revelation



It is estimated that 90% of churches in the United States do not teach Bible prophecy. Have you ever wondered why so many churches ignore preaching about the rapture and the second coming? Although prophecy is an important subject in the Bible, there are several reasons why churches are not creating talking points and teaching their congregations about end times.

An unnamed pastor was asked why he did not include Bible prophecy during his weekly sermons. His response was because there is so much disagreement on the subject. Understandably, the pastor refuses to preach about subjects that might cause disagreements or divisions among his congregation. He is correct; there is confusion surrounding doctrines about Bible prophecy. For example, what is the rapture and will it happen before or after the tribulation? These doctrines are difficult to teach and even harder to build a unified acceptance among church members.

An interesting article written by Pastor Tom Hughes of The 412 Church titled, "Five Reasons Pastors Don’t Teach Bible Prophecy" lists the following reasons why pastors are not preaching about Bible prophecy:

  1. They don't understand it
  2. They fear offending members of the church
  3. They sense it will scare people
  4. They fear people will stop giving
  5. They fear looking like fringe groups who take things to an extreme
These reasons are understandable, but do not excuse the fact that our Bible is a book that almost revolves around end time Bible prophecy. By not teaching about Bible prophecy, these pastors are not teaching God's word in it's fullest capacity. There is so much to learn about the end times and from my experience, Bible prophecy has only accelerated my relationship with Jesus Christ. During His time on Earth, Jesus himself taught the disciples about events which were to come and how to prepare. The New Testament is crammed with passages relating to Bible prophecy. In fact, the book of Revelation is entirely based on the events leading up to and after Jesus Christ returns for His church.

Revelation 1:3 even mentions a blessing for those who read about the end time prophecies within:

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. Revelation 1:3
By learning about end time Bible prophecy, we can understand what God has in store for our lives and for the future. This world is in a bad state, and to be honest many have abandoned their faith because Bible prophecy is not being taught in more churches. Satan undoubtedly loves the idea that Bible prophecy is not being taught in more churches today. God's people should know more about the end times which requires pastors to step outside their comfort zones. The church deserves to know the truth about the prophecies that will pass before the day of the Lord's return.

Thanks for reading,
Brandon

The rapture is one of the most debated concepts in the world of Bible prophecy. The rapture should be examined with an approach that is not about separation, but understanding what the event means to the body of Christ. This post will present a non-biased attempt to clear up common misconceptions about the rapture and explain why there is so much confusion surrounding this subject, even among Christian believers.

What is the Rapture?

The rapture is a supernatural event where believers in Christ, at an unknown day and hour will be changed into spiritual bodies, and snatched away to meet Jesus Christ the in the air. What scriptural evidence can we find in the Bible to support this concept and when does this event take place? The proceeding list summarizes the most common positions Christians have taken toward the rapture.

Pre-Tribulation

The word "rapture" is not found in the Bible, but remains significant given how the word was written by New Testament translators. The meaning of the word rapture comes from the Greek word harpazo, which was translated into the Latin word rapier. The term literally means to be "caught up or snatched away". The pre-tribulation rapture is a supernatural event that would occur immediately before the start of the seven-year tribulation period, also called Daniel's 70th Week. Those who believe in Jesus Christ will be translated into their spiritual bodies and be removed from Earth to be with God in Heaven. The famous Bible passage for this belief comes from 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, however, other verses exist that can be used to support or contradict pre-tribulation timing.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
Bible scholars believe that the great tribulation period will begin when the church is "caught up" to meet Christ in the clouds. The idea is that we, as the body of Christ possess the spirit of God, which acts as a restrainer, or controlling force that prevents the Antichrist from gaining control of the world and its population. There are Christian believers that have power and authority in many governments and voting systems throughout the world, which hands credibility to this concept. It makes sense that the Antichrist is not able to rise to power until those who oppose evil are "caught up" and removed from the world scene.

Pre-tribulation rapture believers consider the rapture and the second coming of Jesus Christ to be separate events.

Mid-Tribulation

The mid-tribulation rapture teaches that the rapture of the church will take place in the middle of the seven year tribulation period, three and a half years before the second coming of Jesus Christ. According to this view, the seven-year tribulation is separated into two halves; the first half described as the wrath of man, and the last half as the wrath of God. It is important to understand that the entire tribulation will last for a total of 2,520 days. This number is calculated based on the assumption that the tribulation will last for 7 years and each year consisting of 360 days according to a prophetic calendar.

In the book of Revelation, chapter 11:1-3, it is written that the holy city will tread for forty-two months (1,260 days), which according to this view, describes the first three and a half years of the tribulation. Mid-tribulation believers reference the second half of the tribulation, or a thousand two hundred and threescore days (1,260 days) in the same verse:

And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. Revelation 11:1-3
A principal argument of the mid-tribulation view is that the rapture will occur at the "last trump". According to this view, mid-tribulation believers view the seventh trumpet of Revelation 11:15 and the last trump of 1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16 as the same event. These verses are used in conjunction with Revelation 13:5 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3 by mid-tribulation believers, which states that the Antichrist will be revealed before the second half of the tribulation begins and will be given authority to continue for forty-two months (1,260 days).

Pre-Wrath

The pre-wrath theory portrays the rapture as taking place before the great day of God's wrath. According to the pre-wrath view, believers in Jesus Christ experience most of the tribulation up until the time of God's wrath, which occurs before the end of the tribulation. The church will endure Satan's wrath and man's persecution, but will not experience God's wrath. According to this rapture view, the church will be present during the first six seals, but are caught up to heaven before the Lord pours out the final judgement on the world.

For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our LORD Jesus Christ, 1 Thessalonians 5:9
The pre-wrath rapture theory views the trumpet and bowl judgments in Revelation 7-16 as God's wrath, which the church will not experience. The first six seal judgments in Revelation 6 are not considered to be God's wrath; rather, they are viewed as "the wrath of Satan". According to pre-wrath believers, this is because there are no direct mentions of God's wrath until after the sixth seal is broken in Revelation 6:17.

One argument against this theory is that the wrath from the first six seals are a result of the seals in Revelation 5:9. The Lamb, who is found to be worthy, opens the seals; therefore, the seals do not represent man's wrath, but instead release God's wrath during the tribulation.

Post-Tribulation

This brings us to the next theory regarding the rapture of the church. Post-tribulation believers teach that the resurrection and rapture will come after the tribulation has concluded. The timing is key to understanding the basis for this doctrine. Those who support this theory believe that Christians will remain on the Earth during the entire seven-year tribulation period. The book of Matthew is often quoted to support of the post-tribulation rapture:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matthew 24:29-31
Something to consider about the post-tribulation rapture timing is the concept known as the "Day of the Lord", which possibly refers to the rapture. This reference comes from 1 Thessalonians 5:2-5 which states that the day will come as a "thief in the night" and that we should be watching, and therefore not taken by surprise. There have been several discussions and arguments about the interpretation of these verses. For example, one could argue that if the rapture were to occur after the tribulation, then believers in Christ would be aware of when the rapture would take place. This would be true, even if non-believers were unaware of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. The Bible makes a clear distinction between us and "those that sleep", thus lending credibility to the quoted passage.

Post-tribulation rapture believers consider the rapture and the second coming of Jesus Christ to be the same or successive events.

Post-Millennial

The post-millennial rapture theory is an interpretation of chapter 20 in the Book of Revelation, which teaches that Christ's second coming occurs after the millennium, or 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ. Supporters of this doctrine believe that Jesus Christ remains in heaven and rules over the Earth during the millennial period. According to this view, the millennium is not always believed to be a literal 1,000 years. Acts 3:20-21 is often quoted in reference to this concept.

And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3:20-21

Is the rapture Biblical?

Now that summaries have been presented for each of the most popular positions taken on the rapture of the church, how can we determine if the rapture is Biblical? The answer is actually straightforward and will come as no surprise to anyone who has spent enough time studying this topic. Each of these positions are compelling in their own right, yet vastly different from each other in theory. To me, this means that either one of theories is Biblical or neither of these doctrines are Biblical, so let's start by reviewing the obvious. The Bible states that we will be "caught up” to meet the Lord in the air. This is the definitely the rapture of the church; however, the timing of the rapture has always been the question that leads to confusion and eventually debate among believers.

If you have made it this far, I am going to apologize now for being "that guy" who wants to meet in the middle and not spend too much time arguing about the possible interpretations of different passages in regards to the rapture of the church. Instead, I want to point out an important verse that many Christians should appreciate and offer an alternative solution to understanding this supernatural event.

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed 1 Corinthians 15:51
In this verse, Paul the Apostle tells the church that the rapture, is a mystery. In other words, the rapture is something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain. As the body of Christ, we should remember this verse when discussing the rapture or the second coming of Jesus Christ with other believers. This way, we are careful to not cause divisions among our fellowship with one another. The rapture is going to happen at some point in the near future, however, we are not going to know the day or the hour, according to Matthew.

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 24:36-37
Until that day comes, we should study His word in faith and not quarrel too much over the timing.

You can all it the "rapture", the "translating" or the "catching away" if you choose, but the event is absolutely going to happen according to the Bible and there are few arguments that can be used to debate this fact.

God Bless!

Thanks for reading,
Brandon

An interesting location exists in Silkeborg, Denmark that appears to be a representation of the Eye of Providence, or the all-seeing eye. The property is owned by the Jehovah's Witnesses organization and used for religious events. You might recognize this symbol from the reverse side of the United States one dollar bill and dozens, if not hundreds of popular music videos and Hollywood films. The discovery comes from the Jehovas Vidners Stævneplads Facebook page and a handful of YouTube videos that can be found using a simple search for the phrase "Jehovah's witness All Seeing Eye".

The Conference Hall, which serves as one of organization's four District Council event venues in Denmark, and the Eye of Providence, can easily be seen using online services such as Google Earth. Other venue locations in Denmark include Herlufmagle and Rønne. The property is located at Helsinkivej 3A-E, 8600 Silkeborg, Denmark.

The all-seeing eye, which is commonly associated with conspiracy theories such as the Illuminati and the New World Order, should be examined with discretion. As believers in Jesus Christ, it is more important to trust the Word of God as our source of truth and understanding than to desire facts from the unknown, however, there is nothing wrong with educating yourself about cults, apostate religions and the corrupt organizations that exists in the world. In the book of Revelation, these are labeled as the abominations of the earth and are usually in opposition to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you have more information about the Conference Hall or the Jehovah's Witnesses organization, please signup and share in our Christian forums today.

Source: Facebook, Google Maps

This story details the night when God spoke to me through one of the Bible's most prophetic books, the book of Revelation.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Genesis 1:1

I remember sitting on my living room floor, opening the Bible and reading this verse for the first time. These words were my first encounter with the scriptures that so many people claim to be the Word of God. I remember the Bible being an integral part of my life from an early age. I also remember attending church on Sunday mornings and having an absolute blast each summer at church camp. I had family, friends and church members who encouraged me to love God and to follow His commandments throughout my childhood and young adult life. I feel blessed to have had people that cared enough to teach me about the gospel before I made the decision to learn more about Jesus Christ and follow Him on my own.

One morning, the pastor at the church I was attending called me into his office to ask me questions about Jesus, Christianity and baptism. He asked questions like, "do you know what it means to be a Christian?" and "do you love Jesus Christ with all of your heart?". He proceeded to ask if I wanted to be baptized and explained the process and intention of the act. I answered each of his questions genuinely; however, at such a young age, I did not completely understand the uniqueness of these questions. I understood the basic concepts about being a Christian believer. I understood that Jesus died for our sins and that He rose on the third day, but at the time, I did not grasp what it would mean to turn my life over to Christ. With that said, I answered yes to the question about being baptized and decided to follow through, and so, I was baptized. From there I lived a pretty normal teenage and young adult life. I stayed out of trouble but looking back, I still made mistakes and bad decisions along the way.

The first exposure I had to end time Bible prophecy was when my mother, who was also a Christian, would watch a television program hosted by Jack Van Impe. I was not entirely impressed with this program during my youth, however, I was intrigued by Jack's concrete dedication to the memorization of Bible scriptures. Over time, I started to realize that the Bible included a plethora of fascinating material in terms of Bible prophecy. I did not understand what Bible prophecy was until I began to pay more attention to this program, which seemed to be centered around end time Bible prophecy. Gradually, I developed a beginner understand of the concepts from the books in the Bible such as Revelation and Daniel. I was exposed to end time concepts such as the rapture and the second coming of Jesus Christ and eventually become curious about reading for myself what the Bible had to say about Bible prophecy.

Late one night, I was in my bedroom and decided to open my Bible, which was given to me years earlier, to do some reading. I opened the Bible and quickly turned to the book of Revelation. I already knew Revelation was the last book in the Bible, so I innocently skipped to the end to learn about the end times. I was certain that something in this book would stand out as interesting or grab my attention while reading, but I was not prepared for what was about to happen.

As I began to read the book of Revelation for the first time, there were several passages that initially peeked my curiosity. Namely, the seven churches, the seven spirits which are before his throne, the seven golden candlesticks and the seven stars that were in his right hand. I quickly noticed a pattern of introductions that seemed to emphasize the number seven. The book continues to explain that the seven candlesticks were the seven churches. Great, but I could not understand why this book used such strong instances of symbolism. Nevertheless, I was immediately hooked and wanted more, even after reading the first couple of chapters.

The book of Revelation appeared to be filled with wonders and mysteries, and the description of the four living creatures was no different. The throne of God is mentioned several times and something before the throne that is described with the appearance of a sea that is made out of glass. This is clearly symbolism, but this throne in heaven sounds beautiful and unique. The Bible says there are four living creatures that are on each side around the throne. The creatures are described as full of eyes on the front and back side. I read about the first creature, which was like a lion and the second creature was like an ox. The third creature was with a face like a man and the fourth creature was like an eagle in flight. Each of these creatures is described as having six wings and never cease to say, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come". Again, the words suggest at least some level of symbolism, but these creatures still sounded terrifying and majestic. As a side note, I wish these living creatures would be mentioned in more churches today.

The book of Revelation details four horsemen that are more interesting than anything I have read before. The horsemen each appeared to have a specific role concerning these prophecies, and the introductions seemed to be chronological in nature. The first horse was the white horse, who's rider had a bow and a crown. Knowing this book contained symbolism, I mistakenly assumed that the first horseman was about Jesus Christ and the second coming. I later realized that this was an impostor who would be an imitation of Christ before His return. The second horse was red, and the rider was given a great sword and power to take peace from the earth. The third horse was black, and the rider’s intention was to cause chaos and economic division throughout the world. The third horseman was clearly a result of the second horseman. The fourth horseman was riding a pale horse and was given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and through the spread of disease. After reading about the four horsemen, I realized that many terrible things are going to occur during the last days. However, little did I know that these horsemen, as terrible as they sound were only the beginning and more terrifying events would come to pass.

I continued reading about the next several events that would occur during the end times. There are too many individual events to include in a single post, but I plan on writing detailed information about these events in future publications. Some of these events are the seven trumpets, followed by the seven bowls of God's wrath that would be poured out onto an already devastated earth. To give you an example, I read about an event about a fallen star named "Wormwood" that contaminates water and kills many men. I remember finding this really disturbing the first time I read about the seven trumpets. One of ways that God pours out his wrath during the end times is by turning seas into blood and causing all the creatures in them to die.

Revelation 18 says that a powerful angel came down from heaven and that the earth was lighted with his glory. The angel cried out with a load voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen. This phrase struck me as something of significance, but I could not understand the meaning and was not sure what or who Babylon was at the time. There is so much happening in this chapter and I would love to dissect everything in another blog post, but for now, I am going to focus on my experience while reading the final chapters of this book; especially the passages that drew me closer to God than ever before.

I continued to read about heaven opening and a rider on a white horse who was called The Word of God. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns. It was Jesus! These descriptions surprised me because I had never heard the second coming of Jesus Christ detailed this way before. I remember hearing how glorious the second coming would be, and that Jesus would put an end to the Satan, and evil. These passages, however, were a true awakening that opened my spirit to something so much bigger than anything else I could imagine. In the book of Revelation, the return of Jesus Christ is described as something that will cause those who have sinned against Him to tremble and fear. Jesus is coming back for His people and He is angry because the sins of the world have reached up to heaven. After this, the world attempts to make war against Him in a battle named Armageddon, but the armies are slain and cast alive into a lake of fire and brimstone. Satan is bound to a bottomless pit for a thousand years while those who love God and did not receive the mark of the beast would reign with Christ during this millennium.

After the thousand years, Satan is set free and then cast into the lake of fire for eternity. This is when the new heaven and the new earth are revealed, and it is written that God himself will be with His people and He would be their God forever. The scriptures continue with unique and breathtaking details about the city that came down from heaven, new Jerusalem. Tired and reading with chills running through my entire body, I could barely continue but I kept reading until I victoriously reached the end of Revelation. After the final verse, I realized that I had been reading for several hours and though tired, I knew that my life had been changed. God spoke to me through this book, the book of Revelation. He gave me an assurance of peace and hope, and I knew that night He would be my God, forever.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Revelation 22:21

Thanks for reading,
Brandon