By Patrick Heron
I have had the privilege of appearing on several hundred radio shows over the past 12 years speaking about my books. I always try to bring the conversation around to the Rapture and the truth of the Word which states that the Lord will gather together His church and take her to heaven before the Apocalypse proper begins Invariably I receive emails from sincere fellow Christians insisting that we are indeed to go through the Tribulation and that I am a coward for not wanting to accept this trial of faith.
I always reply with Romans 5:9 where Paul states categorically that;
“We are saved from the wrath to come.”
I point out also that Paul repeats himself in 1 Thess. 1:10 and 5:9 where he says Jesus has “rescued from the wrath to come” and that “God hath not appointed us to wrath.” Quite conclusive I would have thought. Especially so since Paul also assures us, in Galatians 1:12, that these epistles are not his words, but rather he received them by direct revelation from Jesus Christ Himself.
Undeterred the e-mailer writes back and says that, and this is a direct quote here, “the true disciples of Jesus will be spared and protected from evil during this terrible time.” I am sure many of you will have experience of this same argument as you debate this topic.
So is this the case? Are we Christians really going to experience the horrors of the Apocalypse but be saved through it as these post-Tribulationists insist? Let us go directly to the Word and allow it speak for itself.
“If any is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If any is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed” (Rev. 13:10).
“I saw the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus” (Rev. 17:6).
“In her was found the blood of the prophets and of the saints” (Rev. 18:24).
“And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the Word of God” (Rev. 20:4).
“He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed” (Rev. 13:15).
It is glaringly obvious that Christians are going to suffer ferocious terror and death during the Apocalypse. And these verses are speaking of committed Christians as it speaks of “those who bore testimony to Jesus and to the Word of God.” These are not wishy-washy believers who are being executed here. A parallel passage speaking about the same time in the Book of Daniel reiterates these awful truths.
“Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered” (Dan. 11:33).
Not only will Christians saved in the Tribulation be put to the sword, they will also suffer death by burning. In chapter 13 of the book of Isaiah we have further prophecies concerning those who put their faith in God and Christ during the Day of Tribulation. We know that this is speaking of the Apocalypse as Isaiah states this is referring to the “Day of Wrath” which is another name for the Day of Vengeance, the Day of His Burning Anger, the Cruel Day with Wrath, the Day of Jacob’s Trouble etc. This is a very harrowing section but mature Christians need to hear this so that we can warn others as to what is coming down the tracks in the days ahead.
“Whosoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword. Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives ravished” (Isaiah 13:15, 18).
It should be obvious to anyone with eyes to see that Christians are going to be hunted down, tortured, thrown into jail, beheaded and slaughtered in great numbers during the time-frame we call the Apocalypse. So that Christian believer who wrote to me saying, “The true disciples of Jesus will be spared and protected during this terrible time,” is plainly in error and has not bothered to rightly divide the Word.
So, if we believers in this time are to be “saved from the wrath to come” then who are those Christians who are to suffer such an horrific holocaust and mass slaughter during the Day of Wrath? To answer this conundrum we go to the words of the Lord Jesus and His parable of the Ten Virgins.
To my mind there is only one explanation as to what Jesus was teaching in this parable. He was talking about what Paul calls the gathering together of the saints and our blessed hope. Many evangelicals call this, the Rapture. It is clearly stated in 1 Thess. 4 that the Lord is to return briefly and take out or catch away those that have believed in Him.
First, the dead Christians since Pentecost are to rise and receive a new spiritual body (like the body Jesus received when He rose from the dead) and meet the Lord in the air. Then, those Christians who are alive will be caught up to meet the Lord also in the air. And so shall we ever be with the Lord.
He then takes His Bride to the place He has been preparing for them since His ascension into heaven. He promised in John 14:1-4, that He was going to His Father’s house to prepare a place for His followers. He added that He would return and bring them to this place at a future date. These are those Christians who have accepted Him as their personal Lord and Savior before the Rapture.
Those who will turn to Jesus after the gathering together will then realize what has occurred. Let me explain how this will happen. If we take the USA as an example, it has roughly 300 million of a population. Many of these proclaim they are born-again believers in Jesus Christ. Let’s say half are Christian for arguments sake. That means 150 million are not saved Christians as they have not taken the step of accepting Christ as their personal Savior.
But many, many of these 150 million non-believers have heard of Jesus Christ and His salvation message. They know about the Rapture, but they choose to ignore it. They are well aware of much of the teachings of Jesus because they hear about these, day in, day out on radio and on TV. Many celebrities who are Christians have spoken about their faith and of the Rapture and of the need to be ready. But these warnings are ignored. So what will happen?
Picture this: You wake up one morning and turn on the news and hear a most disturbing bulletin. Millions of people from every corner of the world have mysteriously vanished. You find it hard to believe, but as news from around the world confirms this mass disappearance, a shiver of foreboding and trepidation runs through your body.
You feel vulnerable, unsure and perhaps alone. The realization that the Rapture Christians spoke of has happened hits you like a baseball bat. You feel nauseated as the blood drains from your face and a dread fear creeps into your stomach. A fear you know is going to remain for some years to come.
You are left on earth and you know that the prophecies have come to pass and now you must face into the woeful times talked about in the Apocalypse, along with all those others who refused to heed the warnings. You are part of those left behind. You drop to your knees and beg God and Jesus to forgive you and help you. The dark night of the soul has begun.
Huge amounts of people are going to become Christian believers after the Great Tribulation begins when they realize they have been left behind. These are the unwise virgins of the parable. These Christians will go through a horrific experience for the next several years. Some scholars say the Apocalypse is to last seven years. Others say three and a half. Either way it is going to be a literal hell on earth for all who find themselves ensnared in this demonic coliseum.
Those who accept Jesus as Lord in this present time, will be gathered together when the Lord returns before the events of the Apocalypse begin and before the Antichrist is released from his prison in the pit of the Abyss. Those who realize they are stuck in the web of the Great Tribulation are the unwise who were not ready for his coming. They must now endure the savage testing that is to be their wont in the ensuing years of tyranny under the power of the Antichrist’s global army.
May God bless those who have to endure this period. If any are reading this before the Rapture and have not yet come to know the Lord Jesus, now is your chance to pull back from the brink of the dark Abyss into which the world will soon be plunged.
Accept the free gift of eternal life made available to you by the finished work of the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ. All you have to do is believe and ask, and it shall be given. As a born-from-above spirit filled believer of the church of God and a member of the Body of Christ, you will indeed be “rescued from the wrath to come.”