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!!

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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!!

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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.

Super Heroes of The Tribulation – The Two Witnesses

Before we get into our Revelation lesson, I  wanted to remind you about the Come Away retreat for women that I will be hosting in September. It will be a time of intimacy with Jesus for a handful of women. I would love for you to be one of those women. Click HERE to learn more about the retreat.

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Hello there! Are you a fan of super heroes? You know…Power Rangers, Super Man, Batman, Wonder Woman…..characters that appear human but have amazing, other-worldly powers that are wielded to accomplish good.

When I was child my sister and I loved to watch Wonder Woman. Lynda Carter played a character that was beautiful and possessed amazing powers. One minute she would be an ordinary woman, the next she would spin around and around like an ice skater and in a burst of light she became Wonder Woman. She could run faster than anyone, jump higher than everyone, and those wrist bands and her magic lasso! Ah, I wanted a set of those so badly. She was the ultimate super hero in my 13-year old mind.

 

Super Heroes of the Tribulation

 

 

Did you know there are a couple of guys that will appear during the tribulation at the end of time who are a little bit like super heroes? We began our look at them in this post, and determined that it is impossible at this point to know exactly their identity. Today, let’s look on into Revelation 11 to discover the scoop on these two Tribulation Super Heroes.

 

4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.

5 And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed.

6 They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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 this passage we have four vignettes that we need to examine. This may take a couple of weeks, so settle in.

 

Vignette #1 – Who Are These Witnesses and What Powers Do They Possess

Vignette #2 – The Death of the Two Witnesses

Vignette #3 – The Resurrection of the Two Witnesses

Vignette #4 – The World Situation

 

Vignette #1.

Scripture makes it clear that these two men serve at the pleasure of God when we are told they stand before the Lord of the earth. The mention of olive trees, as well as the candlesticks, points to their nationality being Jewish. Scripture references to olive trees or branches almost always signify the Jewish nation. If you have studied the Old Testament tabernacle you will know that one of the key pieces of furniture was a golden candlestick that provided light for the Holy Place and pointed forward to Jesus being the Light of the World.

The sole purpose of these two witnesses on earth during this troubled time in history is to prophesy about the return of Christ to the earth in a final attempt to turn the hearts of men to God. The protection of God rests on these two men, and anyone who attempts to harm them is incinerated by fire that comes from their mouths. Gives a whole new meaning to ‘ash in a flash’!

God has given them the power to keep the rain from falling, to turn the waters to blood, and to strike the earth with all manner of plagues. This is reminiscent of the plagues that Moses called down onto the Egyptians in the book of Exodus when Pharaoh refused to allow the Israelites to leave Egypt. Horrors designed to turn the heart toward God or God’s people.

Let’s stop here and return next week to visit the other three vignettes that surround the presence of the two witnesses on earth.

SDG/FCA!!

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Tribulation Times, Days, Weeks, and Months

Numbers are important in the Bible.

3 is the number of the Trinity

4 is the number of Creation

6 symbolizes man

7 is the number of completeness

666 is the number and mark of the beast

Then there are the references to 1260 days or 3 ½ years or 42 months or a time, times, and half a time. What in the world do those mean? Unlike Eeyore, the gloomy friend of Winnie the Pooh, who said, “Days, weeks, months. Who knows?”, we can know exactly what is being referenced if we take the time to study. If you calculate them out, they are all referring to the same amount of time. Today in our study of Revelation 11, we will be all about numbers, so let’s get started.

 

Tribulation Times

 

 

Prepare for a whirlwind tour of Scripture, y’all, because I want us to look at each passage where these number references are used and see what we can learn. It will make for a long post, but I am going to give you each Scripture, rather than sending you off to look each one up. Each of these verses are an entire teaching by themselves, so I do invite and encourage you to go to the passage and read the surrounding verses to gain context. We will start in the Old Testament.

Daniel 7:25

He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.

 

Daniel 9:27

This verse does not specifically use the above references, but rather a general reference to the same amount of time

And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is pour out on the desolator.

 

Daniel 12:7

And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream; he raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven and swore by him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished.

 

Revelation 11:2-3

…but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.

 

Revelation 12:6

…and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.

 

Revelation 12:14

But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.

 

Revelation 13:5

And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.

 

There is an agreement among biblical scholars that the time period being referred to by each of these descriptors falls into what we would call the ‘tribulation’ period. In addition, most scholars agree that the people being referred to in these passages (saints of the Most High, the many, the woman, the holy people) are the Jewish people.

Let me elaborate for a moment on one verse in this grouping that I believe will help you with a better understanding. In Daniel 9:27 we hear the prophet proclaim this:

And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is pour out on the desolator.

If you look at this verse in context (remember, context is king) you discover that it falls within a larger discussion of the 70th week of Daniel. For more on the 70th week, please see THIS POST from earlier in our study.

In a nutshell, Daniel’s 70th week refers to the seven years of tribulation just before the return of Christ. The passage tells us that at the beginning of the seven years, antichrist will enter into a covenant with Israel…a covenant that favors Israel, restoring sacrifices and offering for them (which means there must be a temple in which to offer sacrifices at that time). But, and this is a HUGE but, in the middle of the seven-year covenant, antichrist will break the covenant with Israel and turn on them. There will be unprecedented persecution of Israel in that day. This time of persecution is what is being referred to in most of the verses we examined today.

What we do not know for certain is whether the testimony of the two witnesses in Revelation 11 runs simultaneously with this persecution. It could, but it also could span a different portion of the seven years. That is something we will likely have to wait until it happens to find out.

After a decent amount of study, I believe (you may believe differently, and that is okay) that the 42 months/1260 days/time, times, and half a time/3 ½ years of intense persecution of Israel begins with the sounding of the 7th trumpet. I also believe that this time of persecution, what Matthew 24:21, Revelation 2:22 and Revelation 7:14 calls ‘the great tribulation”, takes place in the last half of what we call the tribulation period. Then, there is this little matter of the rapture which we will discuss in much more detail beginning May 8th.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what we have studied today. Share in the comments.

SDG/FCA!! 

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