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How close are we to the rapture and tribulation period?
Consider two events that are “yet future,” but will happen and affect many people, with far differing results. The two videos of this post, that deal with the subject, will explain those two events, which are the rapture of the church and the second coming of Christ. Biographies are located at the bottom of this page.
New American Standard 1977 1 Corinthians 6:9
9Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,
We may be closer to the rapture of the church than what many people would think. The key thing is to be ready, which is to be “born again,” per John 3:3. New American Standard 1977
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Those of us who have been born again, have been directed by Christ to tell others about Him, so that they can also be born again through a belief in Christ, per John 3:16.New International Version
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
If we have been born again, we believe in Christ. If we believe in Christ, we have been born again, which is to be born “from above,” as we see in the New English Translation (NET) Bible, John 3:3 NET Bible
Jesus replied, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” The aspect of being born “from above,” is a Spiritual birth that comes from God, through God’s Holy Spirit.”
The purpose of sending Christ into the World was not to condemn its people, but to make it possible for all people to see the Kingdom of God, per John 3:17, Holman Christian Standard Bible
“For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”
It is by God’s Holy Spirit that our spirits become born again, per John 3:8. New American Standard 1977
“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
The consequence of “not” being born again/from above, of “not” believing in Christ is stated in John 3:18, English Standard Version
“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
To be born again is to have the Spirit of God dwelling within our spirit, prompting us to righteous living, per John 14:20, John 16:7-11.
New American Standard 1977 John 14:20
“In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.
New American Standard 1977 John 16:7-11
7“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8“And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
To “not” be born again is to have a lifestyle that is consistent with the following two passages of scripture.
New American Standard 1977 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
9Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.
New American Standard 1977 Revelation 21:8
“But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
In today’s world, there are two specific sins that are being forced on our nation. Those sins are homosexuality, and the murder of unborn babies. If they are sins, by lifestyle, they show that a person has not been born again. Such a person’s lifestyle of abortion or of homosexuality shows that the Spirit of God is not dwelling within that person’s spirit, prompting a lifestyle of righteous living. The end result for those people who have not been born again can be found in the following verse of scripture. There is no way that anyone who thinks that it is okay to kill unborn babies can say that they have the Spirit of God dwelling within their spirit, prompting them to righteousness. Neither, is there anyone who lives a life of homosexuality, who can say that they have the Spirit of God dwelling within their spirit, prompting them to righteousness (Someone who has been born again, has their name written in the book of life).
New American Standard 1977 Revelation 20:15
“And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
As we consider the seriousness of one’s place in eternity, it would be less than honest to not make the following statement. The statement is going to be very direct, as follows. No one wants anybody else to spend an eternity in Hell, but, “If you have a lifestyle of abortion or homosexuality, either by commission, or by approval, you have not been born again, and your eternal place of residence will be in the lake of fire. You must accept Christ as your Lord and Savior, repent of your sin, change your lifestyle and “show works of repentance” (Matthew 3:8, Acts 26:20, James 2:18), or your eternity is sealed in great suffering. My encouragement for you is to be like one of the people that Paul described in: 1 Corinthians 6:11…in that they came to true repentance of their sins, through a true belief in Christ, and by being truly born again.
“11And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.”
The rapture of the church is an event that will take all born-again believers in Christ away from the earth, and will keep them from the judgments of God that He will cause to come upon those who have not been born again and are known as “earth dwellers,” per Revelation 3:10, 6:10, 8:13, 11:10; 13:8, 13:14, 17:8. See Revelation 3:10, New Living Translation
“Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world.”
Those people who “belong to this world, who are known in scripture as earth dwellers,” are the same people who have not been born again. As believers in Christ, we have been commissioned by Christ to witness to people around the world about the need for them to also be born again, which will keep them from being left behind when the rapture of the church takes place, per Acts 1:8, GOD’S WORD® Translation
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes to you. Then you will be my witnesses to testify about me in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Consider the conversation that God had with the prophet Ezekiel. The year was 595 B.C. Ezekiel had been carried away from Jerusalem, to Babylon, along with many other Jewish deportees. Consider the commission that God gave to Ezekiel. Consider, also, the difficulty that God told Ezekiel that he would encounter as he carried the message of God to the other exiles, per Ezekiel 3:9-11. Many of us may also know people who will not receive the truth of God’s Word, with many of them being our friends and loved ones. In whichever relationship we may find ourselves, we still must tell them about God’s Holy Word; their eternal dwelling place is at stake.
Ezekiel 3:9-11 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
9 You will be so determined to speak my message that nothing will stop you. I will make you hard like a diamond, and you’ll have no reason to be afraid of those arrogant rebels.
10 Listen carefully to everything I say and then think about it. 11 Then go to the people who were brought here to Babylonia with you and tell them you have a message from me, the Lord God. Do this, whether they listen to you or not.
In 1970, Hal Lindsey wrote the book, “The Late Great Planet Earth.” The book was very successful. It’s subject dealt with the end times, but many people thought that it was a book of science fiction. Still, others found it to contain the truth of the rapture of the church and the time of tribulation, with the judgments of God that would fall on those left-behind “earth dwellers.” The book also talked about the persecutions of the anti-Christ that would come on those who might come to belief in Christ during the tribulation. Check the following interview with Hal Lindsey; then, click onto the next link and read about the details of the book, “The Late Great Planet Earth.”
Flashback: Hal Lindsey
The Late Great Planet Earth Book
The Timing of the Rapture and the Second Coming
Revelation 17 New American Standard Bible 1977
The Doom of Babylon
1And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I shall show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.” 3And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. 4And the woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, 5and upon her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” 6And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. And when I saw her, I wondered greatly. 7And the angel said to me, “Why do you wonder? I shall tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. 8“The beast that you saw was and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and to go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth will wonder, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come. 9“Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, 10and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. 11“And the beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth, and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction. 12“And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. 13“These have one purpose and they give their power and authority to the beast.
Victory for the Lamb
14“These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.” 15And he said to me, “The waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues. 16“And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. 17“For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God should be fulfilled. 18“And the woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.”
Notes – Revelation – MacArthur Study Bible (Everyone should own a MacArthur Study Bible).
17:1 seven angels. The reference to these angels links chaps. 17, 18 with the bowl judgments (chap. 16), which extend to the second coming of Christ (see note on 16:17). Chapters 17, 18 focus on one aspect of those bowl judgments, the judgment of Babylon. The judgments already described are identified as targeting the final world system. great harlot. See note on 14:8. Prostitution frequently symbolizes idolatry or religious apostasy (cf. Jer. 3:6–9; Ezek. 16:30ff.; 20:30; Hos. 4:15; 5:3; 6:10; 9:1). Nineveh (Nah. 3:1, 4), Tyre (Is. 23:17), and even Jerusalem (Is. 1:21) are also depicted as harlot cities. sits on many waters. This picture emphasizes the sovereign power of the harlot. The picture is of a ruler seated on a throne, ruling the waters, which symbolize the nations of the world (see v. 15).
17:2 kings…committed fornication. The harlot will ally herself with the world’s political leaders. Fornication here does not refer to sexual sin, but to idolatry (see note on 14:8). All the world rulers will be absorbed into the empire of Satan’s false christ. wine of her fornication. The harlot’s influence will extend beyond the world’s rulers to the rest of mankind (cf. v. 15; 13:8, 14). The imagery does not describe actual wine and sexual sin, but pictures the world’s people being swept up into the intoxication and sin of a false system of religion.
17:3 in the Spirit. Cf. 1:10; 4:2; 21:10. The Holy Spirit transports John into the wilderness (a deserted, lonely, desolate wasteland), perhaps to give him a better understanding of the vision. a woman. The harlot of v. 1, Babylon. scarlet beast. The Antichrist (cf. 13:1, 4; 14:9; 16:10), who for a time will support and use the false religious system to effect world unity. Then he will assume political control (cf. v. 16). Scarlet is the color of luxury, splendor, and royalty. full of names of blasphemy. Because of his self-deification (cf. 13:1; Dan. 7:25; 11:36; 2 Thess. 2:4). having seven heads and ten horns. This pictures the extent of Antichrist’s political alliances (see notes on vv. 9–12; 13:1).
17:4 purple and scarlet. The colors of royalty, nobility, and wealth. The woman is portrayed as a prostitute who has plied her trade successfully and become extremely wealthy. adorned. Prostitutes often dress in fine clothes and precious jewels to allure their victims (cf. Prov. 7:10). The religious harlot Babylon is no different, adorning herself to lure the nations into her grasp. a golden cup. Still another evidence of the harlot’s great wealth (cf. Jer. 51:7); but the pure gold is defiled by the filthiness of her immorality. Just as a prostitute might first get her victim drunk, so the harlot system deceives the nations into committing spiritual fornication with her.
17:5 forehead. It was customary for Roman prostitutes to wear a headband with their name on it (cf. Jer. 3:3) parading their wretchedness for all to see. The harlot’s forehead is emblazoned with a 3-fold title descriptive of the world’s final false religious system. MYSTERY. A NT mystery is truth once hidden, but in the NT revealed. See notes on Matt. 13:11; Eph. 3:4, 5. Spiritual Babylon’s true identity is yet to be revealed. Thus, the precise details of how it will be manifested in the world are not yet known. BABYLON THE GREAT. This Babylon is distinct from the historical, geographical city of Babylon (which still existed in John’s day). The details of John’s vision cannot be applied to any historical city (see note on 14:8). MOTHER OF HARLOTS. All false religion stems ultimately from Babel, or Babylon (cf. Gen. 11; see note on 14:8).
17:6 the blood of the saints…martyrs of Jesus. Some see the first group as OT saints, and the second as NT saints—an unimportant distinction since this pictures the martyrs of the Tribulation. John’s point is that the harlot is a murderer. False religion has killed millions of believers over the centuries, and the final false system will be far more deadly than any that preceded it.
17:7 mystery. Not that Babylon is a false system of religion, because that is already known, but that the beast will fully support the harlot and together exert vast influence over the whole earth.
17:8 The beast. Both a king and kingdom are referred to by this term. was, and is not, and will ascend. A reference to the Antichrist’s false resurrection (13:3, 4, 12–14; see note on 13:3). out of the bottomless pit. After his “resurrection,” the Antichrist will become possessed by a great demon from the abyss (see notes on 13:1, 3). perdition. Eternal destruction (cf. v. 11; Matt. 7:13; John 17:12; Phil. 1:28; 3:19; 2 Thess. 2:3; Heb. 10:39; 2 Pet. 2:3; 3:7, 16). This is the lake of fire, the place of Antichrist’s destruction (19:20). Book of Life. The roll of the elect, written in eternity past by God (see note on 3:5). Only the elect will escape the Antichrist’s deception (Matt. 24:24). from the foundation of the world. See note on 13:8; cf. 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 1:2 (“before time began”). A frequent phrase (Matt. 13:35; 25:34; Luke 11:50; John 17:24; Eph. 1:4; Heb. 4:3; 9:26; 1 Pet. 1:20) referring to God’s pre-creation plan.
17:9 seven mountains. The Gr. word is often used of hills (Matt. 5:1; 15:29; John 6:15; 8:1). Many commentators interpret this expression to mean Rome, which sits on 7 hills. It is true that the final worldwide system of false religion includes, but is not necessarily limited to, Rome; but specifically, the 7 mountains in context likely symbolize the 7 kingdoms and their kings of v. 10.
17:10 seven kings. Representatives of the 7 great world empires (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and that of the Antichrist). Cf. Daniel’s image in Dan. 2:37–45. Five have fallen, one is, and the other. When John wrote, the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Medo-Persian and Greek empires had gone out of existence; Rome still existed; and the Antichrist’s empire had not yet come. When it does, it will be brief (12:12; 13:5) and he will end in perdition (v. 11; see note on v. 8).
17:11 and is not…the eighth. The Antichrist’s kingdom is said to be both the seventh and eighth kingdoms because of his supposed demise and resurrection. He is the seventh king before and the eighth king after his “resurrection” when he destroys the harlot’s religious empire and demands exclusive worship of himself (v. 16).
17:12 ten kings. See notes on 12:3; 13:1 (cf. Dan. 2:41, 42). These kings are sub-rulers under the Antichrist, whose empire will apparently be divided into 10 administrative districts. no kingdom as yet. Thus, the kings cannot be identified with any historical figures. one hour. Symbolic of the brief 3½ year period of time (cf. 11:2, 3; 12:6, 12, 14; 13:5; 18:10, 17, 19).
17:14 make war. A reference to the battle of Armageddon (16:14–16), where the Lamb will utterly destroy the kings (19:17–21). Lord of lords and King of kings. A title for God (19:16; 1 Tim. 6:15; cf. Deut. 10:17; Ps. 136:3) that emphasizes His sovereignty over all other rulers to whom He has delegated authority.
17:15 See note on v. 1.
17:16 these will hate the harlot. After using the false religious system to unify the world kingdoms and gain control of all, the Antichrist—with the help of his 10 sub-rulers—will turn against the system, plunder and destroy it, and seize all power and worship for himself. They will be carrying out God’s will (v. 17). Cf. Gen. 50:20.
17:18 great city. Here is another identification of the capital city of Babylon, centerpiece of Antichrist’s empire. Cf. 18:10, 18, 21.
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Signs of the Last Days – Dr. Jimmy DeYoung
Bio – http://jimmydeyoung.com/aboutdrd.shtml
Dr. Renald Showers
Renald E. Showers is widely recognized as one of the most distinguished theologians in America. A graduate of Philadelphia College of Bible (now Cairn University), he also holds a BA degree in history from Wheaton College, a ThM in church history from Dallas Theological Seminary. Dr. Showers spent many years as a university professor and served on the faculties of Lancaster School of the Bible, Moody Bible Institute, and Philadelphia College of Bible, as well as being a visiting lecturer and conference speaker around the world. For 27 years until his retirement in 2016, he served as a Bible teacher, author, and speaker for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc., and a contributing editor for Israel My Glory magazine.
Dr. Renald Showers is an author and Bible teacher for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc. He is the author of numerous books, including What on Earth is God Doing?, There Really Is a Difference, and Maranatha: Our Lord Come. Dr. Showers has served in the pastorate, and as a member of the faculties of Lancaster Bible College, Moody Bible Institute and Philadelphia College of the Bible, and as a visiting lecturer at Word of Life Bible Institute, Calvary Bible College and Baptist Bible Theological Seminary. He is a graduate of Wheaton College, Dallas Theological Seminary and Grace Theological Seminary. Dr. Showers and his wife Eleanor reside in Willow Street, Penn
MacArthur Study Bible Notes
Bio – Dr. John MacArthur – https://www.gracechurch.org/Leader/MacArthur/John?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1