Jesus Will Return for His Church ... Soon
The Great Tribulation
"These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat."
** Please note that the diagram above is the site owner's interpretation of when these events will take place.
The Great Tribulation
The Tribulation will last a period of 7 years. The first three and one half years known as the birth pains; are very similar to a woman who is in the beginning stages of labor before giving birth (there are signs of the impending birth and some pain). However, the more intense pain is yet to come. After that time (the midway point), the next three and one half years will be more like the final stages of a woman's labor during childbirth. There will be great pain and suffering beyond our comprehension. This time will be known as "The Great Tribulation". At some point before the Great Tribulation, 1 Thessalonians 4 tells us "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air". After The Rapture of the church, there will be great tribulation and then God's wrath will be poured out. The battle of Armageddon will be fought and Satan will be bound for 1,000 years. During this time, Jesus will reign on the earth for 1,000 years (refer to timeline below).
** Please note that the diagram above is the site owner's interpretation of when these events will take place.
The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer
1When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
2And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.
3Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. 4The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angels hand. 5Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
6Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.
7The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.
8The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, 9a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
10The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water 11the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.
12The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.
13As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!
1The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. 2When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. 3And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. 4They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5They were not given power to kill them, but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man. 6During those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.
7The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. 8Their hair was like womens hair, and their teeth were like lions teeth. 9They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. 10They had tails and stings like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. 11They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon.
12The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come.
13The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God. 14It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates. 15And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. 16The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number.
17The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. 18A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. 19The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.
20The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.
The Angel and the Little Scroll
1Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. 2He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. 4And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.
5Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. 6And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, There will be no more delay! 7But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.
8Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.
9So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey. 10I took the little scroll from the angels hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. 11Then I was told, You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.
The Two Witnesses
1I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there. 2But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. 3And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. 4These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. 6These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.
7Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. 8Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. 9For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. 10The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.
11But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. 12Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, Come up here. And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.
13At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
14The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.
The Seventh Trumpet
15The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:
The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ,
and he will reign for ever and ever. 16And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17saying:
We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
the One who is and who was,
because you have taken your great power
and have begun to reign.
18The nations were angry; and your wrath has come.
The time has come for judging the dead,
and for rewarding your servants the prophets
and your saints and those who reverence your name,
both small and great
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.
19Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm.
There is much speculation in the Christian community as to when The Rapture will actually take place. There are many theories out there that state that the Rapture will take place before the Great Tribulation, whereas some may have a Post-Tribulation view, and even others might have a Pre-Wrath view or even a Pre-Millennium view. Many Christians want to believe that the Rapture will take place first, so that they won't have to worry about suffering. Only God the Father actually knows the day and the hour. During the end times, many false prophets and teachers will rise up out of the earth, providing a message that Satan would like to have the world believe (Matthew 24:11) and leading many astray.
It states in Matthew 24:4-8 (NLT):
Jesus told them, "Don't let anyone mislead you. For many will come in my name, saying, `I am the Messiah.' They will lead many astray. And wars will break out near and far, but don't panic. Yes, these things must come, but the end won't follow immediately. The nations and kingdoms will proclaim war against each other, and there will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this will be only the beginning of the horrors to come."
Here is what it says in Matthew 24:9-14 (NLT):
"Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because of your allegiance to me. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will lead many people astray. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But those who endure to the end will be saved. And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then, finally, the end will come."
Here is what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:51-55 (NIV):
"Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed -- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
You see, Paul was describing to the church in Corinth, the bodily changes that will take place during the rapture, and the manner in which the dead will be resurrected. After which time, the battle of Armageddon will be fought, Satan will be bound for 1,000 years and Jesus will reign, and be ruler over all the earth during those 1,000 years.
Many of you are probably wondering to yourself, "Why would a loving God allow His Tribulation Saints (new believers who were not a part of the Rapture) who endure to the end of the Great Tribulation, to suffer such horrors?" Understand that in the end, the Lord will be coming for a body of believers who will be spotless and blameless before the Lord. In order to become spotless and blameless, many will have to endure the painful tribulation period and will have to avoid taking the mark of the beast (Revelation 20:4), as it will actually be a time of purification and a time of cleansing.
In Ephesians 5:25-27 (NIV), Jesus helps us to understand how the church must be cleansed and without stain or wrinkle: "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless."
It says in Revelation 7:14 (NIV):
"These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
In Matthew 25:32-33 (NIV) it says:
All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
** NOTE: This is a Pre-Tribulation/Tribulation view of The Rapture. If you are wondering, "Could it possibly be wrong?" The answer is "Absolutely!" It is not for us to understand the Infinite mind of God with our small finite minds. There isn't anybody on this earth who has God completely figured out - not even close! Since your curiosity has brought you this far, you must be searching for answers. You must weigh all the possibilities and decide for yourself what the scriptures teach. First and foremost, always let the Holy Spirit be your guide when reading and trying to understand scripture.
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