Part III: “WHAT”
Now that we’ve covered How and Why, “What” do we do with this new discovered ‘wisdom’? First, we might ask what is wisdom? Scripture tells us, “The fear (‘respect/reverence’) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10) A spiritual relationship with God provides knowledge of who He is, and wisdom as to how He would have us respond in our daily lives. (John 3:6)
What we do with spiritual guidance remains our decision. We can embrace or ignore it. Once we have activated our spirit with His presence, He will never abandon us. By inviting Jesus into our life, we become a child of God. As the creator, God’s concern is for all of humanity. However, when we are “born again” in the spirit of Christ (Jn 3:3) we become recipients by right and privilege to rely on God’s spiritual strength and depend on His guidance whenever we need or desire. By God’s grace we are considered His child, the same as Jesus.
Once you start a spiritual relationship with the Lord, His Spiritual strength is available for guidance whenever you may choose to ask for it. How do we use this strength in daily life? Perhaps you have heard the words ‘What Would Jesus Do’? In the early 1990’s there was a brief fad when people were wearing bead bracelets with these letters, ‘WWJD’. Like most fads its impact was short lived. Its purpose however has been impactful for over two thousand years. This question first gained attention from a book written by Charles Sheldon. A collection of stories titled, “In His Steps” that asked, “What Would Jesus Do?”
This question and its guiding response can offer life changing opportunities. As born-again believers with God’s guiding spirit, when we ask, “In this situation, What Would Jesus Do?” His spirit will reveal consequences of choosing our ‘old pattern’ behaviors (the world’s ways). It remains our choice. Whether we choose to turn to or away from God’s path He will still love and care for us. He’ll still be waiting for us after the consequence or fallout should we choose the world’s way. He will not abandon us. He understands ‘prodigal children’ learn and grow from experience. As a loving parent He waits for experiences to enlighten us to the fact we have options. As a loving parent He smiles approvingly when we choose to do what’s in our best interests, guided by His Spirit.
There’s a key element in this process. At first it may seem weird or uncomfortable because we haven’t called or relied on the Lord’s Spirit before. We won’t know what to expect or even if He’ll answer. He will answer. As a child of His and as a loving parent He will always respond to our need or call to Him. What does that answer look like? His Spirit will remind us of the world’s way in the choices we are contemplating?
The love of God is so great that every time we interact through His spirit, He responds. The farther down the spiritual path we walk the more aware we become of His presence and constant support. In this way we can become more confident and comfortable that emulating His desires for us produces a more blessed and protected life.
Everyone who now walks in the spirit with God, once did not. They wandered, wondered, hoped, prayed, or ignored the opportunity. They didn’t believe or have faith that God cared. He does. What He does for those who believe in Jesus Christ, He will do for you.
Part II: “WHY”
“Why should we start a spiritual relationship with God?”
This may be one of the most important questions to be answered by those contemplating a spiritual path as part of their future. We often understand ‘how’ we respond to the people, events, or incidents in our lives. A true understanding of ‘why’ we do what we do often goes unnoticed before, during, or after we act.
Why should one consider starting (or re-starting) a spiritual relationship with God through acknowledgment of Christ Jesus? In simplest terms an active spiritual connection brings God’s guidance, counsel, blessings, and protection as well as a promise of everlasting spiritual life. Many scoff at this statement. So be it. Either one believes in God and His word and thereby acknowledges His Words to be true, or they don’t. For unbelievers there are no words, suggestions, or debates which may change their minds or a particular stance regarding spiritual acknowledgment of Christ Jesus.
So, why start a spiritual relationship? When you accept Christ into your life, He will send the “Spirit of Truth” (the same spirit that is God) to ‘activate’ (dwell with) your spirit. The Spirit of Truth is exactly that; a new realization of Truth’s presence in one’s life. Employing spiritual strength allows one to innately recognize both Truth and its antithesis forms; lies, deceit, falsehoods, fabrications. With knowledgeable awareness of Truth, the ‘veil’ of rationalized delusion is lifted.
We have each been given ‘free will’ choice and a mind for decision making. Although knowing or realizing this, truth does not automatically portend truthful grounded actions or responses. Truth reveals new understanding to statements, actions, responses, or activities in one’s life. Particularly those inherently false, fabrications, manipulations, or lies.
We each come into this world dependent on life support by our parents, siblings, grandparents, care givers. Those who accept responsibilities for our care and nurturing as babies, infants, children. At about age two we learn the power of the word “No”. We soon learn its adverse fallout. Consequential outcomes become well established norms in our mind through actions tied to ‘right vs. wrong.’ In every aspect of life, we soon learn right and wrong actions result in ‘rewards or punishments.’ The more accustom we become by experience the more we learn to identify ‘right and wrong’ actually means ‘reward or punishment.’ Whether legal systems, religions or through social interactions, right and wrong play out as reward or punishment.
Right vs. Wrong is inherently sound in its foundation but for many it can morph into a choice between “Will this decision result in a reward or punishment for me?” Its colloquial applications for some in our twenty-first century culture are, “it’s all about me” or, “what’s in it for me?” These can become the lead precursors to every decision made. At the core of “right or wrong” a grounded mindset tied to “reward or punishment” is focused on outcomes for self, first and foremost. A problem with this type of exculpatory living is it keeps us isolated in thought and direction.
Because God is Spirit and creator of the universe and all that is in it, including us, we are also spirit in our essence. As a unit of cosmic spiritual energy (soul) created by God we are conjoined with body and mind to become human. Our character and nature being formed by the humanity we come to know and embrace firsthand, ‘right vs. wrong’ are foundational for choice, action, or outcome. Our natural instinct is to consider how choice and consequence affect us directly, in the moment. (Again, “what’s in it for me?”)
God’s character and nature are grounded in morals and ethics, actionable by love and truth. Coming to know God we better understand morality and ethics rooted in every choice or decision. When we engage ‘free will’ choice by considering moral and/or ethical implications of our daily decisions we can extrapolate the benefit (or harm) any outcome may have. Not only to ourselves but as importantly toward other (family, friends, co-workers), people we care about. This is the power of spiritual strength when we have a spiritual relationship with God through Jesus Christ. By knowing to consider the morals and/or ethics of a decision the question is no longer, “what’s in it for me” (‘right vs wrong’). We now understand ‘how and why’ morals and ethics are what’s in it for others?
Stay tuned for Part III.
Part I: "HOW"
The question I get most often is: “How can I start a spiritual relationship with God?”
Many people think or believe the world is a place of goodness and light. Where evil and corruption have only a sliver of presence. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is the world is a place of evil and corruption under the guise and guidance of men. The sole glimmer of hope for the world is God’s spiritual presence.
It’s “the world’s ways” designed and implemented by men whose dictates are grounded in greed and cruelty determining much of humanity’s suffering, stress, struggle, and conflict. One might think God’s intervention would be decisive, with a finality for one’s life. A problem occurs with this false premise. The ways of the world run rampant against hope and desire for a relationship with God. It’s through suffering that many people often turn to God. And yet, because He doesn’t respond immediately to their protracted delusions or disappointments, they keep themselves even further from Him.
Religions attempt to convince people to believe and accept God. However, instead of using love, compassion and mercy, religions often use images, language, and descriptions of ‘fire and brimstone’ coupled with damnation to extort allegiance. Threats of punishment from God for disobedience or ‘sins’ of daily living are common pronouncements by religions. Many think of religions as a cudgel against those “[who] lead lives of quiet desperation”.
The world wants us to think it’s one way or the other. All or nothing. All God or no God. God wants us to know and understand life’s essence is rooted in balance. Balance between who we are as humans in our physicality and who we are as spirited souls.
The world’s vices and volitions are purposed to entice, embolden or further encourage those who willingly embrace its wanton ways. The world promotes its own and rewards those who use its ways to control, coerce or cause victimization of others. Both the world and religions effectively use fear, shock, and punishment attributed to or from God as weapons against His love. It’s this conflict, this battle between the natural (wo)man and the spiritual (wo)man, between good and evil, that is a foundational discovery for each of us. Who we are, who we will be and where we fit into our world.
The more we participate and embrace exclusively the world’s ways with its layers of tests, trials, and challenges the more we (can) become complicit in and at the same time victims of its harshness. Many turn to God often as a last resort hoping for relief. It’s here the world redoubles its efforts. Even without knowing it we can become targets of attempts to dissuade us from establishing (or re-establishing) a spiritual relationship with God through Christ Jesus.
Our levels of comfort with the world can make ‘new’ spiritual life difficult. And yet, God waits. This may be one of the most underappreciated facets of life. That God waits on our response. Will we (again) succumb to the challenges or old pattern options presented to us in the familiarity of the world we know? Will we give rise to its siren call of comforting misery? Will we abandon God’s path because we think He has abandoned us by not answering? Or will we gather ourselves to muster the strength of spirit needed to look closer at self-reflection?
The goal of the spirit is always to start (or re-start) upon the path and then stay the course. In so doing, to grow with and through hardship with His spiritual strength now abiding within our spirited soul. This is a dilemma point. We are (perhaps once again) ready and motivated. But how do we start on a Christ led path? What do we do? This is where so many have stumbled. How and what do we do? Go (back) to church? Falling into a well-trod cycle of disappointment amid accusations, guilt and shame? Are there alternatives we can take?
Here are five scripturally sound steps to (re)activate your spirit.
Matthew 7:7-8; Invite.
John 16:13; Embrace.
John 14:16,26; Engage.
John 14:6; Emulate.
Romans 10:9-10; Believe.
These steps are all you need. You don’t need to ‘know the Bible.’ You don’t need to ask permission of some church member or official. You don’t need to get approval from a family member. Read and understand these scriptures and you’ll be prepared to step on the singular path that will bring Christ’s spirit into your life. If you don’t have a bible, go here- https://www.biblegateway.com/
These five provide clarity for understanding and practice. Clarity of the world, clarity of ourselves. A first step opportunity to change your life is here, right now.
The world’s ways are to distract us from cognition that God’s spirit of origination dwells within us. (“God is Spirit” [Jn 4:24]). Therefore, as our creator we too are of His Spirit. These two are to be acknowledged and reiterated. From the moment we invite and ask Christ into our lives, having received His Holy Spirit, our spiritual task is to walk a path that takes us closer to God. By accepting His spiritual guidance, counsel, or instruction while emulating His thoughts, words, and deeds we become living children of God.
With the spirit of truth within us our quest now becomes to learn and apply balance between our human and our spiritual selves. Balance between our physical needs and active spiritual grounding. In this way we become more complete. We become a ‘new’ complimenting combination of physical and spiritual. As we grow in completeness, we become more balanced and fulfilling as partners in our personal and career relationships.
This is part of the design and purpose of life. To come closer to God. Our relationship with Him will grow as we acknowledge and consider His lead to our responses with spiritual support for our actions. Through this burgeoning new spiritual awareness, we recognize a deeper level for future choices.
With reflection comes better understanding for possible application of truth and love in our life. We are now able to understand more competently practiced compassion, mercy, and forgiveness. We also employ spirit inspired strength to turn from corruption and evil. No longer denying these exist. No, far from it. Knowing with certainty they do! Understanding they run rampant within and throughout our world. At every level, within every endeavor, industry, government, commerce, or religion.
Awareness automatically gives pause to the ways and influences of the world. By our spiritual grounding we now recognize truth’s presence in all we do, in all we are. Not only by our participation in the world at large, but by our now spiritually grounded personal and career lives.
Stay tuned for Part II.
What’s missing in your life? What’s absent in the lives of many today across the globe? In a world of eight billion people why do the vast majority struggle every day? What’s missing?
If we remove social, economic, religious, and political from the equation, we’re left with the individual. You and me, and perhaps those closest and most dear to us. Why are so many of us struggling? That’s not to say that stress, struggle, and conflict haven’t been part of humanity’s journey since the beginning, they have been. Life is a journey of opportunities to grow by successes and failures.
We are each mind, body, soul, and spirit. The first two we recognize and are enmeshed with 24/7. The soul and spirit are often the parts of our human entity lingering in the background. Dwelling in the recess of our being. They’re not as evident in the forefront of our activities, choices, or consequences.
We need to ask, what is it that makes people ‘tick’? And again, what’s missing from this ‘tick-tock’ of daily life? What’s missing for far too many people is a cognition that our soul houses our inactive spirit. When we embrace, recognize and use all parts of our being; mind, body, soul and spirit we become complete and are better able to see our world for what it truly is and offers.
Let me explain. In our most original created form we are each a ‘unit’ or bundle of electrical charged energy. When we are manifested to life as a human in the womb of our mother our electrical existence finds a home, a place to take root and grow. We become mind, body, and electrical charged soul housing a spirit which is part of God’s spiritually omniscient power as creator of the universe.
Think of it like this. We each are designed to have two legs and two arms. If a person is without one or two appendages, they most likely face hardships or encounter difficulties in life. If you are mind, body and soul by nature, but the spirit dwelling in your soul is ‘inactive’ it’s as if you’re missing an integral part of what makes you whole.
What do I mean by 'inactive'? The spirit we receive as part of our life’s energy in its essence is from God. Within our inactive spirit we innately know ‘right from wrong.’ This is part of our spiritual understanding, for it came from God as creator.
As we grow, we are standardized, accustomed, and socialized by the codes and laws of the society in which we live. ‘Right and wrong’ are fundamental in every society’s legal framework. These codices use ‘reward and punishment’ as applications of right or wrong actions and behaviors. When our spirit is ‘inactive’ it comes to recognize right vs. wrong as a community or society standard. Because the spirit is inactive it doesn’t identify ethics or morals as the roots, or the “why’s” of right & wrong.
How do we as Christians activate our spiritual connection with God? We accomplish this through Jesus Christ. We do it by sparking to life a recognition or “activation” of our spiritual connection with God in our soul. In John 4:24 we’re told God is Spirit. Just as Jesus was a human, possessing God’s spirit, we too have the capacity to acquire and thereby receive God’s Spirit. Being our Creator, we are spirit just as He is. If God’s spirit is Holy, living in God (Father and Son) then the spirit He created for us as also has the capacity to become Holy. Because it came by and from Him as creator. To activate and use His spirit as our strength we must first surrender our desire to be 'the god' of our life.
The question mankind has asked since its beginning is, why are we here? I believe the answer is quite simple: we are here to know that God exists, and then, to know His character and nature through acknowledgment and recognition of Christ Jesus.
There are three steps to activate and make use of His spirit in ours:
When we’re ready to start a personal relationship with God, through Jesus Christ’s spirit what do we do? Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:7-8 ASK (Ask, Seek, Knock) and invite Jesus into our life. When we ASK, Jesus says and promises: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you an advocate to help you and be with you forever, the Spirit of truth.” (John 14:16)
Jesus goes on to say. “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said.” (John 14:26). This is our spiritual activation to initiate receiving God’s guiding direction.
So, the question becomes, How do we now use our activated spirit?
Again we ask but this time we query, ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ Every time we are faced with a situation, choice or decision, we ask 'What Would Jesus Do in this situation?'
His answer is recorded in John 16:13a, “When the Spirit comes he will guide you into all truth and tell you what is to come.”
We invite, we ask WWJD?, then we listen. God’ spirit living in us will answer, by giving us direct knowledge of our actions and the possible adverse consequences of our pending choice (John 16:14,15). When we choose to start a personal relationship with God through Christ, His desire is for us to know Him and be in concert with Him daily. But that decision to surrender must be ours to make and act upon. That’s why He allows us “free will” to make choices. Without free will to choose for ourselves what would be the point of a God/humanity relationship?!
When we ask (in this situation I now find myself) WWJD?, His guidance from within our spirit will show us the negative outcomes of choosing the world’s way, or our selfish “what’s in it for me”? way. As our counselor, advocate and guide, His spirit will share with us negative consequences should we choose the world’s way (John 16:13b).
One interesting aspect of free will is if we choose to respond the way Jesus would we shouldn’t expect a ‘reward’ for our decision. He’ll show us the negatives of the world’s ways, but He may not reveal a blessing for obedience. This is ‘faith’. This is “faith in action.” However, when we need Him, He will respond (Hebrews 11:1). The point is not to be obedient to receive a blessing. The choice of obedience by emulating Christ is the blessing. God, being a loving parent, will remember our choice to be His child when we need Him most.
In our obedience to His Will for us by choosing to emulate Jesus in thought, word and deed, God smiles for we have trusted to accept and act upon His spiritual direction. When we react, respond, or behave like a child of God, He remembers our obedient choices and actions and comes to our aid when we need him (John 14:15).
So, the question becomes, when His spirit is with mine and I choose the world’s path of temptation will God hold it against me? The answer is a resounding ‘No.’ Once we have invited Jesus into our life and received His spirit to activate ours, He is with us from that moment. As a believer and follower of Christ we are forgiven of our sins/misdeeds. However, having made the choice and decision to follow Christ if we choose not to listen to His spirit (in ours) and we continue to choose the world’s path, even as a believer in Jesus Christ the consequences of the world’s ways by our worldly choices still apply. We reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7). He will guide our choices if we want Him to, but He still allows us free will to choose how we will respond, act and behave.
What’s missing to negate stress, struggle, and conflict? Balance. We live in a physical world, but there also exists a spiritual world (remember, at our essence we are spiritual energy). The universe is always in balance. By its very laws it self-corrects to a state of balance, or near balance. The same holds true for each of us.
Think about a relationship you have that is currently ‘out of balance.’ Why is it unbalanced? Because the participants in the relationship each have their own desires, plans, and agendas. Ideally everyone ‘wins’ when there is 50/50 equality, or ‘balance.’
How does one achieve balance in life? Three simple steps:
Activate your spirit with a relationship with Christ.
Come from your highest self in every situation.
Use truth as your guidepost and compass.
Do these and daily stress, struggle, and conflict will melt away and cease to exist. You’ll know the truth. You’ll see the truth in your world. The choice will now be yours, will you live the truth?
Embracing balance within both physical and spiritual realms allows for growth in our personal, business, or career lives. There are many tried and true ‘How To’ methods and tactics in business. Once a businessperson practices these techniques to perfection, what’s left? If practice makes perfect, why are so many business people still struggling? Even if we know the ‘How’ we need to know the ‘Why’ to better understand the “people part” of successful business relationships.
Throughout life and in most situations, whether personal or business, humans respond in practiced ways. Behavior ‘manners’ often become ingrained. Our responses are often used repetitively until they become automatic. This zone of familiarity can easily evolve into habit. Unrecognized, its comfort may give rise to unacknowledged issues or problems. If detrimental responses to our personal relationships aren’t bad enough, they can be disastrous for our business.
So how do we alter or correct a deteriorating situation? What can we do to ensure our personal relations at home and in business relationships with employees, co-workers, customers, and clients remain vital, professional, and productive? We may sense things are ‘out of sync’ but why? More important, can they be fixed? How to go about accomplishing change? It’s a process. A process of change, or more aptly stated, “growth.”
Are you a different person than you were five years ago? Ten years ago? Twenty years ago? Hopefully the answer is yes. If you’re in business, the answer better be yes. Business and industries change over time. Why? Clients and customers want change. Employees need change. Status of different countries’ economies change. Technologies love change. And finally, people change. If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, change is inevitable and necessary for growth. One must embrace opportunities to change, in order to grow and stay at the top of the field. Sometimes to stay in business.
Keys to successfully understanding and applying this process of responding to change/growth are essential for continued success at home or work. These are the “why’s” people respond in the ways they do. I describe it as “Three Three’s and Five”. What do I mean? We have to look behind the veil to see what motivates people to respond and react in the ways they do. These will help explain the “why’s.” When we understand the why’s, the how’s become self-evident. Understanding the relationship between the how’s because of the why’s engages people to be able to quickly evaluate needs, wants, and desires of customers, clients, employees, co-workers, even partners.
What are the “Three Three’s and Five” essential keys?
Let’s look first at three “Behind the Veil” tips that can improve any relationship, interaction with employees, co-workers, customers/clients, or family members.
These three illustrate how a small change can make a big difference:
1. Acknowledge; attitude, belief, and perception. (Yours and The Other Person’s)
2. Replace your ‘old pattern’ response with a new learned response; while always be Polite & Civil.
3. Become a diplomatic expert. Remember, you were once where they are now.
Next, the Three essential elements for every project’s success:
3. (Spiritual) Power
Next, Three Cornerstones of interpersonal understanding:
And Finally, Five Motivators that determine every response:
5. Fear (of loss)
Awareness of these will guide your participation in relationships, will foster growth and interaction with others. The ‘ballast keel’ for success using these guiding elements is spiritual grounding. Activate your spirit with knowledge and acknowledgment of God; Father, Son and Spirit. Your life will never be the same.
11. Is there anything we can do prior to the end in order to be judged to be righteous?
Yes! Repent (change your disobedient, hurtful, and harmful behavior to others), ask for forgiveness, invite Jesus and His spirit to dwell within you (Romans 10:9-13, 17), come from your highest loving self, Love God first and most, treat your neighbor as you want to be treaty (Matthew 22:37). Know the truth, see the truth, live the truth.
12. Once the end is here is it too late to get right with God?
You can get right with God right up until you take your last breath. All you need do is explained in Romans 10:9-13, 17. As soon as you do this, you will begin experiencing more peace in your life.
13. What aspects of Eschatology do you find the most interesting and the most important?
Most interesting? The fact that by His unconditional love and mercy God would allow us to know of His plans to reconcile us to Him through Christ Jesus, as our redeemer and savior. Using events which we can see and recognize as signs of His truth about the End Times and Last Days.
The most important? The Rapture because it will validate for the entire world the truth of God’s Word. For believers in Christ the rapture will be the reward He promised. For nonbelievers it will provide proof that God is real and that His word is true. It will also give every nonbeliever the opportunity to become a believer before the world ends.
The Rapture will be the single most important event in the Last Days, which by its execution will guarantee for the world that Christ’s Second Coming is on the horizon. (The four most important events in all of human history are; (1) the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, (2) the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, (3) the Rapture of Jesus’ believers and followers, (4) and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ).
14. Define the Mark of the Beast, please.
The “Mark of the Beast” will be an identifying ‘mark’ visible on the hand or forehead, which will be taken and accepted by those who will worship and follow the Antichrist and Satan. Its significance is it will show separation between those who have chosen to worship Satan as god, and those who refuse. It will be the symbol that allows one to be active in commerce (to buy and sell) during the days of the second 3 ½ years of the seven-year tribulation period (Revelations 13:16-17, 14:9-11, 16:2, 19:20, 20:4).
15. Is there any thing humans have done to bring about the end more or less quickly?
No. God has His timetable and plans. Humans are merely instruments of His design. His plans include us as part of His creation so each of us can be with Him if we desire to accept His invitation of eternal life. (Old Yiddish adage; “Man plans, and God laughs”.)
16. Do you believe God knows who is going to Heaven and hell before we are even conceived?
One of the hardest questions to contemplate and attempt to find an answer. I believe God knows His ‘elect’ [those who have chosen to believe in Jesus as the Christ] (Matthew 24:31). God is ‘omniscient’, He knows all. (He is also ‘Omnipresent’ and ‘Omnipotent’; to wit: He is everywhere, all powerful and all knowing). Therefore, He knows what He knows. His desire is that all His created beings would be with Him in eternity.
To that end He sent His Spirit through [His son] Jesus of Nazareth, to show us who He is and what He is like. His required sacrifice to atone for human ‘sins’ (so that we can be with Him), was accomplished with the death and resurrection of Jesus as the Christ. Jesus redeemed us from death to reconcile us (to God the Father) through resurrection.
Jesus is our example to emulate in our responses, by our actions, and through our behaviors. God wants all His ‘children’ [those who choose to believe in Jesus Christ as His Son] (Matthew 3:17) to be in heaven and be with Him. He does however, leave that option open to each of us through ‘free will’ choice. He knows of those who will choose to believe, but I’m sure He hopes all will hear and choose wisely to be part of ‘the elect.’
17. How close do you think we are to the end of the world and what signs/actions make you feel that way?
I see increasing prophetic events signs every day, highlighted by every major news story and headline. Pick a headline and its part of one or more ‘end of the world’ prophecies.
Some of the more obvious ones:
18. Does God know who is going to Heaven and hell before we are even conceived?
I have no idea. However, I do know how to get to heaven instead of hell. Believe Jesus is who He claimed to be (John14:6), believe He is who His disciples and apostles testified He is (Mark 8:29), and believe He is who God the Father said He is (Matthew 3:17). Believe in and emulate Jesus Christ in thought and actions as much and as often as possible.
19. Will we, as Christians, see the tribulation or be gone before it happens?
Some christians may see/experience the tribulation years either in part or whole. Many will die during the tribulation years. Many more will be martyred during the ‘great tribulation’ years (second half of the seven years). Many will be ‘gone’ in the rapture. The key to your question is when will the rapture occur? Many Christians will be raptured, while other christians may not be included. The key will be if the rapture is a Pre-tribulation, Mid-tribulation, or Post tribulation event?
The tribulation is a seven-year long period of events. The seven years are separated into two defined 42 months/1260 day periods. Those who believe in a ‘Pre-Tribulation’ Rapture believe they will miss all seven years (both half’s) of the Tribulation years. Those who think the Rapture will happen at ‘Mid Tribulation’ will be alive in (unless they die during) the first 3 ½ years, but will be gone for the second 3 ½ years. Those who think the Rapture will be ‘Post-Tribulation’ will experience all seven years, unless they die at some point during the seven years.
My personal belief is that the Rapture will occur at ‘Mid-Tribulation.’ Why? There are untold numbers of ‘christians’ today who are failing to live as “Christ believing christians” even though they have heard, read, claim to know the gospel, and proclaim to know (and be followers of) Jesus Christ. I believe the love of God is so great He wants to redeem all, particularly these christians, but only after they have had an opportunity to repent and change their carnal christian (with self-righteous words and often hypocritical deeds) life behaviors (Luke 6:44a).
The Old Testament is peppered with stories of how the Israelites claimed to love God and made proclamations about wanting to serve Him obediently and yet, turned away to embrace their world’s ways. God’s response was to allow them their ‘free will’ choices and they suffered the consequences of the world’s ways. There is no reason to doubt God’s intentions may be to allow today’s ‘church age christians’ to experience the consequences of their unrepentant carnal and worldly ways, as He did before.
The first 3 ½ years of the tribulation period will be dangerous and deadly for many, with explicit warnings to all. However, as acutely destructive the events of the first half of the seven-year tribulation will be, the second 3 ½ year period will be a time as never before experienced in human history, with death and destruction never known by humans (Mathew 24:21). Prophetic scripture explains that Christ believers and followers will not be part of, or experience this second half time frame. Christians will be raptured prior to the start of the second 3 ½ years of the tribulation (at ‘mid trib’).
It's important that ‘fallen away’ christians have an opportunity to come back to Christ in heart, spirit, and soul before they are ‘caught up’ in the air and go with Christ in the rapture. The first 3 ½ year period will be proof positive, especially to christians who know, study, and share that God’s prophetic word is true and a great revival is in preparation, with anticipation of the rapture underway.
Christians who are part of the Rapture will not experience the (great) tribulation (Day of the Lord); the second 3 ½ years (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10).
20. One question I often receive is, ‘If I start a relationship with God, will I have to change my whole life’?
Many people tend to think that having a spiritual relationship is somehow outside the norm of daily life and activity. It’s as if religion have established a dividing line between itself and life. When God in His commandment says, “Keep Holy the Sabbath,” (Exodus 20:8) His request is that we set aside one day per week to reflect on and communicate directly with Him. All well and good however a growing, loving spiritual relationship with God can easily be an everyday activity. In the same way we focus time and energy on that someone special in our life with thoughts, words, and deeds the same can be said and invested with communion and communication with the Lord God, Father and Son.
It seems that man’s interpretive Sabbath or Worship “day” (be it Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or a particular day of the week) has instituted a singular time frame in the minds of many. As life has become more complex and involved, and as activities have morphed from survival to leisure, the squeezing of regulated specific time for spiritual focus or meditation has become ‘set in place’ or finite. ‘Worship services’ often become quasi social gatherings or meet ups under a guise of ‘God time’. Led by a parochial group representative with agendas and designs to influence and intervene in people’s lives. But more importantly to benefit their goals and aspirations as much as a time and place for spiritual connection, reflection, and revelation.
Time with God has been pigeonholed for and by people as if spiritual grounding and growth were adjunct to one’s real-life important issues. This mentality often produces a ‘square peg, round hole’ scenario which becomes increasingly difficult to understand and justify, even in our own minds. God’s desire is that He would be top of mind every time we need Him or choose to turn our thoughts to Him. His wish is to be an active part of our life, not a mingled thought with our worries and wishes one hour each week with a few hymns and a sermon thrown in.
God’s intent is to be with us in every instance we need or desire. This becomes increasingly difficult when we are so separated from Him by every aspect of post-modern life. Our self-centeredness, corruption and evil in the world, religions and hypocritical justifications have fomented a division between God and (wo)men as never before. All this, as we are entering a time when we need His presence and assistance more than ever before.
So what’s this leading up to? My point is this, your spiritual life and relationship with God, through Christ by His spirit dwelling in you is available now and forever. You can start, or restart this connection at any moment. Having this personal relationship with God only requires you, and Him. And here’s the ‘good news’ you don’t have to become a different person. You can still be you. Nothing is required of you to change in your life. Nothing. The sole requirement, the only thing new will be a single addition to your life. Activation of your spirt with and by His.
We each have the spirit of the Lord God within us. Each and everyone of us. It came as part of our nature and being. For most, their spirit is inactive. It’s there but it’s not communicating with us other than through a core and innate understanding of morality and ethics. God’s activity in our lives must be initiated by us. Some do this through religions, some through worship, some through spiritual acknowledgement. For the rest of us, it’s a non-issue because it’s of no issue. Most are content to live lives of spiritual non-engagement. Thinking that if they pursue active spirituality, it will somehow require they become a different person and completely change their entire life and existence.
The truth is, it will change your life, but not in the ways you may be imagining. Spiritual grounding will enable and help you grow, while not asking that you give up you, and your concept of you, that you currently have of yourself. Religions want you to change, God doesn’t. He already knows and loves you just as you are, and for just who you are. All He asks is that you invite him in, to discover who you can be with His Spirit abiding within yours.
Thank you for the questions. Hopefully these answers may hold a direction for you of spiritual growth. One thing to remember is each one of our deaths and demise can come at any moment. This is not stated as a warning, scare tactic, or morbidly frightening omen. It’s simply factual reality. Every time I see or hear of a tragedy that has claimed a life, or lives, the thought that always comes to my mind is, hopefully they were a believer in Christ. As I’m writing this, we are witnessing the evacuation efforts in Afghanistan, the onslaught of hurricane Ida, and the recent failure and collapse of the Champlain Tower condominium complex in Florida. Each of the events, like the ‘911’ World Trade Towers attacks, Covid-19 deaths and other publicized loss of life event carried and reported by news media outlets reminds us daily that anyone can become victim of unforeseen deadly consequences.
With these events and a myriad of others like them the imperative of considering a spiritual relationship with Christ is brought to bear as one of life’s choices. The moment to confront this consideration for each one of us is in the present. Can we afford to put off until some future date whether or not our spiritual grounding and growth is important?
Whether we live to see and/or experience the End Times and Last Days or not, we owe it to ourselves and to our families to decide. Is today the right time to spiritually prepare for the future?
All the best,
I was recently invited to be an On-Air guest of DeVannon Hubert’s podcast “Sex, Drugs, and Jesus” to discuss ‘Eschatology’ (End Times). As part of the program, he asked his listening audience to submit questions. I thought their questions might be a good way to finish this series. With that in mind, here are twenty questions asked along with my answers. Perhaps one or more of these reflect thoughts or questions you may have had as well. Enjoy! Click to hear the entire program interview.
First, let me thank all those who submitted questions. Your interest is truly appreciated. It’s a pleasure to interact with people who want to know more. I don’t have all the answers and there are many others who have studied, read, researched, and know far more than I. Your confidence to answer is commendable. I will answer to the best of my knowledge and ability. Hopefully this Q&A session from DeVannon will help each of you on your walk to expand your spiritual growth.
All scripture references are from an NIV study bible. If you have additional questions or individual personal queries, I invite you to contact me, follow my articles and essays, or visit my YouTube channel.
Here are the questions with my answers:
1. Is there a true end or is it the beginning of a new Era, like a purge?
If by “New Era” you mean what scripture denotes as a ‘new heaven and earth’ then, yes (Revelation 21:1). This earth and life as we know it is prophesied to end. Replaced by a new earth where Jesus Christ will live and reign for one thousand (1,000) years as King (Revelation 19:16). This “millennium kingdom” (Revelation 20:4) will be inhabited by those who believed in and were followers or adherents of Jesus Christ/Messiah. By His presence and reign, yes there will be a ‘true end’ to life as we know it and a new beginning.
At the end of His Millennial Kingdom, all, (including the souls of those who remained dead (Revelation 20:5) and were not raptured, as well as those who died between the rapture event and Jesus’ ‘Second Coming’ will face judgment by Jesus as judge (Acts 10:42, 2 Timothy 4:1, 1 Peter 4:4-6). Those he judges to not join Him in everlasting life will be banished from His presence (Revelation 20:11-15). As you describe, this will be a type of ‘purge’. Those who are judged into the presence of Jesus will live eternally in the presence of God’s Holy Trinity in what the bible describes as a ‘New Eden’ [many label as “heaven”] (Revelation 22:1-3). The bible describes and prophesies both a true end, and a new beginning.
2. Can I sin and do something or PAY to get into Heaven?
No. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Having committed sin there is something one can do to get into heaven! That ‘something’ is explained as the ‘good news’ that Jesus is the Christ/Messiah (Acts 5:42). His death and resurrection already paid the ransom price (death) required by humanity’s ‘sin’ nature.
Jesus’ death was/is the atonement (substitute) for death of His believers. He died so (y)our spirit and soul will not have to. This is accomplished for us individually if we believe in Him as the Christ/Messiah, believe His death is the ransom for ours, and that His word(s) of redemption and reconciliation are true.
It’s important to remember in the eyes of the Lord “a sin is a sin.” There are no degrees of sin. No sin is more egregious than another to God. ‘Sins’ are acts/actions/behaviors of disobedience to God’s nature, character, and commands. His nature is Morality, His character is Ethics, His teachings are Love, and His actions are Truth. His Commands are shared in Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5:1-21, and summed up in Matthew 22:37-39.
There is however a caveat to this notion of sin and its forgiveness. It’s described in John 15:22 (“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now [having heard the gospel] they have no excuse for their sin.”) What does Jesus mean by this statement? More specifically as to your question? When one does not know of Jesus (who Jesus is, why He came to be part of humanity, and what His purpose and role was/is, one is not responsible for what one does not know.
However, many on the planet today, ignorance of the Gospel of Christ is a choice. The world has been exposed to Jesus as Christ, including His commission, ministry, purposes, and roles [the Who, What, and Why of Jesus]. Despite this revelation many live, accept, and often revel in ‘sin’ behavior. This is not unusual, for ‘sin’ (moral and ethical disobedience) is our natural human inclination, it’s the ‘way of the world.’ Having heard or been exposed to the Gospel of Christ, knowledgeable responsibility now exists.
“I didn’t know, I never heard” is no longer a viable excuse. Knowing the gospel of Christ exists, negates the exclusion power and validation of Jesus’ observation stated in
When we don’t realize sin is our nature, we have an excuse [not that ignorance gives license to sin] (Romans 6:15-23). It’s like a child who doesn’t know or does not yet understand between ‘right and wrong.’ However, once the child knows and accepts the relationship between the words and the actions (right vs. wrong), ignorance is no longer a viable ‘excuse’/reason for not doing what is correct/right (obedient).
This holds true for the “christian” or follower of Jesus Christ as well. Once we have been exposed to/heard/read/studied/know of or learned [about] the Gospel and claim to acknowledge it exists and what is says, what it means, or how it applies to our daily lives we no longer have excuse for immoral and unethical (‘sinful’) choices and behaviors. We now know of the Gospel, so we now know not to sin (1 Corinthians 33-34). One can make choices that emulate the direction and lead of Jesus. Simply ask, “What Would Jesus Do?” WWJD? How did Jesus behave or respond to this situation or issue in His life? For the follower/person exposed to Jesus, His responses, His choices and actions can become ours, in a same or similar situation. When we emulate Christ’s actions as our own, we become more Christ-like (christian).
There are some who believe and gleefully promote the idea of ‘paying’ to get to heaven. These people are described in scripture as ‘false prophets’ (Matthew 7:15). We recognize many today as “carnal or purpose driven [profit driven] christians.”
3. At the end are people placed in various places and what determines where they go?
Great question and one that’s difficult to answer because many exact truths are unknown (Revelation 10:2-4). The definitive totality of some prophecies remain hidden (Daniel 12:8-9). ‘Faithful living’ can reveal aspects of God’s Will and plan that are without specifics or details (Philippians 4:7). This may not be the answer you are looking for, but I will share with you what I believe. Those who believe in and trust God’s will, words, and way as taught and shared by Jesus Christ’s gospel will have their spirited souls return to God’s presence.
Scripture relates those who love, follow and believe in Christ will be with Him in eternity. Those whom Jesus judges and forgives will also be with Him eternally. Those who are unrepentant and follow the Antichrist and Satan will be with them in the Lake of Fire (“hell”). As to others? Who knows?
Know this as your answer; in John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” God demands nothing from us except, we each will have to decide before we die, whether we will believe in and follow Jesus Christ, or not?
4. Do egregious sins place you in hell or do the worst sins leave you in limbo forever?
As stated in a previous answer, to the Lord, ‘a sin is a sin’. Many believe crimes represent different degrees of heinousness and harm. Many think crimes are ‘sins’ so therefore some are worse than others. Crimes and sins both represent ‘offenses’ against ‘laws or mores.’ Criminal behavior goes against the legalistic legislated laws and decrees of people within societies. While sins are disobedient acts that are affronts to God’s nature, character, and commands. While a ‘crime’ may be considered or deemed a ‘sin’ by one or more persons in a tribe, group, or society, a sin may not necessarily be a crime in societal terms.
God gave Moses Ten Commandments that should be used as a guide for living by those who desire to have a spiritual relationship with Him (Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5:1-22). Moses also recorded six hundred thirteen ‘laws’ for the Israelites to use in their daily and worship lives (listed in the Old Testament books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).
God has made His life guiding instructions known and men make rules/laws/decrees for living together. We as individuals have a need and personal responsibility to abide by both if we desire to please God and live civilly.
5. I believe there is a Heaven, a hell and a limbo. Is it possible for people to remain in limbo forever?
Only God knows. All possibilities may be viable. Given your premise, why would anyone want to spend forever/eternity in hell or limbo? Put your faith in what you have heard, read, or believe about Jesus Christ. Then decide if a spiritual relationship with God through Christ is for you. Your ‘hereafter forever’ question will be answered in due course.
6. Can you pray or PAY to get out of limbo?
See answer to question 5. Having had the offer of ‘free will’ choice of belief (or not) prior to death negates the need to do either ‘pray or pay’ later.
7. How do you feel based on their real-life experiences vs. the words in Revelation?
Not sure I understand the question, whose real life experiences? Real life experiences are exactly that for each individual. The book of Revelation is an informative guide given to John, for the world, by and from Jesus Christ as to what lies ahead for mankind at the end of this world.
Life offers each of us opportunities to make decisions and choices that determine our responses, behaviors, and actions to people and events. These produce consequences we can then use for mental, spiritual, emotional, and psychological growth, as well as for future choices. Jesus’ thoughts, words, and deeds in His teachings and parables prepare us for an abundant adult life. His words in the book of Revelation illuminate for us the end here, and the beginning hereafter.
8. Do we have to go through every variant from alpha to omega before this pandemic is over?
Possibly. Who knows? It will be over when it’s over. Most likely there will be another, or next virus or bacterial enemy of man to take its place and gain our focus. There have been a variety of plagues (and their variants/mutations) throughout history. We have eradicated many and have produced vaccines for others, and yet they still occur and spread. Microbiological entities are as much a part of life and existence as we are.
Thankfully we have the academic knowledge and technology to affect them more quickly than we did in the past. However, because our world is more accessible today than ever before in human history, we also run the risk daily of an ‘outbreak’ of some kind occurring and spreading.
No matter how ‘good’ a vaccine may be, the ‘nature’ of nature is some ‘hosts’ will be more susceptible than others. Some will get sick (vaccinated or not), some will die (vaccinated or not), and some will recover or never be infected (vaccinated or not). Listen to experts who know, not talking heads of provincial ilk or persuasions. Make informed choices in every aspect of your life.
9. How would we know when the end of the world is coming, like what are the signs?
Prophecy’s entire focus and purpose is to inform us, warn us, and alert us to the future events that allow us to recognize the end events (of this world) drawing nigh. Many of the ‘signs’ are veiled or hidden as to their specific details (at least until they come to pass). Most require some ‘digging’ or reading/research. God wants us to know, but He also wants us to believe. It often helps to see the big picture by connecting the smaller dots and relationships. He could simply tell us but even when He does, most people ignore or doubt Him. Most people don’t want to hear what He and His prophets have to say. When He speaks, tells, or shows us it requires that we trust He is telling us the truth. We live in a world that doesn’t want to know the truth, therefore we ignore Him and what He shares.
Prophecy doesn’t tell us when the world will end, but it does forewarn by giving ‘signs’ to recognize when we see them happening. There are 1817 prophecies in the Bible and every one of them pertains or refers to Jesus as the Christ/Messiah. Most have already occurred. Each one has come to be as predicted or foretold.
I am often asked about End Times or Last Days ‘signs’. At issue with some of these events is that their buildup takes years, decades, even centuries to unfold. Think of it this way, before you get a driver’s license you prepare. You get a diver’s manual and study. You get a vehicle and practice driving. You continue learning how to become more efficient and proficient ‘behind the wheel.’ When you are fully prepared and ready, you take a driver’s test.
The same holds true for End Times/Last Days/end of the world signs. Their culminations that will be revealed by what we (will) see/experience takes time and incremental steps to build to completed occurrence. However, I will share three unmistakable, undeniable, and unmissable ‘signs’ that will happen in front of the entire world, which will indicate the end is close at hand (“at the door” Matthew 24:33).
When you see these three ‘signs’ be prepared.
10. What will happen when the end of the world is here?
In prophecy, “here” is a relative term due to the lead up and precursor events needed for the end to actualize for there are “End Times”, Last Days” and “End of the World”. For at least seven years immediately prior to ‘the end’ there will be death, destruction, and devastation by and from men and nature. It will increase in frequency and intensity. It will seem as if there is no ‘good news.’
There will be storms, fires, floods, famine, wars, hurricanes, earthquakes, unending record heat and drought. There will be hatred and distrust among nations, groups, even families (Matthew 24:7). Good will be seen as evil and evil as good (Isaiah 5:20). There will be cosmic and supernatural events and consequences.
At ‘the end’ Jesus will return, be victorious at the Battle of Armageddon, and set foot on the Mount of Olives, reclaiming the world as His own and establishing His millennial kingdom reign on His new earth.
Join me next time in Part 9 when we address and post answers for questions 11-20.
Like steps taken to put together a complex puzzle, one benefit of knowing and understanding prophetic events and their consequences is, as the edges become clearer, the shapes and fullness begin to reveal more of the entire picture. One fallacy of prophecy, at least to the uninitiated, is a belief that these cataclysmic events will spring into existence from nothing. As if out of the void of invisibility, like a magician’s prestidigitation will appear materialism. What many often miss are the links or relationships between the activities being reported daily in our news headlines, and the eventuality of End Times and Last Days prophetic events coming into full view.
Even catastrophic climate change storms have precursors of at least a few days before they grow to dangerous levels or make landfall. While End Times and Last Days events in our future may seem to ‘come out of nowhere’ when they finally happen, rest assured they have been spawned or morphed into reality over time. How do we know this? That’s what biblical prophecy is about. Forewarnings of coming events we need to be aware of. And thereby in an awareness, realize the steps needed to make way for the actualization of their presence in our lives.
Each prophetic event we are studying, discussing, and sharing has its growing presence in our lives through activities we are seeing, or ignoring, every day as posited by news coverage and headlines clamoring for our attention. Let’s peek behind the veil to identify actions and activities we are being exposed to, and more often growing numb to, which are preparing us (or not) for the dangerous and terrifying consequences we will face, either through expectancy or ignorance.
One way perhaps to bring into focus the elevation of our awareness is to examine, or more likely expose current categorical events as they relate to the future. For example, think of it like this. Even though there exists many who deny ‘climate change’ is occurring, and many more who fail to see our human contributions to it increased presence, there’s few who can ignore the facts of the increased numbers of storm activity; hurricanes, tornadoes, rainfall events that lead to flooding, or their opposite ramifications, drought and wildfires.
Both charted historical records and first-hand experiences prove beyond a doubt that climatic changes and its consequence are more severe, frequent and deadly than their predecessors within the past 50, 100 or pre-industrial revolution dates. More storms, more destruction. More intense storm activity, more deaths and injury. Of course, contributing to these data anomalies are our living patterns (by coasts and waterways), inaccessible terrain (to combat fires), earthquakes we have no control over, and high density communities which exacerbate issues and problems related to storm activity fallout.
However, there is little or no denying that consequences of climate change affect more people, more often, worldwide than at any previous time in history. As inhabitants living in the current era can attest when comparing our experiences in the recent decades verses historical data. One merely has to observe the changes, disruptions and variations in seasonal timetables today verses the past.
This is just one example of current life taking place, which is also prophesied as End Time events straight from the lips of Jesus Christ Himself, (Mt 24:3b, 7b). [Famines in the bible represent the result of drought and/or flooding, and/or storm damage that destroys crops and food sources/storage). What we might associate with actions of nature and ‘supply chain’ issues today. Obviously, earthquakes are self-explanatory.
Let’s look briefly at the category of social and political disruption. Around the world today exists a variety and numerous groups/gangs of armed rebels, ‘freedom fighters’, terrorists and ‘outlaws’ possessing weapons and the will to force their power and presence on others. In many geographic areas militaries and police organizations are used illegally or ill-advisedly to control populaces. (Mt 6, 7a, 10,12, Isa 5:20,21,23).
As for religion, the incremental steps to a one world religion have all but been cast in prophetic stone. Recently there have been meetings and conclaves between religious leaders of various (opposing beliefs) denominations and sects under the auspices of how beneficial a movement toward a global common religion or ‘meeting of spiritual minds’ would be and what it could produce in terms of an overall general appeal and acceptance ‘to make the world a better place for everyone.’
The two categories most crucial and essential for one world domination by any particular group, set of people or individual(s) are found in the realms of economics and international trade/geo-political alliances. It is these two areas that literally affect every one alive regardless of location, perspectives, attitudes, perceptions, or beliefs. Life today is an interdependent ‘global village.’ Examples such as both trade and virus’ can span the globe to people in every corner of the planet in twenty-four hours or less.
Acts and repercussions in one part of the world can ripple outward and affect many or all parts of the planet easily and prodigiously in a matter of minutes, hours or days. Add to this social and mass media platforms with instant communications capabilities connecting electronic information to every potential individual globally and there is no one alive who cannot be privy to, or experience events in real time, 24/7 no matter their location.
The purpose at this point in our studies is to suggest and request that from this moment on you remove the blinders. Now is the time to broaden, while at the same time refocus your reception of incoming and presented information. That is, start looking at news stories and examining headlines with application of a ‘prophecy lens.’ How much of our information headlines or news qualifies as a small or larger step on the path of End Times and Last Days events prophesies warn us to be alert to?
Here are a few examples to help you get started. Today’s notable news coverage and activities as a precursors of End Times events foretold in prophecy.
Most people around the world are separated from the gospel of Christ by choice. Many have heard the name Jesus yet have little or no interest in knowing Him. If you are one of these people, remember, every believer and follower of Jesus Christ was once where you are. Unknowing and unresponsive. For billions of people who came before ‘our time’ bible stories were just that, stories. Because many of the most essential End Times and Last Days prophecies had not happened. Trust and belief in prophetic words remained ‘foreign’ or far-fetched for many to their reality. Prior generations of believers and nonbelievers alike did not see revealed in their lifetimes End times events expected or foretold.
Let those who have ears, hear. (Mk 4:22-23)
As I close out this tenth prophecy study/articles series I ask you to consider doing three things:
Join us for Parts 8 and 9 where we answer questions from readers like you.
For more than two thousand years believers and followers of Christ have been anticipating His ‘Second Coming’ appearance on earth. In biblical scripture, Jesus himself tells us His return will be prior to the end of “the last generation” (Mt 24:34). The “Last Generation” is believed to be those born and living after the 1948 reconstituting of Israel as a nation (May 14, 1948).
Due to prophecy’s often perceived convoluted presentations of events (confusing for the reader, not for God nor His prophets) it’s fairly easy to get tripped up in our studies or understanding. However, even if this is the case don’t become discouraged or disheartened. The reward of prophecy is that its validation is spoken by God and relayed to mankind through the prophets.
The seven tribulation years are divided into two specific time frames, each 1260 days or 42 months in length. At the mid-point of these two time periods several actions will occur that will change the entire world as never before in human history. Every living human will become part of these events.
As described previously, the first 42 months will prove to be filled with dichotomies. There will be ‘peace and security’ on one hand with horrific cosmic and environmental disturbances pitted against the other. There will be spiritual revival contrasted with hedonist humanism on steroids. There will be political intrigue and consternation gnawing at a growing clamor for unification. There will be a movement towards one world religion with the elevation of religious leaders coming together to benefit all mankind verses efforts to draw others to Christ.
The world will appear to be making progress as never before, even inviting widespread recognition of Israel as an economic and military power. Adjunct to this identification will stand the Two Witnesses audibly at odds with those reconstructing or using the Third Temple in Jerusalem for worship services. Amidst the orthodoxy of fundamental Rabbinical Judaism practiced in the Temple, a growing movement of Messianic Judaism rears its head for acknowledgment. The transition in these years will be overt and subtle at the same time. An appearance of new normality will be peppered with untold disasters wedging themselves to split apart perceived advancements.
The ‘Two Witnesses’ will be sharing perilous warnings heralded by many yet disdained by others. Their prominence will be a focal point dividing many politically and religiously. These months will be viewed as the ‘best of times and the worst of times.’ They will be priming the world for the moment the Antichrist morphs from world renown leader to emissary of Satan as the world’s dictatorial ruler.
At Mid-Tribulation events will move quickly over a short period (days, perhaps a few weeks) initiated with the blowing of the Fifth Trumpet in heaven. It’s the Mid-Tribulation events that will literally change the world with the coming domination of the Antichrist and his forces. The most evident immediate action will be the invasion and vanquishing of Jerusalem. Followed by the deaths and resurrections of the Two Witnesses. The occupation of the Third Temple by the Antichrist and his elimination of Jewish worship. Establishment of the Antichrist’s Abomination of Desolation image at the Mercy Seat by the false prophet. And the decree that institutes the ‘Mark of the Beast’ for all the world’s inhabitants.
These actions will take a short time to establish and initiate, but they will be part and parcel of domination by the Antichrist in supplication to Satan. A decree will go out for all; accept or be put to death. The method of identification as an Antichrist acolyte will be the taking of the Mark of the Beast. A visible ‘mark’ on the forehead or hand. Those with the mark will be allowed to live, to ‘buy and sell’. Those without the mark will be banned economically and exposed, to be killed.
This ‘Mark of the Beast’ will be the outward evidence of capitulation and acceptance of the Antichrist and Satan. All who take the mark will be condemned with Satan by God. This mark will be the definitive divide between those who will experience eternal damnation with Satan, the Antichrist, and False Prophet and those who may be martyred for Christ in the Last Days. Should you still be alive during these months, choosing death instead of ‘the mark’ will keep you from eternal hell, even though that decision may cost your life.
The second half years of the tribulation will be as no other in human history (Mt 24:21).
Join me next time in Part 7 when we identify news headlines and stories warning of prophecy precursors being revealed before our eyes.
Scripture states “no one knows the day or hour” when the Rapture will happen. Rest assured no one knows! But just as assuredly know, it will happen!
Focus should remain on the purpose, not the timing. ‘When’ a specific event is to happen is less relevant than knowing and believing its inevitability. The key isn’t knowing ‘when’ a prophecy may occur but why it will happen, what it means, and what can be known or done to prepare for its eventuality?
Like many aspects of biblical scripture, particularly prophecy, interpretations often vary. This can ‘muddy the waters’ but fundamentally prophetic dichotomies reinforce imperatives being presented. What do I mean by this? As stated originally in this series the more one explores scripture and prophecy the better one can understand the information studied.
Although there will be environmental and cosmic disturbances in the first three and one-half years in the seven year Tribulation period, this will be a time of general ‘peace and security’ for many. Within this sense of wellbeing continued intensity of environmental calamities will be viewed as escalations of climate change and not as prophesied End Time events.
In the run-up to these events will be awareness ahead of time and predictability. The increasing severity of events and extent of their consequences in each time frame will grow greater and more obvious. However, people may be so encumbered by survival efforts they may miss entirely the focus and purpose of what’s taking place around them. The fallout/consequences of events in each of the two tribulation periods will be destructive and terrifying.
The Rapture will remove from the earth Jesus’ believers and followers. Dead or alive as a believer in Christ you will be a Rapture participant. But back to our question, When?
‘When will the Rapture occur’ is answered in a circuitous manner. According to scripture, we have three options. They are, ‘Pre-Tribulation, Mid Tribulation, or Post Tribulation.’ Remember the tribulation period is seven years in length, divided into two separate yet intertwined periods of three and one-half years each (Wrath of Jesus/Wrath of God, or End Times/Last Days).
Believers who put their faith in a ‘Pre-Tribulation’ Rapture think it will happen right before, or in conjunction with the first trumpet blast from heaven. The seventh Seal will be broken on the scroll in heaven, followed by a period of silence (preparation) in heaven for one-half hour (Rev 8:1).
We don’t know the actual length of this ‘half-hour’ time frame, it may be preceded or followed by the first trumpet blast. The sounding of this trumpet coincides with the confirmation of the treaty which ends the Ezekiel War, signifying the start of the seven ‘tribulation’ years.
A ‘Mid-Tribulation’ rapture occurs at the Mid Tribulation point (end of the first three and one-half year period). This rapture time coincides with the blowing of the Fifth trumpet in heaven. It needs to be reiterated that the importance of Mid- Tribulation can’t be underestimated. It’s at this point everything changes (Mt 24:15-21).
With the blast sound of the fifth trumpet, the ‘Last Days’ begin, the Antichrist comes to power, the worst time in all of history starts. Israel is invaded and defeated, the Two Witnesses are killed, the Abomination of Desolation takes place (Antichrist enters the Third Jewish Temple and occupies God’s mercy seat), the Mark of the Beast is instituted, and the Antichrist’s worldwide domination is underway.
Between the final Trumpets (5, 6, and 7), the Bowl decrees of God, and the Antichrist’s rule death and destruction is global. Mid-Tribulation rapture believers understand their removal from earth will be before the beginning of this horrific time (the second 3 and one-half year period).
‘Post-Tribulation’ believers think the Rapture will be part of Jesus Christ’s ‘Second Coming’ arrival/appearance at the end of the seven years, in conjunction with blast of the seventh trumpet (Mt 24:30-31). When will the Rapture take place? At one of these three points in time! It will happen! Will you be ready? And more importantly, will you be part of it?
Join me next time in Part 6 when we examine the most important days in the last two thousand years.
One of the great blessings the Lord God has for all the earth is His desire to have every person with Him eternally. His magnificence as a loving parent requires only one thing from His children. Each one who desires to spend eternity in His glory must decide whether they will choose to believe in Him and then, believe in His Son, who was sent to save the world from its sinful nature.
The believer of and in Jesus as the Christ/Messiah, is the sole caveat decision God demands from each member of humanity. His unconditional love provides each of us an opportunity to recognize Jesus for who He is/was (God incarnate). Understanding His redemptive role as savior (‘the way’ Jn 14:6) for spiritual reconciliation back into the arms of spiritual origination by the grace of God’s Holy Trinity is both the blessing and the reward for belief in Jesus as savior and redeemer.
For those who have made this choice and decision to accept and acknowledge Jesus as the Christ/Messiah, should they perish prior to the Rapture, their ascendency to heaven is promised (Jn 11:25-26). All those who have accepted and invited Jesus and His spirit to dwell within will be ‘caught up’ to meet the Lord Jesus at the moment the Rapture occurs (1 Thes 4:16-17).
The question becomes, how does one acknowledge this recognition that Jesus is the Christ? What must one do to receive the Holy Spirit of Christ? In His benevolence God the Father has made acquisition of His Spirit through Christ as easy as it is to receive his love. Simply invite Jesus into your life by doing the two steps described in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, or Romans 10:9,10,17. Do these and the Lord Jesus Christ will be with you from that moment, into eternity. It couldn’t be easier! Do it today, and when the Rapture happens you are promised to be part of its magnificent occurrence.
The “Rapture” (Dan 12:10) is the one prophecy most people have heard about, seen movie or video depictions of, or are familiar with as an End Times event. The questions surrounding the Rapture are, ‘How, What, When and Why’? To wit: What is the Rapture? How does it happen? When will it occur, and more importantly, Why will it take place? And finally, the question that will be on every set of lips when ‘all the Jesus Freaks are gone’? What will happen to those “Left Behind?”
Let’s look at all these questions and try to explain and understand the answers. The term “Rapture” is actually described as the act(ion) of being “caught up” in the air to meet Jesus Christ. Bible prophecy explains that before the trouble and turmoil of the “Last Days” (the second three - and one-half years of the Tribulation period) ‘Jesus followers and believers’ will be caught up in the air as their spirits are taken out of harm’s way from the impending imminent events and consequences about to take place globally that will plague all inhabitants of earth with death and destruction (1Thes 5:9-10).
Now that you know how and why the Rapture will occur the most important question is, “What will happen to those ‘Left Behind’?” If you’ve ever seen one of those ‘End of Days’ movies or videos where the Rapture is depicted, you’ve seen the focus is on those Left Behind, not those missing. The story is about those who weren’t ‘caught up’ in the Rapture experience.
Rest assured, whatever mayhem and destruction was portrayed in the movie doesn’t even come close to the actual terror and death that will occur when all those raptured ‘Jesus Freaks’ vanish. Think about the chaotic results of every Jesus believer in motion at that moment. When every ‘driver’ of any vehicle, plane, train, bus, or other mode of transportation goes missing. When every believer in the middle of doing something that could be dangerous to others around them disappears. What will be the immediate outcome? Death and destruction will ensue worldwide.
For non-believers, those “left behind” that’s just the beginning. The economic, social, political, and religious fallout will be devastating. Fear and trauma will be off the charts. Any type of recovery will be near impossible in the short term. The despair and despondency will reach levels never imagined. Many will take their own lives. Many others will be killed by rampaging and marauding groups or individuals taking advantage of the chaos.
Government services at all levels will be incapable of responding to the dread and danger rampant in every community. Resources, particularly emergency aid will be stretched beyond its breaking point. Those left behind (still alive) will literally be on their own. People who have never had to struggle at this level of survival mode or emergency will be challenged as never before. Most will not know what to do, what has happened or understand why, because they are not familiar with biblical prophecy and scripture.
Others may realize what has taken place but won’t understand the immediate or long-term ramifications. If the fallout effects from the Rapture aren’t enough to contend with, those with weapons or access to weapons will go into survival or aggressive modes and no-one will be safe. Sadly stated, those left behind will be on their own. These extreme situations will eventually be dulled by the one who steps up to take control with promises of restoring peace and safety.
Those in authority will advance a variety of explanations as to what happened and why so many ‘others’ are gone. Their promises and excuses will mollify the masses still alive, but the worst is yet to come, for God will have turned His back on all but the Israelites.
When will the Rapture happen? This is the End Times’ quintessential question because its occurrence will literally affect every person on the planet. The Rapture will remove from earth all who have chosen to believe in Jesus as the Christ, whether dead or alive. Its purpose is to save all believers from the inevitable Last Days events and prevent them from experiencing the terrible consequences. When will it come to be? “No one knows the day or hour” (Mk 13:32, Mt 24:36).
Remember, when the Rapture happens if you’re left behind the first thing you must do is described for you here; Romans 10:9-13, 17! Go there now:
When will the Rapture occur? Join me next time in Part 5 for the answer.
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