Who Will Be Left For Us To Rule in the Millennium?

The Dilemma for Post-tribulation Rapture Only?

A question that eventually comes up after studying end time prophecy long enough is who is going to be left to populate the earth during the Millennium, especially the start of it. The question arises from two discoveries:

  1. The righteous go up to heaven in the rapture and then come back glorified to rule.
  2. The unrighteous go through God’s terrible wrath (which means being subjected to hundred pound hailstones among other things – Rev 16:21) and seem to all die from many verses (1Th 5:3; Ps 2:12; Zeph 3:9; Mal 4:1; 2Th 1:7;2:12)

For pretrib rapture believers, who position the rapture seven years before #2 above, they believe some of those left behind after the rapture become righteous (such as Jews) and survive into the Millennium. They argue that the post-tribulation rapture must be false because, with it coming at the end, there is no time between the rapture and the start of the Millennium for any unbelievers to be converted and saved

The Surprising Solution

Despite many verses that on their own seem to point to utter destruction of all unbelievers in God’s wrath, there is a very clear verse which pretribbers overlook specifically talking about survivors from Armageddon:

Zechariah 14:16-18 (HCSB) —16 Then all the survivors from the nations that came against Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of Hosts, and to celebrate the Festival of Booths. 17  Should any of the families of the earth not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of Hosts, rain will not fall on them.  18 And if the people of Egypt will not go up and enter, then rain will not fall on them; this will be the plague the LORD inflicts on the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Booths.

How can this be?

First, while the Battle of Armageddon will result in complete destruction of the Beast’s armies (God’s enemies) as Zechariah clearly depicts (Zec 14:12), this is only the armies who come against Jerusalem. The rest of the people left behind in the nations where the armies came from will not be destroyed by God at the Battle of Armageddon.

Secondly, even with hundred pound hailstones that fall before Armageddon comes, some of these people left behind will find cover and survive. Zechariah 13:8 suggests that as many as one third will be left after God’s wrath.

What About the Mark of the Beast?

There is still another problem with the unrighteous survivors of the tribulation which many will think of. Everyone who is not raptured and is not martyred will have the Mark of the Beast within five months — except for the 144,000 who have the seal of protection from the locusts (Rev 9:4) that allows them to witness unhindered for the entire Great Tribulation).

At first glance, it seems that those who took the mark and worshiped the Beast’s image will be tormented forever (Rev 14:11). This naturally reminds Christians of hell. However, the passage does not explicitly say the torture itself lasts forever. It only says the smoke of their torment rises forever which is impossible and cannot be meant literally.

What’s the difference? It is an idiomatic expression which is used previously in the OT. It is found in that form and others such as the worm of the dead not dying (Isa 34:10; 66:24). Similarly, Revelation says later about the destruction of Babylon that her smoke rises forever, too. We understand that Babylon is not destroyed, burning or tortured forever. The hyperbole about smoke rising forever seems to convey the seriousness of the judgment.

Where it says that those who worship the Beast have no rest day or night, that’s talking about how bad the cup of the wrath of God (Rev 14:10) will be that they must face. It’s not talking about hell. The lake of fire comes over 1000 years later at the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:11-14).

Thus, the implication of Zechariah 14 that survivors will come up to worship (or receive no rain) is that the mark of the beast that was on all of them was removed when the Kingdom of God begins to reign. Satan is bound at that time (Rev 20:1-3) and it stands to reason the mark and enslavement of people it brought is also terminated.

Why the Marked Don’t Deserve Damnation

This releasing and forgiveness of the marked would only be fair of God when you consider the circumstances. People who take the mark will have been deceived into thinking the Beast is God himself (2Th 2:4). They will also be coerced into taking it by the fact that they cannot buy or sell without it (Rev 13:17). Plus there are the locusts that are unleashed at the start of the Great Tribulation on people (Rev 9:4-10). They torture people with pain like from the sting of a scorpion for five months (Rev 9:10). Probably only those who have resisted taking the mark receive this torture. (For more on the locusts and what they probably are read my Mark of the Beast article.)

As you can now see, there will be survivors who make it through the Great Tribulation, the wrath of God and the mark of the beast. These survivors, although not righteous or believers, will become the subjects of the Kingdom during the Millennium. The point about there being punishment if they disobey God’s instructions fits the fact that these people are not starting out as believers or even welcoming of Jesus. They will no doubt have resistance to the new king of the Earth who has just arrived and changed everything without their consent.

Rapture Purpose or What Good is a Post-Trib Rapture?

Emailed question:

I have studied and taught bible prophecy for many years also; my question for you is -if the rapture is at the end of the great tribulation -why would we need one at all?

This is a great question, as few understand the real purpose of the rapture. It also underscores a truth about the pretrib rapture doctrine that I have observed repeatedly over the years. Believing in the pretrib rapture incurs a great barrier to correctly understanding the bulk of end time Bible prophecy.

Pretrib Rapture = Escape

Naturally, based on the supposed pretrib timing of the rapture, pretribbers believe that the purpose of the rapture is to deliver the saints from a supposedly unbearable period on earth, the Great Tribulation. So dreadful is the Great Tribulation in the minds of pretribbers, that they liken the concept of us being on earth for it to wife abuse (“Jesus would not put his bride through the Great Tribulation!“).

However, when the verses speaking directly on the timing of the rapture and the associated resurrection of the dead in Christ (1Th 4:15-17) are used instead of typical allegorical or types and shadows style cases for the rapture timing, a different picture emerges. The rapture gathering is “after the tribulation of those days” (Mt 24:29-31) or at the “seventh” or “last trump” (1Co 15:52=Rev 11:15).

Post-trib Rapture = Reward

Once you correctly conclude that the rapture is at the 7th trumpet after the Great Tribulation ends, it is then possible to see related key rapture passages that reveal the true rapture purpose. Fortunately, all of these verses can be read plainly and literally. No subjective allegorical reading or “types and shadows” are used such as is required to argue a pretrib timing to the rapture.

Here’s the first passage to look at on the rapture purpose:

Revelation 11:15, 18 (ESV) —  15 the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
18 The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”

Reward of: Eternal Life…

God uses the rapture to “reward” his servants. But how and why? As the writer above noted, obviously this reward cannot be an escape if the rapture happens after the Great Tribulation. Notice that just like the passage above, Paul also touches on this reward being given to both the living and the dead in Christ at the same time:

1 Corinthians 15:50-53 (ESV) — 50  I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51  Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52  in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53  For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.

…Just In Time To Rule For 1000 Years

The purpose is clearly to reward the saints with eternal life. But what is the reason for the post-trib timing of the rapture (and resurrection) giving this change to eternal life? Revelation 20 again mentions this resurrection of the righteous (that coincides with the rapture) and sheds light on the purpose to the timing:

Revelation 20:4 (ESV) —  Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

The resurrection(/rapture) timing is clearly right before the Millennium, the period we saints will rule the earth with Christ. Now this all makes sense. We change from physical to spiritual bodies at this time since you simply cannot rule for more than around 120 years in a physical body. Since we saints are to reign, this is also when the dead in Christ also finally “come back to life.” Plainly, they do not come back to physical bodies. As Paul said above, we are quickened or changed to incorruptible, immortal bodies as “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,” a spiritual kingdom.

In conclusion, the rapture is about rewarding the living and dead saints at the same time with eternal, immortal, spiritual bodies so that they can immediately reign with Christ at the start of the Millennium. The rapture is not some celestial escape from the Great Tribulation for the saints. Instead, God has a terrestrial escape plan for his servants that is described in Dan 11 and Rev 12. Only when you see the rapture in it’s proper timing do you see its proper purpose which then allows you to see the real escape plan for the Great Tribulation that God has in store for us.

Newsletter: The Rapture – Are You Old Enough?

Despite all the discussion and debate about the rapture among Christians, several important aspects of the rapture issue are still not widely understood. Besides the important timing question, there is also the question of the purpose of the rapture (it’s not what you think) and the fact that not only the wicked will be “left behind” but some of the righteous will not make it either! Learning these finer points of the rapture will deepen your understanding of God’s plan.

Read the article here: http://www.escapeallthesethings.com/rapture-secrets.htm

Would God Allow His Bride to Go Through the Great Tribulation (And Why)?

“God would not allow his bride to go through the Great Tribulation!”

I couldn’t tell you how many times I have been told the above, or asked it (rhetorically). Most of the time it comes from a staunch pretribber who is not really wanting to find a solution to the dilemma he thinks this question portrays. He is assuming a pretrib rapture is needed for the sake of the “dainty” Bride of Christ.

The question itself comes from a common misunderstanding of what the Great Tribulation is and what it is not. There is another misunderstanding on what we as believers should expect in our life of service to God. Let us address both of these misunderstandings to answer the question at hand properly and in concordance with the Bible.

“Not Appointed to Wrath?” The Great Tribulation is not God’s Wrath

The above question is typically backed up with the verse that “we’re not appointed to wrath” as proof that the bride will not go through the Great Tribulation.

1 Thessalonians 5:9 (HCSB) — For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ

What those who quote this verse assume is that the Great Tribulation is God’s wrath. It is not. It is Satan’s wrath. The Bible tells us that Satan’s wrath begins when he is finally barred from entry to heaven.

Revelation 12:12 (ESV) — Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

Today, as in the days of Job, Satan can still go and accuse the brethren. When he is barred from entering, it will be his signal to begin his short time (3½ years) of wrath. This lasts from the 5th trumpet until the 7th trumpet. (For brevity’s sake I will not expound that out here. But my book proves that the 6th seal through 4th trumpet are all a series of related events caused by doomsday star Wormwood, and that the 5th trumpet is the start of the Great Tribulation).

Thus, Satan’s reign, and his wrath with it, end with the 7th trumpet. Then God’s wrath picks up where Satan’s wrath left off:

Revelation 11:15, 18 (NIV) — 15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet…18 The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great– and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

God’s wrath comes exclusively through the seven bowls. It begins after the 7th trumpet and is “filled up” or “made complete” by the 7th bowl:

Revelation 15:1,7 (NIV) — 1 I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues–last, because with them God’s wrath is completed. 7 Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever.

Thus, if we are not appointed to the wrath of God, then that only means we must be out of here by the 7th trumpet before that starts. And that is exactly when the rapture comes, at the “last trump” (KJV):

1 Corinthians 15:52 (HCSB) — in a moment, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.

“Appointed To Afflictions or Tribulation”

While we are not appointed to wrath and will be rewarded with being born again (John 3:3-8) into a glorified spirit body by then, we do have “endure until the end” (Mt 24:13) through much trouble.

As a lifelong reader and student of the Bible, it really is odd for me to hear Christians claim that “God would never put his precious bride through the terrible tribulation.” Whenever I hear this, I wonder if they are not among the 95% of Christians who have not read their Bible. Because when I read the stories of the saints throughout the OT and NT, I consistently see lives full of trouble, affliction and persecution. Even the ultra-righteous Job has his share.

Or when I look out at the world today I see many lands where there is not freedom of religion. In them, Christians today are living in great tribulation. There is a common saying based on this that only rich Western Christians could possibly imagine a pretrib rapture saving us from the Great Tribulation. God has not saved any of those being murdered today for the truth and the pretrib rapture theory to them clashes with reality. They are dying already for their faith in the present tribulations.

If you look around at conditions on the ground now and previously in Bible times you see God does not seem to be a doting father who “shelters” his children. He lets us face troubles head on and does not save us typically until the last moment after we have cried out passionately for help (much like the Red Sea crossing).

A few verses will suffice in demonstrating this truth plainly:

Acts 14:22 (KJV) — Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

1 Thessalonians 3:3-4 (KJV) 3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. 4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.

Why Must We Suffer, Anyway?

Now you may wonder why does God work this way with us? This is actually the same as the classic question of “why does God allow suffering?” For the Great Tribulation is just a global and more intense class of suffering at the hands of a Satanic government than we already have had throughout history unto this day.

Most Western Christians do not read their Bible (less than 5% according to Back to the Bible). Their expectations for what their life with God will be like are thus based mainly on their experience of playing church in a rich society with freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The concept of real suffering for your faith (which is not simply being put down or having your beliefs ridiculed now and then by skeptics and atheists) is unknown to them in general. Because of this paradigm, when they finally read the Bible, they have a hard time understanding or accepting what they read about suffering experienced by saints or the promises of the same for us, too.

God has a good reason. The Bible is not silent on the reason. This prophetic verse is one that covers it:

Daniel 11:33,35 (HCSB) — 33 Those who are wise among the people will give understanding to many, yet they will die by sword and flame, and be captured and plundered for a time. 35 Some of the wise will fall so that they may be refined, purified, and cleansed until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.

This “fall” spoken of clearly refers to suffering persecution and martyrdom. It is to refine us and make us better. This is how God builds his character, makes his Bride ready (Rev 19:7). It even was necessary for Jesus, the firstborn Son of God:

Hebrews 5:8 (HCSB) — Though He was ⌊God’s⌋ Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered.

If you are rich, distracted and therefore spiritually poor and blind, trials are the specific prescription that Jesus gives for us as well.

Revelation 3:17-18 (HCSB) — 17 Because you say, ‘I’m rich; I have become wealthy and need nothing,’ and you don’t know that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked, 18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire so that you may be rich, white clothes so that you may be dressed and your shameful nakedness not be exposed, and ointment to spread on your eyes so that you may see.

It’s no mystery what “going through the fire” refers to. It means suffering. The Book of James is well known as a source of meaning and comfort on this topic:

James 1:2-4, 12 (HCSB) — 2 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. 12 A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.

God’s Terrestrial Escape Plan For the Great Tribulation

The “Bride of Christ” can bring to mind an image of a dainty maiden, one who cannot withstand hardship. However, that is not the point of the metaphor. The point is that we must be “virginally pure” (Rev 14:4) or ready (Rev 19:7). Being pure of what makes us ready? We’re pure or righteous in God’s sight as long as we trust in his word intending to follow it (Lk 8:21; Gen 15:6).  Our own ideas, man’s religion, man’s ideas, our own thoughts that conflict with or distract us from serving God are the problem. Only those who have shown a steadfastness in following God throughout all kinds of tests and temptations are suitable for the Kingdom of God. Thus, ironically, the method by which we become the Bride every day is exactly what pretrib rapture proponents believe God must not put us through (globally) if we are the bride!

The Bible says and demonstrates repeatedly that we must go through much trouble to make us ready. This builds our character, purges our sin nature and increase our faith and wisdom (James 1:1-12). This is the same process that Christ himself went through. The Great Tribulation is just more of the same, except on a global and intensified scale. Therefore it is improper to deny we will go through the Great Tribulation because God would not subject his bride to such a terrible time. He does every day!

Besides all that, the End Time escape plan of God revealed in the Bible is to protect his bride on the earth through the Great Tribulation in the same way that God protected the Israelites where they were on the earth while the Ten Plagues of his wrath rained down around them. He will guide us to a protected place that Satan cannot reach and feed us during the three and a half year Great Tribulation:

Revelation 12:14 (HCSB) — The woman was given two wings of a great eagle, so that she could fly from the serpent’s presence to her place in the wilderness, where she was fed for a time, times, and half a time.

It will be a time of great wonders and community that has not been seen since the First Century, as described in Acts 2. For this reason, I am looking forward to the Great Tribulation without any fear at all. And so should you once you know the truth from the Bible on the matter.

So, “comfort each other with these words” just as Paul said to the Thessalonians (1Th 4:18). By the way, those are the same Thessalonians who Paul instructed on our rapture after the Antichrist and the Great Tribulation appear (2The 2:1-4).

Conclusion

Pretrib Christians who say God won’t let us go through the Great Tribulation are not completely wrong. They believe God must protect us from the Great Tribulation which I completely agree with. The mistake is in thinking that a pretrib rapture to heaven is the only way this protection can or will happen. God must protect us, but there are other ways he can do it

So in the end it’s not wrong that God won’t make his righteous saints go through the Tribulation. I don’t count being taken to a special area where you are protected and fed by God for 3½ years as going through tribulation (Rev 12:14). If we are protected in heaven or protected on earth, how is either situation able to be called “going through the Tribulation”? =)

Passover Rapture

It seems like every time a Jewish holy day comes around, rapture fervor reaches its peak among pretrib rapturists. Although the rapture can come at “any time” according to that believe system, the best speculation centers on the Jewish holy days like Passover, Pentecost or Rosh HaShana. With Passover 2006 approaching here in a month, this year is no different.

If people only understood the words of Jesus in their proper Hebrew cultural and idiomatic context there would be no need to speculate on which day of the year the rapture will be on. We already can know which day it is (and by plugging in the Sabbath Year cycles, the rapture year as well). See my article on what Jesus meant by “No Man Knows the day or hour” in this article to find out what day of the year the rapture will fall on, whether you are pretrib, midtrib, posttrib or prewrath:

Which Day is the Rapture?

How To Save $100’s On Prophecy Books And Videos

If you are a serious long time student of prophecy like me, you probably have something to show for it: dozens of books, DVDs, videos, audio tapes, charts and even seminars or conferences memories that cost you hundreds of dollars. Not to mention all the time that you have invested searching in reading, watching and attending them. I even took a tour of Israel with prophecy teacher Michael Rood in 2003 which cost me thousands. Understanding Bible prophecy was not the primary reason for taking that trip and I certainly have no regrets at all and would do it again. However, you have to figure that of all the ministries offering tours of Israel out there, since I picked a prophecy teacher to be the host of the one I went on, that at least some of that package price has to fall into the prophecy research expense category.

After All That Money, Why Don’t You Know More For Sure?

You may have spent even more than I have, perhaps with multiple trips to Israel or with dozens of prophecy books on your books shelf. But the question I want to ask you is, what else do you have to show for it all and when will this expense category in your budget go away? In other words, why haven’t you understood it yet or at least figured out enough to feel like you know the important things you need to about the End Times to make better plans. I mean, putting the satisfaction of your curiosity aside, isn’t the real practical application of studying Bible prophecy to know the future and to then be able to plan better for it? (If you like spending the money because the many divergent teachings entertain or fascinate you, then you may not be looking for how to change that.)

Or after all these years of hearing one plausible interpretation after another have you lost any hope in actually concluding what the right sequence of end times events are, when the rapture falls in that sequence, who the Antichrist is, or even what year Jesus will return? Can we know these things or not? Why are we studying book after book and never really getting solid answers to these questions? The reason for our lack of real results with this is not because there is no way to find out solid answers to these questions. If you believed that was the case then you would not be wasting time and money on this area of study. If after all this time you are starting to doubt this assumption, then let me remind you that God specifically told Daniel that his prophecies (which even he could not understand), would be understood by the wise in the End Times when knowledge was increased, but the wicked would not understand (Dan 12:7-11).

Is there any doubt that we are in those End times now when many would go to and fro and knowledge would be increased? Also, since I don’t know too many reprobates who have a hobby of studying Bible prophecy, let’s rule out that wickedness on your part is the problem here :). If you want to study Bible prophecy then you probably are a good person who wants to understand all God has to say, not just the parts you like.

Flawed Prophecy Interpretation Model

That leaves us with the matter of being a biblically wise person. There is always a good chance we lack wisdom in an area because we all start out in any field as beginners with lots to learn. A lack of success in any endeavor can often indicate that we are missing essential wisdom for succeeding in it. But what wisdom do we need to unravel Bible prophecy?

There is one piece of wisdom that most Bible prophecy teachers don’t seem to know. They usually start out with some unique insights that carefully explain some plain passages of the Bible that others have not addressed as well. However, in fitting their theory in with the rest of the Bible or even just related prophecies, at some point just about every prophecy teacher will say, “that passage does not mean what it plainly says.” Because if they took that passage at face value, they would be forced to change all or part of their theory! You may not have noticed this because you may feel that given the symbolic nature of prophecy, especially the Book of Revelation, this is acceptable handling of God’s word.

Prophecy: Primarily Symbolic or Primarily Literal Like the Rest of Scripture?

What if that assumption is wrong and we have not taken things literally enough? I’m not saying that the Book of Revelation is not symbolic. It certainly does make use of symbols that are usually only explained plainly elsewhere in the Bible. However the question we need to ask before we interpret prophecy is whether it is primarily symbolic or allegorical or is it primarily literal. Put another way, is it a special case or is it just like the rest of the Bible of which Jesus said “[the face value meaning of] scripture cannot be broken” by any interpretation of any other scripture?

More importantly, if we really believe it’s a special case where the “scripture cannot be broken” rule does not apply, then how do we have any hope of ever coming to the right understanding? And if we somehow do, how do we have any way of verifying that it is right if it cannot be validated by being held to not breaking the face value of other scripture? A person can then just find ways to spiritualize or typify other scriptures to a meaning that fits his teaching and no one can say its wrong because one persons imagination of what a passage can mean is just as valid as another’s if there is no standard to hold them all to. This is how we have ended up with innumerable seemingly plausible eschatologies and books explaining them. They are all to some degree breaking (or ignoring) scripture to arrive at yet another different interpretation.

Do you begin to see the problem? If prophecy does not have a primary, usually literal face value meaning with the symbols adding extra detail or depth built on top of that face value meaning rather than contradicting it and replacing it, then we are wasting our time and money studying it because we’ll never really be able to know what it means short of another Holy Spirit-filled prophet coming to literally pull the answers out of a hat. By the way, I said “usually literal” because I’m not saying all prophecy is literal. There is some clear allegorical use of language found but these things are always explained as such right there or elsewhere in the Bible. The problem is when a teacher does not understand this and treats everything like an allegory or freely-definable symbol he supports by using typological interpretation of other scriptures such as the acts of the patriachs in the Old Testament. For example, a famous pretrib rapturist teacher once freely admitted that the pretrib teaching is based on allegory and typology rather than any clear plainly read passages of the Bible. He clearly saw nothing wrong with this situation.

The Solution

The only thing that the status quo gives us is an endless stream of tantalizing new prophecy books limited only by the imaginations of each new prophecy writer. Since most of them contradict each other, not all can be right—but all can be wrong. Are you ready to find out how to avoid wasting time and money on such fundamentally flawed theories? Here’s how:

  1. Be willing to change how for years you have treated prophecy differently than the rest of the Bible and begin rereading the Bible afresh with the new “primarily literal prophecy” paradigm.
  2. Study the articles on this site like How To Understand Bible Prophecy for Sure which gives several examples of mistreated prophecies that can be taken at face value.
  3. When you have confirmed that there is something to the approach to Bible prophecy I advocate, go ahead and purchase one of my $10 books which are written following this model of interpretation. I promise you’ll never find me say in my books, “that doesn’t mean what it plainly says” and then proceed to offer some contradictory meaning for it. At most I will say it doesn’t mean what you thought it says and direct you to read the passage more carefully and notice a few easily missed details that are really there and change the meaning significantly so that the face value properly meshes with the face value of the rest of the Bible.

Can $10 spent on one of my manuals really save you $100s on lots of other prophecy materials down the road? I wholeheartedly believe so (and I have a money back guarantee if you think I’m wrong). It is difficult to see things differently than you have been taught for years. But a little guidance can go a long way in saving you further trial and error.

See, once you let me show you how several major prophecies such as Wormwood or the 144,000 make literal plain sense as written, you will find it easier to break the old patterns and to apply this approach to other prophecies on your own for finding solid, satisfying answers. And when you see an offer for a new typical allegory/typology-based prophecy book and look into its premise and assumptions and find that they contradict your new foundation based on plain reading of all scripture including prophecy, you will not even think “maybe they have the answer, maybe i should get that…”

Is the Rapture before Wormwood?

Mary asked:

Revelation chapter 7 talks about the four angels holding back the winds of the earth and sealing the 144,00 children of all the tribes of Israel. Right after that it speaks about the great multitude in heaven which appears to be the rapture. So during the 7th Seal and third trumpet, the star Wormwood is hurled into earth. Are you saying that christians will still be here on earth when Wormwood hurles into earth, and that the rapture will not have taken place?

Yes, I’m saying that the rapture comes after Wormwood, otherwise the firstfruit saints would not need sealing protection as the first half of Revelation 7 depicts nor would the Woman of Revelation 12 be brought to a place of safety for 3½ years at the start of the Tribulation. Wormwood is here from the 6th seal through 4th trumpet but the rapture comes at the last or 7th trumpet at the same time as the dead in Christ are raised according to Paul (1The 4:16, 1Cor 15:52). Revelation 20:4-5 says explicitly that the first resurrection of the dead includes people who overcame the mark of the beast and his image which of course means the resurrection and rapture cannot occur at the start or tribulation. Finally, Jesus in the Olivet Discourse agreed that after the Tribulation his angels would come with a trumpet to gather all his elect (Mt 24:29-31). “The elect” is used elsewhere in the NT to refer to the church (1Pet 1:1; 2Jn 1:1; Tit 1:1).

Myself I doubt that Revelation 7 is depicting saints in heaven after the rapture. We already have an explicit depiction of that in Revelation 15 (the sea of fire and glass). Instead I think Revelation 7 is showing all God’s children from all nations and races (rather than primarily Israel as the first phase of his plan works with) living with him constantly after the new heaven and new Earth as Revelation 21 and Isaiah 65 predict. This would explain why they are always with the Lamb in the Temple rather than ruling on Earth with him (and remember none of us are ever going to be omnipresent like God). However, even if Revelation 7 were depicting saints immediately after the first rapture, it gives no timing information as to when the rapture itself is.

24 Elders Future? Rapture To Replace 1/3 Angels?

Tom asked:

It seems when John saw the 24 elders wasn’t there a mention of a vision? So would it be possible the end time visions seen by John the 24 elders, the saints under the throne were visions of future events as the book of revelation is written? This has not yet come to pass. But our Lord is soon in coming all the prophecies are up!!!!!! It won’t be long. But what I have read will come to pass heaven is ready to receive us. One third of the heavens were swept out with Satan. Are we the one third to take their place? Only wondering…..

By all indication, the 24 elders were already in heaven in the present back when John saw his vision of the throne room. Just as the Messiah was already ascended and in his place there. If we take these to be men as the evidence points to, then this makes more sense then saying this in some yet future resurreciton/rapture of only 24 people. I still think the best explanation is that these 24 were “raptured” at the time Jesus was to fulfill the Wave Sheaf prophetic rehearsal of Leviticus 23.

If I understand your other question correctly you are asking if we are going to heaven to replace the 1/3 of the angels who Satan marshalled in rebellion against God (Revelation 12)? The purpose for us going to heaven is not because it needs population but because we are not “appointed to wrath” (1The 5:9). Jesus indicated that the rapture would be right before God’s seven bowls of wrath fell. And by the way, the angels are still in heaven today because as Job and Revelation 12 indicate, their casting down with Satan after being banned from heaven is not until the start of the Great Tribulation of his wrath (the reason for the “woe, woe, woe” mentioned in Revelation 12 is the same as the three woes of the 5th, 6th, and 7th trumpets).