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Center For Biblical Theology and Eschatology
I had not yet found John 17, which so clearly states that Jesus is praying for God to protect us while we REMAIN IN THE WORLD! Thanks for pointing that out. But here are the things the Holy Spirit has been pointing out to me that also make it so very clear. Revelation 6 is about the first four seals, which are the four horses and riders. The teachings I have heard say that these four are not loosed until after the rapture. Hmmm...the first seal, the rider on the white horse is assumed to be antichrist. 1 John 4:3 says that the spirit of antichrist "even now is already in the world." How can that be if the church "will first be raptured and then the Tribulation" as some say. Hmmm...and why does the third horse (the scales of justice? judgment?) get a clear command from heaven not to damage the oil and the wine? Aren't we as true believers and followers of Christ, the oil and the wine. How could we be damaged if we've been "raptured" and are no longer here. Hmmm...when the fifth seal is opened the souls of the martyred saints cry out from under the altar for judgment. But they are told "wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been WAS COMPLETED." That means it was yet to be done; how so if the believers were already raptured. I know that many explain this away by saying this means the new converts--wrong answer. Even as I look back to Revelation 5, I'm starkly aware of the absence of believers in heaven. It talks about the elders and the angels and all the creatures IN the earth--I don't see any believers in that throng before the throne. The closest they seem to get at this point is under the altar (Rev. 6:9). I see further contradiction of the rapture-before-tribulation theory in Revelation 7:1-3. "After this (referring to the opening of the first six seals) . . . I (John) saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: 'Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees UNTIL we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of God.'" I know it is said that this are those Jews converted after the rapture--again, I think wrong answer. It isn't until Rev. 7:9-17 that John actually sees those who have come out of the great tribulation. The implication is that these believers came out of the middle of the tribulation, not before it.
So what of the misled teaching of such respected preachers and teachers of this day? My soul is fearful that many shall be deceived and curse God when they suffer the tribulation. In those days, will they say "God has forsaken me?" and thus let their love grow cold? God forbid--we must encourage our brothers to hold fast to the Word of the Lord so that when that day comes--and it will come soon--the will stand fast in the assurance of their faith, hidden under the wing of the Almighty. Matthew 24 needs to be written on the table of our hearts so that we will discern the deception when it comes, which is already here.