“What misery is mine! I am like one who gathers summer fruit and the gleaning of the vineyard; there is no cluster of grapes to eat, none of the early figs that I crave. The fruitful have been swept from the land; not one upright person remains.
Everyone lies in wait to shed blood; they hunt each other with nets. Both hands are skilled in doing evil; the rulers demand gifts, the judge accepts bribes, the powerful dictate what they desire – they all conspire together. The best of them is like brier, the most upright worse than a thorn hedge.
The day God visits you has come, the day your watchmen sound the alarm. Now is the time of your confusion.
Do not trust a neighbor; put no confidence in a friend. Even with the woman who lies in your embrace guard the words of your lips. For a son dishonors his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – a man’s enemies are the members of his own household.
But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” (Micah 7: 1-7)
For generations the writings of the Old Testament Prophets were clouded in mystery. Many were unable to depict what the Prophets were proclaiming, and others stated that their visions were for their specific time and not associated to a prophetic future. This aura of mystery is starting to dematerialize within our modern society and we are starting to understand the visions that were hid from many.
The key to understanding if a prophetic Old Testament vision is meant for the time of the end is simple. The Prophet themselves will tell you when the vision is meant for. For example, in Micah chapter 7 we are shown that he is talking about a time when God will visit us and the time when the watchmen sound their horn. We are told this is the “Day of the Lord” as many Bible verses refer this day and proclaim it to be “In that day”. This helps us understand that every time the Scripture uses the phrase “in that day” it is used it is referring to the Day of the Lord.
Many proclaim that this will be the day that Jesus returns and starts His rule upon the earth. Many believe this teaching, but they lack the understanding to know what this truly means. The clear majority of modern Christians believe this means they will be Raptured prior to any End-time events occurring. Unfortunately, this teaching is lacking true foundation as we are told that “The Day of the Lord” is the actual day that God Himself comes down to Earth to judge the wicked inhabitants of the Earth.
“Woe to the city of oppressors, rebellious and defiled! She obeys no one, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord, she does not draw near to her God.
Her officials within her are roaring lions; her rulers are evening wolves, who leave nothing for the morning. Her prophets are unprincipled; they are treacherous people. Her priests profane the sanctuary and do violence to the law.
The Lord within her is righteous; he does not wrong. Morning by morning he dispenses his justice, and every new day he does not fail, yet the unrighteous know no shame.
‘I have destroyed nations; their strongholds are demolished. I have left their streets deserted, with no one passing through. Their cities are laid waste; they are deserted and empty.
Of Jerusalem I thought, ‘Surely you will fear me and accept correction!’ Then her place of refuge would not be destroyed, nor all my punishments come upon her. But they were still eager to act corruptly in all they did.
‘Therefore, wait for me,’ declares the Lord, ‘for the day I will stand up to testify. I have decided to assemble the nations, to gather the kingdoms and to pour out my wrath on them – all my fierce anger. The whole world will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger.
Then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him shoulder to shoulder. From beyond the rivers of Cush my worshipers, my scattered people, will bring me offerings. On that day, Jerusalem, will not be put to shame for all the wrongs you have done to me, because I will remove from you your arrogant boasters. Never again will you be haughty on my holy hill.
But I will leave within you the meek and humble. The remnant of Israel will trust in the name of the Lord. They will do no wrong; they will tell no lies. A deceitful tongue will not be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down, and no one will make them afraid.” (Zephaniah 3: 1-13)
Many within today’s society are boasting about this day. They are proclaiming that their salvation is coming and that they need not fear for their Lord is retuning. They hope that His arrival in the clouds will bring about the Rapture and they will be able to watch what unfolds upon the world below.
“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 Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
But in those days, following that distress, ‘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 people 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.” (Mark 13: 20-27)
The clear distinction between the two passages is that God leaves a remnant behind to bring glory to Him while Jesus gathers his elect from all over the globe. We are told that this would happen after a time of great distress and once the sun turns dark and the moon turns blood red. If this is true, then everyone on earth would be required to endure the distress of the day prior to the “Sign of the Son of Man”:
“Jesus answered: ‘Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
So, when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation’, spoken of through the prophet Daniel – let the reader understand – then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equaled again.
If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive if possible event the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time.
So, if anyone tells you, ‘There he is out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or ‘Here he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
Immediately, after the distress of those days ‘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.’
Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect form the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” (Matthew 24: 4-31)
Again, we are given instructions from Jesus himself explaining the events that will transpire prior to his arrival. Within this passage we are told about the great distress that will occur prior to the sun turning dark and the moon turning red. We are instructed that this distress will be like no other time in human history and Jesus specifically states that His followers will be hunted down and killed. His instruction is to endure to the end as those that make it to the end shall be saved.
The other interesting event that occurs is the Sign of the Son of Man. We are told by Jesus that everyone on Earth will witness this event and that it is different than the Sun turning dark event. Jesus also states that the Sign of the Son of Man will happen after the Sun and Moon event. In no way does the Scriptures indicate that there will be a secret Rapture prior to these trials. According to Jesus the exact opposite will occur. Everyone will know when He returns.
“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so, we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
Understanding that the Return of Jesus and the Return of God himself are two different events, helps shed light onto the passage many “Biblical Scholars” use to depict the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. It can be seen that the Day of the Lord shall occur, God will judge the world, and then Jesus will return to gather his elect after the wicked have been destroyed. This depiction can also be seen within the parable of the Wheat that Jesus used to explain the Kingdom to his disciples:
“Jesus told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
‘No,’ he answered, because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time, I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” (Matthew 13: 24-30)
This is exactly what the Prophet Zephaniah said God would do in the Last Days! There is no dispute as the Old Testament Prophets, Jesus, and God are all saying the same thing! That is why we are given this instruction from the Prophet Amos:
“Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.
Therefore, this is what the Lord, the Lord God Almighty, says: ‘There will be wailing in all the streets and cries of anguish in every public square. The farmers will be summoned to weep and the mourners to wail. There will be wailing in all the vineyards, for I will pass through your midst,’ says the Lord.
Woe, to you who long for the day of the Lord! Why do you long for the day of the Lord? That day will be darkness, not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light – pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?” (Amos 5: 14-20)
The Day of the Lord is coming whether believer’s wish for its arrival or not. We do not have a choice about its coming, but we are instructed to understand what this means. The arrival of the Day of the Lord will occur prior to the Return of Jesus, meaning every human will be required to participate in its judgments. Yes, we are told that we will not be subject to God’s Wrath but that does not mean believers will be Raptured prior to its outpouring. Not being subject to God’s Wrath only means that He allows you to endure to the end if you are one of His chosen, His elect.
Understanding this we must view our unfolding world for what it actually is. The darkness is unfolding at a rapid rate and our society is being torn in numerous pieces. Nobody can agree, and this separation is becoming more apparent as time progresses. We are told to protect ourselves from everyone during this time and unfortunately our Savior told us exactly what He was going to do. There is no surprise and we all must be prepared for the realization of what we must truly endure!
“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!
So, do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So, don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
Do not suppose that I will come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – a man’s enemies will be members of his own household.’
Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10: 21-39)