End Times Series Part 5
Now that we’ve taken our first leap at identifying unmistakable ‘end times’ events, let’s back up and examine the larger picture in order that our walk from here will draw together events and consequences for believers (in Jesus) and unbelievers alike.
You’ve probably heard of the “Rapture” the “Second Coming” and the “Tribulation.” What do these labels refer to? And what is their relationship to each other, and to us? More importantly, what can these events mean to you and your family? The ‘end times’ or ‘last days’ generally refers to a specific seven (7) year period when God’s spiritual and omnipotent power, influence and presence intervene beyond question and beyond belief in world affairs. However, when we look closer at the prophecies surrounding the unfolding of ‘last days’ we see they actually can extend the entirety of the bible text. Although we are not going back to study all the end times prophesies, you can see by the chart below the encapsulated span of the end times in its broad depiction. (The following charts and sequences are my opinion and beliefs.)
As with all things biblical there are differing interpretations or ‘predictions’ pertaining to; who, what, where, when, why and how? This is not because there are differing facts as to the bible’s authenticity or prophesies, it’s due to the span of authorship is over millennia and many prophesies are attributable to events and peoples in both the Old and New Testament texts. As crazy as that sounds let me give you one example; there is a Holy Trinity of God; Father, Son and Spirit. Likewise, there (will) exist a trinity of evil; Satan, the Antichrist and the False Prophet. As to not get bogged down in conjecture, my goal for this series is help readers become more aware of unmissable events that will unfold and become reality and the foretold consequences of those events.
This overall ‘last days’ period is denoted by three distinct divisions; “Pre-Tribulation”, “Mid-Tribulation” and “Post-Tribulation”. Within each of these ‘general time frames’ certain people and events take prominence and are active on the world stage. The actual ‘Tribulation’ period is the seven years between what is referred to as the ‘Pre and Post’ designations as shown on this image. This specific seven years is separated into two 3 ½ year periods often referred to as the ‘Tribulation’ and the ‘Great Tribulation’ or “the Wrath of Jesus Christ, and the Wrath of God.” The difference is represented by the intensity and severity of the judgments against earth and its inhabitants during these two specific parts of the seven-year period. We’ll be using this chart in the rest of our discussion so let’s look at the distinct overall periods.
The era we are now living in is referred to as ‘the Church Age.’ The church age is the two-thousand-year span between the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus and the start of the seven-year Tribulation. Our current church age is therefore in the ‘Pre-Tribulation’ period. When there is a treaty drawn up and confirmed between Israel and other nations for “Peace and Security” which will be authored/brokered by the world’s greatest statesman, the seven-year Tribulation period will begin. As stated, Pre-Trib Rapture believers think the Rapture will coincide with the final signatory acceptance of this treaty.
Scripture and prophecy explain that the final seven year ‘last days’ will coincide with, become apparent to watchers, and start at the end of the church age. So, when is this? Again, we don’t know for sure, but we do know several prophesied signs and events to be aware of in order to recognize this transition from one stage of future history to the next.
One of the greatest bible/scripture/prophecy debated contentions surrounds, when will the Rapture will occur? Some believe in a ‘Pre-Trib Rapture’ while others believe in a ‘Mid-Trib Rapture’ and still others believe in a ‘Post-Trib Rapture.’ There are interpreted indicators that can support any one of the three, however only one (1) Rapture will occur. You want to be sure you and your family will be part of the Rapture, no matter when it takes place.
The Rapture’s occurrence sometimes causes confusion and is often a contested issue among bible scholars and end times watchers. In our series when it happens is not as important as how and why we trust and prepare to embrace its actualization. So, let’s sidestep its timing for right now and look closer at what it is, and why its consequences are paramount for believers and unbelievers alike.
The Rapture refers to a ‘taking up (or ‘caught up’) into the sky or clouds’ those who believe Jesus is the Son of God; the Christ, the Messiah. The purpose of the Rapture is to remove Jesus believers (first the dead and then those still alive) from the terrible devastation, destruction and death that will be wrought upon the earth and its inhabitants (aka those ‘left behind’) when the Rapture occurs.
Whenever the Rapture does occur, believers across the planet will be spirited to join Jesus Christ in the air for the coming feast celebrating Christ and His ‘bride.’ When will the Rapture take place? We don’t know, but we do know the steps, signs and events signifying the start of the seven-year Tribulation period!
Join me next time in Part 6 when we look at the terrible “Tribulation” years as we start to infill our ‘End Times’ Events chart.
Whether you believe me or not, believe this:
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 and Romans 10:9-10 & 17
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