“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep (Rapture) thee from the hour of temptation (Tribulation), which shall come upon all the world, to try them that DWELL UPON THE EARTH (capitals mine).”
For believers and unbelievers alike, we have long been Promised by Jesus of two soon coming events which will impact every single, living human being forever at the time they occur. The first is the Rapture. This is Jesus’s Promise in the Scripture above that He will keep the Believers who have kept His Word from having to endure all the trials and Tribulation which will happen after the Rapture. Not to rehash the timing of the Rapture but this verse clearly says He will KEEP us from going through that time period known as the Tribulation. Of course, we first were told about the Rapture by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18:
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds (not on earth) to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
When you compare this Scripture to what happened to John on the Isle of Patmos when he was told to write the Book of Revelation, I believe you can see the reason the majority of Bible prophecy scholars strongly agree the Rapture MUST occur before the Tribulation begins. Right after John wrote the first three chapters of Revelation, which give us the history and stages of the Christian Church until THEIR time on earth is finished, he followed up in Revelation 4:1-2, giving us an example of actually experiencing the Rapture:
“AFTER THIS (meaning after the Church age) I looked, and behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said Come up hither; and I will shew thee things WHICH MUST BE HEREAFTER (capitals mine). And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.”
From this point until Christ’s Return in Revelation 19:11 the Church is not mentioned one time! Why? Because they are NOT on the earth while the unbelievers are going through the Tribulation! Jesus told John when he was “raptured” that He would then show him all the things which will happen AFTERWARDS, meaning AFTER the Rapture has snatched all the Believers in Jesus, both alive and dead, from the earth so God would then “…try” those remaining, those who “…dwell upon the earth.” While many denominations teach that since man is naturally sinful, he obviously must therefore be punished for his sins by going through the Tribulation. They go on to say because of their earned sinfulness, God will not Rapture them until either halfway through or at the end of the Tribulation period of seven years. BUT, this is not what the Bible clearly teaches us in many places.
Living today, we must all be acutely aware there are two very imminent events soon to occur. Of course these are the Rapture and the Tribulation. One is very good and one is very bad!
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
Simply put, you cannot escape either. If you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, you will be Raptured. If you don’t, you won’t and you will have to endure the worst time period in the history of the world when God’s Wrath is unleashed on this unrepentant world. Think about this. God destroyed everyone on the earth at the time of the Flood EXCEPT for Noah and his family. In just a few days the flood waters did their job eliminating all of mankind. During the Tribulation God will unleash His Wrath on this world for 7 years! It is estimated one half of all people on the earth will die. Now, with God’s Grace there will be people saved during the Tribulation. Many will be martyred for their newfound belief in Jesus and many believers will also survive this terrible time to live on earth after Jesus Returns at Armageddon. But, since none of us know when our time on earth is finished, I wouldn’t wait until then to make the most important decision of your life, of your very existence. It is solely your choice as to whether you go with the bad or the good. If you want to know what will happen to those who must endure the Tribulation, you may want to read my previous post Did Millions of People Just Disappear? You Better Read This NOW!.
I find it interesting if you do a Bible term search of the phrase in the opening Scripture above, “…DWELL UPON THE EARTH”, you will find something VERY enlightening. It is used a total of 4 times in the entire Bible (the one at the beginning of this post and the other 3 below). But, it always refers to those living (dwelling) on the earth during the Tribulation. Note, it DOES NOT refer to the Believers!
“Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, AND THEY THAT DWELL THEREIN SHALL DIE IN LIKE MANNER (capitals mine): but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.”
Even in the Old Testament we are told those living on the earth during the time “…the earth shall wax old like a garment” will die but His Salvation shall be forever! From this verse the only other times the phrase “…dwell upon the earth” is used is in the Book of Revelation which clearly details the Tribulation and what will befall unbelieving man and the earth during the outpouring of God’s Wrath:
“And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, (the two prophets) and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.”
In God’s Mercy, He sends two prophets (Moses and Elijah?), along with 144,000 Jewish evangelicals, to the earth during the first half of the 7 year Tribulation to give those who were left behind at the Rapture one last chance to accept Jesus as their Savior. While these two prophets will have the incredible ability to withhold rain and to cause many miracles which will bring much discomfort to many to prove their power is God given, after the prophets are killed by the anti-christ, the people on earth are so happy they are finally gone they will go into a party mode! They will send gifts to each other to celebrate this “momentous” occasion. This tells me the only ones left to celebrate are those unbelievers left behind after the Rapture. For more info on these two you may want to read my previous post What happens when these 2 guys come knocking on your door?
“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him (Satan), whose names ARE NOT (capitals mine) written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
It can’t be any clearer than this. If you are living of the earth during the Tribulation and are worshipping Satan, your name IS NOT written in the Book of Life. This means at the Great White Throne Judgement of God, you will be judged and will be thrown into the fire and brimstone of Hell forever. I cannot think of anything worse! This will be so BAD for all who did not accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. On the other hand, if you have accepted His Gift of salvation before the Tribulation, you will be Raptured. This is not only GOOD, it is great!
We are now seeing so many of the various signs foretold thousands of years ago to occur in the Last Days. We all have a choice TODAY! One is bad and one is good. I pray you will make the right decision. Again, that decision will be with you forever. However, you do have a choice and the difference between bad and good should actually be very easy. Acknowledge Jesus Christ as your Savior, repent of your sins and ask Him to forgive you. This should not scare you but only make you aware of what your choices are and the eternal differences they represent. Please help me to tell others what Jesus has asked us all to do and that is to “…therefore comfort one another with these words.”
May God Bless you as we await the Rapture!