The Truth of the End Times
The End Times is possibly the most confusing subject in the Bible. I started digging into the End Times with one goal. To find out the truth. I didn't care what I already believed. I wanted the truth. In the end I have completely convinced myself of one fact. God does not want me to know the truth yet. He only wants me to write the article.
I know, right? How can I possibly write a meaningful article if I do not know the truth? Because God knows the answers are not clear. God knows there are verses that seemingly support different stances. God wants me to explain why those answers are not what we need to know at this time.
Let's face it! If God wanted it to be simple and clear, He would have made it very clear. Jesus said the "only" way to the Father is through Him! He made that clear because he wanted that to be clear. The reason there is so much confusion about the end times is because He has reasons to not want the End times really clear. So what I am going to do is give you the most honest article on this subject out there. I am going to tell you what I know and I am going to tell you what isn't truly known.
Will there be a rapture?
Yes, the Bible does say we will be raptured.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air,
1 Corinthians 15:51-53
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.
Two points to be made here.
1) Some will play semantics and say the word "rapture" is not even actually in the Bible. I have read articles arguing that it actually is. I don't care either way. It doesn't matter if the word is in the Bible or if we made up the word for what happens. The meaning of the word "rapture" is still going to be what happens.
2) Many teachings are that the dead in Christ will be raptured first and reunited with the souls. Then those who are still alive will be raptured. I found another teaching that I tend to believe is correct, that the bodies of those who died in Christ will be raised from the Earth first and the souls will be reunited with the new better bodies and those still alive will also have their bodies changed. Then everyone will be raptured together at the same time. But to be honest, I will say this again. I really don't care, and neither should you.
It doesn't matter if the dead are raised first or the living. It doesn't matter if we are raised together or not. Why does that even matter? Why are people even debating over that? The entire thing will happen so fast that it won't matter who got there first. Are we going to get called up to meet Jesus in the sky and while everyone is in awe, some guy is gonna pipe up, "Told ya Ralph! You owe me ten bucks!" Nobody is even going to care one bit. So we shouldn't care now.
Personally, I just want to make sure I am one of those who gets raptured. I don't care if I am the first one there or the last. So long as I am raptured.
Will the Rapture Be Before or After the Great Tribulation?
Note* After more studying, I have come to a clearer belief of when the rapture happens. You can find the link to that article at the end of this one.
This is one of the biggest debates in Christianity. This is the one subject that had me completely baffled as I researched it. I contacted people trying to give them arguments to see if someone could convince me one way or the other. In the end, God told me it doesn't matter.
Wait? It doesn't matter? How can this not matter?
Simple. Whether the rapture is before or after, we should still do the same things. We should still hope we are raptured before the tribulation and expect to be raptured after.
Look! The things that are going to be happening in the end times are going to be really, really intense. Really terrible things are coming. But whether we believe it will be before or after, it won't change when it actually happens. There is absolutely nothing you or anyone else can do to change the truth of what happens. All we can do is prepare for whatever does happen.
There is a debate in Christianity on whether one can lose their salvation or not. Whether one can give it up or not. Everyone has their beliefs according to how they interpret the Bible but again, both sides have scripture seeming to back it up. What if you can lose your salvation? If you are not on fire for Christ, will you miss the rapture? Suddenly you are a weak Christian stuck in the worst of times and when they put a gun to your head telling you to take the mark of the beast or die, will you be strong enough to die for God? Believing the rapture is before the tribulation could possibly end bad for you.
Let's say the rapture happens after it all. Every Christian has to go through these terrible times. Are you strong enough in Christ to be willing to take a bullet to the head for Him?
In the end, it really doesn't matter what this person or that person says on whether the rapture is before or after the tribulation. The important thing is to get yourself right with Jesus now! Because if the rapture is before, you don't want to take a chance of missing it, and if it is after, you want to make sure you are ready to face what is coming! You can believe whatever you want to believe, but prepare for the worst and get yourself right with God now.
I truly believe that is why God would not let me see the truth in this matter. This is why he wasn't really clear on the subject. Because it doesn't matter what we believe, we still need to get our lives in order quick!
How Will We Know When the Tribulation Has Begun?
There are some different beliefs in this as well, but this is one subject I believe the Bible is fairly clear on. Revelations 6:1 is the start of the end times prophecies for the most part. When the antichrist comes on the scene, the tribulation has started.
1 Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “Come.” 2 I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.
I found it interesting that 6 is the number for man, imperfection, and I am not sure if this is biblical but it is often used for evil in the world. So Revelation starts off the 6th chapter with the antichrist.
The expectations are that the antichrist will be a political figure. He will be helped into power by the False Prophet. Most end time scholars seem to be in agreement that the false prophet will be whomever is the Pope at the time. They have good reasons to believe it too. The false prophet will call fire from the sky as proof God supports the antichrist and people will accept that. At one point the antichrist will make a peace deal with Jerusalem and 3.5 years later he will break the deal. He will invade Jerusalem and sit on a throne in the Temple. From there he will proclaim himself to be God.
At this point, the antichrist will really come down hard in his persecution of the Christian. He will force the world into a money system where everyone needs to take a mark on their forehead or hand. Without this mark (the bible refers to it as the Mark of the beast) you won't be able to buy or sell anything. Not even food. The Bible also states that if anyone does take the mark of the beast, they will be cast into the Lake of Fire.
Let us be clear here. There will be a lot of people believing the antichrist is actually the Christ. The Pope will push that. A vast majority of the Catholics will follow whatever he says. The entire world will love him at first. If any man becomes a leader of multiple countries, do not follow him!
26 So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. 27 For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Hold this verse true to your heart. If any man claims that the Christ has returned, do not believe him. If any man claims to be the Christ returned, do not believe him. For when Jesus comes for his faithful (the rapture) it will happen in a flash of a moment. As sudden and quick as lightning and he will gather all of his faithful in an instant. He will not return to perform miracles to convince people he is real. After that the next time Jesus returns, He will not sneak to Earth and begin walking around doing miracles. The Bible is very clear that at the second Coming he will come in a cloud, the sun will darken and the moon will not reflect any light. Every eyes will see Him! If you dont see Jesus coming in the sky, with a grand display, it wont be Him. When he does come at that time, he will send forth His angels to gather his elect and take them to Armageddon. If you are saved at that time, you will be gathered as well. If not, you are a lost soul. There will be no third chance.
How Bad Will the Tribulation Be?
The Bible is clear on this answer too. It will be bad. Very bad. When you see movies of the end times with the great disasters, those are understatements. Those will be like watching the Care Bears movie compared to the real thing.
There are three categories the Bible mentions. The Seals, the Trumpets, and the Bowls of the Wrath of God. One End Time scholar I have been communicating with believes the first half (3.5 years) will have the Seals and Trumpets. The second half, when the Bowls of God's Wrath are poured into the world, that's when it gets beyond bad. That is when God is simply levying his punishment to the wicked.
What people don't understand is that God is patient. He has patiently waited for thousands of years for people to accept him. He has always wanted us to accept Him through faith. When the Tribulation starts God starts revealing Himself to the world in a much more obvious manner. He will give us great signs. He will place plagues on only those who take the mark of the beast. He will put two witnesses on earth who will preach His gospel and they will have the power to use all of the plagues at will and anyone who tries to harm them will be killed by fire. God gives everyone plenty of proof He is real so they might turn to Him. Then at the end of the first 3.5 years, the two Witnesses will be killed. The Beast will not allow their bodies to be buried and he will leave them lying dead in the streets for 3.5 days. Then in view of everyone watching them, they will rise from the dead and ascend to heaven. This will signify the first 3.5 years is over.
The second half of the 7 year tribulation is where God becomes angry and lets out his Bowls of Wrath. God is no longer looking to save anyone else. Those who have continued to turn against him will not get another chance. This is where God lashes out and punishes those who are still alive.
The sun will darken. There will be great earthquakes that destroy major cities. Hail Storms with balls of hail weighing 100 pounds each. The people will hide in caves and beg the caves to crush them to hide them from God's presence.
When that 3.5 years is over and the entire 7 year tribulation is complete, Jesus will come back with his faithful and they will reign with Him on Earth for a thousand years. The Devil will be locked away in the abyss as well for that thousand years. Then he will be let loose again for a short time to deceive the people (not those who were saved and received the new bodies) and when that short time concludes, the final Judgment day will finally arrive. Those who are faithful will be awarded with a new Jerusalem on a new earth and a new heaven.
I have heard many atheists ask why God doesn't just show us miracles to prove he is real. What they don't realize is that He has done that before when he came to Earth as Jesus. He performed many miracles and many still refused to accept Him. So miracles won't make a big difference to those who are not willing to believe. Since then, God had still performed miracles but not as often and when he does, the world makes up excuses for that happened. For two thousand years God has wanted us to accept him. He has wanted us to accept him through faith. Not by proof. Soon that patience will run low and God will use the two witnesses to perform miracles again. He will show us great signs in the sky and cast plagues on those who have the mark. Only for having to prove his existence to us, he will require far more faith from us. Many will be given a choice to follow God and die, or turn to the Beast and take the mark. We will see plenty of proof and most will still deny God and turn to the beast. The few who missed the rapture, then became faithful and survive the end will be the ones who live like regular humans who live and die and procreate for the next thousand years.
After the thousand years is up, Satan will be let loose for a short time. He will deceive many again and raise an army and attack the New Jerusalem where the Saints (People who were faithful and received imperishable bodies) live. Jesus will come and his angels will cast Satan into the Lake of Fire to be tormented forever.
This is when the dead who were not saved and the living who were not saved are raptured. They will all stand before the throne and be judged, and then thrown into the lake of fire. The saved will live forever in paradise.
What Is Hell Like?
The world has an image of great caverns in the center of the earth with fire burning everywhere and the devil forcing them to work in chains. I have always believed Hell was a lake of fire that has no light and the souls are tortured by the Devil and his demons non-stop. It turns out I was closer than Hollywood but I was still wrong. It turns out when you actually read the Bible that Satan and his demons wont be there to torture us. In fact, they will be in torment right along with the unfaithful people. Hell is the devil's punishment as well.
Think about that. However bad you can imagine a place being, have you ever thought it would be so horrible of a place that even Satan himself will be in torment?
10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Makes one want to get right with God all that much more huh?
How Close are We to the Tribulation?
I am not going to give a date. Jesus said that even He did not know the day or the hour of his return. Only God knows. A lot of people have tried to guess what year it would be and that year always seems to come and go. I will not join their numbers. What I will do is say that I believe it will be in the lifetime of my granddaughter who is not even 5 yet. It will not even surprise me a little if it happens in my lifetime and I am ten times older than her.
Most all of the end time scholars seem to agree that there is no prophecy left that needs to be fulfilled for the tribulation to start. There is nothing stopping God other than His perfect timing. I am already seeing videos of people getting microchips in the backs of their hands that has all of their access to their money in them. One site said that a lot of Christians are up in arms over this microchip, but they believe it will take another 50 years before it is accepted everywhere. I believe it could take fifty years, or it could take one catastrophic event. Like major banks going under. Something making people realize that their money is safer in a chip in their hand that will stop thieves from getting people's debit cards. Or it could just be some political leader of multiple countries, like the antichrist to force it upon everyone.
One way to rush that in would be if the rapture did happen before the tribulation. Imagine if thousands and thousands of people as well as every child in the world suddenly disappeared. Some while driving. Imagine the chaos that would follow. In the midst of such terrible chaos, it would be just the thing for someone like the antichrist to grab onto and move into power.
I Can't See the United State Turning Over its Power to a World Leader...
I can. Look at the country today. How divided it is. Half the country seems to hate the other half because its no longer a government for the people. It is party vs party and it has become so corrupt that more and more people are becoming anti-party. The Democratic party is essentially the anti-God party. It wants to remove God from everything, it supports all of the things God is against like homosexuality and abortion. The Republican party pretends to be supporting God but the party is almost as corrupted as the Democratic party. Now imagine Jesus returns and raptures his faithful. Suddenly unmanned cars will be careening into oncoming traffic. A couple planes could fall from the sky. People all over will just disappear. Every child will disappear, leaving parents frantic looking for their babies. At that point, there will be no denying that God is real. The rapture will have happened and those left behind will know what happened. Some will make excuses like alien abductions, but there will be many who know what it was.
Suddenly you have a country in complete chaos and the people realizing the government they were fighting over had pulled the country away from God and many will blame them for their not believing God. This country would be ripe for a leader who is so loved in the world that multiple countries have turned to his ruling. Then when the people see the False Prophet call fire from Heaven in support of the antichrist, they will believe that God supports him and they will flock to him.
I don't claim the rapture will happen before or after the tribulations, but if it was to happen before, it would also serve as a catalyst to send this country into the tribulation.
Note* As for the timeline for when the Rapture will happen, there is an article with new and better information.
When Does the Rapture Happen in the End Times?
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