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February 16, 1998

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Q/A Topics:
Great Tribulation, Wrath, 3 1/2 years?

Q.
Need to find the relationship or the link on the following

during the tribulation period. there are two types of tribulation first 3 1/2 year is by man or satan second 3 1/2 year is the Great Tribulation. ( by God ) This is were God show his wrath.. ( wrath of God ) I need to know if there is a link between the Great Tribulation (Jesus talks about the Great Tribulation as the world has never seen).. is there a scripture that ties the two together Great Tribulation = wrath of God..???

A.
First of all, let me make a "disclaimer" here. The subtleties of the minute intricacies of prophetic timetables is not something the Lord has gifted me with. My calling from the Lord is to proclaim the fact that He is coming, and that people should come to Him in repentance; and for Believers, to be living lives fitting of their calling in Christ Jesus. And to warn of false doctrine and false prophets, and for True Believers to "come out from among them and be separate."

There are those who claim from Amos 3:7 "Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets" That these people going about today, claiming "new revelations" are prophets of God. But both Paul and Jude were quite clear that all necessary revelation needed for the Church has been given (Gal1:8-9,Jude3), and that Scripture, as given, contains everything necessary for the "man of God" to be "thoroughly equipped."(2Tm3:17) Any NEW revelation would have to come from prophets which the already-given Scriptures tell us will come. The only such prophets I can think of are the "two witnesses." (Rev11:3) That is yet future. And they will be in Israel. (vs.8)

God told Daniel "seal the book until the time of the end."(Dan12:4) "..the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end."(12:9) As we see the "signs of the times" we know we are close to the "end." But we are not yet there. And thus, we should not expect that anyone totally understands what is about to come. And if anyone claims to be an "expert" in these things, we can assume he is either deluded or a false prophet.

Some things we know with certainty. We have shown in other writings that the Rapture will happen prior to the 7 year period. But will the 7 year period begin at the [very second] after the Rapture, or will there be a bit of intervening time? If we look at the example of Enoch who was translated about 650 years before the flood, we might see some intervening time. If we look at Lot, "on the day that Lot went out of Sodom" judgment came.(Lk17:28) This would seem to indicate that it begins right after the Rapture.

With that as introduction...getting to your question... Some things we do know for sure. There is going to be a 7 year period of Daniel's "70th week." (9:27) We know it will begin with some sort of "confirmation" of a covenant. That in the middle of that period (3 1/2 years) the "abomination of desolations" will occur.

But that the "first half is by man and/or satan" is not something I know about from Scripture. In fact, very little is said about the first half, other than the fact that life will appear to be fairly normal. Perhaps the nations will be recovering from the Gog-Magog conflict?(Ez38) as they are using the debris for fuel for "seven years"(38:9) Are these 7 years the same as the 70th week? Interesting speculation... But a conflict of this magnitude would certainly be a likely scenario for "confirm[ing] a covenant" wouldn't it, as Israel "gain[s] renown for it."(39:13) And the first part of that 7-year period would certainly seem to be a time of "peace."

The 3 1/2 years most referred to is the second half, as the "one who makes desolate"(Dan9:27) brings "an end to sacrifice and offering...in the middle of the week."

We see God's wrath and "of the Lamb."(Rev6:16) We see the "two witnesses" who perform signs and wonders of the proportions of Elijah and Moses. (Rev11:5-6)

But you will also notice, we see the "wrath" of satan, as well. While it is a time of God's judgment on the earth, it is also a time of conflict between God and satan, as satan is cast out of heaven to the earth, and his "great wrath" is "because he knows that he has a short time."(Rev12:12) So he then goes about to try to demolish Israel and any others who have come to faith in Christ during this time.(vs13-17)

Now Israel (the "woman") flees into the wilderness for 3 1/2 years. (Rev12:14) This "fleeing" would seem to corresponde with Jesus words, "when you see the abomination...then let those who are in Judea flee..."(Mt24:15-21) And He goes on to speak of "great tribulation."(vs21) Which certainly corresponds with the "forty-two months" when the gentiles tread the holy city (Rev11:2) and the "great blasphemes" of the beast. (Rev13:5) "Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob's trouble, But he shall be saved out of it."(Jer30:7)

An interesting observation: There are several time schemes. In Revelation it refers to "42 months"(13:5,11:2) and "1260 days."(11:3,12:6) And Daniel speaks of "time (1), times (2) and half a time (1/2)" (=3 1/2 years) (7:25,12:7)

But then, Daniel also speaks of "1290 days" from the time the "abomination" is set up.(12:11) And "blessed is he who waits, and comes to the 1335 days."(12:12) We see here an "extra" month, and "two" months.

Jesus says, "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."(Mt24:29) Could this be what goes on during that "month"? Could this be a reason why the book of Revelation cannot necessarily be treated as a "time line"?

Something else that is going to happen during these two months is found in Joel ch2. Somewhat in conjunction with God's outpouring of wrath through the signs in the heavens,(vs30-31) it says, "And it shall come to pass afterward [after the "great & very terrible..day of the LORD"(vs11)] that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams...I will pour out My Spirit IN THOSE DAYS."(vs.28-29) This explains, "And 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) As we see in Rev14:6-7 "Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth; to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people; saying with a loud voice, "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water."

The expression "in those days", "in that day", etc. is a recurring phrase in the O.T. dealing with God's judging of Israel and the nations of the world as He restores Israel, and Ezekiel repeats over and over, "and then they will know that I am the Lord."

And when Daniel says, "Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the 1335 days."(12:12) ...could this be referring to those who were found to be "sheep" as Jesus is judging the nations? (Mt25:34)

All these pieces of the prophetic "puzzle" will be put together for us very shortly. It behoves us to have our lamps full of oil (Mt25:4) so that our lights will be shining brightly when the "Bridegroom" comes, so we are prepared to "go out to meet Him!" (vs.6)

We don't fully understand everything now, yet, because we "walk by faith, not by sight." (2Cor5:7)

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Two men in a bed? (Rapture)

Q.
If you don't mind could you shed some lite on this subject i have never really understood this scripture. (Lk17:34-36) And what does it mean by two men in a bed ?

A.
Luke 17:34-36 and Mat 24:39-44 are both speaking about the same thing. The Rapture. Paul writes, "Behold I tell you a mystery: we shall not all sleep [die physically], but we shall all be changed--in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye..."(1Cor15:51-52) And "the dead shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." (1Ths4:16-17)

Now, the confusion comes for many because these broader Matthew and Luke passages are primarily speaking of the day of God's wrath (Jacob's trouble), the Second coming, judgment, etc. And so I have heard/read many kinds of explanations with variations on the theme that those "taken" are taken in persecution because they didn't have the "mark of the beast." Or, for those who don't believe in a rapture, that the ones "taken" are somehow "zapped" by God in judgment, to leave the righteous remaining. ...or this or that explanation.

We must understand how God often proclaims prophecy. Often it is "hidden from the wise and prudent" (Mt11:25) Jesus spoke in parables so that "Seeing they may not see, And hearing they may not understand.' (Lk8:10) As Daniel wrote, "..and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand." (Dan12:10b)

In the O.T. many "Messianic Psalms", for instance, contain only little phrases within an otherwise "generic" psalm. e.g. In the midst of "man praising the Lord" generically, is a little thing about Christ "the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone."(Ps118:22) And is verified as such by Jesus in Mt21:42. Or, as Hosea is speaking about Israel a little phrase, "out of Egypt I called My son."(Hos11:1) Which is verified in Mt2:15 as a reference to Jesus as a baby. Something which the "average Joe" would not have picked up on. And, perhaps Hosea, himself, might not have known it...(1Pt1:10-12)

In similar fashion, the Rapture is "tucked away" into these passages which are otherwise, predominantly speaking about Jacob's Trouble and the second coming.

When the rapture happens, people will have been doing their normal things together. The Believer will just suddenly ...be taken. ...Disappear. The other will be left. For those sleeping at that moment, one is going to wake up to find the other "not there." If they are awake and working together, the one is going to vanish from sight, while the other "rubs his eyes" to see if he can believe what he just saw...making sure he wasn't just imagining things.

And you notice Jesus cautions, "therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour WHEN YOU DO NOT EXPECT HIM." Now, if the Rapture were to be occuring at the "end" of the tribulation, as many proclaim, a person could conceivably count out 1260 days, 42 months (Rev11:2-3,etc) and they would "know" when Christ was coming, wouldn't they...making that proclamation a lie. But you see Jesus' warning about them, "but if that EVIL SERVANT says in his heart, 'My Master is delaying His coming' ...the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for Him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."(~Mt24:48-51)

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