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March 9, 1997

Return to: "Q/A"

Topics:
  • Don't need to Agree...just be united
  • Pre-trib Rapture
  • Pre-Wrath

Re: Don't need to Agree...just be united

Q.
I am [name of person] and I have been receiving your VW's for a while and really enjoy them. At times I don't agree with you but that's ok because we are all heading for the same goal. That is an intimate relationship with Jesus our Lord. God doesn't intend for us to agree on everything He intended us to unite as one body and work together.

A.
While the sentiment is appreciated, I would remind us of Paul's words, "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." (1Cor 1:10)

For further discussion on this, I would remind the reader of recent VW articles 031 & 032.


******* PTRapture *******

Q.
>will the rapture be before the trib or after.at a time when very few >christians are ready?. or at a terrible point in history and do you think it >will be soon.

A.
Definitely "before" the Tribulation. And, you are right, most "christians" will not be ready. (Notice..small "c")

As for a "terrible point" in history...well, yes, the Tribulation will be "terrible" and as Jesus stated, "unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved..." (Mt24:22)

Will it be soon? I certainly expect so!

For specific reading on this subject..and these questions..let me point you to a few things at the VW site:

        Articles:  001,003,004,019,028

        Commentaries:
                Post Trib View challenged
                At the Door
                Olympic Spirits
                5 Wise-5Foolish

        Tidbits:
                Feast of Ingathering

        What's New: -> Letters-Q/A-Comments:
                Enticing Fires
                End Time Fears

Pre-wrath

Q.
I spent some time a couple of months ago examining the prewrath position. One thing did strike me. They are not looking for the Lord's coming but are really watching for AC. [anti-christ .ed] A lot of time is spent calculating time. I like numbers so I enjoyed following through their reasoning but it did not fit in with iminence which I feel is scriptural.

Q.
I know you'll disagree, but I'm convinced that this ["wrath" being the whole 7 years] is one of the most important mistakes that many pretribulationists make: that of assuming that the great tribulation is a time of God's wrath. As one who has carefully studied the prewrath position, I am convinced that Rev. 6:16 (in the context of the sixth seal) indicates that God's wrath is _about_to_ commence (with the seventh seal); the other references to "wrath" which you listed all deal with events after the opening of the seventh seal. The rapture, I am convinced, will occur just before the opening of the seventh seal.

A.
The book of The Revelation cannot be looked at as a linear time line, starting with chapter 1, and concluding ultimately at chapter 22. Some things can: there are various references to "after these things." And there are certain "blocks" of events which follow one another. But, there is so much over-lapping of events, I seriously doubt that we are given to create a time-line before they occur. And, it would be hard for us to know in each and every instance what "these things" might be referring to. We are given an overall picture of what to expect...but there are still so many "mysteries."

However, let us look briefly at this "pre-wrath" position, using the logic/criteria its proponents adhere to:

FIRST of all with "grammar." This person quotes (6:16), "is about to commence." The text actually says, "great day of His wrath *HAS* come." I even checked this out in some of the "liberal" translations on my shelf which I don't normally reference, and they all agree. My interlinear uses, "CAME." All of these...PAST TENSE. In context, for the pre-wrath position, BEFORE the mid-point of the 7 years, BEFORE the "Great Tribulation." In other words, the time of "Wrath" does not begin at "that point" and then follow "later" in point in time. Rather it actually means, Wrath is "now" ...it "has been" going on. ...it is "continuing" into the future. ...we are "surrounded by" it...

THEN, the "order of the text." Rev 6:17 is given as the dividing point by the pre-wrath people.

However, let us consider the sealing of Israel in chapter 7. 7:3 says, "do not harm the earth...till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads." In context, it is obvious that this sealing is for those "about to remain" on the earth as the more severe judgments are about to begin. They didn't get Raptured, did they.

And FINALLY, the "great multitude which no one could number." The explanation is given in (7:14) that they came out of "GREAT TRIBULATION" (an expression synonymous with "wrath"). Apparently, "they" didn't get Raptured either, did they. They were "in" the Great Tribulation, have "come out of" due to martyrdom (Rev13:15), and now stand before the throne and Lamb.

OK...so the pre-wrathers say, perhaps, that "Wrath" doesn't actually begin until chapter 8 with the 7th seal. But this time is "wrath" or "great tribulation." They obviously can't be raptured before it, and still go through it, can they.


Q.
This is what the prewrath rapture view teaches: that the great tribulation is a time of Satan's persecution of the Church (and of Israel), which God will allow (as He has allowed various times of persecution of the Church over the last 20 centuries) for His own purposes.

A.
However, Scripture plainly states, "...wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His [Lamb] wrath has come..." Remember, the Book of Revelation is, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ." It is about Christ and His bringing to an end the reign of Satan.

It begins with a vision of a Christ which made the "Apostle of Love" fall at His feet as dead. (1:17) It says that "all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen."(1:7)

Thus far we have seen Christ as a baby, teacher, healer, Savior, Intercessor. But, Revelation shows Him as "Judge." (Mic4:3, Joel 3:12, etc.)


Q.
The brother who took the time to answer my questions put a very good case, and in a sweet spirit, but I was not convinced. I don't think I would want to doubt his salvation though

Q.
(Rapture" is a defining issue regarding who is a Christian, and who is merely a christian.)

I'm saddended to see you writing this. As you know, the pretribulation rapture position was virtually unknown in this country 100 years ago. I think we are on very shaky ground whenever we take a doctrine that was unknown to mighty men of God during other centuries (e.g., the reformation) and present it as a defining issue regarding who is and who is not a true Christian.

A.
The reader is reminded of a recent previous VW letter, which is still accessible at the WebSite from the "What's New" link, titled "Are You Born Again?"

These comments are generic ones on my part. I do not judge "individual" hearts. However, Satan's move in these last days is to keep people from watching for Jesus' "imminent" return. There are people and organizations who label themselves as "christian" promoting the non-pre-trib lies. And by seeing their fruits (Mt7:16), it is easy to make this generalization.

Over and over, Scriptures tell us to "not be deceived." This is because there are many deceivers out there. Wolves in sheep's clothing. They are *NOT* Christians.

As for "virtually unknown" ...let me remind the reader of the recent commentary, "Poor Substitutes."


Q.
I Th 5:9 says "For God has not appointed us to wrath but to obtain salvarion through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Also, in checking about the newness of the rapture doctine...it is not that new. Missler, who I listen to fairly frequently, says it was taught in the early church. It was avoided and watered down recently (last several hundred years) because Pastors were afraid it sounded too weird and would turn people off. So, they just avoided it. It is not a new doctrine. It is in the Bible!! Thank you for your ministry. I so enjoy picking up my e-mail and seeing A Voice in the Wilderness. I know it is going to brighten my day!!

A.
As the AT&T commercial says, "I think we're beginning to make some progress." (smile!)


Q.
I have a question:
If Christians are not going to go through the tribulation, then who are the great multitude that the apostle John could not identify? He saw a great multitude and he did not know where they were coming from. Yet he was told that they were coming from the tribulation.
Please explain.
Thank you.

A.
A Very good question.
In Joel 2 there is quite a description of end-time events with regards to Israel. In amongst that in vs.32 it says, "And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

FIRST OF ALL, let us consider the "two witnesses."(Rev11:3) During the preaching of prophets there have always been those who come to God in repentance.

Mal4:5 speaks of Elijah.."before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." Jesus said that John the Baptist was Elijah.(Mt17:11-13) Also, In Acts 2, Peter quotes from Joel 2. You will notice in Acts 2:19 he goes on to speak of "wonders, signs, blood, fire..the moon being turned into blood." Well, obviously, those things have not yet occurred. Israel's "time-line" stopped, just as Jesus in Lk 4:19 "correctly" interpreted the prophecy of Isa 61:2; referring to His first coming as the "acceptable year of the Lord," but stopping before "day of vengeance of our God." The "day of vengeance" being that which we read about in the book of Revelation.

So, back to these "two witnesses." Who will they be? Scripture doesn't say. There are speculations that they may be variously; Moses, Elijah, Enoch or John the Baptist resurrected. Elijah and Enoch never died, but were raptured. However, Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus on the Mt. of transfiguration. Whoever the witnesses may be, they will be preaching and performing signs and wonders. Surely, many will repent at their preaching.

AND THEN in Rev 14:6 it speaks of the "everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth-to every nation, tribe, tongue and people." Some, due to its adjacency to (vs1-5) speculate that the gospel is preached by the 144,000 who were sealed in ch.7. While this may be possible, the text doesn't specifically say this. The Joel 2:28-29 passage (which has been misappropriated by the charismatic movement in recent years) may be an indication that it is the 144,000 Jews. It does go on to say, "For in Mt.Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance."(vs32) Indicating that, again at that point, "salvation is of the Jews."(Jn4:22)

However, Jesus does say, "this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come."(Mt24:14) Many erroneously credit this to all the missionary endeavors of the past couple of centuries. But, in context, it is apparent that this is a massive evangelistic/judgmental outreach to the whole world; One last "call to repentance" ...during the time of God's Wrath. Many will repent. Many will refuse...but will not be able to claim ignorance, because they will have heard. And thus, the pronouncement will be appropriate when judgment comes, "it is their just due." (Rev 16:6)

During the time of apostasy in which we live, I wonder if it could truthfully be said that Christians are a "multitude which no one could number."(Rev7:9) I would seriously suggest that we are more like the "seven thousand...whose knees have not bowed to Baal." (1Kgs19:18) We are a "luke-warm" church which God would "spew" out of His mouth.(Rev3:16)

When the Rapture occurs, and the "comfortable" pious church people are still in their pews, some eyes are going to pop wide open, as they ask their pastors, who are still standing behind their pulpits, "Why have you been lying to us? Why have you been making us "feel good" and not telling us we need to "repent? Why have you been telling us things about everything EXCEPT Jesus? Why have you not told us that Jesus died for us?"

When those couple of "judgmental divisives" disappear, and their clothes fall in a clump, many like John will, "see and believe."(Jn20:7-8, 1Cor15:23)

While we know that there will be great delusion so that people will believe the lie(2Ths2:11), there will also be many who are saved during the Tribulation time...and will subsequently be martyred.(Rev13:15)


Q.
Please accept the following in the spirit of love in which it was sent. I am concerned about your preoccupation with the rapture and tribulation and a tendency toward being judgmental...The New Testament does not speak of a 'gospel of rapture or tribulation' . Because I do not accept what you obviously see as the only possibility for the end times does not change my relationship to my Savior. I do agree though that regardless of how we view the end times they are likely to be close at hand...
...Don't turn the Gospel into law by making salvation hinging on things that better Christian scholars, than you and I , have not been able to agree on, and do not judge their relationship with their Savior because they do not agree. As you said, it is up to God to judge.

Q.
Hello, I just want to tell you that I loved the way you answered the question as to who the great multitude are that the Apostle John seen out of all nations.I agree with you a hundred percent. You also mentioned that the "Gospel of the Kingdom" must first be preached throughout all the world and then the end would come. Your answer regarding that was also a great answer.You could have went on and said that during this age we are not preaching the "Gospel of the Kingdom", but the gospel of the grace of god. When God turns his attention back to the Jews during the tribulation, they will again be preaching "The Gospel of the Kingdom". "Repent ye, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand" Then it will be preached by the Jews to the Gentiles. You were as solid as a rock in your answer...
...This verse pretty well tells us who will be among that great multitude that the Apostle John seen. ((Those who never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ before the Rapture)). They are the only ones who will be able to be saved during the tribulation. 11 Thess. 2:11,& 12, says And for this cause God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie. That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. These two scripture passages combined tell us plainly that if people think they can wait until after the rapture to be saved they are so terribly wrong. For us living in this age who have heard the plan of salvation (TODAY IS THE ACCEPTABLE YEAR OF THE LORD). "Do you agree"?

(Both of these Q's were greatly truncated from what they wrote.)

A.
"The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men" ...producing in us a life of holiness, AND ANTICIPATION of the return of Christ... Which, if we are alive when He comes, is the pre-Trib Rapture. The Rapture/Resurrection is part of our "blessed hope"(Tit2:11-13) If a saint has died, he looks forward to the Resurrection of the Just.(Lk14:14) If he is alive when Christ returns, he will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.(1Ths4:17) One who is "in Christ"(2Cor5:17) will be looking forward to this event. One who is not, won't.(Mt24:48)("evil servant" == "christian" small "c")

The Message has been the same throughout history and there are two basic elements: Repentance and Faith. And is not dependent upon whether one is preaching the "Kingdom" or "Grace." Let us take a brief look.

Jonah preached "destruction" to Nineveh.(Jon3:4) He didn't even give them an option of Believing or Repenting, but they "believed God"(vs5) and repented; and God spared them.(vs10)

John the Baptist preached "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."(Mt3:2)[Kingdom] When the Holy Spirit had been given to the new "age of Grace" Peter's message was "repent."(Acts2:38)[Grace] Jesus, in commissioning His disciples, gives them the message to preach, "and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations."(Lk24:47) We don't hear this any more from the pulpits, do we!

"Faith" has been universal throughout history. By FAITH Abel offered an acceptable sacrifice to God.(Gen4:4) Abraham BELIEVED God and it was accounted as righteousness.(Gen15:6) Paul and Silas told the jailer, "BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ."(Acts16:31)

Lest someone wax "scholarly" and object because of Moses' "Law" hear the words of Moses. "But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.(Deu30:14) And Paul, the eminent Jewish scholar puts it thus, "but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.(Rom2:29) God's desire for Israel as they were promising to KEEP the LAW was, "Oh, that they had such a HEART in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!(Deu5:29)

Paul summed up the message succinctly, "testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks [Gentiles], REPENTANCE toward God and FAITH toward our Lord Jesus Christ.(Acts20:21)

When all hell breaks loose upon the world as the Wrath of the Lamb is being poured out upon humanity, the finer points of doctrine might get lost as the prophet says, simply, "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."(Joel2:32)

"Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you."(Tit2:15)

Hale-Bopp is flying by. In a week-and-a-half Jerusalem will have a third lunar (blood moon) eclipse in a row, coinciding with three Feasts. The "lights in the firmament of the heavens...let them be for signs and seasons."(Gen1:14) "The moon [shall be turned into] blood, before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord."(Joel2:31) People who know more about these things than I do seem to see a correlation between Rev 12:1-6 and what is happening in the heavens right now with the alignment of the stars, constellations, Hale-Bopp...such an alignment as has never occured before, nor will again.

The first time Christ came a "star" guided the wise men.(Mt2:2)

His coming again is Very Soon. Yes, I "agree." "Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation."(2Cor6:2)

"...knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.(Rom 13:11-12)

Amen!


Q.
I will end the letter with this warning from the book of Ezekiel: 3 : 20 & 21: " Again, when a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingbiock before him, he shall die; because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thy hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul."

So the blood of your sheep is in your hand!

A.
Amen! Perhaps this will explain my "persistence" on some topics.


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