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Question: Will Christians be on earth when the anti-christ comes to power? Will Christians have to face him? Will we know who he is?

Yes. Yes. And, Yes.

For almost 30 years I believed the answers were , No, No, and, No, but I finally let my eyes read what God actually says, not what other people tell me He says. When you read the actual words in the Bible and let them speak for themselves, you may find yourself staring at a hard truth: the Church will not be taken out of this world before the anti-christ comes to power. Christians will face the anti-christ.

I wish I had a nickel for every time I have heard pastors and teachers (including me) and other Christians say, with apparent pride and satisfaction, that we won't know who the anti-christ is - that we will be gone before he is revealed to the world. Of all the declarations coming from the Pre-Tribulation Rapture camp, this one seems to come with the biggest smiles, the most smug assurance. Again, I believed and taught this, also, for more than 25 years, but, no longer.

This will be a brief study, compared to some of the others in this "Questions about the End Times"
section of Quiet Heart Press. Short, because there is no need to go into great detail in explanation of
why my belief changed. All I am going to do is show you two scriptures, make a few comments,
and then leave it with you. Once you have read these verses and given it your serious consideration, the responsibility will be yours. You can believe what the Word of God plainly says, or you can reject it. That is your choice. That is your privilege. That is your right.


*   *  *  *  *  *  *  *

NOW FOR THE FIRST PASSAGE, GIVEN BY JESUS HIMSELF:

Jesus could not have said it more clearly. Look at Mark 13:24-27:

"But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.
And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven."

In red-letter Bibles, the above quote is all in red ink, showing these words as being spoken by Jesus Himself. Please think about that. The above words are not an interpretation made by me or anyone else. Jesus said, "after that tribulation", and we know, from verses 19 & 20, just before the quote, He is speaking about the Great Tribulation that will take place soon before He comes back to earth. We know this because He said in verses 19 & 20:

"For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days."

These verses make it very clear Jesus is speaking of the last days when He says "in those days, after that tribulation". There can be no doubt, unless you refuse to accept the scripture as it is written.

Now notice what will happen after the tribulation of the last days:

"... then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven."

His elect that He gathers from the uttermost part of the earth are Christians who are still alive (those who are alive and remain) at His return, and the elect He gathers from the uttermost part of heaven are the dead in Christ, those who had died before His return, whose souls He brings to be joined with their resurrected bodies. This event can be nothing other than the Rapture. And remember: this takes place in the days after the tribulation. Therefore, the Rapture will take place after the tribulation or at the end of it, which means Christians, dead or alive, will not be Raptured until after the anti-christ has come.

If you do not agree, don't argue with me. Argue with Jesus Himself. The quotes above are His own words, as recorded in scripture.

*   *  *  *  *  *  *  *

NOW FOR THE SECOND SCRIPTURE. The study of this one is more complex, but don't get lost in the details. At first, you may think this is making a lot out of nothing, but this study is based on fact and should be given your full attention. Every bit of scripture is important, including the words used and the way in which they are used. I have to believe the Bible is written exactly as God intended, and that He spoke the original languages of scripture perfectly. I don't believe He mis-spoke anywhere in scripture. Therefore, I have to believe everything about scripture is accurate and important--even the grammar. In just a minute you will see why I say this.

No, on to the study.

Please keep in mind these things as you read through the scripture, below.

First, note the topic the passage refers to.
Second, note the time referred to.
Next, note the problem referred to.
Finally, note the answer given to the problem.

 

Please read through that list again, then move on to the passage of scripture printed below.

2nd Thessalonians 2:1-4:  "Now, dear brothers and sisters, let us clarify some things
about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him.
Donít be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has
already begun. Donít believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a
revelation, or a letter supposedly from us. Donít be fooled by what they say. For that
day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness
is revealed - the one who brings destruction. He will exalt himself and defy everything
that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God,
claiming that he himself is God."


These are the answer to the list, above:

The topic is whether the Day of the Lord had already come, in the days this letter was written.
The time referred to is the time when Jesus will return and gather His people to Him.
The problem was, many in Thessalonika had heard that the Day of the Lord (the time when
          Jesus will return) had already happened, and they were disturbed that they had missed
          His coming.
The answer Paul sent, in this letter, was, No, Jesus had not returned yet. Paul went on to give 
          two ways to know that Jesus had not returned. One was, a great rebellion (the great  
          "falling away") from God had not happened. The second was, the anti-christ had not yet
          been revealed.


This is an amazing thing: Paul said the coming of our Lord and our gathering together with Him will not take place until after the anti-christ is revealed! This is so clear! How could I have missed it, and missed it repeatedly for many years?

Actually, that was easy. All I had to do was listen to what other people told me these verses meant, instead of looking to see what they actually say. And when I listened to what others told me, they told me these verses did not apply to the Rapture of the Church, but to the Second Coming of Jesus - seven years later. Yes, they said, even though the part about our being gathered together with Him is in these verses, that didn't really mean the Rapture had to wait until after the anti-christ was revealed. And even though the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together with Him were both included in one sentence and in the phrase "that day", as if both could take place on the same day, that did not really mean His return to earth and the Rapture would take place on the same day. Even more, they stressed that 'the Day of the Lord" may itself be seven years long. While it is probably correct that the Day of the Lord is more than one twenty-four hour day long, that, in no way, means the Rapture and the Second Coming must be separated by seven years.

Looking back on it, I can only shake my head in wonder. And in profound embarrassment, to have
believed what I was told, never believing scripture as it is plainly written..

It was explained this way: Even though the return of Jesus and our gathering together are included in
that one sentence, there are actually two very separate and distinct events spoken of in that sentence. That is proven, they told me, by many other scriptures in many other places. Also, I was told, the word "and" that appears in the middle of the sentence show us the distinction between these two events. An example could be, "The United States was involved in the First and the Second World War." With this example in mind, and knowing those two wars were separate wars, one could say "The coming of our Lord and our gathering together with Him" are two distinctly different events, and mean the two were not actually inseparable, but only related. That does sound reasonable, as long as you ignore the characteristics of that word, "and" in the original grammar wherein the text was written.

The word "and", as occurring in the sentence in question, does not mean related, and has a meaning stronger than simply connected. According to Strong's note 2532, "and", as used here, is the Greek
word kai, and the definition is given: "having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force".
"Copulative" is a term found in Greek grammar, and is explained further in the following quote, as a
verb rather than a conjunction. Though the quote talks about a "linking verb" the definition of "copulative" does not depend on the word being a verb. Copulative conjunctions such as "and" are also a part of Greek grammar, which you can easily verify by running an internet search such as "copulative conjunction Greek" (better results without the parentheses).

"A linking verb (sometimes referred to as a copulative verb by grammarians) is a
special class of intransitive verbs. It is a verb used to equate, identify, or join together
one interchangeable substantive with another."
(this quote is taken from a website devoted to teaching New Testament Greek.
Click here to see the page where this quote is from)


Notice the words "equate" and "interchangeable" in the quote, above. By applying this quote to
2nd Thessalonians 2:1, we see it is possible to equate, to interchange, the two substantives: "the
coming of our Lord Jesus Christ", and, "our being gathered together with Him". In other words, the
coming of our Lord (in the context of the Day of the Lord) and our being gathered together with Him are interchangeable. Verbally, they can be interchanged without altering the validity of the sentence. They are equated, so that each is also identified as the other. So when I talk about Jesus returning again, I am also talking about the Rapture, and when I speak of the Rapture, I am also speaking of His coming again to this earth. And now note one other very large nail in the coffin of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Theory: Paul, in this same passage, speaks of the Day of the Lord.

The mention of the Day of the Lord in the same context of time with the Rapture (our gathering together with Him) is critical. Please read the following quote relating to the Day of the Lord and ask yourself if a secret coming to take away the Church before the Tribulation can be found in these descriptions:

Isaiah 13:6-11:  "Wail, for the day of the LORD is at hand! It will come as destruction
from the Almighty. Therefore all hands will be limp, Every manís heart will melt, And they
will be afraid. Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them; They will be in pain as a woman
in childbirth; They will be amazed at one another; Their faces will be like flames. Behold,
the day of the LORD comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, To lay the land
desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their
constellations Will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the
moon will not cause its light to shine. 'I will punish the world for its evil, And the wicked for
their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, And will lay low the haughtiness of the
terrible."


Putting it all together:

--The coming of our Lord and our gathering together with Him are the same event, not
          two events separated by years.
--The coming of our Lord and our gathering together with Him are spoken of in context
          with "the Day of the Lord", in such a way as to show that these two events will take
          place at the time of "the Day of the Lord."
--These events will not come until the man of lawlessness (the anti-christ) is revealed.
--Therefore, the Church will still be here on earth, unraptured, when the anti-christ is
          revealed.

_     _     _
  _     _     _     _     _

NOTE: You may be interested in these books from Quiet Heart Press:
PROPHECY: Common Questions, Uncommon Answers (read more here)
available in ebook only, from all major eBook retail stores
After The Tribulation, which deals with the Rapture question in some detail.  (read more here) available in both print and eBook form

(Go to the main page for Questions about the End Times)

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