The Rapture: When Will It Take Place?

I would love for you to go back and review what we have studied thus far about two topics: The Rapture and The Day of the Lord. Here are links that will allow you to do that:

Go HERE to find every single post in this Revelation series.

 

Go HERE to find the first post on The Rapture.

 

Go HERE to find the first post on The Day of the Lord.

 

Go HERE to find the second post on The Day the Lord.

 

Go HERE to read the second post on The Rapture

 

Did you read The Left Behind series of books that were written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins? I read every single one of them and really enjoyed them. In case you did not, the Left Behind series is a collection of fiction novels that focus on events that might take place when the Rapture happens. The characters are interesting and very relatable. The events are catastrophic, and likely, very realistic. The ultimate goal of these books is to point the reader to the need for a relationship with Jesus by using the coming Rapture and other end-time events to point out that salvation through Christ is the only way to heaven.

In our post today I want to give you my assessment and thoughts about the timing of the Rapture. I could be wrong, and I know that many people have a different interpretation of these events than I. But, after a great deal of study about this topic under more learned teachers, this is where I fall on the topic. No one can know for sure when and how it will happen, but the Bible seems pretty clear that it will take place at some point, and Scripture gives us sign posts that we can watch for on the journey toward that day.

 

 

When Will the Rapture Happen?

 

 

Let’s summarize what we know about the Rapture from our previous discussions:

From 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 we learned:

  • The Lord will descend from heaven
  • The dead in Christ will rise first (the bodies of those who have died as Christ-followers)
  • Believers living at that time will be caught up together with the dead in Christ in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (this is NOT the second coming of Christ)

From 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 we learned:

  • A trumpet will sound
  • Dead will be raised imperishable
  • Those who are alive will be changed, too

In 2 Thessalonians 2 we learned a few things that must take place before the Day of the Lord:

  • An apostasy/rebellion/falling away
  • The ‘restrainer’ must be taken out of the way
  • The man of lawlessness (antichrist) will come on the scene in a big way

 

In 1 Thessalonians 5 Paul teaches on the rapture before he teaches on the Day of the Lord. Although we cannot write it in permanent marker, is it possible we can assume that the rapture precedes the Day of the Lord on the timeline of end-time events? I think it is highly possible.

Also in 1 Thessalonians 5, Paul, in teaching about the Day of the Lord, adamantly proclaims that believers in Jesus Christ are not appointed or destined to wrath. Scripture places the wrath of God within the events of the Day of the Lord, which begins at or shortly after the 7th trumpet. So, again, it seems that the rapture might take place before the Day of the Lord.

Although we have not studied the 7th trumpet yet, Scripture tells us that the man of lawlessness will be revealed at the 7th trumpet. (Revelation 13) So, it is reasonable to assume that the Rapture occurs prior to the 7th trumpet, perhaps?

Most people refer to the last 7 years/Daniel’s 70th week as the tribulation, and make no mistake, there will be horrors and tribulation. However, the judgments that come on the earth and on mankind ramp up significantly during the final 3 ½ years of this period. Matthew 24:21 records Jesus as saying there will be ‘great tribulation’ during this final 3 ½ year period. It seems that the trigger for this final 3 ½ year period are the events of the 7th trumpet.

 

It is my sincere belief, after much study, that the Rapture takes place just prior to the sounding of the 7th trumpet. Could I be wrong? Of course. Are there other rational explanations and timings for the Rapture? Absolutely. This is only my opinion, and my opinion is only worth what you paid for it. I do not write this in permanent marker,, and neither should you.

So, am I a pre-tribulation person? Well, yes, if you consider the last half of the 7 years to be the Great Tribulation. Maybe I am a mid-tribulation person. Yes, if you consider the entire 7 years to be the tribulation. Am I a pre-wrath supporter? Yep, if you believe that the wrath of God begins at the 7th trumpet and the 7th trumpet sounds in the middle of the 7 years. I am clearly not a supporter of the post-tribulation wrath hypothesis.

What I am is a woman whose faith rests in knowing that God has it all figured out and timed perfectly, so there is little reason for me to stress over the semantics and timing of the Rapture. I hope this teaching on the rapture has been interesting and informative for you. I strongly encourage you to search the Scriptures for yourself and formulate your own opinions on this, and other, end-time events. I also encourage you to give grace to those who belief differently from you.

Thanks for taking this journey through Revelation with me. We will continue our study back in Revelation 11 with a look at the events of the sounding of the 7th trumpet soon.

SDG/FCA!!

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Setting the Scene for The Rapture

Time gets away, doesn’t it? I looked back at the date of my last Revelation post, and holy moley, it was June 26th. I think it is time to get back to our study of The Revelation. I would love for you to go back and review what we have studied thus far about two topics: The Rapture and The Day of the Lord. Here are links that will allow you to do that:

Go HERE to find every single post in this Revelation series.

 

Go HERE to find the first post on The Rapture.

 

Go HERE to find the first post on The Day of the Lord.

 

Go HERE to find the second post on The Day the Lord.

 

In the last post I wrote I said that in our next time together we would finish our look at 2 Thessalonians 2 and the Day of the Lord. Hello! Here we are. Let’s refresh our memory about this passage.

 

1 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,

2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?

6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time.

7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.

8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.

9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,

10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,

12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

 

Setting the Scene for The Rapture

 

There are three things that must happen before the Day of the Lord:

  1. A restraining influence is removed (we dealt with this in our last post)
  2. The rebellion
  3. The man of lawlessness is revealed and responds

 

Let’s consider the rebellion. The Greek word used here for rebellion is ‘apostasia’ and it means defection from truth, falling away, forsake (Strongs).

Okay, so I see someone’s hand waving wildly in the air. Yes, you are right! We just might be living in the apostasia because we are living in a culture that calls good, evil and evil, good. Our culture has fallen away from, or forsaken, the truth of God’s Word. Even the church of the Living God has succumbed to the temptation to approve of things that the Scripture clearly calls sin. Paul said these days would come in 2 Timothy 3. Let’s take a gander at what they might look like. People will be:

 

  • Lovers of self
  • Lovers of money
  • Proud
  • Arrogant
  • Abusive
  • Disobedient to their parents
  • Ungrateful
  • Unholy
  • Heartless
  • Unappeasable
  • Slanderous
  • Without self control
  • Brutal
  • Not loving good
  • Treacherous
  • Reckless
  • Swollen with conceit
  • Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God
  • Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power

 

It does kind of make one wonder if we are living in the rebellion, doesn’t it? However, I don’t think we have seen anything yet. I think the world will grow more and more evil. I know. Aren’t you glad you stopped in today?

Let’s turn now to the third thing that must happen in order for The Day of the Lord to come.

The man of lawlessness must be revealed and respond. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 tells us that this man, whom we believe to be the antichrist, will exalt himself above every other person, god, and thing. He will set himself up on a throne in the Temple in Jerusalem and demand to be worshipped as God.

There currently is no Temple in Jerusalem, so we can be assured that this prophecy is yet to be fulfilled, but only after a temple has been built in Jerusalem. Guess what? Preparations are being made daily in Jerusalem to build another temple. The Jewish people do not know when that will happen, but they are prepared.

Let’s put a bow on this next time and see if we can figure out when the Rapture MIGHT take place in the whole scheme of the Revelation. Mind you, I am NOT saying that we can pinpoint a date. Nope, only God knows that, but we can watch for the signposts along the way. I’ll see you back here next time.

More About The Day of the LORD and the Rapture

 

Before we get back into our study of the Day of the LORD, I want to toss out a reminder about the Come Away {retreat} that I am hosting in the fall. It is a time for women who long for a more intimate relationship with Jesus to draw up close and spend time with Him and other women in prayer, worship, and the Scriptures. There are a few spots left, so hop over HERE and find out how to register.

 

Okay, let’s get back to our study of the Day of the LORD. We are taking this opportunity to study both the Rapture and the Day of the LORD because the two events are inextricably linked. Let me give you a couple of links in case you are just now hopping onto the Revelation and Rapture wagon.

Go HERE to find links for every post in this Revelation series.

 

Go HERE to read my first post on the Rapture.

 

Go HERE to read the previous post on the Day of the LORD.

 

 

More About the day of the Lord and the Rapture

 

The last time we were together we looked at numerous references from the Old Testament for the Day of the LORD. Today, let’s breeze through the New Testament references.

 

Acts 2:17-21 with a focus on verse 20

 

The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.

 

This passage details several things that must take place before the day of the Lord comes. In short, there must be a pouring out of the Spirit on all flesh, wonders in the heavens, signs on the earth (blood, fire, and smoke), the sun will be darkened and the moon turned to blood. We have heard this in last week’s post, so let’s move on.

 

1 Thessalonians 5: 1-11 with a focus on verse 2

 

For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

The day of the Lord will come unexpectedly and will not be a welcome event.

 

2 Peter 3: 10

 

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

 

Again, a reference to the unexpected nature of the day of the Lord.

I want us to camp for a bit on 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 for the rest of our time together today.

This passage details specific events that must take place in order for the Day of the Lord to come. Let’s take a look at it.

 

1 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,

2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?

6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time.

7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.

8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.

9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,

10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,

12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

There were those among the Thessalonians who had spread the rumor that the day of the Lord had already come. In this passage Paul is reassuring his flock that that was the furthest thing from the truth. In verse 3 Paul begins to detail what must happen before the day of the Lord happens. Let’s look at three important events that Scripture says must occur:

 

  1. A restraining influence is removed
  2. The rebellion
  3. The man of lawlessness is revealed and responds

 

First, the restraining influence. What in the world is this? The two theories that seem to have the widest acceptance is that this reference is to the church or the Holy Spirit. Given the ‘he’ referenced in verse 7 and the fact that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer, I believe the reference is to the Holy Spirit AND the church. Once the church is taken out of the world (via the Rapture??), the Holy Spirit, by and large, is gone unless God chooses to keep the Spirit in the world outside His indwelling of believers.

The Greek word that Paul used here for restraining is one that means “to hold down (fast), keep, let, possess, retain, seize on, stay, take, withhold”. (Strongs) Whatever is restraining the evil of that day will be removed and literally, all hell will break loose according to verse 10.

Next week we will finish our look at 2 Thessalonians 2 and the Day of the Lord.

SDG/FCA!!

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

What Does the Bible Say About The Day of the LORD?

Ladies, are you considering attending Come Away {retreat}? If so, please do not delay. Only a few spaces remain so click over to THIS POST to find out more information and how to register. I hope you will join me in September!

 

Very often in Scripture there are concepts that cannot be fully studied without taking a few side trips. Early in our study we did just that when we ventured out of Revelation and into Nehemiah and Daniel, Daniel, and Daniel. For the next few weeks we are going step out of The Revelation and take several excursions into both the Old and New Testaments in order to explore what Scripture says about the ‘Day of the LORD’. It is impossible to study the rapture without also studying the Day of the LORD because the timing of the two events are inextricably tied together. After much study it is my personal belief that the rapture takes place immediately before the beginning of the Day of the LORD. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

We will be taking a look at the many places in Scripture where the phrase ‘Day of the LORD’ is used. It is needful for us to do this in order to piece together exactly what takes place and when it all happens, so pack a lunch, friends, we are going on a lengthy trip through the Bible.

 

The Day of the Lord Part 1

 

 

Because ‘context is king’ I will be giving you references for large passages of Scripture that I hope and pray you will examine in your own personal study time. Additionally, I will offer you the verses that I feel are crucial for you to see completely written out. Following each Scripture, I will list for you the major happenings that are detailed in that passage. From this we will build a profile of ‘the Day of the LORD’.

Are you ready? Let’s go. (All Scripture references are from the ESV)

 

The entire book of Obediah, with a focus on Obediah 1:15

 

 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head.

 

Obediah is prophesying to Edom (the descendants of Esau), as well as to all nations, in approximately 560 BC. This prophecy concerns the way that Edom and all the nations have treated Israel.

 

The entire book of Joel, with a focus on Joel 1:15, 2:1 and 2a, 11, 30 and 31, and 3:14

 

Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is near, and as destruction from the Almighty it comes. (1:15)

Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming; it is near, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! (2:1-2a)

The LORD utters his voice before his army, for his camp is exceedingly great; he who executes his word is powerful. For the day of the LORD is great and very awesome; who can endure it? (2:11)

And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. (2:30 and 31)

Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. (3:14)

Written to Judah and the nations sometime after 586 BC, Joel tells us several things about the Day of the LORD:

  • It is near
  • It is a day of darkness, thick clouds, and gloom
  • It is great and very awesome (not a good kind of awesome!) and is not something that people will be able to endure
  • Before the day of the LORD takes place there will be wonders in the heavens and earth, blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sun shall be darkened and the moon turned to blood. (Remember Seal #6, Trumpet #1, Trumpet #2, Trumpet #4, and Trumpet #6?)
  • God will use the day of the LORD to judge the nations in the valley of decision, or the valley of Jehoshaphat.

Examining the entire book of Joel will reveal that there will be a ceasing of the grain and drink offerings because of the Day of the LORD. We also find that the Lord will shelter His people  and strengthen them. Remember this. We will come back to it because it is highly significant when we begin to piece together a timeline.

 

Amos 5, with a focus on Amos 5:18 and 20

 

Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! Why would you have the day of the LORD? It is darkness, and not light. Is not the day of the LORD darkness, and not light, and gloom with no brightness in it?

 

That’s pretty self-explanatory. Darkness and gloom. No light or brightness. I feel that this is not only speaking of physical darkness, but also spiritual and emotional darkness.

 

Isaiah 13, with a focus on Isaiah 13:6 and 9

 

Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; as destruction from the Almighty it will come! Behold the day of the LORD comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it.

The day of the LORD is a judgment on sinners (those who do not accept Christ) from God. Might this suggest that Christ followers will not be present for it?

This is a good place for us to take a break. Next time we will step back into the Old Testament and look at more verses that reference the day of the LORD. Until then, I encourage you to ponder what we have learned about the rapture and the day of the LORD.

SDG/FCA!

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Is The Rapture a Real Thing?

Friends, summer is here! While I do not have children to tend to, summer does beckon me to a different pace of life. To that end, you will not find me here tapping out posts on a regular schedule for a couple of months. I am going to offer myself grace to rest and read a few books and visit with friends and loved ones. I am also going to spend a fair amount of time and energy this summer writing the teaching sessions for the Come Away retreat (Want to know more about the retreat? Click HERE). Oh, I will be posting, but it won’t be three times a week. It might only be once a week. Now, on to today’s post!

 

For 17 months I have known the day would come when we needed to peel back the layers of Scripture and look at one of the most hotly debated topics therein….the Rapture. Well, people, today is the day. In fact, we may take several weeks to explore this topic.

Some folks have strongly held opinions on the rapture that have caused divisions among churches and friends. May it not be so in this space. Prior to my in-depth study of Revelation, I was one who simply hoped for a pre-tribulation rapture in order to avoid the intense suffering that is detailed in Revelation. I really had little Scriptural support for my stance. After spending time in Revelation and other books of the Bible, I feel like I have a better understanding of when the rapture MIGHT occur.  I say ‘might’ because there are cogent arguments for each of the possible times of the rapture….pre-tribulation, mid-trib, post-trib, and pre-wrath. I will also tell you that my guess about when it may occur MIGHT has changed over the years.

 

Is the Rapture a Real Thing?

 

 

Today we will take a couple of excursions outside of Revelation to gather Scriptures that pertain to this most interesting topic, but first let me tell you that the word ‘rapture’ is never used in Scripture. Nope! Not once. This word comes from a Greek word used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 that means ‘to seize, catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force). (Strongs)

Let’s take a quick look at that broader passage:

 

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 

14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 

15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 

16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 

17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 

18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

 

Let me explain the context of this group of verses. Paul was teaching the church at Thessalonica concerning what happens to believers after they die, a topic about which there was some confusion. Scholars believe that someone was teaching that all those who had already died would miss the second coming of Christ. Paul was seeking to set the record straight.

So, what we have in these verses is this:

  • Jesus descends from heaven and issues a command, presumably  “Come up here”, “Y’all come”, or something similar.
  • Those who have died in Christ will rise first.
  • Those believers who are alive at that time will follow and be ‘caught up’ (rapture) together with the dead in the clouds (not on the earth, so this is not the second coming of Christ to earth) to be with the Lord.

A passage that corresponds to the 1 Thessalonians passage is found in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. Let’s take a look at it.

 

51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 

52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 

 

Again, this is Paul speaking about what happens to the mortal body of a believer in the end. He addresses both those who have already died and those who are alive at the time. Everyone will get a changed body. Here is what happens according to this passage:

  • A final trumpet will sound (can we surmise this is the 7th trumpet? Perhaps.)
  • Things are going to happen F-A-S-T
  • The dead in Christ will be raised and changed
  • The living will be changed

Okay, let’s put a wrap on today’s study. What do we know about the rapture at this point that establishes it as a fact?

  • A trumpet is going to sound
  • Jesus will descend from heaven and call his children to meet Him in the air/clouds
  • Those who have already died will rise first
  • Those who are still alive will rise next
  • We will all get new bodies

Pretty stout evidence that the rapture is a real event, I’d say. I hope you will join me next time as we look at an event that is closely tied to the rapture. Until then,

SDG/FCA!! 

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The World Celebrates The Deaths of the Two Witnesses

Ladies, I hope you are praying about joining me in September for the Come Away {retreat for women}. It will be a sweet time of intimacy with Jesus in the mountains of North Georgia. Click HERE or see the link in the side bar of my website to learn more.

 

We are back today to visit a bit more with the two witnesses of Revelation 11. We started last week by looking at the powers that God gives them during their tenure on earth. Today we move on through the chapter and learn about what happens to them as a result of their prophesying.

 

The World Celebrates the Death of the Two Witnesses

 

 

 

Vignette #2 ~ The Death of the Two Witnesses

Here is the passage that describes their deaths.

7 And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them,

8 and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified.

9 For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb,

10 and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth.

 

As a result of their testimony during the 3 ½ years they are on earth, they are killed by ‘the beast that rises from the bottomless pit’. A great question here would be ‘who is the beast?’. We are going to learn much more about this person in coming lessons, but scholars generally agree that this is antichrist. These two witnesses likely preach against antichrist and he is not happy about it, so he kills them.

Instead of being buried immediately, the bodies of these two witnesses lie in the streets of Jerusalem for 3 ½ days. The people of the world throw a big ole party to celebrate their deaths. The Scripture tells us that people exchange gifts to mark the deaths of the two who have tormented them for 3 ½ years. It is hard to imagine such a celebration over the deaths of two people, but it will happen.

 

Vignette #3 ~ The Resurrection of the Two Witnesses

11 But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.

12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them.

After 3 ½ days of a worldwide celebration of the deaths of these two guys, God says, ‘Enough’ and causes them to be resurrected from the dead. The celebration by the world turns to great fear. Suddenly, as the world watches, the two living witnesses are called to heaven and taken up in a cloud. As you might imagine this leads to….

 

Vignette #4 ~ The World Situation

13 And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

14 The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come.

In the same hour that God calls these two witnesses to heaven, there is a great earthquake that seems to be centered in the city of Jerusalem. One tenth of the city is destroyed and seven thousand people are killed. Up to now the people in the world have done everything but give glory to God. Now, it seems this event has, at the very least, opened their eyes to the power and majesty of God.

This vignette closes by telling us that Woe #2 (the 6th trumpet) is now finished and the third, and final, woe is to come. Next week we will finish our study of Revelation 11. I hope you will join me then.

SDG/FCA!!

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

 

Whether one agrees with Jenkins and LaHaye’s timing and interpretations of the events of the end times or not, The Left Behind Series is a wonderful collection of end times fiction that makes for riveting reading. Check it out.