In Part 1 of this blog series I began establishing the distinction that I see at the coming of the Lord. Some will be ready and some will not be ready (Mat 24:36-45) (Mat 25:1-13). Some will go and some will stay.
Let me add that I am not solely a pre-tribber, mid-tribber, or post-tribber. I see elements of truth in all three positions. A large part of this end time controversy is due to the fact that we only see our position on it, and remain closed to other points of view. I am not implying that I am an expert on end time events, but I have learned that unless you understand and rightly divide the timing of such events and pay close attention to the clues the Lord gives us in His word, comparing scripture with scripture, you will fall prey to a succession of errors that plague most end time prophecy teachers.
As an example, there is a large camp of believers who have a difficult time believing that any part of the Church will suffer God’s wrath, which they say takes place during the tribulation period. But if they would discern that the tribulation period is not an unleashing of God’s wrath, but rather the wrath of Satan released through the Antichrist (Rev 12:12), this would significantly change their view, or at least cause many to reconsider their position. The wrath of God, also called the day of the Lord, begins immediately after the tribulation and the coming of the Lord (Mat 24:29-31). The elect of God and the entire living Church will all be gone by then.
Is it too much to believe that the Lord’s coming could be primarily in two phases – the rapture of the Church and His second advent? And if you want to include a third phase of His coming where His feet touch the Mount of Olives at the battle of Armageddon (Zech 14:3-4) then that would be at least three. Israel believed in the coming of their Messiah, but they could not understand that His coming was in two phases, spaced by a long period of time – His birth and His second advent in glory. If it’s true that the Lord’s coming is in at least two phases, is it possible that we could fall into the same error as Israel and believe it is only one? Perhaps if the pre-tribbers and post-tribbers found some common ground they might see that they both have an element of truth of the sum whole.
We must compare scripture with scripture lest we fall short in our understanding. Take this verse for example:
“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” (John 5:28-29)
If we did not compare scripture with scripture we could easily assume, as so many do, that these verses speak of one general simultaneous resurrection of the righteous and the wicked. While the righteous are resurrected before the millennial reign of Christ, it is clear from Rev 20:5, that the wicked are resurrected after the 1,000 year millennial reign. So their resurrection does not take place all at once.
Even the resurrection of the righteous is shown in scripture to take place at various times. Christ was resurrected first. Many Old Testament saints followed immediately after (Mat 27:51-52). We tend to overlook that resurrection. There is a pre-tribulation rapture and resurrection of saints (1 Thes 4:14-18) – (those would be the equivalent of the wise virgins of Mat 25, the overcomers of Rev 3:10-12, seen sitting on thrones with crowns in Rev 4:1-4, the manchild of Rev 12, or the first-fruits who sing a new song before the throne (Rev 14:1-5) while the tribulation is still going on and many saints are being martyred for their faith). The latter are all versions of the same group of saints.
For those who believe in an exact 7 year tribulation period, then what I refer to as the pre-tribulation rapture, would take place in the middle of the tribulation (Rev 12:5-6) prior to the worst part of it when the antichrist’s power is unleashed, or what is aptly called the great tribulation. Then there is a resurrection of post-tribulation saints (same as the foolish virgins, the large multitude in Rev 7, also referred to in Rev 14:15 as the harvest of the earth). Finally, there is also the resurrection of the two witnesses in Rev 11:11. Yet all these resurrections are a part of the first resurrection of the righteous. Do you see that? Can you see that there are many resurrections but all a part of the first resurrection?
I’m sure many heads are swimming right now after all this discussion so I will finish Part 2 right here. If nothing else, I hope I’ve opened up to you new possibilities and perhaps taking a second and third look at these exciting end time events.
In part 3 I will unveil to you why I believe that next to salvation this could be the greatest and most important message in this dispensation. In these discussions I hope you can see the distinction among the saints.
As always, your comments are welcome. Just please keep it brief without going off on tangents.