Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tribulation is Not the Wrath of God - Part 1

"But I will tell you what is noted in the scripture of truth." Daniel 10:21

Shortly after the earthquake in Japan, in March 2011, I began to seek the Lord in a very definite and specific way, asking Him to make clear to me end-time events through the Scriptures and to give me understanding of things that are currently happening in the Earth. At that time I began by daily reading Matthew 24, beginning with prayer. I did not ask the Lord, nor was I focusing on the timing of the rapture or the Day of the Lord (nor had I ever had a real interest in such things), but was simply asking for Truth and understanding regarding the times we are in. According to Daniel 10:21 all Truth is found in "the Scripture of Truth."

It was during one of these times of reading and prayer that the Holy Spirit highlighted a portion of Scripture to me that had been traditionally taught in the Church for years to support the Pre-Tribulation Rapture theory. I am referring to Matthew 24:36-44. Beginning in verse 36 and 37 Jesus tells us, "But of that day (the Day of the Lord) and hour (when He returns the second time) no one knows....But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be." In other words, He is saying just like it was in the days of Noah, it will be just like that when He returns. Verses 38-39 tell us that in those days people (the wicked or unbelievers) were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and did not know (or understand) "until the flood came and took them all away."

The flood in Noah's day was judgment and the question here is, who was taken away in the flood? It was the unbelievers, of course.  Jesus drew a direct comparison between the days of Noah and the time of His second coming in verses 37 and 39 when He said, "...so also (just as in Noah's day) will the coming of the Son of Man be." In verses 40 and 41 the Lord then gives us the parallel picture of the future and says, "Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and the other left."

Question: Who was taken in judgment in the days of Noah?  It was the unbelievers, those who were outside the ark, who were taken away.  And who will be taken in judgment on the Day of the Lord's return? Just as in Noah's day it will be the wicked or unbelievers who are taken away in judgment. 

For many years most of us have heard these Scriptures taught in reference to the rapture of the Saints or catching away (taking away) of the Church before the period we call the tribulation begins. However, the opposite is clearly true. It is the unbelievers who were taken in the days of Noah and it is the unbelievers who will be taken on the Day of the Lord.

To show that Jesus is referring to the Day of the Lord or the Day of Judgment, we can look at the similar passage of Scripture in Luke 17:20-37. Here, Jesus is teaching on the Second Coming or the Day of the Lord. This is clear from verse 30 which says, "Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed." If Jesus was speaking about a pre-tribulation rapture, He would not be telling us that the Son of Man will be revealed, for we have always been told that the rapture will be a "secret" catching away of the Saints, and if this were the case, the Son of Man will not be revealed at that time.

There is a key to the timing of the events in verses 34-37 of Luke 17. Again, Jesus says, "I tell you, in that night there shall be two in one bed: the one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill...one will be taken and the other left. Two will be in the field...one will be taken and the other left." Next in verse 37 the disciples asked Jesus, "Where, Lord (where will they be taken)?" Then Jesus answers them, "Wherever the body is, there will the vultures be gathered together." This is an amazing verse of Scripture, for Jesus is referring, not to the taking away of the saints in a "secret" rapture, but to the "supper of the Great God" in Revelation 19:17-18.

"Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great."
 
All truth is found in the Scriptures and Scripture confirms Scripture. This revelation of scriptural truth as given by the Holy Spirit, is enough for any Believer to begin to question the false rapture teaching (traditionally taught for hundreds of years) and to look into the Word of God for themselves. In Part 2 of this teaching I will show, through the Word itself, how Scriptures traditionally thought to be referring to the rapture, are in fact referring to the same event, the Second Coming of Christ, also known as the Day of the Lord.