The End Times
I have decided to write a series on the end times and the Second Coming before writing a book on the same subject. Although I see the end times Ė the Second Coming or the Tribulation Period from a different perspective than most Christians do, I still use the word of God as the best resource to write from. The experience I have shows that most Christians have trouble explaining the Tribulation Period in detail and their views vary from one person to the next. Because the Tribulation period is pure theology, those who teach the Tribulation period can define the doctrine into whatever they think it should be. I can say this because there is only one reference to the Tribulation period and then only if the Tribulation the great one was speaking of time.
I have been a student of Godís word for the last twenty years and have learned much from God. He has pointed out a number of things by making the scriptures jump off the page, as if they were alive and have experienced ideas that entering my mind, which comes out of the clear blue and dawns on me. What I appreciate the most is that he has taught me to listen to the words he inspired within my heart and mind. I have also learned to ask God for information based on the word he uses because his word is the common term that keep the Father and Son or teacher and student on the same page. Common terms are the links that unify and develop doctrines because of their connection to the subject wherever they are found in Godís word.
One of Godís distinguishing attribute is being straightforward in expressing himself to the world and his children. In other words, God has never called sin anything but sin. His speech has been characterized as being honest, sincere, frank and above all truthful. On the other hand, man loves to create interest on their work by drawing on superlatives and other phrases not found in any of the Bibles in current use. When teachers use words that are not embedded in Godís word, the student is not able to follow, lose the ability to contribute to the lesson or test the doctrine.
The nature of the Tribulation Period requires that the information on this subject be placed in books of theology. From these books we learn that the Tribulation Period is defined as Daniel 9:24-27. However, the reading this passage will not connect you to the Tribulation Period unless you know how to connect it or someone has told you what to believe. Another example of the tribulation period is found in Jeremiah 30: 7 known as Jacobís trouble. Jacobís trouble (trouble being rendered from the Hebrew word for tribulation) exceeded the prescribed time of the tribulation period by seven years. Laban required Jacob to work seven years in exchange for his youngest daughter. At the end of seven years, Laban reneged on his agreement and gave Jacob his oldest daughter and then tricked Jacob into working another seven years for the daughter of his choice. As the story progresses, Laban continually changes the working agreement for Jacobís wages making his life somewhat troublesome.
If Jeremiah 30:7 were talking about the tribulation period, Jacob (Israel) would have to be enduring the same kind of tribulation the theologians speak of and then be saved out of it. Jeremiah wrote about a single day calling it that day, which would be a time of tribulation (trouble). Jeremiah 30:7 has to be talking about another day such as the coming of the Lord.
When God provides a parable, type or symbol as examples in his word, they are an exact representation of the truth. Laban change his agreement with Jacob to increase his profit margin. Money is not the issue with God, God is more interested in the kind of decisions you make and the life you live. Just as we obey our father, Jacob learned to trust and obey God. Obeying God leads to holy lives.
Every word picture God gives is an accurate painting of things we see in real life because the ideas expressed in those pictures have to live up to his personal standard of truth. God is omnipotent because he consistently uses principles that incorporate absolutes. Using several principles of absolutes, God created the world and rules everything in it.
I think that God would have inspired the term Rapture in 1 Thessalonians, if the term caught up did not give a better picture. Caught is the term used in ball games to show that the ball has been successfully captured and controlled by a player, who then selects and throws the ball to the next destination. When Jesus comes he will stop the advancement of time in everyoneís life, he will raise the dead, gather the living to himself and then reward or compensate everyone according to their deeds.
The term Rapture is found in three Bibles in my library that are currently in print, but Rapture is never used in connection with the coming of Christ.
The biblical use of the term rapture is very different than what is commonly used to describe the return of Christ. The classic definition of rapture speaks of a controlling emotion that takes your ability to make sound decisions captive in exchange for less productive and pleasurable deeds. The things of the world have raptured the world because they are consumed in seeking wealth and the things the world has to offer. Rapture is the emotional response of those who jump up and down for two or three minutes screaming at the top of their lungs as a winner on TV game shows. Others get the giggles and manage to subdue them for a short time only to burst into giggles again later. Rapture may send people to lah lah land, but rapture is not the vehicle that will carry people to meet the lord in the air. Instead, Christians should look forward to the angels God who Christ will send to gather the elect. The picture given by the use of rapture is not a picture of what God inspired, painted or otherwise portrayed because it lacks the accuracy of truth.
One person I spoke to in passing said there was six different resurrections mentioned in the bible. However, Christians will be involved with one resurrection and not be involved with the second death. Regardless of the number of resurrections, we will only be concerned with the resurrection Martha expressed to Jesus after her brother Lazarus had died.
Please notice that Jesus did not tell Martha that she was wrong about the resurrection at the last day for Jesus taught that he would return on the last day to resurrect the dead. When we speak of the last day, we mean that there will be no more days after Christ comes or time based on the rotation of the earth to the sun. At that time, Godís people will be taken to a place of safety and Godís wrath will be poured out onto those who refused to repent.
Jesus was talking about the general tribulation that all men through regardless of their relationship to God. One should compare the verse above to the one below,
This is a before and after picture of the tribulation that all saints will go through. In the first picture Christ is forewarning his followers what to expect before the end comes and in the second picture is of those who took Godís word to heart and washed their robes in Christís blood. In other words they took part in God plan of salvation.
When I initially studied the Second Coming my view of his coming kept changing in regards to the tribulation period. Based on the information I was hearing from God I had taken a stand on each of the tribulational views and knew something was wrong. I was only hearing what I wanted to hear and I was conforming to those who followed the doctrines accepted by our church body. Then I came to grips with so many interpretations that varied and learned that only a few Christians are up to par or in agreement with Godís plan.
One of the biggest hindrances in studying the Tribulation Period is that the majority of commentaries on the subject takes for granted that the reader knows what it is. Charles Ryrie indicated that the Tribulation Period begins on the day Israel signs a peace treaty with the anti-Christ. Warren W. Wiersbe divides Mark 13 into three sections describing this chapter as the sequence of the tribulation Period, which begins with these words.
One commentary describes the Tribulation period as the time Israel experiences a time of persecution never seen before and ends with the coming of Christ. While another interpretation understands that the tribulation period will occur immediately before Christ's return. Then another authority on the end times, (Authur Pink) describes Revelation chapters 6 through 19 as the Tribulation Period.
When I first attempted to study the Second Coming, I tried my best to place Christís return within the time period that I knew as the tribulation period. After I had taken a stand on the pre-, the mid-, and the post-Tribulational views, the Lord showed me that he would raise the dead at the last day. Surprising, there is some truth to each of the views, but overall this doctrine does more to divide the church than prepare the Saints for the day he comes. I found that the basic tenets of the Tribulation Period Doctrine are controversial in that some of the events take place before and other events occur after the coming of Christ. If the tribulation Period doctrine is in harmony with the Second Coming than one or all of these views have to be wrong.
For any of you who follow this series of essays, I do not want you to consider my words to be any better than the comments of other men. My comments are due to way I interpret the word of God and the ideas God gives me to pursue. My desire is that you would take my comments and weigh them against the word of God to consider its worth before accepting them as Godís plan.
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