The Last Days- Part I
I came to the knowledge of the Lord in the mid-70’s following a long period of time when I considered myself a New Age follower. It took many years for me to actually walk in Biblical faith- struggling with many personal issues that needed healing and deliverance. A prevalent teaching of the church then and even now is the ‘imminent’ return of the Lord Jesus Christ. In my ignorance for many years I was gullible enough to believe that Jesus would come to ‘catch away’ the true church at any moment: in 1981 then 1988… etc. and obviously the Rapture didn’t happen then or yet! Now with decades of comprehensive study of the entire Holy Bible from Genesis to Revelation, I have come to a greater understanding of what biblical eschatology actually teaches.
Although there is substantial confusion and the ‘traditions of men’ I believe misinterpreting the Scriptures concerning the 70th week of Daniel, the pivotal issue as far as I can tell has to do with the error in falsely assuming that the Day of Christ is synonymous with the Day of the LORD. This post is my attempt to deal with the significant differences with solid biblical confirmation to support my thesis. The primary reason that this is so critical at this time, is that the enemy has used the incorrect teachings with respect to the Rapture, the tribulation period, and the wrath of GOD to cause much of Christendom (especially in the Western church) to sit on their hands, not willing to get them ‘dirty’ in the Harvest of souls- and waiting in a dispassionate (lukewarm) way for the return of the Lord to rescue us out of this fallen world.
The premise of the ‘pre-tribulation rapture’ of the church assumes that Matthew 24 & Revelation 6 (the seals) describes the wrath of GOD being poured out. In my next post I will tackle this doctrinal position head-on since in both portions the wrath of GOD is correctly equated with… ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars [angels] will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then (M-v29 & R-v12,13 respectively). We are called to be witnesses!
Matthew 9:35-38; 10:7 &8… And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few, Therefore pray the LORD of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
10:7 &8… And as you go, preach- saying “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
Rather than delve into controversy, let’s focus on what the Bible says specifically about two different future events or spans of time and their respective characteristics: the Day of Christ and the Day of the LORD. Once we make clear biblical distinctions, I anticipate that many will have a Holy Spirit impartation of truly being co-laborers with Christ in the coming massive Harvest at the end of the age… rather than limp spectators- diminishing our inheritance by our lack of obedience.
The Day of Christ
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3… Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to Him, we ask you not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the Day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition…
Without adding or subtracting from this portion of Holy Scripture, it clearly teaches that the church will still be here during a coming (or continuing) falling away from the faith, and the recognizable appearance of the ‘man of sin’ known by many names- primarily called the Antichrist. We know that this is no one else because of verse 4 that follows- when he sits in a future temple (not yet built) and declares himself as GOD!
George Mueller, the 19th century giant of faith (personally responsible for caring for over 10,000 orphans- many who became missionaries throughout the world- who never once solicited funds for his great work, but rather trusted GOD for full provision)… in 1879 at a conference was asked: “Are we to expect our Lord’s return at any moment, or that certain events must be fulfilled before He comes again?”
He replied without equivocation, “I know that on this subject there is a great diversity of judgment, and I do not wish to force on other persons the light I have myself. The subject, however is not new to me; for having been a careful student of the Bible for nearly fifty years [read through over 100 times], my mind has long been settled on this point, and I have not the shadow of a doubt about it. The Scriptures declare plainly, that the Lord Jesus will not come until the apostasy shall have taken place, and the man of sin- Antichrist- shall be revealed as seen in 2 Thess.2:2,3.“
From the whole counsel of GOD over 130 years later from Mueller’s correct exegesis, we also know that the nation of Israel had to be reborn, when the Hebrews had not existed in the Holy Land from 70 A.D. to May 1948. Because of ‘replacement theology’ the prophesied return of the children of Israel was misinterpreted, as has also been the case with different aspects of End-time theology. So what else does the Bible say about the Day of Christ? Let’s ‘unpack’ some key verses with brief comments:
1 Corinthians 1:6-8… even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Bible clearly teaches that all believers will be wholly sanctified at the true rapture.
1 John 3:2… Beloved, now we are children of GOD; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
Philippians 1:5,6… for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident in this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…
These verses teach that in the Day of Christ there will be blessings and rejoicing for believers. It is the work of progressive sanctification which is being worked out in believers, and it will continue unto completion in each of us until the Day of Christ- which then manifests our complete transformation at the Rapture of the church.
Romans 8:29,30… For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
One can only come to the conclusion from these Scriptures that since our Lord is performing the good work of sanctification which He began in each of us when we were born-again… and as it states it will continue until the Day of Christ, therefore the Rapture of believers- at which time we will be wholly sanctified, cannot occur until the Day of Christ.
Looking back to the 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5 reference, we see that there must be a clear distinction between the Day of Christ and the Day of the LORD. Why? Let’s change horses and see what the Word of GOD says about the Day of the LORD.
If the Day of Christ ends with the Rapture, which it does as shown in the above Scriptures, the Rapture cannot be either imminent or pretribulational. I do admit that some translations have been inaccurate in translating the Day of Christ, inserting Day of the LORD instead- but the KJV and NKJV are clear and correct. The vast majority of the Western church including so-called conservative seminaries promote the concept of the Rapture before ‘the beginning of birthpangs (sorrows) described in Matthew 24.
What the Scriptures clearly teach in many portions of different books is that the wrath of GOD is not poured out until after the sun and moon are darkened- immediately after the Great Tribulation!
Theologian Harry Ironside said of the Day of the LORD: “When at last the day of grace is ended [the Day of Christ], the day of the Lord will succeed it. It will be the time when the judgments of GOD are poured out upon the earth. It includes the descent of the Lord with all His saints to execute judgment on his foes and to take possession of the Kingdom… and to reign in righteousness for a thousand glorious years.”
Also John Walvoord said: “The significant truth revealed here is that the Day of the LORD, which first inflicts terrible judgments, ends with an extended period of blessing on Israel, and this will be fulfilled in the millennial Kingdom…” Let’s confirm these truths with Scripture:
Isaiah 2:10-21… Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust, from the terror of the Lord and the glory of His majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled,… And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the Day of the LORD of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty… And it shall be brought low… v19 They shall go into the holes of the rocks and into the caves of the earth, From the terror of the LORD And the glory of His majesty, When He arises to shake the earth mightily.
Isaiah 13:6-13… Wail, for the Day of the LORD is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. Therefore all hands will be limp, Every man’s heart will melt, And they will be afraid. Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them; They will be in pain as a woman in childbirth; They will be amazed at one another; Their faces will be like flames.
Behold the Day of the LORD comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine.
I will punish the world for its evil, And the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, And will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a mortal more rare than fine gold… Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth will move out of her place in the Wrath of the LORD of hosts And in the day of His fierce anger. (See also Zephaniah 1:14-18).
Zechariah 14:1-5… Behold the Day of the LORD is coming… For I will gather all nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city will go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle…
Joel 2:30-32… And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth; Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, BEFORE the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, Among the remnant whom the Lord calls.
So we see that the Day of the LORD is preceded by these signs: the sending of Elijah (Malachi 4:5…); cosmic disturbances (Joel 2:1-12; Matthew 24:29; Acts 2:19,20; Revelation 6:12-17); the apostasy [the falling away] of the professing church and the revealing of the ‘man of sin’, i.e. the Beast (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
To reiterate for emphasis: The Lord Jesus describes in the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24:1-28 in great detail all manner of calamity, including his disciples being killed during this period of great tribulation. Then He says:
Matthew 24:29… Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken…
But please note in the parallel passage in the Revelation where the first five seals coincide with Matthew 24:1-28:
Revelation 6:12;16,17… I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to earth…
v16,17… and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the Wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His Wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” THIS IS WHERE THE WRATH OF GOD IS FIRST DECLARED! NOT BEFOREHAND.
At the opening of the sixth seal, the Rapture of the Church must occur (we are not subject to GOD’s wrath…), followed immediately by the commencement of the Day of the Lord. It must be noted that although the primary aspect initially of the Day of the Lord is the severe judgment of the nations, the positive side will be the defense of and full salvation of Israel (see Revelation Chapter 7 and beyond). Also the full inauguration of the Millennial Reign of Christ is the longest aspect of the Day of the Lord which is both the third day (A.D.) and the seventh day (since Adam)… a set of teachings that will be developed in detail in future posts.
For an exhaustive study of all the prophetic Scripture both Old and New Testament yet to be fulfilled, I highly recommend:
The Post-Trib, Pre-Wrath Rapture by Dr. Roland Rasmussen… which is linked on Amazon.com via the book title.
Also I encourage you to make some popcorn and watch the entire 2 hr. 20 minute YouTube video: “Ken Peters- I Saw The Tribulation!” At the end of this personal testimony he shares 22 specific prophetic words about coming events. Since this was filmed in 2003- many of his predictions have happened- such as: the housing market collapse; the worldwide economic crisis; the sky-rocketing value of gold and other precious commodities; increasing terrorist attacks on our American soil; riots and violence in the streets of many cities (especially those regions blatantly scorning GOD and His ways); and other sobering circumstances.
He also lays out 11 steps of how to prepare for what is yet to come (believe me, it ain’t pretty…). And again, I implore all those who have the burden for prayer (the pure Watch of the LORD) to study carefully and apply the principles defined in these three very important posts:
In the Mouth of 3 (John) Witnesses 3 different men of GOD all named John, are interviewed at different times in 2009. Their prophetic concerns overlap with remarkable precision (Video links in the post).
The Joy of Fasting: Discipline, Deliverance, and Delight The reasons for- and proper method of preparation, carrying out, and successfully ending a spiritual (liquid only) fast. Done right you will heal dramatically- body, mind, and spirit: many tangible benefits of this awesome discipline.
Praying for the Healing of America Our national need for genuine repentance (beginning with the House of GOD) in order to enter into the reality of 2 Chronicles 7:14…
A true ‘Berean’ student (Acts 17:10, 11) will ‘…test all things, hold to that which is true…’ (1 Thessalonians 5:21). To that end, all four parts of ‘The Last Days’ series MUST be studied with your Holy Bible in hand in order to ‘… rightly divide the word of truth…’ (2 Timothy 2:15). A full length film (1 hr. 53 mins.) completes the study at the end of Part IV. For convenience all 4 essays are linked here:
- The Day of Christ… and The Day of the LORD ‘Does the Holy Scriptures reveal a distinct and exclusive difference between the two?’
- The Tribulation… The Great Tribulation ‘Does not the Hebrew as well as the Greek original texts of the Old and New Testament specifically and exactly make a distinction between ‘Tribulation’ and ‘The Wrath of GOD’?
- His Glorious Appearing ‘What is ‘the sign’ of the LORD’s coming that is given by Jesus Christ Himself both in Matthew 24, the Book of Joel, and the Book of the Revelation?’
- The Great Day of GOD’s Wrath ‘When does the Whole Counsel of GOD reveal in numerous places in Scripture, does the actual Wrath of GOD commence, and to what extent does the Bible reach to make this terrible period of Judgment upon the whole earth clear to all who prayerfully study His Holy Word?’
For deeper insight into how GOD the Father sees His children; to better understand the elementary principles of Christ (Hebrews 6:1-3); the ‘mysteries’ of Christ’s Kingdom; and our individual and corporate calling, commission, and empowerment- please review my first published book and the Table of Contents on the Amazon website linked here via Book Title: “Thy Kingdom Come- Here and Now!”
King of Kings (Messianic Praise- Karen Davis)