"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." (1Corinthians 15:52)
"I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left." (Luke 17:34-36)
The rapture is when saved Christians are "caught out" or "carried away" by Jesus Christ out of this world. We will meet Him, and all the believers that have died and went to heaven, in the air with our new and glorified bodies. In an instant, mass amounts of people from all around the world will vanish. Although there are several different perspectives of when the Rapture takes place in correlation with the tribulation, the most literal Biblical interpretation and widely accepted view is as written in this post. The one thing all Bible believers agree on, is that it will be very soon! As always, I encourage you to dig into God's word to search for your own belief. "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man." (Psalms 118:8, which happens to be at the actual center of the Bible!)
"And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them." (Revelation 9:6)
After the Rapture, there will be a seven-year period period in which the world, now existing without true believers in Christ, will experience hardships, disasters, famine, war, pain, and suffering, which has been predicted will wipe out more than two-thirds of all life on the earth before the second coming of Jesus takes place. It is God's last call to save his beloved Jewish people as a nation."For then shall be great tribulation," Jesus tells us, "such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." (Matthew 24:21) God will allow people to be fooled by Satan, in the form of the Antichrist, into believing such far fetched things as an alien abduction of the Christians. The first three and a half years will appear to be quite peaceful. It is the last three and a half years, known as the Great Tribulation, that will be hell on Earth. Jesus told us that sin like that of the times of Noah and Lot will prevail, and then went on to say, "Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed." (Luke 17:30) Paul warns us in 2 Thessalonians 2:12 "That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
Although the suffering will be immense and evil will abound, there is still a chance for souls to be saved, but the numbers will be few. Four accounts of the tribulation period can be found in Revelation chapters 4 through 19.
“Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.” -Sun Tzu, The Art Of War.
It is hard to believe, but our enemy, the Antichrist, will be a welcomed vision by many. This one-world political leader will overtake peacefully, solve the problems of the world, and even form a covenant of peace with Israel, which will mark the beginning of the tribulation. (Daniel 9:27) Yet he is indeed Satan, who so covets God's power that he copies His every move. He even presents himself as an un-holy trinity, being the Dragon as the father, the Beast as the son, and the False Prophet as the unclean spirit. The False Prophet will be the one-world religious leader. The Antichrist, or Beast as the son, will preach 42 months, exactly as long as Christ preached. (Revelation 13:5) He will have many names, but the one that you may be the most familiar with is The Son of Perdition, Judas Iscariot. (Revelation 17:8 and John 6:70 &17:12 )
Satan will be so good at mimicking Christ that people will actually think he is Christ! Jesus even warned us, "Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." (Matthew 24:23&24)
Things will quickly go very wrong when the Beast demands worship, and forces people to take his mark.
THE MARK OF THE BEAST
"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." (Revelation 13:16&17)
The mark of the beast is predicted to be a tiny computer chip, implanted just beneath the skin, that has all your digital information and banking on it. You will not be able to purchase your allotment of food and water without it. Some predict it may be an attractive tattoo that most people will have and flaunt. They will get great rewards for receiving it. It will be very hard to resist, and not just because it will be the only way to make purchases. Researchers from the University of Chicago have found that even today people have a harder time resisting new gadgets than any other desire, including the urge to eat, sleep, shop, and have sex. This is apparent when you see how busy the Apple store is at 8:00 in the morning!
If you don't worship the beast and receive his mark, you will either be beheaded or slowly starve to death. "…I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark…" (Revelation 20:4)
If you get the mark of the beast, God’s complete wrath will be poured out on you. “…If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone…” Revelation 14:9,10
HOW TO SURVIVE THE TRIBULATION
If you are caught in the tribulation, (and I pray you are not!) you will have to decide whether you want the wrath of Satan, or the wrath of God. Satan's wrath will cause you to lose your food, or your head. God's will cause you to lose your eternity. Therefore, surviving in the tribulation will basically consist of allowing yourself to die. Remember at this point we are talking about the survival of your soul. Surely if you have heard of all these detailed predictions of terror from your Christian friends, and come to live them, you will also have come to believe in the one who saved your Christian friends from them - God! A note of WARNING - Many Bible scholars believe that if you have heard the gospel and rejected it that your soul will not survive the trib. Here is the Bible reference: "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall 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." (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12)
You must NOT take the mark of the beast!!! This is an irreversible damnation to Hell and the most horrible Lake of Fire, where for an eternity you wish you could just die, but cannot.
You must NOT deny Jesus!!! Know that the greatest and most honored reward from our Savior is the Crown of Life. "Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." (Revelation 2:10)
Reach for a Bible, preferable the Authorized, not the revised, King James Version. Many of the new Bible versions are set up to confuse people in these end times. (See earlier post "How to Choose a Bible") While food, water and guns would be nice to have during the tribulation, the only effective survival tool will be the Word, also referred to as the Sword of God. Read in Ephesians 6:10-17 about the armor of God and put it on!
HOW TO AVOID THE TRIBULATION
If religion doesn't 'take' with you, as one friend put it, consider this - Ask God to help you to believe. I know, asking someone you don't even think exists any question is a stretch, but just try it. You really have nothing to lose. After you ask, very closely examine your feelings. Are you being tugged at to learn more about God, whether you believe in Him or not? Have you always longed for something 'more'? I beg you not to ignore this invitation.
When you are ready, which hopefully will be soon if you want to avoid the tribulation, you must articulate your belief. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9&10) Believe in your heart, and proclaim aloud, "Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross, and rising from the dead as full and complete payment for my sins. Then rest in the assurance of your salvation!
The Holy Spirit will open your eyes and shed light on oh so many truths. Like many others who believe, you will not only no longer fear living in this God-forsaken world, but be more than ready to exit it. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." (1 Corinthians 2:9) The next time someone mentions the Rapture, you might just reply, "Bring It On!"
Please remember, BIBLE BAIT is written by a novice Bible study student, not a Bible scholar. If something doesn't look quite right to you, dig into God's word. The one thing I promise you is that you won't get bored! Many thanks to my Bible study friends who proofread for me every week.