The Timing Of The Rapture And The Second Coming Of Christ
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It is important to know the identity of the people who will undergo the judgments of God, which will be poured out on “all of those” that are living throughout the whole world. These people, which were “left behind” from the rapture of the church, will not have been born again at the time of the catching up of the saints (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). They will be present during the time of the “Seventieth Week Of Daniel” (the time when the tribulation occurs) and will endure the judgments of God and will suffer from the oppressiveness of the anti-Christ” (Seventieth Week of Daniel – Daniel 9:27).
The events of this passage take place when the Great Tribulation is taking place, with the Judgments of God being poured out on the earth, during which time the anti-christ is persecuting those left-behind people who have come to know Christ as Lord and Savior; their identity is “earth dwellers,” and “those who dwell on the earth,” (identifying scriptures are listed below in the comments section).
Notice in Rev 14:6 that the angel is proclaiming the gospel of Christ to “those who dwell on the earth.” Let’s consider the belief of many people who the church will not be raptured from the earth, but will remain on earth during the tribulation. But, here is the problem with such a teaching. If those people who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior, and have been born again, and find themselves on earth during the tribulation, but still must have the Gospel preached to them during the tribulation, they are having to accept Christ a second time. None of this scenario makes any sense. Those who will have already accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior, prior to the rapture of the church, will have no reason to have the gospel preached to them again. Here is the truth of the matter. Believers in Christ, who have believed the gospel, prior to the rapture, will be taken from the earth, and will not be present during the tribulation. Those people, who have not accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, will stay behind on earth when the rapture of the church takes place. Those unbelievers will undergo the judgments of God and the oppression of the anti-Christ. God’s mercy will cause the angel to “proclaim the Gospel to those who dwell on the earth,” those of “every nation, tribe, tongue, and people” (Rev 14:6), which are those who are left behind.
The words, “dead in Christ,” (1 Thes 4:16) are key. “Dead in Christ” represents those believers in Christ who died, prior to the catching up/rapture of the saints (believers in Christ). The “dead in Christ,” will be caught up immediately before “we who are alive and remain,” (living believers in Christ) (1 Thes 4:17) who will also be caught up to be with Christ, “and shall always be with the Lord,” (1 Thes 4:17). In Rev 14:13, we see the words, “blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on.” Such a statement refers to the ones who were “left behind,” those who had not accepted Christ as Savior, and had not been born again, prior to the rapture of the church, but who had come to accept His gospel while undergoing the Judgments of God and the torture and oppression of the anti-christ, during the Seventieth Week Of Daniel.
The events of this passage of scripture will take place during the “Seventieth Week Of Daniel.” We have discussed that subject, and will go back to it later, for greater understanding.
Reaping the Earth’s Harvest
14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” 16 So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.
Reaping the Grapes of Wrath
17 Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
18 And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.” 19 So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.
Comments: Revelation (BibleGateway.com/MacArthur Study Bible notes) Everybody should own a MacArthur Study Bible.
14:14 Son of Man. See note on 1:13. The imagery of the Lord on a cloud is from Dan. 7:13, 14 and emphasizes magnificent majesty (cf. 1:7; Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Acts 1:9–11). golden crown. The victor’s crown, a laurel wreath, worn by those who celebrated victory in war or athletic competition. Christ now wears this particular crown, in this case made of gold, as a triumphant conqueror coming out of heaven to prevail over His enemies. sickle. A harvesting tool with a razor-sharp, curved steel or iron blade and a wooden handle, commonly used by ancient farmers to cut grain. It represents swift and devastating judgment.
14:15 harvest of the earth. The grain—in this case the ungodly people of the world—is ready to be gathered up and judged.
14:17 temple. See note on 11:19. This refers to the heavenly dwelling place of God, not the Tribulation temple in Jerusalem (cf. 11:1).
14:18 another angel…who had power over fire. This angel is associated with fire on the altar, which represents the prayers of the saints (6:9–11; 8:3–5). Fire refers to the constantly burning fire on the brass altar of the Jerusalem temple. Twice daily the priest would burn incense with that fire and offer the burning incense in the Holy Place as a symbol of the people’s prayers (see notes on 5:8; 6:9; 8:3). This angel is coming from the heavenly altar to ensure that all the prayers of all the saints for judgment and the coming of the kingdom are answered. He calls for judgment to start. sickle. See note on v. 14.
14:19 winepress. This vivid imagery signifies a horrendous slaughter or bloodbath (cf. Is. 63:2, 3; Lam. 1:15; Joel 3:13). Here it refers to the slaughter of all the enemies of God who are still alive, facing the destruction at Armageddon, the final battle against God’s enemies, staged on the Plain of Esdraelon. The bloody imagery comes from the fresh juice of stomped grapes splattering and running down a trough from the upper vat to the lower vat of a stone winepress.
14:20 outside the city. God will determine that this bloodbath will occur outside Jerusalem, as if God wants to protect the city from the carnage all around. Zechariah 14:1–5 makes clear that Jerusalem will be attacked, but will not be destroyed in the end, but spared for the glory of the kingdom, and the believing remnant will be saved as the Lord defends them and the city against the nations. They will escape through a newly created valley as the Lord finishes judgment and sets up His kingdom. up to the horses’ bridles. The severity of the slaughter is indicated in the imagery of the blood of those killed in the Battle of Armageddon splattering as high (about 4 ft.) as the bridles of the horses involved. Equally likely, if the battle occurs near the central valley of Israel, the tremendous volume and flow of blood could easily form troughs 4 ft. deep in some places. This event clearly is described in 19:11–21. Ezekiel 39:8–16 may be describing the clean up. one thousand six hundred furlongs. See marginal note. The approximate distance from Armageddon in the N of Palestine to Edom in the S. The great battle will rage across that entire area and even slightly beyond.
Comments: Earth Dwellers (Mine)
Consider the horrible things that will happen during the time of the judgments. It is important to remember that those who will suffer from those judgments are the ones which Revelation calls “earth dwellers.” Such people are those who had never accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior; they were left behind when the rapture took place. Instead, they chose the things of this world over the things of heaven. Consider the verses that discuss those who are “earth dwellers,” also known as “those who dwell on the earth.” Notice that “all who live on the earth” will be subject to the judgments of God. Notice, also, that even in the face of the judgments of God, the “earth dwellers” will not change their attitudes toward Christ.
Revelation 3:10 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
10 Because you have kept My command to endure, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is going to come over the whole world to test those who live on the earth.
Revelation 6:10 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
10 They cried out with a loud voice: “Lord, the One who is holy and true, how long until You judge and avenge our blood from those who live on the earth?”
Revelation 8:13 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
13 I looked again and heard an eagle flying high overhead, crying out in a loud voice, “Woe!Woe! Woe to those who live on the earth, because of the remaining trumpet blasts that the three angels are about to sound!”
Revelation 11:10 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
10 Those who live on the earth will gloat over them and celebrate and send gifts to one another because these two prophets brought judgment to those who live on the earth.
Revelation 13:8 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
8 All those who live on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name was not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slaughtered.
Revelation 13:14 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
14 He deceives those who live on the earth because of the signs that he is permitted to perform on behalf of the beast, telling those who live on the earth to make an image of the beast who had the sword wound and yet lived.
Revelation 17:8 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up from the abyss and go to destruction. Those who live on the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast that was, and is not, and will be present again.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Comfort of Christ’s Coming
13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
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Dr. Renald Showers
Dr. Renald Showers is an author and Bible teacher for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc. He is the author of numerous books, including What on Earth is God Doing?, There Really Is a Difference, and Maranatha: Our Lord Come. Dr. Showers has served in the pastorate, and as a member of the faculties of Lancaster Bible College, Moody Bible Institute and Philadelphia College of the Bible, and as a visiting lecturer at Word of Life Bible Institute, Calvary Bible College and Baptist Bible Theological Seminary. He is a graduate of Wheaton College, Dallas Theological Seminary and Grace Theological Seminary. Dr. Showers and his wife Eleanor reside in Willow Street, Penn
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