Just Before the Rapture...
Do you ever wonder what will happen on earth in the years and months just before the Rapture?
If you don't wonder then it is probably due to one of two reasons: (1) You don't care. (2) You believe what you've been hearing about the 'pre-tribulation rapture' taking place before the 1st Tribulation Seal is broken.
Well, if you fit into either or both these 2 reasons, then bad new on both counts.
On the first count, Jesus says you better care and you better be ready (Matthew 24:42ff) or you will be left behind.
And, on the second count, the 1st Seal was broken in AD 1 (Acts 2:14ff), so 'that ship has already sailed' as they say. We are now approaching the 6th Tribulation Seal and we had better be ready, because there will be no 2nd chances!
Jesus says, in Matthew 24:9 that a day is coming when “They will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.
10 “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12 “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.
13 “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved."
Now, pay close attention to what Jesus, Himself, says in Revelation chapters two and three about enduring and overcoming. Because this is what is coming next!
Jesus is speaking to the seven Churches in these chapters - and remember - tribulation has begun and the Church is still on the earth receiving instruction from Jesus, and will remain on earth until the breaking of the 6th Seal of the Tribulation (read it).
-The Revelation of Jesus Christ-
-Things which must soon take place-
-Words of the prophecy-
This letter begins with, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, 2 who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near."
THE DESTRUCTION OF THE 2nd TEMPLE - Occurred in 70 AD
THE REVELATION WARNING OF THE COMING TRIBULATION - Occurred in 96 AD
Be aware that John was writing of FUTURE events because the Temple had already been destroyed, 26 years before John wrote the book of The Revelation.
So, we must ask the one most important question, "Why is Jesus warning the churches and His followers of something that is coming, in the Book of Revelation, if they would not endure it?"
The correct understanding of the timing of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture and the beginning of "Daniel's 70th Week" (the seven years of Tribulation) is that these events begin with the Breaking of the 6th Tribulation Seal.
Until then, "The ones who have an ear, let them hear".
Jesus tells the Churches (the followers of Christ), that until the breaking of the 6th Tribulation Seal, they must OVERCOME...
Revelation 2:7 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’
To him who overcomes: Jesus made this promise to him who overcomes – but what does this "Overcomer" overcome? We usually think of overcoming in dramatic terms of overcoming sin and in spiritual warfare, but here Jesus is speaking of overcoming coldness of heart and lack of love marked by leaving their first love of Jesus.
I will give to eat from the tree of life: The promise for these "Overcomers" was a return to Eden, a restoration to God's Presence, and eternal life. This was meant, first in the eternal sense of making it to heaven, which was no small promise to a people threatened with the removal of Jesus’ presence.
It is also meant in the sense of seeing the effects of the curse cancelled in our own lives though Jesus’ redeeming act of love.
Revelation 2:11 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’
He who overcomes: This was a promise for "Overcomers". This promise is for those who overcome the threat of persecution, and the presence of persecution.
We might say that we overcome by our close association with Jesus, but, it is that very association that brings both persecution and salvation. Jesus is the ultimate "Overcomer", as He says, In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
Shall not be hurt by the second death: Those who overcome by the power and presence of Jesus within them, will never be hurt by the second death. The second death is hell, the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14 and 21:8). Though Satan will threaten and attack your life, Jesus promises His "Overcomers" that death is conquered for them.
Revelation 2:17 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’
To him who overcomes: The one who overcomes this spirit of accommodation to false teaching and living will receive hidden manna. This is God’s perfect provision, the true bread from heaven (John 6:35).
And I will give him a white stone: In the ancient world, the use of a white stone had many associations. A white stone could be a ticket to a banquet, a sign of friendship, evidence of having been counted, or as a sign of acquittal in a court of law. Jesus may have any one of these meanings in mind, but at the very least we know that it has the assurance of blessing.
Revelation 2:26 ‘He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS;
He who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end: Even when there is the immoral and idolatrous influence of a Jezebel, Christians can overcome and keep Jesus’ works until the end. We must not become overly discouraged at immorality and idolatry around us, even among Christians. God’s work will still go on through His "Overcomers".
To him I will give power over the nations: Jesus promised that His people will reign with Him. Here, there is a special promise to those who overcome the threat of immorality and idolatry. To them, Jesus offered a share in His own kingdom.
“The word for ‘rule’ (Gr. poimanei) means literally ‘to shepherd.’
Their rule will not be simply that of executing judgment, but also that of administering mercy and direction.”
I will give him the morning star: Jesus offered them a reward greater than the kingdom. He offered them the reward of Himself, because He is the Morning Star (Revelation 22:16).
Revelation 3:5 ‘He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments: Jesus identified the "Overcomers" with those few names who have not defiled their garments (Revelation 3:4). These "Overcomers" would wear white garments, received from Jesus.
Jesus explained the absolute necessity of this being clothed by God with His garments of purity and righteousness in His parable of the wedding feast (Matthew 22:11-14).
Real righteousness is receiving God’s covering instead of trying to cover ourselves. Adam and Eve tried to cover
their own sin (Genesis 3:7) but God provided them with a covering that came from sacrifice (Genesis 3:21).
And I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life: By this, the "Overcomers" were assured of their heavenly citizenship. In the ancient world, death or a criminal conviction could blot out the name of an ancient citizen from the city’s book of the living, which was the city register.
But I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels: This was an amazing promise. It simply makes sense that we should be willing to confess the name of Jesus, but it is amazing that He would not be ashamed to confess us!
Revelation 3:12 ‘He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name."
He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar: "Overcomers" were told that they would be as a pillar in the temple of My God. Pillars were pictures of strength, stability, and dignified beauty.
He shall go out no more: The "Overcomer" would have a place of permanence and stability with God, in contrast to an uncertain place in this world.
I will write on him the name of My God… I will write on him My new name: The "Overcomer" also received many names – of God, the New Jerusalem, and the new name of Jesus. These names are marks of identification because they show who we belong to. They are marks of intimacy, because they show we are privileged to know Him in ways others are not.
Revelation 3:21 ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne."
To him who overcomes: Jesus’ promise to the "Overcomer", even at Laodicea, showed that we don’t have to be Christians who are compromising and lukewarm. If we are, we can change and become one of Jesus’ overcomers.
I will grant to sit with Me on My throne: Those who overcome the battle against indifference, compromise, and self-reliance, receive a special reward. They enjoy a place with the enthroned Jesus (as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne).
Revelation 21:5 "And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” 6 Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.
7 “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.
8 “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
Jesus is telling His Followers that they must "Endure to the end" and "Overcome". We are nearing that time.
Peter validates, in Acts 2:14-21 that "the beginning of birth pangs", that is the breaking of the tribulation Seals one began in AD 1 and the successive breaking of seals two through five have been ongoing to this day.
We are now seeing the Breaking of the 5th Tribulation Seal and the Church must Endure to its completion.
Then, with the coming day of the Breaking of the 6th seal we will see...
Jesus return in the sky and gather His elect from the four corners of the earth
God will seal the 144,000 from the Tribes of Israel
The Church Raptured and all Believers will be standing at the Throne of God, clothed in the white robes.
God's succeeding Judgments poured out on earth
Jesus and His armies defeat Satan.
Prepare Ourselves for battle. We must Endure and Overcome! We have been warned. BE READY!
Your Brother and Friend,
"Christ Jesus is our Hope!"