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Posts tagged ‘tribulation’

Notes on the Timing and Scope of the Tribulation

More Eschatological Considerations….

 

The Olivet discourse of Matthew 24-25, where Jesus spoke of His Second Coming and warned extensively about the days of the Tribulation that would accompany it, was not spoken to or about the NT Church. Rather, it was addressed to and about national Israel [Matt. 24:16 “them which be in Judaea”]. The event known as the “Rapture” of the NT Church is not mentioned or referenced in these sayings of Jesus.

 

Much of Jesus’ ministry specifically targeted His own people according to the flesh–the people of the nation of Israel.

 

Romans 15:8

Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:

 

On the other hand, when Paul spoke to the NT Church concerning the return of Jesus Christ for the NT Church he clearly indicated that there was absolutely no need for them to be concerned that the “Day of the Lord” or the Tribulation was present!

 

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3

Amplified Bible (AMP)

1 But relative to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and our gathering together to [meet] Him, we beg you, brethren,

2 Not to allow your minds to be quickly unsettled or disturbed or kept excited or alarmed, whether it be by some [pretended] revelation of [the] Spirit or by word or by letter [alleged to be] from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has [already] arrived and is here.

3 Let no one deceive or beguile you in any way, for that day will not come except the apostasy comes first [unless the predicted great falling away of those who have professed to be Christians has come], and the man of lawlessness (sin) is revealed, who is the son of doom (of perdition),

 

1 Thessalonians 5:1-4

1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.

2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

 

 

Summary of Scriptural teaching on the Coming of the Lord

 

The scriptures teach a pre-millennial, pre-trib catching away of the NT Church.

 

There will also be a mid-trib catching away of 144,000 Israelite men who are saved according to the Acts 2:38 message just prior to the middle of the Tribulation.

 

There will also be a post-trib catching away of the Tribulation Saints, who will be comprised of Israelites as well as people from all over the world who were saved according to the Acts 2:38 message during the Tribulation.

 

NOTE: There are several ranks or classes of “saved” people.

 

1 Corinthians 15:22-23

22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

23 But every man in his own order [or, rank]: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming [parousia].

 

The first “coming” of Christ [to the earth] was to a stable in Bethlehem.

 

There will be a SECRET “coming” of Christ for His NT Church [i.e., like a thief in the night]. At this time, Christ does not return to the earth; instead, we will be caught up to meet him in the air [1 Thess. 4:17].

 

The second “coming” of Christ [to the earth] will be at the end of the Tribulation period. This is what is described in Matt. 24 and Rev. 19.

 

 

 

Pastor Tim Cormier
09/10/2014

Who are the Saints in Revelation 13?

 

Eschatological Considerations….

 

Revelation 13
7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
9 If any man have an ear, let him hear.

 

Those who believe the Church will go through the Tribulation have been known to point to Rev. 13:7 as one of the reasons for believing this.

 

However, consider the words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 16:18….

 

“Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

 

In order for the “saints” being referenced in Rev. 13:7 to be “the Church” in the process of going through the Tribulation, then the words of Jesus in Matt. 16:18 would have to be discarded as at least hyperbole and at worst prevarication!

 

Why?

 

Because in Rev. 13:7 we see what some are claiming is “the Church” being OVERCOME by the dark forces of Hell–when Jesus proclaimed that the gates of Hell would not prevail against “the Church!”

 

 

An additional point to ponder….

 

Notice v. 9…. “If any many have an hear, let him hear.”

 

Interestingly, the similar admonition found 7 times in Revelation 2 & 3 specifically lists the scope of what the Spirit was saying as being limited to the ecclesia… “the Church”.

 

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

 

See Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13 & 22.

 

It seems obvious that what is being spoken in Rev. 13 is NOT being addressed to “the Church” in the manner of that which was being spoken in Rev. 2 & 3 was.

 

This is just another small clue showing that “the saints” of Rev. 13:7 are not “the Church” as we know it today.

 

Rather, this term is referring to the “Holy Ones” of the Age to Come, i.e., those who will be saved out of the Tribulation.

 

 

Pastor Tim Cormier
08/27/2014

The Seventieth Week of Daniel

“Jacob’s Trouble”

 

Anybody who places the NT Church in the Tribulation (either mid or post) needs to explain how the NT Church fits anywhere in Daniel’s Prophetic 70th Week, when it is obvious from scripture that the entire 70 Weeks of Years apply ONLY to the nation of Israel (Daniel’s people) and Jerusalem (Daniel’s holy city).

 

Daniel 9

24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

 

The first 69 Weeks of Years (483 years) were consummated by the coming of Jesus the Christ. The NT Church comes into existence in the “gap” [unspecified period of time] between the first 69 Weeks and the 70th Week. The Final Week, Daniel’s 70th Week, is known as the Tribulation or the Day of the Lord and is designated as exclusively belonging to Jacob–the nation of Israel–in Jeremiah 30:7, i.e., “Jacob’s Trouble”.

 

Jeremiah 30:7

Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.

 

The Tribulation Period does not involve the NT Church; it belongs exclusively to Israel. Daniel’s prophecy is not about the NT Church.

 

Jesus’ message in Matthew 24 concerning the Second Coming is indeed referring to the post-tribulation period. But that is NOT when the NT Church is taken. Those words were directed to Israel, not to the NT Church. (See Romans 9-11 for the clear distinction made in scripture between the NT Church and the nation of Israel.) The NT Church is taken before the Tribulation at the “Secret Coming”, at which time Jesus does not come back to the earth, but we will meet Him “in the air” (1 Thess. 4:17).

JACOB’S TROUBLE: The Bride’s Blessed Hope?

 

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ.”

—Titus 2:13

 

The Church Age

Many Apostolics believe the Church will go through the Tribulation. In fact, those who are promoting so-called “End-Time Revival” in the Church Age are obviously compelled to so teach. However, careful analysis of the Scriptures reveals the un­tenable nature of such a position. FOR THE APOSTOLIC CHURCH, THE MYSTICAL BODY AND BRIDE OF JESUS CHRIST, IS UNEQUIVO­CALLY SHOWN BY THE SCRIP­TURES TO BELONG TO AN AGE IN WHICH DIVINE WRATH IS KEPT IN ABEYANCE BY ITS VERY PRES­ENCE IN THE WORLD!

The Church of Jesus Christ, by definition, is an administrative instrument of the Grace of God. And as such, it is a con­tradiction in terms with the Great Tribu­lation—a time when this Age of Grace will be but another by-gone era. Those who would place the Church on earth during the Tribulation have not properly discerned the Body of Christ and have misapplied various prophetic passages of Scripture. In short, they are guilty of failing to recognize the true purpose of the Church.

The Purpose of the Church

What is the true purpose of the Church? Simply this: to administer the “economy” or the dispensation of the Grace of God to the world. (Eph. 3:2-7) We are to be “stewards” or administrators of the Grace of God, according to the Apostle Peter: “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the mani­fold grace of God.” (I Pet. 4:10) Like­wise, the Apostle Paul concurs: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” (Eph. 4:29)

Therefore, it comes as no surprise what­soever to discover that anyone who has ever become a part of this glorious Church has done so by the Grace of God. “For by grace are ye saved through faith….” (Eph. 2:8) Moreover, regardless of what we become or what we achieve as a part of the Church, it must surely be attributed to the Grace of God. “But by the grace of God I am what I am; and his grace, which was bestowed upon me, was not in vain, but I labored more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (I Cor. 15:10)

The Arena of Grace

Furthermore, it is only in the confines of this arena of Grace that the “gratuities of Grace” (charismata—commonly called the Gifts of the Spirit) may be found. (I Cor. 12:4) Addi­tionally, the Church is the dispenser of “Grace Lessons” through the offices of the ministry: “The grace of God that bringeth salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us….” (Titus 2:11-12) AND IT IS THE CHURCH ALONE WHOSE PREROGATIVE IT IS TO BOLDLY APPROACH THE THRONE OF GRACE TO FIND GRACE TO HELP IN TIME OF NEED! (Heb. 4:16)

Thus, as long as the Church of Jesus Christ is present in this world, the unre­strained wrath of God cannot be poured out upon the earth. Why? Be­cause the Church is the visible repre­sentative of the invisible presence of the Spirit of Jesus Christ working on earth to sanctify a People for His Name. The Tribulation, it should be noted, is “the great day of His wrath.” (Rev. 6:17) Thus, THE PUR­POSE OF THE GREAT TRIBULA­TION IS IN DIAMETRIC OPPOSI­TION TO THE MINISTRY OF GRACE THAT IS INCUMBENT UPON THE CHURCH.

We are not in Darkness

When dealing with the subject of the Tribulation, the Apostle Peter makes it very clear that the Lord is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Such is the very essence of the message of the Gospel of Christ. Nevertheless, he goes on, “the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night….” (II Pet. 3:9-10)  The Apos­tle Paul’s words are essentially the same: “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” However, we must not fail to notice the important clarification which Divine Inspiration provides us—“BUT YE, BRETHREN, ARE NOT IN DARKNESS, THAT THAT DAY SHOULD OVERTAKE YOU AS A THIEF.” (I Thes. 5:2,4)

Apparently, some have mistaken “persecutions and tribulations”—with which the Church has always had to contend—with the seven-year period of Tribulation known as Jacob’s Trouble, or the Seventieth Week of Daniel. (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1) Yet, although the Lord will allow His People to be tried, it is ut­terly inconceivable that His Bride would ever be the object of His divine wrath. “For”, says the Apostle, “God hath not appointed us to wrath but to obtain sal­vation by our Lord Jesus Christ….” (I Thes. 5:9)

Wrath of God: Comfort?

How tragic it is to consider that the re­turn of Christ for His Saints (which was originally a blessed hope and a source of comfort—Titus 2:13; I Thes. 5:11) has become an event which is anticipated with not a little trepidation by many honest and sincere Apostolics. In­terestingly enough, there is not a single shred of Scriptural support for the claim many are making that the Church will be on earth during the Tribulation.

As a matter of fact, quite the op­posite is true. Notice carefully the words of the Apostle Paul concerning this mat­ter: “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be trou­bled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ (i.e., the Lord) is at hand (present). Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, ex­cept there come a (the) falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdi­tion…. And now ye know what with­holdeth (restraineth) that he might be re­vealed in his time. For the mystery of in­iquity doth already work; only he who now letteth (hindereth) will let (continue to hinder) until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked (one) be revealed….” (II Thes. 2:1-8)

Tribulation Prerequisites

Based on this much maligned and oft misunderstood passage, there are two critical events that must happen before the “day of the Lord” (i.e., the Tribula­tion) can begin: first, there must come a “falling away”; and then the “man of sin” must be re­vealed.

Who among us would doubt that the first of these criteria has already been met? That the majority of nominal Christen­dom possesses only a powerless shell of what the Gospel is supposed to be is an unimpeachable witness to this fact. Every church that claims to be Christian but does not preach and prac­tice the Apos­tolic message of Acts 2:38 is but another tendril of the vine of Apostasy that began at Babylon and worked its way to Rome.

What, then, can be said about the unveil­ing of the identity of the anti-Christ? First of all, it should be noted that HE CAN­NOT BE REVEALED UNTIL A CER­TAIN “RESTRAINING FORCE” IS REMOVED. Verses 6, 7 and 8 of II Thessalonians chapter 2 give proof of this fact. This restraining force cannot but be the Body of Christ, which is His Church. Witness the words of the Apos­tle: “To wit, that God was in Christ rec­onciling the world unto Himself, not im­puting their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of rec­onciliation. Now then we are ambassa­dors for Christ, as though God did be­seech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” (II Cor. 5:19-20) What more evidence could be desired to show that as long as the Church of Jesus Christ is present in it, it would be at least counter-productive for the Lord to dispense His wrath upon this world?!

Imminent Rapture

Thus, it becomes clear that the Tribula­tion cannot begin until the anti-Christ has been revealed. And the anti-Christ will not be known until the Church is “taken out of the way”. This event, commonly called the “Rapture”, has been imminent ever since the very days of the Apostles. It is obvious, for example, that the Apostle Paul anticipated the return of Christ for the Church in his days. “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (precede) them who are asleep….” (I Thes. 4:15-17) The obser­vant reader will notice that NOT A SIN­GLE PROPHECY EXISTS THAT MUST BE FULFILLED BEFORE THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH!

If, however, the Church must go through the Tribulation before it is rap­tured, then the rapture has not been im­minent since 70 A.D., nor is it imminent now. For if anything at all about the Tribulation is obvious, it is the fact that the anti-Christ is going to cause “the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” in the middle of the week (7-year period) of Jacob’s Trouble. (Dan. 9:27) This is referred to in Scrip­ture as the “abomination of desolation.” (Matt. 24:15)

Unless we are to seriously enter­tain the unlikely notion that the destruc­tion of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. fulfilled this proph­ecy, then Israel must begin the process of animal sacrifices again some time before the middle of the Tribulation. And al­though virtually everything neces­sary for the sacrifices and the oblations to resume is in place—indeed, they may already have re­sumed by now—the fact still remains that for over nineteen centuries there have been no sacrifices and oblations which an anti-Christ could have caused to cease.

Thus, it is certain that the Tribu­lation could not have reached its mid-point at any time in the history of the Church until now. Therefore, IF, as many are claiming, THE CHURCH MUST GO THROUGH THE TRIBULATION, THE RAPTURE HAS NOT BEEN IMMI­NENT AT ANY TIME SINCE 70 A.D.!

Why? Simply because the pres­ence of contingent factors destroys the quality of imminency. In other words, if the Tribu­lation cannot occur without animal sacri­fices in Israel, and if the Rapture is to oc­cur after the Tribulation (as some sup­pose), then the fact that there have been no animal sacrifices in Israel means that the Tribulation could not occur, and as a result the Rapture has not been immi­nent. How could the Apostle have been so blind?!

Source of Confusion

Perhaps the source of most of the confu­sion on this subject is the failure to dis­cern between the Scriptures pertaining to the Church (the seed of Abraham by faith), and those which deal exclusively with Israel (the seed of Abraham accord­ing to the flesh). It is unquestionably clear from the writings of the Apostle Paul to the Romans that God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew, i.e., the nation of Israel. Furthermore, blindness in part is happened unto Is­rael—UNTIL THE FULNESS OF THE GENTILES BE COME IN. (Rom. 11:2,25)

Tragically, the Gentiles in the Bride of Christ all too often make the same mis­take Israel made when it comes to un­derstanding God’s plan for other Ages. Many times in our evangelistic zeal and fervor we make rash statements which cannot be substantiated with Scripture; e.g., “No one will be in Heaven who wasn’t baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ.” For such a state­ment to be accu­rate it must be altered to indicate that anyone who hasn’t been baptized prop­erly will be excluded from the BRIDE OF CHRIST, THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH. Otherwise, the vast array of Old Testament Saints would be as equally condemned as the unbelievers of this present age. Such, by the way, is the only explanation for the conversion of the penitent thief: like Abraham, he be­lieved God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. But neither Abraham nor the penitent thief became members of the Bride of Christ!

Gentile Bride Foretold

The words of James, fresh with Holy Ghost anointing, give us a clear picture of God’s plan as he quotes from the an­cient scrolls: “…God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tab­ernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up….” (Acts 15:14-16)

The Church, as has been aptly noted by others, was not an afterthought of God. Yet, many believe God turned to the Gentiles for a Church only because Israel had rejected Him. However, care­ful scrutiny and close analysis of the Scrip­tures reveal that Israel was a figure of the Church, and the Law of Moses was a “shadow of good things to come.” (I Cor. 10:6,11; Col. 2:16-17; Heb. 9:23-24,10:1) And while Israel, as a nation, will not be a part of the Church, neither will the Church preempt the position of Israel as God’s natural people. (Rom. 11:23-24,28-29)

Children of Promise

It should be noted here that Israel’s re­jection of the Messiah was largely due to the fact that in their zeal to see the King­dom set up they had overlooked the suf­ferings of Messiah that were to precede it. And though literally thousands of the Jews believed, Israel as a nation did not receive the Gospel of Christ.

The explanation given by the Apostle Paul is illustrated by a simple al­legory: the nation of Israel corresponds to Ish­mael, who was born after the flesh; the Church answers to Isaac, who was the child of promise. (Gal. 4:21-31) Thus Israel remains to this day the “natural” or fleshly people of God—temporarily set aside, but in no wise cast away! And af­ter the Church is taken out, God will once again turn to Israel. For “all Israel shall be saved.” (Rom. 11:1,26)

In the Days of Noah

In Enoch we see a clear type of the Church: “And Enoch walked with God, and he was not; for God took him.” (Gen. 5:24) The Church, like Enoch, will be taken out before the storm of the Wrath of God breaks out upon this sin-cursed world. Noah, on the other hand, prefigured Israel. God preserved Noah in the Ark of Safety while the flood with all its ferocity was unleashed around him. In like manner, Israel will be saved “out of Great Tribulation.” (Rev. 7:14)

A Glorious Church

In spite of the fact that part of it is some­what misinformed—or uninformed—on this subject, the Church is looking for that Blessed Hope, even the appearing of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. If we are to be the Bride of Christ, we must, however, make ourselves ready. (Rev. 19:7-8) Our Lord Jesus Christ so loved us, that He gave Himself for us, THAT HE MIGHT SANCTIFY AND CLEANSE US, AND PRESENT US—THE BRIDE—TO HIMSELF A GLORIOUS CHURCH, NOT HAVING SPOT, OR WRINKLE, OR ANY SUCH THING; BUT THAT WE SHOULD BE HOLY AND WITHOUT BLEMISH! Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be. But we know that when He shall ap­pear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. AND EVERY MAN THAT HAS THIS HOPE IN HIM PU­RIFIES HIMSELF EVEN AS HE IS PURE! (Eph. 5:25-27; I John 3:2-3)

“Such, then, is the distinctive hope of Christianity: not pardon, not peace, most certainly not death, but the appearing in glory of Him Whom the world last saw as ‘the Crucified Jew’”.

Sir Robert Anderson,
Redemption Truths

by Rev. Tim D. Cormier
(1998)

Reprinted from the Apostolic Standard.

(C) Copyright held by Tim D. Cormier. This document may not be reproduced in whole or in part, except for personal use, without the express written permission of the author.

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