You're going, "yeah, yeah. Heard it all before...sure judgment is coming, but God said we weren't 'appointed to wrath', [1Th5:9] so I don't have to worry because the rapture is going to occur and I'm gonna be gone." WRONG!
You're right, believers are not called to suffer God's wrath...but (and this is a big BUT)...God's judgment and wrath are two different things. The Great Tribulation is NOT all God's wrath. Instead Rev 12:12 says that it is Satan's wrath because "he knows he has but a short time".
Instead God's wrath begins at a time described when the sun is darkened and the moon turns red and is described throughout the Bible as the Day of the Lord (See "Day of the Lord", click 'newer post' at the bottom to follow the study.)
However, before the Day of the Lord, there's a lot of nasty things that take place on earth. There are judgments, as God tries to wake up a sinful world to their need of repentance. There's also Satan's wrath aka "the Tribulation". And Jesus was very clear when he said that it would be "after the tribulation" that the sun would be darkened and the moon "not give her light". [Mat24:29, Mar13:24]
So if you've been taught that Christians will "fly away" and not have to experience the tribulation, then you were taught wrong. Jesus, Himself said that the gathering of the "elect" would occur AFTER the tribulation:
Mat 24:29-31 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
It's very clear that "after the tribulation" the Day of the Lord occurs, which also signifies the beginning of God's wrath being pour out, "and then" everyone will "see the Son of man" (Jesus) "coming in the clouds" "and" he (Jesus) will "send his angels" with a great "sound of a trumpet" and they will "gather his elect".
If you were to read a book where an event was described, such as: "after work" he went home, "and then" he fixed supper "and" watched the evening news. When retelling the story would you say that the character in the story "fixed supper and watched the news and then left work"? Of course, not!
Then why do people read the words of Jesus and say that the rapture of the church occurs before the tribulation???!!! The "catching away" of the church DOES NOT happen before the tribulation. No where in the Bible does it say that.
A verse often quoted when speaking of the "rapture" is 1Co15:52 "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
Only one place in the Bible when it talks about end-time events is there a mention of trumpets sounding and that's in Revelation 8:6 to 11:15 where it speaks about the trumpet judgments. It is at the sounding of the 7th trumpet (the "last trumpet") that signifies the beginning of the pouring out of the wrath of God (the 7 vials). Therefore the "last trumpet" is the same as the "7th trumpet", and is the same "sound of a trumpet" that Jesus mentions in Mat24:31 when the angels are sent to "gather his elect".
It is very clear that the "rapture" occurs at the last trumpet of the 7 trumpet judgments and is when the "elect" are "gathered" to be with the Lord.
If there is no "rapture" of the Church before the tribulation then what does it mean for Christians? It means that you need to have been preparing like Noah did "for the saving of his household" (notice how the time of Noah is mentioned by Jesus in Mat24. Noah prepared and God protected him while he brought judgment on the rest of the world).
For those living in the United States the time to prepare may be coming to an end as God's judgment begins to fall on a nation that has basically turned her back on God. While there are many Christians in the US who love the Lord, the vast majority of the people and the government have rejected God. Therefore, the time of her judgment is at hand. (See "America Babylon", click 'newer post' at the bottom of each page to follow the study)
Here are just a few reasons why I believe that the time of America Babylon's judgment may occur this fall according to Jeremiah 50-52 (Read the chapters and look for these phrases and words):
"time of the harvest"
"sea is come upon Babylon"
"covered with waves"
"waves do roar like great water"
all of which indicate the fall of the year, "harvest" and fall "sower" and the "waves" roaring and covering the land possibly indicative of hurricane season in the US...and remember ancient Babylon only had a tiny strip of land that was actually on the sea, the rest of the country was totally landlocked, therefore the sea couldn't do a lot of damage to ancient Babylon.
So if you're just now realizing that you've been taught wrong and that you haven't prepared, all is not lost. Instead you are coming upon a time that will test your faith as never before, but it will also be a time of seeing the hand of God work in your life like never before.
If you want to know what God will do, then look at what He's done. He doesn't change.
I don't believe it is a coincidence that Babylon was used by God to describe the future nation of the US and her judgments. Indeed I think God used it so that those who know Him and know the Word would see the wonderful deliverance and protection He gave to those who followed Him during the time of ancient Babylon. Then knowing that God is "the same yesterday, today and forever" they would understand that just as He protected the three Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace and protected Daniel in the lions' den, that the same protection would be afforded to those who did not bow their knee to the government/god/ruler of their day.
Here's just a brief list of some of the ways God historically protected and provided for His people:
- sent manna from heaven - Exo16:15 - God will provide food
- shoes did not wear out - Deu29:5 - Clothes/shoes will not wear out
- provided water - Deu8:15 - even in drought, God will provide water
- supernatural guidance - Exo13:21 - pillars of fire and cloud
- protection from fire - Dan3:27 - protection from nuclear blast?
- angels lead from destruction - Gen19:16 - Lot out of Sodom
- deliverance from unjust incarceration - Acts16:25
I believe that the Word teaches that we can expect the same miraculous provision, protection and deliverance by the hand of God that He has demonstrated in the past. Jesus Himself said that the thing that He did that we will do also...so we can expect that there will come a time when we will give thanks for a little bit of food and see it feed a multitude of hungry people.
This warning may fall on deaf ears or reach those who are convinced that they know what the Bible says (even tho they haven't really done the research for themselves, but have just accepted what they've been taught), however I will have done my part and been obedient to the Lord.
So even if you think I'm a crackpot and totally off base, make sure you know the Word of God, and remember: "if you want to know what God will do, look at what He's done."