“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Throughout human history, we have been given God’s Law for the way we should live our lives. Even though all of us, men and women alike, have been born into a sinful world, God has given us the ability to choose whether to eventually spend eternity with Him in Heaven, or unfortunately, with Satan, the anti-christ and the false prophet in hell. These are only two choices! All of us, both alive and dead, as of the writing of this article will have or have had a decision to make. And, many in the future will also have that decision to make. The eternal results of this decision for each and everyone of us has been clearly laid out in God’s Word, the Holy Bible. In order to fully comprehend where we are going to spend eternity, we must of course know in our heart whether we have or have not accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. As God so succinctly said to ALL of us in John 3:16:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Did you know the Old Testament saints, those who lived righteously before Jesus’s birth, death and resurrection have already been raised from the dead? Remember as Jesus died, he cried out and upon His death the Temple veil was torn? This symbolized the fact that prior to His death for our sins, only the Jewish High Priest could enter the holiest of holies once a year, on Yom Kippur, and ask God to forgive the sins of the Jewish people. That all changed! After Jesus’s death we no longer needed anyone else except for Jesus to intercede on our behalf. In Matthew 27:50-53 we have been told:
“Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost (died). And, behold the veil of the temple was rent (torn) in twain (two) from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his (Jesus) resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”
So, if I may, let me divide human history from the Garden of Eden until today, the date I am posting this article, to explain where all of us alive today are going at some very specific, Bible prophesied time. For example:
“Because thou (Believers) hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”
Here is a question for all of us. If we are alive at the time of the Rapture, what happens to us? Here, Jesus clearly Promises John that at some time in the future, He will “keep” (snatch) His Believers out of the trials and tribulation of the coming Wrath of God that will be unleashed on this world “…to try them” (punish) who are left behind after the coming Rapture. This will affect every single person alive on the earth at the time of the Rapture. If you believe in Jesus Christ and have accepted Him as your Lord and Savior and have asked Him for forgiveness of your sins, you will instantly meet up with Him in the clouds to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. If you have not accepted His Gift of Salvation, you will be left behind to suffer God’s terrible Wrath. How bad will it be? Jesus Himself tells us in Matthew 24:21: “For the there shall be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world UNTIL THIS TIME (capitals mine), no, nor ever shall be.” Think about this. It will be far worse than Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden and subsequent physical death; Noah’s Flood; the total destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; the plagues on Egypt; the destruction of both Jewish Temples; and, the dispersion and subsequent persecution of the Jews throughout the entire world over the last 2,000 years. World War I and World War II will be nowhere near as bad as the Tribulation. Covid-19? Economic catastrophe? Earthquakes? IT WILL BE FAR WORSE THAN ANYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE!
OK, so the Believers who are alive at the Rapture will go to spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus in their new immortal bodies and the unbelievers will be left behind to suffer through God’s Wrath during the Tribulation. What about the people who have already died before the Rapture. What happens to the dead Believers and unbelievers then?
“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 (Believers) shall rise first: THEN (capitals mine) we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
I believe again, the Bible is very clear on what happens to those who have died previously believing in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. These may be Christians that died almost 2,000 years ago or those who died yesterday. When Jesus Returns at the coming Rapture He will first call up the “…dead in Christ “ (those who died believing in Him) and THEN we who are alive will join them in the clouds. The way the Scripture reads, there does not appear to be much of a time gap between these two simultaneous occurrences. Rather, as Jesus said in 1 Thessalonians 4:15, “For this we say unto you BY THE WORD OF THE LORD (capitals mine), that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep (dead).” Jesus is reassuring us that our loved ones, other Believers in Christ, will not be left behind. Now those who did not believe and died prior to the Rapture WILL NOT be raised from the dead at this time. Rather, they will remain in their graves until the time of the Great White Throne Judgement of God at the end of Jesus’s 1,000 year Millennial reign on earth. More on that later.
OK, I think we are now aware of what happens to those who are alive or who have died BEFORE the Rapture. What about those who are alive after the Rapture? Do they have any hope at all of being saved? Yes! All they must do is what we have to do. Recognize Jesus as having died for our sins and ask Him to forgive us. Unfortunately, the Rapture has passed and they must now try to make it through the Tribulation or be willing to be martyred for their new found belief in Christ. During the Tribulation God will seal 144,000 Jews, 12,000 from each of the tribes, who have come to know and believe in Jesus to evangelize the world.
“And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.”
How effective will these 144,000 evangelicals be in bringing so many of those who missed the Rapture to know God? I once heard these evangelists will be much more effective than Billy Graham and there will be 144,000 of them. John also specifically asked Jesus who those were that he was shown while he was in Heaven:
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;”
The Bible does not say there were only 144,000 standing before the Throne of God. It says there was “…a great multitude, which no man could number.” Most Biblical scholars believe these are the saints who came to Faith in Jesus during the Tribulation and were then martyred for their Christian beliefs because one of the elders under the Throne of God asked John who these people were. John replied the elder knew the answer to that:
“And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, what are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came OUT OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION (capitals mine), and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
I doubt anyone could argue against these words of the Bible. In Heaven John is specifically told the large multitude which no one could count, are those who were killed DURING the Great Tribulation. This tells me they were not Raptured but came to know Jesus during the Tribulation, probably because of the ministry of the 144,000 evangelicals who preached throughout the world. They were eternally saved by their belief but were martyred because of their failure to accept Jesus BEFORE the Rapture. Of course, during this time there will be many others who will die because of wars, earthquakes, plagues, etc. If they had not accepted Jesus before that calamity, they will remain in their graves until the Great White Throne Judgement of God at the end of Jesus’s 1,000 Millennium reign on earth.
OK, just a quick review. Those who believed in Jesus before the Rapture, both those who had previously died and those alive when He returned, are now in Heaven. Some, but not all, of those who came to know Him after the Rapture will be martyred for their beliefs and will also be in Heaven. There will remain on the earth many who have come to know Jesus but will not be killed. They will eventually witness the Second Coming of Jesus at Armageddon. God will protect them, Jews and Gentiles alike. Those who previously had died and failed to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior while alive will remain dead and buried until the Great White Throne Judgement. So, what about those still alive during and after the Rapture who do not believe in Jesus? They will instead worship the anti-christ and will endure God’s Wrath. What do we know about them?
“And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.”
Unfortunately for those alive who will reject the Gift of Salvation made possible by Jesus’s death and resurrection, John told us 2,000 years ago in the Book of Revelation what they will do:
“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him (Satan), whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast (anti-christ) and his image, AND (capitals mine) receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation: and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: AND THE SMOKE OF THEIR TORMENT ASCENDETH UP FOR EVER AND EVER: AND THEY HAVE NO REST DAY NOR NIGHT, WHO WORSHIP THE BEAST AND HIS IMAGE, AND WHOSOEVER RECEIVETH THE MARK OF HIS NAME (capitals mine).”
Hopefully, you now understand what I have been trying to say. Believe in Jesus NOW and you will be Raptured before the Tribulation begins so you can escape God’s Coming Wrath. If you don’t and are still alive, you can still be saved. Perhaps you saw millions “disappear” in the Rapture and that brought you to understand the truth of God’s Word. Maybe it was the message of Hope and Salvation delivered by the 144,000 evangelicals that convinced you of His Promises. Or, perhaps it is the smooth talking, miracle performing anti-christ that convinces you he actually is your savior. At Armageddon/Jesus’s Second Coming your decision is cemented! When He Returns there will be two types of people alive on the earth. Those who came to know Jesus AFTER the Rapture and lived through the Tribulation and those who rejected Jesus but accepted Satan’s lies. That’s it! You are one or the other with no other possibility. So, what happens then? At the Battle of Armageddon, where the armies of the world will attempt to defeat Jesus, He Returns and throws the anti-christ and false prophet into hell forever, and places Satan in the bottomless pit for His 1,000 year reign on earth. What happens to those who worshipped the anti-christ?
“And the remnant were slain with the sword of him (Jesus) that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.”
Revelation 19:21, Revelation 20:5
Do you get it? When Jesus Returns, He kills ALL that had not accepted Him but chose Satan instead. At that point only Believers alive will be on the earth. All unbelievers will be dead, along with all unbelievers from throughout human history, during His 1,000 year earthly reign. Those of us who had been Raptured, who died believing in Christ before the Rapture and all who died believing in Him during the Tribulation will reign with Him on earth over those alive at His Second Coming:
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgement was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands: AND THEY LIVED AND REIGNED WITH CHRIST A THOUSAND YEARS (capitals mine).”
During Jesus’s 1,000 year Millennium reign, those who were alive and believed in Him at His Second Coming will live as mortals on earth in peace and righteousness. They will repopulate the world. Those already in Heaven with Jesus will reign with Him for the 1,000 years. Unfortunately, those alive will still have a propensity to sin which is why Jesus will reign with a “…rod of iron.” Some will reject his governance but understand they will have to live by His rules. I don’t know about you but I am astounded that people will turn on Jesus living in such peace and harmony but remember, many alive on the earth at the end of His 1,000 year Kingdom DID NOT go through the Tribulation. So guess what? At the end of His Reign, Satan will be loosed for “…a short season” and believe it or not, there will be many who will be deceived by him and will follow him in rebellion against the reign of Jesus. But, in God’s Great Justice, this will not last long and “…fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” (Revelation 20:9). Satan will finally be thrown into hell to be with the anti-christ and the false prophet and will be tormented day and night forever, never again to deceive mankind.
When the above happens, there is only one more thing which must be finished, the Great White Throne Judgement. Please do not misunderstand this event. The Great White Throne Judgement is for unbelievers ONLY! Those who Believe in Jesus and are listed in the Lamb’s Book of Life have already received their just rewards. They are not to be judged. How can you be guaranteed your name is in the Book of Life?
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
The only ones judged are those who have not accepted Jesus while they lived. They will be judged against God’s standards which no one can match. And, of course, at this point the unbelievers of all time have all been raised from the dead to stand before God at His Great White Throne. There are none still alive.
It is perhaps not explained any more clearly than in Revelation 20:11-15:
“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. AND WHOSOEVER WAS NOT FOUND WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE WAS CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE (capitals mine).”
Man cannot earn his way into Heaven through his works. As the Bible says “All men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” And, “the wages of sin are death”. Only by seeking the redemption from our sin made possible by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins can we be saved. Then Jesus will speak up for you!
“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”
“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
God does not want one of His creation to suffer and die BUT He gave us the ability to choose what WE want. He does not force us to Believe in Him. He wants us to accept Him for who He is, the One who created Heaven and Earth and gave life to all of us. As a Believer it is so difficult to understand how people can reject His offer of Salvation if all we need to do is accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and that only through Him can we be saved. Of course we are also responsible for sharing His offer to others so they can choose where they want to spend eternity, with Him in Heaven or suffering in eternal punishment in hell. This is why I am so comforted, knowing Jesus died for my sins and I will be in Heaven with Him for eternity. It is also why I feel it is so important for us to do what He asked us to do, and that is to “…therefore comfort one another with these words.” This choice should not be scary. It should be celebrated!
Choose Jesus over Satan in order to spend eternity with our Lord and Savior. May God Bless you!