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THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH AND ORDER OF EVENTS

 As was stated in the first blog this is only a “bare bones” look. It is not meant to cover every facet and every detail, my purpose is to help us get a better understanding of the series of events that will take place and the order we can expect them to come in. Since some events leave some ambiguity as to details and timing, I ask for grace from my readers. I think the most important thing is that each individual searches their heart and the Bible truths to determine whether their soul and heart is prepared for Jesus Christ’s rapturing of His unspotted Bride. We each must be ready for Him or we will be left behind!

The many events of the End Time can be very difficult to keep track of as well as confusing and even intimidating to many people. What really helped me understand these times was having the events put in chronological order, that way I could see the timeline and begin to understand how it fit together. So, I will try to make a timeline by outlining the events and will keep it as simple as possible. I will purposely leave out some of the events such as the opening of the Seals, horns, Mark of the Beast, Resurrections of the dead, and the bulk of the numerous scriptures found from Genesis to Revelation, etc. (I hope to cover more of these details in our September Discipleship Class.)
To get a better foundational understanding please read the parables of the Gospels, especially the ones that start out with, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like…” and note how Jesus is preparing us for His return. For example, in Mark 13:35-37 He warns us with these words, “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” Another similar parable can be found in Matthew 24:42.
Though the ‘birth pangs’ preceding the coming of Christ are currently intensifying, they actually started 2000 years ago. Prophecies often have dual fulfilments which means that there can be minor fulfillments that happen early on with the full and final fulfillment during the end times.
Before we start, it is important to note that The End Time is not the end of the world! It is the end of the world’s system that is currently under satan’s control. As written in Ephesians 3:21, “… to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Or you will recall the words, “world without end. Amen, Amen!” as found in the doxology.
1. - THE FALLING AWAY - The Bible clearly prophesies that the Church of the end times will be characterized by apostasy or a great falling away from the Faith and rebelling against Christ. Paul said that the Antichrist will not be revealed until “the apostasy first comes”, 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Jesus declared that “many will fall away” and that “most people’s love will grow cold”. Matthew 24:10, 12. I think this apostasy is quite evident in America and other parts of Christendom, particularly Europe – we are, without question, witnessing this today!
2.-RAPTURE – At some point, and without warning, we can expect the Rapture of the faithful Bride of Christ to take place – also known as the First Fruits Rapture or the Man-child Rapture. Again, this will happen without warning, so as the parable above states, “What I (Jesus) say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!” During this time the judgement of the raptured believers will take place. Some Christians will be given great rewards for their faithfulness to Christ and their service to Him during their life time, and some will receive none! However, please note, this will not be a judgement of condemnation. (More about these rewards later.)
3. ANTI-CHRIST - Immediately after the faithful portion of the Church is removed, the Anti-Christ will come into power for 7 years. For the first 3 ½ years he will be applauded by the world – the news media, politicians, governments, academia, the world elites, UN, and the Apostate Church – which is the part of the church that has fallen away from the Truth and is also referred to as the Harlot Church in Revelation.
4. - The Great Tribulation - During the second 3 ½ years period, the Anti-Christ will unleash the full fury of hell on the earth – a time known as the Great Tribulation. This second 3 ½ year period is also called “time, times and half a time” and is described by the Prophet Daniel. “He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time (3 ½ years)”, Daniel 7:25. This will be the time of the most horrible persecution of all times against both Christians and Jews. Keep in mind that the faithful, spiritual, praying or restraining portion of the Church will be gone – raptured - and the demonic realm will be left virtually unchecked!
5. SECOND COMING OF CHRIST - At the end of the 7 years, Jesus Christ will return with the raptured Believers to establish His Millennial Kingdom on earth and usher in the Day of the Lord. He will triumphantly destroy the Anti-Christ’s reign and throw him and the false prophet into the lake of fire. Satan will be bound and thrown into the Abyss. “And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years (known as The Millennium) were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.” Revelation 20:1-3
6. THE DAY OF THE LORD – God pours out His wrath on all unrepentant sinners left on the earth. This is what the Bible often refers to as “the Day of the Lord” or “the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord”. It will end as Peter describes, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10. The purpose of the fire is to destroy everything on the earth that remains from and is evidence of the Fall of Man – all remnants of sin and death such as cemeteries, mausoleums, temples of false religion, drug and alcohol producing sites, prisons, and so forth will be completely destroyed in this cleansing of the earth.
7. MILLENNIUM – Thus begins the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ on the earth. Satan’s world system of tyrannical control, corruption, greed, murder, perversion, sexual exploitation, violence, deception, etc., will be destroyed along with all humans that followed the Anti-Christ, including those who persecuted and helped to kill Christians and Jews – as noted above. See Revelation 19-21. Christ will then appoint His raptured saints (devoted followers) in control of the world, fulfilling His words, “The meek shall inherit the earth”, Matthew 5:5. This act also fulfills the three references in Daniel 7:18, 22, and 27, which state that the people of the Highest One will take possession of the kingdom of earth forever. This is the time when there will be genuine “social justice”. The people of God will be given cities to rule over cities to rule over; see the parable Jesus told in Luke 19:16-19. At the end of the 1000 year reign satan will be loosed for a brief time to deceive some of those on earth. He is will be thrown into the lake of fire.
8. THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT - This is when all the dead will be raised and appear before God for the final judgement, with the exception of all those who serve Jesus Christ. Both great people and common people, all will stand before God and be judged, “every one of them according to their deeds”. Revelation 20:11-15.
9. THE NEW JERUSALEM – “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband”, Revelation 21. Though John describes the “first heaven and earth passing away”, many do not believe that the new heaven and new earth are a totally new creation but a cleansed and purified heaven and earth. In other words it does not appear to be a “brand new” earth but a cleansed earth as noted above. Just as the Flood was necessary to cleanse the earth in Noah’s day, God promised to never flood the earth again to destroy it but this time will use fire. Regardless how He does it is not what’s important!
This outline maybe over simplified but it is only meant to be a skeletal frame work.
Jesus said; “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 24:36-51
It is important to note that even though no one knows the day or the hour we can recognize the season He may come! It appears that we are in that season now!
We have been warned! It is time to give our lives to God through Jesus Christ and repent from sin - don’t be left behind – or worse!
// Pastor Gary Smith

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