A DOOR WAS OPENED IN HEAVEN: ...COME UP HITHER Revelation 4:1
In dealing with the subject of the Resurrection, we must divide the subject into two categories:
The Dead and the Living.
ALL OF THESE DIED AGAIN - NOW LET US LOOK AT THOSE WHO CANT DIE
THE LIVING THAT ARE CHANGED BY GODS POWER
THE CERTAINTY OF THE RESURRECTION
It is possible that when Christ arose, He took not only a first-fruit of men whom He raised bodily (Mt. 27:52,53), but also the souls of all the righteous in Hades, (Eph. 4:8; Ps. 68:18). Henceforth all believers go into Christs presence at death, while the unbelievers continue to go to Hades, as in Old Testament times.
THE OLD TESTAMENT TEACHING AS TO A BODILY RESURRECTION
Israel had proof of the possibility of a bodily resurrection. But the belief in such a resurrection goes back further than that. Abraham expected that God would raise Isaac from the dead on Mt. Moriah (Gen. 22:5; Heb. 11:19). Job confidently expected to see God in his flesh (Job. 19:25-27).
THE NEW TESTAMENT TEACHING AS TO A BODILY RESURRECTION
As to the teaching of a future resurrection we note the following:
And finally, the resurrection of Christ is the guarantee of our own bodily resurrection (I Cor. 15:20-22; 2 Cor. 4:14; I Cor. 6:14; Rom. 8:11). He "abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" (2 Tim. 1:10).
THE NATURE OF THE RESURRECTION
"But some one will say, How are the dead raised? and with what manner of body do they come?" (I Cor. 15:35). This is now our subject for investigation. We note first that the Scriptures speak of three kinds of resurrections:
THE FACT OF A BODILY RESURRECTION
In four ways at least the Scripture indicates that the body is to be raised:
THE TIME OF THE RESURRECTION
"... Come up hither," Revelation 4:1
The Church Age closes with the Laodicean period, and the First Vision with Revelation 3:22. The Church is not mentioned by name as a church after that in the Revelation. It is referred to as:
The Rapture is not spoken of as such in the Revelation, because this book deals primarily with Israel and its future. The question before us now is, just where does the Rapture occur in the interim between the end of chapter 3 and the beginning of chapter 19?
The first prevalent interpretation of the question of the time of the rapture in relation to the tribulation period is the pre tribulation interpretation, which holds that the church, the body of Christ in its entirety, will, by resurrection and translation, be removed from the earth BEFORE any part of the tribulation takes place. This is based on the literal method of interpretation.
THE ESSENTIAL BASIS OF THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE POSITION
The pretribulationist believes in a dispensational interpretation of the Word of God. The church and Israel are two distinct groups with whom God has a divine plan. (Rev. chapters 7,14) The church is a mystery, unraveled in the Old Testament. This present mystery age intervenes within the program of God for Israel (Rom. 11:11) because of Israels rejection of the Messiah at His first advent. This mystery program must be completed before God can resume His program with Israel and bring it to completion (Jer. 30,31). These considerations all arise from the literal method of interpretation.
THE DOCTRINE OF IMMINENCE
Many signs were given to the nation Israel, which would precede the second advent, so that the nation might be living in expectancy when the time of His coming should draw nigh. Although Israel could not know the day nor the hour when the lord will come, yet they can know that their redemption draweth nigh through the fulfillment of these signs.
To the church no such signs were ever given. The church was told to live in the light of the imminent coming of the Lord to translate them in His presence (Jn. 14:2, 3; Acts 1:11; I Cor. 15:51, 52; Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:4; I Thess. 1:10; I Tim. 6:14; Jas. 5:8; I Pet. 3:3,4). Such passages as I Thess. 5:6; Titus 2:13; Rev. 3:3 all warn the believer to be watching for the Lord Himself, not for signs that would precede His coming. It is true that the events prior to the second advent are used by some to denote the rapture time period.
DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE RAPTURE AND THE SECOND ADVENT
There are a number of contrasts to be drawn between the rapture and the second advent, which will show that they are not viewed as synonymous in Scripture.
"And after three days and an half ... Come up hither." Revelation 11:11 & 12
According to this interpretation the church will be raptured at the end of the first three and one-half years of the seventieth week of Daniel 9. The church will endure the events of the first half of the tribulation (Rev. 7:14), which, according to the mid-tribulation rapturist,are not manifestations of divine wrath.
The rapture is said to occur in connection with the sounding of the seventh trumpet and the catching up of the two witnesses in Rev. 11. In common with postribulationism it holds that:
"... for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready." Revelation 19:7
The essential basis on which Post-tribulationism rests:
There is a very great danger in this belief because:
You may not be ready or even looking for his coming.
(a) "Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not." Luke 12:40
(b) "Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch." Mark 13:35-37
This theory holds that the church will continue on the earth until the second advent at the end of this present age, at which time the church will be caught up into the clouds to meet the Lord who has come into the air on His way from heaven to earth for the second advent, to return immediately with Him to fulfill the events of Daniel 9:24.
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Revelation 4:8
Gods holiness proclaimed, prior to judgment. See Ps. 93; 97; 99; Isa. 6:3
One of the major lines of prophecy running throughout the Old Testament and continuing through the New Testament is the prophetic truth related to the DAY OF THE LORD.
THE TIME AREAS WITHIN THE DAY OF THE LORD
The scope of the Day of the Lord has been a matter of debate among interpreters of the Scriptures. Some refer the Day of the Lord to the years of the tribulation period only. Others relate this to the second coming of Christ to the earth and the judgments immediately connected with that event. There are, however, two major interpretations of this question. The one is the view of Scofield who says:
Thus the Day of the Lord would cover that time period from the return of Christ to the earth to the New heaven and earth after the millennium. The other view is that expressed by Ironside who says:
This second view coincides with the previous one as to the terminus, but begins the Day of the Lord with the tribulation period so that the events of the tribulation, the second advent, and the millennium are all included within the scope of the Day of the Lord.
The term DAY OF THE LORD occurs in many scriptures and in addition, the phrase THAT DAY or THE DAY or THE GREAT DAY occurs more than seventy-five times in the Old Testament. The frequency with which it occurs will evidence its importance in the prophetic Scriptures. These passages reveal that the idea of judgment is paramount in all of them. This is so clearly brought out in Zechariah 1:14-18. This judgment includes not only the specific judgments upon Israel and the nations at the end of the tribulation that are associated with the second advent, but, from a consideration of the passages themselves, includes judgments that extend over a period of time prior to the second advent.
Thus, it is concluded that the Day of the Lord will include the time of the tribulation, Zechariah 14:1-4 makes it clear that the events of the second advent are included in the program of the Day of the Lord. 2 Peter 3:10 gives authority for including the entire millennial age within this period. If the Day of the Lord did not begin until the second advent, since that event is preceded by signs, the Day of the Lord could not come as a "THIEF IN THE NIGHT," unexpected, and unheralded, as it is said it will come in I Thessalonians 5:2. The only way this day could break unexpectedly upon the world is to have it begin immediately after the rapture of the church. It is thus concluded that the Day of the Lord is that extended period of time beginning with Gods dealing with Israel after the rapture at the beginning of the tribulation period and extending through the second advent and the millennial age unto the creation of the new heavens and new earth after the millennium.
THE EVENTS OF THE DAY OF THE LORD
It will be evident that the events within the Day of the Lord are indeed momentous, and a study of this period must include a study of a great part of the Prophetic Scriptures. It will include the prophesied events of the tribulation period, such as:
It will also include the prophesied events connected with the second advent, such as:
Further it will include all the events of the millennial age, with the:
These, and many related subjects, must be then studied.
THE TRIBULATION PERIOD IN SCRIPTURE
Although this subject has been touched on briefly in a previous connection, it is necessary to set forth the teaching of the Scriptures on this important eschatological doctrine.
THE NATURE OF THE TRIBULATION
There is no better way to come to an understanding of the Scriptural concept of the tribulation than to let Scripture speak for itself. It is impossible to set forth all the declarations of the Word on this subject. A few will suffice. The line of revelation begins early in the Old Testament and continues through the New Testament.
See also Joel 1:15; 2:1,2; Amos 5:18,20; Zeph. 1:14,15; Mt. 24:21-22; Lk. 21:25-26
From these Scriptures it is inescapable that the nature or character of this period is that of WRATH, JUDGMENT, INDIGNATION, TRIAL, TROUBLE, DESTRUCTION, DARKNESS, DESOLATION, OVERTURNING, PUNISHMENT. No passage can be found to alleviate to any degree whatsoever the severity of this time that shall come upon the earth.
THE SOURCE OF THE TRIBULATION
The tribulation period will witness the wrath of:
Yet even this manifestation of wrath does not begin to exhaust the outpouring of wrath of that day.
THE PURPOSE OF THE TRIBULATION
From these Scriptures it will be seen that God is judging the nations of the earth because of their godlessness. The nations of the earth have been deceived by the false teaching of the harlot system (Rev. 14:8) and have partaken of the "wine of the wrath of her fornication." They have followed the false prophet in the worship of the beast (Rev. 13:11-18). For this godlessness the nations must be judged. This judgment comes on "... the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondsman, and every freeman..." (Rev. 6:15), all of whom "blasphemed the name of God ... and they repented not to give him glory" (Rev. 16:9). This program of judgment on sinners constitutes the second great purpose of the tribulation period.
THE JUDGMENTS OF THE TRIBULATION
It has been demonstrated previously that this entire tribulation period is a period characterized by judgments from the hand of the Lord. A number of distinct judgment programs are to be seen. These divine chastisements increase in severity as we pass from one series to another. The judgments are not contemporaneous but successive. The Trumpets succeed the Seals, and the Vials follow the Trumpets.
The Seals were opened in order that the successive parts of Gods revelation of the future might be disclosed, but to faith only-the mass would regard the judgments as merely providential. Such things had happened before.
THE SIX SEALS AND THE SEALING REVELATION 6:1-7:8
6:1,2 1st seal The false Christ going forth to make war on the saints. See Mt. 24:4,5.
6:3-8 2nd, 3rd, & 4th Seals Judgments on him and his followers. See Mt. 24:6,7.
6:9-11 5th Seal The effects of the war with the saints. Their martyrdom. See Mt. 24:8-28.
6:12-17 6th Seal Judgments
on him and his followers. See Mt. 24:29,30.
Answer to question, by the sealing of 144,000,
enabling them to stand in the judgment.
The picture of the opening of the sealed scroll by the Son of God is given in Revelation chapter 6. Here is the beginning of the unfolding of the judgment program of God. Angels are mentioned throughout the book in connection with the execution of the judgment program.
FIRST SEAL - ANTICHRIST
This seal is generally agreed to represent the peace movements on the part of men as they seek to establish peace on the earth.
THE PERSON AND MINISTRY OF THE BEAST, THE HEAD OF THE EMPIRE
Scripture has a great deal to say concerning the individual who will appear in the end time as the head of the Gentile powers in their ten kingdom federation. His person and work are presented in Ezekiel 28:1-10; Daniel 7:7-8, 20-26; 8:23-25; 9:26-27; 11:36-45; 2 THESSALONIANS 2:3-10; Revelation 13:1-10; 17:8-14.
A synthesis of the truths in these passages will reveal the following facts concerning his activities:
Coming to the throne as absolute master of the earth, Antichrist assumes the role of a benevolent despot, providing a Roman peace and a period of prosperity, making this earth a pleasant place to sin in. He will be hailed, as the Roman emperors of the first century were, the Saviour of the world.
SECOND SEAL - TIME OF WAR
This seal represents the removal of peace from the earth and the wars that engulf the earth.
The rider on the red horse is Antichrist about to wage war. The Greek reads, "It was given to him to take the peace from the earth." The definite article appears in the Greek text, and is all-important. It points out a particular peace, a Roman peace which follows Antichrists conquest of the earth. Paul speaks of this peace in I THESSALONIANS 5:1-3. Writing to Christians he says, "But of the times and seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you; for yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night, for when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them."
Luke 21; Matthew 24; Mark 13 and Revelation 12,13
The great prophecy recorded in Luke 21 is different both in time, place, and subject from that recorded in Matthew 24 and Mark 13. Luke was spoken in the Temple and Matthew and Mark was spoken later upon the Mount of Olives.
*now, it will be observed in the Lords discourse as recorded in Luke, that, instead of saying "these are the beginning of sorrows", and going on with the account of them, He stops short; He goes back and introduces the events that would take place "BEFORE ALL THESE" beginnings of sorrows. He describes in verse 12.
"But before all these", that is to say "BEFORE" the great Tribulation, all that is recorded concerning Jerusalem in verses 12-24 would take place. These are the closing words: Luke 21:24
"Verily I say unto you. This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." Mt. 24:34
Question: "Tell us, when shall these things be?" Mt. 24:3Answer
The FIRST sign = FALSE CHRISTS.
The SECOND sign = WARS and COMMOTIONS
The THIRD sign = PESTILENCE and FAMINE.
Duting the reign of Claudius Caesar Acts 11:28
The FOURTH sign = EARTHQUAKES
The one at Crete in the reign of Claudius, one at Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, Samos etc, etc.
The FIFTH sign = SUPERNATURAL HAPPENINGS
IF YOU LIVED IN THOSE DAYS, COULD YOU NOT HAVE BELIEVED IN CHRISTS SOON RETURN?
Could it be possible that God has indeed fulfilled many of the prophecies in the past, but that He can still fulfill these same prophecies in the future as well? Can prophecy, as well as history, be repeated?
I would like to state that Prophecy is indeed not for private interpretation and what I state in this study is only a possibility and not set in stone. This study is to provoke your thinking about the Scriptures and to realize that we do indeed see in part and know in part and that one of these days we will know even as we are known. And on that day it will be interesting to see just what is truth and what was error.
THIRD SEAL - FAMINE
This represents famine that results from the desolation of the wars spoken of in the second Seal. Ezekiel 14:13
FOURTH SEAL - DEATH
This prefigures the death that follows in the wake of the failure of men to establish peace. Ezekiel 14:19.
Note: "... over the fourth part of the earth..." Rev. 6:8
THE TRIBULATION IS NOT WORLD WIDE
FIFTH SEAL - PERSECUTIONS
This seal reveals the fact of death among the SAINTS of God because of their faith and their impassioned plea for vengeance.
Question - Who are these SAINTS?
Answer - In this Seal, it is referring to ISRAEL, NOT THE CHURCH
Many times believers mistakenly interpret all references concerning "saints" to mean the New Testament Church. However, it is clear that depending on the context, sometimes Israel is referred to as Saints, or the Elect, and at other times these same terms are referring to the Church:
Are they the ELECT of Matthew 24:22,24,31; Mark 13:20,22, 27?
THE SIXTH SEAL - WRATH OF GOD BEGINS
In this sixth seal the wrath of God begins. It continues in the trumpets and vials (8:1-9:21; 11:15,18; 15:1,7; 16:1-21; 18:1-24). It ends with Armageddon (19:11-20:3 See also Zech. 14; Ezekiel 38,39; Joel 3; Isaiah 63:1-6; Jude 14).
THE SEVENTH SEAL - SILENCE IN HEAVEN
Silence in heaven for half an hour before the trumpet judgments begin in Rev. 8:7. See also Ezekiel 9:4, 6; Revelation 7:2-8; Revelation 9:4.
THE TRUMPETS REVELATION 8:2-11:15
It will be observed that the first four trumpet judgments are separated from the last three judgments, in that these last three are specifically called "woe" judgments.
The trumpet was used in arousing to war the hosts of Jehovah against their enemies (Numbers 10:9). Compare Numbers 10:1-6; 10:10. In Ezekiel 33:1-7 it states that the watchmans trumpet blown faithfully could deliver all who would "take warning."
The purpose of these judgments is to bring the earth dwellers to repent of their sins of idolatry, demon worship, murders, sorceries, fornications, and thefts (Rev. 9:20). Even in the midst of Gods judgments there is mercy.
In the midst of the world-wide prosperity of Antichrists kingdom:
Then the Bottomless Pit is opened, and the imprisoned demons are let loose upon the inhabitants of the earth:
Following this, a super-human army of horsemen 200,000,000 (two hundred million) strong, will kill one third of the earths population (9:13-21):
The next judgment directed against the world empire of Antichrist will be the turning of the Mediterranean Sea to blood. ("The sea" in Bible phraseology refers to the Mediterranean Sea.) The heat of the sun is soon to be intensified. Imagine the stench that will result in the countries bordering the Mediterranean.
The next judgment will be the turning of all the fresh water in Europe into blood. Following that, the suns heat will be intensified to the degree that men will be scorched. Finally, a plague of darkness will cause such pain that men will gnaw their tongues as a counter-irritation in an attempt to alleviate the pain caused by the darkness.