Confusion Over End Time Events – By Pastor Mike Taylor – http://www.churchofgod-usa.org/1/post/2013/05/confusion-over-end-time-events.html
I receive emails daily from all kinds of people with what they believe the bible is saying. Some believe that, like I do, God will intercede in the affairs of men and remove His bride, His church from the wrath to come. Others believe in a Post-tribulation model or a variation of the Church enduring persecution, martyrdom, and being present on earth when all of God’s Righteous Wrath is poured out on this earth. Layman who point to a proof text that they feel proves their stance is a correct one, reveal that they take the latest bible teacher, or what their denomination teaches and do not study the Word of God to prove the point by scripture in context.
Let’s examine a few of the proof texts that people erroneously interpret as being the same.
Proof text error example #1: Gog-Magog invasion in Ezekiel is the same invasion in Revelation at the end of the Millennium. Let’s compare the two passages and see. Ezekiel chapter 38:
38:2 `Son of man, set thy face unto Gog (a demon leader, notably Satan or other demon inspired prince of this area), of the land of Magog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, (referring to the land north of Israel, probably modern Russia) and prophesy concerning him,
38:3 and thou hast said: Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Lo, I `am’ against thee, O Gog, Prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal,
38:4 And I have turned thee back, And I have put hooks in thy jaws, And have brought thee out, and all thy force, Horses and horsemen, Clothed in perfection all of them, A numerous assembly, `with’ buckler and shield, Handling swords — all of them.
38:5 Persia (Iran), Cush (Ethiopia or Northern Sudan), and Phut, (Libya)with them, All of them `with’ shield and helmet.
38:6 Gomer (central Asia Minor) and all its bands, The house of Togarmah(Southeast Turkey near the border of Syria) of the sides of the north, And all its bands, many peoples with thee,
Note my attempt to identify each of these ancient people that dare come against God’s Holy Land in red, but notice one other thing before moving on. Who is drawing this coalition of invaders? God has put hooks into their jaws, much like reeling in a fish to bring them down for judgment. Also of interest when comparing these invaders with the invaders of Psalm 83 in my last sermon, you won’t find the names of any of these bordering nations that touch the border of Israel. These were the “inner ring” surrounding Israel that has been defeated. But now an “outer ring” of invaders are being brought down to Israel for one purpose. What is that purpose? God will make Himself known to His people that Jehovah, their God, is still on His throne and will be doing battle for them!! Ezekiel chapter 38:
38:16 And thou hast come up against My people Israel, As a cloud to cover the land, In the latter end of the days it is, And I have brought thee in against My land, In order that the nations may know Me, In My being sanctified in thee before their eyes, O Gog.
38:17 Thus said the Lord Jehovah: Art thou he of whom I spake in former days, By the hand of My servants, prophets of Israel, Who are prophesying in those days — years, To bring thee in against them?
38:18 And it hath come to pass, in that day, In the day of the coming in of Gog against the land of Israel, An affirmation of the Lord Jehovah, Come up doth My fury in My face,
38:19 And in My zeal, in the fire of My wrath, I have spoken: Is there not in that day a great rushing on the land of Israel?
38:20 And rushed from My presence have fishes of the sea, And the fowl of the heavens, And the beast of the field, And every creeping thing that is creeping on the ground, And all men who `are’ on the face of the ground, And thrown down have been the mountains, And fallen have the ascents, And every wall to the earth falleth.
38:21 And I have called against him, to all My mountains a sword, An affirmation of the Lord Jehovah, The sword of each is against his brother.
38:22 And I have been judged with him, With pestilence and with blood, And an overflowing rain and hailstones, Fire and brimstone I rain on him, and on his bands, And on many peoples who `are’ with him.
38:23 And I have magnified Myself, and sanctified Myself, And I have been known before the eyes of many nations, And they have known that I `am’ Jehovah!
God will make Himself known again to His people. I’ll let you read on what is the fate of this invading horde that will be decimated. Most of this vast army in the realm of 85% will be destroyed in chapter 39. Continue reading in the next few chapters and you see the details of the newly built temple, when in chapter 43, you see the entrance of the King of Kings, the Lord of Host coming into the temple via the East Gate. It notes a chronological order. A war found in chapter 38-39. The building of the Temple again, sacrifices commencing and at the end, the King of Kings returns to enter from the east gate. All events are future, but before the return of Jesus Christ. It’s part of a grand puzzle that you must assemble from the whole message of the Word of God, not just a piece.
How about we turn now to the account of Gog-magog mentioned in Revelation.
20:7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
20:8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
20:9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Notice the same name, but who is drawing them to the Holy Land? Who deceives them into thinking that they can kick out Jesus Christ as ruler of this earth, and make war against Mount Zion and God’s Throne upon earth? Their leader is Satan. Gog is a probably demon inspired notion that the humans born during the Millennium, called Magog will be deceived and drawn into a direct confrontation against the righteous rule of Jesus Christ on earth. Both examples are similar by name, Gog-magog, and the end is sure, but they are two distinct battles of more than a 1000 years apart.
Proof text Error #2.
The trumpet sounded in 1st Corinthians and 1st Thessalonians, is the same trump the 7th angel sounds in Revelation. Let us again look at scripture.
15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
And again in 1st Thessalonians chapter 4:
4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Note that the trump is a blast or a signal that was used even during the wilderness of the Exodus and the battle for the Promised Land. I believe this is a reference to a Jewish historical fact of the Feast of Trumpets that was used symbolically to point to the return of Jesus Christ to this earth. But if the mention the Last Trump, as noted in 1st Corinthians passage, does it mean the same as the one in Revelation?
11:14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
What does this angel signal? He announces the beginning of the third woe and the final plagues and bowl judgments being poured out upon this earth of rebellious mankind. The imagery is much to fear, as mankind is being destroyed off the face of the earth.
What is the difference between these trumpets? The first is a sign of joy and gladness and the last is a signal of WAR!! Let me elaborate. IN the time of the ancient Israelites, starting even back to their forefather, Abraham, the blowing of the horns of the altar was symbolic. They were used as signals during the Exodus, during meetings/Holy Convocations the people had with God, and for signals during battle. In Numbers chapter 10 begins what the blowing of the trumpet meant.
10:2 Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.
10:3 And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
10:4 And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee.
10:5 When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward.
10:6 When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys.
10:7 But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm.
10:8 And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations.
10:9 And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies.
When Paul was writing about this “last trump”, he was referring to a ceremony that is part of the Jewish way of life for thousands of years. It is the Day of Trumpets, or commonly called the Feast of Trumpets. It is a Holy Day to all who observe it. It is pivotal in God’s plan. We could even call it “God’s Keystone Holy Day.” There are seven holy days. It is the fourth. It is right in the middle.
You could say it is the dividing line between before, and after. There are three holy days that take place before the fulfillment of Trumpets, that particularly have to do with this present time, and then there are three holy days after Trumpets that have to do with the time to come. Paul was speaking of this truth symbolically that there could be three blasts of a trumpet when Jesus Christ comes. The first trumpet sound (note that the voice of our Savior is equated to the sound of a many Trumpets, in Revelation chapter 1.) will make a call for attention. Each blast of the trumpet meant something to the Israelites in the wilderness and it meant the same thing in Paul’s time. The first blast was called the right horn, or trump/shofar of the altar. It was a loud short blast meaning attention. The second trumpet call was from the left horn, or shofar from the altar of God, and it was designed to make the people ready for their marching orders. The final blast was a very long drawn out sound of a trumpet, called the Last Trump. It was the signal to “move out”. Oh, yes we will !!
Second, Trumpets mean different things depending on where you stand before God. To the saints, it means the beginning of all that we have ever hoped for-all that we’ve been promised, everlasting joy. It means salvation and all the wonderful things that come with it.
But, to the enemy of God it means violent and tragic judgment-the end of all human plans that are against God. It is a signal for war. God will make war with rebellious mankind and wipe the surface of this earth clean of sin and rebellion. IN those regards, the two trumpets mentioned in Corinthians, Thessalonians, have no connection with one another when finally blown in Revelation, They are based on the Feast of Trumpets in the former two, a sign of the return of the King, and the latter a sign of Righteous Wrath commencing for total annihilation.
Proof Text Error #3.
The Church will endure the terror that will be poured out on this earth in righteous wrath and judgment. Those who adhere to this position called Post-Tribulationist, and they believe they can prove their stance by a few verses taken out of context. Here is the most common sent to me by unbelieving Christians of their desire to be amongst those being killed during this time of the last 3.5 years of Daniel’s 70th week. They point to this one section of scripture:
Matthew 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
First off, if we were here, we would not be mourning the return of the Son of Man, we would be rejoicing. But beside that, I’m reminded of the verses in Malachi chapter 3:
3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger (two witnesses?), and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
3:3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
3:4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
I’ve often stated and I will state again, the tribulation is designed for two things, and two things only. The 1st is the removal of sin from the face of the earth, by fire, by famine, and by divine wrath poured out on the people of this earth. The 2nd reason is the refining of Israel into a nation ready to accept their Messiah. He will make Himself known to them and they will weep bitterly. Zechariah chapter 12:
12:9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
To accomplish this returning of Israel to recognizing their Messiah, God will ordain 144,000 evangelists from the 12 tribes of Israel and enlist His two witnesses for the week of years called the tribulation: Revelation chapter 7,
7:2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
7:3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
7:4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
These are the called of God, who believe in their Messiah and spread the Gospel to all the remaining world. Who is their focus? I believe it is the Jewish people who have rejected their Messiah for 2000 years, because in the very next breath of scripture it says:
7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
7:10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
7:11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
7:12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
7:13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
7:15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
7:16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
7:17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
Note the immediate difference in these people redeemed and the promise made the the Church, or the family of God. IN verse 15 above it speaks that they are BEFORE the throne and they serve Him in His temple night and day, much like a Levitical priesthood. But note the palm fronds in their hands? Is it a clue of who these people are? Looking up Palm Fronds and its symbolic meaning, Wikipedia notes the following:
“In Judaism, the date palm (Lulav) is one of the Four Species used in the daily prayers on the feast of Sukkot. It is bound together with the hadass(myrtle), and aravah (willow). The Midrash notes that the binding of the Four Species symbolizes our desire to unite the four “types” of Jews in service of God.”
The Promise made to the Church is much more distinct and glorious: Revelation chapter 5:
5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
Another clue is that John starts off Revelation speaking of the 7 churches, which is symbolic for Christians down through the ages, but a dramatic shift of reference is made in chapter 4 with the revealing of the 24 elders. They are symbolic for the Church. And if that is correct, the church is not mentioned again, not one time, until chapter 19, when it speaks of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and then our return with our King of Kings riding on white horses:
Revelation chapter 19,
19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (A sign of the saints) Rev. 19: v 8!
19:15 And out of his mouth Goethe a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treaded the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Need More Clues?
Another clue that these are Jews that have been the first fruits unto God, is when Jesus was speaking to His apostles and they were inquiring of the end of the age.
24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
24:16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
24:17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
24:18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
24:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
Jesus was speaking of the horror that will be what Jew’s will experience when an attempt to complete what Hitler only began, as Satan wishes to destroy the Jewish people. But Revelation tells another piece of the puzzle. The woman clothed in the sun:
Revelation chapter 12,
12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
12:2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
12:6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
And further down in the same chapter:
12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. (Israel)
Simply put, this is the time of the refining of Israel. The focus on Israel is continuous, if you take the puzzle and piece it together. So when Jesus comes with His angels to “gather His saints from the four winds” who is He speaking of? Correct, tribulation saints, Jewish people who received their Messiah, and resurrection of those who believed unto the death.
Sadly, many Christians today want a sign when they should get serious about living for God. They say, “when I see things get really bad, then I’ll start acting like a Christian.” What a dangerous gamble with your eternal destination. Jesus said that there would be no sign, except as it was in the days of Noah. Sluggish Christian take notice: Matthew 24: 36-39,
But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
We should not be slumbering, as being foolish to think that when signs get really bad, then we will change our ways and act like a Christian. Paul said in 1st Thessalonians chapter 4:
5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
5:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
5:7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Conclusion and a challenge
I’m going to repeat what I spoke of in the last sermon I wrote and I want you to think very hard on this truth with a few additional statements:
If you think you can change your ways before Christ comes or can wait till things get bad before you get serious about this Man called Jesus, then you simply fool yourself.
If you in all Biblical error of proof texting think that the Bride of Christ must have the soup beat out of her, before Jesus finally comes to marry her, then you don’t understand the love relationship that Jesus has for the TRUE church, His family, and His elected of God.
Finally, if you feel that God in all His wrath must purify the church with the plagues, the bowl judgments, and the tribulation that will nearly extinguish all of mankind, then my friend you believe that Jesus Christ and His sacrifice of His precious blood and body did not complete the salvation of all who call upon the name of the Lord in repentance and obedience unto a new life. My Brethren, if you take that position, then you have much more serious problems of who the angels will be coming to gather from the four corners of the earth upon the return of Jesus Christ to reign and rule for a 1000 years than the timing of God’s removal of the Church from this planet. I pray that you make that commitment to live like Jesus could come at any moment, because He just might for the next sound we may hear is a trumpet blast.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, wishing God’s salvation in your life. If you need any help in prayer request, counseling, or just a listening ear, email me at email@example.com ,God bless till hopefully, we meet at Jesus Feet.