If you read my blogs then you know that much of what I write is what I grapple with. Here goes another one.
Let's assume a scenario; I just happen to think (based upon what I see in scripture) this is how it will happen: The rapture – the great snatching away of the church (that is a whole other issue I will dive into later) takes place. The rapture, as I see it, is on the cutting edge of God's wrath. God's wrath is an integral part of the Great Tribulation.
The Great Tribulation – Has two components -
God's wrath being poured out upon the earth in the form of: 1. The 7 seal judgments; 2. the 7 trumpet judgments; 3. the 7 bowl judgments. This may not look like God's hand when you look at the players involved, but it certainly is. If nothing else happened, such as be-headings in the name of Allah, I cannot imagine anyone surviving on the earth, and yet they do.
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The second is the work of the Beast, (a man driven by a Satanic spirit that has shown up many times, in many people, throughout man's tenure here on earth.) and the False Prophet.
(Islam fulfills both of these roles in their prophecies. The Mahdi, also known as the 12th Imam, and a prophetic person named Isa ben Maryiam. In English, Jesus the son of Mary, not God. I am telling you that if you will find out more about who these characters are that Islam is anxiously awaiting, it will alarm you, and scripture will suddenly make more sense than you ever thought possible. If you are bold enough, find the book “The Islamic Antichrist”, by Joel Richardson and read it.)
At the rapture the Church, those that are awaiting the return of Jesus Christ, will be removed from the earth.
(An aspect that has caused me some confusion is “the dead in Christ” shall rise first. I suppose I am confused because if you want to analyze it, we are all dead. We were born into death thanks to Adam's transgression.) If, as scripture states, to absent from the body is to be present with the Lord then there really are no Christian dead, lying around waiting to be caught up. I am really sure why any portion of the body needs to be recovered, but there you have it. Clearly God made each one of unique in some way, and that body, in much better shape than when you left it, will be restored intact. For you skeptics. Was Jesus body found in the grave after the three days? No. This is making my mind swim as I think about bodies and their propensity to decompose. Really, what are we talking about here? Atoms. Apparently God is able to reconstruct an entire body from whatever molecule is left.
If the church is gone, who is left?
- OK, so those who God found awaiting him are gone. Who is left? A lot of religious folk who thought they should have gone; the cults who live on the fringe of acknowledging Christ as Lord, but most have no real idea (I hope that I am wrong about many of them. If they learn of Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God, and anxiously await him, then they should be gone as well), sadly I think that most will still be here. There will be the eastern religions, and a few stray cats mixed in.One of the things that recently caught my attention was Matthew 25:1. Jesus said the last day will be like ten virgins that were coming to the wedding. Jesus Christ is coming on that day to gather us to the wedding. Half of them, though on their way, in their mind, were unprepared, and when the call finally came they started scrambling for oil. A key to understanding what is happening here is Matthew 25:5 which says, “While the bridegroom tarried they slumbered and slept.”Even as I write these things, and talk about them with people, this is what I get, “why are you getting all worked up, we have been waiting for him for over two thousand years. Beside all that, the world is always in turmoil, and people are always in some form of tribulation.” With that being said, they spiritually go back to sleep.When you consider that no oil based lamp burns forever and must be refilled, and we are equated to an oil lamp with a limited burn time, then there must be the need to keep replenishing that oil. That would have to be on a daily basis, and multiple times a day.
- So we have established that many versions of religious types will be left here, what about the others? While Islam believes in a god, no less than the oriental religions believe in god(s), I did not even, in my mind, include them as I thought about the religious folk that have been left behind. I suppose you could chalk my attitude up to prejudice. That was not an uncommon, and unspoken teaching in church, I cannot remember a colored person in our church growing up. Dear Lord, I hope God can set that tragic problem aside when he comes for us. Islam, though staunchly religious, and appalled at our lack of morality, is entwined in a hatred of the Almighty, and refuses to believe that Jesus Christ, though a good man and a prophet, was the Son of God, or God himself. Bottom line, they are in opposition to everything we believe outside of morality, and yet even that is twisted, for a man can get away with things that a woman cannot.I suppose the bottom line here, on those that are left, are the godless, the unknowing, the scared, and the arrogant. We are not to be naive When Adam committed treason, handing the earth over to Satan, and eating the fruit of the tree that gave a knowledge of both good and evil, he passed that knowledge, I suppose genetically, through every generation since. NO MAN will have an excuse, for they know what good is and have chosen not to do it.Why do you think that God wreaks such destruction upon the earth's inhabitants, because having the opportunity to accept the loving act of the one who created you, and paid for your release from the genetic damage that Adam did, with HIS OWN BLOOD, they reject him.God out of love, gave man the opportunity to choose for himself, and there in the problem lies.
Alright then, the rapture comes and goes, along with seven years of horrid events culminating in Jesus return to earth (When he returns the first place he plants his feet is the Mount of Olives, NO PLACE ELSE.). The beast, and the false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire. I suspect primarily because they deceived so many people, and Satan is locked up for a thousand years of peace on this earth.
- The saints – those who were beheaded for their testimony are brought back to life, and possibly those who refused to take the mark (this may be something that you wear just as the Jews did during the time of the Holocaust.) and / or refused to worship the beast or his image that speaks – will reign with Christ during the following thousand years.
- But there are other people.
Micah 4:1-5 KJV But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. (2) And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (3) And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (4) But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it. (5) For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.
This is the first time I have ever paid attention to this, but it is not a fluke because other passages substantiate what I am seeing.
Remember, we are considering the millennial reign. Christians taken up in the rapture are stated to be the city, the new Jerusalem that comes down out of heaven. Here on earth, during the 1000 years, in one of those references to that city, it is called “the camp of God”.
At the end of the 1000 years Satan is released and rallies the nations, those outside the camp of God, against the camp of God.
Who is Satan deceiving this time? Not those those who live in the city, but those that live outside the city. Were they outside because they refuse to acknowledge Jesus Lordship? There are a lot of possibilities, but exclusion is not one of them. Would they have been safe if they had been inside? Certainly.
A quick reassessment. We have people during the millennial reign that are walking in the name of their god, and living outside the city.
Revelation 22:14-15 CEV (14) God will bless all who have washed their robes. They will each have the right to eat fruit from the tree that gives life, and they can enter the gates of the city. (15) But outside the city will be dogs, witches, immoral people, murderers, idol worshipers, and everyone who loves to tell lies and do wrong.
These two verses stun me.
- I would have thought that the time of washing of the robes had passed. Perhaps this is a continuing process which implies that Holy Spirit is still alive and active even during the millennial reign.
- People are continuing to come to Christ. Sure, Satan is no longer an issue, but man still has the ability to choose. The logical aspect of this is that life continues to go on. Survivors of the Great Tribulation continue to have families and we now have an exponential multiplication of people once again. Everyone of those people will apparently have to choose Jesus over whatever else is being offered to them.
- Only those who have washed their robes can enter the gates. Obviously this continues to imply the blood of Christ and salvation. Therefore an acceptance of the price he paid for us is necessary, and continuing to happen.
- Verse 15 is the most unnerving part of all. For it implies that sin still runs rampant throughout the earth. Jesus and the millennial saints would seem to be the peace keepers, and I suspect the blatantly sinful indulgences will be dealt with swiftly. But I never in my wildest imagination thought that God, in his mercy, would allow such a thing to happen at this point.
There has to have been survivors of the tribulation that God's mercy has pulled through. We tend to think of the tribulation as a time of purging, and it is, but of all evil? Apparently not. Man's ability to make choices has not been taken away, and clearly many have made some form of choice to follow God and not the anti-Christ, therefore he extends his hand of mercy and pulls them into the millennial reign right next to the saints of God.
No evil is allowed in the city. Where is evil coming from if it's motivation and inspiration is locked up? This can only mean that evil is in the heart of man. Think about it. Adam's transgression brought us knowledge of good and evil, along with death.
Believers throughout the life of earth have been raised to a new, incorruptible life at the rapture. Tribulation saints are those that were beheaded and resurrected, apparently they too were raised incorruptible.
I am not so sure about those that survived without taking the mark or worshiping the beast. Would not refusal to do take the mark give you an all access pass. We certainly see them here during the millennial reign, but I would not think that the the freedom of choice they had and refused, prior to the tribulation, is still on the table merely because they refused the mark, nor worshiped the beast.
But, if, based upon the concept that half the so called Christian population does not make it in the rapture, this would not necessarily be where such horrible evil comes from.
Others that may not make the rapture are those that are considered the cults, such as the Latter Day Saints and the Mormons. They are on the fringe of the truth, but have been deceived into believing that some other tripe is true, not God's word. They are fairly decent people, and mind you anyone can go over the edge, but on the whole we do not see that happening with this bunch.
Let's assume for a moment that intelligent people will suddenly open their eyes, realizing that Islam offers no hope and make a stand against it. Does intelligence make you less evil? No, you are usually just smarter about it. Bernie Madoff who stole millions from investors is no less evil than the murderer.
If there is a point to this oration, it is that my notions have been blown out of the water. Is that a bad thing? No, actually I love that God still chooses to speak to me. What this proves to me, again, is that God's mercy has exceeded all boundaries and constraints that my mind had.
I am suddenly reminded of a passage that caught my attention as I was eating dinner. John 9:39 KJV “And Jesus said, For judgment ( a sifting) I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.”
Blinded by ignorance or arrogance, I am not sure, but suddenly things just got a little clearer for me. I do not know why, but God just keeps pointing out his mercy to me, and I love him for it. Having received far more mercy than I deserved, I find myself falling more and more in love with the one who showed me that mercy.