that are used in other Bibles the most famous of which is the King James Bible. Now the stream of thought that went up out of Antioch was a more literal stream of interpretation. This went out of Syria and up into Hungary and Bohemia into Bulgaria and to Luther’s Germany and the Gutenberg Bible 0f 1468. These are the texts and streams of thought used by Wycliffe, Savenarola, the Waldensians of the Dutchy of Albany, the Albigenses, the Cathars and Huguenots. This stream of thinking and manuscript usage was preached in the great revivals from those of Wesley, Whitefield, Moody and Edwards. This is the stream of thinking that is under attack from the modern versions. It is North African influenced streams of thought influencing Bibles that many that believe contains the Word of God but does not, in other than a subtle and insidious seductive methodology that offers division and confusion instead of unity and clarity.
To me the last vestiges of the church of Philadelphia are seen in the Lewis Revival with this Antiochian stream of thinking and the King James Bible where they were 50 years behind the mainland in their faith.(In this context being behind is a good thing) I see people wanting to ironically replicate this without realising the connection between the purity of thinking and unity of Scripture that was taking place there that were key ingredients in it.
Now finally I want to talk about this Rapture that I have mentioned. The Church age of Laodicea will end with the Rapture when the true church are caught up into the 3rd heaven, where they do not suffer the consequences of the following 7 year tribulation that is initiated by the rapture. Where the chance to benefit from Salvation by faith alone ends and a new dispensation begins. Where salvation is by faith but also by overcoming the trials of the tribulation without taking the mark of the beast.
I want to conclude this post by explaining what salvation is and what the rapture is. Then in my next post I will look further through the Book of Revelation.
What is salvation?
So what is Salvation. Salvation is being saved from the consequences of sin and I will explain it in 3 words: Foundation, Power and Hope.
Foundation: know why you need to be saved, acknowledge your need for salvation from the consequences of sin. Sin is missing the mark, missing Gods standards.
Here are a couple of verses on sin:
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God
This shows that all are without excuse, no one is sinless but Jesus Christ.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
This shows that any an all sin have consequences that lead to death.
Power: This is the power of what was achieved on the cross when Jesus substituted himself in your place and took your consequences of your sin upon himself and took your punishment.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
These verses talk about everlasting life and I will talk about this in another post the contrasting opposite later on in Revelation.
Romans 1: 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
What happened on that cross is that an innocent man Jesus Christ the Son of God died in my place and took my sins upon his shoulders.
Hope: This is the hope that the resurrection gives us, that Jesus defeated death and came back from death. If he could not defeat death for himself, what hope would we have that Jesus could defeat death for me and you. He ascended up into heaven and announced two things, first that he was going to prepare a place for us and that he would be back for his own. This is the second Advent, the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Romans 10: 9-11 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
As well as the three words for salvation I would add three other words for encouragement.
Assurance and Life-Abundant
Assurance: is the confidence that you are saved and have eternal life.
1 John 5:13
Romans 10:9 – That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
John 10: 9-10
9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Now onto the Rapture what is this? The word Rapture is not in the Bible but neither is the word Trinity, yet both are there.
Rapture comes from the Medieval Latin word meaning to seize and carry off. This is from the Scriptures that explain that God takes up the church.
So since we are primarily looking at the Book of Revelation, I will start with Revelation ch 4 v 1-2
The Rapture of the Church before the Tribulation
4 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
John is a type of the Church, he is the apostle whom Jesus loved John13:23 just as the Church is mentioned as Christs beloved Ephesians ch 1v6 Note the voice of God in this verse sounding like a trumpet and calling John up to heaven. In the following scriptures from 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4 we will also read of this trumpet sound calling up. As if this is not enough Revelations ch5:9-10 shows the Church up in heaven before the Great Tribulation starts in chapter 6.
Revelations5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
Here are a couple of scriptures from other parts of the Bible:
Here are the scriptures that point out the Rapture and also mention that trumpet sound.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
This show the suddenness of the Rapture taking place, it will be in an instant.
1 Thessalonians 4: 15-17
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which 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.
You will have heard this read possibly at a funeral. The dead in Christ are the Church who have already died. If the Rapture does not happen in my life, I will be one of them. If it happens in my life, then I will be one of those caught up to meet them in the air. I do not believe my mother or father are up there in heaven looking down on me, my parents are two of those described as them also which sleep in Jesus. So from the moment they closed their eyes for the last time; the next moment they open them I will be there among them. In my mind they are outwith time until that point.
Prioritise Spiritual Welfare
If you have read this and the rapture has not happened, you will realise from having read this that it comes suddenly and at a time that is not telegraphed or announced. Prioritise your Spiritual welfare over even your physical or mental welfare and do not fear mankind or the troubles that this life can throw at you, instead develop a reverential fear of God and fear nothing else.
Here is Gods cure for spiritual anxiety, first the stick, then the carrot. First, do not fear man, instead fear God. I have found this teriffically liberating during covid and lock down. If I die , I have assurance about where I am going and have no fear over death. I do not say this lighly as I have faced my own Rubicon as I live with chronic pain. My chronic pain has become my super power not being reliant upon my own strength and having to trust fall and lean closer to God. You only have to fear the stick when you do not have that reverance for God. when you have not accepted Jesus as a substitute and in your own stubberness or sin or unbelief decide to pay the penalty and consequences for your own sin. The carrot however is wonderful, eternal life and even better knowing that I am in the palm of God’s hand and that no one can pluck me out of it.
Keep in mind as I said ealier that I have written this with love in my heart for particular people. It is laying out the facts as I see them and fully believe what I have written. I can only hope that you have read thus far and I can and do pray that God would reveal Himself to you in my writing or some other way. I see thr term Love Conquers All a lot and I see a different meaning in this that the Love of God conquered all sin for you by substituting Hos only begotten Son on the cross that you might not perish but have everlasting life. That really is what Love Conquers All really means.
Matthew 10:28 The Stick
28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
John 10:28-30 The Carrot
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
30 I and my Father are one.
My Next post I will be looking at the Great Tribulation.