The Final Resurrection of the Dead and the Great White Throne Judgment

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.  And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.  And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.  Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.  And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.  (Revelation 20:11-15 ESV)

The Great White Throne Judgment should terrify anyone who isn’t clothed in the righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.  Like an ominous courtroom scene, the evidence will be brought forth to be examined before God.   There will be no debate over guilt or innocence.  No one at the great white throne judgment will have any defense to make for themselves.  After this judgment, everyone will enter their eternal destinations.

Who is Judged at the GWT Judgment?

Current believers WILL NOT participate in the Great White throne judgment.  All believers in Christ from the beginning of humanity up to the start of the Millennial Kingdom will have already been judged and will be in their eternal, glorified, rewarded states.  These will have participated in the First Resurrection.  They will not participate in the Great White Throne Judgment except perhaps as observers.

All humans who died in rejection of Jesus Christ since the dawn of humanity will be resurrected from the dead as part of the Second, and Final, Resurrection.  They will stand before the throne of God at the Great White Throne Judgment.

It is possible that believers who die in Jesus Christ during the Millennial Kingdom will also stand for judgment at this time, but their judgment is not specifically discussed.  Judgment before God at some point is certain for every human.

For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will give praise to God.  So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. (Romans 14:10-12 ESV)

When Does the GWT Judgment Occur?

The Great White Throne Judgment occurs immediately after the Millennial Kingdom, after the “Last Battle”.  It bridges the Millennial Kingdom and Eternity.

Where Does the GWT Judgment Occur?

When God sits in His court of judgment, the earth and sky will flee away. This suggests that the Great White Throne Judgment occurs in the supernatural/spiritual third dimension, after the present form of heaven and earth have passed away (Revelation 21:1).  The new heavens and earth will be created after the Great White Throne Judgment is complete.

What Takes Place During the GWT Judgment?

Each and every human who did not participate in the “First Resurrection” will face resurrection from the dead.  The general resurrection at this time is described as the “resurrection of judgment” (John 5:29), the resurrection to “disgrace and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2), and the resurrection “of the wicked” (Acts 24:15).

God has placed eternity on our hearts because we are, in fact, all created to be eternal beings.  Where we spend eternity is up to us, and is decided while we are in our physical bodies on earth.

Each person will be summoned and take a turn standing before the throne of the Almighty God.  Books will be opened.  There are two different types of books.  The first is the singular Book of Life.  This book contains all the names of people who are saved by grace through faith through the blood of Jesus, throughout the entire age of humanity.  If your name is found in this book, you will receive eternal life.  If your name is not found in this book, you will be cast into the Lake of Fire with the devil and his angels.  It’s a “yes or no” type book.  Because God knows the beginning from the end and is not constrained by time, everyone’s name in the Lamb’s Book of Life has been recorded in there since the foundation of the world (Rev 3:5, Phil 4:3, Rev 13:8, Rev 21:27, Rev 17:8).

The second set of books contains the record of everything every human has thought, said, and done while in physical existence on earth.

Those whose names are found in the book of life will find that all their bad deeds have disappeared out of this second set of books.  Psalm 103:12 states that “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us”.  These sins against God have been blotted out by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ.  Judgment will determine degrees of reward.

Look, I am coming soon, and my reward is with me to repay each person according to his work. (Revelation 22:12 ESV)

Those whose names are NOT found in the book of life will have all their thoughts, words, and actions  held up against God’s perfect holy laws.  God’s expectation is stated in Matthew 5:48 – “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  If even a single rule is broken, the death penalty is prescribed.  The balance of good deeds versus bad deeds will be taken into account as to HOW bad their eternal suffering will be.  However, everyone whose name is not found in the Lamb’s book of Life will be cast into the eternal lake of fire.

The Great White Throne Judgment boils down to a single verse in Romans 6:23:  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Jesus paid the price so that every human ever born could have been redeemed and had eternal life.  It is only by rejecting God’s free gift that humans choose to pay their own debt with their eternal life.

Upon the completion of the Great White Throne judgment, Death and Hades (hell) is also cast into the Lake of Fire.  The decision is final and complete.

Understanding God’s Judgment

God’s holiness demands that He deal with sin and rebellion against Him.  This is why He offered Himself as a sacrifice, in order to provide a way for us to escape His wrath.  One thing we can be certain of is God’s fairness, justice, and mercy.  There are some things we just can’t know, such as how God will judge those who can’t understand or who haven’t heard His truth.  We are told that He will judge by the heart and the conscience.

But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;  but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.  There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,  but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.  For God shows no partiality. For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.  For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.  For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.  They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them  on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.  (Romans 2:5-16 ESV)

We all deserve God’s wrath, because we all have sinned against Him.  Through God’s great mercy, we are each extended the offer of eternal forgiveness.  It is our free will whether we ask for that offer to be applied to our individual account.

Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

The Case For Eternal Punishment (Grace Thru Faith)

The Day of Christ – BEMA Seat (where church age believers will go)

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible. I am not. Be a Berean – examine the scriptures for yourself to see if these things are so!

 

7 Bowls / Vials of Wrath

 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.” So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing died that was in the sea. The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood.  And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say, “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!”

 And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, Lord God the Almighty,true and just are your judgments!” The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory. The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish  and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds. The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east.  And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs.  For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.  (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”)  And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.

 The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done!”  And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake.  The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath. And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found. And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so severe.

(Revelation 16:1-21 ESV)

 

Another Sign – Great and Amazing

Revelation chapter 15 introduces us to the 7 angels carrying the 7 bowls of God’s final wrath.  John describes them as a great and amazing sign – “Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished.” (Rev 15:1 ESV).  Normally I would read this at face value, that the great and amazing sign John sees is the angels holding the plagues.  However, I am reminded of the “great sign” of Revelation 12:1-2 and “another sign” of Revelation 12:3-4 that we have discussed elsewhere.  I am not personally watching in the heavens (Stellarium) to try to discern what this might be, but I do make note of the language here in case future watchmen find something obvious related to this.

John states that these angels and plagues are the LAST, which strongly supports the view that the Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls are chronological and not concurrent.  It also confirms that the Trumpets, at least, were also wrath.  The Bowls can’t be “last”, if nothing else came before them as “first”.  The Seals, as we have discussed separately, are different in form and while terrible, appear to signify the removal of restraint more than active “wrath”.  Lastly, the fact that the Bowls are “last” confirms that the Day of the Lord is not a single day, but a period of time encompassing at least all the Trumpets as well.

John then sees the angels come out of the heavenly sanctuary:

After this I looked, and the sanctuary of the tent of witness in heaven was opened,  and out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues, clothed in pure, bright linen, with golden sashes around their chests.  And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever,  and the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.  (Revelation 15:5-8 ESV)

The Contents of the Bowls

The Bowls are like saucers, with contents that will be hurled upon the earth.  Unlike the somewhat limited nature of the Trumpets, these are more severe and all-encompassing in scope.  Based on their severity, and the unlikelihood of human survival following them, it is likely they occur in a very short period of time near the very end of Daniel’s 70th Week / Day of the Lord.  Here is a brief summary of the wrath from the Bowls:

  • Bowl 1 – Harmful and painful sores occur on people who have taken the mark of the beast.
  • Bowl 2 – Entire sea turns to blood, all sea creatures die.
  • Bowl 3 – All rivers and springs become blood.
  • Bowl 4 – Sun scorches people with fierce heat.
  • Bowl 5 – Kingdom of the beast is plunged into darkness.  People in anguish over their pain and sores (continuing from Bowl 1).
  • Bowl 6 – The Euphrates river is dried up to allow humanity to assemble for the battle at “Armageddon” (Jerusalem?).  The antichrist and false prophet send three deceiving frog-like spirits go out into all the world to collect the people.
  • Bowl 7 – Lightning, rumblings, thunder, greatest earthquake ever, 100 pound hailstones.

Let’s discuss them now in further detail:

Bowl 1 – Painful Sores

Harmful and painful sores will literally come upon those who have taken the Mark of the Beast.  These sores will be painful and untreatable.  This bowl reminds me of the sixth plague which God sent upon Egypt in the days of Moses (the plague of boils).  Note that this judgment is specifically upon those who have taken the Mark despite the holy angel’s warning not to do so.  While believers will suffer many things, they will be spared from this act of God’s wrath.

Bowl 2 – Sea Turns to Blood, ALL Sea Creatures Die

While the second Trumpet judgment affected one third of the sea, the second Bowl will affect the entire sea.  What specifically occurs is not detailed, but it may be similar to the phenomenon of a “red tide” of toxic algae.  This time, all the sea creatures will die.

Bowl 3 – Rivers and Springs Turn to Blood

Similar to the third Trumpet judgment, the third Bowl will affect the freshwater on earth.  Instead of only one third being affected, ALL fresh water will be affected.  Drinking water will be in critically short supply.  John MacArthur, in his book “Because the Time is Near”, explains the interjection of the angel at this point – “God’s judgment of sinners is unquestionably righteous because He is the Holy One.  God is just and holy and will execute vengeance for His people (Romans 12:19, Hebrews 10:30).  Having willfully rejected the knowledge of the truth (Hebrews 10:26), there is nothing left for the unbelieving world but to receive what they deserve, “a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:27)”.  Again, this reminds me of the plagues of Egypt; specifically the first plague where the Nile River was turned to blood.

Bowl 4 – Sun Scorches Humanity With Intense Heat

Again, we are not told HOW this will occur, but somehow the heat from the sun will become unbearable.  Imagine being covered in painful sores, and then getting them sunburned….   Besides extreme discomfort, there may be major ramifications from this heat depending on the duration of it: melting polar ice caps, drought, death of vegetation.  Note that up until now in the book of Revelation, only the Antichrist is mentioned as “blaspheming God”.  Now, humanity joins in.

Bowl 5 – Earth Thrust Into Darkness

The kingdom and throne of the Beast are thrown into darkness at this point.  Since the Beast’s rule is global, I see this as being a global judgment like the other Bowls.  This is obviously a supernatural event.  That the sores are still present notes that Bowl 5 will be poured out in reasonably close time proximity to Bowl 1.  Humanity will be in such agony that they gnaw their tongues in torment… yet continue in their blasphemy of God and unrepentance towards Him.

Bowl 6 – Euphrates River Dries Up, Evil Spirits Collect Humanity to Fight God

In Bowl 6, we see 3 evil spirits come forth from the “unholy trinity” of the dragon, antichrist, and false prophet to deceive humanity and gather them in open rebellion against God.  The Euphrates river dries up to allow access to Jerusalem from the East.  This reminds me of Trumpet 6, in which 200 million demons were released from the Euphrates river to kill one third of humanity.  The Euphrates river has been an important river from the dawn of humanity, and here we see the part it is playing in the close of this age of humanity.  The evil spirits gather humanity at “Armageddon”.

Bowl 7 – Lightning, Thunder, Greatest Earthquake Splits Jerusalem into 3 Parts, All Cities Worldwide Fall, Islands Flee, Mountains Fall, 100 Pound Hailstones

With the outpouring of Bowl 7, the announcement comes that “It is finished”. Note that this bowl is poured out upon the air (atmosphere).  This is when the heavens are shaken, not just the earth.  God is literally shaking the kingdom of satan out of place and is taking hold of the heavens and the earth to possess them for Himself once more.  (For more on the shaking of the heavens, see THIS POST). The earth will be pelted with 100 pound hailstones. The greatest earthquake of all time will resurface the earth in preparation for Jesus’ millennial kingdom; all islands and mountains will disappear.  Jerusalem will be split into 3 parts, and raised up onto a flat plain.    Bowl 7 includes the events of the Destruction of Mystery Babylon, the Second Coming of Christ, as well as the Battle of Armageddon, which are discussed further elsewhere.

Conclusion

As the Bowl Judgments are progressively released upon the earth, we see humanity become harder and harder in their hearts towards God.  Their reactions of fear, terror, and giving glory to God (Seal 6, Revelation 6:15-16, Trumpet 6, Rev 11:13) have given way to cursing and blaspheming God (Bowls 4&7).  By the time Bowl 7 is poured out, all of humanity has chosen a side and will now be judged for whose side they are on – For God, or Against Him.


Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

God’s Mosaic – A Whole Scripture Overview of Things To Come

Seals, Sealing, and the Ministry of the Holy Spirit

The Four Horsemen – Seals 1-4

The Martyrs Under the Altar – Seal 5

The Blood Moon – Seal 6

Heavenly Silence – Seal 7

7 Trumpets, with 3 Woes

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

 The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  Be a Berean – examine the scriptures for yourself to see if these things are so!

7 Bowls FINAL(1)

 

Who is Mystery Babylon, and What Does She Do?

There is a range of teachings on Mystery Babylon, from symbolic to literal.  Symbolic interpretations include viewing Mystery Babylon as a conglomeration of false religions, the United States of America, ecumenical “Chrislam”, Roman Catholicism, and others.  Literal suggestions include Rome/Vatican City, rebuilt Babylon in Iraq, Mecca, New York City, and Jerusalem.  Having looked into all angles, I have come to the conclusion that Mystery Babylon is a literal city – the great city of Jerusalem as it will exist in the end times.  The best exposition of this is the book Mystery Babylon by Chris White and I highly recommend it for further study.  I will present a summary of the model here.

Over 90 specific qualities are given in Scripture to “Mystery Babylon”.  That “she” is a literal city is seen when she is burned down and the smoke can be seen from the nearby sea, merchants sell items to it, and it experiences famine.  The “great city” is mentioned ten times in the book of Revelation, always in reference to the city of Jerusalem.  When speaking of the death of the two witnesses, John writes “and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified.”  (Revelation 11:8).  Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem.   Revelation 16:19 distinguishes the “great city” from the cities of the nations (Gentile cities).   That so much time is spent detailing her destruction (over 2 chapters) signifies its’ importance – it is the culmination of judgment upon a city and nation foretold throughout the whole of Scripture.  No other city or nation in the world is so tied in to Scripture than Jerusalem and Israel.  This forms our base as Mystery Babylon being the literal city of Jerusalem, as she will exist in the 70th week of Daniel as the head of all cities (yet future).

Mystery Babylon, or Babylon the Great, and her destruction, is introduced in Revelation 16:

The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the Great was remembered in God’s presence; He gave her the cup filled with the wine of His fierce anger.  (Revelation 16:19)

We are then given a very detailed description of the above verse in Revelation chapters 17-18.

First, Babylon the Great is described as a prostitute.  Jerusalem is specifically called a “harlot” (prostitute) hundreds of times in the Bible, always referring to its’ spiritual idolatry.  Ezekiel chapter 16 is about this:

Son of man, explain Jerusalem’s detestable practices to her…you were confident in your beauty and acted like a prostitute because of your fame. You lavished your sexual favors on everyone who passed by. Your beauty became his. You took some of your garments and made colorful high places for yourself, and you engaged in prostitution on them. These places should not have been built, and this should never have happened! You also took your beautiful jewelry made from the gold and silver I had given you, and you made male images so that you could engage in prostitution with them…  You built your elevated place at the head of every street and turned your beauty into a detestable thing. You spread your legs to everyone who passed by and increased your prostitution… You adulterous wife, who receives strangers instead of her husband!  (verses 2, 15-17, 25, 32)

God’s relationship with Israel, and Israel’s spiritual adultery, is portrayed through the book of Hosea as well.

Babylon the Great sits on many waters, which is explained in Rev 17:15,18 as peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues.  She, along with the beast she rides (who rose out of the sea in Rev13), reigns over the kings of the earth.  It appears that this city becomes the head of a world empire, or is raised above all other cities in the world.  This is foretold in the Messianic Kingdom prophecies (Zechariah chapter 12 & 14, Isaiah 66).  The antichrist will try to appear to fulfill these prophecies and convince Israel that he is ushering in the Messianic Kingdom.  In Revelation 18, we do indeed see people bringing gifts and making pilgrimages to Jerusalem just as they will in the true Messianic Kingdom.

This “great city” corrupts the whole world with her fornication.  Jerusalem will promote the antichrist so intensely and passionately, that the whole world will be enticed (and likely pressured) to worship the beast.  It seems that Jerusalem embraces the antichrist as her Messiah, and not only that, but as “god” himself.  Her cup contains her own sin and idolatry, and the nations are made drunk with her idolatry.

She rides a scarlet beast with seven heads and ten horns, covered in blasphemy.  We have seen this beast before, in Revelation 13:1.  The beast is almost universally understood to be the antichrist.  The antichrist is full of blasphemy (Revelation 13:1-6, Daniel 7:8, 20, 25, Daniel 11:36, 2 Thessalonians 2:4).  The Great City is upon his back, but is a drunken passenger – she has no reigns or control.

Mystery Babylon is dressed in purple and scarlet, which are the colors of royalty.  She is clothed in fine linen, and decked in gold, precious stones, and pearls.  These all have strong parallels to Israel’s temple and to God’s clothing of Israel as described in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. She fulfills the role of an idolatrous high priest.  (But is not the False Prophet).

Upon her forehead is a name, “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.”  Of note is that her name is on her forehead, just as upon Aaron’s forehead was written “Holiness to the Lord” as high priest.  The 144,000 sealed Israelites in Revelation 7 are also marked upon their foreheads.  This is some kind of stamp, or seal, of loyalty and allegiance.  It marks the bold and wholehearted belief that is out in the open (not concealed).  The fact that the name is a “mystery” is an argument against it being the actual restored city of Babylon.  In Revelation 11, Jerusalem is called by the names of Sodom and Egypt according to the sins of those cities.  Now Jerusalem is being called Babylon, as she is spiritually reflecting the sin of that city – the heart of the antichrist religion.  Jerusalem is the mother, and her inhabitants are her “children” or “daughters”.  The mystery is because she shares Babylon’s sins, its’ power over the other nations (Babylon was the “world capital” at that time) and will face similar judgment.

End-Times Jerusalem, in promoting the antichrist as messiah, will kill a lot of saints who believe Jesus is Messiah.   We are told that the antichrist chooses Jerusalem to set up his “palatial tents” and is where he declares himself to be “god” (2 Thessalonians 2:4, Matthew 24:15, Daniel 11:31-32).  While many cities and nations have persecuted saints in the past, Jesus defines the worst period of persecution as yet future.  This event (the abomination of desolation) begins the greatest religious persecution of all time against true believers in Jesus Christ, and it centers around the city of Judea (Jerusalem) (Matthew 24:15-21).

Revelation 17 goes on to describe the beast/antichrist in greater detail, which I will discuss in a separate post.

Revelation 17 ends with the beast turning on the woman –  The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to hand over to the beast their royal authority, until God’s words are fulfilled. (v16-17)  This will be in fulfillment of the prophecy in Ezekiel 16:

Again the word of the Lord came to me:  “Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations…And I will judge you as women who commit adultery and shed blood are judged, and bring upon you the blood of wrath and jealousy.  And I will give you into their hands, and they shall throw down your vaulted chamber and break down your lofty places. They shall strip you of your clothes and take your beautiful jewels and leave you naked and bare.  They shall bring up a crowd against you, and they shall stone you and cut you to pieces with their swords.  And they shall burn your houses and execute judgments upon you in the sight of many women. I will make you stop playing the whore, and you shall also give payment no more. So will I satisfy my wrath on you, and my jealousy shall depart from you. I will be calm and will no more be angry. (v1-2, 38-42)

In Jeremiah 4:30, Jerusalem’s lover is prophesied to despise her and take her life:

And you, devastated one, what are you doing
that you dress yourself in scarlet,
that you adorn yourself with gold jewelry,
that you enlarge your eyes with paint?
You beautify yourself for nothing.
Your lovers reject you;
they want to take your life.

This is exactly what happens in Revelation 17-18.

The beast and his ten kings aren’t the only ones to act in judgment upon Mystery Babylon.  God will judge her too, with the 7th bowl of His wrath.  This involves earthquakes and giant 100-pound hailstones.

Chapter 18 of Revelation gives a further detailed vision of Mystery Babylon’s destruction.  An angel declares that “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen” (Rev 18:2), which is the exact phrase used when the literal city of Babylon was destroyed (Isaiah 21:9).  Its’ destruction is imminent and certain.  It has become the home of demons.

The antichrist, possessed by satan, ruling from Jerusalem is the epitome of satan’s blasphemy against God.  In Michael Heiser’s Unseen Realm, he discusses the allottment of the nations by God after the tower of Babel.  Israel is the land and people that God chooses for Himself; hence, it becomes the bulls’ eye target for satan.  Israel’s history confirms this.  Satan, through the antichrist, seeks to “change the times and laws” by setting up his rule on God’s property – God’s holy ground.  It’s his final attempt to resurrect his religion, his own worship and perhaps offering to humanity that “ye shall be as gods”.  That the majority of Hebrews will go along with this and raise him up as messiah is the mystery that leaves John absolutely astounded.

The ultimate blasphemy leaves no question as to the necessity of Mystery Babylon’s judgment.  Revelation 18:3 reiterates that the whole world has been enticed into this religion.  Israel is so deceived by the antichrist that she passionately promotes him and worships him as her long awaited messiah, king, and “husband”.    Israel has finally heaped her sins as high as heaven, and the time of her ultimate judgment has come.  Yet, God offers one last chance at salvation:

Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.  (Revelation 18:4-5)

I believe this is where Jesus splits the mount of Olives, to allow the Israelites one last chance to flee before the great earthquake that will destroy Mystery Babylon (Jerusalem):

On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.  And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. (Zecharaiah 14:4-5)

And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.  Joel 2:32

That most of Jerusalem  is not aware that she is worshiping the antichrist is seen in Revelation 18:7, where she “sits as a queen and is no widow”.  Jerusalem believes she has found her true King.  The fact that she is not a widow could refer back to the beast’s resurrection from the dead.  It also is the exact phrase used by the ancient city of Babylon right before its’ destruction (Isaiah 47:8).

Mystery Babylon is wrong, she will indeed see mourning.  Revelation 18:8 states that “For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her”.  Verse 10 adds “Alas! Alas! You great city, you mighty city, Babylon! For in a single hour your judgment has come.”  Her destruction will come swiftly and suddenly.  This hearkens back to Jesus’ statement that he will come as a thief, as well as His statement about “no man knows the day or the hour.” (Matthew 24).  The Day of the Lord both begins and ends with Jesus coming suddenly and unexpectedly with destruction upon those who are not watching.  Both times, however, those who are watching do not need to be taken by surprise.  At the beginning of the Day of the Lord, the believing body of Christ is snatched out – away from the time and place of wrath.  At the end of the Day of the Lord, the believing remnant has one last chance to “come out” before the final bowl of wrath is spilled upon Jerusalem.

The kings of the earth who mourn her destruction and wail at the smoke of her burning are not part of the beast’s 10 kings who help destroy her.  These are the nations that are “living deliciously” with her through financial gain.  Note that the merchants sell to her all kinds of items specifically used for Temple worship: gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls (Rev 18:12-13).

In Revelation 18:20, as the merchants of the earth mourn over Mystery Babylon’s destruction, they cry out Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!”  God has answered the prayers of the Seal 5 martyrs, and judgment has been meted out in completion.  The multitude in heaven does indeed rejoice:  

“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.” Once more they cried out, “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”  (Revelation 19:1-3)

Mystery Babylon is held accountable for the “blood of the prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on earth” (Revelation 18:24).  Basically, end-times Jerusalem is being held accountable for all murders of the righteous from the beginning of humanity.  In this way, the blood guilt of earth will be cleansed for Jesus’ Kingdom reign.  Jesus says for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!  Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you…” (Luke 13:33-34).  Jesus also says Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous.  And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’  So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets.  Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!…And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.” (Matthew 23:29-32,35).  We also know that the worst martyrdom in human history will originate from Jerusalem starting at the Abomination of Desolation.  God’s judgments are true and just.  Notably, Deuteronomy Chapter 21 details a procedure by which Israel was able to absolve itself of bloodguilt.  If they had followed God’s commands, they would not have heaped judgment upon themselves.  God always provides a way out, if only we would take it!

Revelation chapter 18 ends with the utter and complete destruction of Jerusalem as Mystery Babylon.  The entire earth is refashioned in a giant earthquake, and the area of Jerusalem is raised up onto a plain.  Jerusalem, it appears, will be rebuilt along with a Millennial Temple described in Ezekiel 40-48.

The Chaste 144,000

It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.  Revelation 14:4-5 ESV

A possible view here that would support Mystery Babylon being the UNbelieving remnant of Israel, is that this could mean spiritual virginity, never having defiled themselves by worshiping other gods (other religions, or the antichrist).  A support of this view might be that these did not become a part of the Great Harlot – Mystery Babylon.  They are presenting themselves as a chaste, as opposed to in harlotry.

These are children of the Truth (Jesus), as opposed to having the Father of Lies (satan).  They are found blameless in the same way that all followers of Christ are blameless – they are clothed in Jesus’ righteousness.

Common Objections

  1. Jerusalem is not a port city
  2. Jerusalem is not an economic superpower – This is an easy one.  Israel is not currently an economic superpower but remember that the Bible is describing what Jerusalem WILL BE LIKE in the tribulation period.  As soon as the rapture of the church occurs, mark my words, Jerusalem is going to climb to become the world’s economic superpower within 7 years.
  3. Mystery Babylon is involved in modern day slave trade – Again, an easy one.  Of course Jerusalem isn’t in the slave trade business today.  What modern first world nation is?  It will BECOME involved in “trading souls”, likely Christians, in the tribulation period.  

Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

Mystery Babylon (book) – Chris White

The Millennial Kingdom

God’s Mosaic – A Whole Scripture Overview of Things To Come

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

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The Millennial Kingdom

Following the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, He will set up His earthly Kingdom.  All who enter it will be followers of Christ.

To be granted physical entrance, one will have to pass the “Wheat and Tares” and the “Sheep and Goats” judgments.  Living believers will physically enter the Millennial Kingdom and reproduce.  In the millennial kingdom, the curse will be at least partially lifted, life will be restored to Eden-like conditions, and God will dwell in the midst of the people.  Satan and his fallen horde will be bound and justice and grace will prevail.

All those who were resurrected/raptured and are now in their eternal bodies will also enter the Millennial Kingdom and serve and reign with Christ.  Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

How Long is the Millennial Kingdom?

There is a specific 1000-year timeframe mentioned repeatedly in Revelation 20.  This is known as the Millennial Kingdom, the Kingdom Age, or the Messianic Age, and is where Jesus will reign on earth as anticipated by the Israelites/Jews for millennia.  However, the reign of Jesus Christ will continue on into eternity.

When Does the Millennial Kingdom Begin?

The Millennial Reign of Christ begins at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, at the conclusion of the Day of the Lord and the 70th Week of Daniel (what are commonly referred to as the “Tribulation”).  The process of God’s and the Lamb’s wrath prepares both the earth and its’ people for this kingdom.  The Second Coming of Jesus will likely fulfill the feast of Yom Kippur (“Day of Atonement”).  The Millennial Kingdom fulfills the Feast of Tabernacles, the last of God’s appointed times.

Who Enters the Millennial Kingdom?

Bloodline Descendants of Abraham:

Following the Second Coming and the Battle of Armageddon, the population of surviving humanity will be quite small.  The “elect”, the portion of bloodline-Israelites who survive the tribulation physically, will be gathered by the angels and collected in Israel:

“And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:31 ESV)

And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob” (Romans 11:26 ESV)

“When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will show myself holy through them in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind.”  (Ezekiel 39:27-29 ESV) 

“For behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the Lord, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it.”  (Jeremiah 30:3 ESV)

In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. (Isaiah 11:11 ESV)

Gentiles:

Gentiles (non-Israelites) who remain are also gathered, and will be sorted into groups.  This is known as the “Sheep and Goats” judgment (Matthew 25:31-46).  The “Sheep” are believing Gentiles, and they are ushered into the Millennial Kingdom in their physical bodies.  The “Goats” are the unbelieving Gentiles, and they are sent to eternal punishment.  I’m not sure if they are physically killed and their souls go to hell at this point to await the Great White Throne Judgment, or if this IS their judgment and they bypass hell and are sent straight into the Lake of Fire.

And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world… “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels…And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”  (Matthew 25:33-34,41,46)

Thus, the Remnant of Israel plus the believing Gentiles (“sheep”) enter the Millennial Kingdom in physical bodies.  They will repopulate the earth and enjoy a curse-free Eden-like existence with long lives.  Every human that enters the Millennial Kingdom will be a believer and follower of Jesus Christ.

Who Rules the Millennial Kingdom?

Jesus is clearly in charge during the 1000 year reign, but whether He Himself will sit on the throne or a resurrected King David will, I’m not entirely sure.  We see a picture of God handing Jesus the Kingdom here:

 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. “ (Daniel 7:13-14)

I will proclaim the decree of the LORD : He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”  Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Psalm 2:7-12)

The resurrected and raptured body of Christ, the “church”, will reign with Christ as promised in Revelation 2:

I will give authority over the nations to the person who overcomes and continues to do what I’ve commanded to the end, and ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter; shattering them like clay pots.’  (v26-27)

The tribulation martyrs will also be resurrected and reign with Christ:

 I also saw the people who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of God’s word, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and who had not accepted the mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with the Messiah for 1,000 years.  The rest of the dead did not come to life until the 1,000 years were completed. This is the first resurrection.   Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection!  The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of the Messiah, and they will reign with Him for 1,000 years. (Revelation 20:4-6)

The previously raptured body of Christ (the “church”), and the tribulation martyrs, will be in resurrection bodies.  They will not reproduce (Matthew 22:30).

Where Will the Bride of Christ Live?

I will call all who will be raptured/resurrected at the rapture (harpazo) the “bride of Christ”.  The bride, it appears, will live in the Heavenly Jerusalem:

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came to me and said, “Come! I will show you the bride, the wife of the lamb.”   He carried me away in the Spirit to a large, high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven.   The glory of God was its radiance, and its light was like a valuable gem, like jasper, as clear as crystal.   It had a large, high wall with twelve gates. Twelve angels were at the gates, and the names of the twelve tribes of Israel were written on the gates.   There were three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west.  The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the lamb were written on them. The angel who was talking to me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, its gates, and its walls.   The city was cubic in shape: its length was the same as its width. He measured the city with his rod, and it measured at 12,000 stadia: Its length, width, and height were the same.   He also measured its wall. According to the human measurement that the angel was using, it was 144 cubits. Its wall was made of jasper. The city was made of pure gold, as clear as glass. The foundations of the city wall were decorated with all kinds of gems: The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald,   the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth and the twelfth amethyst.   The twelve gates were twelve pearls, and each gate was made of a single pearl. The street of the city was made of pure gold, as clear as glass.  (Revelation 21:9-21)

I would presume we can come and go at will, from the earth to heaven and back.  It appears that the Heavenly Jerusalem descends out of heaven to satellite around the earth when the earth and heavens are remade after the Great White Throne Judgment (after the Millennial Kingdom).  This comes from a literal straightforward reading of Revelation 20-22.  However, there is a possibility it may come down and orbit around the earth for the Millennial Kingdom.  There seems to be quite a lot of continuation between the conditions of the Millennial Kingdom and Eternity.

What Will It Be Like on Earth at the Beginning?

At the beginning, life will be as close to Utopia as we can imagine.  The earth will be refashioned during the shaking of the heavens and the earth at Jesus’ Second Coming, and Jerusalem will be raised up (physically and spiritually) as the world capital. It will be renamed “The Lord is There” (Ezekiel 48:35).  There will be peace on earth:

It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. (Isaiah 2:2-4)

The earth will produce food abundantly and there will be leftovers from year to year (Amos 9:13).  People will build houses, plant vineyards and tend the earth.  People in their physical bodies will bear children.  Elements of the curse will be reversed and long life will be enjoyed once again.  Humans and animals will be vegetarian:

“I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity, for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord, and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer;  while they are yet speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,” says the Lord.  (Isaiah 65:19-25)

There will be fresh waters issuing from the Temple, that brings life.  Fish will be included in the human diet.  Trees will not lose their leaves and will bear fresh fruit every month.  The leaves of the trees will bring healing:

Then he led me back to the bank of the river.  As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other.  And he said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea; when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh. And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.  Fishermen will stand beside the sea. From Engedi to Eneglaim it will be a place for the spreading of nets. Its fish will be of very many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt. And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”  (Ezekiel 47:6-12)

We know Ezekiel 47 is talking about the Millennial Kingdom and not Eternity because in Eternity, the new earth will have no sea (Rev 21:1).  Ezekiel 47 is parallel to Revelation 22, which seems to blend the Millennial Kingdom into the Eternal Kingdom:

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. (V1-5)

The land of Israel will be divided and distributed among the tribes of Israel (Ezekiel 47-48).

It appears that during the Millennial Kingdom, those who rebelled against God (at the Battle of Armageddon?  during the MK?) will be viewable via a portal of sorts outside the city of Jerusalem to serve as a visible reminder to worship God:

“For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain. From new moon to new moon,  and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the Lord. “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”  (Isaiah 66:22-24)

What Will Salvation Be Like?

Throughout history, God has dealt with humanity in different ways.  This is known as the dispensation view.  Different theologians define the periods somewhat differently, but in general humanity has progressed through an age of innocence (pre-fall), conscience (fall to Flood), human government (Flood to Babel), promise (Abraham to Moses), Law (Moses to Christ), and Grace (Christ to Rapture).  God progressively reveals more of Himself through each age.  Historically, mankind has failed to fulfill his end of the bargain and God has had to respond in judgment.  In the seventh dispensation, Kingdom, mankind will live in God’s full revelation.

The Kingdom Age will be marked by salvation by grace through faith, but will also involve a return to observance of the Law.  Jesus and the resurrected saints will rule “with an iron rod”; the world will return to a Theocracy (God is the government and sets the laws).  It will be perfectly just.

What Will Worship Be Like?

Ezekiel chapters 40-48 describe the Temple in the Millennium.  It will be located in Israel, but will be much larger than the previous temples.  As with the previous Tabernacle and Temple, God is very detailed and specific about how the Temple is to be built, decorated, and administered.  This time, there will be no incense altar (as the Yom Kippur Feast has been fulfilled), no menorah (as the Holy Spirit now dwells with humanity and will not leave), no ark of the covenant (as the covenant has been fulfilled in completion), and no wash basin.  There will be a wooden screen between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies instead of a veil, and the interior will be covered in wood rather than gold.

After a 7 day purification ceremony of the altar involving blood sacrifices, the daily sacrifices will begin.  God’s glory will enter through the Eastern Gate (Ezekiel 44:1-3), and will fill the Temple.

Administration will be by a Levitical priesthood selected by God.  There will be holy offerings – burnt offerings, grain offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings (Ez 42-46).  The offerings BEFORE the cross pointed FORWARD to Christ; the Kingdom offerings AFTER the cross will point BACKWARD to Christ.

The Feasts of God will be remembered through Passover (with no lamb) and Unleavened Bread in the spring, and Tabernacles in the fall.  These are the feasts that point to Jesus as the only acceptable sacrifice for sin (Passover), the righteousness that is offered (Unleavened Bread – leaven representing sin), and the current Kingdom age (Tabernacles).  The fruits have all been gathered (Firstfruits and Trumpets), the Holy Spirit’s ministry has been fulfilled (Pentecost), and atonement is complete (Yom Kippur).

The weekly Sabbath, which points to the complete redemptive plan, will be instituted globally.  The Sabbath ceremony will be conducted in the Temple, along with the daily offerings.

All nations, both Israelite (all 12 tribes) and Gentile, will be required to come to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles.  Those who refuse to participate will be punished by a lack of rainfall (Zechariah 14:16-19).

What Will It Be Like on Earth at the Ending?

Although Jesus’ Kingdom rule will never end, we are told that after the thousand years, Satan will be released from the pit for “a little while”.  We can see how this ends here:

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison  and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea.  And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them,  and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:7-10)

Even without the influence of Satan or the fallen angels, without the challenges of the curse, with God living among them, humans still retain a sin nature and many will rebel against God’s rule.  Shockingly, “their number is like the sand of the sea”.  Humans want to be their own rulers – they want to be “as gods”.  When Satan is released, he will have no trouble collecting them in a final stance against God.  Humanity hasn’t learned its’ lesson that there is no battle when opposing God – fire will come down from heaven and consume them in short order.  The final dispensation, as with all the others, will result in human rebellion followed by God’s judgment.  At this point the Millennial Kingdom is complete.  It will be followed by the Great White Throne Judgment, which is then followed by the Eternal State.

Then the end will come, when he (Jesus) hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet” (Psalm 8:6)

Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all. (1 Cor. 15:24-28)

the lion shall lie down with the lamb

Further Recommended Reading:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

Dispensationalism (God’s Relationship with Humanity through History) – Jack Kelley

Animal Sacrifice in the Millennium – Jack Kelley

Life on Earth in the Millennium – Jack Kelley

God’s Mosaic – Prophecy Model MAIN MENU

 The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  Be a Berean – examine the scriptures for yourself to see if these things are so!

A Glimpse of Eternity

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”  (1 Corinthians 2:9 ESV)

It’s clear that our minds are unable to even imagine what God has in store for us for Eternity!  That said, God gives us a small glimpse of what is to come.

After the Millennial Kingdom is complete, the general resurrection of the dead and the Great White Throne judgment will proceed.  When God sits in His court of judgment, earth and sky flee away.  This is the first heaven and the first earth “passing away” (Revelation 21:1), and is further described by Peter after he briefly touches upon the Day of the Lord:

…on that day the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed. Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, it is clear what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness as you wait for the day of God and hasten its coming.  Because of that day, the heavens will be dissolved with fire and the elements will melt with heat.  But based on his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:10-13 ESV)

The new heavens and earth will be created after the Great White Throne Judgment is complete and the eternal destinations of each human have been established.  Here is a small peek into the eternal destiny of those who have been saved by grace, through faith, in Jesus Christ:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.  The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.  But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.”  And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God,  having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.  It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed—  on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.  And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.  And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls.  The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement.  The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass.  The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald,  the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.  And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.  And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.  By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it,  and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.  They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.  But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.  (Revelation 21:1-26 ESV)

From this chapter on Eternity, we can tell:

  • At the end of the Millennial Kingdom, after the Last Battle and the Great White Throne Judgment, God will make a new heaven and a new earth. Whether he completely refashions the current versions or starts from scratch isn’t clear. It’s likely the universe remains intact, but the Earth for sure, and possibly our solar system, is remade.  This is a plug for a literal 6-day creation week – I’m confident that this “new heaven and new earth” won’t take billions (or even hundreds) of years to make!
  • The new earth won’t have any seas.  The earth will no longer be divided by waters.
  • God will dwell among the people.
  • There will be no more sadness.
  • There will be no more death (in Chapter 20 we saw Death and Hades thrown in the Lake of Fire – all humans have been judged and are now in their eternal states). Note that if death is no more, this would also apply to animals if there are any in eternity.  This is how we know Chapter 21 is about the Eternal State, as in the Millennial Kingdom lives will be lengthened but there will still be death.
  • There will be no more mourning (no death / separation).
  • There will be no more crying.
  • There will be no more pain.
  • All things will be made new – this is an entirely new order of life.
  • All the overcomers, those who have conquered (for the entire span of humanity), qualify to enter this eternal kingdom.
  • There is a literal heavenly city called Jerusalem, where the “wife of the Lamb” will live.
  • Heavenly (“New”) Jerusalem is where believers in Christ will live – for sure all believers during the church age (the foundations of the city are named after the apostles) and during the age of the Law (the gates of the city are named after the tribes of Israel).  This seems to suggest that the resurrection and rapture even includes believers from both these ages, and we are taken to live in Heavenly Jerusalem at that time.
  • Heavenly Jerusalem appears to be either cube or pyramid-shaped, and heavily jeweled. Its’ radiance is incomprehensible.
  • Its’ size is measured in human measurements (literal), and is 1400-1500 miles long, wide, and high.  For reference, the moon’s diameter is 2100 miles.  If it were a cube its’ relative size is approximately:New Jerusalem on Earth
  • Heavenly Jerusalem will be the light for the earth. It may orbit around the new earth? There is no longer a need for sun or moon in Heavenly Jerusalem, as the glory of God is the light.  It is not clear if the current sun and moon will be done away with.  It does not tell us how far above the earth Heavenly Jerusalem will be.
  • There will no longer be night in the Heavenly Jerusalem; it is lit by the eternal light of God in its midst.
  • There may be night on earth if Heavenly Jerusalem orbits around it like the moon (?)
  •  There will be people dwelling on earth, living in “nations”, and ruled by “kings”.  These are all in their eternal resurrected state as well (after the Great White Throne Judgment).  These may be the believers from the “tribulation” and millennial kingdom?
  • These earthly kings, and possibly other earth dwellers, will be able to come and go into Heavenly Jerusalem to bring wonderful things from the earth into it.
  • The gates of Heavenly Jerusalem will never be shut.
  • All the dwellers in Heavenly Jerusalem and on earth are those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

We also know from previous study that our resurrection bodies will be like Jesus’ resurrection body – “we will be as He is”.  Our new bodies:

  • Will be unconstrained by our current dimensions.  Jesus was able to appear and disappear at will.
  • Will be able to pass through physical materials.  Jesus was able to walk through locked doors.
  • Will be able to eat, but probably won’t have to.  Jesus ate after His resurrection, and angels ate several times in the OT.  It is unclear what happens to the food after we eat it 😉
  • Will not reproduce.  That is not to say they couldn’t, but we will be as the angels in heaven and not marry nor be given in marriage.  Eternal creatures have no need for reproduction.  (Matthew 22:30)
  • Won’t need sleep.  It won’t ever be night in the Heavenly Jerusalem.

We are given a glimpse of the New Earth in Isaiah:

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress.” (Isaiah 65:17-19 ESV)

As far as I am able to tell, this passage in Isaiah 65 describes the new heaven and new earth (which comes after the Great White Throne Judgment).  However, it goes on to discuss life in the Millennial Kingdom.  Thus, it seems that some elements of the Millennial Kingdom may also be present in Eternity.  From Revelation 21 it does appear that God “makes all things new”, which to me suggests it will be an entirely new format.

What Will We Do?

What will we do in eternity?  I believe once we are given our glorious new bodies, it will be clear that life is not about “us”.  Life never was about us, but on earth it’s so easy to get caught up in ourselves.  Eternity will be about glorifying our Father and doing His work.  The Bible tells us that we will worship God and serve Him for eternity.

We will likely be assigned duties based on our interests and talents.  There is suggestion that how we have used our “talents” (time, energy, resources) while on earth will determine how much we will be entrusted with in the afterlife (see the Parable of the Talents).

I believe we will also have time to explore all of God’s creation and the majesty of heaven.  We will learn the answers to the questions of humanity; we will probably never stop learning!  And of course, there will be fellowship with all the saints since the dawn of creation!  Loved ones who have died in the faith, and new brothers and sisters in Christ.  Eternity will be a time of joy and rejoicing!

Eternal State for Unbelievers

On a much sadder note, God also gives us a glimpse of the eternal state for those who reject His offer of salvation.  This is the destiny of those who choose to rely on their own works to try to “earn” salvation, and for those who either completely ignore or outright reject God.  There is only ONE way to eternal life, and that is through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.  The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.  Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.  (Revelation 20:11-15 ESV)

“Death” in the Bible is used to refer to separation.  Physical death is the separation of the eternal spirit from the physical body.  Eternal death (the “second death”), then, is the separation of the eternal spirit from God permanently.  The eternal destiny of those who aren’t written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (followers of Jesus Christ) will be cast into the lake of fire.  God does not desire for any human to go there, He created it for the fallen angels.  Unfortunately, much of mankind rejects God’s offer of reconciliation and therefore chooses an eternity of separation from Him.  Hell is often joked about as one big party, but the reality is that it is a place of torment and anguish.  The lake of fire will also be a place of separation and torment.   It does appear that there are different levels of punishment in the lake of fire: And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. (Revelation 20:12 ESV; see also Matthew 10:14-15, 11:21-24; Mark 12:38-40).

Hell, and the Lake of Fire, will be incomprehensibly awful to the same extent that Heaven will be incomprehensibly wonderful.  No one would choose hell/lake of fire if they truly understood what it would be like.  It is frequently described in terms of fire.  It is also described as a place of total darkness and isolation (Matthew 22:13, 2 Peter 2:17), a place of banishment from God’s kingdom (Matthew 8:12, 22:13), and a place of “weeping and gnashing of teeth”, symbolizing regret and suffering (Matthew 13:42, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30; Luke 13:28).

Is the Lake of Fire Eternal?

It is popular to believe that the lake of fire couldn’t possibly be eternal.  I examined the verses pertaining to this:

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting [o-w-lam #5769] life, others to shame and everlasting [o-w-lam #5769] contempt. (Daniel 12:2 ESV)

Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal [aionion #166] fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Then they will go away to eternal [aionion #166] punishment, but the righteous to eternal [aionion #166] life. (Matt. 25:41,46 ESV)

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,  he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.  And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever [aionas #165], and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.” (Revelation 14:9-11 ESV)

The same word is used for eternal life (which we know is truly eternal) and eternal punishment.

Then death [thanatos] and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death [thanatos]. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Rev. 20:14-15 ESV)

The human side of me truly hopes that the “second death” is an annihilation-type event instead of eternal suffering.  However, from scripture, it seems very clear that it is not.

Whatever it is, I have faith in a good God, who sees and knows more than I can comprehend.  I trust that His ways are perfectly righteous and just.

Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

The Case For Eternal Punishment (Grace Thru Faith)

23 Minutes in Hell interview

23 Minutes in Hell (Bill Weise)

Is Annihilationism Biblical? (Gotquestions)

How Can a Loving God Send Someone to Hell? (Gotquestions)

What Will We Be Doing in Heaven? (CompellingTruth)

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

 The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  Be a Berean – examine the scriptures for yourself to see if these things are so!

 

 

The Day of the Lord

The end of this age of humanity, right before the start of a literal 1000 year reign of Christ on earth (the Millennial Kingdom), will be preceded by approximately 7 years of refinement “as by fire” on the earth.  There are two separate but overlapping purposes for this refinement period:

First, is to prepare Israel to receive her true King (Jesus) and to fulfill all prophecy.   This purpose is specifically for national and ethnic Israel and is detailed in the 70 Weeks of Daniel prophecy.  This “week of years” will complete the purpose stated in Daniel 9:24, which Jesus partially fulfilled during His first coming – “Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.” (ESV)

Second, is for God to cleanse the earth of its’ bloodguilt and wickedness and punish those who refused to love the truth and be saved (2 Thessalonians 2:12).  This cleansing is worldwide in scope and is called the Day of the Lord.  The Day of the Lord is not meant to punish those who are righteous and love the truth.  “Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it.”  Isaiah 13:9 ESV

Collectively, the 70th Week of Daniel and the Day of the Lord will prepare the earth and its inhabitants, including God’s chosen people, for Jesus to rule in His Kingdom.  It is the Day of the Lord that we will examine here.

Scripture References:

“The Day of the Lord” is elsewhere referred to as “The Great Day”, “The Great and Terrible Day of the Lord”, “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble”, “The Day of God”, and “That Day of Which I Have Spoken”.  Sometimes it is referred to as simply, “That Day” or “The Day”.

Isaiah 24:21-22; Zephaniah 1:14-18; Isaiah 13:4-6,9-11; Jeremiah 46:10; Job 20:28-29; Ezekiel 30:3-4; Isaiah 27:1; Joel 3:12-14; Zephaniah 3:8; Romans 2:16; Revelation 6:15-17; Amos 5:18-20; Isaiah 2:12; Joel 1:15; Joel 2:1-2; Matthew 7:22-23; John 12:48; Romans 2:5; Jeremiah 30:7-8; Joel 2:23-28; Isaiah 11:11; Isaiah 27:12-13; Micah 4:6-7; Matthew 24:30-31; Mark 13:26-27; Zephaniah 3:14-20; Isaiah 4:5-6; Isaiah 26:1; Joel 2:32; Joel 3:16-18; Zechariah 9:16-17; Isaiah 4:3-4; Zephaniah 3:11-13; Zechariah 14:20-21; Malachi 4:1-2; Micah 4:8; Micah 5:8-9; Daniel 12:1-2; John 6:40; John 11:24; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:8; Ezekiel 38:14-16; Zechariah 14:2; Revelation 20:8-9; Isaiah 4:2; Isaiah 11:10; Jeremiah 30:9; Hosea 3:5; Amos 9:11; Zechariah 9:9; Zechariah 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3; Matthew 24:43-44; Luke 12:39-40; Mark 13:32; 2 Peter 3:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8; Ezekiel 13:5; Zephaniah 2:1-3; Malachi 4:5; 2 Peter 3:11-12; Matthew 24:33; Mark 13:29; Luke 21:31; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; Acts 2:19-20; Joel 2:30-31; Joel 2:10; Luke 21:11; Joel 2:2-4; Amos 5:27; Matthew 24:21; Mark 13:19; Isaiah 11:12-14; Haggai 2:23; Zechariah 3:8

Purpose:

God will rise up to protect Israel from certain destruction in order that all prophecy can be fulfilled; this begins the Day of the Lord.  The Day of the Lord is an intense period of God’s intervention and judgment (wrath) on earth.

During the Day of the Lord:

  • The earth, and in particular Jerusalem, will be cleansed of its bloodguilt (answering the prayers of the Seal 5 martyrs)
  • Nations will be judged by how they treated Israel
  • Wickedness will be purged
  • Those who rejected God’s salvation plan will be punished (2 Thessalonians 2)

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ ends the wrath of the Day of the Lord and will bring about Israel’s reconciliation with God.  Ultimately, the Day of the Lord will prepare the earth (physically) and its inhabitants (spiritually) for Jesus to usher in His Millennial Kingdom.

Who Is Involved:

The Day of the Lord will be worldwide in scope.  This may seem difficult to comprehend, but please understand that God has been patiently waiting.  The clock started ticking almost 70 years ago when Israel was re-established as a nation.  This was His clearest warning, much as the ark served as a warning in Noah’s day for many decades before the Great Flood.

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9 ESV)

God’s patience is a gift, but His cup of wrath will be completely filled by the sinfulness of humanity very soon.  Unfortunately, many have slumbered through His warning.  The few who have been proclaiming that the “end is near” are ridiculed even amongst other believers.

True believers in Jesus will be whisked away at the last second as God’s wrath is stirred.  Those who are left behind willperish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 ESV)  

Yet God will still extend His forgiveness and salvation as long as one doesn’t take the “mark of the beast“. “Even now,” declares the Lord“return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”  (Joel 2:12-13 ESV)

Timing:

Events that occur (immediately?) BEFORE the Day of the Lord:

  • The gathering of believers unto Christ (the rapture) – 2 Thess 2:3
  • The revealing of the antichrist – 2 Thess 2:3-4
  • Wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke, darkened sun and blood red moon – Joel 2:30-31
  • Elijah will appear – Malachi 4:5
  • A Trumpet is Blown from the heavenly Mount Zion – Joel 2:1-2

For a discussion on these prerequisites, please see this post: Precursors to the Day of the Lord.  

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact start of the Day of the Lord, but my understanding is that it begins immediately upon God arising in wrath to protect Israel from a massive impending attack that would lead to her annihilation.  This attack is known as the Gog/Magog war, and is detailed in Ezekiel 38-39. 

The start of the day of the Lord also seems intricately connected with Seal 6 of Revelation 6.  The Seals of Revelation 6 parallel the “beginning of birth pains” as discussed by Jesus on the Mount of Olives. Seals 5-6 seem to detail the rapture of the church.

I believe that the rapture of the church, the conclusion of the Gog/Magog War, the “revealing of the lawless one”, and Seals 1-7 collectively inaugurate the Day of the Lord.

Duration:

The duration of the Day of the Lord is unspecified (unlike the 70th week of Daniel which is defined as 1260+1260 days).  Some passages describing the Day of the Lord refer to its’ start point, some to the entire time period, and some to its’ end point, but none specifically tell its’ complete duration.

There is connection between the Day of the Lord and the 70th week of Daniel.  We know that Daniel’s 70th Week is specifically started by the confirming of a covenant with Israel.  The traditional interpretation is that either the antichrist or the false prophet confirms this covenant, and this would effectively “reveal” the antichrist at the start of the 70th week.  Alternately, God Himself may confirm His Abrahamic covenant with Israel when He rises to protect her from obliteration during the Gog/Magog war (Ezekiel 38-39).  This would also start the 70th Week of Daniel.  However, the antichrist would then have to be revealed in some other fashion before the Day of the Lord could begin.

I am leaning towards the view that the Day of the Lord will begin at the same time as the 70th Week of Daniel, and that it will be apparent at that time, on that day.

The Day of the Lord will include the effects of the Seals, and all the judgments of the Trumpets and Bowls described in the book of Revelation.  Regardless of whether or not they share the same start point, the 70th week of Daniel and the Day of the Lord both have the same endpoint: The Second Coming of Christ.

 

Parallel Tracks – On Earth as it is In Heaven:

There are parallel tracks running at any given time – one in the supernatural / spiritual realm (the “third heaven”), and one in the natural / physical realm (the “first and second heavens”).  In end times prophecy, we see views from both perspectives.  The Day of Christ is the heavenly track while the Day of the Lord runs its course on earth.

The Day of Christ is the day of redemption, when the age of grace is complete and the church is called to join Jesus in glory.  Jesus tells us in Luke to pray that we are have the strength to stand before the Son of Man and escape all the things that are going to come upon the earth (Luke 21:36).  We do this by being AWAKE spiritually – being born again and sealed by the Holy Spirit.

The body of Christ will be spared from the Day of the Lord.  Followers of Christ are to look forward to the Day of the Lord, as it signals our being gathered unto Christ.

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!  2 Peter 3:11-12 ESV

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV

The Day of the Lord is a day of wrath upon the earth, where those “who refused to love the truth and so be saved” will experience horrific catastrophe in the judgments of God.

You will be a part of one “Great Day”, and they both begin with the rapture of the church.  Which “Day” you are a part of is up to you!


Further Reading:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

Daniel’s 70 Weeks

The Day of Christ- BEMA Seat

Part 1 – Tribulation, Great Tribulation, and Wrath

Part 2 – What is the Tribulation?

Part 3 – Spared From Wrath – the 7 Year Key

Studying the Prophetic Keys in 2 Thessalonians 2:

Part 1 – That Day Will Not Come Until…

Part 2 – The Restrainer and the Restrained in 2 Thessalonians 2

Part 3 – The Apostasia [Departure/Falling Away] and the Revealing of the Lawless One

Part 4 – The Wicked Deception – “Aliens”?

Douglas Berner – “When God Intervenes”.

Peter Goodgame – The Day of the Lord: When, How and Why?

Jesus Christ Initiates the Wrath of God – BeginningandEnd

God’s Mosaic – A Whole Scripture Overview of Things To Come

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

The Return of Jesus Christ

“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.”  (Matthew 24:30 ESV)

The Apocalypse is simply the revealing of Jesus Christ.  In common use, it often is used to describe the end of the world.  The Second Coming of Jesus won’t be the end of the world, but it WILL mark the end of the current age of humanity.

An apocalypse (Ancient Greek: ἀποκάλυψις apokálypsis, from ἀπό and καλύπτω, literally meaning “an uncovering”) is a disclosure of knowledge or revelation. In religious contexts it is usually a disclosure of something hidden, “a vision of heavenly secrets that can make sense of earthly realities”.  (wikipedia)

The Second Coming of Christ occurs in two phases.  The first phase involves the rapture of the church.  The second phase involves the Mount of Olives decent and the Return to Earth.  When we are speaking of the Second Coming, most people are referring to this second phase and that is what we will discuss here.  For further discussion on the first phase, the rapture, please see:

  1. The Parousia (Appearances) of Jesus Christ
  2. The Rapture VS Second Coming
  3. The Rapture of the Church – Our Blessed Hope
  4. Is the Rapture Imminent?
  5. The Day and the Hour Unknown?  Can we Pinpoint the Rapture?
  6. Blood Moon VERSUS Dark Moon
  7. The Noisy, Not-So-Secret Rapture of the Church

second coming vs rapture

Now let’s move on to discuss when Jesus returns to the earth.  This marks the end of the tribulation period, the Day of the Lord, the 70th Week of Daniel, and the wrath of God.

MOUNT of OLIVES decent:

In the book of Zechariah, it tells us that in the future, Jesus will stand on the Mount of Olives.  When He does,  this mount will be split in TWO from east to west.  Note that this cannot be the same event that splits the city of Jerusalem in THREE parts (Bowl 7).  This event just involves the Mount of Olives and involves two parts, not three.

There is an escape option offered at this point.  Note that there is no description of an appearing or a revealing (parousia):

On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.  And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah.”   Zechariah 14:3-5 ESV

And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.  Joel 2:32 ESV

Note that this escape is NOT related to the command for believers in Jerusalem to flee when they see the abomination of desolation (per Matthew 24).  This event occurs far after that, near the very end of Daniel’s 70th week.

On the day when the elect remnant of Israel is called to flee, Jesus will touch down on the Mount of Olives. Whether this descent is physical (observable) or not is undetermined, as it is not described in Scripture elsewhere.  This event is perhaps what Jesus alludes to when He declares “Behold, I am coming like a thief!” between the judgments of Bowl 6&7.  The Mount of Olives splitting will be a literal event.  The valley formed allows believers one last chance to flee before the destruction of Jerusalem (Mystery Babylon).  This explains the command Jesus issues – “Come out of her, my people!” (Rev 18:4).  The command to flee must be authentic, with a true possibility of obeying it and being physically saved.  After this event at some point, Jesus will come with His holy ones, which is described by His next appearance.

I’m going to quote part of my article The Mount of Olives – Final Escape Route here:

Can we put this calling out and fleeing on a timeline?  I believe that the 9th plague from the First Exodus may give us a hint:

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness to be felt.”  So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was pitch darkness in all the land of Egypt three days.  They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the people of Israel had light where they lived.  (Exodus 10:21-23 ESV)

Compare this with Bowl 5:

The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish  and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.  (Revelation 16:10-11 ESV)

Is it possible that the earthquake that divides Mount Olives to provide deliverance for the remnant of Israel will occur 3 days after the darkness of Bowl 5?  This would parallel God’s deliverance of Israel after 3 days of darkness at the first exodus.

Wrath Poured Out on Those Left Behind

Of the people who do not go into exile, those that remain in the city, the Lord will then go out and fight against the nations that have amassed there.  This is when He comes, with all His holy ones with Him. This will happen on a special day where “there shall be no light, cold, or frost.  And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light.”  The light that is seen is the Sign of the Son of Man coming in power and great glory.

 

RETURN to EARTH:

Before we discuss Jesus’ return to earth, I want to point out that we saw in Revelation 16 (Bowl 6 Judgment) that the nations of the world will have gathered in and around Jerusalem specifically to fight Jesus.  Three deceiving spirits will be sent forth from the “unholy trinity” of the dragon, beast, and false prophet to bring the nations together in rebellion against God.  They are EXPECTING Jesus to show up, and they are preparing to do battle against Him.  This is in stark contrast to the rapture and the beginning of God’s wrath, which will spring like a trap unexpectedly upon the world.  Let’s examine the Second Coming passages:

Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.  On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost. And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light.”  Zechariah 14:6-7 ESV

So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.  For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:26-31 ESV)

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.  He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.  On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.”  (Revelation 19:11-16 ESV)  

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.   (Revelation 1:7 ESV)

And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.  On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. (Zechariah 12:10-11 ESV)

The sun, moon, and stars will be darkened on a unique day.  It seems that in the evening, Jesus will appear in power and great glory, flanked by the armies of heaven (His holy ones, including the previously resurrected/raptured/rewarded Bride of Christ).  Those who have been deceived by the antichrist, particularly those of the house of Israel, will weep bitterly as the realization that they rejected their true Messiah drives into their heart like a knife.

While the peoples of the earth had been collected in rebellion to FIGHT Jesus, when He shows up they will MOURN instead.  The fact that they have been deceived will now be painfully obvious.

Jesus will descend and defeat those gathered against Him at the Battle of Armageddon.  He will remain on the earth and set up His Messianic Kingdom.  This completes the “Second Coming” of Jesus.  The Great Tribulation (both Daniel’s 70th week and the Day of the Lord) comes to an end with Jesus appearing in power and glory, mounted on a white horse in the clouds of heaven.

Summary

In the end-times sequence, Jesus will appear twice but only have one true “Second Coming”.  It appears that the overall sequence that surrounds the Second Coming of Jesus Christ would be something like this:

  1. The antichrist, false prophet, and deceiving spirits collect armies assembled for battle against Jesus Christ.  (Bowl 6)
  2. The Mount of Olives will be split in two, from East to West.  A large valley will form.  All who believe Jesus (the believing elect in Jerusalem) are to flee at this time – this is the command given right before the destruction of Mystery Babylon – “Come out of her, my people!”
  3. Mystery Babylon is destroyed by the antichrist, false prophet, and their entourage.
  4. A unique day of darkness arrives, with no cold or light.
  5. In the evening, there shall be light – the sign of the Son of Man.  This is likely Jesus appearing on His white horse in the clouds of heaven, followed by his holy ones.
  6. Jesus destroys the armies gathered at Armageddon.
  7. The antichrist and false prophet are cast into the Lake of Fire (eternal).
  8. satan and the demons are cast into the Abyss (temporarily chained, 1000 years).
  9. Living humans are collected and judged in the Sheep and Goats Judgment.
  10. “Tribulation Saints” are resurrected to rule with Christ in His Millennial Kingdom.
  11. The Millennial Temple is established and dedicated.
  12. The Millennial Kingdom Begins.

Believers respond to the Mount of Olives splitting by fleeing. Jesus may or may not be visible at this point; it does not explicitly state in the text one way or another.  Unbelievers won’t be aware of the significance of this event, and likely won’t see Jesus.

Believers are gathered by angels at the Second Coming.  Unbelievers will be destroyed in the Battle of Armageddon and the Sheep and Goats Judgment.  Every eye will see Jesus at His return to earth.


Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

The Mount of Olives – Final Escape Route

God’s Mosaic – A Whole Scripture Overview of Things To Come

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

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Sheep and Goats Judgment

Before discussing the Sheep and Goats Judgment, let’s review the events immediately preceding it.

At the end of the “Tribulation”, Jesus will appear with His holy ones and defeat the armies gathered against Him at Armageddon.  The antichrist and the false prophet will be thrown into the eternal lake of fire, and satan and the demons will be locked into the abyss for 1000 years.   We see a picture of this courtroom scene  in Daniel chapter 7:

“As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames;  its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him,  and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened. “I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire.  As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven   there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion,  which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. (v9-14)

The elect remnant of Israel will then be gathered from among the nations:

31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (Matthew 24) 

27 And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. (Mark 13)

Some confuse this passage with the rapture.   However, at the rapture, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, the Lord Himself will give a shout of command along with the trumpet sound of God and we will obey.  Angels don’t do the collecting at the rapture.  After the Second Coming, the angels collect the elect after being sent with a trumpet call.  This reminds us of Zechariah 2:6, where God states that “I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heavens, declares the Lord.”  Where He once spread Israel abroad via the four winds, He will now gather them via the four winds. “And so all Israel will be saved.”  (Romans 11:26)  The elect (saved by grace through faith in the Messiah Jesus Christ) remnant of Israel will go straight into the Millennial Kingdom.

After the judgment of the fallen ones and the collection of elect Israel, all remaining living humans are rounded up for judgment.  This is the “Sheep and Goats” Judgment, and likely  is a continuation of the courtroom scene we saw in Daniel 7.  The Sheep and Goat categories determine where each person will spend the Millennial Kingdom:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.  Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,  I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’  Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’  Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”  (Matthew 25:31-46)

The sheep are placed at Jesus’ right hand, and are given an inheritance in the Millennial Kingdom.  They will enter in their physical bodies and repopulate a restored earth, enjoying long life and reversal of the “curse”.  While not explicitly stated here, the sheep qualify for this inheritance by grace through faith in Jesus Christ – salvation (see John 1:12, Acts 15:11, Romans 3:22-24, Romans 4:4-8, Galatians 3:6-9, Ephesians 2:8-9).  They demonstrate the authenticity of their faith through good works throughout the times of tribulation – a monumental task given that this will be the most difficult period humanity has ever faced.  It will take true faith to share and give when resources are extremely scarce.  Remember that the sum of the law and the prophets is to love God and to love others:  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)

We know from Matthew 12 that Jesus considers those who do God’s will to be His brothers and sisters –  “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”  And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!  For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”  Thus, humanity will be particularly evaluated as to the authenticity of their salvation through how they tried to meet the needs of other believers (food, water, shelter, clothing, and prison visitation mentioned here).  Whatever we do for a fellow believer (or a fellow human being and “potential” believer), we do for God Himself.  The good works are not the cause of salvation, but the effect of salvation.  Salvation is, as always, by grace alone through faith alone.

Those who do not have an authentic faith, or those who openly reject Christ, will demonstrate this by acting selfishly.  Basic supplies will be limited and sinful human nature will struggle with “survival of the fittest”.  Those who rejected Christ will be killed (sent to hell/the abyss) and await the general resurrection and Great White Throne judgment following the Millennial Kingdom.


Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

The Sheep and Goats Judgment – Jack Kelley

Parable of the Sheep and Goats – Gotquestions

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

 The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  Be a Berean – examine the scriptures for yourself to see if these things are so!

 

Who Are the 144,000?

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea,  saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:

12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed,
12,000 from the tribe of Reuben,
12,000 from the tribe of Gad,
12,000 from the tribe of Asher,
12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali,
12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh,
12,000 from the tribe of Simeon,
12,000 from the tribe of Levi,
12,000 from the tribe of Issachar,
12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun,
12,000 from the tribe of Joseph,
12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed.

Revelation 7:1-8 ESV

 

Revelation 7 forms a parenthesis around the action (I like to call them Detail Popouts) to describe two specific groups of people – one on earth and one in heaven.  This is a continuation of the events of Seal 6 – the seventh seal is not opened until after John describes these groups.  Remember right before this vision there has been a catastrophic shaking of the earth, the rapture occurs, and everyone left behind is terrified:

Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains,  calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb,  for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”  Revelation 6:15-17 ESV

Revelation 7 answers the question  “who is able to stand?”.  Two groups will be able to stand:

  1. The Large Multitude – Mentioned second, but we will briefly discuss it first.  I believe this large multitude represents the invisible body of Christ – the newly resurrected and raptured Church.  With the saints safely delivered into the hands of the Lamb in heaven, the Holy Spirit’s seal in the church body is released.  God immediately moves to then seal a special group of 144,000 elect individuals on earth.  God will not leave the earth without witness.
  2. The 144,000 servants of God.

Who Are the 144,000?

There is much unnecessary confusion over the identity of the 144,000 described in Revelation 7.  A literal reading of the text makes it very clear that these are 12,000 people from each of 12 specific tribes of ethnic Israel as listed:

12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed,
12,000 from the tribe of Reuben,
12,000 from the tribe of Gad,
12,000 from the tribe of Asher,
12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali,
12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh,
12,000 from the tribe of Simeon,
12,000 from the tribe of Levi,
12,000 from the tribe of Issachar,
12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun,
12,000 from the tribe of Joseph,
12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed.

It is likely that they are all men, as later they are described as virgins – never having had intercourse with women.   “Sons of Israel” is always used to refer to national Israel (physical descendants from Jacob), and never to the church.  The individuals may or may not know that they belong to these tribes, but rest assured, God knows.

Partial Blindness Lifted

Immediately after the rapture of the Church, God zooms His attention in on Israel.  His silence with her will be broken!  This will open her spiritual eyes, as currently she is in a state of “partial blindness”.  Note that these individuals are not currently believers in Christ.  If they were, they would have been taken at the rapture!  In the church age, Jew and Gentile are one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).

Paul details the partial blindness of Israel well in Romans 11:1-2, 5-8, 11, 25-29 ESV:

I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew….at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.  And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, as it is written:  “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that could not see and ears that could not hear, to this very day.” Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written:  “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.  And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs,  for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable

Reconciling the nation of Israel to believing faith in Jesus Christ the Messiah is the primary purpose of the 70th week of Daniel (“7 year Tribulation”, “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble”).  God will start this process immediately after the rapture of the church by saving and “sealing” 144,000 specific Israelite individuals.  

The Seal of God

We are not told the sealing process, but these individuals are clearly “saved” – as in, become followers of Jesus Christ.  These are the firstfruits to both God (observant, ethnic Israelites) and to the Lamb (born again in Christ) after the rapture; firstfruits of the rebirth of Israel. Sealing designates these people as belonging to God – showing possession and identification.  The church was sealed by the Holy Spirit indwelling in our hearts; the 144,000 will be sealed on their foreheads.  This may or may not be a visible mark.  

I find the forehead to be an interesting location for the seal, due to its’ connection with spiritual enlightenment in some religions – the “third eye”.  The antichrist will later mimic this and “seal” his followers on their foreheads or right hands with his mark (code 666).  I have heard that the significance of the forehead sealing is true belief, whereas the hand sealing is for those who are willing to act like they believe in order to receive the benefits (economic interactions), but this is speculation.  Of course, with God, “acting as if” doesn’t count.  It is only true faith (believing in your head and heart) that counts.

The “four winds” of God’s judgment on earth are held back by 4 angels until this group is sealed.  The fact that judgment must be “held back” indicates that it is actively desiring to break forth!   The salvation of this select group must be very quick.  One speculation is that it might occur between the feasts of Trumpets and Atonement during the 10 Days of Awe, if it is a shadow fulfillment of the Fall Feasts.  Another speculation is that if there is a “gap” between the rapture and the start of the 70th week of Daniel, this salvation/sealing could occur in that gap.

The Function of the 144,000

The 144,000 will likely function as missionaries to the nation of Israel, in conjunction with the two witnesses.  They will preach that the Kingdom of God is at hand – just as John the Baptist heralded Jesus at His first coming.  This will be to continue fulfilling Matthew 24:14 – “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”  An angel will finalize the task before the 7 bowls of wrath are poured out.

Protection of the 144,000

This group is specifically protected from the demonic army judgment of Trumpet 5.

[The locusts] were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.  Revelation 9:4 ESV.  

We are perhaps shown a foreshadowing of this in Luke 10:19-20, where Jesus sends out 70 witnesses along with the 12 disciples for a time – “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.  Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (ESV)

The 144,000 may also be supernaturally protected from God’s wrath in the other trumpets as well (we aren’t told).  However, there is precedence for this in Ezekiel chapters 8-9.  Back in Ezekiel’s day, idolatry and sun worship had infiltrated the nation of Israel.  When men in the inner court – a sacred and holy location – started worshiping the sun, turning their backs on God in His own Temple, God had had enough:

Then he cried in my ears with a loud voice, saying, “Bring near the executioners of the city, each with his destroying weapon in his hand.” And behold, six men came from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with his weapon for slaughter in his hand, and with them was a man clothed in linen, with a writing case at his waist. And they went in and stood beside the bronze altar. Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub on which it rested to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed in linen, who had the writing case at his waist.  And the Lord said to him, “Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.”  And to the others he said in my hearing, “Pass through the city after him, and strike. Your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity.  Kill old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women, but touch no one on whom is the mark. And begin at my sanctuary.”  Ezekiel 9:1-6 ESV

The angel of death passed over those who had God’s mark on their foreheads, those who abhorred the idolatry of their nation.

The 144,000 Appear in Heaven

After their sealing and special protection during Trumpet 5, nothing is said of the 144,000 until sometime after Trumpet 7 sounds.  The effects of Trumpet 6 (the second woe) end when the two witnesses are taken up into heaven, which is likely 3.5 days after the abomination of desolation (see Revelation 11).  Trumpet 7 unleashes the 7 Bowls, but we know that Bowl 1 doesn’t occur until at least after the mark of the beast system is established (as it only affects those who take the mark).  So the Bowls begin well into the “Great Tribulation” (last half of Daniel’s 70th week).

In the chronology of Revelation, the 144,000 are seen all together as a group in heaven after Trumpet 7 but before Bowl 1:

Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.  And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps,  and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.  It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.  Revelation 14:1-5 ESV

Their location on the heavenly Mount Zion is confirmed in Hebrews 12:22 and by the presence of the throne, four living creatures, and elders.  They have been “redeemed from the earth”, which means they are no longer ON the earth.  As to their sudden appearance in heaven, I see several possibilities:

Possibility One – A Second Rapture?

These 144,000 are raptured and transformed alive, all as a group, right before the bowls of wrath are poured out.

They are called “firstfruits” of Israel for God and the Lamb.  We previously saw “firstfruits” to the Lamb when Jesus was resurrected from the dead along with “many saints”.  The main harvest of the saints is the resurrection and rapture of the Church, which I believe includes all believers since the dawn of creation.  There will be a harvest of the gleanings post-tribulation, of the tribulation martyrs.  That will complete the first resurrection.

The second resurrection is after the Millennial Kingdom for the Great White Throne Judgment.

The problem I see with this view is that a transformation event is not described, they are not seen “clothed” in robes, and it does not follow the pattern of the first rapture.  At the rapture of the church, ALL believers will be taken.  There is no “partial rapture”.  I see no reason that these 144,000 would be raptured alive, while other true believers are “left behind”.  Thus, I think this possibility is less likely than the next:

Possibility Two – The Martyrdom of the 144,000?

These 144,000 are martyred at some point after Trumpet 5 but before Bowl 1, likely right after the 2 Witnesses are killed at the end of Trumpet 6.

They would likely be specifically targeted by the Beast (antichrist, now possessed by a satanic beast-spirit), along with the 2 witnesses, as his first course of action after rising from the abyss (his “resurrection from the dead”).  They have, after all, been preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  The anti-messiah won’t like that at all…  I believe these are the first martyrs of the Greatest Tribulation, the last half of Daniel’s 70th Week.

This would explain why the 144,000 wouldn’t have fled to the wilderness as directed by Jesus in Matthew 24 at the abomination of desolation event.  As followers of Christ, they would know they should flee, but for some reason they don’t.  Either the abomination of desolation occurs after their deaths, or they may not have the time or the ability to flee.

Although a martyrdom event would have them arriving individually in heaven as souls, it likely would be a short timeframe.  Thus, we see the vision of them when they are all deceased and collected together.

There is no description of them as being robed or transformed.  Thus I think it is reasonable to consider that they are in soul-form and will receive their resurrected bodies at the end of the tribulation period along with the other tribulation martyrs (Revelation 20).  They are the firstfruits of the “Tribulation martyrs”, at the inauguration of the Time of Greatest Tribulation.

I lean towards the second possibility.  However, as there is no mention of the death or cause of death of the 144,000 we can only speculate.

A New Song

The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps,  and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.  Revelation 14:2-5 ESV

The 144,000 sing a NEW song before the throne.  We have seen a few songs sung in heaven so far.  This one is a “new” song, that can only be learned by the 144,000.  This must have to do with them being the firstfruits for God and the Lamb.  The Mosaic Covenant saints were the fruits unto God, Yahweh.  The New Covenant saints were fruits unto the Lamb, Christ.  The 144,000 will be fruits unto both God AND the Lamb, meaning they will be of literal Hebrew origin (the Abrahamic Covenant) AND follow Jesus Christ.  They will be the first Jewish conversions to Christianity after the rapture of the church.

Without getting into a big discussion on salvation in the “tribulation age”, it does appear that there will be a return to some form of sacrifices, offerings, and Old Testament practices in addition to following Christ.  From Matthew 25 we know that one’s works during the tribulation will be judged to reveal those who are truly saved.  I’m sure that the 2 Witnesses will clarify this when the time comes.

Undefiled By Women, Blameless

It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.  Revelation 14:4-5 ESV

I see no reason to depart from a literal reading of the text here, and assume these are physical male virgins.  This might mean they are young, practicing orthodox Jews at this time.

Another view is that this could mean spiritual virginity, never having defiled themselves by worshiping other gods (other religions, or the antichrist).  A support of this view might be that these did not become a part of the Great Harlot – Mystery Babylon.  They are presenting themselves as a chaste, as opposed to in harlotry.

These are children of the Truth (Jesus), as opposed to having the Father of Lies (satan).  They are found blameless in the same way that all followers of Christ are blameless – they are clothed in Jesus’ righteousness.

Where Are Dan and Ephraim?

In the listing of the 144,000, you may notice that the tribe of Joseph is there, instead of being split into Manasseh and Ephraim (Joseph’s sons, who were adopted by Jacob/Israel).  However, Manasseh does, indeed appear as well.  Who did he replace, and where is Ephraim?  Dan and Ephraim are missing.  Beginning and End provides the likely explanation:

Where is the tribe of Dan?

In the list of twelve tribes in Revelation 7, the tribe of Dan is not included. In most lists of the twelve tribes in Scripture, the tribes of Levi was not there (because their inheritance was The Lord) and neither was Joseph (because Jospeh’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh were adopted by Jacob and they were counted as part of the 12 tribes in place of Joseph).  Dan is always listed until the end times list in Revelation 7.  So why is Dan not there? That answer can be found in the book of Judges.

Rather than take their part of the Promised Land as Joshua had commanded them to do years earlier, Dan continued as nomads, traveling for land they preferred. When they finally decided to enter their designated area, they … fell into spiritual idolatry, setting up a new religion centered on stolen idols and graven images…  For centuries, the nation of Dan was a center of pagan worship and a rejection of God right in the Promised Land.

Further confirming that they were most likely disqualified from being a part of the end times revival of Israel were two prophecies made about this tribe. In Genesis, when Jacob was blessing his twelve sons who were the patriarchs of the twelve tribes, he said of Dan:

Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. – Genesis 49:16-17.

Dan would one day judge Israel but not in righteousness as a godly judge, but as a “serpent by the way, an adder in the path.” This immediately brings up a connection to Satan who in Revelation is called “that old Serpent.”   The designation of being a “serpent” and “adder” appears to be prophetic of Dan’s decision to enter into rebellion against God for as long as they existed as a nation.

Another association with devil is the prediction that the tribe of Dan will “biteth the horse heels.” In Genesis 3, God told Satan that he would “bruise the heel” of the Messiah, which was fulfilled in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Could a descendant of the tribe of Dan be connected to the end times Antichrist? 

Where Is The Tribe of Ephraim?

Similarly, the tribe of Ephraim is excluded from the list of  tribes in the 144,000. And it is for the same reason – a rejection of God in favor leading the nation of Israel into satanic worship. This offense was done no more blatantly than by King Jeroboam, who ruled the Northern Kingdom of Israel after the nation split following the reign of King Solomon and is described in 1 Kings 11.

Jeroboam doubted God and fell into sin:

And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.

And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi. And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense. – 1 Kings 12:26-33.

This time of testing revealed the wickedness of Jeroboam. Rather than trust in God for protection, Jeroboam turned from the Lord and set up his own pagan false religion in the Northern Kingdom. He had golden calves made for the people to worship and make offerings to, copying one of the worst sins in the Old Testament when Aaron made the same sinful error in the book of Exodus. Jeroboam appointed the “lowest people” to be priests, when God specifically commanded that only members of the tribe of Levi could serve as priests. And note that the golden calves were set up in Bethel and Dan. The pagan, demonic worship of Dan continued and Jeroboam made it special location for altars to the false gods he set up. This evil king even went as far as to declare his own date for the feast of tabernacles. And he led the entire Northern Kingdom into rebellion against God.

Jeroboam’s sin was so offensive and so grievous that throughout Scripture “the sins of Jeroboam” are used time and time again as a standard of evil when other later kings were being described. The Northern Kingdom was so rebellious that almost all of its kings were pagans who worshiped false gods and demons. And it was all started by Jeroboam. In 1 Kings 13, the judgment of this sinful king of the tribe of Ephraim was pronounced: “And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth.”

So like the tribe of Dan, Ephraim’s rampant idolatry and rejection of faith in God disqualified it from the 144,000.

Full article HERE: http://beginningandend.com/who-are-the-144000/ 


Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

The 144,000 Rescued – Dr. David Jeremiah

God’s Mosaic – A Whole Scripture Overview of Things To Come

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

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Heavenly Silence – Seal 7

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. – Revelation 8:1 ESV

When the seventh, and last, Seal is broken from the scroll, there is “approximately half an hour” of silence in heaven.  Heaven, where cherubim never cease to proclaim God’s holiness – Silent.  Heaven, where the angels sing and the elders throw their crowns down before the Lamb in praise and worship – Silent. What monumental event could possibly cause such silence???

Foreboding Awe

The traditional view of the silence of heaven, is that when the seventh seal is removed, the judgments contained on the scroll are made visible.  The scroll is the title deed of the earth and on it are the details how Jesus is going to take back His Kingdom.  It contains all the judgments of God in His Great and Terrible Day of wrath.  Heaven is reduced to silence due to a glimpse at the impending judgments facing earth.

The days of grace will soon be over as earth currently wobbles on the tipping point of the scales of God’s wrath.  The church will be saved – snatched as one plucked out of the fires of destruction (Seal 6).  We will rejoice and worship the Lamb of God for a very short span of time before we are silenced (Seal 7) at the enormity of what is coming on those who have been Left Behind.

Silence Before Judgment in the Past

We have seen several times in the past that God allows a period of silence right before He unleashes judgment:

  • As in the days of Noah – The time before the Global Flood was one of open, rampant rebellion against God.  “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5 ESV).  God finds one righteous man, Noah, and He instructs Noah to build an ark to escape the coming flood of His wrath.  God waits patiently for Noah to build the ark.  Meanwhile, Noah continually preaches righteousness amidst the contempt of his neighbors.  When the ark is finished, God commands Noah and his family to enter the ark with the animals.  God then supernaturally seals the door shut, and for SEVEN DAYS the ark sits in dry silence.  On the seventh day, the floods break forth from the heavens and spring up from the deep (Genesis 7).  Jesus warns us: As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;  and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  Matthew 24:37-39 ESV.  There are many possible connections to the days of Noah, but this could be one.
  • Joshua at the Battle of Jericho – After the desert wanderings, the Battle of Jericho was the first battle the Israelites faced before entering the Promised Land.  God gave Joshua very specific instructions, which Joshua relayed to the people of Israel who then carried it out:

“And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor.  You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.  And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.”

“But Joshua commanded the people, “You shall not shout or make your voice heard, neither shall any word go out of your mouth, until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout.”  Joshua 6:2-6, 10 ESV

God commanded the Israelites to circle the city of Jericho silently, save for the blowing of trumpets, for seven days.  The people did as commanded, and on the seventh day, after circling the city seven times, the people shouted on command.  The walls of Jericho collapsed and the Israelites took the city.

Making War in the Heavenlies

I’m wondering if the silence has to do specifically with the greatest angelic battle of all time:

Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon,and the dragon and his angels fought back.  But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.  The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:  “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah.  For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,   who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens  and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea,   because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”  (Revelation 12:7-12 ESV)

You can imagine that this war will be spectacular to watch.  If all the angels are participating in this battle, that really only leaves God and the humans left to watch – silently.  Or, if this battle occurs right before or during the rapture, we may not even be there yet to watch!  Perhaps heaven is silent because it is emptied of angels and we haven’t yet arrived.  Does Seal 7 open AT THE SAME TIME as Seal 6, or AFTER?  This would dictate if we are not there yet, or are watching in silent awe.  Immediately after – or during – the rapture of the church (Seal 6, Revelation 12:5), there is no longer a place (purpose) found for Satan in heaven as there are (temporarily) no believers left to accuse on the earth.

How Long is “About Half an Hour”?

Will the silence be close to a literal half hour like in the Yom Kippur earthly temple service?  Or could it be 7 days of silence like we saw in the days of silence as in the days of Noah and Joshua?  Or could the half hour of silence represent the 10 days of “awe” between Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets / Rosh Hashanah) and Yom Kippur?

Maybe the silence is the gap of time between the rapture of the church and the confirming of the 7 year covenant with Israel (which starts the 70th week of Daniel), if there is a gap?  This could be several days, to weeks, to months, or even possibly approximately 3 years.

If the “Day” of the Lord is approximately 7 years long, and the “Hour” of trial that is coming upon the earth (Revelation 3:10) is also referencing this 7 year time period, could “about half an hour” be about half of 7 years?  That is, might the trumpets not start until shortly before the abomination of desolation event?

Alternately, is about half an hour equivalent to about half of 42 months (i.e. approximately 21 months)?  Revelation 17:12 (ESV) states:  And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast.  We know from Revelation 13:5 that the beast is given authority for 42 months: And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months (ESV).  If one hour is 42 months, then approximately half an hour would be approximately 21 months.

I have tried calculating half an hour using various different codes and timelines, but have come up with nothing concrete.  However long “about half an hour” is, it will be according to God’s perfect timeline.

**UPDATE May 24, 2018 – I have studied this approximate half hour of silence further here, and believe it to be a period of about 3.5 months (105 days): Approximately Half an Hour of Silence in Heaven.

The Silence is Broken

Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.  And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne,  and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.  Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.  Revelation 8:2-5 ESV

Regardless of whether the silence is due to observing the angelic war in heaven, or in foreboding awe of wrath, the wrath of God certainly follows the silence.

After the silence, seven angels are given seven trumpets.  An 8th angel comes and stands at the altar and offers incense with the prayers of the saints before the throne of God.  The angel then takes fire from the altar and throws it to the earth – resulting in lightning, thunder, and an earthquake.  The silence is broken.  
Note that the altar, incense, censer, fire, and smoke all are a part of the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) ceremony the high priest is supposed to perform in the earthly Temple – which is a shadow of the heavenly temple.  It was the one day a year the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies.  “And he shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small, and he shall bring it inside the veil  and put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is over the testimony, so that he does not die.”  (Leviticus 16:12-13 ESV)  This Yom Kippur ceremony will be performed in the heavenly temple before the judgments take place – the judgments that will purify the earth from all the martyr blood that has been spilled from the beginning of time.
With the silence in heaven complete, the prayers of the saints (including the 5th seal saints) are about to be answered! 
Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD, for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.  Zechariah 2:13 ESV

Conclusion

During Seal 7, it seems that multiple events take place during the “approximately half hour of silence in heaven”:

  • The war in the heavenlies between Michael and the holy angels and satan and the fallen angels, described in Revelation 12:7-12
  • The sealing of the 144,000 described in Revelation 7:1-8
  • The antichrist begins his rise to power and is revealed as per 2 Thessalonians 2:7-11
  • The 2 Witnesses show up as described in Revelation 11 and Malachi 4:5 (Elijah)
  • The true birth pains begin as the effects of the Seals opening are felt; the Blood Moon sign is seen globally as described in Revelation chapter 6
  • In heaven, there is a sense of foreboding and awe at what is occurring and about to occur upon the earth.

How long this approximate half an hour is, remains to be seen.

**UPDATE May 24, 2018 – I have studied this approximate half hour of silence further here, and believe it to be a period of about 3.5 months (105 days): Approximately Half an Hour of Silence in Heaven.


Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.
I highly recommend this excellent article on Jesus the High Priest initiating the wrath of God at the end of Seal 7 can be found here:  BeginningandEnd – http://beginningandend.com/revelation-8-jesus-christ-initiates-the-wrath-of-god/
Why Half an Hour’s Silence in Heaven?  Explains the earthly Yom Kippur ceremony.  By Banner Ministries
Silence in Heaven For About Half an Hour – A reference with other scriptures that discuss silence before God’s Judgment (Prepare for the Lamb)

God’s Mosaic – A Whole Scripture Overview of Things To Come

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

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