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Eschatology

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A detailed biblical study of the end times and, in particular, the (relative) timing of the Rapture may lead you to a conclusion different than that which you were taught. However, keeping an open mind, and using the Bible as the basis of truth, you will come to realize that neither pre-tribulation Rapture, post-tribulation Rapture or mid-tribulation Rapture are biblically sound positions. The only biblically sound Rapture position is what is known as "Pre Wrath". I owe a great debt of gratitude to Robert Van Kampen and his book "The Sign" (Sola Group), and to Marvin Rosenthal and his book "Examining the Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church" (Zion's Hope Inc.). In addition to these works, I have also read several commentaries on Revelation, and Walvoord's position on Pre-Trib. I have ingested and digested the book of Revelation several times, along with all the other books of the New Testament, the Old Testament books of Daniel, Joel, and other various prophetic excerpts from Old and New Testament books. As many of you know, eschatology has become something of a hobby of mine. And considering the vast amount of Bible space dedicated to the topic, it must be important to God as well.

3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

Rev 1:3 (NASB)

I have reconstructed below the sequence of end time events, using a format similar to that which was used in The Sign. The key to understanding end times and interpreting both Revelation and the book of Daniel is what is known as "The Olivet Discourse" (Matthew 24). This Olivet discourse is shown below in relation to Revelation, and again in relation to 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, so that you can easily see the correlation. In addition, where I thought it might be helpful, I included (and/or will continue to include) appropriate references to other Old or New Testament passages. All Scripture references are "live" hyperlinks and will take you directly to those passages by way of an Internet Bible search engine.

I hold no position treasured but the truth. And if this position can be proven untrue, so be it. But if it is true, as I believe, then it's critical that we share this truth with our brothers and sisters in Christ. To quote from one section of Mr. Rosenthal's book:

"First, if the prewrath Rapture is correct, the church will enter the seventieth week of Daniel to encounter the difficulties of that period and the Antichrist himself. If it does so, having been taught and convinced of an imminent pretribulation Rapture, the consequences will be calamitous. The church will enter that period unprepared, spiritually naked, vulnerable, and ripe for the Antichrist's deception. The psychological implications will be disastrous. A questioning of the trustworthiness of the Word of God will naturally follow. It will be a spiritual catastrophe--a Pearl Harbor of incalculable proportions--a satanically planned sneak attack." "It is impossible to train an army for major battle if the soldiers are told they will never have to participate."

Mr. Rosenthal includes some pleas, two of which I will echo here: "I plea for the almost Herculean effort required to achieve a measure of objectivity in any consideration of the Second Coming and Rapture issue. We who are theological conservatives say that the Bible is our final authority. In reality, however, our positions are often set in concrete, and we will not be budged, even if significant evidence warrants a possible alternative view. Any suggestion of something contrary to what we hold as correct sets in motion an emotional defense barrier that shuts out the truth." And, "I plea for courage on the part of God's people to change their minds and move from the comfort of familiar ground if the burden of biblical evidence justifies such a move. Positions long and strongly held are not easily forsaken."

 As always, your thoughts and feedback are welcome.

Comparative Accounts

The Olivet Discourse (Matt.24) and the Book of Revelation

The Olivet Discourse of Christ

The Revelation of Christ

Additional Notes/References

24:4 WARNING
  • To God's elect
22:19 WARNING
24:5 FALSE CHRISTS 6:1-2 THE FIRST SEAL
24:6 WARS 6:3-4 THE SECOND SEAL
24:7 FAMINES 6:5-6 THE THIRD SEAL
24:9, 21

24:9, 22

24:10, 24

THE GREAT TRIBULATION
  • Death
  • Apostasy
6:7-8

6:9

THE FOURTH SEAL

THE FIFTH SEAL

24:29 SIGN OF THE END OF THE AGE
  • Sun, moon & stars
6:12-17 THE SIXTH SEAL
24:30, 27 SIGN OF CHRIST'S COMING
24:30 THE COMING OF CHRIST
24:13, 31 THE DELIVERANCE OF CHRIST'S ELECT
  • The Rapture
7:9-14 THE GREAT MULTITUDE
  • Out of the Great Tribulation
1) The Rapture and the Beginning of the End of the Age are Simultaneous

2) Directional gathering precedes the "feast".

24:14, 37-39 THE WRATH OF GOD
  • The End of The Age or The Day of The Lord
8:1-7 THE SEVENTH SEAL

 The Olivet Discourse (Matt.24) and the Books of I & II Thessalonians

The Olivet Discourse of Christ

The Instruction of Paul

Addt'l

Refs/Notes

24:3-4a

THE SOURCE OF THE INSTRUCTION IS CHRIST

I Th 4:15
24:4b

THE WARNING CONCERNING THE INSTRUCTION

II Th 2:3
24:3, 27

24:37, 39

THE SUBJECT MATTER: CHRIST'S PAROUSIA (COMING)

I Th 4:15

II Th 2:3

II Th 2:8

24:3, 29-30

24:37-39

CHRIST'S PAROUSIA INITIATES GOD'S JUDGMENT

I Th 5:1-3

II Th 2:1-2

24:15

ANTICHRIST'S TEMPLE DEBUT

II Th 2:4b
24:9, 21

PERSECUTION (OPPOSITION) BY ANTICHRIST

II Th 2:3-4a
24:9-12

THE APOSTASY OF THE CHURCH

II Th 2:3
24:22, 29-30

CHRIST'S PAROUSIA CUTS SHORT (ENDS) PERSECTION

II Th 2:8 3) No "deathbed confessions". There will come a time when it's too late to believe.
24:31

THE GATHERING (RAPTURE) OF GOD'S ELECT

I Th 4:15-17

II Th 2:1

24:14, 37-39

THE WRATH OF GOD (THE DAY OF THE LORD)

I Th 5:1-3

Additional Parallels of

I Thess and Matthew 24

1. Christ Himself returns        
2. From heaven I Thess 4:16 Matt 24:30  
3. With a shout I Thess 4:16 Matt 24:30 (in power)  
4. Accompanied by angels I Thess 4:16 Matt 24:31  
5. With the trumpet of God I Thess 4:16 Matt 24:31 (trumpet is unique to Matthew in the synoptics)  
6. Believers are supernaturally gathered to Christ I Thess 4:17 Matt 24:31, 40-41  
7. Believers meet the Lord I Thess 4:17 Matt 25:1, 6  
8. In the clouds I Thess 4:17 Matt 24:30  
9. The time is unknown I Thess 5:1-2 Matt 24:36  
10. Will come as a thief I Thess 5:2, 4 Matt 24:43 See note 4
11. Will come at night I Thess 5:2 Matt 24:43 (night is unique to Matthew)  
12. Unbelievers are unaware of impending judgment I Thess 5:3 Matt 24:37-39  
13. Judgment comes as travail upon an expectant mother I Thess 5:3 Matt 24:8  
14. Believers not deceived I Thess 5:6 Matt 24:4-5  
15. Believers are to watch I Thess 5:6 Matt 24:42  
16. Warning against drunkenness I Thess 5:7 Matt 24:49  

 

New-02.gif (24561 bytes) Scriptural Prooftexts



 End times chart (excerpted from Robert Van Kampen's book "The Rapture Question Answered: Plain and Simple)

Other end time charts (The Sign Ministries)

 

Additional Support for PreWrath Position:

 Didache.doc

 Roy Reinhold's Extensive Resources Supporting Pre-Wrath View!!

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