Israel - the Church - and the Tribulation
(Part II - Israel Today...I Don't Know What That Means!)
The Middle East Confusion and the Church’s Confusion – Are They Connected?
Yes, it is somewhat peculiar that the Tribnet would spend the lion’s share of its “prophetic energy” on an old debate among premillenarians who disagree over the timing of the “rapture of the Church” and, quite frankly, whether or not the Church will find herself side-by-side with “prophetic Israel” within the crucible of Daniel’s Seventieth Week—the final week of human history as we now know it to be. Peculiar in this sense: Aren’t there bigger fish to fry such as the complete breakdown of US foreign policy in the Middle East?
Think about it. We happen to be supplying those forces among the Sunni who are battling in Syria against Bashar Al-Assad. We’re supplying them weaponry which is now being used not only against Assad and his Russian-Iranian sponsors but is now being used against the Iranian-USA puppet government barely holding on to political power in Iraq. Iraq, you know that artificial bastion of democratic change we in the West spilt our blood upon for nigh ten years, only to see the thug of Teheran, Prime Minister Maliki, muddy our oasis in the sand. So now we’re backing the Iran-Iraq Axis of confusion. You don’t get it, do you? Who does? The enemy of my enemy of my enemy has got to be my friend out there somewhere (and no, I didn’t repeat myself). There’s just something about “tar babies” (oil-pun intended) that sticketh closer than a brother!
Well, our neglect of this City of Confusion, may appear purposeful, and it is. Why not tackle something that’s just as “theologically confusing” instead? Therefore, we are back to square one again: The Church and Israel and, quite frankly, what is both now and into the immediate future the Church’s relationship with Israel and ipso facto the whole Middle East in general? So, you see, this is all somehow connected together—i.e., what’s happening now in the Middle East and the Church’s “mindset” in facing the immediate and on-going crisis therein! For nearly 200 years the Evangelical Church has created a theological Gordian Knot known as "dispensationalism" wherein Israel is, on the one hand, brought back into her "prophetic role" - but on the other hand, is kept wholly separate from the Church, the New Humanity. This separation, like a "spiritual ghetto"--persists throughout the entire future 1,000-year millennium, wherein the Bride of Christ, the Church is suspended like a satellite in the heavens above the earth, while Israel occupies the Holy District of Jerusalem below and has been referred to as the Wife of Jehovah; whereas the Church is referred to as the Bride of Christ. Yep: "Two Brides don't make a right!" Today's Church is "raptured" prior to "Jacob's Trouble." The Jews, National Israel, must "go it alone" in any future suffering and trial (the Jews really like that part of the scenario); although "observer-status Christians" will form during this same period of time--neither of them will "make the cut" to be the Bride of Messiah at the commencement of the millennium in suspended animation like a "death star" hovering above the Earth.
Therefore, the urgency in coming to terms with the Church’s “witness and testimony” in these most critical times is nothing shy of a mandatory recognition of just how serious the Church’s condition has become in light of the world’s flash points, not only in the Middle East but now in Eastern Europe, along with the ever-present financial catastrophe facing most of the world’s nations. Seemingly impossible is the avoidance of this train wreck!
Naturally, everyone’s placing their bets on the ever-smiling and likable embrace of Pope Francis whose fine Papal efforts among Moslem, Jews and Christians of all stripes (Kenneth Copeland, Joel Osteen, et al) is designed to “internationalize” the city of Jerusalem—fat chance on that one; however, the appeal to One World Tolerance via Acceptance and Religious Relativism is very appealing, isn’t it? Something about “peace and safety” that drives their agenda; can’t imagine why?
That brings us back to square one relative to the Christian’s world view—what are we to do? In light of that poignant question, the following dialogue between myself and S. Douglas Woodward on our immediate future looms all the more salient in its import.
So, on to Doug Woodward and the Doctrine of Immience (aka, Jesus can come back at any moment) – a sign-less event!
To view/listen to Dr. Doug Stauffer on PitN - SEE HERE (although there may be other video as well). Basically, Dr. Douglas Stauffer appeared on Prophecy in the News to herald his new book: Will The Church Go Through The Tribulation. Dr. Stauffer proclaimed that the Rapture was nigh upon us because the condition of the Laodicean Church has reached a level of apostasy so outrageous that she has to be raptured! Doug Woodward’s (SDW) response commences upon this discovery, and is all the more fascinating in that he is a self-proclaimed secret, pre-tribulational rapturist himself; likewise, some “items” have been either removed or toned down lest we appear a bit juvenile and/or irrational in our enthusiasm in smashing our opponent – but the “debate” is fairly interesting in spite of its watering down; naturally, my responses are more detailed—in that no stone will remain unturned.
Woodward: First, I assume that Doug Stauffer did say exactly what you said he said. To that, I say "Balderdash!" Really? We are bad disciples of Jesus Christ, so we should get raptured? Is that what Peter meant when he said: "We should hasten the day" when Christ comes? (If so, Peter was teaching us to botch things up as quickly as possible). I doubt Peter was teaching that. So I refuse to defend this Staufferian reasoning in which a poor performance maximizes one’s early departure.
Now, the timing of the Rapture is a matter of great debate and consternation. I suspect that the good news for me here is that my writing was sufficiently interesting that it got your post-trib dander up (interesting now that you are identifying yourself with the post-trib world, ah you are progressing! tongue-in-cheek ... Alas, I am digressing...)
Krieger: I understand your meaning about identification with the "post-trib world" - however, I've made that abundantly clear and plain to you from the commencement of our exchanges but I, as you, am sure, would affirm that our pre-millenarian posture is the essential and mandatory area of agreement insofar as eschatology concerns. What you are witnessing is my vociferous and uncompromising embrace of the post-tribulational position of the historic church juxtaposed to the recent additions of the "pre-tribulational secret rapture of the Church" - notwithstanding, all the hocus pocus of brethren, many of whom I personally have known and know even now, who vainly attempt to substantiate some historic Christian theological embrace of a pre-tribulational rapture but, unfortunately, make themselves out to be pseudo-historicists in their attempts. I know this may sound ad hominem, but it is not meant that way at all—I sincerely view their historicity as superficial in light of the preponderance of evidence to the contrary - and this is overwhelmingly documented; i.e., that the historic position of the Early Church Fathers and the Church in general up through the 1700s until Darby were decisively post-trib in their eschatologies.
THE DISTINCTION OF ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH - PRE OR POST TRIB?
Woodward: You are building your case on the dismissal of the distinction of Israel and the Church, classic dispensational teaching, so you have progressed past Dispensationalism too. You maintain a millenarian stance and are a supporter of Israel. Bless you my brother. There is hope for you yet.
Krieger: No, I am not building my case on the DISMISSAL of the distinction of Israel and the Church—in point of glaring fact I am building a case FOR the Purpose and Plan of God in having TWO WITNESSES: Israel to the Earth/Gentile World Powers and the Church to the Heavens/Principalities and Powers. It is my contention that the Dispensationalists have unnecessarily kept Israel and the Church apart at the conclusion of the Church Age to the extent that they have obfuscated and blurred the Eternal Plan and Purpose of the Almighty in having ONE BRIDE within the context of Doug Hamp's NEW HEAVEN and NEW EARTH (as seen in his Millennium Chronicles) and that the idea of having the "Wife of Jehovah" for the Jews (Israel)" and the "Bride of Christ" as the Church (as proposed by Arno Fruchtenbaum) completely destroys the concept of what John, the Beloved, saw in the Revelation:
If one makes the Wife of Jehovah and the Bride of Messiah one and the same, he is faced with numerous contradictions because of the different descriptions given. Only when one sees two separate entities, Israel as the Wife of Jehovah and the Church as the Bride of the Messiah, do all such contradictions vanish.(Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed., Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003, p. 598.)
Notwithstanding, and unfortunately, Dr. Fruchtenbaum confuses the ultimate intention of the Father to have but one Bride for the Son; for in the New Jerusalem this is all that is in view:
"Come, I will show you the THE WOMAN, THE LAMB'S BRIDE (see side margins please)... and showed me the HOLY CITY, JERUSALEM (side margins again as in M)... "twelve gates . . . which are the names of the twelve tribes of the CHILDREN OF ISRAEL . . . twelve foundation, ... the TWELVE NAMES of the TWELVE APOSTLES OF THE LAMB (i.e., the Church)" (Rev. 21:9-16 complete).
It is impossible to refrain from missing this interpretation that the 12 Patriarchs/Tribes as the Gates of the New Jerusalem are Israel and the 12 Apostles of the Lamb as the foundations of the Holy City are the Church. They are obviously DISTINCT but are ONE WOMAN, ONE BRIDE for the GROOM, the Messiah, THE LAMB'S WIFE. Our poor puny minds simply cannot grasp this multi-dimensional reality that there is but One Bride for Messiah! Later on I will show how the dispensationalists get around this glaring fact by merging the two entities/distinctions AFTER the millennium; however, during the millennium there appears TWO BRIDES: One suspended in the heavens, the Bride of Messiah; and the other upon the earth in the Holy District of Ezekiel 40-48, National Israel, the Wife of Jehovah.
It is for that reason that we are forced to reexamine the vision of the Holy District seen by Ezekiel (chapters 40-48) and that of the New Jerusalem of John in the Revelation as MULTI-DIMENSIONAL—the one from the "earthly perspective" (Israel) and the other from the "heavenly perspective" (the Church) and then conclude that when the barrier/veil between heaven and earth through the Son of Man (Nathaniel/Jacob—the LADDER between Earth and Heaven; John 1:43-51) is broken once and for all that this multi-dimensional masterpiece must be "seen" as THE WOMAN, THE BRIDE OF MESSIAH—SINGULARLY—lest we destroy the ultimate intention of the Almighty for the Son of His Love! Notwithstanding: The dispensationalists are at a loss in clearly seeing the Millenarian Rule and Reign of the Son of David upon His Throne—WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY THE FUTURE CASE OF THE MATTER—but "where is the Church?" Thus, they (the dispensationalists) place the BRIDE OF CHRIST (i.e., the Church) in "suspended animation" above the Earth, separate from Israel, in order to keep them apart as if this were part of the plan of the Almighty until the Eschaton occurs 1,000 years later and then it is somewhat ambiguous as to where the TWO will be juxtaposed to one another.
“This heavenly city (aka, the New Jerusalem) will be brought into a relation to the earth at the beginning of the millennium, and perhaps will be made visible above the earth. It is from this heavenly city that David’s greater Son exerts His Messianic rule, in which the Bride reigns, and from which the rewarded Old Testament saints exercise their authority in government.” (Things to Come, Dwight Pentecost, p. 546)
. . . or that of Dr. John Walvoord:
“. . . there is no particular reason why the New Jerusalem should not be in existence throughout the millennium and suspended above the earth as a satellite city. Though this is foreign to our present experience of material things, such a concept is not beyond the realm of possibility. If the heavenly Jerusalem is hovering over the earth during the millennial reign, it would be a natural dwelling-place not only for Christ Himself but for the saints for all ages who are resurrected or translated and therefore somewhat removed from ordinary earthly affairs. Their position thus close to the earth would permit them to carry on their functions in earth in connection with the millennial reign of Christ and yet would remove them as far as residence is concerned from continuing or mingling with those in their natural bodies and would solve the problem of lack of reference to a dwelling place for resurrected beings on earth during the millennium.” (The Church in Prophecy, Dr. John Walvoord, Zondervan, 1976, pp. 159-60)
“. . . that the city of verse 10 [Rev. 21:10] is seen in the process of descent, not to the earth, but to be suspended over the earth. It is not until eternity (verse 2) that the final descent to the earth is described, at which time the new heaven, the new earth, and the New Jerusalem will be in relationship to each other.” (Ibid. pp. 568-69) (My emphasis throughout.)
In other words, the Bride of Christ comprised of all resurrected Old and New Testament saints are brought close to the Earth but in “suspended animation” above the Earth during the entire millennium; whereas the Son of David apparently reigns from a most “high perch” over the Earth? Somehow, according to the pre-tribulational rapturists the resurrected saints will “mingle” with National Israel upon the Earth during the millennium (bizarre: Earth is a kind of vacation spot but not a residence for the resurrected saints of previous ages); but National Israel, even though they have greeted their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10; Daniel 12:13; Luke 13:35; Romans 11:25-29) are kept at a distance from the Bride of Christ and their “heavenly New Jerusalem.” What must be observed here is the strict “separation” between the heavenly City, the Bride, New Jerusalem and the earthly Jerusalem, National Israel, the Holy District (no doubt) of Ezekiel 40-48—that is the disturbing “reality” proposed by this theology. It is not until the end of the millennial rule and reign of the Son of David that the eternal Kingdom is fully realized and all barriers are eliminated (i.e. the New Heaven and New Earth do not occur until AFTER the 1,000-year millennial rule and reign but NOT before); that is precisely why Doug Hamp’s assertion that the manifestation of the New Heaven and New Earth occurring immediately after the cataclysmic occurrences wrought by the Day of the Lord (that “Great and terrible Day of the Lord”) is so invigorating and is wrought with eschatological clarity. The veil between Heaven and Earth has been forever broken—the New Heaven and New Earth demands but One Bride and the “multi-dimensional Holy City”—the New Jerusalem’s immediate descent to the earth at the commencement of the millennium.
We commend the dispensationalists’ recognition of God's Prophetic Plan for Israel but it is mired in contradiction and inconsistencies: TWO BRIDES? God is not a polygamist. He longs to break the veil between Earth and Heaven and shall on that day do so. His design maintains the distinctions, for the Gates are open to the nations and the Foundations are "hidden in Christ before the foundations of the world." I strongly recommend that you get a chance to read my article entitled ANOTHER GOSPEL..ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH IN COVENANTAL CONFUSION which clearly delineates the distinctions and the purposes for both ISRAEL and the CHURCH; and yet maintains the unique characteristics of the One Bride of Messiah. I am a Johannian Traditional Dispensationalist myself (with an immense differential), so go figure that one (see me in the schematic below; a cleverly-devised drawing by yours truly; do notice that I'm post-trib but what in the world does "Johannian" mean?
The operative question is: Can the Almighty work with two separate peoples at the same time (viz., during the crucible of the 70th Week)? My answer to that is, of course He can. What do you think He's doing with the re-gathering of the exiles right now into Eretz Israel? Yes, they are in unbelief—but isn't He working with and on them as we write this missive (Ref. Ezk. 37)? ABSOLUTELY! Even the late Vernon J. McGee had to admit that Israel's current materiality is perhaps the main timepiece/fulfillment of Bible prophecy at the end of this age. Do I have an AMEN - or AHMEN as Doug Hamp says (which is refreshing, by the way). And, please, let's not bog down into "justice land"—there are as many "stinkers" in Israel just as there are in the USA (perhaps more per capita in the USA). Insofar as Israel in unbelief goes, please check out the Church with her submergent apostasies.
Woodward: So, is there no distinction between the two? I believe there is, however, I do not believe in two ways of salvation (Abrahamic Covenant/Mosaic Law OR the Cross of Christ).
Krieger: I believe precisely what you believe. I am pained by the "dual covenant" approach of Pastor John Hagee and its contradiction to the Gospel of the Grace of God. Worse, his written espousal that Jesus did not come to the House of Israel at His First Coming as Messiah—that is biblically outrageous and there are scores of Scripture to prove on this point he is so wrong.
Up through the entire 2520 days + the additional 75 (for certain) beyond Daniel’s Seventieth Week, salvation is through the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. The engrafting of Israel in the main takes place during the "45 days of Blessing" or until the 1335th day: “Blessed is he who waits and comes to the 1335th Day” likewise: “You will not see My face again, until YOU (Israel) say, Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord" - then "all Israel shall be saved."
All Jews and Gentiles prior to that time are a part of the ONE NEW MAN (the NEW CREATION—Gal. 6:12-15). ONLY those ethnic Jews, like Paul the Apostle, who are IN CHRIST by faith (for neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything—BUT A NEW CREATION) are part of the TRUE ISRAEL OF GOD. Listen to me now: The Gentile-background Christians are sufficed by THE NEW CREATION alone—they are NOT PART OF THE TRUE ISRAEL OF GOD because they aren't Jews to begin with! Please read the Scripture again . . . no wonder Paul said: "See with what LARGE LETTERS I have written to you with my own hand!" (Gal. 6:11) - then he describes what being IN CHRIST JESUS really means to both Gentile Christians and Jewish Christians: A NEW CREATION! Then he concludes by saying: "And as many as walk according to this rule (this "many" is in the main Gentile background Galatians who were having problems with the Judaizers), peace and mercy be upon them, (please notice the "comma" after the word "them,") AND upon the ISRAEL OF GOD.
This conjunction sets the Christian free from trying to be something other than what they are: A Gentile believer in Jesus. The Gentile-believing Christian is NOT part of the True Israel of God—he is a part of the NEW CREATION. Notwithstanding, this same Gentile-background Christian is still a Jew who is one inwardly (Romans 2:29) - so go figure—but the emphasis here is A NEW CREATION—A NEW HUMANITY!
Woodward says that Believers in the Tribulation Period will Witness Against Mighty Babylon
Woodward: I believe that in the Tribulation believers will witness against Mighty Babylon (and we have, together brother, already lodged some protests together in the streets as it were already. Let's remember who our real enemy is even as we spar back and forth on this topic).
Krieger: I wouldn't be talking to you (I guess) if we didn't agree on THE FINAL BABYLON. I have no problem on who the enemy is and it’s not us . . . however, the way certain brethren are being treated these days concerns me on just who the real “enemy” is.
When is the Rapture of the Church?
Woodward: But when, pray tell, do the believers get raptured? Are all raptured? Will Jews that believe NOT be raptured? Will Christians and Jews together inherit an earthly Kingdom? These are not easy issues to synchronize. I still like the view that an ethnic Israel will inherent the Kingdom and David (and his son, Jesus) will reign from [earthly] Jerusalem.
Krieger: Matthew 24:29-31 sure sounds like the rapture occurs IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE TRIBULATION OF THOSE DAYS—THEN! (Matt. 24:29-30). Sure, ALL are raptured who are a part of His One Body—it’s called the RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH. Since we rarely preach on the Doctrine of Rewards—what can I say? One wonders why there's so much crying in glory? I'll tell you why—because one bunch of brethren are saved "as by fire" and do NOT have crowns to cast down before the Savior; nor do they receive rewards; nor much of an inheritance!
Alas! The “tribulation” will get many of them to get their "act together”—i.e., purify them! Nothing like winnowing the "wheat and the tares" which GROW TOGETHER UNTIL THE END! Surely, the CHURCH and ISRAEL will inherit the New Heaven and the New Earth—that's why Doug Hamp's veritable revelation is so vitally important. Israel does not lose its earthly expression as the Holy District nor does the Church lose her expression as descending from the heavens—but to where is she DESCENDING? Is she suspended above the earth as some kind of "death star" out there above the horizon or does she triumphantly return to planet earth as the ARMIES OF HEAVEN? If He's on the Throne of David, which He is, then where's the Bride with the Groom? According to Dwight Pentecost and the pre-tribulational/Premillenarian model, Jesus reigns with His Bride in the heavens someplace above the earth. Grief, Jesus (and I say this mockingly and purposefully) must be a "busy camper" going between Earth and Heaven between His TWO BRIDES—viz., the Wife of Jehovah (earth- Israel) and the Bride of Christ (heaven, the Church). Brother, do you see the absolute incongruity of this? The metaphor borders on the preposterous as so outlined by this separation and maintenance of the veil between Heaven and Earth. Israel fulfills their role on the Earth with the Son of David and the Church fulfills her role in this MULTI-DIMENSIONAL MASTERPIECE from the "heavenly perspective" but the TWO ARE JOINED AS ONE whereby these “two spheres” conflate at the commencement of the millennium with the emphasis being upon “the Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” We desperately need a whole new paradigm shift in our eschatological model.
You bet these are not easy issues to synchronize; but thanks to brethren like Doug Hamp (who’s wandering off the pre-trib reservation), there is a New Heaven and a New Earth—there is one Bride: Israel and the Church are together in the Holy District/Holy City, the New Jerusalem.
Of course, and is well-known abroad, Doug Hamp configures the heavenly New Jerusalem as a Mountain or "Pyramidal" in shape; whereas I assert she is cubical as an object of His love. The Holy City, Jerusalem connotes her administrative acquiescence to the Lamb, as the Woman, the Lamb's Bride--she is the governmental expression of His authority and wholly under His authority. She is a cube not a pyramid. Why and how's that? Well, the Earth is a sphere (of course, not perfect as such but is "spherical" in shape. It is three-dimensional and its diameter is 7,920 miles. Because it has depth and height and length (from any direction) it can be placed, if you would, into a box with its 12 edges each bearing the 7,920 mile diameter or 12 X 7,920 miles is equal to 95,040 miles. The New Jerusalem, on the other hand, is given a measurement of 12,000 furlongs for its length, height and width (Rev. 21:16). The furlong is 660 feet in length. Therefore, 12,000 X 660 ft. are equal to 7,920,000 feet, which gives us the "7920" as a fractal of Earth's diameter. Consequently, 12 edges of a cubical New Jerusalem X 7,920,000 ft. are equal to 95,040,000 miles (I and others so configure this furthest distance between Earth and the Sun) or the "9504" of the Earth's box/cube configured as 7,920 miles X 12 is equal to 95,040 miles.
This is the Lord's and the "fullness thereof." The emphasis upon the cubical or square shape is heightened when one considers the multiplicity of such "squaring" observed in Ezekiel's Holy District (e.g., 25,000 Hebrew Sacred Cubits form the edges of the four-square Holy District; 500 rods (12.6 ft. per rod) form the edges of the four-square Sanctuary; 4500 cubits form the edges of the four-square Holy City). When one expresses the Earth, she is expressed as the "four corners" thereof and is dimensionally described as "north, east, south and west." She is never described as FLAT (one dimensional)--the Earth is not flat but three-dimensional ipso facto she is a cube and that is not only the traditional view of most of the "evangelical prophetic community" but is the "spiritual reality" of the matter. This, however, in no way obfuscates the Mountain of the Lord as the epitome of His "authority" (a "mountain" connotes authority in Scripture).
The Judicial Wrath of God vs. the Wrath of the Lamb
Woodward: I find the promises of the Scripture compelling that "God has not destined us to the terrors of wrath, but to salvation through Jesus Christ" and "Pray that you are worthy to escape all these things and stand before the Son of Man" and "being spared from the hour of trial about to be loosed on the world" etc., etc. And so on... many verses that I could cite and have before.
Krieger: Again, you are mixing the JUDICIAL WRATH OF GOD dealing with issues relative to SALVATION—issues which are salvific in nature and you are mixing this judicial wrath of God with the WRATH OF GOD, THE JUDGMENT—they are not the same.
I Thess. 5:9 to which you allude, clearly states:
"For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to OBTAIN SALVATION THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST"
Don't stop there, read on:
" . . . who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him."
The SALVATION spoken of here is dealing with the WRATH OF GOD—it is JUDICIAL in its nature and comports to what Paul declared in Romans 5:
" . . . Christ died for the ungodly . . . while we were still sinners, Christ died for us . . . Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be SAVED FROM WRATH THROUGH HIM. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life . . . we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation" (Rom. 5:67-11).
This SALVATION, RECONCILIATION has absolutely nothing to do with the WRATH OF GOD spoken of in the apocalyptic passages to which you allude. The greatest comfort to those of us IN CHRIST, RECONCILED BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS, is that whether we live or die we are the Lord's! That's SALVATION, THROUGH FAITH IN THE SHED BLOOD OF JESUS! That’s got nothing to do with being saved from the Wrath of God as spoken of in the Revelation; however, we are saved from that too BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT PAUL is talking about in I Thess. 5:9 - here he's talking about Salvation through Christ alone!
Please note that in Luke 21:36 Jesus inserts His statement as follows:
"Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted (lit. "have strength") worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."
If we carefully read the passages in Luke 21 they, in the main, parallel those in Matthew 24-25. The "Coming of the Son of Man" is announced from Luke 21:25-28 AFTER Jesus mentions "Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (and as Walvoord brings out and you do as well - this Time of the Gentiles will persist until the Coming of Christ in glory and did not take place in 1967 when Israel took full control of Jerusalem). After the "cosmic disturbances" which are obviously "immediately after the tribulation of those days" (i.e., after the Great Tribulation) (Matthew 24:29) Luke's account states: "Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory"—and by the way, then and then only do we read: "Now WHEN THESE THINGS begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near." (Luke 21:25-28)
What "things begin to happen"--the cosmic signs in Luke 21:25-26 (". . . those things coming to earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken"—do you see what Doug Hamp is saying here: EARTH and HEAVEN?)—that’s what and when we’re raptured: THEN our REDEMPTION DRAWS NEAR!
Jesus then goes into the same parable of the Fig Tree (which, you are right, does not "necessarily mean the rebirth of the State of Israel" but simply tells us that when we see the leaves of the fig tree sprouting, the fruit is coming next—be ready; these "signs" (leaves) are not just for "leaves’ sake" they are for the coming FRUIT! Luke then goes into what Jesus was saying akin to the Days of Noah:
"But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and THAT DAY COME ON YOU UNEXPECTEDLY. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth (sure sounds like the bunch who's not watching for His coming are going to get a major smack down just as in Noah's day when everyone thought Noah was off his rocker). Watch therefore, and pray always (in essence these are the very parables of READINESS to which Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24-25 dealing with WATCHFULNESS (one taken and the other left behind), WALK (oil in the lamps) and SERVICE (talents) . . . that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 21:34-36).
Again, I ask: "Counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass" - when do we escape and "what things" are we talking about? Obviously, in Luke the "things" are directly related to the 'things' mentioned in vs. 25 (Cosmic "signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars—earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the seas and the waves roaring, etc.). These signs are directly related to those same "signs" as recorded in Revelation 6 between the 5th and 6th Seal and are DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE WRATH OF GOD AND THE LAMB commencing at the end of the 70th Week of Daniel—after the Devil's Great Wrath! If we are of them, like Noah, who are preparing, watchful, ready, walking in the Spirit (oil), serving the Lord (talents)—then WE SHALL ESCAPE ALL THESE THINGS which occur at the close of the 70th Week!
For Rick Warren to acclaim that the study of Bible prophecy is irrelevant is an absolute rejection of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in toto . . . and I know you concur with me on this matter.
The Church in Philadelphia is "kept from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole earth" (Rev. 3:10). No doubt the Church in Philadelphia typifies those who are not only in READINESS but those who have "brotherly love" one for another. Please notice, however, He mentions that "keeping" and then immediately launches into: "Behold, I am coming quickly!" (Rev. 3:11). Wouldn't this tell us chronologically that immediately after being KEPT/RAPTURED (I'll even use that ostentatious word) that we either are PRESERVED from the Wrath of God/Trial upon the whole world or raptured and taken out of here? The linear thing to BEHOLD is this follows immediately after the "kept from the hour of trial" - Question: When is that hour of trial or TESTING? Frankly, it's when Babylon goes up in smoke (Revelation 16:17-21; 17-18) and is judged; again, at the end of the 70th Week of Daniel; consequently, it is altogether logical to argue that then and there is the rapture of the Church.
Indeed, I am sure you have "other verses" which you previously have offered and I would dearly like to see them but I can only contend with those that you have mentioned, and to do so in love—as is our basis of fellowship.
Woodward: I believe that you reconcile this by drawing a distinction between the devils' wrath and the Lords' wrath. The Great Tribulation period is TROUBLE to be sure because of the Devil's wrath. True. But when does God's wrath begin? Not until the very end?
Krieger: As I have abundantly stated and it is virtually impossible to reconcile the GREAT WRATH OF THE DEVIL which clearly extends for "time, times and half a time" - 42 months, 1260 days, 3.5 days (the Reign of the Beast—Revelation 11:2, 7-10; 12:9, 12, 14-17; 13:5-7) with the Wrath of the Lamb. The 1260 days of the Dragon and/or the Court of the Gentiles and/or the 3.5 days of the open persecution of the Two Witnesses—the thing is this: How in the blazes (pun intended) can the Devil’s Great Wrath abide the Wrath of the Lamb? It can't and won't—that is precisely why his "desolations" are wrapped up at the close of the 1290th Day and throughout the Revelation; however, the final 30 days of those desolations commence with the Wrath of the Lamb; the devil having but 42 months or 1,260 days with the final 30 days unto the 1,290th Day being the Wrath of the Lamb.
The WRATH OF GOD, the WINEPRESS OF THE WRATH OF GOD, the WRATH OF GOD AND THE LAMB cannot abide that of the Devil's Great Wrath—the JURISDICTIONS ARE DIVINELY SET. The Beast is GIVEN AUTHORITY TO CONTINUE FOR FORTY-TWO MONTHS . . . IT WAS GRANTED TO HIM TO MAKE WAR WITH THE SAINTS AND TO OVER COME THEM. Do not think for one New York Babylonian minute that 42 months does not mean 42 months? Now, since he has "authority given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation" where is the Wrath of God found in the midst of this authority? Apparently, the Wrath of God is identical to the Wrath of the Devil? NONSENSE! Since when do OIL and WATER mix? I have a hard time with that; i.e., mixing the "devil's great wrath" and "the Wrath of the Lamb."
Woodward: Does the Lord not use the wrath of the devil to also judge an unrepentant world? You believe that the Lord could not use the devil's wrath as part of His judgment, and yet the story of Job tells us that the actions of Satan are sometimes allowed by the LORD as a means of testing.
THE CHURCH IN THE TRIBULATION
Doug, you're reaching for straws. The "DEVIL HAVING GREAT WRATH" is clearly delineated and targeted. It is specifically mentioned and directed against the following:
(1) THE WOMAN—which Barnhouse says is "more than Israel" (and includes all the redeemed from Adam to the present)—Revelation 12:12-16; NOTHING about "earthlings" is mentioned relative thereto (aka, “those who dwell on the earth”—who, incidentally, are in total league with the Devil!).
(2) THE WOMAN'S OFFSPRING—"And the dragon was ENRAGED with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and HAVE THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS" (Rev. 12:17). The Dragon's Wrath is directed not at the unrepentant but at the believer. It is impossible to declare that they that BEAR THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS are not the vibrant and persevering Church of our Lord Jesus Christ—what shall we do with the so-called T RIBULATION SAINTS who bear the TESTIMONY OF JESUS? Are they not members of His One Body, the Church? Even Walvoord had to agree with that and I asked him to his face: “John, who are they?" Answer: They are the Church! Listen, however, to Walvoord’s contradictions:
“The character of this period and the things that will occur in it support the concept that those in the church, who have put their trust in Christ and have been promised that they will not experience the wrath of God, will be raptured before this period begins, in fact, more than seven years before the second coming of Christ.” (Every Prophecy of the Bible, Dr. John Walvoord, CVP, p. 585)
Now, read carefully, as Walvoord calls those “tribulation saints” Christians (ipso facto aren’t “Christians” considered to be the Church of the Living God?):
“The step requiring people to have a mark, either on their forehead or on their right hand, to identify them as worshipers of the beast, is not hard to understand as various types of identification are used for beasts today, such as cattle, fish, birds, and others. The enforcement applied to all, and the six classes of people referred to here cover the entire human race. Because this mark was absolutely essential to either buy or sell, it put tremendous pressure on CHRISTIANS who would resist this as they would be helpless to conduct ordinary business and to care for their loved ones.” (Ibid. p 587)
Question: Aren’t CHRISTIANS members of the Church? Is this an “oversight” on Walvoord’s part? I don’t think so. Then in speaking of the “second group of 144,000” (who Walvoord considers as Israel in both Rev. 7 and Rev. 14) Walvoord slips again:
“The description of the 144,000 brings to the fore the importance of having a life of purity in the testimony of a CHRISTIAN to the world. CHRISTIANS are to be “holy and blameless,” (Eph. 1:4); “holy and blameless” (Eph. 5:27), “without fault” (Jude 24). The 144,000 constituted an amazing testimony of the holiness of God in the midst of a generation that was wicked and worshiping Satan.” (Ibid. p. 589)
Walvoord persists in his commentary on Revelation 14 by asserting that during the “tribulation period” (as found in Revelation 14) it will include such salvific truths as:
“Thought the chapter [Rev. 14] deals with the period after the present age of grace, many truths are applied to our present age, including the necessity of salvation in Christ, and the imperative character of walking before God in holiness and purity. In this age of grace where this judgment does not impend, there is still opportunity to receive the grace of God and to be saved and to be included in that glad number who will be raptured before these tragic end-time events will overtake the earth.” (Ibid. p. 593)
I am hard pressed to affirm that “salvation in Christ” within the confines of the Seventieth Week of Daniel can occur without the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit—the Holy Spirit Who the pretribulationists assert was/is removed when the Church is removed at the rapture prior to the “tribulation period.” “Salvation in Christ” is NOT an objective “truth” but a subjective experience in the life of the believer—“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” (John 3:5-7). The application of “salvation in Christ” is administered by the Holy Spirit NOT by human effort nor by “objective belief” without the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit—one does not possess salvation through Christ without the Spirit of Christ!
Walvoord attempts to explain this “salvific conundrum” and in so doing completely circumvents the work of the Holy Spirit in His regenerating capacity to administer salvation in Christ in the first place; to wit:
“The question naturally is raised then: How can anyone be saved apart from the Holy Spirit? The answer is that the removal of the Holy Spirit has to be qualified. The Spirit of God will be removed in the same sense that He came on the Day of Pentecost to indwell the church and to baptize the church into one body. These works of the Holy Spirit will cease, and the situation will return to what it was before Pentecost. Before Pentecost people were saved, and the Holy Spirit was working in the world because He is always omnipresent. So it will be in this period of the end time.” (Ibid. p. 559)
Frankly, these statements are “theologically outrageous” ("has to be qualified") and border on the denial of those washed in the Blood of the Lamb and who “overcome by the Blood of the Lamb”! Before Pentecost people were saved and the Holy Spirit was working in the world because He is always omnipresent. Alright, so they were saved by the blood of Jesus prior to the crucifixion or via the promise of His yet future work of redemption, right? Now the Holy Spirit’s omnipresence is removed because the “work” of the Holy Spirit is the Bride of Messiah and that “work” is done—so exit the Holy Spirit and His “work” at the rapture of the Church? All other believers in Christ find salvation in Christ without the “work” of the Holy Spirit? Nonsense!
Notwithstanding, Walvoord asserts that, although the “tribulation saints” constitute a special group in the millennial rule and reign on the earth, they are not a part of the Bride of Christ (i.e., they are “Christian” in name only), the Church; to wit:
The dispensational distinction between the saints of the present age belonging to the church, the Body of Christ, and saints of other ages, such as those in the Old Testament or those in the future tribulation, therefore seems to be observed in this passage where the wife [i.e., the Bride of Christ] is distinguished from the great multitude identified in chapter 7 as martyrs out of the great tribulation. The “marriage of the Lamb” is properly the marriage supper of the Lamb, the final aspect of the marriage relationship between Christ and His church. (The Revelation of Jesus Christ, John Walvoord, a paper given at Moody Bible Institute, 1966)
Frankly, Walvoord muddies the Dispensational waters by asserting that these “tribulation saints” are Christians—so are they not members of the Body of Christ ipso facto the Bride of Christ (perhaps, again, in “name” only)? It is a bit of a pesky theological issue, isn’t it? The following quotes and my subsequent barbs are based upon some (not all) of these theological confusions taken from The Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, John F Walvoord, Victor Books, 1990 (SP Publications) (my emphasis throughout):
“Many Christians and Jews martyred who refused to worship [the] world dictator (Rev. 7:9-17; 13:15)” (Point #8 - p. 551)
And yet Walvoord claims:
“Actually, the church is never mentioned by name throughout the entire period of the Tribulation (Rev. 4:1-19:10) (p. 535) or here: “Daniel was also informed that ‘When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed’ (Daniel 12:7). As indicated in many Scriptures such as Revelation 13:7, the people of Israel as well as Gentiles who become Christians will be subject to purging judgments at the hand of the world ruler at the end time who will attempt to exterminate all Christians and all Jews. (p. 277) (Note: See comment on Walvoord’s “Church Age” found hereunder on p. 384.)
“Some problems have arisen from Matthew 24:13 where it states, ‘But he who stands firm to the end will be saved’ (cf. Mark 13:13). A common interpretation that those who stand firm will endure to the end of the Tribulation is contradicted by the fact that thousands of Christians in the Great Tribulation will be martyred (Rev. 7:9-17).” (p. 384)
Surely, “coming to Christ” during the Seventieth Week of Daniel constitutes one a Christian, ergo a member of the Church, the Woman, the Lamb’s Wife, the Bride of Christ. Even so, it appears Walvoord confirms this, while making a most absurd statement highlighted in bold for either its bizarre comparison or its Dispensational chutzpah!
“The very severity of the Great Tribulation and the number of martyrs here indicates that most of those who come to Christ in the end time will be faced with a choice, and a large percentage of them will be executed for failure to worship the world ruler. If the church were to go through this time of awful trouble, it is doubtful how more than a small fraction would be able to survive.” (p. 562)
You got that right! Indeed, you better believe that the Almighty will use the Devil's Great Wrath to PURIFY them who shall endure unto the end for earlier in Rev. 12 we read:
"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their TESTIMONY and they did not love their lives to the death" (and I hasten to add the word "lives" is the Greek word for "soul" indicating their "soul-lives" in that they had a "heart" a "mind" to suffer for Christ and that's where the battlefield is today. Have we armed ourselves with the MIND OF CHRIST—for how can we suffer with Him and be glorified together unless we have the very MIND OF CHRIST who gave His all!?
And, you are 100% correct that the Almighty will USE SATAN for His own purposes to purify the brethren, like Job - praise God for Job! Job did the job.
The Devil's Great Wrath vs the Wrath of the Lamb has Come
Woodward: The Book of Jasher mimics the same story and applies it to Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah. I suspect that the LORD does incorporate the devils' wrath in the Great Tribulation, but don't ask me how or to reconcile this.
Krieger: Absolutely, the Bible clearly states even in real time the Devil's Wrath is existential; but the peculiarity and timing of “The Devil’s Great Wrath” is consolidated to the 42 months or latter half of Daniel’s Seventieth Week. The Church hasn't been promised a bed of roses: IN THE WORLD YOU SHALL HAVE TRIBULATION BUT BE OF GOOD CHEER I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD! Glory to God! We can't endure—but He can in us!
Frankly, dear brother, we are not sufficient for these things. Savonarola repeatedly was told to stop preaching against the "crosses of Gold" and embracing the "wooden cross" (get the drift) and the "authorities" (we always have those who are the "authorities") told him to stop, put him on the rack and he repeatedly recanted only to go back to preaching from his pulpit in Florence the same message of the cross. Finally, they asked him: "Why do you recant and then go back to doing the same thing?" Answer: Because it hurts! He was finally martyred for Christ!
Woodward: God is a good God, in Him is no darkness at all, and yet, we know that God allows evil for a purpose and the devil/Satan too... but I still agree that the Trumpets and the Vials constitute specific judgments of God against the Beast and those with the Mark. Am I ready to agree with you that it is only the 30 days between the 1260 and the 1290 days of Daniel? Nope. I like your charts though. And you might be right. But I won't go to the mat over it. I'm not as inclined to believe in mathematics as you. I'm more of a letters man myself.
Krieger: Doug, the Trumpets and the Vials are CONFLATED. It is the SEVEN-FOLD TRUMPET and the SEVEN VIALS which constitute “complete”(i.e., “7”) judgment. It's precisely that—the Churches in Revelation 2-3 are but one Church manifested with 7 distinctions. Even so the 7 thunders—and, surely we don't believe there are 7 separate Spirits of God—but the seven-fold Spirit of God. These judgments are altogether specific and they are within the context of the 30 days which mirrors the one-half hour (30 minutes) found in Revelation 8:1-2 wherein the 7 trumpets BEGIN TO SOUND and they SOUND throughout the 30 days/30 minutes. Why put these time frames in there in the first place? Are they quaint little sidebars and little ditties?
No, they are not miscellaneous: 30 Days X 24 hours = 720 and "72" is the Name of God (Hebrews for Christians) X 60 minutes = 43,200 min. which is "432" which is a fractal of the radius of the Sun (the Sun of Righteousness) who is pouring out His judgments X 60 seconds equal to 2,592,000 seconds, which is the fractal of the 25,920 years of the Mazzaroth/Zodiac the 12 Constellations upon the Woman's head in Rev. 12—SHE WEARS THE GARLAND—SHE IS VICTORIOUS and these judgments VINDICATE THE SAINTS (Rev. 8:3-5 - and those beneath the Altar under the fifth seal—Rev. 6:9-11).
Oh, would to God, you were more of a numbers man (not that you aren't) - but what is it that you do not understand concerning the 42 months of the REIGN OF THE BEAST? The 1260 Days of the Court of the Gentiles Trampling asunder the Holy City? The "times, time and half and time" or 1260 days wherein the Dragon chased the Woman of Rev. 12? The 3.5 days of "open persecution" against the TWO WITNESSES by the Beast from the Abyss (aka, "the bottomless pit")? When will you see the 30 minutes: 30 min. X 60 seconds = 1,800 - for this "18" is truly the fractal of the perimeter of the New Jerusalem and of the Holy City of Ezekiel 48 with its 4,500 cubits X 4 = 18,000 cubits which match the measurements of the Holy City New Jerusalem in that 12,000 Furlongs X 12 edges = 144,000 furlongs X 660 ft. (one furlong) = 95,040,000 linear ft. / 5280 ft. (one mile) = 18,000 miles and "18" = "18". ALL JUDGMENT HAS BEEN COMMITTED TO THE SON AND THE WRATH OF THE LAMB IS FOR ONE THING: THE VINDICATION OF THE SAINTS OF THE MOST HIGH AND FOR HIS BELOVED BRIDE: THE WOMAN, THE NEW JERUSALEM (i.e., the "18").
Woodward: I still believe that the devil’s wrath is predominantly directed at those who have been sealed by the Spirit of God and have 'the mark' of the Son of God (and not the beast’s mark) upon their foreheads. But I do not find myself fully capable of segregating all actions of the devil as NOT being used by God. Is the Great Tribulation a time of wrath? Yes, both of the devil and of God.
Krieger: Doug, out of your own mouth you’re saying exactly what I’m saying! The Devil's Great Wrath is specifically targeted at those who love the Lord—and it always has been. Nothing’s changed except the intensity of it all. Yes, we bear the mark of the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the TAV (Ezekiel)—we are SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE. We cannot and we dare not take the MARK OF THE BEAST. Naturally, the "actions of the devil" are used by the Almighty for His own purposes—witness what happened in China: Millions martyred for Christ and now look at the Church in China. The same goes for what’s happening in Syria, right now: REVIVAL IS BREAKING OUT IN THE REFUGEE CAMPS. People have nothing, are in despair and they are crying out to the God of Israel—to the Lord Jesus—and this shall be the case during the crucible of the 70th Week!
In this sense the Devil is GIVEN AUTHORITY—by whom? God Almighty, that’s Who. The crucifixion of the Lord Jesus made this abundantly clear. Pontus Pilot claimed to have the authority but Jesus set Him straight: Pilot, you have no authority unless it be given of my Father! But come to grips with it, Doug: The Devil’s Great Wrath is distinctly presented as such and so is the WRATH OF THE LAMB which is to come. When does His WRATH COME? It COMES precisely here: AT THE CLOSE OF THE 70TH WEEK OF DANIEL (Rev. 6:12-17 and specifically: "And said to the mountains and rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the WRATH OF THE LAMB! FOR THE GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH HAS COME, and who is able to stand?")
Prior to this we had the seals but now the GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH HAS COME and when is that? Revelation 8:1-2 bespeaks of the Seven-fold Trumpet and the ensuing WRATH FROM OFF THE ALTAR FROM WHENCE THE SAINTLY PRAYERS AROSE. God cannot judge in a baseless manner. His judgment through the Son is based upon the PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS and is wholly justified. They have endured and now their cry to avenge their shed blood is answered!
When does the Lamb’s Wrath come? It comes in Rev. 11:13. "In that same hour there was a GREAT EARTHQUAKE and a tenth of the city fell (10 is directly related to the 10 kings, 10 toes, 10 heads, 10 crowns, 10 horns and all those crazy 10s that are of the devil in the Revelation). His administrative center is demolished and 7,000 die because it is complete judgment but only after the TWO WITNESSES hear this incredibly LOUD VOICE FROM HEAVEN: "COME UP HERE" - of course, that's the rapture and then He pours out His wrath! So much for a quite, secret-pretribulational rapture of the Church!
When does it come? It comes in Rev. 14:14-20 wherein there are two separate harvests which are reaped from the earth—the first harvest is found in Rev. 14:14-16 where the Son of Man reaps the harvest of the Earth and takes His wheat and then immediately we hear: THEN ANOTHER ANGEL CAME OUT...THRUST IN YOUR SHARP SICKLE AND GATHER THE CLUSTERS OF THE VINE OF THE EARTH, FOR HER GRAPES ARE FULLY RIPE...SO THE ANGEL THRUST HIS SICKLE INTO THE EARTH AND GATHERED THE VINE OF THE EARTH, AND THREW IT INTO THE GREAT WINEPRESS OF THE WRATH OF GOD! That's when it happens (Rev. 14:17-20).
Please notice the THEMATIC SEQUENCE: First the "rapture/harvest" for the Son of Man would “reap the harvest of the Earth . . . So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped!” These two harvests are NOT THE SAME . . . though some would dearly like us to believe they are because the second harvest follows so fast on the heels of the first one . . . as immediately after the Tribulation of those days!
Woodward: You wish to draw a fine line and distinction between the two [i.e., between the Great Wrath of the Devil and the Wrath of the Lamb].
Krieger: There is NOT a fine line; there most definitely is a clear distinction between the two - IT IS ABRUPT - IT IS DECISIVE - it is cataclysmic - it is altogether JURISDICTIONAL and wholly under the ultimate authority of the Son of Man!
Woodward: I understand and support your wish to do so. I am not able to explain how to draw the line very clearly however.
Krieger: I sure hope this helps. The LINE IS ABSOLUTE. It is altogether clear. It is irrevocable—it is written as a SURE WORD OF PROPHETIC IMPORT and it is INESCAPABLE. It is only "fussy" because the math is not understood. I’d have kids tell me that all the time: Mr. K. I hate math. I just don’t get it; but eventually the light goes on and everything’s clear: Doesn’t the devil know HE HAS A SHORT TIME? Is the Almighty going to use him? Absolutely! THEY OVERCAME HIM BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB! How's about this for overcoming:
"Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their WITNESS TO JESUS and for THE WORD OF GOD (sounds like John's opening remarks on the Isle of Patmos: For the "Word of God and for the Testimony of Jesus Christ"), who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And THEY LIVED AND REIGNED WITH CHRIST for a thousand years." (Rev. 20:4).
Do you, do I, do we wish to "LIVE AND REIGN WITH CHRIST A THOUSAND YEARS?" If so, you just might be sitting next to a brother, a sister, at the Wedding Feast who lost their heads for the WORD OF GOD AND FOR THEIR WITNESS TO JESUS! Come on now—who are these people? They went "head to head with the Beast" and OVERCAME the (1) Worship of the Beast (political Babylon); (2) "or his image" (Apostate Babylon—Religious Babylon; (3) "and not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands"—Commercial Babylon—the 800 lb. gorilla. That's that! OVERCOMERS ALL! (Revelation 15:2; 20:4)
Alas! The "Strict" Dispensationalists exclude both the Overcomers of the Tribulation and the sealed of Israel found in Revelation 7 which are, as well, excluded from the Bride of Christ:
“Various identifications of the wife of the Lamb described in Rev. 19:7-8+ have included the redeemed of national Israel, the church, and Israel and the church. Portrayal of Israel as a faithless wife of the Lord in the OT is an obstacle to the first and third possibilities, as is the chronology of Israel’s resurrection. The redeemed of Israel will not rise until after the Seventieth Week of Daniel (Dan. 12:1-2), so they will not be part of the bride at the time depicted in Revelation 19:7-8+, a time before the Second Advent (Rev. 19:11-16+)” (R. L. Thomas, “Marriage Supper of the Lamb,” in Mal Couch, ed., Dictionary of Premillennial Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1996), p. 248.)
“According to Daniel 12:1-3 and Isaiah 26:19-21 . . . the resurrection of Israel and the Old Testament saints will not take place until the second advent of Christ. Revelation 20:4-6+ makes it equally clear that tribulation saints will not be resurrected until that time also. While it would be impossible to eliminate these groups from the place of observers, they cannot be in the position of participants in the event [i.e., the Marriage Supper of the Lamb] itself.” (J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958), 226.).
Imagine: They have overcome the Beast by the “blood of the Lamb” and did not love their lives unto the death; they have overcome the Image of the Beast—the apostate world religious system; they have overcome the Mark of the Beast—commercial Babylon, the Daughter and King of Tyre . . . and yet they are but observers because they missed out on the secret pre-tribulational rapture of the Church. Likewise, and so it would appear, that even the Old Testament saints who have "died in the Lord" are not raised from their graves until AFTER the Seventieth Week of Daniel . . . that is, they don't make the first cut? Am I missing something here? Then these "observer saints" who have been martyred (to say nothing of those who are "tribulation saints" who have not been martyred but are alive at His coming in glory) finally are "allowed" some peculiar status in the millennium? They abide in a no-man’s land where they are not members of the Church, Israel nor of the “dwellers of the earth” (aka, "earthlings")—and yet they have borne the Testimony of Jesus just like the Beloved John on the Isle of Patmos. What is it that we do not wish to grasp in this association?
“Who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ . . .” (Revelation 1:2).
“I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:9).
“And they overcame him (viz., the great dragon, called the Devil and Satan who deceives the world world—Rev. 12:9) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Rev. 12:11).
“And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus” (Revelation 12:17).
“And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb…After these things I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the TESTIMONY in heaven was opened” (Revelation 15:2-3, 5).
“Then he said to me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true sayings of God.’ And I feel at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS. Worship God! For the TESTIMONY OF JESUS is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:9-10)
Tell me, why do the pre-tribulational brethren differentiate between the Beloved John and his “Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ” and the tribulation saints who bear the same witness and testimony? Who, pray tell, are “your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus?” Indeed, they are the same tribulation saints who the pre-tribulationists exclude from membership in the Bride of Christ for their own odd eschatological purposes. There are those within the Bride of Christ, like John, who bear the “testimony of Jesus” and there are those “tribulation saints” who Walvoord accords the title CHRISTIAN and who bear the Testimony of Jesus, but remain as OBSERVERS! Frankly, this is insulting to those who have paid the uttermost price for Christ and the Church!
Therefore, dear brother, He will give you the words to say, and there's nothing harder on a smoker than an ex-smoker! Once you learn "how to draw that line" they'll be no turning back! Tell me--and I do not wish to be harsh sounding here--but are the hundreds of martyrs in Syria and now in Iraq being crucified, beheaded, tortured and shot by ISIS because they bear the name of Christ but "observers"? May every American Christian be humbled by their sacrifice and the future sacrifice of all them who shall overcome the Beast by "the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony!"
We'll Stand Together and Sing the Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb
Woodward: I trust that if I am here, along with you, we will encourage one another and sing songs of praise to our Lord, and we will trust that God has sealed us . . . however, we know that eventually the devil will prevail [during the latter half of the Seventieth Week].
Krieger: We'll stand together. We'll "Sing the Son of Moses (deliverance) the servant of God and the Son of the Lamb (for He gave His all)" - "they that are alive and remain" (i.e., "remain from what?"—you got that right!)—but the Devil is DEFEATED. Oh, yes, just like he thought he got rid of Jesus by either stopping Him from going to the cross ("get thee behind me Satan") or swirling around Him on that cross as were the freaks of Bashan which surrounded him in Psalm 22:12)—but He set His face as a flint and DIED FOR US! No, No, No - the Devil will NOT PREVAIL AGAINST THE CHURCH—the Gates of Hell cannot prevail against the BUILDED CHURCH. That's why we will, having done all TO STAND! STAND THEREFORE! Seemingly, it appeared that Jesus was defeated, that we're defeated—"overcome them and kill them" (sounds foreboding)—but then COME UP HERE! That'll do it, and that's faith in the Living God!
Woodward: When the wrath of God is poured out, we will either be dead at the hands of the Beast or we will be raptured before the wrath of God comes unless we believe that the Day of the LORD is only one day and then we might as well give up the ghost during the wrath of God.
Krieger: That's precisely why we have all these words of encouragement which you adroitly echo and with conviction. The time frames are obvious. There will be 2300 days of "sacrifice and desolations” (Daniel 8:13-14). That 30 days/30 minutes/7 trumpets/7 vials and the time frame between the 6th and 7th Seals are altogether designed to renown to the glory of God. Yes, 30 days—and for that 30 days we shall be within the space/time continuum where there shall be the BEMA, the Judgment Seat of Christ and the MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB with the Reception to follow!
And, you're right—we’ll either be among those of whom it is said: "Blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord - absent from the body, present with the Lord - for me to live is Christ and to die is gain!" (Yep, easy for us to say now—but HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT!). God doesn't need a lot of "earth time" to do His thing—1 day is as a thousand years, etc. So these time frames are but bound by this three-dimensional world in which we now live. We cannot see nor perceive within this clay pot - but "we prophesy in part but when that which is perfect is come - then shall we know even as we are known of God!"
Woodward: Having endured all of the Great Tribulation save one day (or 30 days for that matter), why bother?
Krieger: Why bother? Virtually all the disciples were martyred! Why bother? Peter: This is how you will GLORIFY ME IN YOUR DEATH! "If we suffer with Him we shall also be glorified together!" Is not the "blood of the martyrs" the seed of the Church? I mean, why should Jesus go to Jerusalem in the first place? He absolutely knew what awaited Him there. He knew that after His Triumphal Entry, if you would, His 3.5 days that He would be despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrow, and acquainted with grief—He was "cut off" BUT NOT FOR HIMSELF—but for us, His Beloved Bride! Why didn’t Paul give up in that Phillipian jail or John on the Isle of Patmos? All suffering for Christ is FOR CHRIST and for others. Our Hope is Christ Himself—He IS our Blessed Hope—beyond the grave, beyond ANY of the Devil's Great Wrath. He bothered for us and our salvation and we "bother" for Him to glorify Him by life or by death!
Woodward: And will all those judgments happen in that time? I'm not sure that I want to argue that there is NO QUICK, only the dead, to be resurrected when Christ comes. I like those QUICK AND THE DEAD words in the Apostle's Creed.
Krieger: I'm all in on the QUICK, not so much the dead—because, as you, I'm only human! "That the excellency of the glory may be of God, and not of ourselves!" Why did Corrie ten Boom bother? Why did Jim Elliott bother? Because they were sold out for Jesus Christ and for His purpose and His Life alone! The judgments will be swift. It will obviously be a quick work. The Man of Sin shall be destroyed by the very BRIGHTNESS OF HIS COMING. He shall destroy the works of darkness and He doesn't need a lot of "time" to do it—that is His mercy speaking! “They that are alive and remain shall be caught up.” Yes, there will be many who remain, and many slain for the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus—but in the end we shall all be raptured together for His glory!
We Should be Looking for Christ not Antichrist
Woodward: I believe that the Day of the LORD is as you believe, the time of God's wrath. I have argued that we should be looking for Christ and not the Antichrist. I believe that the Lord taught us (and Paul did too), to watch for the LORD. We should not fear that we will be here for the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord can only come to pass AFTER the man of sin has been revealed.
Krieger: I totally concur with you. The DAY OF THE LORD is entitled: THAT GREAT AND TERRIBLE DAY OF THE LORD. Did Jesus look to the cross or did He FOR THE JOY THAT WAS SET BEFORE HIM ENDURE THE CROSS? I've answered it already. That's faith—that's Christ! Did Jesus know the Devil would enter into Judas Iscariot? Yes, of course He did: "What thou doest do quickly!" "And one of you is a devil!" Jesus was "cut off" 3.5 days after it was said: "Until Messiah the Prince"—then it says He was "cut off" as in:
"Until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks" . . . [so 69 weeks] . . ."and AFTER the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off (suffer the death penalty), but not for Himself." (Daniel 9:25-26 excerpts).
Yes, after 62 weeks or 7 + 62 = 69 weeks Messiah was cut off, crucified—precisely 3.5 days after He made His Triumphal Entry and was acknowledge as Messiah by the masses but then CUT OFF. In other words, there was a time frame which mirrors Daniel's 70th Week’s 3.5 days of prevailing testimony, just as Jesus had. Yes, Noah was WATCHFUL, Jesus enjoins us to be WATCHFUL, Paul desires us to be WATCHFUL - Amen, and amen!
We will not be here for that GREAT AND TERRIBLE DAY OF THE LORD! Absolutely, we will be raptured! There, I said it! Indeed, that DAY will not come until the Man of Sin is revealed—commonly known as the BEAST FROM THE ABYSS who hates the saints, those who bear the Testimony of Jesus? The Beast from the Abyss (Rev. 11:7; Rev. 13:5-7). Yes, shortly thereafter, just as Jesus was "cut off" shortly AFTER He was introduced as Messiah—4 days (Sun., Mon, Tue, Wed—3.5 days over a four-day time frame because only 1/2 day on Palm Sunday) as the Pascal Lamb was examined and inspected and I FIND NO FAULT IN HIM! Even so, the Man of Sin shall be revealed and "shortly thereafter" (3.5 days/3.5 years/42 months/1260 days/time, times and half a time) shall we be glorified together with Him, our Beloved!
Just as the TWO WITNESSES have a prevailing testimony for the first 1260 days (the first 3.5 days of Jesus' Passion Week), even so we—but then the Beast from the Abyss makes His move through the Abomination of Desolation—BUT THE WISE SHALL UNDERSTAND! No, daily we are all challenged NOT to look at our circumstances but to the One who controls all—to Him—looking unto Jesus. NO MATTER HOW BIG THE GIANTS IN THE LAND ARE . . . we look beyond to the joy that is set before us! We're enjoined to enter into His rest—regardless if we appear as grasshoppers in their sight. Where's the “spirit of Joshua and Caleb?” LET US ALL GO UP and POSSESS THE LAND! I'm not talking bravado. I'm talking about the Life of Christ lived out through vessels willing to lay down our lives for Him and Him alone. That’s true Christianity and that’s the Testimony of Jesus Christ. It is not some milquetoast Laodicean fruitcake full of apostasy ready to rapture out of here because we’ve failed in our mission. Let us: MAN UP FOR CHRIST AND THE CHURCH!
Further Events Within the 70th Week of Daniel, yet Future
Woodward: I believe Daniel's 1260-1290 days concerning the countdown indicates how many days the Beast has upon planet earth is right. As John the revelator said, he must be here "a short while" (ONLY a short while).
Krieger: GOT IT!
Woodward: I build my beliefs on this principle: We are not destined to the terrors of wrath (God's wrath to be sure... perhaps some of Satan's wrath? I can't fully tell. It would seem so).
Krieger: WE'RE THERE—hard to disagree with such "black and white' of the Word. No, we are not destined for either the judicial wrath of God under which the whole world is under as condemned in the prison house of sin. We've got our salvation pardons and we're free at last. When and if we are here for the commencement of the JUDGMENT—THE WRATH OF THE LAMB—we will hear a loud voice: COME UP HERE! I'm building with you on that very same principle, no problem!
Woodward: Now, unlike my strict constructionist dispensational friends, I don't find scriptural clarity around equating the 7 years of Daniel's final week, with an exact 7 year Tribulation Period. I do tend to believe that a 3.5 year Great Tribulation Period is clear cut.
Krieger: Look at it this way: The 70th Week is equal to 7 days in a week or 7 years. The first half has to do with the prevailing witness of the TWO WITNESSES; the TWO OLIVE TREES and the TWO LAMPSTANDS and NOTHING can harm them and worse for those who try—they're snuffed! So, what is it about 1260 days that we don't get? Sounds like 3.5 years to me, right? Then the BEAST FROM THE ABYSS appears; known also as the Son of Perdition (Destruction, Apollyon, Abaddon) the Man of Sin, the Lawless One and a host of other diatribes. He cuts the treaty of hell and death at the BEGINNING OF THE WEEK (Daniel 9:27)—thus far, the full revelation of the Man of Sin remains hidden (although he is the Antichrist but not yet embodied by Satan himself as was Judas Iscariot). However, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WEEK HE BREAKS THE TREATY and every Seventh-Day Adventist who tries to attribute these phrases to Jesus Christ: SHAME ON THEM, because immediately thereafter it says of this one who breaks the Treaty in the Middle of the Week:
"And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate (so is that Jesus Christ or Antichrist?), Even until the consummation, which is determined is poured out on the DESOLATOR!" (Dan. 9:27) - Now if that is supposed to be Jesus Christ, aka THE DESOLATOR, then I'm losing it!
Tell me, when is the Devil given authority for 42 months? You're right, in the MIDDLE OF THE WEEK. So we've gone through 3.5 days of the week and that is the time of the prevailing testimony (i.e., 1260 days); just like Jesus in Jerusalem the first 3.5 days of His Passion Week. No one could lay a hand on Him, nor us for the 1260 days. If anyone tries to destroy the Two Witnesses: Look out! That should instill some faith in some of us around this place!
Obviously, the Devil's Great Wrath is NOT in vogue in the first part of the Week—but that doesn't mean that the Antichrist (still not the incarnate evil known as the Beast) is not out and about for Daniel 11:40-45 is too clear about the Willful King and His nefarious pursuits in the first part of the week!
Your tendency to believe in a 3.5 year Great Tribulation is spot on! Now, EMBRACE THE PROPHETIC WITNESS OF THE TWO WITNESSES for the first 1260 DAYS! That's the "sweet as honey in your mouth” part. It would seem to me that eating the book and having it as honey in your mouth would be a welcome change—it's digesting it with bitterness that isn't—but in the long and short of it HE SHALL PREVAIL IN US!
Woodward: I believe the time of greatest tribulation comes AFTER the abomination of desolation and that at the midway point of the 7 year “treaty of death and hell.” I find clear Scriptural support for that.
Krieger: ABSOLUTELY AMEN!
Woodward: Prior to that I believe judgment may have begun in part.
Krieger: Well, in the "existential sense" yes—for "judgment must begin at the House of God first.” In Matthew 24:9-14 there is, most definitely, after the "birth pangs" (Matthew 24:6-8 - i.e., the lead up to the 70th Week/the tribulation or TRIAL, or "tribulum"—for we are NOT on trial but the devil and his city are!)—there is one whole lot of winnowing going on to the extent that “they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake.” I mean, what is it about the TWO WITNESSES we don't get? Don't the "earthlings" (almost sounds like aliens) have the notion after "we're gone" that these are the ones who TORMENTED US so let's have a party (Rev. 11:10)? Yes, betrayal, offense, false prophets, lawlessness abounding, love growing cold—BUT HE THAT ENDURES TO THE END SHALL BE SAVED! That's what you can expect prior to the Abomination of Desolation. Sounds like fun, right?
Woodward: The traditional view sees the 4 horsemen of Revelation 4 as judgments of God and as occurring at the beginning of the Tribulation. Even though the white horse is equated with antichrist and despite the fact that the antichrist isn't revealed until 3.5 years into the 7 years. So go figure. I believe the 4 seals take place throughout the time AFTER the resurrection of Jesus and BEFORE the Tribulation begins.
Krieger: Well, Doug, I'm with you. The Seven-Sealed Book and those hoof beats (and this is what the Idealists have in common with the likes of us) have been galloping since the Resurrection. Notwithstanding, the INTENSITY of the Breaking of the Seals and the four-horsemen are all descriptive of the Work of Antichrist and most definitely the White Horse is the guile by which he subverts the masses—"through peace he shall destroy many." There's no problem here; and, in point of fact, these revelations of the Antichrist and how he operates should tell us clearly that his little TREATY OF DEATH AND HELL appears very benign and full of PEACE, PEACE and then comes sudden destruction! It's a phony peace! But during the first 3.5 years of the Tribulation these horsemen go romping through the tulip patches and by Daniel 11:40-45 declare just that: "Rumors from the East and North will trouble HIM and HE shall go out and annihilate many.” Even so, the Gog-Magog War kicks off his spree, I believe, within the first 40 days of the actual Seventieth Week (see chart below) and then the entire Armageddon Campaign as the Dallas Boys (Dwight Pentecost) suggest. That's an Amen from me!
Woodward: I believe the fifth seal happens 'in the heavenlies' and the sixth seal is the GREAT EARTHQUAKE that clearly is a judgment of God. I side with David Lowe that this could well happen at the time of resurrection/rapture . . . and therefore, this event happens before the judgments of the Trumpets and the Vials.
Krieger: Well, if that's what David Lowe affirms - he and YOU have my vote, big time!
When Does the Wrath of the Lamb Occur?
Woodward: Exactly when does this take place? I don't know.
Krieger: I do know. My, how presumptuous of me! Then again, I'm not known for humility in these matters! Look at the pattern of the EARTHQUAKES in the Revelation and elsewhere. It's always and persistently shown like this: The EARTHQUAKE IS THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE JUDGMENT; i.e., THE WRATH OF THE LAMB. Look at it this way so that we can tell when it happens:
Revelation 6:12—Dave's got that one right—THERE WAS A GREAT EARTHQUAKE. Now, read on: "FOR THE GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH HAS COME, AND WHO IS ABLE TO STAND?" Can't stand because there's a whole lot of shakkin' goin' on!
In Revelation 8:5 we read: "Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, AND AN EARTHQUAKE." It does not say GREAT but this will have to do because the TRUMPETS BEGIN TO SOUND and THIS THING'S COMIN' DOWN! Therefore, we hear of that SAME EARTHQUAKE.
Revelation 11:13: “And in the SAME HOUR there was a GREAT EARTHQUAKE.” Here again that GREAT is back in the “thematic picture.” When does it happen? After the TWO WITNESSES who've suffered persecution for 3.5 days (i.e., 42 months, time, times and half a time, 3.5 years, 1,260 days there will be open persecution) HEARD A LOUD VOICE FROM HEAVEN SAYING TO THEM: “COME UP HERE.” Please notice: RAPTURE and then that EARTHQUAKE HITS and destroys 1/10 of the CITY (remember "10" is associated with the Beast and now his “fractured” empire) and 7,000 die. Now, come on, if this 7,000 were literal it would be a tiny little quake. The Haiti quake wiped out nigh 300,000; therefore, "7" connotes COMPLETE JUDGMENT! So, EARTHQUAKE is mentioned twice in this passage; now we're up to 4 X's “earthquake” is mentioned.
Revelation 11:19: "Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, AN EARTHQUAKE, and great hail". When did that happen? I thought the EARTHQUAKE and HAIL went down in Rev. 8:5. It did. This is but a reflection of that same Earthquake? It is THEMATIC not linear at this stage of things.
Revelation 16:18: "And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a GREAT EARTHQUAKE, such a mighty and GREAT EARTHQUAKE (as in "Babylon is FALLEN is FALLEN" - twice fallen and 2 GREAT EARTHQUAKES as a WITNESS against Babylon the Great)—and all this takes place, along with the hailstone about the weight of a talent in that THE WINE OF THE FIERCENESS OF HIS WRATH is being poured out against Babylon the Great during the WRATH OF THE LAMB! So, guess when that is?
There it is: 7 earthquakes and all surround the 30 days of the WRATH OF THE LAMB. Please notice: 7 TIMES the quake/great earthquake is mentioned. Why? BECAUSE HIS JUDGMENT IS PERFECT (7), COMPLETE!
Woodward: Does this mean that I deny the 'imminence' of the rapture? No . . . because the first five seals may have all already been broken (there is always a problem reconciling timing in the heavenlies with timing on the earth. . . the fifth seal's timing is not clear to me but seems to be BEFORE the rapture . . . not after. But that is a subject of debate to be sure.
Krieger: No it's not—the Fifth Seal evokes Cosmic Disturbances in the heavens and flows right on into the 6th Seal and somewhere between this CONFLATION after the 5th Seal and surrounding the events of the Sixth Seal it clearly states BEFORE THE SEVENTH SEAL which clearly illicits the very WRATH OF THE LAMB within that seal. Again, it is at the end of the 6th Seal we hear these words: FOR THE GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH HAS COME, AND WHO IS ABLE TO STAND?" (Rev. 7:17) and then we see Israel Sealed (144,000) on the Earth (Rev. 7:1-8). After this we see the Church in the Heavens atop the Heavenly Mt. Zion (Rev. 7:9-17) who have come out of the Great Tribulation vs. 14—plain and simple (Please note I do not call them "tribulation saints" or Walvoord's Christians, in name only, but not members of the Bride of Christ--no they are absolutely members of the Church). There is no need to read into it. It is what it is. Then the 7th Seal is broken in Rev. 8:1; of course, and the “wrath of God and the Lamb" ensues. Notwithstanding, we, on the other hand, are before the Throne of God and the Lamb!
Woodward: But there is not necessarily a SIGN BEFORE the great earthquake. I know you see this earthquake and the earthquake toward the end of Revelation as the same. Okay. But I don't.
Krieger: Well, now I hope you do—but now that we're within the 70th Week there will be so many SIGNS and DATES it sounds awful to say because it sounds like someone we both know too well: WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE!? The Seven-fold Quake matches the 7 Thunders and they're all about THE FINAL JUDGMENT: THE WRATH OF GOD AND THE LAMB! And, we're not here - we're in the glory and Israel is sealed on the earth.
Woodward: Long story short: I have a hard time reconciling all the details of the visions of Revelation into a chronological framework. I really don't favor trying to do this.
Krieger: Why not, we just did? Embrace the reality of the 70th Week and the Testimony of Jesus Christ and you won't have a problem trying to do it—IT'S THERE. Jump in—we may be off a little here and there but the BIG PICTURE is clear as a bell! And, don't give me this NO MAN KNOWS THE DAY NOR THE HOUR, NOR THE SON BUT THE FATHER ONLY. I've already dealt a severe blow to that Orange County Apostle to the Emergent Church guy. Also, the reason you're having a hard time reconciling all the details of the visions of Revelation into a chronological framework MAY (I say MAY) have more to do with your original pre-trib paradigm is being altered and, like myself, it's unnerving until we look at the Life of Jesus! Don't worry—people have been fretting over this for centuries—but, guess what: IN THE LATTER DAYS KNOWLEDGE OF THE PURPOSES OF GOD AS REVEALED THROUGH HIS PROPHETS SHALL INCREASE AND BECOME GREAT (Daniel 12:4). Yes, "search anxiously to and fro throughout the Book," the Scripture of Truth, and you'll see it and MUCH MORE! I'm totally in favor of trying to do this—100%, why not? It's like being left as a kid in a candy store after lights out!
When does Babylon the Great get Judged?
Woodward: Having said that, I think we still agree that Mystery Babylon does not give up the ghost until later in the 7 year period . . . sometime during the Great Tribulation, and that it is directly due to the judgments of God . . . but don't ask me to say exactly when.
Krieger: It's clear when: AT THE TIME OF THE GREAT EARTHQUAKE and by now you know when that is. Praise God! Now we understand the verse and its profound RAPTUROUS MEANING . . . COME OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE AND BE NOT PARTAKERS OF HER SINS AND HER PLAGUES! Sounds like Lot just made it out in time! (Revelation 18:4). Don't hesitate to state when Babylon breaks up into three parts. IT’S AFTER THE SEVENTH BOWL (Rev. 16:17) and AT THE TIME OF THE GREAT EARTHQUAKE—and at the time TO GIVE HER THE CUP OF THE WINE OF THE FIERCENESS OF HIS WRATH (Rev. 16:19).
It's at the time that "every island fled away, and the mountains were not found and great hail from heaven fell upon men.” IT’S THE WRATH OF THE LAMB! IT'S THE EARTHQUAKE: THE GREAT, GREAT EARTHQUAKE—that's when. Shout it from the rooftops: BABYLON IS FALLEN, IS FALLEN!! And more so, the only Hallelujahs in the New Testament are uttered threefold by the saints as they see her go up in smoke! Check it out—so the next time you utter Hallelujah, make it a PROPHETIC DECLARATION (Rev. 19:1, 3, 6) and our leadership said it again in vs. 4. Therefore, we've got all bases covered when she goes up in smoke! Let's practice: HALLELUJAH or ALLELUIA! (that's probably what Hamp would say - so there's room for us all)!
Woodward: I just say sometime AFTER the antichrist is revealed and before the LORD returns . . . probably 1 to 2 years before. After all, the Beast turns against Babylon and burns her with fire . . . perhaps he nukes his own land. Could that be part of God's judgment against Babylon? Probably so . . . and yet it is clearly part of the devil's wrath too . . . the Scripture is clear.
Krieger: Remember this: Babylon the Great breaks up into three parts in Revelation 16 at the GREAT EARTHQUAKE. Then in Revelation 17 the Apostate One World Religious System of Babylon is devoured by the Beast. Then in Revelation 18 Commercial Babylon goes up in smoke. Finally, in Revelation 19 Political Babylon is judged. It all happens fairly quickly but all within the context of the final, final, final GREAT EARTHQUAKE. I think I'm right–this is not to say that USA-Babylon is destroyed and the AC makes his HQ between the Sea and the Holy Mountain—therefore, there is some wiggle room but not much :)
It's a Wrap . . . .
Woodward: So . . . I have spoken too much of my mind and gone on for far too long.
Krieger: Just enough to flesh out the concerns. This exercise is exceedingly healthy and very real. It was and is intelligent and thought provoking, for "iron sharpens iron" and we are both doing this for the glory of God and for the building up of the One Body of Christ—that is of inestimable value!
Woodward: Thank you my brother. I labor under the assumption that my teaching and training for many years came from sincere and scholarly persons. I am humbled though and realize that I may have been duped. Still, all those verses I learned that support the Pre-Trib position are strongly in favor of Pre-Wrath as well.
My view is that there are only three reasons to really believe in a Pre-Trib rapture, a full seven years before the return of Christ, and that first reason is the argument that the church is totally distinct from Israel . . . which seems more ‘system’ oriented than Scripture oriented. I do believe that the Scripture is clear there are two distinct plans . . . but might they bleed together during the final seven years? Does one plan have to be completed before the other begins?
The second reason is the argument that the Church must be taken out of the way before the Antichrist can be revealed. That the Church is the restrainer (or the Spirit that indwells believers). This could be the case. Other explanations for the restrainer seem less satisfactory to me than the Church and the Spirit restraining the revealing of the Antichrist.
Daniel’s 70th week does not have to equal seven years of Tribulation. The ‘Great Tribulation’ follows the revelation of Antichrist . . . his Apocalypto. This period AFTER his revealing at the mid-way point of the 70th week, opens the door to the DAY OF THE LORD. But when does that day begin? Is it not until the final 30 days (between 1260 and 1290)? Is it the five months of scorpion stings of those creatures from the pit?
The LORD says to always watch for His coming. This to me is the third strong reason to believe in imminence. It can come anytime. Coupled with my points above, it can come anytime up to and until the revealing of the Antichrist.
So, I stay with the doctrine of Pre-Trib since I believe the Tribulation isn’t’ really until AFTER the Antichrist is revealed and until AFTER the Church is removed to take away the restraining force keeping the Antichrist from being revealed.
So there you have it.
Question: Can anyone really claim to be a dispensationalist if they believe THERE ARE NOT TWO COMPLETELY SEPARATE PLANS, one for the church and one for Israel?
I remain your committed brother, your co-preacher against Babylon, your Christian brother who trusts that our fates will be the same whether we are raptured early or late or somewhere in the middle . . . IF, as Paul said, we be found worthy to receive that upward call. Goodness knows Dr. Douglas Stauffer apparently believes we are more likely to go early if we ARE NOT found worthy. Oh my. Surely he will recant that before too many more blokes like us discuss him much more.
Krieger: Our beloved Dr. Douglas Stauffer appears to have given up on the "Bride has made herself ready." Pastor Ray Stedman told us what happened to the actual Church in Laodicea after the Roman Proconsul came to town and demanded every citizen throw in some grain into the fire as a gesture of Emperor Worship and that was a "no-no" even for this lukewarm, miserable, poor, naked, wretched and blind church. They finally took a stand and the whole Church in Laodicea was martyred for Christ: LAODICEA WENT OUT IN A BLAZE OF GLORY!
I hope the good doctor will have a change of heart—might just take a Roman Proconsul coming to Dodge . . . hate to think that; then, on the other hand . . . Satan undoubtedly thought he had that lukewarm bunch in Laodicea ready to commit spiritual suicide but TO GOD BE THE GLORY they stood firm in the faith and in the power of His Might!
The dispensationalist (strict) affirms that there are two distinct redeemed communities: Israel and the Church. In the millennium they maintain their complete distinction . . . with the "Observers" (the "tribulation saints" who have somehow accepted Christ as Savior without the "work of the Holy Spirit") found to be in a "special status" in the millennium (that "status" is open for discussion; e.g., "temple servants" according to Donald Grey Barnhouse, etc.). However, by the Eschaton, the "eternal state" these "distinctions" are somehow blurred in that there is but One Bride who descends to the Earth but the descriptions of the 12 Gates bear the names of the 12 Tribes of Israel and the names of the 12 Apostles of the Lamb are upon the Holy City's foundations. Yes, you can still be a "Dispensationalist" and affirm there are two separate plans--but then that "plan" falls apart in the Eschaton! We're just saying it falls apart a lot sooner than that--at the commencement of the millennium: Doug Hamp is absolutely and refreshingly correct; although, he apparently abides a pre-tribulationist . . . for how long, remains to be seen! I think he's crossed the Rubicon. As Julius Caesar uttered the famous phrase "alea iacta est" – the die is cast.