Undergroundchurch Blog

Preparing the Church for the future

Some Thoughts on the End Times – Part 3

Posted by undergroundchurch on October 3, 2009


A Different Look…

I hear teaching all the time on the End Times and how the church is going to be raptured before the tribulation time to come.  If you believe this, you don’t want to read any further because aren’t going to like it.

Yes, I believe the church will be raptured, but no, I don’t believe the Bible even hints that the church is going to avoid some serious trouble.  I know of only one Scripture used, I believe, out of context, that is used to teach that the church is out of here before the end comes.

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Thessalonian 5:9

This passage talks about salvation, and it’s rewards verses rejection of salvation and its reward.  That being said, I do believe God is not going to pour out His wrath on the Church in the end. That isn’t to say that someone’s wrath won’t be poured out on the church.

The more I look at the Book of Revelation, the more I am convinced that it is written more for the church than those “left behind”.  I also have a difficult time accepting the common premise that chapter 3 is the last time you see the church in Revelation.  I believe that chapter 6 and 7 lay out a bit of a different picture.

First, I don’t think that the tribulation time even begins until after the 6th Seal is opened in Revelation 6. Look at the first six seals for example:

Seal 1 – The White Horse and Rider

This simply represents a time of conquest, it doesn’t mean that it is the antichrist or even war, just that there is a particular nation, group or group of nations that begins a world-wide conquest (probably not done through war but words).  This may be quick, but could take years. If you look at today’s world, it could be a social or economic overthrow, but whatever it is, it ushers in the next rider.

Seal 2 – The Red Horse and Rider

This is war.  Notice that peace is removed from the earth at this time.  The first rider could represent a takeover that either doesn’t work, or one that works and war is needed to reinforce it.  Either way, war breaks out.  There is no telling how long the war takes.  But is does last long enough to bring in the next two horses.

Seal 3 – The Black Horse and Rider

This is famine and food shortage.  Worldwide  famines take a while to kick in – a year or two could certainly jack things up where you would have to work a whole day in order to buy a loaf of bread.

Seal 4 – The Pale Horse and Rider

This is death – the next step in famine and war.

Notice that the first four horses are man’s own doing.  God doesn’t need to do a thing for them to occur.

The 5th Seal is the key to my understanding of the end times.  You see martyred believers under the altar in heaven.  The assumption is that they are killed during the time of the first four seals.  Before the wrath of God comes on the world (c.f. Revelation 6:17), the wrath of the world comes on the believing community.  From the verbiage in this seal, you see that the time of martyred is not quite over yet.  \

Wait… I thought all the believers were in heaven?  Where did these come from? And why are more still to die? I thought the believers were all raptured?

I know that some teach that these are the people saved during the tribulation time, but there is no indication that believers were ever taken from the earth in the first place.  This is the church going through the times of troubles Jesus said would happen to the church. (c.f. Mark 13, Matthew 24, Luke 21, John 15:18-27,

The 6th Seall is the first one where God does something – an earthquake, spacial anomalies and astronomical upheaval. It is at this point that the world recognizes two things – the wrath of God has come and they need to hide.

You get the sense at this point that 1) the Great Tribuluation has started and 2) the believers going to be taken away.

From this point (Revelation 7), God sets up 144,000 evangelists, and then you see the  raptured beilevers in heaven.  One of the elders around the throne asks a strange question, “Where did these come from?”

In Chapter 4, we see the elders worshiping around the throne; now all of a sudden – poof… “Hey, where did all these people come from?”  The answer to the question by the martyred believers in Seal 5 is answered in this moment.

Notice that the angel says, “These are those that have come out of the great tribulation.” – Revelation 7:14

The 7th Seal then starts the punishment from God on the earth. (Revelation 8)

Look at how Jesus describes this time – the order is the same as described above and in Revelation. (Remember that he is speaking to believers)

“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong —let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains (6th Seal) Let no one on the roof of his house go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter (this is how the church should pray. Why? Unless we are still here), because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect—if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.

“But in those days, following that distress, (6th Seal)
” ‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’

At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. (This is the rapture)

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.

“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!’ ” (This is the only command from Jesus about the end – watch!)

– Mark 13

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