By Pastor Mike Taylor – http://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/
19 “And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them.
20 And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of his land.
21 But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went.
22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.
23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.” (Ezekiel 36:19-23)
We live in an age of miracles. Who would have dreamed the advancements that have been created in a short, by comparison of the last 125 year, to the history of mankind. But science has made great advances in medicine on understanding genetic codes, some good, and some not so good. As it was in the days of Noah, mankind has mastered many secrets to life, but have done things that God destroyed the whole earth because of doing things against His Creation. Man attempts to merge DNA’s of humans and animals in test tubes is an abomination before God. To create artificial intelligence and make man a hybrid of machine and humanity. Then man has been able to manipulate weather such as using HAARP but creates havoc using such devices to control the elements.
Then we see the advances in space travel and I remember the news coverage when we first landed a manned space craft on the moon. Man expects in the future to travel to distant stars, to Mars and other planets outside our atmosphere. It appears there is nothing that mankind cannot do….to a point, that God will allow. Mankind has limits that are in the bounds of time, which we cannot control. We see the past and learn from history, but we cannot see the future and make any type of predictions, as we can only guess.
ISRAEL, A MODERN DAY MIRACLE
Take for example the restoration of Israel as a modern day democracy after almost 2000 years of being destroyed as a nation on earth. No one would have believed 150 years ago OR even 80 years that Israel would ever come back to her native country as we have seen in the last 73 years. Israel was virtually uprooted in 702 BC by Sargon II who conquered the northern half of the nation we now know as Israel and carted the people to distant lands, scattering them to the four winds and placed other people conquered into the land to prevent an uprising and rebellion of nations they conquered and overran. It is how the Samaritans came to be in the northern half of the once great nation of Israel in the days of Jesus. Likewise, the southern half of Israel, know as Judah was taken captive by the Kingdom of Babylon and finally returned after 70 years of exile. But in 70AD Jerusalem was destroyed and the Temple burned and the nation of Israel was no more when in 135 AD the city was sown with salt and plowed under and the national name was changed to Palestine by the Roman Empire after the name of the Philistines in Gaza area.
Still the prophets wrote confidently by Holy Spirit moving them to write, that in the last days, Israel would again be reborn in her own land. Once again the Hebrew people would inhabit real estate from which they were displaced, seemingly forever.
“And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.” (Ezekiel 34:13)
Writing of the Gog Magog invasion, God inspired Ezekiel to prophesy;
“After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.” (Ezekiel 38:8)
In this passage, we find a time frame in Ezekiel’s prophecy that would come to pass as he said “after many days, in the latter years”. They would be brought forth from all the nations that they had wandered to and be brought to the ancestral lands to a land who had always been laid waste for near 2000 years. A place when Mark Twain visited called it the most desolate place he had ever seen on earth. Nothing grew and there were no trees, but only desert and barren hills.
For more than 2,500 years, this prophecy of Ezekiel remained dormant. Israel was destroyed by Sargon and never again existed as an independent nation. Until, on May 14, 1948, when the survivors of the Holocaust were ‘brought forth’ under the banner of ‘never again’ to the ‘mountains of Israel’ — which ‘had always been waste’ as the nation of ‘Israel’.
During the time before Israel became a nation again, they petitioned Great Britain to allow them a homeland in the African country of Uganda, as they would have settled for any country, but that is not what the prophets wrote and not what God had promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that Israel and the Jewish people would inhabit again the mountains of Israel and that is exactly what happened.
I say all that about how Israel in a brevity of statements how Israel is now a nation again, to say this.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE TRIBULATION?
Understanding the purpose of the Tribulation in relationship to Israel would go a long way to helping us to understand whether the Church of the Living God will be raptured before the tribulation, out of it, or after it.
Let us go back to the prophet Daniel and explore a little more of the vision given to the prophet and how history would unfold. Daniel foretold the rise and fall of three great empires and the rise, fall and revival of the last great world empire — that of Rome.
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” (Daniel 9:24)
THE MAIN POINTS OF THE PROPHECY GIVEN TO DANIEL FALL INTO THESE CATEGORIES:
‘Weeks’ refer to ‘weeks of years’ – 70/ 7 year periods equalling 490 years using the Hebrew ‘shabua’ or ‘heptad’ the way we use the Greek ‘decade’ in our culture to divide years into groups of ten years each.
The angel specifically said this period was for Daniel’s people (Jews) and Daniel’s holy city (Jerusalem).
Within this time frame six things will be accomplished; 1) finish the transgression, 2) make an end of sin, 3) make reconcilation for sin, 4) bring in everlasting righteousness, 5) seal up the vision and prophecy and 6) anoint the Most Holy.
All of these points are clearly directed at Israel, as the Church had not been formed yet. Point 1-3 in numeral category C above have already been accomplished and were settled for the church at the cross of Calvary by our Lord and Savior. Points 4-6 occur at the end of the Tribulation, with the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom and the rule of the King of kings, Jesus Christ.
The first 69 weeks or 483 years (70×7=490 years) concluded with Jesus riding in on a donkey to loud proclaims of “Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest ” and the people proclaiming Jesus as King. A few days later and Jesus would be crucified, as the text in Daniel says:
“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” (Daniel 9:26)
Thus, the prophecy was put on pause, as the points 4-6 could not be completed because the Temple was destroyed in 70AD. At that time, God turned His attention to building a people who were not His people, the Church of the Living God. Daniel is told that the 70th week will open when the “Anti-Christ” confirms a covenant between Israel and the many or nations of the world.
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Daniel 9:27)
Daniel indicates in the passages noted above, that the Tribulation period is for Israel’s national redemption. That theme is picked up by the prophet Zechariah:
“The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.
2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” (Zechariah 12:1-3)
Zechariah goes into great detail in chapter 12-14 of the redemption of Israel and is further proven in Revelation chapter 4 all the way through to chapter 20.
JEREMIAH STATES FURTHER, THAT THIS IS THE TIME OF JACOB’S TROUBLE:
7 “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.
8 For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him:
9 But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.” (Jeremiah 30:7-9)
“For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet I will not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.” (Jeremiah 30:11)
THOSE THAT DWELL ON THE EARTH.
There is also a second group that go through the Tribulation, right along with Israel:
“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” (Revelation 3:10)
Remember me telling you in times past, that the phrase “Keep thee from” is found in the original Greek in the word “EK” or meaning to keep from the hour, to separate those from the time and space. To bring them out of, not through an event. In this case, Jesus is talking about the coming Tribulation that will try “them that dwell upon the earth”. And the Church is not part of the Tribulation, as Jesus will take us “out of” His coming wrath poured out.
NOTE THE PHRASE, ‘them that dwell upon the earth’. We find it six other times; in Revelation 6:10, 8:13, 11:10, 13:8, and 17;8.
These are the individuals that gloat over the death of God’s two witnesses found in chapter 11 of Revelation. And those who are pronounced to endure the final three trumpets which are to come written in chp. 8 of this same book of your Bible. These “dwellers on the earth” are the people who are deceived by the beast rising up from the sea, makes an image of the first beast, and worships the beast which all speaks of the Anti-Christ:
6 “And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:6-8)
Those who dwell upon the earth will gaze in wonder at the scarlet beast:
7 “And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” (Revelation 17:7-8)
These are the people, those that dwell upon the earth, who do NOT have their names written down in the Book of Life and will take the mark of the beast.
In contrast to these earth dwellers, Jesus says of the Church in His prayer at Gethsemane;
14 “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:14-17)
Jesus is praying at the time for His apostles, and all who the Father would give Him. It is a blanket prayer for all the saints of God down through time from the time of the cross. Clearly, since the Tribulation period is the time of Jacob’s Trouble, was pronounced upon Daniel’s people and Daniel’s city, and its purpose is to accomplish for Daniel’s people in the last days the same thing accomplished for the Church at the Cross. The Tribulation period is for the Jews.
As I have spoken of many times in the past, the two group of people found during the tribulation as noted above are the Jewish people, the nation of Israel, and those who are rebellious against God known as the “dwellers upon the earth” . Israel will be refined as silver is refined in the furnace, as Malachi tells us:
2 “But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.” (Malachi 3:2-4)
Just as clearly, according to Jesus, it is also to judge the earth dwellers whose names are not written in the Book of Life.
14 “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.
19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.” (Revelation 14:14-20)
If there is a purpose for the Church in the Tribulation Period, there is no express mention of that purpose in Scripture, although Scripture is clear regarding both Jews and ‘earth-dwellers’. And the ‘earth dwellers’ can’t be the Church, since their names are not written in the Book of Life.
Paul tells us through God’s Holy Spirit that we are not appointed to the wrath that is befallen those who dwell upon the earth, that starts in chp. 6 of Revelation.
9 “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” (1st Thessalonians 1:9-10)
But what wrath to come? To those who will be delivered unto hell fire for their rejection of Jesus Christ as personal Savior. The wrath of God will fall on all earth dwellers in the Tribulation that have rejected the only propitiation or substitute for the wrath we deserve, which is death. Again in Romans chapter 8, Paul confirms that we are not part of God’s fury, as the wrath of God is fallen on those who are condemned.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1-4)
Now lets look at 1st Thessalonians of Paul has further to say:
“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,” (1st Thessalonians 5:1-9)
Notice in verse 3 “For when THEY shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon THEM, as travail upon a woman with child; and THEY shall not escape.” (NOTE the pronouns ‘they’ and ‘them‘)
Then we read in verse 5: “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: WE are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let US not sleep, as do others; but let US watch and be sober.” (NOTE THE CHANGE — ‘they’- ‘them’ become ‘we’- ‘us‘)
Then in verse 7, Paul tells us the difference in “we,us” in verse 5, by differentiating between those that sleep and are drunk:
“For THEY that sleep sleep in the night; and THEY that be drunken are drunken in the night.”
And finally, tells us that we must be vigilant “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.”
There is a clear distinction between Jewish people who are alive during this time, and earth dwellers who are also going through the Tribulation, and “US” the Church, but let me make a point here.
Look at verse 8 above. It refers to the “hope of salvation”.
What does that mean?
Salvation from what?
My salvation comes with an iron-clad guarantee, signed in Blood. I don’t ‘hope’ for salvation — I am saved now.
17” For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” (1st Peter 4:17-19)
The church is being judged now. We are saved by the Blood of Jesus and have salvation from eternal punishment that is found in hell and the Lake of Fire.
.But salvation from the ‘wrath to come’ is indicated by the context and consistent with the doctrine that says,
“I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them from my hand.” (John 10:28)
And the ‘wrath to come’ is the Tribulation period – the time of Jacob’s Trouble. The Church is not needing judgment as we have already been judged righteous clothed with the righteousness of Jesus our Lord, and that not of our own.
The argument for a pre-tribulation Rapture of the Church is consistent with Scripture. Keep in mind that the salient point is not so much ‘when’ as it is “Who” is coming.
ARE YOU READY?
Do you know who is coming? Are you ready to meet Him? Will you be clothed with His righteousness, or found wanting by being clothed with your own? Yours cannot stand in front of a Holy God who will not allow sin into His presence. There is only one Way back to God our Father and to be forgiven of all of our short comings in breaking the Laws of God, for if you have sinned in one point, you have sinned in them all. One sin is just as great as the other in God’s eyes. What must you do to be forgiven and be able to escape what is coming?
The Remedy is found in One Name that is above every name. Jesus Christ is that Name…He stands at the door of any sinner’s heart and knocks to be allowed entrance. He won’t force His way in, but will accept your invitation to make Him Lord of your life.
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 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.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 10:8-11)
Who will you be identified with in the coming time of the return of Jesus Christ for His Church…will you be that church, the bride of Christ, or will you simply be a sin filled “earth dweller” that has to go through the most horrific time known to God’s world. Jesus is coming. Now is the season of making that decision for Jesus Christ and get on the ark of safety, which is the Son of God. Do it today, as the time of that closing window of opportunity is closing fast.
This is pastor Mike Taylor, praying you enter into a relationship by the blood of Jesus Christ, with Almighty God. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear. Email me at [email protected] ,God bless you all,
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET.